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The history of the Dark Elves is the history of the Witch King himself. Without his long-remembered insurrection against the callow Phoenix Kings, there would be no kingdom of Naggaroth and no Dark Elf race to rule it.[1a]

Malekith's long reign has been one of blood and terror, of iron-fisted rule backed by assassination and subterfuge. His will, and his will alone, guides the Naggarothi onward to their dark destiny. The Witch King may court the opinions of the Dreadlords who bask in his reflected glory, but only when it amuses him to do so. Only Morathi's sibilant voice does he heed, and then always with an ear alert to deception. Even the eldest of his other courtiers has strode the world world for but a fraction of Malekith's existence, and the Witch King hangs upon their words no more than he would consider the counsel of a clever child. So long has Malekith lived - and so generous has he been with his blood - that few of Naggaroth's nobles do no claim descent from his line.[1a]

At Malekith's command, the Dark Elves have brought war to hated Ulthuan many times, their goal to claim by arms the birthright that was denied to them. Time and again, the Witch King's armies bring ruin beyond imagining upon their hated foes, only to be cast back across the western ocean through the vicissitudes of fate. To a mortal ruler, even one such defeat would be a tragedy, the undoing of a lifetime's work. For Malekith, who long ago achieved immortality, they are but setbacks that create fresh opportunities. When brute force failed, the Witch King sent infiltrators and assassins to undermine Ulthuan from within. When subversion did not yield lasting results, Malekith reached out to other realms, bribing their armies to make war in his cause.[1a]

To date, Ulthuan has endured every attack, but has each time paid for its survival with slaughtered warriors and ravaged kingdoms - yet it will not be able to do so forever. The fires of war that have left Ulthuan scarred serve only to temper the Witch King into ever more powerful forms. From every death, Malekith emerges stronger than before, and ever more determined to triumph. Where the High Elves despair for each of their warriors that fall, the Witch King spends the lives of his followers without care for their survival - they are the weapons of his vengeance, nothing more.[1a]

The Dark Epochs

Having known only the guidance of Malekith's firm hand, the Dark Elves cannot reckon time according to the rule of kings, as is custom with the High Elves. Rather, they record the great epochs of the Witch King's rule, ages of the world that turn on deeds of fire and slaughter. Only the first of these epochs - the Age of Glory - tallies exactly with the rule of a Phoenix King. Aenarion was father to both the children of Ulthuan and Naggaroth, and is revered as such in both lands. Other ages might end in conjunction with the close of a Phoenix King's reign, but only in order to celebrate his death.[1a]

Dark Elf Calendar

The Dark Elf Calendar contains four seasons, though they are not founded in changeable weather - bleak Naggaroth is ever cold and wracked with storms, no matter the time of year. Dark Elves therefore dedicate the seasons (Blood, Despair, Decadence, and Savagery) to their four most worshipped deities (respectively Khaine, Ereth Khial, Atharti and Anath Raema). In Naggaroth, dates are therefore recorded by age, then year, then season and finally the day (though the latter two are seldom used in regard to momentous occasions).[1a]

Timeline

I: Age of Endless Glory, 1-80 (c.-4500 to -4419 IC)

  • I, 3 (-4497) -- The war against Chaos begins in earnest as the Elf Dragonriders from Caledor take the fight to the enemy.[4a]
  • I, 21 (-4479) -- The forces of Chaos are driven back for a time and a fragile peace descends on Ulthuan. Aenarion marries the Everqueen Astarielle and two children, Yvraine and Morelion, are born to them.[4a]
  • I, 30 (-4470) -- The forces of Chaos attack Avelorn. The Everqueen is slain and her children believed lost. In fact they are in the care of the Treeman Oakheart. Wracked with grief, Aenarion flies to the Blighted Isle and draws the Sword of Khaine. Armed with this terrible weapon he is all but invincible for a time.[4a]
  • I, 44 (-4461) -- Aenarion, the first of the Phoenix Kings, rescues the seeress Morathi from an army of Chaos Daemons. They make their court in the fortress of Anlec.[2a]
  • I, 47 (-4458) -- Birth of Malekith. Morathi bears Aenarion an heir. The seers of Nagarythe fortell he will know a long life and a glorious reign.[1a]
  • I, 79 (-4421) -- In the Battle of the Isle of the Dead, Caledor Dragontamer creates the Great Vortex, and the Daemons are banished from the world. Aenarion the Defender suffers a mortal wound, and as his last act flies to the Blighted Isle to drive the Sword of Khaine back into its Altar. His body is never found.[3a][4a]

