- "Bow, pilgrims, bow before the Wisdom of Asaph made flesh, the Voice of the Vengeful, the Lioness of the Hills, She Whose Legions Blot Out the Sun With Their Arrows, High Queen Khalida, Guardian of Damned Lahmia, the Watchful Soul and the Serpent Queen. Kneel, so that you might bask in her radiance!"
- —Djubti, Liche Priest of Lybaras[3a]
|Full Name||Khalida Neferher|
|Reign||??? - 1520 IC|
|Noble House||Nobility of Lybaras|
|Seat of Power||Lybaras|
High Queen Khalida Neferher, the Warrior-Queen of Lybaras, was highly respected across all the lands of Nehekhara and adored by her subjects. Her intelligence, temper and bravery were as legendary as her beauty, as was her intense sense of honour and justice. Her reign was tragically short, cut down as she was in her prime. All of Nehekhara mourned her passing, for they knew she would have brought great glory to the empire.[1a]
As the embodiment of the Asp Goddess in full fury, a wave of pure terror rolls over all those who would dare to look upon her. With divine energy flowing through her limbs, Queen Khalida brings war and death to any who threaten her realm and the greater lands of Nehekhara.[1b] Venom runs in Khalida's veins, and she moves with the speed of a striking asp. Only when all her foes lie dead at her feet does she lead her legions back to Lybaras and sit upon her throne as Queen once more. However, though Khalida sleeps, her soul is troubled. Deep within the High Queen burns a loathing for those tainted by Nagash's vile sorcery, and only when she finally kills her treacherous cousin and her vile race, will she finally know true peace.[2a]
- "One hundred and thirty-six of her followers have raised armies, fleets and beasts to hurl themselves against my walls. Sometimes they come north, sometimes east, or south. They come from the sea, and the sky and Great Desert, from the jungles and the mountains. They pour forth in a limitless tide and they are broken on my walls."
- —Khalida Neferher, speaking of Neferata[3b]
Khalida was killed by her cousin Neferata, the Queen of Lahmia, in ritual combat during a great celebratory feast. The sensuously beautiful and alluring Queen of Lahmia had falsely accused Khalida of treason and attempts of assassination, and proclaimed these allegations loudly during a banquet feast. Khalida had risen to defend her honour, and in her anger had refused to nominate a champion, accepting the challenge personally. Neferata desired the death of Khalida, for the Warrior-Queen had grown suspicious of Neferata and her Lahmian court. Indeed Khalida was right to be suspicious, for Neferata had been studying the blasphemous texts of the Great Necromancer Nagash, and had drunk from the cursed Elixir of Life - she had been reborn into a cursed existence, becoming the first of the vampires, and if Khalida was not silenced then the Lahmians' deadly secret would become known.[1a]
The two women fought before the shocked nobility, their blades weaving a delicate and deadly dance. Khalida was a skilled and powerful warrior, and yet she could not match the preternatural speed or unholy strength of Neferata. As she lay on the tiled floor, her blood flowing from a terrible wound in her stomach, Neferata sunk her sharp teeth into Khalida's neck, sucking deeply. Biting hard on her own tongue, the Queen of Lahmia placed her lips over Khalida's, and her vampire blood flowed down the dying Queen's throat.[1a]
As the life began to leave her dying body, Khalida knew that the cursed blood now flowed through her veins. In desperation, she cried out to the gods to save her from the same abominable fate that had taken hold of Neferata. Asaph, the Goddess of the Asp, heard her pleas and appeared to the dying Queen in a divine vision. The blessing of the Goddess purified the vampiric taint from Khalida's veins, though it drained the remaining life from her. In sorrow she was borne back to Lybaras.[1a]
Beloved of the Asp
- "And every time, she sends with them a token of her affection, one cousin to another. A lock of her hair, a book of poems by a philosopher of our acquaintance, the crown of Lahmia taken from her husband’s head, the amulet of Asaph stolen from my crypt, or... a sword she used to shed my blood. There is no magic in this thing. It is merely old steel, and badly cared for – still sharp, however. She stole it in order to let me know we had begun the old game again. It is a gift from one player to another. A sign that she has not forgotten me, and to ensure that I do not forget her. In all the world, down through the long corridor of centuries, there has only been this game. And she has been my only opponent. You were right, before, on the walls, when you said you were a puppet. But not of fate... You are her puppet, her pawn, and this is her gambit."
- —Khalida Neferher, speaking to Nitotris, spawn of Neferata[3b]
The priests and priestesses of the Asp Goddess undertook the burial of the Queen, for they recognised that the blessing of their divine mistress was upon her, even in death. Khalida was embalmed and placed in a seated position within a specially made reliquary within the temple of the blessed Asp in Lybaras. There she sits unmoving, her face concealed behind a beautiful death mask created in her likeness. In times of dire need, when her homeland is threatened, the power of the Asp Goddess infuses her ancient limbs. Gracefully, she rises from her seated position, and glides across the temple floor, commanding the doors to open with a delicate motion of her hand. Her flesh slowly starts to return to its former beauty, gradually becoming as pale and hard as pristine white marble. Her famed archer legions, buried in vast tomb pits beside the temple, arise at her bidding, marching alongside their immortal Warrior-Queen as they did in life, bringing death to those that intrude upon her realm.[1b]
- Venom Staff - Shaped in the form of an asp, this staff writhes as if alive and spits at its enemies with the anger and spite of Asaph herself.[2a]