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A horrific portrait of Ku'gath the Plaguefather.

Ku'gath Plaguefather, also known as the Foetid Brewmaster, the Plagueweaver and the Rotting Poxmaker, is among the most favoured of all Nurgle's chosen. Like all his kind, the Daemon has many names in many realms. In Naggaroth he is cursed as Jharihn, in Lustria feared as Xochitataliav, in Tilea hated as Kisveraldo the Foul-Breathed, in distant Cathay reviled as Zin-Fa the Ever-Pustulent...[1d][2]

Whilst other Great Unclean Ones work to spread the plagues already extant, Ku'gath is fascinated by the breeding of new and virulent life. Ku'gath aims to one day breed a contagion that can infect the gods themselves. The Plaguefather prides himself upon his detachment. So absorbed is he in his search for the perfect plague, Ku'gath remains relatively untroubled by the shifting balance of power within the Realm of Chaos, yet this is not to say that the Plaguefather does not play his part in the Great Game. Ku'gath's experiments are nothing without practical results, and he is ever eager to test fresh creations on the battlefield.[1d]

The Plaguefather rides upon a massive palanquin bedecked with alchemical paraphernalia: vials full of seething powder, flasks of indescribable liquid and hessian sacks stuffed to bursting with Nurglings. This great bulk is held aloft by a carpet of straining Nurglings, and Ku'gath is attended on by countless others, all bred from the Plaguefather's pox vats. Ku'gath's Nurglings are not merely servants — they are also ammunition, for in battle Ku'gath is wont to hurl them into the enemy ranks. The unwilling projectiles burst on impact, drenching the target with disease-ridden fluids. Ku'gath watches keenly as each Nurgling's pox takes effect. Should the plague achieve Ku'gath's expectation, he gurgles with a proud father’s delight. If the results do not meet with approval, Ku'gath immediately brews a refined version of the plague, dunks a fresh Nurgling, and lets fly once again.[1d]

History

Ku'gath concocting a new disease.

Of all Nurgle's Daemons, Ku'gath is the most willing to enter the physical realm - his quest for more efficacious plague-reagents knows no boundaries. A few drops of mortal blood can turn a quiescent pox into a raging epidemic. Ku'gath has discovered that ground Skaven bladder, for example, increases the virulence of Red Pox a hundredfold. Thus, in the cause of experimentation, Ku'gath makes a point of acquiring fresh specimens whenever he enters the mortal worlds. Indeed, the Plaguefather keeps a variety of specimens, mortal and Daemon, caged in a dank chamber among the sagging rafters of Nurgle's decaying mansion, so that he always has a suitable supply of ingredients to hand.[1d]

It is during forays into the mortal world that Ku'gath has encountered the one race that has penetrated his scientific detachment to kindle his rage - the Dwarfs. On a professional level, the Plaguefather hates the creatures for their resilience to disease; on a personal level, he is embittered by a truly ignominious defeat beneath the walls of Karaz-a-Karak. Either way, there is no doubt in Ku'gath's mind as to the first test subjects when his perfect plague is prepared.[1d]

The Plaguefather's Return

In the year 111 IC, a great daemonic horde swept over the Worlds Edge Mountains, bringing ruin in its wake. No one Daemon led the host, for it was too massive to be guided by a single will, but it was Ku’gath Plaguefather who led the attack on the Dwarf capital of Karaz-a-Karak, just as he had done five thousand years before.[1a]

Under the Plaguefather's direction, the Daemons assailed the Dwarfen defenders with every contagion ever to curse the world. Yet, as in Ku’gath’s last assault, the tenacity of the Dwarfs proved too much for even his most prized plagues. The Daemons breached three layers of defences, but four others remained unsullied by their hands. The siege was eventually lifted and Ku’gath banished by the stout and vengeful arm of King Stromni Axehand.[1a]

The Battles of Stone and Tire

In the year 1316 IC, no fewer than three Dwarf holds — Karak Mar, Karak Nol and Dok Duraz — were lost to rampaging Daemons. Indeed, that Zhufbar did not fall also was due to the iron resolve of its defenders, a formidable array of emplaced war engines and the timely arrival of a relief army from Karak Kadrin. The Great Unclean One Kugath Plaguefather, failing to conquer where three rival Greater Daemons succeeded (and thus losing Father Nurgle a wager against his brother gods), was banished to the Forge of Souls in punishment.[1b]