II: Age of Betrayal, 1-1696 (-4419 to -2723 IC)

  • II, 1 (-4419) -- The princes of Ulthuan refuse Malekith his birthright, and appoint Bel Shanaar as the new Phoenix King.[1a]
  • II, 1001 (-3419) -- Worship of the Underworld Gods, the Cytharai, begins to spread in Nagarythe. Over the coming centuries these grow into dark cults that spring up across Ulthuan.[2a]
  • II, 1581 (-2839) -- Malekith is made ambassador to the Dwarfs.[2a]
  • II, 1646 (-2774) -- Malekith returns to Ulthuan to lead the war against the Cults of Excess and denounces his own mother as a traitor to the Elves.[2a]
  • II, 1669 (-2751) -- Malekith murders the usurper Bel Shanaar and enters the Phoenix Flame. Rejected by Asuryan and horribly mutilated, he flees to Nagarythe.[1a] Later that year a band of Nagarythian assassins attempts to slay Prince Imrik, chosen successor to Bel Shanaar, but are foiled by Chracian hunters. Imrik passes through the flame of Asuryan to become the Phoenix King, taking the name Caledor.[2a]
  • II, 1670 (-2750) -- Civil war erupts as Malekith's armies march in their prince's name.[1a]
  • II, 1671 (-2749) -- The armies of Nagarythe occupy Tiranoc and much of Ellyrion. The eastern kingdoms hesitate, whilst Caledor I fights a series of desperate battles to stall the Nagarythian advances.[2a]
  • II, 1673 (-2747) -- Battle of Dark Fen. Nagarythian princes loyal to the Phoenix King fight against the army of Morathi and are defeated. They become exiles under the leadership of Alith Anar, the so-called Shadow King.[2a]
  • II, 1678 (-2742) -- War breaks out in Saphery between mages loyal to Caledor I and wizards corrupted by the powers of darkness. The lands are desolated by their magical battles.[2a]
  • II, 1680 (-2740) -- The Dark Elves, as the Nagarythians are now called, are pushed from the Inner Kingdoms back into Tiranoc and Nagarythe.[2a]
  • II, 1681 (-2739) -- A renegade priest of Vaul, Hotek, steals the Hammer of Vaul from the shrine in Caledor and travels to Nagarythe. Sorcerers loyal to Nagarythe flee the Sapherian Mages.[2a]
  • II, 1684 (-2736) -- With the aid of the renegade Sapherians and Hotek, Malekith's Armour of Midnight is forged and the Prince of Nagarythe becomes known as the Witch King.[2a]
  • II, 1685 (-2735) -- Led by the Witch King atop the Black Dragon Sulekh, the Nagarythian armies push into the Inner Kingdoms once more.[2a]
  • II, 1696 (-2724) -- Malekith and Caledor I finally meet upon the field at Maledor. Sulekh is slain and the Witch King is forced to retreat.[2a]
  • II, 1695 (-2723) -- The Sundering. The Witch King fails to destroy the Great Vortex, and the magical backlash shatters Ulthuan.[1a]

III: Age of Restless Spite, 1-2032 (-2723 to -692 IC)

