- "They should have killed me. While a breath remains in my body I’ll be too much for them. I’ll raise the country against them. I’ll tear down their walls and shatter their defences. I’ll burn their warped dreams and rip out their traitor’s hearts. All this I will do and more, for I am Kurt Helborg, master of the Emperor’s endless armies, hammer of his foes, and my name itself is vengeance."
- —The Emperor's Sword of Vengeance.[9a]
- "So turns the path of war. The foolish commander is the one who trusts too deeply in his tools. Your wizards may falter, your artillery may misfire. Only one thing remains trustworthy, even when all else fails. The spirit of vengeance in men. When all other things desert you, rely on the capacity for hatred. That quality alone is what a wise commander cultivates in his soldiers, and no great battle has been won without it."
- —Kurt Helborg Memoirs, Vol. XII.[8a]
Kurt Helborg, known as the Hand of Vengeance, the Emperor's Chosen, Kriegsmeister and the Hammer of Chaos[9b], is the 8th and current Grand Marshal of the Reiksguard Knights and Reiksmarshal of the Empire's military forces.
- "Reiksguard Knights, your Emperor is calling! Death or glory awaits us, but if we die, we will die as warriors, with swords in hand, and there is no better death than that! "
- —Kurt Helborg, Grand Master of the Reiksguard Knights.[1a]
Tall and strong, Kurt Helborg is the very image of a heroic warrior, his armour polished to a mirror sheen and his sword arm as strong as his courage is unbending. As the Grand Marshal of the Reiksguard, Helborg commands the loyalty of one of the Empire's mightiest military corps. When these warriors are personally led by their inspirational leader, they are an almost unstoppable force, an implacable tornado of steel that fearlessly thunders across the battlefield, driving the enemies of the Empire into the blood-soaked ground.[1b]
Kurt Helborg is reputed to be the greatest swordsman in the Old World, though such a title is hotly contested by the Emperor's Champion, Ludwig Schwarzhelm. These two grim warriors are bitter rivals who regularly compete on the tournament field to answer the question of who is the mightiest warrior of the Empire. So far, honours are roughly even, though at the last meeting Helborg was slightly ahead. For his part, the Reiksmarshal considers his rival to possess a certain dogged ability, but very little finesse. On the battlefield, his skill with a sword has been bested only once, by the Bretonnian Viscount d'Alembençon.[1b]
As the Reiksmarshal, Kurt Helborg is also commander of all the Empire's armed forces, second only to the Emperor himself. As such, he has spent most of his life in battle, and has since become one of the most experienced generals within the Old World. Kurt Helborg has led the Reiksguard and Imperial armies in wars fought all across the known world, from the dark forests of the Empire and icy wastes of Kislev to the blazing deserts of southern Araby. As a general, he is virtually without peer, leading entire armies of Knights in thunderous charges of gleaming plate armour and glistering lance points. As a mighty warrior he fights where the combat is thickest, his Runefang cleaving his foes without mercy.[1b]
- "Sigmar save them..."
- —Kurt Helborg, facing overwhelming odds.
Prior to becoming the Empire's top general, Kurt Helborg served as a distinguished Reikscaptain. Indeed, in the year 2470 IC, it was he who commanded the bodyguard of Emperor Luitpold I during his disastrous journey through the Drakwald...
The monsters came at dusk. On cloven hooves they approached the inn of the Black Boar. Snarling and braying, quiet at first, but then getting louder as man-stink filled their flaring nostrils. Reikscaptain Kurt Helborg knew there was something wrong even before the bray scream announced the Beastmen attack. He shouted for his men to draw their weapons and shot upright, sending his bowl of stew skittering across the table. The other fifteen men did likewise, vaulting from the trestle table where they had been eating moments before to grab their sword belts and scabbards. The familiar scrape of metal against hardened leather could be heard as the soldiers unleashed their steel. A few went for their armour, but most knew there wasn’t the time. The inn was under attack and the Imperial family were in mortal danger. A few hours earlier, the Emperor’s retinue had come across the inn as they travelled a road that wended its way through the Drakwald. Daylight was fading, and with Altdorf still fifteen leagues to the north the young captain had no choice but to order a reluctant stop.
