The land of Khem was one of the first human civilizations to appear in the Skinlands, and their Underworld naturally appeared with it. Needless to say, the culture of the Egyptian dead is truly ancient, having existed for several millennia before the rise of Charon and the Hierarchy. Egypt is the land of immortals, and of the forever dead.
Amenti is the haven of the ancient Egyptian Restless and Reborn alike – an echo of the Nile valley hidden beneath the wrath of the Tempest. It is known by some as the Dark Kingdom of Sand, and it is the closest thing to paradise for those wraiths that still cling to the ancient mortuary beliefs, even though dwelling there is usually a captive existence. The wraiths of Amenti are intensely xenophobic, and rarely, if ever, leave their realm, out of fear of the outsiders and the Tempest alike. That Amenti is hidden from discovery by prying eyes is the greatest comfort to them, as well as on the surface being similar to the Egypt they knew in life.
Osiris has been the ruler of Amenti and king of the Egyptian dead for over 6000 years. The realm was first discovered when the Beautiful One set out to find the blessed fields of A’aru, and since then he has reigned unopposed from the throne in the great royal palace-tomb. He has not stirred, nor moved an eyebrow, since the Egyptian Shadowlands were conquered by Stygia, when Neter-khertet suffered the same fate as Khem did in life. His Corpus simply sits, with arms folded across his chest, unblinking and untouchable on the royal throne. The practical ruling of Amenti is handled by a High Council of priests and generals, some being former advisors to the king, but this council has had to adapt and change during the 2000 years Osiris has been dormant. The Council has been stable for the last two centuries though, and the (mostly) ancient wraiths have always had two forces to assist or oppose them as the needs of Amenti required – the Shemsu-heru on one side, and Anubis on the other.
The Shemsu-heru are as respected and revered as the High Council, and the only reason they are not the rulers of Amenti is that their cycle forces them to always return to the Skinlands, and thus leave their dead homeland behind. A few of them are utterly devoted to serving the Kingdom, and visit it even while they reside in the living world. Most Reborn are content to enjoy life while they have it though, and let their Underworld run itself while they are away. Only about 10-20 mummies are usually found in Amenti at one time, and the status of all 42 Shemsu-heru is legendary to the thousands of wraiths that reside there, so the period they spend there is usually an easy one. The accumulation of ba energy is slower when dormant though, so although whiling away the years by sitting quietly in Amenti is preferred by many Reborn, most explore the Underworld for extended periods instead.
Amenti itself is cut through by the River of Life, the Underworld counterpart to the great Nile, though in Amenti the river is stale – the Pathos of the living no longer feeds it like it used to. Despite Amenti’s wealth of smooth, angular fortresses, the buildings there are almost only tombs, and though their elaborateness and splendor used to be great many have crumbled or fallen slowly into Oblivion. Stone obelisks, sculptures and even pyramids can be found in the dunes and fields, all dedicated to the afterlife by the living back at the dawn of civilization. Almost nothing modern exists there though, few younger wraiths find their way to Amenti these days and the ancient souls are comfortable with the illusion of stone, bronze and wood. The charnel air in the valley is heavy, as the population slowly dwindles and progress is steadfastly refused. Only the Shemsu-heru are able to bring a wind of change to Amenti upon their arrival, and for this reason they are resented by many of the conservative elders that are loath to destroy their afterlife by letting heretical and modern thoughts into their safe paradise.
The legends concerning the mythical figure of Anpu, or Anubis, are many. He is told to be the first man who ever tasted death, the one who taught the Arcanoi to Charon and his people, the one who founded the Ferrymen and much more. What is known is that he is the spiritual patron of the Reborn, and, to an extent, all Egyptian dead. He is there when all mummies are born into death, again and again, and he is the one who guides them safely to Amenti if they so wish. His knowledge of the Tempest, which is known to the Egyptian dead as Tenemu, is supreme. He functions as emissary, ferryman and counselor for both Amenti and what used to be Neter-khertet, although his existence is very little known outside these realms. Certainly Stygia never recognized any rumors of this enigmatic being, deferring to the Lady of Fate on such mythical matters. There are certainly similarities between the stories and powers of the two, but since knowledge of one almost excludes any of the other, no relation between them has ever been suggested out loud in neither Amenti or Stygia. If anyone knows of one, it would be he who was Charon or the Ferrymen.
The figure of Anubis is unmistakable, unless he has chosen to appear in another form entirely. His head is that of a jackal, unmoving and appearing to have been carved from black stone, with traditional Egyptian headdress and costume to complete the classical temple-image, occasionally supplemented by white linen robes. He travels the Tempest in a crescent-shaped reed boat known as Mesektet, stitched together by the reeds found at the mouth of the River of Life. A long pole is his favored tool for charting the Sea of Shadows, and this image is the one he shows to the Reborn when their time has come to enter or leave the Underworld.
The mortuary culture of ancient Egypt was dominated by belief in the afterlife, and the ideas of the living world naturally carried over into that of the dead. The Khemrians believed that every Egyptian soul would be judged after death, and be found worthy of the afterlife or not. If the soul was deemed unworthy, its heart was devoured by a hybrid-beast, while worthiness meant the blessed fields of A’aru, or something similar, awaited. As always, legends of the Far Shores identify them with A’aru, and countless wraiths have been lost to Oblivion while questing for their promised paradise.
According to the ancient hieroglyphic writings, the world was created from a primal sea of nothingness, and if proper devotion was not paid to the gods, the world could be unmade once more. In the Underworld, this was very visibly the case – the rolling Tempest that surrounded Amenti was the topmost layer of this mass of unbeing, known to them in life as Tenemu. In death, only Anubis could sail the primal waters safely. The texts also spoke of a great serpent, an embodiment of Tenemu named Apophis, whose sole purpose was to devour the world once more. Ra, the sun, had to defeat this monster every day in his journey across the sky. Most denizens of Amenti see Anubis as having taken Ra’s place, as the sun continues its journey through the Underworld every night. Apophis is the name given to the most powerful servants of Oblivion, as well as other demonic entities that threaten the stability of Amenti.