|Ruler||The Red Pharaoh|
Kemuliaan, the land of the Red Pharaoh, is a kingdom bordering the Sea of Sand.
“These outsiders do not understand the desert. How it kills. How it gives life. They see sand...but they do not see how it shifts, how it flows. How it brings wealth to this city and it’s people. And most importantly, they do not see that sand and the sun can be one in the same....the source of one’s death, after all, is a small matter when it is compared to the result.”
-Ra’s Al-liu, trader. Kemuliaan is a precious jewel set in the vast and staggeringly cruel desert.
The Sun Wrath WasteEdit
Crossing that endless burning waste is a logistical nightmare. Burning days, freezing nights, and progress halted altogether by sandstorms. Then there's the periodic contact with wildlife. Hungry jackals picking off stragglers, venomous beetles hiding in sleeping bags, and every dune could be hiding a sleeping wyrm.
It's almost as if the terrain itself is actively hostile. The sun is somehow hotter here then anywhere else, and look vaguely different as well. Orange bands contort around it, as though dragging some of the halo of dawn along with it through it's procession into noon. As it sets in the evening, the swirl of color normally associated with sunset seems to drag the heat out of the air toward it, leaving none behind to keep you comfort as your breath begins to fog and your body begins to shiver.
Praise the Sun as you might praise a cruel and omnipotent king, for he can crush you at a whim, and is always watching...
At the heart of the Sun Wrath Wastes springs forth an oasis of unspeakable beauty and unparalleled luxury, the City State of Kemuliaan. Here in the sun is more kind. A cool soft wind hums and sings through artfully constructed chimes and silk hammocks. It is this place that makes crossing The Wastes worth while, but this is not to say it is without its own dangers.
To many it is a paradise full of sweet poisons and silk nooses. A place where the guileless are drowned in their own delight while the cunning lose themselves in a wilderness of mirrors. But then, depending on who you ask, all these things are just another selling point.
What happens in Kemuliaan, so they say, stays in Kemuliaan.
The over city is for tourists and laborers. It is beneath, in the catacombs, where serious works are done, and true depravity is wrought. It is here that the hidden Undead Lords of Kemuliaan are sheltered from the outside world, and indeed each other. A thousand generations of master artisans have craved this place into an incomparable labyrinth composed of suffocatingly beautiful etched stone. No one knows, precisely, how deep the Necropolis goes, for it is old and ancient even by the standards of Kemuliaan.
What matters is the fact that this city of tombs, undead and other, less recognizable things stretches deep into the Earth and many attempts to map it have been less than successful. The complex makes use of a blend of styles from different periods in the cities history. The last attempt to sort all the differing styles had the necropolis dated at the least, two or three thousand years old. It is likely, in the estimation of some scholars, to be even older than that.
“Pharaohs, viziers, guards, merchants, priests, cults….everything about this city is coated in deceptions and softly spoken lies….and the truth is a luxury that only a few can afford to possess here. In this city, boy, the truth can kill. Remember that. And stay close.”
-One visitor to Kemuliaan advising another.
The People of Kemuliaan are split between human immigrants and a branch the Sphynks people. History has forgotten if these Sphynks moved into the city, or if Kemuliaan is actually the last of Bastet's legendary Garden Cities. It is possible that it is the only one to have survived the disaster that destroyed all the others. The elder Mummies who remember the first meetings with the Sphynks refuse to say.
Regardless of their race, all people in Kemuliaan share a love of hearing and telling good stories, along with good food and wine.
They also like to pretend at being total pacifists. There's no such thing as a professional soldier in Kemuliaan, but the city has legions of armed "desert guides". Strike a Kemuliese man in the face, and he'll apologize to you with a smile... because soon a terrible and unexplained accented will happen when you're not looking.
Kemuliaan's most notable eccentricity is their unusually strict requirements for high office. Before taking any position of real importance in the Thanatocracy, the candidate must be gutted alive in an arduous ritual of mummification that, if successful, forces the subject to remain conscious and aware throughout and beyond their own death. For reasons known only among their own culture the Sphynks have never elected to participate in this ritual and despite their ancient ties to the city do not hold official high office. Yet their history and relation to the city has kept their people from becoming overrun and their possession of secrets and ancient knowledge maintains them as an important facet of administration and daily life.
While this does tend to weed out those lacking a certain degree of conviction, there are side effects. There are also some exceptions to this rule, most important, the position of Viziers, who serve as living representatives of their undead lords. They do not hold near as much power as the mummified lords of the city, but they remain important to it’s administration, as it would be impossible for even the most dedicated of undead to manage every last aspect of the management of the city on their lonesome.
Like all who die, the mummies of Kemuliaan are inanimate. The Red Pharaoh is slumped back and motionless on his throne, while the rest feel more comfortable sealed safely in decorative sarcophagi. However, they possess potent capacity for astral projection.
They can invade dreams. They seize control of the bodies of lowly animals and people with wills weakened by drugs or madness. Their spirits can soar far and wide, observing people in all parts of the city, and the only way to know they are there is a slight chill down the spine of someone with a strong sense of the eerie.
