When The Serpents Speak

Evasto
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Evasto
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2:28 AM - Sep 13, 2018 #1

*8:30 AM, Metropolis. The light of the rising sun begins to spill through the city, signaling the beginning of a new day. Hither and yon, people got out of bed and trudged through their morning routine. Well, almost everyone.

At one particular home, the sunlight shined through the windows onto Masika, who lay slumped on a desk fast asleep. Several binders, some maps and a slew of various other papers were scattered across its surface, and Masika herself had her head laying on a page with notes scrawled on it, up until halfway down the page at which point the writing tailed off into a single broad stroke that cut across the rest of the page, the remaining half moistened from Masika drooling on it. One of her arms lay on the desk while the other dangled limpy by her side, hovering over a pencil that lay on the floor. Despite the sun leaking in, Masika didn't rouse from her slumber. That didn't last very long, though, as her phone, laying on the desk, began vibrating in pulses, creating a harsh buzz as it vibrated the wood of the desk. At first, the Egyptologist just kept on sleeping, but the phone's buzzing and the vibrations it sent through the table eventually roused her from her slumber. With a cough and snort Masika woke up, opening one eye and groaned, moving her hand up to rest on the desk before pushing herself upright. The page she was laying on came with, stuck to her face*

Masika: Uuggh...what...what time is it?

*She pulled the page off her face, ick facing at it when she saw she had drooled on it, before squinting blearily at the clock*

Masika: ...8:35?! Aagh.. -slumps back- That's what I get for staying up until 4 AM...

*She tossed the page onto her desk as she slumped back in her chair. Another vibration pulse from her phone drew her attention and she picked it up, furrowing her brow*

Masika: Ugh...who's texting at this-

*She had only just brought the phone to her when the spark of realization hit, and she jumped out of her chair*

Masika: SHIT I'M LATE! AAGGGH~!

