- "Be’lakor was the very first mortal raised to the exalted rank of Daemon Prince, though what sacrifices he made and what horrors he inflicted to do so are lost even to the oldest tales. However it was Be’lakor that drew the Chaos Gods’ gaze – he somehow managed to intrigue all four of the dark brothes sufficiently that each granted him a portion of their godly might. This soon proved a mistake. The Chaos Gods seldom share anything for long, and so it was with Be’lakor...."
- —Be’lakor, the First Damned.
Be'lakor the Dark Master is the first Daemon Prince of Chaos and Father-in-Shadow to the current Everchosen, Archaon. He is known by many names: the First Damned, the Harbinger, the Lord of Torment, the Messenger oof the Great Undivided, the One Who Heralds the Conquerors, the Foretoken and the Bearer are a just a number of examples.[1a]
- "Be'lakor, Chaos Daemon Prince, has known many different names. He is a creature who wields unholy weapons and abilities, and a figure who once commanded legions of unnatural beings."
- —The Dark Master.
At the dawn of the World, Be'lakor, a savage primitive from an unknown land, became the first mortal to pledge his soul to the Chaos Gods. A fierce warrior and stlwart Champion of Darkness, the Dark Gods favoured him, luring him north to the Chaos Wastes, where he penetrated deeper and deeper into this bleak land until he came face-to-face with the maddening Realm itself. The Dark Gods rewarded his courage by destroying his mortal shell and recreating him in their image: that of a Daemon Prince. In this new form, he was a terrible force...
As the first – and at that time, the only – Daemon Prince, Be’lakor was an incomparable prize. Thus did the Chaos Gods war for control of Be’lakor’s tainted soul, each one determined to force his brothers to relinquish their claim. As battle raged, each of the Chaos Gods offered Be’lakor ever greater power, if he would simply consent to lead their armies to victory. Such a bargain was little to Be’lakor’s liking, so he tricked each of the Chaos Gods into granting their proffered gifts and then fled back to the mortal world without fulfilling his part of the bargains.
Be’lakor arrived at a time rife with opportunity for one such as he. The great Polar Gates had collapsed, and magic coursed across the world. Daemons had followed in the magic’s wake, and Be’lakor wrested many of them to his will, forging an army to serve his own purpose, rather than those of the Chaos Gods. Thus did the Daemon Prince conquer the primitive humans of the north, though many tribes came willingly to his service, for they had already pledged themselves to the Chaos Gods, and rightly saw their reflection in Be’lakor’s dark majesty. He was a creature of living shadows, tangible only when he wished to be, a master of terror and illusion who feasted upon mortal fears.
For many generations of the barbarians, Be’lakor, now worshipped as a God, revelled in his new station. He crushed races whose names are now long forgotten, and brought war upon the nascent realms of the Elves and the Dwarfs. Few could withstand Be’lakor, for the stuff of Chaos blew strong across the world, and it was his weapon and sustenance both. Cities fell beneath his wrath, their names erased from history and their peoples trampled into dust. With each victory, Be’lakor ordered monuments raised to his glory. Thus were the toppled stones hewn into new shapes: thrones, statues and skull-set monoliths, and they throbbed with the power of Chaos. Winding stairs reached into the sky, the better for the Daemon Prince to bask in the life-giving Winds of Magic, and wells were sunk deep into the ground, so that he might sup from the chaotic energies that had seeped into the bedrock.
However, each conquest not only made Be’lakor more powerful, it also edged him closer to downfall, for even in rebellion, he had unwittingly performed the Chaos Gods’ bidding. Be’lakor had done much to spread the creed of Chaos across the world. In time, the Daemon Prince’s mightiest mortal followers drew the unblinking gaze of the Chaos Gods, and were raised to Daemon Princehood themselves. This time, the dark brothers made no effort to share their mortal prizes, and nor was there any need, for there was no shortage of suitable champions. In a comparative eyeblink, Be’lakor became but one Daemon Prince amongst many. Where he had once ruled without challenge, he now found himself beset by dozens of would-be usurpers. Worse, with each new Daemon Prince who ascended, Be’lakor felt his own powers ebb, as the gifts bestowed upon him were stripped away and granted to more loyal servants. For long years, battle raged across the mortal lands Be’lakor had claimed, as the newborn Daemon Princes sought to carve out their own territories. Yet none could achieve dominance, not even Be’lakor, for all his wit and guile.