The Year of Woe

The year 2520 IC, as mortals reckon time, was when Tzeentch sent Kairos Fateweaver to steal the twelve enchanted artifacts once possessed by the Companions of Gilles le Breton. So important was this goal to Tzeentch that he dispatched the greater part of his armies to the mortal plane. So began Bretonnia's Year of Woe, where the tombs of the companions were ransacked, nearby towns razed and countless thousands of Bretonnians — high and low born alike — met their deaths at the tentacles of Tzeentchian Daemons. Castles were of no defence, for their crude stones were easily tumbled by the sorceries of Pink Horrors or transmuted by the warpfires of Flamers. Only at Grail Shrines, where the power of the Lady still waxed strong, could any shelter be found. Worse, with each artefact recovered, Fateweaver's Daemons grew ever more powerful. In the initial battles about Montfort and Quenelles, the lances and valour of the Bretonnian Knights cost the daemonic hosts greatly. By the time eight artefacts had been seized, only the boldest dukes would even consider taking the field. In the twelfth month, with only a single artifact outside of Fateweaver's clutches, only King Louen chanced his arm — and he lost far more battles than he won.[1c]

The final battle of the Year of Woe was the Siege of Mousillon, for it was in this city that the last artifact lay. At the height of the siege, the Bretonnian armies made one last sortie against their abusers. As they did so, help arrived from a most unusual source. Nurgle had long been fond of Mousillon, for it had been the breeding ground for many of his favourite plagues. He could not bear the thought of the city being eradicated by the minions of hated Tzeentch, and so loosed his own armies.[1c]

Unaware of the wider battle being fought, the Bretonnians gave no quarter that day. They saw only an army of Daemons given over to fighting amongst itself, and slaughtered everything that came before their lances. Ku'gath Plaguefather bludgeoned Kairos Fateweaver to feathered ruin, only to find himself pierced on the points of a dozen blessed lances. With the destruction of their leaders, both Daemon armies vanished — doubtless to pursue the battle on more familiar territory — leaving only their battle-ravaged fallen and the very items Fateweaver had come to steal.[1c]

The End Times

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Attention, Empire Citizens!
This article contains information regarding The End Times, the final campaign that ended with the destruction of the world, which is considered canon by Games Workshop.
"Margrit shrunk back, her defiance dying in her throat. The creature was enormous - far bigger than it had seemed when she had first caught sight of it from the walls. Surely nothing could stop it - no power of magic, no power of faith. She looked up at it as the monster swaggered and hauled itself through the gap, and its enormous shadow fell over her. Some of her sisters vomited, overcome by the incredible stench. Temple guards dropped their blades, staring slack-jawed at the vision of hell approaching. The behemoth rolled towards them, shedding slime down its flanks as the foul rain washed it into the mire beaneath…"
High Priestess Margrit of Shallya bears witness to the Plaguefather.[2]

Ku’gath during the End Times.

During the events of the End Times, Ku’gath was summoned forth by Festus the Leechlord. He was enraged by the revelation that the goddess Shallya, after all the delicious plagues his master had visited upon her, was ungrateful enough to impede his Father’s plans. The Greater Daemon was ready to smash her temple to powder with his oily fists if he had to. Thus, when the city of Altdorf was besieged by the forces of Nurgle, the Plaguefather led a host of deamons into the courtyard of the Temple of Shallya. Here, he did battle with the former King of Bretonnia, Louen Leoncoeur[2][3]

The Battle at the Temple

"Just as the daemon reached out for Margrit, something moving incredibly fast shot out of the skies, streaking like lightning from the storm. She had a vague impression of wings, blurred with speed, and the cry of a human voice speaking a language she did not understand..."
Louen Leoncoeur enters the fray.[2]

As the hulking monster prepared to slaughter the huddled Shallyan priestesses and their wounded charges, Louen arrowed from the sky like a living missile. The Grail Knight's challenge rang out, causing Ku'gath to turn and face him. Plague Drones buzzed erratically through the skies to their master's defence, but they were too slow. The Plaguefather barely had time to raise his hand before the High Paladin's lance struck home. Its blessed tip sank an arm's length into the Daemon's rotting breast, with Beaquis's claws slashing in close behind.[2][3]