*She tore out of the room to her bedroom, frantically getting ready...*

~~~~~

*No shortage of panic and barely restrained driving later, Masika arrived at a museum, swinging into a parking space and rushing out of her car, though had the presence of mind to lock it before shutting the door and hurrying in. She slowed to a brisk walk, as a slim, older man with round glasses, blue eyes and touseled gray-white hair looked up from his position in front of the entry desk, dropping his folded arms to his sides as Masika approached*

Masika: *huf* I'm... *wheeze* ...really sorry I'm late, professor. I was up too late researching...

*The man pursed his lips, sighed and waved his hand, before folding them across his patterned sweater*

Curator: You're here at least. If you're ready, we can get started.

Masika: -huff- Yeah, sure, lessgo.

*The curator departs with Masika following. Leading her to the museum's storage room, he unlocked the door and opened it, switching on the lights as he ventured in, Masika close behind*

Curator: Since we'll be getting some new additions, we wanted to get everything straightened out as far as our Egyptian collection went, hence why I requested your help. The last time our collection was on display the last curator didn't bother keeping things organized when it was all put back.

Masika: Blech...well, sooner we get on this the better.

*The curator nods, as they reach the Egyptian collection and begin sorting through the artifacts, after pulling on gloves. A few hours and a lunchtime later, they had gotten things more organized, with things laid out on a table that occupied the center of the room. Masika was going through a small closet choked with various boxes, rooting through for any Egyptian artifacts that had gotten mixed in*

Masika: Christ, this is a mess...and that's coming from me...

*She grunted as she picked a box up, moving it off what it was sitting on, exposing more of the closet interior as she did. Looking around for a moment after sitting it down, her eyes fell on an old, battered case buried under boxes and files. Dents and scrapes from time and mishandling had worn away the black laquer that had coated it originally, exposing the bare brown wood underneath. Masika, curious, began moving the boxes and files stacked on top until she could access the case. It was rather plain and looked to have once had a carrying handle, but it had long since broken away and only its mounts remained. Picking the box up she brought it out of the closet and to the table, setting it down.*

Masika: Hey, doc. This a part of the collection at all?

*The curator turned, squinting at the case, before coming around beside Masika*

Curator: Hmm...I don't know, I don't think so. I haven't seen that box before.

Masika: Well, no surprise, it was buried in that back closet there under a whole bunch of other stuff, Christ knows how long it's been there. Looks like the thing's seen better days...

*She ran her hand across the top of the box, wiping away dust. A faint embossment remained in the surface of the wood, with a smattering of small gold flakes peppering the worn engraving. Masika drew her hand back then and went to the latches on the front, fiddling with them. It took some doing due to them having gotten stiff from age, but she eventually loosened one up, then the other, so she could unlatch the case and open it. The inside was lined with old felt, the glue that held it to the box having long since lost its strength, leaving the felt lining loose and pulled away from the box in some places. Resting inside was a bundle of cloth occupying most of the upper portion of the interior, while an ivory scroll tube, capped with gold and engraved with Ancient Egyptian figures, sat nestled below it. The figures were engraved on each side of the tube, their backs facing an engraved line that separated the human figures. The figures themselves were facing toward a long serpent that ran the whole length of the tube, and was present on both the top and bottom.*

Masika: Welll now! Looks like we've got a little overlooked artifact or two here!

*The curator took out the scroll tube, looking it over as Masika began unraveling the cloth. The curator looked away from his inspection just as Masika pulled the cloth away. Hidden within was an exquisitely detailed statue of a snake, curled as if slithering across the ground. The snake was almost entirely fashioned from a black stone or crystal, the light of the storage room playing off its glossy surface. For eyes, the statuette had a pair of small, polished rubies, cut in such a way the light refracting inside gave the impression of slitted pupils. Masika whistled and gently lifted the statue out of the cloth it was wrapped in, studying it in the light.*

Masika: Daaamn, this is some quality workmanship. It's so realistically done I'm half-expecting it to jump out of my hands any second now!

*The curator leaned over, adjusting his glasses as he studied the statue*

Curator: My goodness, yes. That is, assuming it isn't a forgery.

Masika: -bobs a finger- Truue. It's hard to imagine anything of this quality surviving so long with barely any wear and tear...

*She set the snake down in the box, leaning on the desk towards the curator.*

Masika: What about the tube there?

Curator: See for yourself.

*He hands it to her, Masika looking it over.*

Masika: This looks more...well, right for lack of a better term. Clearly old ivory, visible signs of wear from years of handling and general time...hm, artwork is a bit atypical. It seems like the figures are worshiping or at least revering the snake...

*She shook it gently, the tube letting off a rattle.*

Masika: Huh, sounds like it's got something inside.

*She fiddled with the tube for a bit until she figured out how to open it, uncapping the tube and emptied out its contents, which was a single scroll of payprus wound around a wooden spool with gold retaining discs. Masika gently unrolled the scroll, but what greeted her prompted a double take, before she picked it up and leaned in to more closely look at it, as if making sure what she was seeing was actually there.*

Masika: ...This isn't Egyptian.

*The curator quickly moved in next to her to see, and raised his eyebrows in surprise, as indeed the writing on the scroll wasn't Egyptian at all. Instead, it was all a series of squiggles.*

Curator: That...my goodness, you're right! But the artwork on the tube is clearly in the Egyptian style...

Masika: So if it IS Egyptian, what gives with this writing? I've digested anything and everything I could find on Ancient Egypt, and pored through so much hieroglyphic writing I started seeing it my sleep. And yet this doesn't line up with anything I know about! But...

Curator: But?

Masika: If it is Egyptian, I might have something in my research on it. I've managed to dig up stuff on things that've been long forgotten, that most people haven't yet found or completely overlooked. This might be one of them. Maybe some unknown sect that used a different language or something.

*She returned the scroll to its tube and set it in the box, folding the snake back up in its cloth before shutting it*

Masika: If it's all right, could I take this with me when we're done so I can look into what we've got here? I mean, the alternative is for it to just sit here wasting away like it has been for God knows how long. But if I can get enough info, you'd have yourself a new feature for the Egyptian display.

Curator: Mmhh...all right. We won't be getting the new additions for a few weeks, so that should hopefully be enough time for you to get something on this.

Masika: -nods- Thanks. C'mon, let's wrap things up.

*The curator nodded, and once Masika latched the box back up they resumed their organizing. After all was said and done, Masika bid the curator farewell and departed with the battered old box in tow, heading back to her house. Once she got home, she transferred the snake and scroll to a padded lockbox*

Masika: All right, now that you guys are safe and snug in there, let's see if we can't crack your little enigma.

*With a crack of her knuckles, Masika would head to a bookshelf bristling with papers, folders, binders, and the like, and begin rooting through it. The rest of her day she'd spend with research, poring over both physical and digital notes, scouring everything she had for anything talking about snakes, any hint of the strange language used in the scroll....*

