"A woman is like a tea bag - you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water."
- – Eleanor Roosevelt
"Behind every great man, there is a great woman. Behind those great women, there is me!"
- – Neferata
The very first fucking vampire in a setting where vampires are still cool, which is a product of her own creation rather than a Biblical curse or demonic possession. She's something of a Cleopatra expy who's been in a lot of positions of leadership-no pun intended-then found she preferred to run things behind the scenes.
During the war against Nagash, there was a young princess of Lahmia in the Egypt analogue of the Warhammer setting, Nehekhara, named Neferatem (Neferata was the name she went by outside of Nehekhara, although later writers forgot about it and had her always called Neferata). While her cousin wore pants, rode horses, shot arrows, and prayed to the snake god, Neferata spent her time doing all of jack shit while her father lead the forces of
good Order against Nagash. After her pappy died, she was put in charge of the kingdom. Her brother took command of the forces of Nehekhara and made a deal with Arkhan the Black to become necromancer bros by looting Nagash's house. Her brother Lamashizzar won the backstabbing competition and took Nagash's books home with a crippled and (re)dying Arkhan to give cliffnotes along the way. Since Neferata was already a fucking level 2 Wizard, he threw the books at her and told her to get to work as he took over the job of ordering cooks to suck face with stablehands.
Now it's well known that in order to be based on Egypt, you have to be obsessed with immortality. But she took that to new levels. Neferata found her brother's secret tutor and chatted with him. She wanted Arkhan to teach her as well, and used her charm to try and persuade him. To everyone's surprise, including her own, Neferata sympathized with the imprisoned lich and formed a genuine rapport with him that grew into something more. Instead of taking notes and translating shit for Lahmia to gain an army of Level 1 Mages she started experimenting, and actually managed to improve on Nagash's techniques. She swapped Nagash's ability to become a self-sufficient lich for eternal youth powered with fresh blood, although in a different version of the story Arkhan helped a great deal more as Sphinx venom is a key ingredient which caused the drinker to fall into a coma necessitating an assistant to finish the ritual.
After the people around her used the rare skill of common sense and realized she wasn't aging and was going through more servants than most, she realized she'd need some meatshields that weren't mooks. She picked the captain of the guard and all around badass Abhorash, her high priest W'soran, her younger brother Ushoran, Maatmeses, Naamia, Prince Xian Ha Feng, Harakhte, Zhuras, Ankhat, Neferata's husband Vashanesh, and one other. Vlad von Carstein hints in his own novels that Vashanesh is the father of his Bloodline but all other Bloodlines said such a person never existed. Later it turned out they were full of it, as Vlad was revealed to be Vashanesh himself. (There is a canon conflict here, since the novels set in and shortly after this period never mention him.) Neferata also selected another seven. Each of them was given some of Nef's home brew, and she filled them in on their new strengths and one minor recurring habit. She also sent some vials of the Elixir to Cathay for unknown reasons.
Everyone (except Abhorash, who was a NOFUNALLOWED kinda guy) got ultra into vampirism and swapped out the Nehekharan religion for worshiping Nagash. Neferata kept studying Nagash's books and improving her magic until she figured out how to make more (albeit weaker) vampires through a ritual rather than a potion, which saved time and kept the youngbloods in their place. She became a cougar and stuck to drinking blood from shotas like wine. The vampires mutated over time and became fucking godlike, and when they get some adrenaline (their own anyway) in them they underwent quick transformations into a more feral state with sabertooth fangs and ultra sharp fingernails and such (basically the opposite of Elvira, Mistress of the Dark).
The other Nehekharan kingdoms began to get suspicious, particularly good ol' cousin Khalida (who had became a Ranger/Paladin dedicated to the asp goddess (guess where this story is going. Just guess)). To preemptively silence her, Neferata accused HER of being a vampire (note that this was after Malekith had used a similar strategy, although arguably Neferata's way was a bit more successful since it didn't involve trying to use a god of justice and rulership to prove your lie is the truth). Khalida called her out on the fact that a grave accusation of treason and heresy with no proof against an equal from an entirely different nation meant all of jack and shit, and challenged Neferata to a duel to the death for HONOR. Even though Khalida was a mere mortal badass fighting a fucking VAMPIRE DEMIGODDESS, Khalida put Neferata into single digit HP before she got to -1 herself from a
low blow getting stabbed in the stomach by Neferata. Neferata was forced to drink from Khalida on the spot...in front of the assembled nobles of Khemri and Lahmia. While restoring her hit points, Nef tried to turn Khalida into a vampire. Faced with the incestuous advances of her cousin (oh, and the minor issue of whatever unknown dark magic shit the sabertoothed mutant was doing), called out for the snake goddess to save her soul from damnation. Asaph (the aforementioned snake goddess) sent poison through Khalida's veins, purging the vampire heresy though Khalida still died as the purification took her life (even then there was the tiny detail of a huge stab wound in her stomach).
