In the heart of the Land of the Dead lies its greatest city and necropolis: Khemri. It was the great Priest King Settra who founded the city of Khemri over two and a half thousand years before Sigmar's time. Even though he was a egotistical and brutal ruler, and some would say mad, much is owed to Settra for he conquered the lands of Nehekhara from the mountains to the sea, subjugated all of the tribes and appointed princes to rule them. Khemri became Nehekhara's capital city and all paid King Settra tribute making him unimaginably rich and extremely powerful. With the death of Settra all that had been achieved during his reign was in the balance for his son, Ahtaf I, was a weak ruler and half the kingdom rebelled against him (foremost amongst the rebels was Zandri and Numas.) But thanks to Ahtaf's son, Khutef, the kingdom was restored. Khemri has seen many kings and queens come and go and the city hasn't always enjoyed unparalleled support from its subjects, especially from the other Priest Kings who often made war with themselves and with Khemri. The kings often warred over their own throne and their right to rule; they warred over the acquisition of land; trade; taxes; and even for the the throne of Khemri itself. The last king of Khemri was Alcadizaar the Conqueror and the zenith of his rule came over one-thousand years before the time of Sigmar. Yet even though he was victorious several times over the accursed Nagash, the empire of Nehekhara eventually fell and his foul sorceries created the Land of the Dead.
Khemri's necropolis is larger than the city, as two of the greatest structures ever built by man in this city will testify: the Great Pyramid of Khemri (also called the Pyramid of Eternity) and the Black Pyramid of Nagash. The former is gigantic, made of white stone and many hundreds of feet tall, a great behemoth towering into the sky. This construction was built on the orders of the Priest King Settra to be his tomb. But as great as the Pyramid of Eternity was, and is, the Black Pyramid of Nagash is greater still: a construction of such gigantic magnitude it defies mortal belief. So great was the undertaking of this project -- thousands of people died and the expense caused hundreds of thousands of common folk to starve throughout the empire -- that Nagash was overthrown, although, as no-one cannot fail to see, his legacy still remains. Surrounding these two mighty pyramids, under their gigantic shadow, are the many lesser pyramids built by lesser nobles to house their souls upon their death. But even these pyramids are massive. With so many pyramids in one place the necropolis has become a veritable maze of passages and alleyways where it is easy for anyone to get lost.
The huge, ebony edifice of the Black Pyramid of Nagash is the birthplace of necromancy. Here the Great Necromancer laboured many years delving into the dark arts and created many of the spells that future necromancers would use. Indeed many necromantic spells require the incantation of the Great Necromancer's name before they can work, as it is only the insane or those that lust for power who dare call on Nagash's name to aid them. One cannot imagine the atrocities that were committed in the Black Pyramid, nor how many people were entombed alive in its labyrinthine catacombs. The Arabians believe that if one stands still he will be able to hear the lost souls of the pyramid calling to him such were the atrocities committed in this place. But the Alliance of the Seven Kings finally overthrew Nagash and the Black Pyramid was stormed by King Lahmizzash's victorious troops. Arkhan, Nagash's Vizier, was executed, and the Great Necromancer's name was struck from inscriptions. Even the priesthood was purged although Nagash escaped to perpetrate even more evil. Only a brave man or a foolish one would even contemplate entering the Black Pyramid of Nagash.
While the dangers of the Black Pyramid are somewhat unknown (and better left that way) it is the Pyramid of Eternity that one should under no circumstances pay a visit. It is here that King Settra, the ancient king of five-thousand years, resides. He seeks dominion over everything and everyone and he has plenty of time to prepare for these ambitions. Eminent scholars who know of such things scoff at the idea that Settra still rules Khemri but some, namely the Arabians, fear the day that the Undead hordes of Khemri will one day threaten their lands. For Settra to do this he would need years, for as powerful as he is he cannot raise an army quickly as he had the Liche Priests expelled to the other cities of the dead. For the moment at least, Araby is safe.
When much of the Old World was still primitive, although they were beginning to emerge into recognisable nations, Settra ordered his fleet to bring captives back to Khemri so that his city could be rebuilt. The Kingdom of Araby was sacked for slaves as was Tilea, Estalia and Bretonnia. These horrific events have even been recorded in the chronicles of those countries, that the people taken away on the Tomb Ships had a fate awaiting them worse than death. What they did not know was that those who survived the journey were to become Khemrian slaves. Settra ordered wells for pure water be sunk and irrigation canals be dug so that Khemri could be restored to its former glory. In doing so a thriving slave town survived on the outskirts of the necropolis and some parts of the city were even settled, though the majority were loath to go too far for they still feared the dead.
Eventually the slaves even began to like Settra and worship him as a god, though it took a long time for this to happen and certain events helped this strange decision. Other Undead armies were repulsed by the might of Settra, including those of Nagash and the slaves would much rather stay alive than become walking corpses under the tyranny of the Great Necromancer. Similarly they even did not wish to be "freed" by the vicious desert nomads of the Malaluk tribes for they were mainly cruel men who sold people into slavery and they'd much rather be left alone in the shadow of the Pyramids than face unknown futures in the harsh cities of the Arabian caliphs. However, these people have become "conditioned" to their lot or brainwashed. They believe that their lives are perfectly normal and that Settra is a good and beneficent ruler. This is certainly the case today over two-thousand years on from the first slave raids.