Countless thousands of humans perished in the wars of the Daemon Princes, yet out of this great evil, some good emerged. So many daemonic legions had been drawn into this conflict that the realm of Ulthuan was not so beset as it might have been, and this allowed the Elves the opportunity to marshal one last desperate attempt to stem the tide of Chaos – a Great Vortex that would siphon magic from the world.
The Elves’ great success was the Daemon Princes’ downfall. As magic faded from the world, the Daemons were drawn back into the Realm of Chaos. Be’lakor was the last to be banished, for his connection to the mortal plane was greater than any, but even he could not resist the vortex’s pull. With a thin, screeching wail, the Daemon Prince departed the mortal world. In the moment of Be’lakor’s banishment, his monuments collapsed, the ruins swallowed by the hills as if they had never been. No trace of his dominion remained.
For thousands of years, Be’lakor’s essence drifted through the Realm of Chaos. He yearned to set foot upon the mortal world once more and, feigning repentance, beseeched the Chaos Gods to send him forth once more. Yet the dark brothers remembered all too well how Be’lakor had once deceived them, and had devised a suitable punishment. Thus, for the second time in his existence, Be’lakor had succeeded in uniting the Chaos Gods with a common goal, though he found the second occasion less to his liking than the first.
Unlike other Daemons, Be’lakor would not be permitted to cross to the mortal world whenever the Winds of Magic blew strong. Instead, he would leave the Realm of Chaos only at the Dark Gods’ wish. This was a boon they granted sparingly, and then only to crown a mortal as the Everchosen of Chaos – a ceremony which served to assure the celebrant of his Gods’ favour, and torment Be’lakor with his fall from grace. Each time the coronation was concluded, Be’lakor was compelled to visit his rage upon the world as advisor to the Everchosen. Infused with unwanted subservience, Be’lakor led daemonic armies at the command of this Everchosen, only to be banished once more when his unwanted mortal liege was defeated.
Yet once again, Be’lakor proved his guile, and found ways to stretch forth his will upon the mortal world. In his times of formlessness, he whispered through the dreams of madmen and warlords, offering his service if only they would summon him into the mortal realm. Too often, such men accepted Be’lakor’s promises, foolishly believing that they could control the Daemon Prince for their own ends. Once given a gateway to the mortal world, invariably Be’lakor slew his liberator, seized the fool’s followers as his own and set them to rebuilding the glories of his halcyon days. Yet such freedom seldom lasted long. Be’lakor’s power was but a fraction of that which he had commanded in ancient days, and his ambition ever outstripped his ability. Thus, time after time, a mortal champion laid Be’lakor low and sent the Daemon Prince’s wounded spirit back to the Realm of Chaos, there to plot another escape, or await the rise of the next Everchosen.
Twelve times now has Be’lakor fulfilled his destiny as harbinger, each time attempting to escape his pre-ordained fate, but ultimately meeting with failure. Now, as the hour of the thirteenth coronation draws near, Be’lakor is driven as never before to throw off his shackles. He is determined that this time, the daemonic legions will not march at the whims of Archaon Everchosen, but in accordance with his own plan, whether the Chaos Gods wish it or no...
Crowning the Everchosen
Be'lakor first conducted his dark coronation thousands of years before the rise of Archaon. The first Everchosen, Morkar the Uniter, had risen a great army and, with the blessings of the Dark Gods, was given the task of making the world a permanent beacon of Chaos. Screaming his rage to the winds, Be'lakor descended into his own realm of madness - not seeing the battles won by Morkar, nor the rise of the man who would be a great bane of Chaos, Sigmar. Sigmar met Morkar in combat in a battle that would determine the fate of the world. The battle was likened to that between gods, but in the end Sigmar struck the killing blow, destroying Morkar and ending his incursion. From the ashes of this battle, Sigmar became the first Emperor of the united human tribes. For thousands of years since, his Empire has endured as a beacon of humanity.
