The region known to Humanity as the Jericho Reach was once, numberless aeons ago, but a portion of the holdings of a great house of the Necrons called the Suhbekhar Dynasty. The last phaeron of the dynasty -- Ahmontekh, called the "Crimson Scythe" -- was a general of great repute.
It is said that Ahmontekh defeated beings the ancient Aeldari revered as gods, and that even to this day the last of the Old Ones' progeny hold him in a unique blend of hatred and fear. Yet, of all the legends told of mighty Ahmontekh, none are repeated so often as that of his betrayal at the hand of his cousin Setii of the Charnovokh Dynasty.
It was the height of the war in the Webway and Ahmontekh's legions had suffered greatly traversing the cyclopean Halls of Oort. Ever eager, the legions of the Charnovokh engaged the Aeldari holding the Great Ring, in so doing stealing the glory that was by right the Crimson Scythe's.
When at last Ahmontekh's host carried the day and scoured the Halls of Oort of that meddlesome race, he confronted his cousin, furious at the breach in Necron martial protocol.
Charnovokh dismissed Ahmontekh's complaint, and so pressing were the events of the battle still raging that further confrontation was impossible.
After much industry, those dynasties that had survived the calamitous War in Heaven set about enacting the Silent King's order, and at the last Ahmontekh passed into his stasis chamber, there to slumber through the long aeons until the Aeldari were no longer a threat to the Necrons' rightful dominion over the galaxy. Yet, it was not to be thus.
Unknown to all but Ahmontekh himself, that small core of his being that still raged at the petty betrayal of the Charnovokhs refused to slumber. It raged for sixty million Terran years, the seed of jealous bitterness nurtured until all that remained of the phaeron was an iota of reason adrift upon a surging ocean of madness.
The fate of Phaeron Ahmontekh might have gone undiscovered until the very moment of his revivification were it not for the actions of the command program tasked with watching over the dynasty's crownworld as it slumbered through the aeons. As the program watched vigilantly over its silent charges, it detected a signal.
Usually, it ignored such things, for they were invariably the incoherent ramblings of lesser species screaming their existence into the void, ignorant of the doom they were calling down upon their own heads.
In this case, however, the signal was familiar, and aimed specifically at the crownworld. It was a missive from another dynasty, and it bore the glyph-seal of the Charnovokh Dynasty.
As ancient engrams flared into being for the first time in aeons, the program set about a limited revivification process, seeking to tap into the lowest orders of its master's consciousness in order to prepare him for what was to come.
In the meantime, the program decrypted the missive, discovering it to be a plea for aid from the Charnovokh Dynasty's ruling court.
The rival house's domains were being ravaged by an alien race descended upon the galaxy from the depths of intergalactic space, and already countless of its holdings had fallen. The Suhbekhar's hated rivals were besieged and beleaguered, and willing to offer anything in return for deliverance from their plight.
Logic paths blazed and stasis seals parted as the control program delivered this news to the lower memetic orders of the slumbering phaeron's soulless consciousness.
The result was devastating. The instant the aeons-old seals were broken, sixty million years of distilled bitterness for the sender of the message burst through layer upon layer of fail-safe protocols and the feedback surged unchecked through the entire system.
Countless thousands of slumbering Necrons had their cortexes blasted by Ahmontekh's rage, even though he was only partially conscious.
The last process the crownworld's control program enacted before its own logic gates were overwhelmed was to instigate a backup protocol. Even as it perished, one line of monolithic code at a time, the program sealed off the phaeron's stasis crypt and selected a regent who would rule in his stead.
As the empty tomb resounded to the last of Ahmontekh's rage, his newly appointed regent awoke, to find himself alone, and unexpectedly on the throne of an entire Necron dynasty.
The Awakening of the Suhbekhar
The revivification of the Suhbekhar Dynasty's crownworld -- called the Hollow Sun -- did not proceed according to any of the plans laid down sixty million years before.
The Phaeron Ahmontekh the Crimson Scythe was crippled in mind, and the feedback of his aborted reawakening had destroyed the crownworld's control program and reduced countless numbers of its slumbering legions to mindless husks.
When the crownworld's new regent, Ahhotekh, awoke, bathed in the cold light of his revivification chamber, it was to a tomb on the brink of failing completely. Instead of an ordered and systematic powering up of the tomb's systems, its arcane workings were in total disarray.
Maintenance constructs wandered aimlessly about tunnels lit by guttering bulbs, bereft of the guiding will of the crownworld's command program. Higher order servants staggered back and forth, turning their tools upon random systems or each other with no overriding purpose.
A small number of the tomb's Necron Warriors had awoken too, and in their unguided system shock begun fighting one another as if they were bitter foes.
Knowing that he had to restore order to the anarchy that had befallen his realm, the Regent Ahhotekh ordered the wayward servants of his dynasty to shut down immediately.
He was somewhat shocked when they totally ignored him, continuing blithely to wreak havoc upon the structure of the tomb and those Necrons still in stasis.
Furious that his words were going unheeded, Ahhotekh repeated his order, demanding that all of his servants power down and await further instructions. Once again, none did so, leaving the regent alone in a realm slowly descending into tragic chaos.
Raging against the fate that had seen him awaken into undreamed of power, only to have his newly bounded servants rebel against him, the regent stalked the labyrinths, determined to find a means of exerting control over his subjects.
Exactly how long Ahhotekh wandered the catacombs even he cannot judge, for his mind was not yet fully awakened after his sixty million year slumber and the dark tunnels resounded with the mechanical shrieks of systems tearing themselves apart.
