- "Mounts for our dark kin. Their blood lust is the reflection of the dark lord of Murder to whose service they are consecrated. Fear the Manticore not merely for what it is; fear it because the presence of one signals the approach of our estranged brethren. Sooner face a dozen Manticore than the one who would dare to ride one into battle."
- —Filanas, Elvish Vagabond.[2a]
Manticores are huge, leonine beasts that soar on leathery wings. They are amongst the most powerful of all the predators that live in the north's mountain ranges. The mutating power of Chaos ensures that no two Manticores are truly alike. However, all Manticores are berserk killers saturated with primal fury.[1a]
Like many of the world's monsters, Manticores are borne amid the swirling energies of the Chaos Wastes. Some still roam the changing lands, although most Manticores fly south to less ruinous climes. So it is that the northern mountain ranges of the world have become the hunting grounds for Manticores beyond counting.[3a]
Even for creatures of Chaos, Manticores are particularly ferocious, possessed of an innate stubbornness that propels them to fight for their territory against even the most overpowering odds. Be the interloper a Great Eagle, Griffon or even an Emperor Dragon, the Manticore's response is always the same: to launch itself roaring into a bloody and brutal conflict from which there can be but a single victor. The fact that this victor is almost always the Manticore(providing the enemy isn't too much larger) stands as harrowing testament to its savagery and determination.[3a]
The common description of a Manticore depicts them with the body of a large lion, surmounted by a pair of leathery bat wings and a whip-like tail. But they are a Chaos breed, mutable and terrible with uncountable variations. Some have barbed tails like a scorpion’s that bear bitter poison. Others are armoured in scales and covered in thorny projections that bleed ceaselessly. Manticores are cunning fighters. They are swift to retreat to the relative safety of the air when a battle goes against them.[2b]
Dark Elf Manticores
There are rumours that certain Elves practice the breeding of Manticores amidst the black obsidian peaks of the mountain ranges that dominate the Land of Chill, far to the west of the Old World. How they manage to tame such vicious creatures is unknown, though many stories indicate that the Elves of that land are every bit as fierce as the Manticore they raise. Scholars that ask too many questions about such matters tend to find few answers or a messy death.[2a]
Dark Elves hold no creature in higher esteem than the Manticore, for they believe it to be one of the thousand incarnations of Khaine, and daring Beastmasters venture as far north as the Chaos Wastes in search of young Manticores to sell at auction. Manticores can be tamed enough to take the rider, though they remain feral. Even if his steed occasionally ignores his commands and pitches him into unfavourable fights, a Dark Elf considers this a minor risk compared to the fear and respect that having such a mount brings.[4a]
Old World Manticores
- "There are those that say they can speak in the tongues of Men, or at least, the dark tongue of the Beastfolk. I once gave little credence to such rumours, but the tale of a Marienburg sailor has since given me pause. He claimed to have fought in a desperate sea battle with the Marienburg navy against a ship that supposedly rested upon the back of a sea serpent. As outlandish as that tale itself may seem, many others have confirmed it. During this battle, a Manticore supposedly flew out from one of the high towers of the odd serpent vessel. As it flew over the navy's ships, it supposedly roared out insults in its foul tongue. I have no idea what a Manticore was doing at sea, but there it is."
- —Kirsten Hultze, Merchant.[2a]
Manticores are ferocious beasts that dwell high in the mountains, usually far from the habitations of Humanity. Few have ever been seen in the Empire, which is doubtless a blessing, for they are voracious predators who constantly hunt not only for sustenance, but also for the pleasure of the kill.[2b]
Oddly perhaps, for such a vicious and ill-tempered beast, the Manticore has become a common heraldic device in the Old World. This is not to say that a great many Manticores are encountered in the lands of Bretonnia, Tilea and Estalia - nor that a great many are slain there. Its prevalence upon shield and banner is merely an indication that many nobles, having heard tales of the beast's legendary battle-prowess and resolve, simply wish to be associated with it. That most such men would run screaming in terror should they encounter a real life Manticore is normally left unspoken.[3a]