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"I have returned, father, to claim my birthright and my destiny. Once you spared me death, such was your folly. I shall not make the same mistake. By right of birth and conquest I claim leadership of the Khazag in the name of the true gods"
Speech of Tarok before killing his own Father with one deadly blow[1a]
Kislev Ruins

Khazag Horsemen

The Khazags were one of the larger of the Kurgan nations, known for being the first to tame the mighty War Mammoths to their service. Though the Kurgan are considered by the south to be amongst of the most significant of Chaos Gods servants, due to their numbers and willingness with which they are known to prosecute the unholy crusade of the Dark Gods, it is also true that various tribes of Kurgan have not always been slaves to Darkness. In ancient days, the Khazag tribe knew and cared little of the wars and gods of the outside world. For them, the hunt amidst the snowy steppe and the ancient gods of the wild were enough. The tribes herded the mighty mammoth, subsisting on the creatures' colossal bounty and gloried in the fury of the hunt. Theirs was a simple life, but a fool's paradise nonetheless, for none who dwell amidst the northlands can evade the baleful gaze of the Dark Gods for long.[1a]

History

The fall of the Khazags into the worship of the Dark Gods began with the fall of the chieftain's son, Tarok. Foremost amongst the tribe's young men, he was ever renowned for his skill and strength as a hunter, but his was a cruel and vengeful heart and as a young hunter, he and his followers often fell afoul of knowledge the tribal lores. One day, while Tarok and his followers were out hunting, an argument arose regarding whose spear it was that felled the great mammoth. It was a custom of the Khazag at that time that the hunter who slew the mammoth was alone entitled to feast upon its heart, thus imparting its strength to its slayer. Tarok insisted it was his weapon that had dealt the killing blow, and incensed by the continued denial of the other tribesmen, had struck him dead with his blade. Kinslaying was the worst sin a tribesman could commit, and word of Tarok's crime got out and spread amongst his people like wildfire. Many were the voices calling for his dead. His father, the chieftain, could not bring himself to kill his own blood, and instead decreed that Tarok and his followers be cast from the tribe and exiled to the lonely steppes, to live or die as Angkor, the god of the Khazags, decreed.[1a]

The Khazag moved on in their nomadic fashion, leaving Tarok to curse his fortunes. He led his warriors northwards and by some stroke of dark luck, or the will of some greater power, did not die in the wastes, but rather thrived. Not through honest labour, but rather by bartering their souls to the Dark Gods for power. In time, Tarok became a mighty champion in his own right, having earned his glory by facing the warbands of the other tribes and succeeding in battle against them. As he learned more of the dark lore and rites of Chaos, Tarok also began to plot his revenge upon those who had betrayed him. When his band grew strong enough, Tarok tracked his former tribe down and, in a night of blood and horror, did avenge himself upon his erstwhile kinsmen, slaying his own father in cold blood and forcibly installing himself as the new Zar. The Khazags were not quick to accept a murdering patricide as chief, no matter his power, and many times did they revolt against Tarok's leadership, always failing to oust the treacherous cur, but never did their spirits break regardless of whatever brutality he visited upon them. The Khazags too did aggressively resist Tarok's attempts to convert them to the worship of the Dark Gods, stubbornly adhering to their own worship of Angkor and the other spirits of nature.[1a]

Tarok grew anxious to cement his rule. Whatever he believed of his power, the truth of the matter was that his entire existence was as a pawn the Dark Gods had used to cement their hold upon the Kurgan race. The Zar begged his masters for the knowledge to turn his people to the true path. The Dark Gods answered by telling Tarok he would have to prove the weakness of the Khazag's own gods before their baleful might. Tarok knew at last what he was to do. One bloody night, he sacrificed a multitude of his kinsmen to the gods that they would grant him aid for the battle to come, and he did take his trusted band of followers north to the Chaos Waste to find Angkor and bring him back in fetters. For a year and a day it is said Tarok was abroad hunting He Who Carries the World On His Back, and it is said that the battle to finally bring the creature to heel lasted fully three days, where most of Tarok's sworn band was slain. At last, Tarok broke the Father of Mammoths, binding him to the service of Chaos and riding him back to the lands of the Khazag, thereby demonstrating amply the supremacy of the Dark Gods.[1a]

Seeing their old god broken and humbled so, the Khazag submitted at last before Tarok and eagerly accepted him as their chieftain and lord. Accepting his deities in place of their own, for truly they must have been the greater powers, as he had always claimed. From then on, the Khazags had joined their fellow tribes as servants of the Dark Gods. Once simple hunting folk, the Khazags were now willing pawns of the Gods. In the ages to come, the Khazags would fight in the endless holy wars of the gods, marshalling the ancient might of their mammoths to warfare and death. The scions of Tarok, the Zars of the Khazags, leading their kinsmen to war from the back of Angkor himself, bow and pallasz in hand. For thousands of years has it been thus, with the mighty Khazags raiding and pillaging the stanistas of the Kislevites to carry back plunder, slaves and sacrifices in honour of their Gods.[1a]

Source

  • 1: Chaos War Mammoth Background Rules (2nd Version)
    • 1a: pg. 1 - 4

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