Or “How To Tell The Different Egyptian Jackal Deities Apart From A Very Long Way Away, part 1”.
You wake up in an endless, grey desert. You’re not sure how you got here; the last thing you remember was– Oh. Right. You just died. There’s a distant echo in the back of your head of wanting to utterly freak out about that, but, well. You’re dead. You don’t have any glands to flood you with adrenalin any more. Just a memory of them.
A little after you realize this, the hazy clouds on the horizon shift in your vision. Nothing moves; you just see them as a man made of stars and jackal, now. Or maybe wolf. You’re not sure. He feels like a friend, though. Smells like frankincense and maple syrup.
His name, he says, is Wepwawet, and he’s your guide to the Duat. Maybe you remember him? No? Ah. Sometimes you do, he says. Sometimes you even knew him in life. He’s solved a few problems for you in some of your past lives. Regardless, here you are now. He’s got a map of the underworld. He’ll guide you wherever you want to go, help clear a path through the more dangerous parts, maybe take you to his cousin Anubis’ court if you think you’re ready for what happens there. But if not? Hey, whatever. He knows some interesting places to show you down here. Maybe a few places to improve your chances when you go visit the judge. Or maybe just some places to have some fun before you go back to the world of flesh. Pick a direction.
Wepwawet (also Anglicized as Upuaut, Wep-wawet, and Wepawet) is a former war deity who moved over to being a scout, and guiding folks through the underworld. He’s found at the prow of the Boat of a Million Years most nights, helping to clear out the various nasties who want to eat Ra on his regular journey of solar rebirth. He’s usually depicted as carrying a mace and a bow; I’ve added a sword, and a bunch of keys, because what Way-opener shouldn’t have a whole bunch of keys to get through locked doors?
outline view, click for more detail
Partway through working on this, I pondered a video game wherein you wander around the underworld with this design of Wepwawet as your friendly guide. It’d be nothing but side quests; the main “quest” is simply “go get judged”. You always get a result of “sorry, you still have things to learn; go have another round of life” when you do that. And then the game politely refuses to let you play for a day or three of realtime. This would also be how you turn some collectable resource into stat/level/equipment upgrades, just to keep you from going through the entire thing in one session. Think of it as sort of an open-world game that’s in the form of a themed short story collection, rather than a big doorstop of an epic story that puts you in the shoes of someone who saves the world. You might make a few friends and trigger interesting events the next time you’re judged by doing them. You might not. Fuck up and die? You just wake up at the starting point again. There’s Wepwawet, with a comment on how long it’s been. Do you say you recognize him this time?
Prints/shirts/stickers/etc, should you want some, are on Redbubble. Illustrator source and a high-res copy are over on Patreon.