~~~~~

*Sunlight filtered in through the window above Masika's desk, shedding its warm light on the pages strewn across its surface. Masika lay slumped across her desk, snoring, with a copy of the scroll sitting by her face, lifting away from the desk a bit from her breaths. The sun eventually found its way to her face, and soon the warmth and light roused Masika from her slumber. Groggily, she opened her eyes, groaned, and plopped her hand on the papers in front of her face before letting out a sigh*

Masika: Shhiiit...I did it again...

*Grunting she pushed herself up off her desk, flopping back in her chair*

Masika: Y'gotta stop doin' this to yourself, Masika..

*Getting out of her chair stiffly, she oozed out of the room into the kitchen to make some coffee. As she was, her phone chirped. Slumping her shoulders, she got the coffee machine going before oozing into the room where her phone was, going "uuugggghh" the whole way until she had her phone in her hands. Flipping through the lock screen, she saw a text from Nora*

"Hey, Masika. I'm going out to breakfast with Claire, Laura and Leah, you wanna tag along?"

*Masika duckfaced momentarily, before drawing her lips straight and hammered out a haphazard response*

"Yeah sure. doing some rsearch right nw i shoud probbly take a braek from. Maybe you cud hlep a little"

*She poked the Send button to ship off the text and dragged herself into the kitchen, poking the coffee machine a couple times*

Masika: C'moonn, work faster...

-------

*An hour later, Nora was waiting outside an IHOP, leaning against a wall with one leg crossed over the other, one hand in the pocket of her jeans as her other held her phone, scrolling through stuff on the screen. Hearing a car pull up, she locked her phone into its holster and moved away from the wall as a taxi came to a stop. After a moment, out from the back door came Golden-Eye, who placed her white cowboy hat on her head as she left the vehicle, making a few adjustments to her blouse, bolo tie and belt as she went. Nora grinned broadly as Golden-Eye strode up*

Nora: Leah, good to see you!

*She hugged Golden-Eye firmly, who laughed and hugged back, before pulling back and slapping her shoulder*

Golden-Eye: Good ta see ya too, Nora! How ya been?

Nora: Keeping busy, and I'm sure River's been keepin' you busy too.

Golden-Eye: -chuckles- Ain't a dull moment on a farm, ah can tell ya that.

*She looked around, hooking a thumb into a one of the belt loops on her jeans.*

Golden-Eye: Rest ain't here yet?

Nora: Nah, but they shouldn't be long.

wrote: Aurondarklord 11:29 pm
they also think pokemon are "oriental demons"
so they're not just nuts, they're racist too!

AkaneSyria 11:30 pm
a double feature!

Aurondarklord 11:31 pm
and apparently pokemon even all have the names of real demons
I wasn't aware of the evil marquis of hell named Diglett who commands 40 infernal legions
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Aurondarklord
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5:13 AM - Sep 13, 2018 #2

*Claire was off work today, so she wasn't driving her "company car", instead pulling up in a pink Bentley Continental GT, or as Soph called it, "the Barbie car".  Claire didn't make a habit of acting like a complete brat, so it was probably easy for people to forget how ridiculously loaded she was.  Technically, since her mother died, Claire owned 51% of the country's third largest dishware manufacturer, though she had no direct role in running the company.  Claire was wearing casual sandal heels, tight bright pink jeans, a white crop top, some assorted casual bracelets, with normal shades and no comlink.  Mr. Anderson was naturally parked on her shoulder.  She got out and came over to give hugs and cheek kisses, Mr. Anderson providing licks.*

Claire: Morning, girls!