  • III, 2 (-2722) -- The Witch King founds the city of Naggarond upon the western shore of the Sea of Malice and creates the kingdom of Naggaroth. The Dark Elves begin to raid the shattered lands of Tiranoc for slaves to build their new city.[2b]
  • III, 94 (-2630) -- A Dark Elf expedition returns to Ulthuan and hostilities resume. Caledor reorganizes the High Elf army for defence and begins the building of the gateway fortresses across the mountain passes of the Annulii.[2b]
  • III, 299 (-2425) -- The Dragonship Indraugnir, armed with a mighty starblade ram, sinks the Black Ark Palace of Oblivion near the Blighted Isle. This comes as a great blow to the Dark Elf fleet and marks the beginning of High Elf naval supremacy for many centuries to come.[2b]
  • III, 381 (-2343) -- The Dark Elves begin to explore the caverns beneath Hag Graef and discover the Underworld Sea. Many Dark Elves never return from the black depths. The caves and the tunnels are found to stretch far beneath the Blackspine Mountains, and the first Cold Ones are captured and brought to the surface.[2b]
  • III, 405 (-2319) -- Dark Elf knights mounted on Cold Ones and chariots pulled by the reptilian beasts are used in battle for the first time, smashing a High Elf army. The Witch King rides to war atop the Black Chariot. Despite the impact of these new troops, the organisation and numbers of the High Elves prove insurmountable.[2b]
  • III, 505 (-2219) -- The High Elves finally succeed in pushing the Dark Elves from the northern coast of Ulthuan and begin to sweep the northern seas clear of Naggarothi ships.[2b]
  • III, 524 (-2200) -- The High Elves take the Blighted Isle. Morathi conjures a storm to isolate Caledor and his ship is attacked. The Phoenix King throws himself into the sea rather than be captured and taken to Naggarond.[2b]
  • III, 525 (-2199) -- Army commanders fearing for their lives after their defeat take refuge in the port of Hag Graef, which will eventually grow into a mighty city.[2b]
  • III, 719 (-2016) -- The city of Karond Kar is founded in the eastern wilderness of Naggaroth.[2b]
  • III, 730 (-2005) -- Attacks by Dark Elves disguised as their kin from Ulthuan further heighten growing tensions between the Elves and Dwarfs. Elven arrogance and Dwarfen stubbornness pitch the two races into a bitter war that lasts for centuries, exhausting the armies of both empires.[2b]
  • III, 767 (-1968) -- A group of sorcerers and sorceresses from Ghrond are shipwrecked upon the north coast of Nehekhara and tortured by the priest Nagash until they teach him the secrets of Dark Magic. He eventually imprisons them within the Black Pyramid and goes on to become the Great Necromancer.[2b]
  • III, 1076 (-1659) -- Battle of Despair. A vast Chaos army sweeps out to the north to besiege Ghrond. Morathi's sorceries defend the city until the Witch King can lead his armies to crush the invaders.[1a]
  • III, 1136 (-1599) -- The Black Arks Citadel of Damnation and Jade Palace of Pain are beached upon the shattered isles of northern Ulthuan and Anlec is rebuilt. For the next hundred years the Dark Elves launch an invasion from Anlec that drives back the High Elves, but is held by the great gates of the mountains. Unable to breach the defences of the Inner Kingdoms, the Dark Elves tighten their grip on the northern lands.[2b]
  • III, 1143 (-1592) -- The Witch King rebuilds Anlec and begins a fresh assault on the High Elf mainland.[1a]
  • III, 1789 (-946) -- A Dark Elf counter-offensive reaches Griffon Gate but is wiped out in a trap. Dark Elf forces fall back to Anlec.[2b]
  • III, 1813 (-922) -- A Dark Elf army is ambushed at the Battle of Grey Canyon while camped in a hidden valley of the Shadowlands.[2b]
  • III, 1958 (-777) -- Dark Elf scouts trap Tethlis close to Phoenix Gate but the Phoenix King and his bodyguard fight their way free, slaying their attackers.[2b]
  • III, 1992 (-732) -- The Witch King launches a devastating winter offensive, cloaking his soldiers against the cold with powerful spells. They take several High Elf fortresses, percipitating the bitterest fighting seen since the civil war.[2c]
  • III, 1994 (-730) -- The siege of Tor Lehan, which sees both sides wiped out to the last Elf.[2c]
  • III, 2028 (-696) -- The Dark Elves are driven from the shore and Anlec is destroyed.[2c]
  • III, 2032 (-692)[1a] -- A great armada sails for the Blighted Isle and Naggaroth. The Battle of the Waves is fought on the Blighted Isle. The armada is forced to turn back. Tethlis dies in the Shrine of Khaine, his demise shrouded in mystery.[2c]

IV: Age of Hateful Peace, 1-1816 (-692 to 1123 IC)