Later the Queen of Rasetra came to Neferata asking help with her difficult pregnancy. Knowing that if male the child would be the next king of Khemri Neferata gave the woman an infusion containing her blood and when the boy was born, claimed him as her own saying he would stay in Lahmia until he came of age and took his throne. This child was called Alcadizaar. Neferata grew to believe that Alcadizaar would become her partner and started practicing wife husbandry on him, training him in every aspect of war and statehood (while also making sure he didn't get with any other woman). However when he finally discovered the truth of Neferata's undead nature, he rejected her and fled into the wild, eventually being welcomed into a nomadic desert tribe.
Neferata continued consolidating her powerbase until Alcadizaar's tribe killed one of her vampire minions and presented his head as proof to the other kings. After this the Nehekharans realized how dangerously close things were to becoming Twilight, so they gathered their forces into a vast army and laid siege to Lahmia. Some Lahmian civilians rebelled against the vampire nobility, others gathered to Abhorash and fought against the foreigners and race traitors. Led by the newly returned and crowned Alcadizaar of Khemri the Priest Kings united and destroyed Lahmia, the entire city being reduced to rubble and most of it's vampiric aristocracy destroyed. Neferata barely escaped with her life. The city fell, despite major losses on the side of
Of Neferata's Eleven, only seven survived. Abhorash and Neferata separately took their minions and headed north, both finding passes through the supposedly impassible mountains and reaching the Badlands, greenskin-infested no man's land. Due to this she avoided the final war between Nagash and Alcadizaar that saw the rest of Nehekhara join Lahmia in becoming a lifeless ruin. She did however experience it's consequences when the newly risen Tomb Kings began to hunt down vampires. In particular her cousin Khalida, returned from the dead and filled with rage, chased her across the world.
In the absence of their leaders the vampires were left in a panic. They went their own ways along the same route Nef and Ab had taken, founding different bloodlines. When Nagash cursed the vampires with weaknesses to the sun, running water (like all old people), garlic, and other random things. Neferata and her minions caught the curse too despite not being there (although there's also the suggestion this was Sigmar's doing).
Then a fuckton of time passed while Neferata traveled the world. During that time she became a feminist and a misandrist, espousing the belief that men are blood farms without worthwhile thoughts or emotions unless they kowtow to women (being effeminate, watching Sex and the City, be unthinking Sugar Daddies, that sort of thing). Eventually Neferata found herself compelled to come to the capital of the Strigoi empire, Mourkain. Here she found a kingdom that was a pale reflection of her long lost Lahmia, ruled once again by a vampiric aristocracy. It's king was her former Lord of Masks Ushoran and his vizier W'soran, who together she blamed for the destruction of her home. She had been drawn by the Crown of Nagash which was buried at the heart of the capital as had most of the others of her kind.
Queen of Mysteries
A group of Dorfs investigating the douchebaggery of the other vampire bloodlines eventually uncovered her
lesbian love den SERIOUS GROUP OF VAMPIRE LADIES DOING NOTHING WRONG. In response she had her minions slaughter the Dawi and turn them into zombies before gathering an invasion force and making their Dwarf Fortress her new love-den MANLY BASTION OF BADASSERY. The undead Dwarfs rebuilt the mines, crafted with Granite and menacing with spikes of Onyx, into an Egyptian-style palace.
Nowadays the zombies are soaked in perfume and drum while skeletons do the skeleton dance (2spooky!) to entertain her court. Eventually Ghouls showed up to serve her, which she spent several generations trying to exterminate before confining them to the sewers when she realized they would be great for garbage disposal. She bathes in blood (because nobody has ever made vampires do that before!) of young men, then heads off to the war room an organizes her femvamps and shotavamps (all vouched for by femvamps as their subordinates) to spy on the civilizations of the world and manipulate them into getting into wars with each other (Skaven also do this, but more capably), or rooting out rival bloodlines and wiping them out (the VonCarsteins also do this, but less capably).
