"In the land of the dead! Heck boy ain’t it grand? I’m the overlord of the underworld, cause I hold horror’s hand. In the land of the dead! I’m dark side royalty! I’m far renowned in the underground, and you can’t take that from me!"
- – Aurelio Voltaire
Shyish was originally the wind of magic related to all things to do with death. In the Age of Sigmar it has become the realm of Nagash. Shyish serves as the afterlife for the mortal realms: underworlds containing the souls of the dead are formed based on the beliefs of various cultures and they are presided over by various gods with various origins. Although stereotypically seen as a spooky graveyard wasteland, Shyish is also home to pleasant heavens and terrible hells.
- 1 Warhammer Fantasy Battle
- 2 The Realm of Shyish
- 3 Notable Locations in Shyish
- 4 Forces of Shyish
- 5 Trivia
Warhammer Fantasy Battle
In the Old World, Shyish was the Amethyst Wind of death and endings. As such, the magisters of Shyish have the ability to drain away life and commune with spirits. Amethyst wizards are often shunned for the resemblance of their powers to Necromancy. However, the two are completely different: where Shyish is about embracing endings, Necromancy is about defying them. Amethyst magic also completely lacks the mental and physical degredation that Necromancy brings on its participants. The Libre Necris describes Necromancy as essentially using the Winds of Shyish as "tongs" to grasp Dhar or Dark Magic and channel it through the remains of the dead.
The Realm of Shyish
Shyish is a realm of entropy. The individual underworlds are created by the beliefs of a civilization, and whenever a religions or belief system is made a new afterlife emerges and if they fade away (whether this takes centuries, millennia or even longer) so does the afterlife centered around them. The souls are gradually reabsorbed into Shyish proper and can either be reborn or get taken by other beings.
The core of Shyish is apparently a huge, magical black hole and anything that would get sucked into it dies forever and never comes back, including Nagash himself. Shyish forms around it like a pearl forms around a grain of sand in an oyster, and while the black hole eats away at Shyish, Shyish regenerates keeping the black hole contained.
Age of Myth
Originally Nagash was buried in a crypt in a place out of time. Sigmar found him and freed him, trusting the sociopathic skeleton for some unknown reason. Nagash took one look at Shyish, with all its afterlives and gods and immediately decided to take over. He used his magic to control some of the dead, and with their help he nommed all the gods and annexed the afterlives he could find. At some point he rebuild Nagashizzar in the center of Shyish and brought back Arkhan, Neferata, Mannfred and Ushoran. Nagash also encountered Katakros in one of the afterlives and made Katakros his general, but didn't give him the position of Mortarch.
During this time Nagash also reconstructed the Morghasts and came up with a pet project of super skeleton warriors (that would go on to become the Ossiarch Bonereapers, these ones in particular would become the magic-resistant Null Myriad Legion). However, his allies weren't too keen on them, so he kept them out of sight on the edge of Shyish. However Nagash put some other proto-Bonereapers in crypts under the cities of the Forces of Order, and they went undiscovered because... plot.
Age of Chaos
Nagash fled back to Shyish after backstabbing Sigmar's forces. However Sigmar, mad about the betrayal, kicked down Nagash's door and hunted him across Shyish. They fought twice with Nagash fleeing both times before Sigmar could beat him. At one point, Nagash ordered Katakros to marshall and army and take down Sigmar, but Sigmar defeated them all and locked Katakros in a Stormvault. Eventually Sigmar left Shyish when he saw that the forces of Chaos had used this opportunity to gain a lot of ground.
Rather than make the most of Sigmar's departure, Nagash found himself and his forces taking on the forces of Chaos alone. It was a hard fight in the realm of Shyish, but Nagash and the undead were slowly ground down. It took Archaon himself to strike down Nagash. The Vampire Lord Prince Vhordrai tried to dispose of Nagash's remains to ensure the Chaos Gods consumed him, but he was thwarted by Arkhan the Black. Arkhan and Neferata later took Nagash's remains to the underworld of Stygyx where he would reform.
Age of Sigmar
Sigmar sent his forces to parley with Nagash, with predictable results both times. First Nagash threw Sigmar's offer back in his face and attacked the Stormcast, killing them all and keeping the soul of the Lord-Celestant for interrogation. The second time Nagash put them through a series of gruelling tests (as part of some experiment, unbeknownst to the Stormcast), then double-crossed them and left them to die in battle against Chaos.