  • IV, 606 (-87) -- Dark Elves begin to raid further westward towards Ind and Cathay.[2c]
  • IV, 869 (176) -- Following incursions by growing numbers of Chaos warbands, Malekith begins to build a line of defensive watch towers on Naggaroth's northern border.[2c]
  • IV, 904 (211) -- The watch towers are completed and almost immediately prove their worth when a Chaos army is spotted and destroyed before it can penetrate deep into Dark Elf territory.[2c]
  • IV, 1192 (499) -- Aethis the Poet becomes Phoenix King. The Witch King's agents in Ulthuan rekindle the cults of excess and begin to recruit members from the nobility.[2c]
  • IV, 1244 (551) -- A Dark Elf corsair fleet is dragged beneath the waves by an onslaught of submersible craft that appear to be half ship and half kraken. Only one of the Druchii corsairs survives, and his tales of needle-fanged warriors from the depths are dismissed as salt-madness.[5b]
  • IV, 1446 (753) -- Dark Elf ships raid far and wide across the globe, bringing back entire tribes and the populations of whole cities to labour in Naggaroth.[2c]
  • IV, 1553 (860) -- The Black Ark Talon of Agony is over turned and sunk by a gigantic magical tidal wave off the coast of Cathay.[2c]
  • IV, 1796 (1103) -- Laithikir Fellheart shadows the High Elf fleets around Cathay and Nippon and begins a century of merciless raids that see the Fellheart family rise to great power. With her charts, other Dark Elf fleets maraud with much success along the rich coasts of Ind and Cathay.[2c]
  • IV, 1813 (1120) -- The eighth Phoenix King, Aethis, is assassinated at Malekith's command.[1a] Posing as chancellor to the Phoenix King, Girathon assassinates Aethis and then escapes.[2c]
  • IV, 1815 (1122) -- A retaliatory High Elf fleet invades Naggaroth.[1a] The attack is foreseen by the Sorceresses of Ghrond and annihilated by the Dark Elves as the Asur forces try to land.[2c]

V: Age of Blood, 1-381 (1123 to 1503 IC)

  • V, 3 (1125) -- The Dark Elves retaliate and invade the Shadowlands again. In a series of lightning battles, the High Elves are driven back until only scattered bands of Shadow Warriors inhabit the Sunken Lands. So begins a long guerrilla war between the descendants of Alith Anar and the Dark Elves.[2c]
  • V, 9 (1131) -- The Dark Elves rebuild Anlec once more.[2c]
  • V, 11 (1133) -- Griffon Gate is besieged by the Dark Elves. The Phoenix King Morvael appoints Mentheus of Caledor as his military commander. Citizen-militia are trained to keep the garrisons of the gates at fully strength.[2c]
  • V, 12 (1134) -- Malekith begins to visit horrific nightmares upon Morvael, driving him ever deeper into paranoia.[2c]
  • V, 19 (1141) -- The siege of Griffon Gate continues. The fortress is surrounded by immense Dark Elf siegeworks and pounded by war machines and sorcery, but still holds against assault.[2c]
  • V, 24 (1146) -- A citizen army of spearmen led by the renowned general Mentheus eventually lifts the siege at Griffon Gate, overwhelming the weary Dark Elves with their numbers.[2c]
  • V, 380 (1502) -- Mentheus is slain as he assaults the Dark Elves at Anlec. Upon his death, Mentheus' Dragon goes berserk and routes the Dark Elves. Phoenix King Morvael, finally driven mad by the nightmares visited upon him by the Witch King, throws himself into the sacred flame of Asuryan in perishes.[2c]

VI: Age of Glorious Torment, 1-798 (1503 to 2300 IC)

  • VI, 280 (1783) -- An army led by Yrtain Nightwind assaults the High Elf colony of Arnheim in Lustria after Shades discover tunnels beneath the mountains and swamps protecting the northern approaches to the city.[2d]
  • VI, 353 (1856) -- The Dark Elf Lord Maranith takes to the air mounted on the Black Dragon, Wrath. He attacks the fleets of Ulthuan from the Black Ark Fortress of Eternal Torture. Never bested in aerial combat, he slays several Dragon Princes above the waves of the Great Ocean. The High Elves name him Caledor's Bane and the title is carried by his deadly lance ever after.[2d]
  • VI, 404 (1907) -- Lokhir Fellheart inherits command of the Black Ark Tower of Blessed Dread. His first act is to have his father's officers sacrificed to the Dark Elf gods in return for their divine favour.[2d]
  • VI, 485 (1988) -- Soldiers from the Elector Count of Nordland's army find the coastal town of Debneitz in ruins, its inhabitants' flayed corpses nailed to nearby cliffs.[2d]
  • VI, 502 (2005) -- An attempted assassination of Morathi is foiled. The Assassin dies before interrogation. Hellebron is suspected by the Hag Sorceress but nothing can be proven.[2d]

