About Amenophis IV
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“…desires that there be made for him […] as a monument with an eternal and everlasting name…. My father, who advised me concerning it…. To suggest making [illegible] in this distant place. …Behold, it is I who has discovered it: not being the property of a god, not being the property of a goddess, not being the property of any people to lay claim to it….” – Translation of stelae fragments found in the ruins of Hive Primus, Amenophis IV
In the depths of Subsector Tertius, on Tenebris border territory, just inside the warp corridors from Kelper Prime – its nearest neighbour – Amenophis IV is a populous Hive-World in stable orbit around a white dwarf. The planetary structures are ancient, extending across the surface of a dry and largely barren planet, with Hive-Cities springing up like reed plantations along the banks of a mighty river which bisects the single habitable continent. The river, locally called the Aur, is thick with millennia of pollution and effluvia from the arcologies which crowd its banks, and plays host to a number of notoriously venomous local life-forms adapted to swim and crawl in the toxic sludge.
The planet’s major industry is in the production of binding agents for rockcrete and plascrete, taking advantage of the substantial gypsum and bismuth deposits in the local soil. The ancient Hives are factorums on a grand scale, with agglutinations of hab-blocks and Administratum buildings soaring above hundreds of square miles of drying and processing yards. Despite the desert terrain and high population, through careful reprocessing and vast subterranean mycoprotein vats, the planet is nearly self-sufficient, only needing to import food in particularly difficult years.
By ancient tradition, the settlements upstream in the rocky southern highlands are known as “Upper Amenophis”, and the Hive-Cities clustering around the once-fertile northern Aur delta where it flows out to the ocean as “Lower Amenophis”. Local tradition and legend – heavily suppressed by the Ecclesiarchy in the years since Durovera’s Crusade – holds that none can truly rule the planet until they are annointed as ruler of both Upper and Lower Kingdoms. By strange coincidence, the current planetary government system splits executive power between an Administratum-appointed Governor-Castellan in the south who oversees the planet’s industry and production, and a hereditary Governor-General in the north, responsible for security, shipping and legal oversight. Both positions are currently held by members of the powerful Setep family, and there is little friction between the two; but the perennial minor planetary insurgencies frequently use the administrative split as justification to raise rebellion among outlying Hives and the nomadic desert communities, claiming that the Imperial rulers will never be legitimate until the two kingdoms are united.
Outside the fertile strip of the Aur valley, the terrain is inhospitable desert. There are a number of impressive ruins scattered through the southern highlands, including the abandoned skeleton of Hive Primus, destroyed by an unnamed disaster some time in M36 and never repopulated. Local superstition speaks of ghosts and demons, which does nothing to deter an annual parade of thrill-seekers, tomb-robbers and Sisters of the Order of the Eternal Gate, eager to recover artefacts or forbidden knowledge from the ruins.
The only human presence outside the hive-cities are a few tribes of Amenophian nomads, who spend the blistering summer trading in the climate-controlled outskirts of the Upper Amenophis hives, but take advantage of the mild winters – when temperatures can drop to nearly-bearable, in the 40-50 degrees C range – to range out into the desert in long caravans of hypercamels, modified grox and sand-speeders. These, by ancient arrangement with the Imperial mining cartels, search for new mineral deposits among the rocky wastelands, and trade their newfound knowledge when they return in the spring.
The planetary PDF are well-armed and generally respected, with experience at putting down the occasional flash-flood rebellion in the outer Hives. Amenophis also raises a number of Imperial Guard regiments, including the feared 18th Amenophis Light Infantry, who use light boarding shields and short khopesh swords to devastating effect in close-quarters combat in the claustrophobic confines of urban hives and enemy Voidships.