Actually it's about ethics...and possibly biting off your leg!
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Evasto
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6:26 PM - Sep 13, 2018 #3

Nora: Claire, hey! Glad you could make it.

*She returned Claire's hug and cheek kiss, patting Mr. Anderson with a smile. Golden-Eye did much the same, though scratched the ferret under his chin*

Golden-Eye: Hehe, hey there little guy.

wrote: Aurondarklord 11:29 pm
they also think pokemon are "oriental demons"
so they're not just nuts, they're racist too!

AkaneSyria 11:30 pm
a double feature!

Aurondarklord 11:31 pm
and apparently pokemon even all have the names of real demons
I wasn't aware of the evil marquis of hell named Diglett who commands 40 infernal legions
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Aurondarklord
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7:48 PM - Sep 13, 2018 #4

*Mr. Anderson squeaked happily and twitched his little ears!*

Claire: You look like you're settling in great, Leah!  Laura helping with Wild West to modern translation?

Actually it's about ethics...and possibly biting off your leg!
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Evasto
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8:08 PM - Sep 13, 2018 #5

Golden-Eye: Yeah, an' River's been a huge help too. Ah won't lie an' say it weren't a shock at first; shit's advanced so much in almost 130 years it's downright mind-bogglin', but at the same time it's interestin' to see how on tha nose some predictions of tha future were durin' my time...an' also how completely off tha damn mark others were.

wrote: Aurondarklord 11:29 pm
they also think pokemon are "oriental demons"
so they're not just nuts, they're racist too!

AkaneSyria 11:30 pm
a double feature!

Aurondarklord 11:31 pm
and apparently pokemon even all have the names of real demons
I wasn't aware of the evil marquis of hell named Diglett who commands 40 infernal legions
Quote
Like
Share

Stu
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8:13 PM - Sep 13, 2018 #6

*Speaking of, Laura would arrive next on her motorbike, pulling up near Goldeneye's car and turning off her engine before dismounting, wearing her blue jeans and tan leather jacket, removing her helmet to shake her hair loose over her shoulders, letting her cowgirl hat hang behind her back by its fastener since she was gonna go inside pretty soon anyway*
Laura: Hey there, gals! And ferret!
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Aurondarklord
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8:27 PM - Sep 13, 2018 #7

*Mr. Anderson waved to Laura and made little dooking sounds.*

Claire: What's the matter?  World's Fair promised you a jetpack?  And hey Laura!  That's everyone, right?  Let's get some pancakes!

Actually it's about ethics...and possibly biting off your leg!
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Evasto
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8:34 PM - Sep 13, 2018 #8

*Golden-Eye chuckled, waving at Laura before resting her hand on her hip*

Golden-Eye: -jokingly- Ah was expectin' whale ferries, y'all gotta get yer priorities straight.

*She gave Claire a smart pat on the shoulder, grinning*

Nora: Hehe, almost everyone. I invited Masika since I figured it'd be a good time to catch up with her, but knowing her she might be a bit late. Especially since her typo-riddled reply mentioned research she was working on, and I know how she gets when the research bee gets in her bonnet.

wrote: Aurondarklord 11:29 pm
they also think pokemon are "oriental demons"
so they're not just nuts, they're racist too!

AkaneSyria 11:30 pm
a double feature!

Aurondarklord 11:31 pm
and apparently pokemon even all have the names of real demons
I wasn't aware of the evil marquis of hell named Diglett who commands 40 infernal legions
Quote
Like
Share

Stu
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8:42 PM - Sep 13, 2018 #9

Laura: Maybe we should order for her then?
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Evasto
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8:49 PM - Sep 13, 2018 #10

Nora: Ehh, we can let the waiter know we're expecting a fifth person, I don't think she'll be too late so we can shoot the shit a bit in the meantime.

wrote: Aurondarklord 11:29 pm
they also think pokemon are "oriental demons"
so they're not just nuts, they're racist too!