Pouring water upon and smashing the fragile body of a Kemuliese mummy is the only to banish their spirit from the world forever.
The Red PharaohEdit
In a court of bored eternal mummies, intrigue causes upheavals in leadership a couple times a century. The throne is passed around like a trophy, or in some cases pushed back and forth until landing in the lap of someone willing to tolerate the burden.
The current “Red” Pharaoh is so called because his reigns are often exceptionally bloody ones. He usually craves to provoke and court some degree of carefully planned violence during his turns upon the Throne. He is also known of his astounding bravado in leaving himself exposed outside an iron Sarcophagus.
The Al-Jeezra FamilyEdit
A prominent family within the city, the Al-Jeezra have a long and proud history of service to the Red Pharaoh a Viziers, soldiers, scribes and assistants. Their current leader, the Matriarch Rekiua Al-Jeezra has been in the service of the Red Pharaoh for some forty-years, and has served as his personal scribe for many of those decades, much to her pride. She took over the management of the family after the death of her husband, whom, it is rumored, she still travels into the Necropolis to speak with, though his body has long since rotted to nothing and his soul, if such things exist, is absent.
When asked about this, she simply claims that loyalty extends beyond death. That when one signs a contract born of love and devotion, that little, small things like death and time should not keep one from staying true to that contract. Furthermore, it is rumored that this family is a long time member of the mystery cults that are known to gather and worship in the Necropolis. This family it is said, worship the Spider-god known as Grandfather Thirst, the First Leech, That Which Hungers, the Blood Weaver...and so many other names. To those who fear it, this god is the worst sort of parasite, aiming to drain the earth itself dry. To those who worship it, it is a symbol of hope, that even the smallest thing, a spider, can become something great and powerful.
Kemuliaan silk is of exceptional softness.
The local rubies cascade with a unique brilliance, and bring to mind the very essence of life's blood made crystallized (There are some who say this is how the Rubies of Kemuliaan are made...).
Necrosand can be found nowhere else. The ritual desiccation of a living person that keeps their soul alive and powerful within the physical world would not be possible without it. The exact details of it's manufacture are secret. Suffices to say, the hateful rays of the Kemuliaan Sun are applied to reduce the very stuff of life itself into a powder.
“O’Sun that smites all who walk beneath it. We offer thee our blood, so that your hatred my be quenched, so that your contempt may rest only light upon our peoples. O’Wrathful Sun, in your infinite anger, we offer thee our blood…..”
-Chant to the Wrathful Sun
The Wrathful Sun is the centerpiece of Kemuliaan’s religion. The hateful never ending assault of heat and light upon the city are the only evidence needed to show the truth of that, for the sun never sets. The peoples of Kemuliaan offer up their blood, their wealth and in some case even their very lives to this ever-blazing embodiment of hatred. They do not believe this will win the sun’s favor, they merely believe that it serves to make them the least-hated people upon the planet. They do not believe they are the chosen people of the sun, in the end, merely that they are the ones that it will kill last, if it should come to that. Their continued existence could be taken as evidence that they are not entirely incorrect in this assumption.
The Wrathful Sun however, is not the only god in Kemuliaan. In the darkness of the Necropolis, cults, clad in masks and dark robes gather to worship the creatures and ideas that dwell in the kind darkness of the tomb. Spiders. Snakes. Bats. Centipedes, even shadow itself, all have temples carved in their image. These cults cannot hope to match the power of the Wrathful Sun and they do not even try, they merely supplement it. Where the worship of the Wrathful Sun is done in the name of survival, the mystery cults of the darkness offer something more...tangible, though often in return for a high price. To name a few of the gods of this cult: There is Father Serpent, keeper of forbidden knowledge and lord of all that slithers in the darkness. Grandfather Thirst, embodiment of lust, hunger and power, who takes the form of a great spider. Then there is the Hunter in the Darkness, master of all bats. This god takes the form of an alien, twisted, red-eyed bat and deals in forbidden knowledge.
491 - 495Edit
Whispering sands swirl at the walls of the haunting city of Kemuliaan. Within sweat covered bodies jostle as if in a great hive of worker drones shaped human. Deals are made and contracts signed as each soon-corpse struggles to rise above the rest. From balcony within the Pharaoh's massive palace stands the eyes of the Red Pharaoh, a young boy whose name would be forgotten as quickly as he was once his purpose was served and his mind and body depleted. He whispered the happenings of the city, the news carried of land beyond. The Pharaoh heard and the Pharaoh acted.
496 - 500Edit
Gossip plays foul tricks on the ears of mortal men and in Kemuliaan it is the currency most widely known. War far beyond the desert. War beyond the borders. War shall not come for Kemuliaan unless the seeker seeks their death. The Red Pharaoh ensconced within the Red Tower, enshrined upon the Ruby Throne, motionless but filled with terror waits and watches and moves again, a delicate balance must be maintained.