Avoiding the Coronation
Because of the fickle nature of Chaos, Be'lakor was able to avoid fulfilling his hated role by assuming the form of the Shadowlord in the blighted city of Mordheim. There, he possessed the body of the next favoured warlord, Khaardun the Gloried. Believing he had defeated the Dark Gods' curse, Be'lakor grew enraged when he discovered he was trapped. He was unable to reach the Crown of Domination in his physical form, and could only be sustained by the warpstone permeating Mordheim's ruins. His fury and insanity eventually destroyed his physical body, forcing him back into the shadow paths to guard the Crown of Domination.
Hundreds of years later, Asavar Kul the Anointed became the next Everchosen, leading a campaign of death and destruction through the decadent and corrupt lands of the Empire. However, as in ages past, a champion of light rose to challenge Chaos at Mankind's darkest hour. Magnus the Pious, the future Emperor of Sigmar's Empire, joined with Ar-Ulric Kriestov and High King Alrikson to oppose the tide of Chaos coming from the north, led by Asavar Kul and Engra Deathsword. During the siege of Kislev, Magnus and Asavar Kul met in single combat, just as Sigmar and Morkar had millennia earlier - and, like that titanic battle, the Everchosen was again destroyed.[1a]
Be'lakor, watching from the heavens, screamed in fury as the chosen conqueror again fell in combat. He knew that if the Dark Gods had not cursed him, he would have destroyed Sigmar himself millennia earlier - and the multiple Everchosens would not have been required.[1a]
- "You think you are the first to bear such dark honours? You are a nothing. Born of nothing. The hollow fruit of an empty womb. All that you are I put in there. But think not that I afford you any affection for that. My half-breeds roam the world. Thousands more serve me not in flesh but in deed. They carry my mark. They live for my favour. They know their place. They do not carp and question. They serve the darkness of this world through the darkness they find in themselves. They serve their father-in-shadow - the darkness that is Be’lakor..."
- —Archaon meets with the First Damned.
Be'lakor was subject to another End Times prince when Archaon started to subjugate the northern tribes while claiming the necessary relics to be named the Everchosen. Be'lakor held the Crown of Domination, and was the only one who could conduct the coronation - and only the Everchosen could receive the crown.[1a]
Furthermore, this would-be Everchosen was unlike any who had come before him, for he was of Be'lakor's own daemonic flesh and blood. He had been born from the rape of an Imperial peasant-woman, one of many such half-breeds that Be'lakor had fathered in his long existence. Despite this, however, he would give no quarter to the one who sought to become the Lord of the End Times.
Be'lakor, in his guise as the Dark Master, had planned to take the Crown of Domination for himself, gather enough power to gain physical form by holding Albion in his grip, then descend on Archaon and feast on his soul in the view of the Dark Gods. However, his plans fell apart and, his immortal spirit filled with fury, Be'lakor was once again forced to perform the dark coronation. Descending like a dark angel, Be'lakor knelt before Archaon, hatred and rage filling his soul. He would once again be on the sidelines in the next great Chaos War.[1a]
Shadows Over Albion
Since being defeated at Mordheim, Be’lakor roused few times from his nightmares to crown another Champion of Chaos, to send warriors in a futile effort to sack Cathay or other lands. He finally stirred in 2520, awakening with a perfect vision to free himself from the bonds placed on him by Tzeentch. Be’lakor knew a new Champion was rising. But, before he placed the Crown upon this Champion’s head, he escaped the Realm of Chaos and searched the world for the power that would restore him to his destiny. The key to his power lay in the Crown of Domination, the symbol and artefact that offered a Champion the power to unite Chaos under one banner.
Be’lakor’s curse prevented his incorporeal form from seizing the Crown. The only way he could take the artefact for himself was to restore his mortal form. Only the mightiest magic could achieve this. Be’lakor believed this magic lay within far-flung Albion.
He flew to the misty isle, bringing with him a mantle of blood and destruction. There, he tore the life energies from the very rock of this mystic isle to weave for himself a new body. Be’lakor was thwarted once more by the denizens of this strange and legendary place, their forces bolstered by Bretonnian crusaders and Imperial soldiers. Alas, while the Daemon Prince and his Dark Emissaries were defeated, it was not before he stole enough magic to form a semi-solid body...