AkaneSyria 11:30 pm
a double feature!

Aurondarklord 11:31 pm
and apparently pokemon even all have the names of real demons
I wasn't aware of the evil marquis of hell named Diglett who commands 40 infernal legions
Quote
Like
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Aurondarklord
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8:51 PM - Sep 13, 2018 #11

*Claire took out her phone to text Masika: "Masi, mummy's been dead 4 5k years, it can w8.  Need pancakes, or I'm gonna mummify."*

Actually it's about ethics...and possibly biting off your leg!
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Stu
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8:58 PM - Sep 13, 2018 #12

Laura: Yeah, let's. (Didn't these guys turn into a burger place...?)
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9:14 PM - Sep 13, 2018 #13

*It took a little bit before Claire got a reply*

Lol, not a mummy this time, but I'm on my way. Should be just a few minutes."

*About 5 minutes later, Masika rolled up in her maroon Ford Focus, parking it by the curb and getting out. While the car itself was decently maintained, the interior was a bit messy. She waved at the girls as she came up*

Masika: Hey, guys, sorry about the wait.

*She paused and blinked a couple times, realizing she didn't recognize Golden-Eye, though did note the resemblance between her and Nora. She gave Nora an inquisitive look while bobbing her thumb at Golden-Eye*

Masika: She, uh...cousin or something?

Nora: LONG story. Masika, this is Leah Cobb...a.k.a Golden-Eye.

Golden-Eye: Pleasure to meet ya.

*She shook Masika's hand firmly*

Masika: Oof, heh, hi, nice to meet you too.

wrote: Aurondarklord 11:29 pm
they also think pokemon are "oriental demons"
so they're not just nuts, they're racist too!

AkaneSyria 11:30 pm
a double feature!

Aurondarklord 11:31 pm
and apparently pokemon even all have the names of real demons
I wasn't aware of the evil marquis of hell named Diglett who commands 40 infernal legions
Quote
Like
Share

Aurondarklord
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9:24 PM - Sep 13, 2018 #14

*By the time Masika got there, Claire had taken Laura's advice and already gotten the group a table and ordered, Masika would be getting coffee and a stack of buttermilk pancakes, Claire figured that was the safest.  Claire had gotten the strawberry cheesecake pancakes and was busy pouring extra strawberry sauce all over them, as well as a hot cocoa.  Some of the girls who had experience with tasting Claire might have long noted that she ate so many strawberries she herself was vaguely strawberry flavored.*

Actually it's about ethics...and possibly biting off your leg!
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Stu
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9:37 PM - Sep 13, 2018 #15

*Laura got the Mexican Tres Leches pancakes herself*
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Evasto
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9:47 PM - Sep 13, 2018 #16

*Masika would take a seat by Nora, who had jumped for the dark chocolate mousse pancakes, while Golden-Eye opted for the harvest grain and nut, both of them taking water for their beverage. Masika seemed perfectly content with what Claire ordered for her, particularly the coffee, which she took a good drink from after getting situated, setting the cup down after she did*

Masika: -smack- Weeewh...thanks, the cup I had this morning was already starting to wear off.

wrote: Aurondarklord 11:29 pm
they also think pokemon are "oriental demons"
so they're not just nuts, they're racist too!

AkaneSyria 11:30 pm
a double feature!

Aurondarklord 11:31 pm
and apparently pokemon even all have the names of real demons
I wasn't aware of the evil marquis of hell named Diglett who commands 40 infernal legions
Quote
Like
Share

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9:54 PM - Sep 13, 2018 #17

Claire: How?!  What are you even doing that you're running yourself this ragged?

Actually it's about ethics...and possibly biting off your leg!
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9:57 PM - Sep 13, 2018 #18

Laura: Yeah, I don't think you've been working the club too often...
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10:07 PM - Sep 13, 2018 #19

*Masika grinned sheepishly, squishing herself down some*

Masika: Ehehe...just me and my obsessive tendencies...it's like, when I find something new my brain devotes all of its runtime to it and I completely lose track of time. I was up until like 3 in the morning the day before, and did it again yesterday because I dug up something even more interesting than what I'd been working at before.