The Black Boar was a large coaching house, with an attached stable and well-maintained yard surrounded by tall walls. The innkeeper had been beside himself to discover that Emperor Luitpold, his wife, daughter and young son were staying the night. He loudly proclaimed that his own chambers were at their disposal, although this didn’t quite solve the problem where twenty of Helborg’s best Reiksguard, plus numerous servants and serfs, would stay. There were other logistical issues too – such as how the stables would cope with all the horses, and whether the courtyard could fit the gun wagons, carriages and baggage trains that typically accompanied an Imperial party on provincial tours. In the end, it mattered not, for a loud bray outside signalled the beast’s arrival. Even as Helborg grabbed his weapon, Gors leapt over the walls and into the courtyard, on the hunt for man-flesh. A couple of stable lads were the first to die. Moments later the wall at the front of the inn was pulverised as two Minotaurs charged through. One immediately collapsed, the large blocks of drystone having taken their toll on the creature’s head. The other, however, powered through, running up to the inn and ripping off the front door. Fortunately for the men inside, its muscled frame prevented it from running amok, although the whole building shook as the creature repeatedly thrust its great shoulders into the lintel. The breach in the inn’s wall created by the minotaurs was all the warherd needed to flood in.
Helborg pointed at five of his men, commanding them to head upstairs, bolt themselves in a room and protect the Emperor with their lives. The soldiers gave curt nods and immediately ran into the room opposite, to where the Emperor and his loved ones had been dining. The captain shouted to the rest to folllow him. On the outside of the inn, five Reiksguard had been patrolling the perimeter while the others ate in the inn’s common room. As the bray of the beastmen cut through the night, the on-duty soldiers had instinctively reached for their swords. Three raced into the courtyard, ready to face the six gors that now stalked towards the side door of the inn. The remaining two Reiksguard ran to the front to face the minotaur and the other bestial invaders. They lunged at the monster as it reached the inn. One the soldiers sprang forward, stabbing the bull-headed beast deep in its haunch. The creature swept its free arm around and sent the man flying.
Inside the coaching house, the Reiksguard escort had collected the Emperor’s family and were ushering them upstairs. The rotund innkeeper blocked the way. He shouted in a trembling voice at the Emperor, demanding for him to leave. A Reiksguard grabbed him by the arm and bodily flung him down the stairs. The remaining soldiers trampled on his prone form, briefly stopping to aid the Emperor’s wife-consort and her daughter over the inn’s owner. Luitpold’s wife glanced down in sorrow at the man, but then looked again at the baby son in her arms, and her face hardened. She continued up the stairs. On the upper floor, servants ran and screamed in panic, and were mercilessly pushed aside by the Reiksguard. At the end of the corridor was a heavy wooden door, past which were the innkeeper’s chambers. Within were more wailing servants, but the Reiksguard paid them no heed as they escorted the Emperor and his loved ones inside, then closed and barred the door behind them. Mere seconds after, windows were smashed downstairs and beastmen poured in.
Helborg had no idea what had happened to the men who had been patrolling outside; truth was, he didn’t have time to concern himself with them. He stood on the first step of the stairs, facing the front door, bellowing orders and striking at the cloven-footed monsters as they reached him. He was flanked on either side by his men, only two of who were in armour. The gors congregated on Helborg’s position, clearly desperate to get up the stairs, but the Reikscaptain and his men fought with Sigmar’s fury. Corpses littered the floor, clogging the hallway, making it difficult for more of their horned kin to attack. And yet, the beastmen were determined, and the Reiksguard began to fall. One man was gored in the arm and then dragged, shouting, into the horned morass. With every Reiksguard death, Helborg knew he was closer to failing in his sworn duty. As exhausted as he was, this made him furious. He struck out in anger, swinging his sword and cleaving a beastmen in twain. Upstairs, behind him, he heard the smash of windows and knew the creatures must have scaled the walls. It would not be long before the beastmen took his head and that of the Emperor. He muttered under his breath, hoping they would be saved.
Suddenly, he felt a rush of wind as something flew past his left ear, missing it by the width of his moustache. A black shaft embedded itself into a gor he was facing. Then another came whistling past to strike a beast in the eye. Suddenly, the stairwell was filled with arrows all flying downwards, from behind Helborg, and all missing him to hit the beastmen he was facing. The Wood Elves had come to their aid...
The Deeds of Helborg
From the year 2505 IC onwards, the Emperor dispatched the Reiksmarshal, Kurt Helborg, to lead his armies in battle against numerous foes; the Ogre reavers of Gutlord Breaskus, the Orcs of the Blighted Towers and many others. Helborg led the Empire to victory after victory, establishing his name as one of the greatest generals and tacticians of his age.