Storm of Chaos
Attention, Empire Citizens!
This article contains information regarding the Storm of Chaos alternative ending, which is now considered non-canon.
- "Be'lakor! A name that has spread across the northern Empire in recent times, spoken in terrified whispers. Now the nightmare hinted at by the doomsayers has become a reality..."
- —The Dark Master invades the Empire.
During the Storm of Chaos, Be'lakor followed in Archaon's wake as he marched upon Middenheim. Leading a vvast horde of Daemons, he paused on the battlefield where Archaon had killed Volkmar, who had earlier attempted to end the Everchosen's threat. Sensing a means to assert his superiority over Archaon, Be'lakor drew forth his most ancient magics and dragged the Grand Theogonist's soul back into his body. Returned from death, Volkmar was chained to Be'lakor's battle standard, where the priest's screams would unnerve the enemies of Chaos.
Be'lakor's name began to spread across the northern Empire, spoken in terrified whispers. Now the nightmare hinted at by the doomsayers had become a reality. The magical winds increased in strength for many days, and omens of evil plagued Middenheim and the surrounding area. At Krudenwald, a great magical storm enveloped the town for several hours, culminating in the sky splitting asunder and pouring forth a tide of daemonic beasts spawned from the twisted imaginings of a madman. At their head soared the Dark Master, a palpable wave of terror spreading out before him.
When Be'lakor and his unholy army marched upon Middenheim, they still carried Volkmar's tormented body upon their war-banner. The Imperial defenders were horrified, and terror began to visibly spread amongst their ranks. Hundreds of men kneeled and clawed at their eyes as the great, winged figure of Be'lakor rose into the air above his unnatural legion. Hope was not lost, however, for the knights of Bretonnia had witnessed the Dark Master's coming, and charged into his ranks.
In the melee that followed, the Bretonnian King and his knights battled fiercely against the daemonic host. Protected from the evil sorceries of the Daemon Prince by enchantments of the Lady, Louen Leoncoeur engaged Be'lakor in single combat. As the King of Bretonnia fought bravely against the Dark Master, an anguished cry was heard over the battlefield. Volkmar the Grim had ripped free of the chains binding him to Be'lakor's army standard, and laid about the surrounding daemons with those self-same enchanted chains. Bloodied but unbowed, the injured Volkmar was carried free upon the back of Louen's hippogryph and taken to the Temple of Shallya in Middenheim.
The defenders of Middenheim were ultimately victorious, and Be'lakor's legion was greatly diminished. Forced northwards, the Dark Master was pursued by an army of Sigmarites and Ulricans, led by Count von Raukov and the Ar-Ulric, Emil Valgeir.
When Karl Franz and Valten attempted to assault Archaon's personal army as he regathered his strength at the village of Sokh, Be'lakor's daemonic hordes came at them from the west. The imperial army was only saved thanks to the intervention of the High Elves. While the Swordmasters of Hoeth held the line against the daemons, it was Teclis who did cast a mighty spell of banishment that flung Be'lakor and his servants back to the Realm of Chaos.[4a]
The Magewrath Throne
The Dwarf line met that of the northlanders with a clamour that shook the valley. At once, the booming war-song of the Dwarfs melded with the harsh cries of tthe plate-clad Chaos Warriors. The clash of steel upon gromril and the first cries of the wounded sounded soon after.
Be’lakor watched it all from the top of the Magewrath Throne, and hissed with amusement. Of all mortal creatures, Dwarfs were amongst his favourite to torment. Few creatures had such brittle pride as the Children of Grungni, who refused to acknowledge the terror Be’lakor evoked even as it consumed their will to fight.
The Daemon Prince did not know how the Dwarfs had learned he sought to raise the throne, to release the magics bound to his former glories, but he was glad they had come, nonetheless. Be’lakor knew that Archaon would soon demand his presence once more, and relished the opportunity for a malevolence of his own choosing.
With a guttural laugh, the Daemon Prince drew upon the magic buried in his skull-borne eyrie. At once, the shadows of the valley floor came to life. Some crawled across the withered grassland as flickering tendrils, grasping at dwarfen legs, and holding the stocky creatures fast as northlander axes hacked down. Others became vaporous clouds that forced their way through close-set helms and smothered their victims. Dwarfs dropped their weapons and clawed uselessly at their throats, ravaged lungs gasping for air that would not come.