Alas, with a speed that belied his massive size, Ku'gath grabbed the lance around its shaft and used it as a leaver to hurl both man and beast into the Temple of Shallya. Flailing sidelong, the Hippogryph and its armoured rider hit the dome with such force that they smashed right through it in a shower of stone and ceramic shards. Luminous blood trickled down the sides of what was left of the curved dome, but the king and his mount had disappeared from sight...[2][3]

Turning away, Ku'gath loomed over the thin line of wounded State Troops and Flagellants protecting the white-robed High Priestess of Shallya. Kicking away a half-dozen warriors standing in his path, the Daemon raised his sword for the kill.[2][3]

Suddenly, Louen Leoncoeur hurtled out of the temple archway, glowing blade raised. As Ku'gath brought his weapon down in a crushing overhead sweep, the warrior sprang to the side, catching the Shallyan High Priestess around the waist with his shield arm and casting her aside onto a nearby stretcher. Flagstones burst into powder where she had been standing a moment before K'ugath's blow fell. Louen leapt up, boosting off an antique table that had been pressed into service as an operating bench and leaping into the air towards his obese opponent. The old warrior's blade arced down in a two-handed blow that opened the lance wound in Ku'gath's chest still further, exposing the greater Daemon's rotting heart.[2][3]

Bellowing in outrage, the Plaguefather turned his massive head round in a great scoop, catching Leoncoeur in his antler and tossing him straight upwards into the air. The Bretonnian seemed to hang suspended at the apex of his flight before Ku'gath slammed his metal sword right into the knight's midsection, sending him flying over the milling Daemon horde below to crash into a statue of Magnus the Pious. More golden liquid trickled from Louen's wounds, yet he got to his feet once more, his shield glowing with azure light as he growled a prayer to his goddess to grant him strength.[2][3]

Even amid all the terror and filth, those Shallyans who had witnessed the fight were struck by the knight's sheer beauty. Louen's hair seemed to shimmer like gold, and his armour, though streaked with the blood of slain Champions, still glittered with a high sheen. He charged straight at the Daemon once more, spitting words of challenge that sounded like some strange music, working his blade in blistering arcs and hacking into its loose flesh. He moved so fast, shrugging off wounds and taking the fight straight to the titanic creature that loomed over him. Ku'gath struck Louen with his giant bronze sword, each strike capable of breaking bone into dust, but still the Grail Knight fought on.[2][3]

Defeat

The Lionheart soon found himself fighting against both Ku'gath and his horde of Plaguebearers, who had finally come to assist their master. Rolling under Ku'gath's sword-strike, Louen began cutting down the daemonic tide pressing against him, his flashing sword glowing bright under the comet above. At this, the Plaguefather covered his eyes with a flabby forearm, rearing back as if stung...[2][3]

The battle finally ended when the knight plunged his holy blade deep into the Greater Daemon's bulbous throat. Hanging from his sacred blade, the golden blood that was drizzling from Louen's many wounds began to sear Ku'gath's flesh. Worse still, it trickled into the gaping wound in the Daemon's festering heart. The golden lifeblood, bearing the blessing of a goddess even more powerful than Shallya, began to consume the Plaguefather. Ku'gath bawled and roared and flailed, but it did no good. The former King of Bretonnia hung on grimly as his opponent was eaten away by the very fluids he had spilled.[2][3]

In his struggle, the Daemon knocked into the podium bearing Magnus the Pious' memorial, and the statue of the great war leader came crashing down. As Louen leapt free, the statue's lumpen metal weight pinned Ku'gath to the ground. Second by agonising second, the Greater Daemon bubbled away into nothingness until all that was left was a simmering stain...[2][3]

Theatre

Enter the World of Nurgle - Total War: WARHAMMER III

Sources

  • 1: Warhammer Armies: Daemons of Chaos (8th Edition)
    • 1a: pg. 17
    • 1b: pg. 19
    • 1c: pg. 23
    • 1d: pg. 49
  • 2: Warhammer: The End Times Collection
  • 3: Warhammer: The End Times - Glottkin
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