Chaos Monoliths are great monuments to individual champions of Chaos, and are also sometimes used as places of worship to the Dark Powers. They are usually erected by the members of that champion's warband, or by the members of his tribe after the champion's ascending to daemonhood. Monoliths can be found anywhere, even within the borders of the Empire, though this is rare. Most however are concentrated in Norsca and the Chaos Wastes.
Most Chaos Monoliths are constructed from stone, hence the name. However, they may also be constructed from ancient timber, metal and other even more exotic substances - such as bone, gems and flesh. The Chaos Dwarfs of Zorn Uzkul are said to cast monoliths from solid brass, polishing them to a mirror finish. Such sheen is said to reflect the savage countenance of the Champion the monolith commemorates, rather than the onlooker.
The monoliths are constructed for various reasons, such as to mark tribal territory, but their primary purpose is to commemorate a warrior who has been rewarded with the ultimate gift of daemonic immortality. The monolith stands at the point where he ascended to stand at the right hand of the gods and bears the saga of his life writ upon it in the harsh runes of the Dark Tongue.
Such monoliths are usually also wrought with the runes of the newly born demon and his patron god(s). Both are said to watch over the monoliths dedicated to them, protecting them from the decay of the ages.
Only powerful enemies of Chaos, such as the members of the Witch Hunters or the Warrior Priests of the various orders of the Empire have the courage to destroy these evil creations. The common folk of the Empire and the rest of the south fear these constructions and the incantations and rituals that are said to protect them. While the Norsemen and other followers of Chaos, even those who worship an opposing power, will invariably treat them with reverence and respect. It is common for them not to pass these great runestones without reading the sagas writ upon them, and then repeating them to all around their campfires.
Normally, it is only the Champions of Chaos who have ascended to daemonhood who warrant the creation of such edifices to mark their passing. However, on occasion, there are monuments dedicated to champions who have met different fates.
The followers or fellow tribesmen of a Champion who has become wracked with the changing energies of Chaos to such a degree as to transform into a bestial spawn may also be honoured with the erection of a monolith. The monolith will cover a pit or cell where the creature will continue to eke out its miserable existence. Such places are often shoddily made and will appear broken, often receiving little attention from the immortal patron it is dedicated to. However, other followers of Chaos who pass the shrine will often take the time to read it and offer up food and drink to the creature fettered there as a sign of respect.
Such as it is, the monolith may also be erected in remembrance of a particularly heroic champion who has fallen in battle. This is particularly likely if it was in a battle that was a great victory for Chaos, where many warriors may join together to build great monoliths for the fallen heroes. These types of monoliths always incorporate cairns where the fallen chieftain is laid to rest, sometimes with his arms and armour laid about him. Though it is admittedly more common for these to be divided amongst his retinue. These champions do not always rest easily in their eternal sleep. And may arise as fleshless wights to haunt the lands around the monolith, slaying any who dare to desecrate it or even just pass nearby. In this way, the monoliths are not merely monuments, but may also be guardians to cursed places.
Known Chaos Monoliths
- Monolith of Kjarl Deathaxe: Located on the southern shore of the Chaos Wastes, just north of Norsca. It is raised in honour of the Norse Khornate champion, Kjarl Deathaxe, leader of the Blood-Drinkers tribe. The circumstances leading to the monolith's construction are unknown, but as Kjarl was high in the favour of Khorne, it may be that the monolith was erected due to his ascension.
- Monolith of Borkill the Bloody-handed: Located in the south-western reaches of Norsca, in the tribal lands of the Skaelings, it is raised in honour of the Skaeling Chaos champion Borkill the Bloody-Handed after his triumph over a Bonegrinder Giant. In order to overcome the giant, Borkill drank from the Chalice of Chaos, which caused his body to swell with dark magic allowing him to slay the giant in a one-on-one battle. As the Chalice is known to allow those who drink to undertake the Dark Apotheoisis into daemonhood, the monolith likely commemorates Borkill's ascension.
- Monolith of Katam: Located in central Norsca, it is raised in honour of the legendary Chaos sorcerer Katam.
- Monolith of Hrothrax: The monolith of Hrothrax is located in Baersonling tribal territory. According to Norseman histories, the monolith became the site of a great battle against a tribe of Beastmen and Hrothrax's followers after the Beastmen took the monolith as their herdstone and despoiled the grave marker of the fallen shaman. Hrothrax's apprentices cast a great spell that transformed the Beastkin from monstrous warriors into harmless cattle with the drooling faces of humans. Thus, the savage Baersonlings fell upon the now-harmless Beastmen and butchered them. This chapter of victory was then etched upon the monolith.
- Monolith of Lothar Bubonicus: Raised in commemoration of the Nurglite champion, Lothar Bubonicus' ascension to daemonhood. Located somewhere in the Chaos Wastes.
- Liber Chaotica: Khorne pp, 56 - 57
- Armybook: Warriors of Chaos (8th edition) pp, 12