Apophas, the Cursed Scarab Lord was a jealous prince who lusted after the throne of Numas. To this end, he slit the throats of the entire royal line while they slept and proclaimed himself king. However, the people of Numas rebelled against him, and those loyal to the murdered king broke into the throne room and dragged the usurper to the temples to be judged. Of all the crimes in Nehekhara, the most terrible was regicide. Typically, those who attempted to seize the throne were denied the privilege of mummification, and their bones were thrown to the carrion of the desert.
Denied access to the lands of the honoured dead, these unfortunates were consigned, at best, to the torturous depths of the Nehekharan Underworld, or at worst, to utter oblivion. Apophas' crimes warranted a more severe punishment; he was entombed alive within a sarcophagus filled with flesh-eating scarabs. It is said that his death screams could be heard through the temple walls, but when the lid was opened, there was no trace of the beetles. All that remained was a skull picked clean of flesh. Before this was thrown into the deep desert, it was inscribed with a single magical hieroglyph cursing Apophas' soul for all eternity.[1a]
Upon his death, Apophas' soul was claimed by Usirian, god of the Underworld, to be tormented in perpetuity for his crimes. However, being of noble birth, Apophas was able to strike a bargain with Usirian, promising that, in exchange for his release, he would claim for the god a soul to stand in his stead, a perfect match for his own. Usirian agreed, and thus Apophas was reborn as the Cursed Scarab Lord. Apophas appears from a swarm of beetles that flow up from the ground until they reveal a black-swathed figure in their midst. Apophas is not a reanimated corpse but a desert revenant whose body is formed from a writhing swarm of scarabs. Atop this undulating mass, his skull looks upon the world in search of his chosen victim - a soul he believes can buy his freedom. In Apophas' hand is the same blade he used to slit the throats of his family, and it drips with their blood to this day. Only by slaying the perfect soul with this weapon can Apophas hope to earn his freedom.[1a]
The scarabs making up Apophas' form scuttle over rubble and through gaps in ruins without impediment. Apophas' body can even burst apart in an explosion of chitinous wings, flying across the battlefield before reforming into the mocking semblance of a man. Apophas sweeps aside those that stand between him and his prey, and when he opens his jaw, a tide of insects erupts forth to drown his foes. No matter how hard his enemies swipe and hack at his horrifying form, insect bodies flow over to fill open wounds and re-grow lost limbs. Apophas is utterly implacable, and he will not stop until his enemies lie dead by his hand. Apophas then binds his target's spirit in a mystical soul-cage before returning to the depths of the Underworld. Here the soul is placed on a pair of scales and compared with Apophas' own cursed spirit. However, the truth is no two souls are ever equal, and the scales are never balanced. Though he doesn't know it, Apophas has doomed himself to roam the lands for all eternity.[1a]