When Dr. Blake Washington, Jr. led his expedition into the Sahara that resulted in him gaining the Staff of Ra and becoming the avatar of the sun god, he left the bulk of his findings out of his published archaeological reports. However, the sudden appearance of this new hero, Ra, caused many to wonder as to his origins, and others to see opportunity.
Roderick Ward had long led a team of what he called “archaeological entrepreneurs”. He and his twelve comrades had seen more of the ruins of the ancient world than the top archaeologists and museum curators combined, and they had sold all their discoveries to the highest bidders. Ward paid little heed to those who admonished him and his team for their grave robbing and artifact peddling - the giant bags of cash he received paid for a lavish lifestyle which more than quieted whatever stirrings of a conscience he may have felt.
When Ward’s team heard about Dr. Washington’s successful discovery of a previously unknown pyramid, it sparked two ideas. First, that there had to be more to this story, and second, that there could be more treasure to be found. More importantly, there could be more treasure to be sold! Roderick Ward and his team of adventuring rogues spent years scouring the Sarahan wastes for other undiscovered ruins before finally stumbling upon a well-hidden structure, forgotten by time and buried beneath the sweeping sands. Not unfamiliar with hieroglyphics, Ward determined this to be the Temple of the Ennead, but what did that mean? Venturing cautiously through the temple’s traps and trials, they searched for valuable treasures.
Instead, they were the ones discovered! Ancient guardian mummies ambushed the group, and Ward had to make a hasty decision. Leaving four of his team to be slaughtered by the enraged undead protectors, the remaining would-be grave robbers barricaded themselves in a sealed chamber, ringed with ornate sarcophagi. Each of the nine sarcophagi depicted a powerful Egyptian deity, holding a great artifact of power. Ward and his eight remaining companions quickly forgot the impending peril, entranced by the aura of power in the room. Each took a relic from the outstretched, golden hands before them, and the team was instantly transformed into the fabled Ennead of Heliopolis. In these new forms, they had vast power and knowledge, but they also harbored ancient memories and hatred.
They had defeated Ra millennia ago, taking his place as gods of all the civilized world. However, after only a few hundred years, a new deity appeared, calling itself Horus. It fought the Ennead to a standstill before ultimately revealing itself to be Ra reborn and imprisoning the Ennead in this temple beneath the surface of the Sahara, doomed to be forgotten.
The Ennead have returned, with Roderick Ward as their leader, Atum. They have little need for the riches of this world - now, they have power! They yearn for revenge and will have it! Ra’s days are numbered once again…
- There's not really backstory for any of these people as individuals. It's kind of a miracle that they even all have "real" names beyond their identities as members of the Ennead. There's never any flashbacks or anything about their previous lives.
- They immediately start their program of "We're in charge now" world domination and Ra shows up pretty quickly since he could sense their awakening. Since they're all together, and therefore augmenting one another, (oh and even without that there are nine of them to one of him) this goes poorly for Ra. He wanders off into the desert after his defeat - see last week's episode for more of what happens with him.
- Meanwhile, the Ennead take over Egypt and between the efforts of Nuit and Isis they create a magical shield over the whole country (more like a big hemispherical dome over most of the important parts of the country - it's not like it's following the modern borders exactly). Once their hold there is solidified, some members of the group will venture out to try to take over more parts of the world.
- The other heroes won't take this laying down. The Freedom Five head to the area, but they can't even get through the shield. Even as they get close things like giant statues will come up out of the sand or swarms of scarabs will fly in. Just all sorts of nasty precautions set up by the Ennead to keep interlopers away from their territory. They do manage to keep the members that leave the bubble from making any headway in the larger world-conquering plan, but that's the extent of their success - they can't make any assault on the Ennead's home base and the heroes see this as a major failure on their part seeing as a whole country is beyond their help.
- Nearby Ethiopia doesn't take this well. The country denounces the Ennead and what they're doing to Egypt and mobilize military forces to combat them. Atum makes an example of them, destroying the city of Isati Shelek'o (see the card "Sun's Fury"). The heroes show up afterwards, and Atum is drained from the effort, but Shu shuttles him back to Egypt. Isati Shelek'o (is Amharic, one of the predominant languages in Ethiopia - እሳት ሸለቆ) translates to "Valley of Fire".
They return, taking over egypt as their kingdom and handily defeating Ra in his arrogance. They place a shield around their area, protecting themselves and thwarting all attacks by the heroes of earth. Eventually Ethopia declares war on the Ennead, only to have their army and the city of Isati Shelek'o destroyed by Atum.