Queen Neferata had one goal: make the
women worthy mortals of the world into Lahmian vampires and the men unworthy mortals cattle or pampered pets. Meanwhile, her cousin Khalida (who's such a badass not even Settra wants to fuck with her) was a Tomb King Queen and wanted to purge the world of vampires and their homoerotic heresy, with Neferata at the top of her list.
Neferata's cat is her Cathayan concubine shape shifter Naamia who is in love with her (at least in the novel Neferata by Josh Reynolds, in all other sources the cat is simply an undead familiar named Bastet).
Neferata was recruited to rejoin Arkhan the Black (who was still in love with her after thousands of years) and Mannfred von Carstein in their plans to resurrect Nagash. Nef followed the plan, sending one of her minions (who may be fan favourite the Vampire Genevieve) to Balthazar Gelt to manipulate him into building an anti-Chaos wall protecting the humans of the Old World (in theory so Nagash could have them all to himself). Realizing that Nagash's return meant either her servitude or destruction, Neferata sent no further aid at first. However, Neferata grew concerned that if she didn't have something to offer Nagash might destroy her out of spite. She was also antsy due to lack of knowledge about Nagash's other servants, because her spies on them were dead or trapped in Sylvania and Arkhan rarely called.
After daemons attacked her fortress Neferata decided to try and get shit done, massing the forces of the Silver Pinnacle to get a re-birthday present for Nagash; the magic power of the Dwarf gods themselves (which Neferata had accidentally discovered while backpacking across the world). Fighting her way through various greenskin tribes at Skull Chasm, she led her army to the Lost Pass of the dwarfs, a long lost treasure trove of the ancestor gods. There at the Battle of Valaya's Gate her army, supported by the Wight King Krell (who had been sent by Arkhan as a precaution), their forces defeated the throng of Karak Azul leading to the deaths of both the venerable runelord Thorek Ironbrow and the mighty King Kazador. Having secured a source of power for the returned but weakened Nagash she was inducted into the ranks of his Mortarchs, becoming the Mortarch of Blood.
Once Nagash fed on Valaya's magic, he used the power to shroud Nehekhara in darkness so the vampires wouldn't burn in the sun (no such thing as sunblock in the Warhammer world). The assembled Mortarchs then waged war on the Tomb Kings. When Nagash led his forces south into Nehekhara Neferata was given permission to lead a force to the ruins of her long lost Lahmia. There she was once more met by Khalida and the army of Lybaras. As the two armies clashed the two undead queens dueled in the Temple of Blood in the heart of the city itself. Once more Neferata was forced to flee before her vengeful cousin. Though she failed to secure the city Neferata's expedition had performed all Nagash required of it which was to lure troops away from his main target- Khemri and his Black Pyramid there. In the end defeated the Nehekharans, bringing their skulls under Nagash's boot. In a spectacular twist of irony, Neferata and Khalida were charged to work together. As a result, they basically dropped out of End Times until the very end when Mannfred managed to completely fuck up the last chance at stopping Chaos and the world was slowly drawn into the Warp as a third Warpgate was activated in the Empire despite every non-Chaos group from Orcs to Wood Elves all working together (yeah, ET was a complete fucking mess).
Neferata and Arkhan were present at the end of the final battle, with the latter promising to fight to the last to give the former a chance to outrun the encroaching wall of solid Daemonic blackness despite her Abyssal being injured. After a parting kiss with Arkhan (who she still had some feelings for) Neferata only just made it back to the fortress in the Moot that she and Khalida had established offscreen. The Halflings and remaining humans of the Empire fled there for protection, and the undead under Khalida's command allowed them in. Neferata arrived and immediately shouted to make preparations to repel Chaos, before Khalida told her there was no point; Chaos won. Neferata instead convinced her to fight together, as Nehekharan Queens, and their assembled forces readied their weapons as the Warp overtook them.
Age of Sigmar
... Then Age of Sigmar happened. Nagash is an immortal god of the afterlife and gets all souls Chaos doesn't, barring the Stormcast Eternals. Since Games Workhop undid their complete reboot with identical factions reappearing, Vampires came back too. Neferata was shown alongside the other Mortarchs meaning that the entire End Times story meant jack. But since Khalida hasn't been shown and the Tomb Kings were revealed to have been Squatted, Nef at least outlived her. Neferata got her own part of the realm of death and "creatively" named it Nulahmia while also basing it's fashion and architecture off of Nehekhara's. She built an even bigger spy network and ensured that she was the top vampire. Mannfred, and possibly Vhordai (and definitely Abhorash if he is still alive), are the only ones who don't pay homage to her, and Neferata and Mannfred have clashed several times. She's also gotten over her misandry, as she employs male and female vampires depending on their abilities.