Nagash made a master plan where his forces gathered Shyishian realmstone (gathering magical rocks, this sounds familiar) and using it to build a giant black pyramid that could fly (Déjà vu). He planned to absorb all the energy in Shyish and become super powerful (if at first you don't succeed...) to the point that he would raise the dead everywhere and use them as an undead army to conquer everyone else (heard that one before). However he overlooked the Skaven (not the first time he did that) and they messed up his plans (yet again). This did have a different outcome, creating a void in the center of Shyish and raising armies of ghosts across the realms, creating the Nighthaunt faction who have a major hatred for Sigmar and friends.
This void also slowly sucks in all the afterlives, so now everyone who dies is sucked into the void where their souls exist in a state of insanity before being destroyed. Nagash can enter it and draw power from it, but he's the only one who can do so and even for him it means destruction if he stays there too long.
Notable Locations in Shyish
A vortex of death magic at the center of Shyish, which is slowly dragging in and consuming all other underworlds. Although Nagashizzar, the capital of Shyish, is located here, the energies there are so dangerous that not even Nagash himself can stay indefinitely. Due to the presence of the Skaven contaminating the Black Pyramid with the essence of Chaos, the Nadir has become a place of insanity as well as death.
The Prime Innerlands
The area north of the Nadir, and the area of Shyish we know the most about. Notable areas include Stygxx, said to be the Underworld for dead gods where Nagash recovered from his battle with Archaon and Katakros was imprisoned in a Stormvault, and Neferatia and Carstinia, the kingdoms of two of the Mortarchs (guess which ones).
The Ossiarch Empire
Located to the east of the Prime Innerlands, the Ossiarch Empire is the empire of Katakros, Mortarch of the Necropolis, and the homeland of the Ossiarch Bonereapers. It’s a collection of various islands and underworlds all connected by massive spinal column bridges and numerous Bonereaper fortresses.
A dank and gloomy place said to be the lair of the Spider-god. As you'd expect, its absolutely covered in spiders and spiderwebs, most famously the soul-eating Skitterstrand Arachnoroks who use the webs of the Evercrawl to travel between the Realms and attack anywhere they see fit.
The Underworld of the various Troggoth races.
Forces of Shyish
Nagash's endless hordes of vampires, necromancers, skelebois and zombinonos. Though they are the most intelligent of the lot, they are also considered the most independent as the vampires prefer to focus more on their own personal empires rather than bending to Nagash's rule. While capable of imitating and initiating intrigue, they remain just as capable of turning into hideous monsters and summoning all sorts of undead.
Nagash's red headed stepchildren. While their most basic warriors are still considered "alive", they are so drenched in death magic that they are considered under his rule. A bunch of half-naked cannibals and vampires who think they are actually noble men and women of honor thanks to an infectious shared delusion.
A bunch of spooky ghosts. Collectively, they did bad things in life, offended Nagash in one way or another, or simply died in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now they all serve as the phantasmal thralls for the God of the Dead. Most of them have a massive hateboner for the living, especially living who worship Sigmar, and Ol' Naggy uses this eternal bitterness to sick them onto his foes. They have a big shroud/scythe/ironic punishment fetish to emphasize their relation to the realm/concept of Death and servile nature to Nagash, and lots are big on chains and weights and locks and keys that even Jacob Marley would call excessive.
A bunch of scary skellingtons. Unlike ordinary skeletons, these are made from the reforged bones of multiple skeletons and with multiple souls in each warrior, these guys are Nagash's answer to the Stormcast Eternals. They have their own empire inside Shyish.
- The realmstone native to Shyish is called Grave-sand, named in order to invoke the imagery of an hourglass to one's death. In its unrefined form, this sand-like stone has power over death, with mere grains being able to siphon away life from whoever touches it. This realmstone was meant to be the focus through which the Necroquake was meant to be channeled and were it successful the accumulated power from so much Grave-sand would have literally wiped out all life throughout the realms.
- While it's not entirely sure if Grave-sand is a component to the Nadirite weapons used by the Ossiarchs, it is certainly used in the creation of phylacteries housing their souls. Outside of Nagash's forces, normal folk have also seen use in incorporating this realmstone in making death-warding charms.
|The Nine Realms of the Age of Sigmar|
|Aqshy||Realm of Chaos||Ghyran|