As the shadows struck home, the trickle of terror became a flood, and Be’lakor drank it in like the headiest of wines. He could feel the panic rising in the minds of his foes, could sense limbs growing numb and reactions slowing as fear set in. Yet Be’lakor saw a defiant soul spark brightly amongst the growing darkness. Consumed by indignant wrath, the Daemon Prince took wing, resolving to slay the wretch himself.
A crack of handguns sounded as Be’lakor sped across the battlefield, but the heavy bullets passed harmlessly through his intangible form, skeins of smoke-like essence spiralling in their wake. In response, the Daemon Prince called forth a great shadowy scythe and sent it arcing through the Thunderers’ ranks. A dozen Dwarfs fell dead as the blade passed through them, their bodies unmarked, but each face frozen in a rictus of terror.
With a sweep of wings, Be’lakor landed behind his chosen prey, a red-bearded fool who strode to battle naked save for his tattoos. There was no sound to herald his coming, but the Dwarf knew it all the same. Wrenching his axe free from the bloody ruin of a Chaos Warrior’s skull, he spun on his heel and swung at the Daemon Prince. The runes upon the axe-head glowed blue as the blade touched Be’lakor’s billowing form, and the Daemon Prince snarled in sudden pain. His return blow would have disembowelled the Dwarf, had only it connected, but the Slayer had foreseen the attack, and stepped out of the blade’s swing.
The Dwarf was laughing now, making unlikely claims about the Daemon Prince’s parentage, and besmirching his prowess in other endeavours. The insults mattered little to Be’lakor, but the Dwarf’s continued defiance was another matter. The Daemon Prince could sense the nearby warriors taking heart from their fellow’s courage – a malaise that could not be permitted.
As the Slayer swung his axe once again, Be’lakor caught the Dwarf’s strike on his own blade and willed the shadows within his own daemonsword to life. They came at once, oozing from the sword to entwine the axe-blade, locking it in an unbreakable grip. Thus, when Be’lakor swept his sword away, the axe was torn from the Slayer’s hands, leaving him defenceless before the Daemon. Even then, the Dwarf did not lose his valour, but came forward with meaty hands balled into fists. A moment later, he died as defiantly as he had lived, the point of Be’lakor’s sword lancing through his belly. Steaming, blood-slicked innards slid across the ground. The Slayer made one involuntary mewling noise, then fell still.
At once, the courage awakened by the Slayer’s defiance was smothered like a candleflame beneath an ocean. Be’lakor gave a savage smile, and took wing in search of fresh prey. There was time for a little more torment yet, before the Everchosen summoned him...
Attention, Empire Citizens!
This article contains information regarding the End Times, the actual canon ending of Warhammer.
- "You think to banish me?" Be'lakor roared. He smacked a fist into his chest. "I am the First Damned, and older than any exorcism or right of banishment. I have more right to stride this world than you, and I will not be cast out - not now, not ever!"
- —The Dark Master faces the Lady of the Lake.
The daemon had been lurking in the shadows as Lileath, goddess of the Elves, revealed to the Bretonnian Duke Jerrod that she was the Lady of the Lake. The Lady explained how she had been creating another world, known as the Haven, inhabited by all who had supped from the Grail. Jerrod found himself rocked to the core by what he saw as a betrayal. Lileath tried to explain to the enraged Duke that she had chosen his forefathers to serve a greater goal, that she had risen them up from a tribe of primitive horsemen, that she had given them a purpose.
Jerrod could not be bandied by words, however. His rage at the goddess grew. Drawing his sword and taking it in a two-handed grip, he levelled the point at Lileath's neck. Jerrod never truly knew whether he would have gone through with this act of murder. Certainly, the fury and sense of betrayal rushing through his blood urged him to do so, but some semblance of honour held him back. His sword wavered, then steadied. It was at that moment that Be'lakor - fearing that his prize was about to be slaughtered before him - burst from the shadows. The sight of the daemon at last forced Jerrod to a decision - or at the very least drove the Duke's instincts to take over.