At length, he stumbled past the crypt of one of his dynasty's chief servants, a Cryptek named Ozkan the Codifier. Pausing, the regent turned and gazed through the shimmering stasis gate, beyond which lay the slumbering form of the wise old master of codes.
Even as his addled mind came into focus, Regent Ahhotekh realised why the wayward servants had not obeyed his word. The still slumbering phaeron of the Suhbekhar Dynasty still bore the command protocols through which his legions of servants obeyed.
The crownworld's command program had not been able to transfer them to Ahhotekh when it anointed him Ahmontekh's regent, or else the mad phaeron had somehow prevented it from doing so, clinging on to power even as he slumbered.
His lambent eyes narrowing, the Regent Ahhotekh knew what he must do. Initiating the revivification protocols of the stasis tomb before him, he set in motion the process of awakening the Codifier.
Though it was many solar hours before Ozkan was sufficiently lucid to grasp the events into which he had awoken, the old Cryptek was at length able to communicate with his new master, and soon he had confirmed Ahhotekh's suspicions.
The sleeping phaeron of the Suhbekhar Dynasty still clung jealously to the command protocols. Though the Cryptek would in time be able to gain power over most of the servants that had awoken so far, reviving the millions of warriors still locked in stasis would require the phaeron to relinquish the full panoply of command protocols.
That would only happen in the event of his death, but without the crownworld's command program online, they would not be passed on, but destroyed for all time as his synaptic nodes grew cold.
Thus was the regency of the Necron Lord Ahhotekh born, and it was only days before yet another event of great import occurred.
Even as he sat upon his newly acquired throne, his recently awakened court taking shape about him, the Regent Ahhotekh faced the second potential crisis of his short tenure. A stranger appeared at the gates of the regent's capital and demanded entry.
No servant of the Suhbekhar was this, but a ragged traveller from across the stars, bearing a message from his own phaeron, the master of the Charnovokh Dynasty.
The regent bade the messenger approach the foot of his throne, and even as his Lychguards closed in, the stranger spoke. The Charnovokhs called upon their ancient allies to honour their kinship and answer the call to arms transmitted but days before.
The message was no formal request between equals, but a threat, and a barely veiled one at that. In its arrogance, the Charnovokh Dynasty thought to order the Suhbekhar to their aid, and in an instant, a feud sixty million years and more ancient was reignited.
With a cold, barely noticeable gesture, the Regent Ahhotekh ordered his Lychguard to strike. A blazing warscythe lashed out with preternatural speed and, before he knew his fate, the messenger's head was skidding across the marbled floor of the throne room, his lifeless body crashing down a moment later.
The messenger's head was delivered back to his master and, because of its machine nature, it was able to deliver the Regent Ahhotekh's reply verbatim.
The decapitated head delivered Ahhotekh's message to the court of the Charnovokh Dynasty, "Damned be those who would deny the glory of the Suhbekhar Dynasty. The Second War in Heaven is coming, and damned be all who stand against us..."
Best Laid Plans
By the counting of Humanity, only a handful of solar decades has passed since the Regent Ahhotekh acceded to the throne of the Suhbekhar Dynasty to rule it in the name of its crippled phaeron. In that time, he has bent his entire will to the endeavour of taking full control over his holdings.
Ahhotekh's closest ally is the Cryptek Ozkan the Codifier, whose arcane technological skills were essential in gaining control of those Necrons that awoke alongside Ahhotekh. Without Ozkan, it is likely that these revivificated servants would have slain one another and brought about the doom of the entire crownworld, so blasted were their atrophied minds.
Using the most esoteric of machine domination protocols, Ozkan brought the anarchic legions to heel, ensuring that his new master had the core of an army with which to begin the first phase of the resurgence of the Suhbekhar Dynasty.
Since that time, Ozkan the Codifier has striven to enact Ahhotekh's overriding order to awaken more of the slumbering Necron hosts. Two issues prevent the Cryptek from doing so.
The first is the fact that vast numbers of the sleeping Necrons were blasted by the corrupted code of their mad phaeron, and it is not apparent which is intact and which damaged beyond sanity until a revivification is attempted.
The second issue is that no wholesale awakening is possible without the dynastic control protocols still held within the mind of the mad phaeron. Thus, the reawakening of the Suhbekhar Dynasty's once glorious undying armies proceeds at a glacially slow pace.
To date, the Necrons' activities in the Jericho Reach have by necessity been cautious and gone largely unseen by the lesser races. The regent's legions grow more numerous with every breakthrough the Crpytek Ozkan achieves, yet their numbers are as nothing compared to those that slumber still.
One day, Ozkan has sworn to his master, the command protocols locked away in the mad phaeron's shattered mind will be uncovered, and then countless millions of Necrons will arise from dusty stasis tombs across the entire region.
Until then, the regent must proceed with caution. His priority must be to ensure the continued security of the worlds of his dynasty and to act decisively when they are threatened.
Already, a number of battles have been fought against those who would seek out and penetrate the dynasty's holdings, and the regent is certain there are individuals within the ranks of his numerous enemies who know far more than any mortal should of the Suhbekhar's doings.
A cunning mind, the regent has set in motion numerous schemes to spread the influence of his dynasty far and wide, acting against those who would act against him. In so doing, the regent has become aware of a phenomenon he suspects is related to the command protocols yet secreted within the mind of his insane liege.
He has detected a hidden hand at play, a grand scheme hinted at by the procession of ancient stars and glimpsed by his Cryptek vizier in stray lines of corrupted code still echoing around the systems of his crownworld.
- Deathwatch: The Outer Reach (RPG), pp. 103-105