|“||We are part of an ancient secret society. For over three thousand years we have guarded the City of the Dead. We are sworn at manhood to do any and all in our part to stop the High Priest Imhotep from being reborn into this world.||”|
–Terence Bey explaining the Medjai's goals., The Mummy
The Medjai or Medjay are warriors devoted to preventing the rise of evil on the Earth – specifically, the resurrection the High Priest Imhotep. They guard the ruins of the Hamunaptra, the City of the Dead, against any who might lift the curse placed on Imhotep and any who desires to break into the tombs of the pharaohs to steal the treasures.
The Medjai served as the Pharaoh's bodyguards in ancient times but their duties shifted once having apprehended the High Priest Imhotep as he committed the sacrilegious act of using the Book of the Dead to revive his lover, Anck-Su-Namun – the assassin of Pharaoh Seti I.
During the Holy Crusades of Europe, some of the Knights Templar – that had served in the wars – learned of the Scorpion King's existence and turned to watching over the Oasis of Ahm Shere. They recorded their own existence in the form of bas-reliefs on the walls of the golden pyramid within the Oasis, depicting instructions on how to slay the Scorpion King by using the golden staff known as the Scepter of Osiris. The Knights had become known by the Medjai as warriors of God and protectors of mankind.
After the passing of thousands of years, the Medjai still exist as a secret society through their descendants who continue the vow to keep Imhotep from awakening. The Medjai still kept watch over the City of the Dead, Hamunaptra, where Imhotep remained entombed for the aforementioned years.
By the twentieth century, the Medjai have long since intermingled with modern Egyptian society, as seen when they speak in the Arabic language.
Battle of Hamunaptra
Sometime in 1923 AD, the Medjai witnessed a battle between a horde of Tuaregs and a garrison of the French Foreign Legion that occupied Hamunaptra. The Tuaregs won the battle, making any of the remaining French Foreign Legionnaires left alive to retreat into the underground city depths – but (as if seemingly involuntarily) left one man who was unable to retreat (later realized to be "O'Connell") alive after their horses became perturbed by an unknown occurrence and scurried them out of the city. The Medjai warriors watched from afar as the survivor ambled into the desert. The Medjai leader, Ardeth Bay, decided to leave the survivor to die wandering the vast desert.
Attack on the Sudan
Three years after the French Foreign Legion had battled the Tuaregs in the desert, the Medjai were informed by a contact in Cairo, named Terence Bey, that a woman named Evelyn Carnahan, along with her brother Jonathan, were in possession of the key to Hamunaptra (that was used to seal the High Priest Imhotep's coffin three millennia back [and most importantly, the Book of the Dead]) and the map that was once hidden inside the key. The Medjai contact burned part of the map in hopes of dismaying and discouraging their ever growing curiosities about the fabled lost city of the dead. It is believed that Terence Bay then kept a close eye and ear on Evelyn as she then sought out a guide for an expedition to the lost city; her guide would end up being the survivor of the battle in Hamunaptra. Due to the importance of the key, that would allow the resurrection of Imhotep, several Medjai warriors were dispatched to the river Nile to retrieve it; among the Medjai was one warrior known as Hook, for carrying a hook-shaped blade on his right fist. The Medjai silently boarded the riverboat that carried the explorer of Hamunaptra and first struck the cabin of Evelyn Carnahan. Hook, along with the other Medjai, was killed, failing to retrieve the key.
The Medjai had been surreptitiously tracking the expedition led by Rick O'Connell. Ardeth Bay noted that O'Connell was strong to return to the desert. Some time later, the expeditions of O'Connell, Evelyn, and Johnathan, and the Americans, reached the ruins, settled, and at the brink of night, Ardeth Bay led a group of Medjai to invade the camp, slaughtering several before being bested by O'Connell. Ardeth declared that the Medjai would retreat but the explorers must all leave Hamunaptra within one day or die.
None of the explorers heeded Ardeth Bay's orders, and "Evie" Carnahan had unknowingly brought the cursed mummy Imhotep to life and the plagues attached to his resurrection. As the resurrected Imhotep (and the traps left behind to protect the tombs of the pharaohs) started killing the explorers, the Medjai caught up to the remaining explorers, outnumbering them. It was there when they informed the explorers of what they had done; brought back an ancient evil that could not be killed with mortal weapons. The Medjai had also recovered one American explorer, Burns, who had been mauled by the Mummy after it took his eyes and tongue, just before the mummy could fully kill Burns. With that, the Medjai ordered the groups to leave the ruins before the Mummy could destroy them all.
After the remaining explorers went back to Cairo, Burns was killed by Imhotep himself, who had infiltrated the city. Seeking answers, the now allied explorers (O'Connell, Evie, Johnathan and the Americans) went to the Cairo Museum of Antiquities to speak with Dr. Terence Bey, who was well-versed in matters concerning the Mummy. There they found Ardeth Bay conversing with Dr. Bey, where they learned who the Medjai are.
Appearance and Traits
|“|| If I were to say to you that, "I am a stranger traveling from the East, seeking that which is lost"...|
Then I would reply that, "I am a stranger traveling from the West, it is I whom you seek."
Many Medjai warriors were given facial tattoos placed on their forehead and cheeks in hieroglyphics (bearing the name of "Imhotep" and the word "truth"). They wore long dark robes with grey sashes, bandoliers, turbans and scarves. All Medjai were able to fight with blades as well as firearms, and were skilled in one-on-one combat. The warriors often rode horses through the deserts and took their foes by surprise whenever able to do so.
The Medjai warriors were unheard of for many centuries, even past the fifteenth, and had operated in total secrecy. While one Medjai organization existed, twelve tribes of Medjai appeared on a large scale, being numerous enough to compose an army. Women could also train to become Medjai warriors, as revealed when the young woman warrior Yanit joined the ranks of the Medjai.
Medjai training began at an early age. Potential warriors were taken to a compound in the desert and were sworn upon adulthood to do all in their part to stop the ascent of Imhotep to power. Additionally, the Medjai were also tasked with the duty of protecting Hamunaptra against treasure-hunters and thieves. The Medjai took it upon themselves to keep a safe guard over all items that might present danger in the wrong hands, from the Book of the Dead to such artifacts as the Holy Grail.
Medjai originate from Ancient Egypt. Many Medjai, including Ardeth Bay, mention Allah (which is Arabic for 'God') prior to deadly tasks, and during certain farewells, frequently raise the slogan "Allahu Ma'ana," which means "God is with us." It may seem quite peculiar as this contradiction between ancient Medjai and modern Medjai isn't explained. Ardeth Bay says "May Allah Smile Upon You" to bid his friends/companions, including O'Connell.
- According to The Mummy: The Animated Series, the Medjai was created by Amar, a son of a pharaoh's body guard.
- In the animated series, it is reaffirmed that the Medjai have been around for [over] 3,000 years.
- They were not present in The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor despite one of their main goals is to stop evil from coming back to life.