They are defeated by Ra was he returns as Horus of the Two Horizons, in the middle part of his day cycle of life. They flee, covered by a sandstorm created by Shu and transported wildly away by Nephthys.
Set has the most remaining power after all of this. He winds up in Tuscon Arizon, where he tries to go back to just being Steve Kaar. There is a 'Day in the Life' book for him, where everything goes wrong. His coffee is spilled, his dry cleaning has a hole burnt in it, and the Southwest Sentinels eventually show up while he starts to get angry. FILTER takes him away after his defeat, to the Block. He eventually breaks out, but has learned a bit about OblivAeon.
When the Ennead begins to come back together at the Shrine, Set attempts to convince them something horrible is about to happen. Just then Anubis and Ra show up, demanding that the Ennead aid them. They refuse and fight, but eventually information about OblivAeon comes out and Set confirms it as what he has learned as well. They all journey to fight OblivAeon, cracking his shield but being destroyed in the process. Their relics are scattered to the wind.
- When Ra returns, newly empowered after his deal with Ammit, he uses the bulk of the new power he's acquired to destroy the magic shield (this happens in a crossover event between his book and the Prime Wardens, and other heroes - primarily magic-aligned ones). The trick to this fight is the heroes' ability to isolate individual members of the Ennead to take them on individually.
- Shu's last ditch effort is to whip up a giant sandstorm to draw everybody together. Nephthys uses the last of her power to teleport them all out, but it's largely undirected and scatters them all over the world. Now that they're all separated and weakened they can't readily refill their "reservoirs" of power.
- Set has the most remaining power after all of this. He winds up in Tuscon, Arizona (where Nephthys drops him) and goes back to living as Steve Karr. He uses his power to get the things he needs to live, but is really trying to lay low. There's a comic issue that's a "day in the life" of a guy named Steve Karr (some observant comics fans might have recognized the name before the reveal) - he picks up his dry cleaning, gets a coffee, trying to order food at a drive through, and there's just nothing going right. He has enough, turns to Set, and starts wrecking the city. Then the Southwest Sentinels show up to stop him, and they succeed (go team!). F.I.L.T.E.R. shows up and locks him up in the Block. While (an even weaker) Set is there, outside of time and space, he can't recover power at all (and neither can the other members of the Ennead). During a "Prison Riot", he manages to escape back into reality and everybody perks up as they can feel their power returning again.
- The Ennead start to congregate again, meeting up back at the Shrine of the Ennead in Egypt. So, what's the plan now? Set tells them about what he learned in the Block, which includes the end of all realities/multiverse stuff. This is right around the time that Ra and Anubis show up to recruit them for the whole OblivAeon thing that's going down. There's a big, knock-down drag-out fight between them (because nemeses), but Set understands that this is the same stuff that he's been talking about. Eventually Ra manifests the full extent of his power in his Setting Sun aspect, Anubis recognizes this as the real deal "We need to do this thing" moment, and the others are overawed by this and now everybody's on board. They go to fight OblivAeon and they all die as discussed previously.
This information is from the Miststorm Universe, one of two branching timelines. Products in this timeline are: Sentinel Tactics (and expansions). Prime War (and expansions)
Since this deals with a (confirmed) future expansion, Spoilers here in Tactics instead of RPG for once. The expansion is 'The Rise of the Ennead' - the Relics are scattered all over the world after OblivAeon destroys them. Atum's is the first to be recovered, by Roderick Ward's son Alexander, who knew what his father had become. He set out to find the Relic and does. He becomes a villain right away, fighting the heroes, but he also knows that having more of them together will make him stronger. Geb and Shu are the next to show up as a duo of adventurers, Preston Hess and Bertrand Frye respectively - they're not 'bad guys' per se, but they still use their powers for personal gain. Yasmin Rassar, a native Egyptian, finds Nuit's orb and becomes a hero of Egypt, even fighting against Atum occasionally. Julia Salazar finds Tefnut's shield and is a hero in Brazil. Because there's only five of them, however, they don't get the increase in power that you'd expect. Then the Kincaid siblings, whose parents were collectors of antiquities, acquire the remaining four. Olivia becomes Isis, Charlotte becomes Nephthys, Isaac becomes Osiris, and Liam becomes Set. At this point everybody knows that the whole team is accounted for and are drawn together. There's a big fight, alliances are formed and broken etc., but eventually they all come to terms and decide they need a place to isolate themselves. They raise the Ruins of Atlantis and use it as a base, even if they're not all buddy-buddy yet. There are more of them interested in not being villains than otherwise, but Atum's position of authority plus access to magical goodies in Atlantis might be able to sway them.