Later, Nulahmia came under attack from an army of mortal followers of Chaos of Slaanesh, because a Slaaneshi Chaos Lord wants her for himself, not caring that she's undead. Quite a thing to sneak past the kiddies, Geedubs! (In the novel Lords of Death, the same lord kills a beastman who tried to stop him raping it). Her forces are aided by the Stormcast Eternals and together they defeat the forces of Slaanesh. Neferata later tries to make a secret alliance with the Stormcast right under Nagash's nasal bones. After the battle (where Neferata's obsessed fan Chaos Lord falls into a pit of skeletons), Neferata is disappointed that Nagash was just dicking with the Stormcast but had to go along with it. During Malign Portents, Neferata used her manipulations and spy network to keep Tzeentch's forces occupied, undermine Sigmar's forces and spread Nagash's influence across the realms.
One interesting part of her character hasn't been extrapolated upon yet; whether or not she still has a thing for Arkhan the Black. Some parts hints that Arkhan isn't the same as he was in the World-That-Was and may not remember Nef at all, but we don't know how Nef herself feels about this - if she cares at all, that is. Maybe the coming apocalypse brought the sweetheart out of her for a short while.
The bloodline of Neferata, most of them are female and all of them are found in positions of power within society, although most prefer aristocracy or the mercantile class. While the wandering Necromancer is a Necrarch, the homeless beggar or bandit is a Strigoi, the noble knights and warriors of the world
being murderhobos getting into fights and doing awesome shit are Blood Dragons, and while the Von Carsteins are nouveau riche pricks in crumbling manors surrounded by stinking corpses and emaciated thralls, Lahmians are a cut above. They've got style. Skilled middle class priests and merchants, aristocrats of fantastic breeding living in the city and attending every party, hookers, criminal bosses, and artists.
Lahmians prefer the undead that doesn't stink, like skeletons. While many are skilled swordswomen, they lean more on the Elf side of things with higher skill and speed rather than strength or toughness (of course being vampires they have those as well, and Lahmians by nature come from different backgrounds and have diverse sets of skills). Lahmians are also one of the two most magical Bloodlines, although rather than the mad science of the Necrarchs they lean towards the diverse and refined knowledge that only those who see every shipping charter before a vessel even sets sail can get. Most of all, Lahmians rely on guile and charisma (which in Warhammer Fantasy terms means Leadership and abilities that manipulate that of others) to get the job done.
While all beings in Warhammer Fantasy are prone to backstabbing (some more than others), Lahmians are particularly hierarchical in a manner resembling the Camarilla from VtM. No major action may be performed without the blessing of a higher up, keeping silent and maintaining secrecy is of utmost importance, and everyone is vying to be the
pussy in Neferata's lap favored servant of the Queen while also fearing what would happen if one so much as annoys her, or shows weakness to a rival. Lower rank Lahmians tend to be more resentful of the higher ranked ones, as most of the difficult work in the lower classes is done by them.
In regards to other Bloodlines, Neferata views herself as the supreme ruler of the Undead (until she swears loyalty to Nagash, who serves more as the divine power behind her rule in her mind). As a result she will generally work to better their place in the world and control over all other factions unless she feels threatened or insulted, which given her typically Nehekharan arrogance and demand for protocol on par with Settra is quite often, leading her to bring complete ruin on her rivals both real and imagined without a second thought. Those who do endear themselves to her find themselves pampered and protected with their skills honed and many powers granted (although on rare occasion they are sacrificed for the greater good), and as Naamia describes it her minions love her for it all.
Lore is vague on which nations exactly the Lahmians have infiltrated. The Empire is entirely within their domain of control, and they spend a great deal of time keeping the Witch Hunters off their backs while diverting Sigmar's holy zealots towards the other Bloodlines and Chaos infestations. Lahmians have agents in Bretonnia, although how much belonged to them is unknown. The Warhammer Silk Road to Cathay, and an unknown amount of Cathay itself, is also completely within Lahmian control and they have agents in the Border Princes and other human kingdoms. Old lore hinted the Lahmians also had agents among the Elves and that she was aware of the goings-on in Ulthuan and Naggaroth. Lahmians will work in the interest of the societies they infiltrate by suppressing riots and purging the corrupt (or at least the corrupt and unpredictable/unmanipulatable) via "accidents", long-planned falls from grace, or even just flat-out disappearances and have helped secretly defend the populace from the predations of other Vampires and of Chaos plots and invasions.