Be'lakor bore down on Lileath, writhing darkness trailing behind him. Jerod took a long step to stand between them, dropping his sword down into a guard pose as he did so. Be'lakor did not slow, but lashed out with his shadow-sword, thinking to cut down the arrogant mortal who stood before him.
Jerrod's blessed blade gleamed as it intercepted the stroke, shining steel clanging home against a sword of misery and deception. The First Damned swept his wings back, climbing briefly away. Then he dived back down with a sibilant hiss, his shadow-sword outstretched like a spear. As Jerrod cursed himself for not bringing his shield, Lileath shoved past him, her staff in her hands. She raised it, and bolts of blinding light lanced from its tip to strike the approaching daemon. Or they would have, had they not passed through Be’lakor’s form like arrows punching through fog. She had lost much of her power.
Jerrod reached out and grabbed the goddess by her shoulder, flinging her aside as Be’lakor swooped down over them. He caught the creature’s blow on his sword once more, and pain pulsed through his shoulder joint. Again, he parried, turning aside a strike before it could pierce his heart. This time, however, Be'lakor lashed out with his free hand. The talons raked across Jerrod's exposed face, ripping three bloody lines across his skin. The Duke slammed into the ground, skidding through the mud. Blood streamed from his wounds, and from an eye that would never see again. Jerrod moaned with pain and tried to stand, but his arms had lost their strength and he collapsed into the leaves.
Be'lakor dropped to the ground beside the injured Duke. The First-damned regarded him for a moment, then brought a clawed heel down upon Jerrod's left calf. The Duke screamed as the force of the blow buckled his armour, pulverising the flesh beneath and snapping the bones.
Be'lakor turned to the goddess this time, she attempted to banish him, but the First-Damned was older than any exorcism, and could not be so easily cast into the Realm of Chaos by the young magic of the Elves. The shadow-sword lashed out, cutting deep into Lileath's forearm. Be'lakor lunged forward to seize the stricken goddess, his claws brushed her arm, but did not close. For at that moment Be'lakor screamed in agony. Behind the daemon, Jerrod released his grip on the sword he had thrust deep into the daemon's back, and collapsed once again, this time lapsing into a fevered unconsciousness. Be'lakor gave another bellow of pain as he twisted the Bretonnian's sword free, a spill of dark blood flowing from the wound.
Unfortunately for the wounded Daemon Prince, he was captured by the Incarnates and brought before their council. Breaking free from the magical chains that bound him, the First Damned made to attack, only to be banished back into the Realm of Chaos...
Wargear and Abilities
- "He is the First, the Harbinger of Doom. Where he treads, the shadows writhe, and the light flees in terror. Speak not his name."
- —From the Book of Shadows, translated from Arabyan by Albrecht Anroth.
In his incarnation as the first Daemon Prince, Be’lakor was a god-like being of terrible power. Even now, in his humbled state, he remains one of the Dark Gods’ deadliest creations. He is a master of the Lore of Shadows and his mere presence can cause entire armies to rout in fear.
- The Blade of Shadows - Be’lakor wields an esoteric, daemonic blade, its ghostly form in eternal transience between shape and shadow; solidity and silhouette. Mastery of this weapon enables Be’lakor to scythe through armour, scale, flesh and bone without resistance, its essence changing in an instant from formless shadow to murderous edge at its master’s whim. Whether the weapon is a part of the Daemon itself, or perhaps an ancient gift bestowed upon him by the Dark Gods that Be’lakor somehow retained in spite of his fall from favour, none can truly say.
- 1: Warhammer Armies: Storm of Chaos (6th Edition)
- 1a Page 25.
- 2: The End Times Vol V: Archaon
- 3: Storm of Chaos - The Loremaster's Journal
- 4: Darkness Rising - The Complete History of the Storm of Chaos
- 4a Page 75.
- 5: Games Workshop Webstore: Be'lakor, Daemon Prince
- 6: Archaon: Lord of Chaos
- 7: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd Ed - Tome of Corruption
- 8: Shadows Over Albion: Dark Shadows (6th Edition Summer Campaign)
- 9: Battlescroll - Be’lakor (8th Edition)