The Desert Monarchs

The Desert Monarchs

Myths and Legends

No one is sure where the undead monarchs of the Endless Deserts came from. As far as many are concerned they have just always been and always will. Some claim that they were once mortal kings who became suffused with the power of the realm upon their deaths. Others that they were created at the birth of the Mortal Realms to maintain order, and yet others that they are survivors from the World-That-Was. Only the kings themselves know what the truth is for sure. Whatever the case may be, what is known is that their rule over the desert kingdoms is absolute and unwavering.

Across the sand dunes and savannahs are dotted the necropolis city-states of the undead kings. Each one a kingdom unto itself, and each jealously guarded by its own deathrattle legion. During the Age of Myths legend says that the living and the dead coexisted in a form of symbiosis amongst the kingdoms. The living venerated the kings and supplied tribute to their mortuary cult, and in return the dead provided them protection and refuge from the dangers of Shyish. By the time of Archaon’s invasion however, the necropolis cities were silent tombs, home only to the dead. Whether the living abandoned their liege lords or were added to the ranks of the legions is yet another mystery. 

Some point to several temple murals that appear to depict a large robed figure sweeping across the land, leaving only the dead in its wake. Speculation is that this depicts none other than the master of Shyish, Nagash. The kings stay silent on the matter, although the fact that they harbor a grudge against the great necromancer is no secret. They serve his will like all others within the realm, and march to war at his beck and call, but are no friends of his, bestowing upon him the title of Usurper.

As the Age of Myth drew to a close the desert revenants held their realm in an iron grasp. Nothing escaped their gaze within the desert’s borders and they guarded it jealously. Despite this they were not the only inhabitants, and the mountain ranges were known to harbor tribes of Orruks and Ogors, as well as the cavernous holds of several Duardin clans. The free people’s town of Bétone also stood defiant, little then more an outpost for an empire from a distant land, a realmgate fiercely guarded at its heart. The sands often shook to the sounds of war as the deathrattle legions fought to keep these forces in check and repulse them from their sovereign lands. The kings were also known to vie for power, necropolises trading hands several times throughout the ages.

An Age of War

The hordes of Archaon spewed across the realms as the Age of Chaos broke and the domain of the monarchs was no exception. Tribes of Bloodbound and Rotbringers rampaged across the sands, shattering several deathrattle legions, their bones taken as grisly trophies. The kings, seeing the need for swift action, set aside their petty squabbles and united as a single force. Golden chariots and phalanxes of skeletons marched in lockstep with mercenary Fyreslayers and savage tribes of Orruks to repel the invaders from the lands. Besieged necropolises were relieved by skeletal armies, the Chaos forces scattered to the winds. As the age drew to a close the majority of the invading forces had been defeated, however the taint of Chaos was never completely eradicated. Roving warbands still plagued the dunes, and several necropolises laid in ruins. Despite this the deserts kingdoms were free from the tyranny of Chaos, but at cost of constant warfare.

Sigmar's Storm

When Sigmar’s storm finally heralded in a new age the Endless Deserts continued on much as they had before. The kings continued their war against Chaos only vaguely aware of the Stormcast Eternals. No gate to Azyr resided within its sandy domains, so at first it was largely ignored. The nearest portal to the Realm of Heavens sat within the Chaos infested ruins of Desert’s End, a once thriving port town on the coast of the Sour Sea, outside of the king’s domain.

Despite this, news still reached the monarchs of the shifting tides of war and many of them set their legions in motion. Gates flung wide and row after row of skeletal warriors marched forth, colossal stone constructs and gilded chariots accompanying them. The kings themselves led their armies, surrounded by their royal courts of princes, priests, necrotects, and heralds. The Age of Chaos had come to an end and they intended to finally reclaim all of their lands from the tainted tribes that still held sway in the wilds. Some even set their ambitions higher, wanting to take the fight to the forces of Chaos, wherever they may be, and reclaim all of Shyish from the dark god’s grasp. Regardless of their intentions, all felt the pull of the one they resented more then any other. Nagash had awoken, and the kings knew that when he called they would have no choice but to answer.

The kings were not the only ones to sense the winds of fate changing. The champions of the dark gods knew that now, more than ever, they had to push their advantage. Feral war bands of Bloodbound and pestilent war hosts of Rotbringers gathered their might and prepared to fight for their gods, calling upon dark favors and demonic allies.

All the while emissaries from Sigmar finally crossed the obelisk marked threshold into the deserts. A host of Stormcast led by Nihlus Tidalborne sought out allies of old to aide their god once more.