Storm of Chaos
Attention, Empire Citizens!
This article contains information regarding the Storm of Chaos alternative ending, which is now considered non-canon.
- "At Karl Franz’s side rode two of the greatest warriors alive in the Empire today: Kurt Helborg, and the emperor’s personal champion, Ludwig Schwarzhelm."
- —Helborg takes part in the defence of Middenheim.
During the events of the Storm of Chaos, Kurt Helborg was forced to return to Altdorf from his wars against the Orcs and Goblins of the Grey Mountains. Here, he joined the Conclave of Light as a military advisor, and later rode out alongside Ludwig Schwarzhelm and Karl Franz during the Siege of Middenheim.
During the fierce battle, as King Louen Leoncoeur faced Be’lakor in single combat and his knights charged into the Daemon Prince’s ranks, Helborg convinced Karl Franz to launch an assault on Archaon’s horde, capitalising on their distraction. However, the Chaos Lord had withdrawn his personal army towards then nearby village of Sokh, where he lay in wait. He had surmised that Helborg’s forces were not far off, and sought to destroy them before they could link up with their allies.
Stories were later told of the glorious charge of the Reiksguard, supported by cannonfire. But the Chaos forces had cannons of their own. Great daemon-engines, manned by traitorous Chaos Dwarfs, sent forth screaming balls of hellfire into Helborg’s ranks, flinging cavalry in all directions and driving the horses mad with fear. But the Reiksguard held true, and smashed into the northmen armies, each lance claiming the life of an elite Chaos Warrior. Archaon saw the threat and counter-attacked; not the knigts themselves, but the infantrymen in support. He cut them down like a farmer does wheat. Meanwhile, his lieutenant, Haargroth, tore into the rear of the Reiksguard like a man possessed. If Kurt Helborg had not seen the jaws of this trap and ordered that his men press right through the warband of Styrkaar, many of the Reiksguard would have later been lying in mausoleums, rather than infirmaries...
Wargear and Abilities
- "It’s been too long since I took on a worthy opponent..."
Reputed to be the deadliest swordsman in the Empire and even the Old World, Kurt Helborg was counted among mankind’s finest warriors.
- Kreiglust - Kurt Helborg rides into battle atop Kreiglust, a massive grey gelding said to have been sired by the finest steed in the Emperor's stable.[1b]
- Klingerach, Grudge Settler (Solland Runefang) - The Empire province of Solland never truly recovered from the destruction wrought by the Orc Warboss Gorbad Ironclaw, and its land have long since been absorbed by the neighbouring province of Wissenland. Thus, when the Solland Runefang, which had been lost in battle, was recovered and returned to the Empire, there was no longer an Elector Count to wield it. Instead, it was decreed that the Emperor would take ownership of the magical blade. It soon became tradition for the incumbent Emperor to entrust the Runefang to the care of one of the Empire's greatest heroes, and that honour currently sits with the Reiksmarshal, Kurt Helborg.[1b]
- Laurels of Victory - Kurt Helborg is one of the most celebrated heroes of the Empire, and he wears laurels enchanted by wizards of the Grey Order. The magic within the laurel magnifies Kurt's stature in the eyes of his enemies to the point that few can muster the courage to stand before his wrath.[1b]
- According to Karl Franz, Helborg is famed for having one of the most immaculately groomed moustaches in the Reikland and, indeed, the entire Empire.
- 1: Warhammer Armies: The Empire (8th Edition)
- 2: Warhammer Armies: The Empire (7th Edition)
- 2a: pg. 58
- 3: Warhammer Armies: The Empire (4th Edition)
- 4: White Dwarf Magazine Nº 325 (January 2007)
- 4a: pg. 31
- 5: The End Times I - Nagash
- 5: The End Times II - Glottkin
- 6: Kurt Helborg: Duty and Honour
- 7: Reiksguard (Novel) by Richard Williams
- 8: The Empire: Iron Company (Novel) by Chris Wraight
- 8a: Chapter Sixteen
- 9: Sword of Vengeance (Novel) by Chris Wraight
- 10: Prince of Altdorf (Short Story)
- 11: Darkness Rising
- 12: Storm of Chaos - The Loremaster's Journal