- "In the distance I beheld a Lord of Change, wings torn and limb bloody. ’Twas then the heat haze cleared to reveal the Flesh Hound pack loping at his heels. Iridescent fire blazed from the Feathered Lord's open mouth and washed over his pursuers, but the collars around the hounds’ neck glowed dully and the flames died. Last strength spent, the Lord of Change fell to his knees. With one mind, the pack lunged, and soon their prey was nought but torn offal and bloodied plumage"
- —Liber Malefic.[1a]
Flesh Hounds, known also as the Dogs of War, the Blood Trackers, the Inevitable Ones, the Flesh Renders or the Hounds of Wrath are rapacious wolf-like Daemons, both reptilian and savagely canine in aspect.
The Flesh Hounds are Khorne’s blood-hunters, lithe yet powerful, able to dart aside from a swordsman’s strike and pull a knight from the saddle as part of the same fluid motion. Khorne favours his Flesh Hounds above all the other Daemons in his service, and he lavishes them with generous gifts. All Flesh Hounds wear an ornate brass circlet about their scaled necks. These Collars of Khorne are forged in the heat of the Blood God’s rage at the very foot of the Skull Throne. Thus empowered, these studded bands render Flesh Hounds all but immune to the effects of hostile magic, for Khorne loathes to see his chosen servants felled by the perfidious practice of the arcane.[1a]
Many Flesh Hounds also bear other brands and trinkets: skull-runed rivets, iron plates, bone fetishes and brass chains are all common adornments, granted for felling especially mighty warriors or hated foes. Some of the oldest and most baleful Flesh Hounds bear many dozens of such tokens — so much so that they clink and clatter with every loping step. When a being — mortal or Daemon — rouses the Blood God’s ire, he rises from the Skull Throne and sounds a single sonorous note on a great brass horn. This blast echoes through the mortal and daemonic realms alike as a peal of portentous thunder, rousing Flesh Hounds from their slumber and loosing them upon the hunt. Few can survive gory pursuit by these relentless carnivores, for Flesh Hounds are faultless and instinctive trackers, able to harry their quarry across fen, forest and stone without once losing the scent or tiring of the chase. Bloodletters commonly run and leap in the Flesh Hounds’ wake, ever eager to claim part of the spoils and sup the blood of the fallen.[1a]
Wherever the foul daemons of the Blood God may stride the land, always at their feet run these terrible hunting beasts. They are the hounds of Khorne, savage, unearthly creatures that will chase their victims across the leagues of the known world to bring them to ground, and then drag their carcass back to the Skull Throne. They are the embodiment of war and battle at its most unforgiving, like the savage thrill felt when plunging a sword into the enemy's back as he turns in cowardly flight, and cut down like wheat the defeated foe as they beg for mercy.[2a]
The Flesh Hounds are hideously canine, and are some eight feet long from nose to tail. Their lean, wiry frames have an arched back and their skins' hue runs from the most violent reds to the bruised purples of flesh and muscle. Along their backs may be spikes of bone or rows of iron plates, driven down along the spine, held in place by brazen rivets each moulded in the shape of the Blood Lord's skull rune. While their necks are encased in heavy iron collars, wherein resides their god's abhorrence of all things sorcerous. In this way even the greatest mage's power may crumple and fail before the hounds and the other daemons of Khorne. Their faces are permanently twisted in a feral snarl.[2a]
Their blank-white eyes are hooded beneath heavy brows and their slavering mouths contain massive fanged teeth with which they plunge into the throats and bodies of their victims. They may have a mane of blood-matted hair that runs down their backs and across their shoulders. From this emerges more bones, either straight and sharp as spikes, or twisted and curled as horns. Their legs are strong, empowered by unnatural muscle, and they may leap taller than a man in their race to hunt down their prey. At the end of each foot are razor-edged claws of iron, as vicious as meat-hooks.[2a]
The Blood god does bestow his hounds upon his mightiest champions as gifts to further the tally of skulls they may take for him. Thus along the battleline there may be several fell warriors who do command a single, a pair or even as many as eight of these creatures. Sometimes they will be chained to a leash, held in the hand of their master or some unfortunate among his followers, and they will strain and buck as they smell their foe. Others will be allowed to roam freely, though they will never venture far from their masters until the enemy is broken and the rout begins.[2a]
Some of the learned of mankind who have taken to this study believe simply that this is in their nature as part of their obedience to their god, ensured through the medium of their master. These scholars see only a fraction of the reality: when a champion is rewarded in this way, he becomes a root by which the daemon may follow him beyond the reach of the Shadow. Just as the hound protects him, so too does the man sustain it with the devotion of his immortal soul to his foul god. But while the gifts of these beasts are not uncommon, the Flesh Hound's true purpose does not become apparent until the point at which the fighting turns from a battle into a slaughter: when that first foe does turn in flight before the axes of Khorne and all his fellows know the battle is lost. Then the Fleshhounds rise to ensure that none may escape the wrath of the Blood Lord.[2a]
Once the hunt is complete and the prey is slaughtered, the Flesh Hounds return to Khorne’s throne room where they gnaw upon their victim’s bones and wait impatiently for the call of the hunt to sound once again. In battle, Flesh Hounds are unleashed against the enemy lines prior to the main attack. They bound towards the foe, hungry for the taste of living flesh. The ferocity of a Flesh Hound attack tears bloody rents in the foe’s formation, leaving the enemy all the more vulnerable to the coming assault by Bloodletters and Bloodcrushers. Only steely nerve and certain strike offers any defence against such an onslaught — the primal consciousness of the Flesh Hound is utterly implacable and knows no fear — save for that of Khorne himself — and it would fight on should even the combined hosts of the world stand to bar its path. When the battle is won and the enemy broken and scattered, the Flesh Hounds begin their savage pursuit once more, running the fleeing foe to the ground and tearing them to shreds with their blood-dark claws.[1a]
- 1: Warhammer Armies: Daemons of Chaos (8th Edition)
- 1a: pg. 31
- 2: Liber Chaotica (Volume I)
- 2a: pg. 76 - 77