One of Neferata's favorite tricks is to turn a woman into a cat, get a merchant or a nobleman to take her in, then have her turn back into a woman and fuck his brains out like it's an erotic manga so he'll establish her as his wife and thus put one more Lahmian spy in the world. As a result of Neferata's manipulations most of the nun organizations are now Lahmian vampires. The poets and playwrights of the world are often Lahmian vampires. Brothel owners are often Lahmian vampires. Upper class escorts are often Lahmian vampires. Noblewoman are often Lahmian vampires. That gay guy who does your wife's hair is a Lahmian vampire. Your wife is a Lahmian vampire. As long as you do what they say, everything will be alright. We promise.
Nagadron The Adevore
The Dread Abyssal given to Neferata by Nagash in End Times. In the times of the Nehekharan gods, Nagadron resided with the other Dread Abyssals in the afterlife of men. Nagadron's job was to punish the gluttonous, ambushing selfish souls and chewing on them for all eternity. In Neferata's service, Nagadron now consumes the souls he eats, vomiting them up in smaller and smaller chunks as he gorges himself on flesh and spirit alike and eating them again (so yeah, Neferata's giant undead dragon demon is predictably a giant cat on the inside).
According to the team that produced the model, the hooded eyes are supposed to resemble a predatory snek.
Nagadron was last seen in End Times re-dying from mortal wounds with its last act being carrying Neferata and the unconscious Isabella back to the fortress of Nef and Khalida, but was resurrected alongside his (apparently its a he despite always being an undead skeleton monster) master in Age of Sigmar.
On the Tabletop
Queen Neferata used to have a model in the game, but she suffered from Alarielle the Everqueen syndrome and had a badass model you wanted to use for fluff reasons, but it was pretty crap on the field and thus was unlikely to ever be used. So GW removed it, leaving the von Carsteins as the only models in Vampire Counts until the latter part of 8th edition. The original model came with a cat, referencing the aforementioned story about felinid vampires.
The End Times
With the addition of Nagash's campaign, Neferata makes a triumphant return to the field as a mounted model with an on-foot option (although GW makes her share a kit with Mannfred von Carstein and Arkhan the Black, the thrill of her return far outshines the insult).
Since bloodlines are gone, Lahmians are represented by gearing out your Lord and Hero vampires with Beguile and similar abilities as well as ample spellcasting. Use skeletons, ghosts, and similar minions that can be handwaved as unwanted hauntings or the bones of ancestors when the Witch Hunters come calling. Feel free to use proxies of living models from any faction you want as servants to a mortal lover/manipulated army but statted as zombies, ghouls, skeletons, or whatever. Finally, Coven Thrones. The only two bloodlines that should be using Coven Thrones are von Carsteins and Lahmians, and you better not let those lower class fuckers put more on the tabletop then you or Neferata will want to have a private chat with you...
Lahmian armies will do very well against low LD armies, and poorly against armies like High Elves with 9's across the board in Leadership.
As for the Queen of Mysteries herself, her latest incarnation hits hard and can debuff the enemy ten ways from town. She has eight Strength 5 attacks that Always Strike First at Inititative 9. Eight Strength 5 attacks are rough but always striking first takes it to another level, then you have Thunderstomp. With a combined profile with her mount, that's D6 Strength 5 hits at Initiative 9 since ASF and ASL cancel each other out. As for the Debuffs, Neferata can debuff to a level that even her boss can't. Her Dagger of Jetl minuses 1- to the Strength, Initiative and Attack of a model that suffers an unsaved wound for the rest of the game. There's also Twilight Allure making all shooting and close combat attacks are at -1 to hit, so even a Chaos Lord will be hitting her on 5's. She also has a fun little trick of being able to, once per game, turn a character she slays in a challenge into a Vampire. If they get to keep all their gear (come on FAQ!) imagine turning Korhil or, even better, Kurt Helborg, into a Vampire.
Age Of Sigmar
The 9th Age
In The 9th Age there are no named characters, so instead all models have to be emulated out of generic upgrades.
End Times Neferata is fielded as a Vampire Count of the Lahmian Bloodline riding a Monstrous Revenant upgraded to the Great Monstrous Revenant with Mask Of Innocence, and as a Level 3 Wizard. Add in other abilities as desired, although Random Attacks for the not-Dread Abyssal and weapons that boost her own Attack value are popular.
Neferata's new model. Note that the Hat principle is still in effect.