The ancient people lovingly preserved the bodies of their honored dead, burying them in deep vaults. At their side, statues of servants and animals to serve in the afterlife. The labor of millennia has expanded the vaults into a cavernous under-land. Deep beneath the desert, the dead have created their own paradise.
They have nothing but time, and endless practice has made them the greatest artisans of the world. The simple linens they were first wrapped in have been traded for fabrics of infinitesimally complex patterns. Every inch of their vaults and caverns are carved, from life-sized bas-relief to immaculate filigree. Their highest art, its origins stretching back to their beginnings, is the creation of living statues.
Their are no plants or animals in the land of the dead, but it does not seem so from a distance. The dead have refined the creation of living statues over long aeons, and having made enough servitors for many aeons more, have turned their efforts towards decoration. The caverns are filled with trees of stone and iron, in forms both realistic and fantastical. Animals move everywhere, playing at hunting and eating, while the whistling of glass birds fills the air. It seems alive.
The caverns are cold. The inhabitants ancient and desiccated, hiding themselves behind many layers of fabric. They have aged past boredom and passion. They have created their own afterlife, and surely, as they often tell themselves, tarnished gold is better than no gold at all.