Karanak, known as the Hound of Vengeance, the Endless Hunter and the Talon of the Skull Throne is the three-headed Flesh Hound that prowls and guards Khorne's grand throne room. He never sleeps, for like the Blood God's unreasoning vengeance Karanak is ever watchful. He searches every shadow for intruders and interlopers, or else gnaws on bones discarded from the Skull Throne or stalks Bloodletters and Furies through the vaulted hall. Should Karanak sight suitable prey he pounces without mercy. Not for him the lingering death delivered by Slaaneshi Daemons; Karanak’s kills are quicksilver perfection, the better to swiftly feed his hunger and his master’s need for spilt blood without having to empower his hated rival.[1b]
As the physical manifestation of Khorne's vengeance, Karanak is Khorne's chosen hunter, the Daemon the Blood God unleashes to search out those who have transgressed his creed, or have offered insult to his colossal pride. It is a choice well made, for Karanak is ruthless and implacable, able to follow the blood scent of a quarry across all of space and time in service to his vengeful master.[1b]
The hunt begins as Karanak's three snouts taste the air for a trace of his prey. He paces to and fro, growling and snarling as each head in turn savours a portion of the scent. Each can track Karanak's quarry in a different fashion. The first head can follow the trail through space and can track the victim over plain, forest, mountain, and other environments too bizarre to describe. The second can follow the scent through time, back into the past to the very creation of everything that is, or forward to the end of the universe. The final head tracks the quarry through his own thoughts, pursuing through dreamscapes and delusions. Of the three heads it is the last that is most dangerous, for the first two can be fooled by those with the wit to do so, but only the insane can run beyond the trace of their own mind.[1b]
With the odour of his victim thick in his nostrils, Karanak begins to run, slowly at first and then faster as the prey grows closer and the blood scent grows stronger. As leagues untold fall away beneath his clawed feet, Karanak's bestial howls echo through the void, drawing other Flesh Hounds to his presence, all eager for the feast. The bestial chorus of Karanak's hunt has long since become known as harbinger of dire fates, not only in the Realm of Chaos, but in the kingdoms of the Empire and Bretonnia, and a thousand others besides. When mortal men hear that howl they lock their doors, bar their gates and pray that this evil fate is meant for another.[1b]
By the time Karanak reaches his prey ten score or more other Flesh Hounds follow the trail alongside him, each driven to snarling madness by the glory of the hunt. None can stand against such maddened ferocity — within moments of arrival Karanak roars his victory and departs once more, the tattered corpse of his victim clasped tight between his jaws. The skull of the quarry goes to Khorne, as token of his will obeyed. The remainder of the corpse — blood, flesh and bone alike - is Karanak's to nest amongst and feast upon. For days afterward the sound of breaking bones echoes about the Skull Throne as the three-headed hound devours the last of his luckless prize.[1b]
The Wrath of Karanak
In 2460 IC, Ricart Drallborg, aspirant wizard of the Gold Order, summoned the Daemon-hound to eliminate his rivals. Alas for Drallborg his enchantments cannot cage Karanak and the Gold Wizard is the first to feel the beast’s jaws. Sustained by the stray energies within the Gold College, Karanak then hunts freely and slaughters all the wizards within its walls.[1a]
- Karanak is likely based on Cerberus, the multi-headed hound of Hades in Greek Mythology who guarded the gates of the Underworld to prevent the dead from leaving.