Twenty years ago, in 1888, a group of Nags discovered, excavated, and explored an ancient Egyptian tomb in the Western branch of the Valley of the Kings. What they found within the tomb was astonishing – a hitherto-unknown papyrus the decipherers nicknamed “The Book of Life.” Similar to the Egyptian Book of the Dead (or, more properly, “The Chapters of Coming Forth Into the Day”), this papyrus detailed spells and rituals involving the Egyptian gods and death. But rather than being a guidebook with which the spirit could enter the afterlife, the “Book of Life” presented secret rituals and incantations apparently designed to bring the magician everlasting life in this world.
Cartouches on the sarcophagus identified its occupant as Setna, scribe and son of Rameses the Great. According to ancient Egyptian tales, Setna was a renowned magician who discovered the Book of Thoth, a source of great magical power. Upon opening the sarcophagus, the archæologists found it empty, except for the papyrus. Partial decipherment of the Book of Life revealed that it was penned by Setna himself, and it appeared that the only copy was buried in the sarcophagus, although what became of its author remained unclear.
Deeming the world unready for the secret to immortality, the Nags team created a catalog of the contents of Setna’s tomb, surveyed the corridors and chambers to create an accurate floorplan, then set about re-burying the secrets within. They covered the entrance again, and did the same for the ancient grave robbers’ tunnel they’d found, leaving the area looking as much like a natural and unexplored part of the Valley of the Kings as it had before their excavation.
The Cairo campus of the NAGS Society has been keeping a careful eye on the excavations in the Valley of the Kings, thanks in part to a Nag who is also a member of the Antiquities Service, a government council that oversees archæology along the Nile. Recently, they were quite alarmed to learn that some European archaeologists had discovered Setna’s tomb and were in the process of excavating its entrance. Even more alarming, this excavation was being done in as much secrecy as possible, and in the heat of the off-season (most excavations being done in the Winter season, October – March). Could it be that the Nags are not the only ones to know of the existence of the Book of Life?
The NAGS Society has quickly assembled a team for an “extraction” mission. Their instructions are to enter the tomb – before the rival archaeologists break through the entrance, if at all possible – and retrieve the Book of Life from the sarcophagus within. Failing that, they are to destroy the Book of Life rather than allow it to fall into the wrong hands.