VII: Age of Vengeance, 1-Present (2300 IC to Present)

  • VII, 1 (2301) -- Great Chaos Incursion, and the War of Vengeance. Morathi strikes bargains with the northern Marauders and turns their armies upon Ulthuan rather than Naggaroth. The Dark Elves invade the isle of the High Elves alongside the barbaric hordes. Malekith sends the Daemon N'Kari to slay the Everqueen, but the Keeper of Secrets is defeated by Tyrion and Teclis.[2d]
  • VII, 3 (2303) -- Year of Blades.[1c] The Dark Elves are finally pushed from Ulthuan after much bloody fighting.[2d]
  • VII, 7 (2307) -- The Assassin Gloreir leads a coterie of Dark Elf killers into Lothern to slay the Phoenix King, Finubar. The Phoenix King is saved by his White Lions bodyguard led by Korhil. A swirling battle takes place across the rooftops of the city.[2d]
  • VII, 79 (2379) -- Corsairs from Karond Kar are shipwrecked close to the pirate isle of Sartosa. They steal several ships to escape and with the aid of local sellswords attack the cities of Luccini and Remas. They are betrayed by the mercenaries and enslaved by the pirate captains whose ships they had taken.[2d]
  • VII, 81 (2381) -- Chaos rises in the Human lands, and the High Elves send aid. Malekith sends Morathi to forge an alliance with human Chaos worshippers, and the combined armies invade Ulthuan once more. Unbeknownst to his allies, Malekith withdraws his finest troops shortly after the invasion, using his erstwhile allies - and many untrustworthy Dreadlords - to test the defences of Ulthuan without committing the bulk of his armies. With the High Elves ravaged and reeling, the stage is now set for Malekith to finally claim his due.[1a]
  • VII, 87 (2387) -- Lokhir Fellheart raids the town of Tor Canabrae on the Ulthuan coast.[2d]
  • VII, 102 (2402) -- The Witch King Returns. Having wandered long through the Realm of Chaos, Malekith finally claws his way back to the world of mortals. A patrol of Dark Riders discovers the Witch King's broken body in the shadow of the northern watchtowers, his armoured skin rent and torn. Morathi nurses her son for a year, pouring all of her vile magic and malice into his soul that it might see him restored. In the ranting of waking nightmares, the Witch King spoke of bone castles and forests of eyes. When he awakes, Malekith's eyes burn with a new light. Morathi fears that some part of her son is still trapped in the world beyond the world, but the Witch King will not be drawn into discussion. The Hag Sorceress' only clue is a broken tip of Daemon-horn the Dark Riders had found at Malekith's side.[1c] Also in this year, a band of Shades sneaks ashore on the coast of Chrace, hiding out in the forests, raiding villages and ambushing patrols. It is a full year before a force of White Lions managed to bring them to battle, riding them down with their Lion Chariots. Nevertheless, a handful of the Dark Elves escape and are never found.[2d]
  • VII, 105 (2405) --Finally recovered from his travails, the Witch King begins drawing new plans for Ulthuan's destruction. Summoning his Corsair captains, he orders them to focus their raids on the High Elves' far-flung colonies and those realms with which they trade.[1c]
  • VII, 108 (2408) -- At the Witch King's command, Lokhir Fellheart leads a great fleet of vessels against the far-flung High Elf colony of Tor Elasor. At dawn, the Black Arks Tower of Blessed Dread and Immortal Agony breach the shoreward walls with a barrage of sorcerous shot, allowing Corsairs to ransack the city beyond. Though the High Elves within fight valiantly, they could not match their attacker's ferocity. By the time dusk falls, Tor Elasor is a blood-wreathed ruin. Fellheart nails its still-breathing warden, Prince Datherion, to the uppermost wall of the central keep. So swift had the attack been that no word escapes to reach Ulthuan. When Sea Lord Aislinn leads a fleet to discover the cause of its silence, he finds the colony a charnel place of rotting flesh and rampant decay.[1c]
  • VII, 115 (2415) -- Takon Draak, last noble scion of Har Kaldra, is finally hunted down and slain by Malekith's assassins.[1c]