Nora: What'd you dredge up this time? You mentioned you thought maybe I could help with it.

Masika: Ah, yeah. See, I was helping sort out Egyptian artifacts at a museum, 'cause they're gonna be getting some new stuff in, and I found this old-ass box buried in a closet...

Golden-Eye: -dryly- Ya devoted all your brainpower to a box?

Masika: Nono! It's what was inside! Ah...here, I took pictures.

*She fished out her phone and poked about it briefly, then turned it around and set it down to show pictures she had taken of the snake statue. She'd been exceptionally thorough, having taken pictures of it from either side, from the top and its underside, and had also taken pictures of it with the scroll tube and unrolled scroll. In some shots though they could see the overall disorganized state of her study.*

Masika: It's the scroll that really got me going, I've never seen any Ancient Egyptian...well, anything in that kind of script.

wrote: Aurondarklord 11:29 pm
they also think pokemon are "oriental demons"
so they're not just nuts, they're racist too!

AkaneSyria 11:30 pm
a double feature!

Aurondarklord 11:31 pm
and apparently pokemon even all have the names of real demons
I wasn't aware of the evil marquis of hell named Diglett who commands 40 infernal legions
Quote
Like
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10:20 PM - Sep 13, 2018 #20

Claire: Thousands of years old and looks like that?  Pretty safe bet it's magic, so be careful.

Actually it's about ethics...and possibly biting off your leg!
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10:28 PM - Sep 13, 2018 #21

Laura: Or burn it. *takes mouthful of pancake*
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10:34 PM - Sep 13, 2018 #22

Claire: She's not gonna burn it!  It's probably priceless and super historically important!

Actually it's about ethics...and possibly biting off your leg!
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10:38 PM - Sep 13, 2018 #23

Laura: So's mah guns, but that don't make them any less dangerous.
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10:42 PM - Sep 13, 2018 #24

Masika: Probably, yeah, but I haven't had any crazy dreams or hallucinations of snakes crawling out of my vents so it at least doesn't seem cursed. Annd yeah, Claire's right, not gonna go burning stuff like this just because it might be cursed, not when it's something from Ancient Egypt that's totally new and unknown. I've already spent hours poring over my research docs yesterday, trying to find any references to a statue like that or other instances of that script, not about to stop now just 'cause it might be dangerous. This line of work involves a lot of risk-taking, and if I didn't have the nuts to do so I wouldn't have discovered much of what I have so far, like stuff about the Crook of Osiris.

wrote: Aurondarklord 11:29 pm
they also think pokemon are "oriental demons"
so they're not just nuts, they're racist too!

AkaneSyria 11:30 pm
a double feature!

Aurondarklord 11:31 pm
and apparently pokemon even all have the names of real demons
I wasn't aware of the evil marquis of hell named Diglett who commands 40 infernal legions
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11:01 PM - Sep 13, 2018 #25

Claire: What she said.  We can't just close ourselves off to learning because we MIGHT find something we don't like.  Besides, if we don't know what it is, burning it could be what makes it dangerous.  There could be an evil entity trapped in it who's freed if it's destroyed. 

*Claire unwrapped her napkin....predictably her cutlery set was missing a spoon...and smoothed it out on the table.*

Claire: Want me to take a crack at that translation?  Maybe I can wheel of fortune it at 32 trillion calculations per second.

Actually it's about ethics...and possibly biting off your leg!
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11:04 PM - Sep 13, 2018 #26

Laura: Okay, but don't say ah didn't warn ya.
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11:06 PM - Sep 13, 2018 #27

Masika: Sure, go nuts Claire. Here..

*She swiped her finger across the screen, moving through the gallery to a full-shot image of the unrolled scroll*

Masika: Just so ya have more resolution to work with.

wrote: Aurondarklord 11:29 pm
they also think pokemon are "oriental demons"
so they're not just nuts, they're racist too!

