- "Few names in the history of Kislev still evoke as much dread as that of Engra Deathsword. So complete was his destruction of Praag that the ruins of the city were infused with the stuff of Chaos. Old texts tell of the walls, once made of stone, transformed into a grotesque, fleshy substance said to be remains of those warriors who fought against the dark Champion's horde. These walls grew faces, and their mouths screamed blasphemous curses, driving those who heard them mad. He was merciless, relentless and nigh invulnerable, clad from head to toe in armour of midnight black. His weapons were imbued with the unholy power of the Dark Gods. It took no less a man than Magnus the Pious to put an end to his bloody campaign. Had it not been for noble Magnus, the greatest cities of the Empire would have suffered the same terrible fate as Praag."
- —Tzarina Katarin of Kislev.
Engra's name is amongst the most dreaded and despised in all the annals of Kislev's long history. For while Sven Bloody-Hand's bloody devastation of Erengrad is justly regarded as a terrible atrocity by Kislevite and Imperial alike, and while Valmir Aesling broke the power of the Norscan Dwarf clans for all eternity with his destruction of Kraka Drak, Engra Deathsword's annihilation of the northernmost of the Kislevite cities was an act of utter horror. The monstrosity of the act so pleased the Dark Gods that a black wind blew from the north. Roaring out of the Chaos Gateway, it boiled through the Troll Country, raging into northern Kislev. The wind howled through the pathways of the city, transforming everything it touched. Man and stone bled together into grotesque, living sculptures, distorted faces writhed out from the walls, and imprisoned souls screamed in agony, entrapped within the twisted stones of the city, while their agonised limbs writhed out from between the flagstones of the pavement. By the wrath of this one Norscan warlord, the city of Praag had become a nightmare incarnate - and a taste of what awaited the Old World were the armies of the north victorious in their struggle.
The Butcher of Praag
Engra Deathsword was one of the three generals of Asavar Kul's forces, drawn up from the Norse tribes. Alongside his fellow Norse champions, Valmir Aesling and Sven Bloody-Hand, he led the 'northern arm' of Kul's army into Kislev, despoiling many Ungol settlements along the way. While the Norsemen assaulted the south directly, Kul led his Kurgan army out of the east, through the High Pass of the Worlds Edge Mountains.
Engra's army, including the mightiest of the Chaos Spawn of Khorne, Scyla Anfingrimm; the ancient Shaggoth, Kholek Suneater; and Angkor, Ancestral father of Mammoths and god of the Khazag Kurgans, invaded the Northern Oblast, laying waste to the Ungol settlements and Kislevite fortresses dotting the plains. While Sven's fleet raided further down the coast, sacking the northern port city of Erengrad before escaping back to the sea, Engra's cold, northern eyes were set upon the greatest and most northerly of the Ungol cities - Praag. Long had the trading metropolis weathered the depredations of the Norse and Kurgan, and when word had reached them of the Chaos army making way to tear down their walls, the brave defenders of the city readied themselves to beat back the invaders, no matter the cost. But even as the defenders prepared, Praag faced a massive influx of refugees fleeing the countryside from the Norse invaders; though they brought with them livestock and whatever else they could salvage from their decimated fields, it was not enough to sustain the overcrowded populace. Within a matter of months, the defenders of Praag's walls were on the brink of starvation; and plague soon took root amongst them, killing hundreds before any Norseman had even struck a blow.
Outside the city, Deathsword's army had already constructed a settlement of its own. A city of tents built of wood, flayed skin and iron. Initially, there was no great offensive on Engra's part, as he deigned to allow Nurgle's gift to ravage the Kislevite city for a time. Most conflicts were contained to small raids upon the city by the Norse, most often led by Champions of Khorne, who could wait no longer for the blood-letting to commence. The people of Praag weathered attack after attack from frenzied bands of Northmen, hoping against all hope that relief would come from Kislev or perhaps further south. For days the great bastion held strong, its warriors fighting with a bravery beyond all sanity, but in the end, it would avail them not.