The Khemrian slave towns numbered thousands of inhabitants at around the eleventh century of the Imperial calendar. Believe it or not the slaves did reproduce and Settra's slave ships continued to raid places for more captives, so the slave towns of Khemri continued to grow. However, since the growth of the Old World it has been far harder for the slave ships to simply raid a settlement that took their fancy and then sail back to Khemri. What they found were towns protected by stone walls and many grim defenders clad in mail and carrying weapons of steel - there were also wizards in some places whose magic proved to be effective against the Undead. From the eleventh century onwards Settra faced determined resistance and while he was successful with some raids he failed with others to a ratio of two to one. The slave raids culminated in resounding defeat against the navies of Luccini and Remas in the latter part of the twelfth century. Settra increasingly found himself using living sailors to mount his raids, as they were better than most of his skeleton warriors, and so to the Luccinians and Remans Settra's fleet were naught but bloodthirsty pirates intent on rape and pillage. The Tileans were far better sailors and sent Settra's fleet back to Khemri empty-handed.
Although there have been no slave raids for well over a thousand years slaves still live in Khemri today: the descendents of those slaves who were taken from their lands over a period of one-thousand years of Settra's fleet raiding the coastal settlements of the Old World. Their population is a fraction of what it was in those times and now only one slave town exists on the outskirts of the city. The people are mostly of Arabian stock and spend their days tending to their crops and worshipping Settra. They rarely enter the city of Khemri itself and never go into the necropolis. The only times they enter the necropolis is for their religious days which are held on certain days of the year. They involve worshipping the old Nehekharan gods, culminating in the final day when one man or woman is sent to the Pyramid of Eternity where he or she is sacrificed to King Settra. This is a great honour for anyone chosen to be the sacrifice and perversely enough this is not Settra's doing. It is the people's wish to worship their ruler in this manner. To most other civilized peoples this would be considered barbaric in the extreme but to the Khemrians it is a perfectly acceptable practice.
Life goes on as normal in Khemri's slave town and the inhabitants have long grown used to their surroundings. They live by a strict set of rules: no-one enters the city without express permission of the priest (the ruler of the town) and no-one is allowed into the necropolis unless on certain holy days. Naturally sometimes the rules are broken and people go missing, especially if they wonder into the necropolis, lured no doubt by the promise of treasure. Search parties are sometimes mounted to find anyone who has disobeyed the laws (for fear of waking the dead) and when they find them harsh justice is often dispensed after a swift trial: a person maybe branded, flogged, mutilated in some way (an eye or two maybe gouged out, especially if they have seen something they shouldn't have done), or killed (often a beheading.) Amazingly there are few of the living Khemrians today who have seen an Undead creature and no-one for generations has even seen King Settra. This sense of mystery only increases Settra's divine nature among the people but they know that one day he will appear to command them and lead them to paradise.
The city of Khemri itself is still mostly a mass of ruins and rubble, its streets buried under sand with only the occasional statue and eroded monument poking out to belie any evidence that anything was there. Two-hundred years ago the Khemrians attempted to restore parts of the city but found it an impossible task; some of them had also fallen prey to Undead things or fell into pits or had loose masonry fall on top of them.
Although the Khemrians live under strict religious law it hasn't stopped some of them from capitalising on their position in the Land of the Dead. The Magnus Museum of Altdorf have funded several small expeditions to the Land of the Dead and Khemri over the years and have had some success; the "Wonders of Ancient Nehekhara" section in the museum is testament to this success. This was only possible due to the cooperation of some of the Khemrians and they meet in secret to discuss a price for their services. If the head priest knew of this betrayal then those involved would almost certainly be beheaded or he would ensure that the people from across the sea would fail. The Khemrian guides know of the risks they take and some even request that they be taken to the Old World to escape the wrath they would incur if their people found out. Yet many of the guides are fearful that their King would find them out and murder them regardless of where they hid. Despite all this, for the right price, a Khemrian guide can be hired for an expedition but such a venture is never easy, as the fate of the latest one will testify.
What has happened to Heinrich Johann? Is the question on the museum's lips. Luckily Jacob Stachetdhorf, a man in the employ of the Magnus Museum Altdorf, found Heinrich Johann's journal. It shows that on Bezahltag 22nd 2499 Heinrich departed for the Arabian port of Al-Haikik via Marienburg. He was bound for the Land of the Dead in the search for Queen Rasut's tomb. Unfortunately for him Fraulein Clarrisa Lohft, the renowned antique dealer from Nuln, had got to Khemri before him and had also stolen the key to the tomb from Heinrich. What is known from the journal, and Heinrich made extensive notes including some maps, is that he found the Tomb of Queen Rasut and came upon Fraulein Lohft's dead body slumped on the floor by a pool. He had to also negotiate his way round lethal traps which included poison needles shot from cunningly hidden holes in the walls, a poison gas chamber, a cunning fake lever that when pulled filled a chamber with sand, a bottomless pit, another pit but this time full of scorpions, and another cunning trap which killed one of Heinrich's companions on a staircase; a trip wire delivered a spring loaded blade straight into his chest. Jacob Stachetdhorf is currently on the look out for a team to accompany him to the Tomb of Queen Rasut to find out what happened to Heinrich. At the moment he has the funds for such a venture but surprisingly few have volunteered to take the voyage to the Land of Dead, even though each man who goes is promised substantial payment as well as fame.