AkaneSyria 11:30 pm
a double feature!

Aurondarklord 11:31 pm
and apparently pokemon even all have the names of real demons
I wasn't aware of the evil marquis of hell named Diglett who commands 40 infernal legions
Quote
Like
Share

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12:04 AM - Sep 14, 2018 #28

Claire: Alright....

*Claire looked the text over.*

Claire: You notice these characters all look like snakes?  Different arrangements of either one snake or two snakes.

Actually it's about ethics...and possibly biting off your leg!
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12:06 AM - Sep 14, 2018 #29

Laura: Uh huh.
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Evasto
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12:11 AM - Sep 14, 2018 #30

Masika: Yeah, I noticed that too. There's some pretty prominent snake theme going on with this, between the statue, the writing and the engravings in the scroll tube. I'm sure there's some connection but I don't have enough dots, maybe we'll get more if you can translate that thing.

wrote: Aurondarklord 11:29 pm
they also think pokemon are "oriental demons"
so they're not just nuts, they're racist too!

AkaneSyria 11:30 pm
a double feature!

Aurondarklord 11:31 pm
and apparently pokemon even all have the names of real demons
I wasn't aware of the evil marquis of hell named Diglett who commands 40 infernal legions
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Aurondarklord
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1:20 AM - Sep 14, 2018 #31

Claire: Okay, so let's start with some basic assumptions.  These people love snakes.  SsSsSso they probably talk like thisSsSsSs.  We can make a reasonable bet the word "snake" or "serpent" is in this document somewhere, and if we find a lot of the same character in a row, that's probably "s" if it's not "e".  So just add that to the basic strategy of looking for short, frequently repeated words and guessing those are probably "the", "and", or "of", and run every combination until you get text that makes sense!

*Claire looked like she was memorizing the document, and her eyelids began to flutter rapidly before she took a pen out of her purse and started writing on the napkin, not the way a normal person would write, but swishing her arm back and forth rapidly like a printer inking a page.  It wrote out as follows:

FROM THE HAND OF SSTHRASSUS, MANAGER
OF  FINANCIAL AFFAIRS OF THE COURT OF
THE SERPENT QUEEN.

THE FOLLOWING IS AN INVENTORY OF
PAYMENT FOR THE SAFE
TRANSPORT OF THE JAWBONE TO THONIS,
FOR THE COMMISSIONED GATE.  THIS DOCUMENT
WILL BE DUPLICATED
FOR THE RECORDS OF THOSE BEING PAID.

THE PAYMENT IS AS FOLLOWS:

_ _   POUNDS SILVER
_   POUNDS GOLD
_   POUNDS SILK

THE COMMISSION OF THESE WORDS TO THIS
SCROLL HERETOFORE RENDERS THE
AGREEMENT SET.  NO FURTHER COMPENSATION
WILL BE  PROVIDED TO THE RECIPIENT
UNLESS, IN THE COURSE OF SERVICE,
THE RECIPIENT INCURS SIGNIFICANT
LOSSES.  IN SUCH EVENT, APPROPRIATE
COMPENSATION ACCORDING TO THE DEGREE OF
THE LOSSES INCURRED WILL BE PROVIDED.*

Claire: Okay, I'm pretty sure the characters I couldn't get are numbers, I have no context to guess those.  Unfortunately it doesn't look like anything Earth-shattering, it's an ancient invoice.

Actually it's about ethics...and possibly biting off your leg!
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Stu
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1:31 AM - Sep 14, 2018 #32

Laura: What could someone want a jawbone for though?
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Aurondarklord
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1:41 AM - Sep 14, 2018 #33

Claire: Apparently to build a gate with.  You just KNOW it was a giant snake jaw that they raised and lowered so it looked like you were walking into the snake's mouth.

Actually it's about ethics...and possibly biting off your leg!
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Stu
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1:43 AM - Sep 14, 2018 #34

Laura: There were snakes that big?
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Aurondarklord
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1:51 AM - Sep 14, 2018 #35

Claire: Well, not the NORMAL kind....

