The Endless Deserts
The Endless Deserts stretch for uncounted miles within Shyish, the Realm of Death. Its borders marked by mammoth obelisks hewn from single slabs of stone during the Age of Myth. Carved into the ancient monoliths are strange shapes and symbols illegible to most to ward away any who would dare enter the realm. The land itself a sprawling sea of sand devoid of all reason and attempts to map it. Its sun bleached uniformity broken only by vast swathes of cracked earth and the occasional crumbling edifice.
Unwary travelers unlucky enough to find themselves within its borders may become helplessly lost amongst the rolling sand dunes and barren salt plains. Cursed to wander for the rest of their days until they perish from thirst or one of the many and varied dangers that lurk within the sands.
Only those who know the secret paths through the desert can hope to traverse it, and even then there is no guarantee of safe passage. Entire armies have been known to disappear amongst the sands without a trace. Malignant spirits travel upon the wind, preying upon anyone living that they find, while Sepulchral Stalkers jealously guard their master’s realm. If the natural predators of the desert don’t claim any trespassers’ lives, then the roving bands of Bloodbound may.
During the Age of Chaos even the Endless Deserts weren’t spared from Archaon’s invasion. When the hordes poured through the realmgates they found themselves beset by both the realm’s defenders and the sands themselves. The Chaotic armies became fractured and disparate, losing all cohesion amongst the shifting paths of the dunes. Although the invaders weren’t successful in their conquest, neither were the desert revenants able to fully drive them from their lands. Now the scattered tribes vie for power amongst each other, or occasionally are united under a particularly mighty leader to once again challenge the restless kings.
Rising above all are the vast necropolises that the dead make home. Towering pyramids and labyrinthian crypts stretch for miles, often enclosed within thick fortress walls. Each necropolis differs from the other, some as silent as the tomb, others a nest of activity and commerce. Each city is ruled over by a single king and their court of lesser nobles, occasionally challenging rival city-states for power.
No one is certain exactly how many necropolises reside within the deserts' boundaries, for the magic of the realm means that the land is constantly shifting. Vast, megalithic cities may disappear as if a mirage if you take your eyes off of them for but a second, while others are firmly fixed within the firmament of the sand. It has been known for entire kingdoms to vanish for centuries only to reappear to the detriment of passing armies. The only necropolis to remain forever in place is ancient Settrapolis, the now decrepit and chaos infested ruins of the deserts' once most prosperous and powerful city.
With the dawn of the Age of Sigmar the kings and their legions march forth once more and woe betide any who stand before them.