When the plague had risen to overtake the city, Engra shifted his tactics from attrition warfare to the pure brutality the Norse are so famed for. Kholek and Angkor were unleashed upon the city walls, smashing them to dust, with that, mobs of frenzied northmen charged screaming into the city, slaying all whom they beheld. Engra was in the forefront of battle, slaying hundreds with frenzied swings of his axe and sword. After a bitter battle, Praag finally fell in the winter of 2302 IC. The blood spilled within its streets led to the eyes of the Dark Gods being drawn towards Engra's conquest. The raw power of Chaos swept through the land, the sheer horror of what Engra had done causing the might of the Dark Gods to descend upon and despoil the city. Praag was subjugated to horrors of such magnitude, the likes of which forgotten even by Elves and only dimly recalled by Dwarfs in ancient nightmares. When the hosts of Magnus the Pious reached the steppe, they could only look on in utter horror at the monstrosity of what had befallen the city, and weep openly when they realised the depth of their failure. Praag had fallen and Chaos was triumphant.
After the conquest of Praag, Engra's forces were joined by Asavar Kul and his Kurgans, as well as fellow Norsemen under Sven Bloody-Hand. Together, they massed into a single, mighty force and marched upon Kislev itself. After they learned of the fall of Praag, the Dwarfs of Karaz-a-Karak, though themselves under siege by Chaos forces, lent their blades to Tzar Alexis' defence. The first assault of the Chaos forces, mainly composed of Beastmen, drove the Kislevite defenders from their outer defences and behind the city walls. It was the stolid determination of the Dwarfs that prevented the hordes of Chaos from breaking through the city gates. As the Chaos hordes prepared for a second attack, they were struck in their unguarded flank by the combined forces of Magnus' Imperial troops and Teclis' devastating magical assault. The Chaos Champion, Asavar Kul, a canny tactician as well as a savage warrior, divided his forces, sending one to attack the city, and one to counter the Imperial army.
The Imperials managed to resoundingly defeat the troops of the horde sent against them with Teclis' magical support. However, the forces of Chaos were too large to be completely destroyed. They eventually redeployed and managed to push the Imperial army onto the defensive, keeping it away from the relief of the city. On the city walls, the battle between the forces of Chaos and the Imperial relief army was seen by the Kislevite defenders. Three hundred Dwarfs broke out of the city gates in an attempt to try and reach the Imperial relief forces, but they were beaten back; not even the eldest Dwarf Ironbreakers could withstand the fury of the Norse and Kurgan champions. Only half of the Dwarfs returned to the beleaguered Kislevite capital. When all hope seemed lost, the advance Imperial force, which had been sent to relieve fallen Praag but had turned back to rejoin the main body of the Imperial army, appeared on the northern horizon, on the now named, Hill of Heroes, and launched a devastating attack borne of hatred upon the Northmen.
Watching the enemy suddenly broken by the appearance of the Imperial reinforcements, Magnus spurred his men on to one last herculean effort to relieve the city. Seeing the forces of the south had gained some momentum, the gates of Kislev were opened and the Kislevites and their Dwarf allies spilled forth to slam into the army of Chaos from yet another flank. Caught between three separate offensives on every side, the forces of Chaos lost all discipline, milling as a mass to be cut down where they stood. The Kurgan war chieftain, Asavar Kul, attempted to marshal his forces to beat back the enemy, but his efforts were cut short as a jagged blade impaled him through his helmet. Some tales whisper it was the blade of Engra, or perhaps Sven, that cut down the Chosen one. Others claimed it was merely a sign of the fickle gods of the north abandoning their chosen. Whatever the case, Asavar lay dead, and without his charismatic will to guide them, the Northmen fell back into tribal rivalry even while they were being pushed from the Kislevite steppes.
Though the army was routed and the Everchosen slain, Engra Deathsword was nowhere to be found in the aftermath.
Attention, Empire Citizens!
This article contains information regarding the End Times, the actual canon ending of Warhammer.
- 5: Archaon: Everchosen (Novel by Rob Sanders)
- 6: Warhammer: The End Times Compilation