Actually it's about ethics...and possibly biting off your leg!
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Evasto
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6:56 PM - Sep 14, 2018 #36

Nora: They could also just as easily have built a jawbone rather than try and get one from a giant snake. But in that case, why transport it with a guard?  They'd have built it on-site.

*Since neither were familiar with Claire's abilities, both Masika and Golden-Eye stopped and stared as she rather literally printed the translation. Masika broke her stupor first, swallowing some of the pancake she had put in her mouth*

Masika: Wow, ok, that was new.

Golden-Eye: Yer tellin' me. But, seriously, a damn invoice? Tha hell're ya gonna get outta that?

Masika: -bobs a finger- You'd be surprised, even something as mundane as an invoice can tell us a lot. To start, the fact they made invoices at ALL tells us this culture had some bureaucracy going on. Second, the name of the manager is completely weird, not at all like a proper Ancient Egyptian name; they're usually made up of component words. Like...for example, Tutankhamun. His name is made up of three words: Tut, Ankh and Amun. There's no recognizable Egyptian words in Ssthrassus. Third, the mention of Thonis gives us a potential date range for when this invoice was made. Thonis, or Heracelion, was Egypt's main port city during the Late Period, but has supposedly been around as early as the 12th century BC. Of course, nowadays it's under several feet of water...

*She takes a drink from her coffee cup*

Masika: *smacks lips* Then of course there's the elephant in the room...the Serpent Queen. Not "pharaoh" or even a throne name, just "The Serpent Queen". I've never come across any reference to her in any research I've conducted...but maybe I just haven't been looking in the right places.

wrote: Aurondarklord 11:29 pm
they also think pokemon are "oriental demons"
so they're not just nuts, they're racist too!

AkaneSyria 11:30 pm
a double feature!

Aurondarklord 11:31 pm
and apparently pokemon even all have the names of real demons
I wasn't aware of the evil marquis of hell named Diglett who commands 40 infernal legions
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Aurondarklord
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7:37 PM - Sep 14, 2018 #37

Claire: I told you, they're the kind of folks who love snakes, of course they made up snakey-sounding names with lots of gratuitous "s"es.  How complete a picture do we have though of the line of Egyptian rulers?  Are there a bunch of holes in the timeline between successions where we don't know who was in charge?  I mean that would be a career-making discovery, right?  A new pharaoh nobody's ever heard of before?

Actually it's about ethics...and possibly biting off your leg!
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Stu
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7:51 PM - Sep 14, 2018 #38

Laura: Ah did hear somewhere Cleopatra's lifetime was closer to the present day than it was to the first Pharaoh...
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Evasto
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8:06 PM - Sep 14, 2018 #39

Masika: There's a good number of pharaohs who we know the name of but don't know the exact length of their reigns, especially when it comes to the 1st Intermediate Period and earlier. We've got better data on the reigns of pharaohs in the Middle Kingdom era through to the Third Intermediate Period since records of them and their deeds have survived better than earlier ones, and there's a lot of overlap there too since the sons of pharaohs often served as co-regents until their dads beefed it. The trick is figuring out where exactly this Serpent Queen fits in as far as the dynastic timeline goes; we know she's at least somewhere before the Greeks came rolling in since the invoice refers to Thonis by its Egyptian name, but not much more beyond that.

wrote: Aurondarklord 11:29 pm
they also think pokemon are "oriental demons"
so they're not just nuts, they're racist too!

AkaneSyria 11:30 pm
a double feature!

Aurondarklord 11:31 pm
and apparently pokemon even all have the names of real demons
I wasn't aware of the evil marquis of hell named Diglett who commands 40 infernal legions
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Aurondarklord
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8:20 PM - Sep 14, 2018 #40

Claire: So we've got an 800 some odd year period between the 12th century BC and Alexander the Great, during which this woman might have lived, right?  And nobody's found like a giant jaw-shaped gate underwater where this city used to be?

Actually it's about ethics...and possibly biting off your leg!
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