- "Amid the darkness and horror of a world splintering apart, the armies of the true creators, we who were ancient at the dawn of time, will march forth once more. We shall sweep away all that is Chaos and Disorder, for ours is the true path, and none shall defy us!"
- —Translation from ancient plaques attributed to Venerable Lord Kroak[3a]
Venerable Lord Kroak, Defender of Itza or the Deliverer of Itza is said to have been the first of the Slann Mage-Priests spawned upon the world, the eldest of the fabled First Generation. The mysterious Old One Тероk taught Kroak of the Winds of Magic, and it was the serene Potec who shared the secrets of unwinding the threads of time. It is written that Lord Kroak and his peers were the ones to teach the first ancestors of the Elves to wield magic. These things and more has Kroak seen and it is said he is fated to endure until the last moment of the universe itself. Lord Kroak made the most profound of sacrifices during the Great Catastrophe, but his indomitable spirit would not concede defeat and he became the first of the Relic Priests.[2b]
In the wake of the defence of Itza, Lord Kroak’s loyal Skink attendants lamented the death of their almighty master, whose body was scattered far and wide. Diligently, the Skinks collected every last scrap of that ravaged body and, with great reverence, the remains were swathed in resin-soaked wrappings. Thus was created the first Relic Priest, of which many more have been created. The Lizardmen have found the spirits of these departed Slann so powerful that they often linger near their former bodies. In times of need, a Relic Priest is brought forth from hidden crypts to enact once more the Great Plan of the Old Ones.[2b]
Now, behind the enigmatic visage of his golden death mask, he can no longer communicate, but his spirit form can still interact with the material world. Some vestige of power resides in him still, a distant echo of former glory, yet strong enough to unleash destruction upon his enemies. At need, his shrivelled and lifeless husk is brought forth from Itza, and it has guided the Lizardmen to yet further victories.[2b]
- "Suddenly we heard the haunting sound of many reed pipes and the thunder of great resonant drums. A procession of Skink musicians and bronze clad Saurus brandishing halberds appeared from a great dark portal on the platform of the pyramid. Behind these came an extraordinary sight. Four Saurus wearing armour made from the bones of gigantic monsters, bearing on a palanquin what appeared to be a bundle of rags tied up with string and bedecked with colourful plumes and glittering gold objects. Strapped to the head of this object was a golden mask fashioned in the form of a grimacing slann. Its huge, staring inlaid eyes of shell and topaz were very disconcerting. The palanquin swayed and lurched from side to side as the bearers danced to the rhythm of the drums and pipes. It was a strange hypnotic tune which I shall never forget. Even to this day it still haunts me!"
- —Extract from "The Tale of Marco Colombo", circa. 1492 IC[4f]
When Lord Kroak was still alive upon this world, he was one amongst many of the First Spawning who participated in the time known only as the Great Catastrophe, where it was said that a tear between the rifts of space and time was formed and Chaos flowed like a river upon the world. It was here, during this ancient time of battle after battle that the First Spawning all fought, bled and died against the daemonic onslaughts. And it was here that Lord Kroak, the last and greatest of the First Spawning, fought a desperate last stand upon the City of Itza, the first and greatest of the Temple-Cities.[2a]
The Defence of Itza (-4450 IC)
When city after fortress-city fell, at last the way was clear for the Daemonic Hordes to besiege Itza, the First City and lynchpin of the Lizardmen’s arcane defences. Itza was under the protection of Lord Kroak, first of all Slann spawned upon the world and the mightiest of mages. The energy dome that surrounded Itza crackled with energy, turning Daemons to dust as they railed against it. Yet after years of strain, even Lord Kroak could sustain such mystic walls no longer, and with a final surge, he exploded the barrier outwards, flattening the surrounding jungle. A hundred thousand Daemons were banished in an instant. Nevertheless, the remainder swarmed into Itza.[2a]
Of all that long war, no battle was more fiercely fought than the one amongst the streets of Itza. Only an epic stand by Lord Kroak’s army of Temple Guard prevented the Daemons from overrunning the Great Pyramid. For many days and nights, the elite Saurus warriors stood firm on the lofty Bridge of Stars. Using his reservoirs of energy, Lord Kroak prepared his final incantations. As the last of the Temple Guard was cut down, Lord Kroak spouted forth spells that were the preserve of gods, raining fire from the heavens to vaporise the foe. Time stood still as the fabric of the universe strained at the outpour of sheer power.[2a]
Yet eventually even Lord Kroak succumbed. A dozen Bloodthirsters, protected by the favour of their dark god Khorne, fought through the deluge of spells and reached the top of the pyramid. There, they fell upon Lord Kroak’s form, ripping him apart in a savage instant. So overcharged with arcane energies was Lord Kroak that his spirit fought on, refusing to let even death hinder him. Set free of his flesh, Kroak’s radiant will soared above the ruins, scourging the invaders with a divine light that was like unto a second sun. The First City was saved.[2a]
Although Itza was delivered, the war raged on. Across the globe, the younger races also faced the Daemon legions. Despite retreating to their mountain holds, the Dwarfs had been decimated. The Elves of Ulthuan suffered tremendous loss, but in the end, their mages enacted the Great Ritual - a spell that created a vast vortex that drained away swathes of the magic that flooded the world. Deprived of their lifeblood of magical energy, the Daemons disappeared back to their seething realm, yet the world was irrevocably damaged, now transformed into a world saturated with magic and monsters.[2a]
- Standard of the Sacred Serpent: The standard is in the form of a huge golden serpent coiled around the standard-pole. Its forked tongue faces the foe and if any enemy approaches Lord Kroak, the serpent is awakened and writhes, hisses and spits like a living creature, animated by Lord Kroak's residual power. It is a matter of great debate among the Mage-Priests as to whether this standard represents Sotek, since Lord Kroak perished many centuries before the emergence of that god. However, it is quite possible that Lord Kroak knew that Sotek was destined to emerge and had already begun to venerate or even invoke him in the deep thoughts of his inscrutable mind.[1b]
- Golden Death Mask: Lord Kroak’s golden death mask protects the mummified head of the venerable Relic Priest. Its most striking features are the two staring eyes made from smooth white and yellow gemstones inlaid to represent the all-seeing and unblinking eyes of Lord Kroak, staring out of eternity and watching over his minions. The hypnotic effect of the mask hinders foes attempting to attack him.[2b]
- Ceremonial Mace of Malachite: This is the magic weapon which Lord Kroak wielded in his lifetime. Now he cannot swing it as before, but its magical power remains just as useful to him. The Mace has the magic power to negate any magic weapon used against Lord Kroak in hand-to-hand combat.[1b]
- Amulet of Itza: This amulet, in the form of a lizard from a meteoric crystal, protects the mummy of Lord Kroak from hostile magic spells by dispelling them.[1b]
- Glyph of Potec: Lord Kroak's spirit, which lingers within his mummified remains, exists in the supernatural world and so is vulnerable to the supernatural forces of the Undead. To guard against this, Lord Kroak's mummy bindings are inscribed with the arcane Glyph of Potec, increasing damage to the Undead who are in contact with him twofold.[1b]
- 1: Warhammer Armies: Lizardmen (5th Edition)
- 2: Warhammer Armies: Lizardmen (8th Edition)
- 3: Warhammer Armies: Lizardmen (6th Edition)
- 3a: "Backcover"
- 4: Warhammer Armies: Lizardmen (5th Edition)