  • VII, 118 (2418) -- The corpse of Ernezio Porcurio, mercenary captain of Luccini, is found inside a windowless basement beneath his castle, the cellar firmly locked from the inside. No trace of the killer is found.[2d] Also in this year, having observed the realms of Ulthuan and Bretonnia making common cause on several occasions, the Witch King determines that the human kingdom should be punished. Sending emissaries to the Beastmen of the Forest of Arden and the Greenskins of the Massif Orcal, Malekith stirs up such carnage that King Charlen is forced to leave many coastal fortresses undefended to quell the tumult in his heartlands. With the armies of Bretonnia distracted, the Dark Elves rampage across its northern coast. Towns and villages burn by the score, their defenders slaughtered, and their peasants shipped north to slave in Naggaroth. L'Anguille, greatest of Bretonnia's ports, is left in ruins, the mutilated dead splayed across its streets. The Witch King is pleased -- it will be some time before the knights of Bretonnia will give strength to spare in a cause not their own.[1e]
  • VII, 123 (2423) -- Eltharion, son of Moranion, leads a daring raid against Naggrond itself. The Witch King swears revenge on his hated kin. He commands the ruling families to recruit fresh troops, appoints commanders from the most favoured lords, sends word to the raiding fleets to set sail, and launches a new invasion of Ulthuan.[2d]
  • VII, 125 (2425) -- Outraged by Eltharion's sacking of Naggarond, the Witch King orders reprisals against Yvresse. With its heartland under attack by Grom the Paunch, the realm can muster only a token defence. By the time aid arrives from Cothique, the Dark Elves have withdrawn, leaving ruin in their wake.[1e]
  • VII, 194 (2494) -- No fewer than five Black Arks sail down the Black Gulf and blockade the Dwarfhold of Barak Varr. Outnumbered and overmatched, King Gundadrakk orders his folk and their vessels of war to retreat behind the great sea gates. On this occasion, however, the Dark Elves do not seek the hold's destruction. Indeed, they are well content with their tithe of prisoners, who are soon put to work in Naggaroth's mines.[1g]
  • VII, 218 (2518) -- With the High Elves distracted by Tullaris Dreadbringer's newest assault on the Blighted Isle, Shadowblade leads a coterie of Assassins through Nagarythe and Chrace, coming at last to Cothique. There, they poison the rivers with a noxious brew of Manbane and daemonic ichor. Before long, Cothique is in the grip of a crippling plague for which no cure can readily be found.[1g]
  • VII, 222 (2522) -- No longer content to tolerate the presence of High Elves on Naggaroth's shores, the Witch King leads an assault on the port of Arnheim, obliterating it.[1g]
  • VII, 223 (2523) -- After long years of preparation, the Witch King now unleashes the full might of his armies against Ulthuan once again. For centuries, he had undermined and harried the High Elves, breaking their colonies overseas and isolating them from potential allies. Now, Malekith deems it time for his works to bear bitter fruit. All through the Season of Blood, the moons had shone with the light of slaughter, and there was no truer sign of Khaine's favour. All along the Naggarothi coast, Black Arks slip their moorings and sail east. The hour of the Witch King's triumph is finally at hand.[1g]

Source

  • 1: Warhammer Armies: Dark Elves (8th Edition)
    • 1a: pg. 15
    • 1b: pg. 26
    • 1c: pg. 27
    • 1d: pg. 28
    • 1e: pg. 29
    • 1f: pg. 30
    • 1g: pg. 31
  • 2: Warhammer Armies: Dark Elves (7th Edition)
    • 2a: pg. 13
    • 2b: pg. 28
    • 2c: pg. 29
    • 2d: pg. 33
  • 3: Warhammer Armies: High Elves (8th Edition)
    • 3a: pg. 15
  • 4: Warhammer Armies: High Elves (7th Edition)
    • 4a: pg. 36
  • 5: Warhammer Fantasy Battles Core (8th Edition)
    • 5a: pg. 175
    • 5b: pg. 176
  • 6: Sword of Caledor (novel) by William King
    • 6a: Prologue
    • 6b: Chapter 7

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