Mengil Manhide is the sadistic, cannibalistic leader of a vicious group of Dark Elf mercenaries known throughout the Old World as The Manflayers. They travel unseen across the lands under the cover of darkness, selling their skills to the highest bidder and adorning themselves with the flayed flesh of those they slaughter in battle.
HistoryThe youngest son of Kraal the Hearteater, a powerful and cruel lord from Clar Karond, Mengil, in one of the grueling tests his father set his sons to test their worthiness, was sent to hunt down an escaped slave, a powerful young Norseman, through the forests around the city, and only once he returned with evidence of the kill would he be allowed back into the city. Mengil tracked down and killed his quarry, and when he overcame his foe, rejoicing in the thrill of the kill, smeared blood across his face and drank deeply from the powerful heart of his fallen enemy, before skinning the Norseman and eating his flesh. Mengil wore the bloodied skin as a cloak as he walked back into Clar Karond, earning him the respect of his father and the honorific title 'Manhide'.
When he was old enough, Mengil joined the ranks of the Corsairs of Clar Karond, where his rapid rise was tarnished only by his increasing viciousness and unpredictability. His superiors would have him conduct lightning raids, slaughtering any defenders and retreating with what captives he could before a strong defence could be formed to counter-attack, but Mengil would more often stubbornly refuse to retreat and strike at the larger defensive force. While his skill, ferocity and leadership would often ensure he was victorious, he generally returned with few slaves, for Mengil took perverse pleasure in killing, slaying even those who surrendered, and often continuing to hack and cut up their bodies long after life was gone. He continued his practice of skinning his defeated foes, and his father's halls in Clar Karond were bedecked with these savage trophies, reaped from all over the world.
Within half a century, Mengil was leading the majority of raids launched from the Black Ark known as the Citadel of Spite. Over the next two decades, the Citadel of Spite became hated by the High Elves, synonomous with despair and grief as it raided Ulthuan's coast and shipping lanes, along with those of Norsca, Bretonnia, Araby and Estalia. Though the Black Ark did not often return with living slaves once Mengil was done with them, his superiors were satisfied with the terror sown by his brutal raids.
For a time, the Citadel of Spite controlled the entrance to the Tilean Sea, preying on merchants, smugglers and pirates, as well as routinely slaughtering villages around Remas and Sartosa. However, during one such raid, the Black Ark was attacked by High Elf warships and forced to retreat back to deeper water, leaving many of its warriors, including Mengil, trapped ashore. The Black Ark's captain, who'd seen three predecessors of his murdered in a mad rage by Mengil, chose not to return for the vicious warrior, claiming instead that he was dead. Stranded in Tilea, Mengil and his men made their way inland under the cover of darkness, moving through the forests and then into the southern Apuccini Mountains. After a season of preying indiscriminately on passing merchants and their hired guards, Mengil was approached by a wealthy warrior-merchant from Verezzo. The pair struck a deal, and thus began the Dark Elf's new career as a paid killer.
Throughout the lands of the Old World, Mengil has plied his trade, and the band of Dark Elf warriors who follow him, known as the Manflayers, are rightly feared. They are employed as assassins and murderers, and are often used to eliminate rivals. He is often used by those who wish to make an example of the target, for Mengil takes savage pleasure in skinning his foes, often leaving the skinless bodies of his victims hanging from the trees or impaled on spikes in the ground. Mengil has even returned to Naggaroth several times, where Dark Elf lords readily employ him to eliminate their rivals. On one such occasion, Mengil repaid the Citadel of Spite's captain for abandoning him, the tale a warning to all who heard it against double-crossing the Manflayer. On occasion, Mengil's Manflayers will take to the battlefield, employed to infiltrate deep into enemy territory to spread terror and confusion.
The Manflayers go into battle armed with greatswords, repeater crossbows and festooned with an array of knives and various other blades. They prefer to maim and cripple rather than outright kill, for they will often stop in the heat of battle to acquire new trophies, flaying the dead and the dying they leave in their wake. They march to war under the Banner of Kalad, fashioned from the flayed skin of one of Mengil's brothers whom Mengil killed for practicing sorcery in defiance of the Witch King's decree forbidding any but his appointed Sorceresses from doing so. The banner is enchanted, creating a nimbus of shadow around Mengil and his warriors, making them even more difficult to spot and able to approach their prey even more closely before they strike.
- White Dwarf (298) pg. 50-53