- "Each serpentine steed is spurred to acts of great brutality in the name of the king."
- —The Necropolis Knights.
Necropolis Knights are powerful, elite warriors who ride atop giant snake-shaped statues given to them as a reward for their prowess and utter dedication to their sovereign lord. They are tethered to their mounts by a sharp hook, held firm in one mummified hand as the other wields a heavy spear that carves through mortal flesh. Their monstrous mounts shatter bones with every swipe of their tails and sink scimitar-sized fangs deep into soft flesh.[1a]
At the base of every Necroserpent is a pedestal in which there is a hollow alcove. Within each rests the sarcophagus of a Necropolis Knight. In their lifetimes, these warriors served in the sacred ranks of the Tomb Guard. They were all loyal soldiers and battle-scarred veterans, however, the constant years of violence and slaughter had become so deeply ingrained in these warriors' psyches that their bloodlust threatened to overcome their famed martial discipline. Such soldiers would break ranks without warning and could no longer be trusted to stand their ground whilst a foe still lived - actions that placed the life of the king in mortal jeopardy.[1a]
- "Tethered to their mounts by a sharp hook, the other mummified hand wields a barbed staff to carve through mortal flesh."
- —The elite cavalry of Nehekhara.
Necroserpents were built to guard the entranceways of the Mortuary Cult's temples. They are vast in stature, and even coiled they stand at least twice the height of a man. Though the Necroserpents standing sentinel outside some mortuary temples depict images of skull-vipers or double-headed blood-asps, the vast majority of these statues are created in the image of a hooded Khemrian cobra, for Qu'aph, the Nehekharan god of Cobras, took this as his corporeal form in the Great Land before the coming of Man. The god would lie in ambush beneath the surface of the desert before lunging towards his prey and sinking his spear-sized fangs into their scaly throats. The venom of the Khemrian cobra is so potent that even a single drop is enough to kill a dozen warhorses or scores of fully grown men. Those bitten die with a rictus grin of agony on their faces as every muscle in their body contracts to the point where their own bones and teeth snap and break. The fangs of the Necroserpents mysteriously drip with this very same poison.[1a]
When faced with the dishonour of exile, many committed ritual suicide, but some instead chose an agonising death for a chance to serve their king again in his eternal army. These brave soldiers would slit their palms and smear blood onto the belly of one of the giant Necroserpents before holding the wound under the venom dripping from their fangs. As the poison wracked their bodies, it was believed that Qu'aph would judge their souls, and those that were found worthy would be reborn in the next life as Necropolis Knights - warriors blessed with the skill, power and strength of the gods. Upon their death, these elite warriors were mummified and buried with their full panoply of war beneath the very same statue that they had sacrificed themselves before.[1a]
When Necropolis Knights are awakened to serve in the Tomb King's eternal army, the Necroserpents coiled above their resting places magically slither to unlife as well. Rider and mount are animated by the same warrior spirit, and they move as one being, riding to war in perfect ranks of terrifying cavalry. Necroserpents travel beneath the ground at a relentless pace, emerging from the depths with sand cascading off their forms, warriors standing proudly upon their hooded backs with spears lowered, ready to spill the blood of their foes. Serpentine bodies weave through the battlefield, blades, fangs and tails lashing out in all directions, leaving a trail of death and woe in their wake. There are few who can stand against the charge of a Necropolis Knight, for they are incredibly powerful and difficult to destroy. As mount and rider share the same soul, only by destroying both can an opponent truly defeat a Necropolis Knight. Few foes are equal to such a task.[1a]