Marshes of Madness

The Marshes of Madness

At the heart of the Marshes of Madness lies the Necropolis known as Morgheim, originally known as the city of Mourkhain. Once the capital of Strygos, Mourkain was founded by Kadon shortly after he fell under the dominion of the Crown of Sorcery. At one point the Strigoi realm reached to the Black Gulf, all controlled from Mourkain. The Orcs were far from happy at being pushed from the ancestral lands and joined together in a great Waaagh! Led by Warboss Garsnag Craktoof, Mourkain was sacked, and the power of the Strigoi broken forever. Now known as Morgheim, the city may no longer exert its control across the Badlands but is still a formidable place of lost power.[1a]

History of Mourkain

When Nagash was defeated, Alcadizaar tried to find his way back home with the crown in his possession, but the loss of his people and the evil of the Fellblade eventually made him succumb to his wounds, and he fell upon the banks of an unknown river. Alcadizaar's frozen and frost-bitten body was found in the melting spring snow along the banks of Blind River by Kadon, the shaman of the Lodringen folk.[2a]

Kadon recognised Alcadizaar for a mighty king and ordered a barrow built for his corpse. There was something about the crown that attracted him though and he kept it, to his eternal damnation. Part of the Great Necromancer's spirit was infused in the crown, and it fed the old man some of Nagash's secrets. His dreams were full of whispered promises and his mind was filled with dreams of empire. Soon his noble soul was corrupted by the crown's pulsing evil. He told his tribesmen that he had had a vision and ordered them to build a city on the site of Alcadizaar's burial mound.[2a]

He named the city Mourkain, which in the tongue of his people means Place of Death. For a brief time a wicked civilisation blossomed in the Badlands, stretching from the shores of the Black Gulf to the entrance of Mad Dog Pass, from Blood River to the edge of the Marshes of Madness. Colonies were even established in the area that would later become known as the Border Princes. The Orcs were pushed back out of the Bad Lands back into the Worlds Edge Mountains. His mind filled with dreadful visions, Kadon began to re-create the Books of Nagash, inscribing the Great Necromancer's dark tale and committing much of his secret lore to paper. His vision was skewed by the crown and he took to worshipping Nagash as a god and forced his followers to do the same. Soon the cult of Nagash was re-born and Undead things kept guard over its temples. Kadon himself lived in a palace of black marble built over the entrance to Alcadizaar's burial mound and was considered the most devout of Nagash's worshippers.[2a]

The Badlands were not fertile and the population of Mourkain was never great but with labour provided by untiring Zombies, citadels were built and harrows excavated. Roads were created to link the far corners of the land to the capital. Kadon was no mere acolyte but a potent sorcerer in his own right, and, as his mind filled with the Great Necromancer's knowledge, he began to devise his own spells. He wrote his infamous Grimoire in ink distilled from blood, in a volume bound with flayed human skin. Mourkain became the site of ever blacker evils. The Dwarfs, who had once traded with the Humans, turned their faces from them and shunned them. Drawn to the crown's power Nagash's severed talon was found by Kadon's acolytes. He took the thing and wrapped it round with dreadful spells turning it into a powerful evil artefact which he used to cow his followers. At one point the armies of Mourkain laid siege to the Dwarf fortress of Barak Varr but the iron-sheathed walls of the keep defeated them and they eventually withdrew.[2a]

The Necromancers of Mourkain became inward-looking and decadent, and the period of expansion was over. Then from the mountains came a savage horde of Orc under the Warlord Dork Redeye. Redeye was armed with an enchanted blade that made him invincible against any evil magics, and the men of Mourkain and their Undead lackeys were no match for his savage horde. The howling greenskinned devils swept through Kadon's kingdom with fire and the sword, driving the few survivors north. Kadon himself was slain by Redeye in an epic duel amid the blazing streets of Mourkain. Upon his death his kingdom ended. Kadon's chief disciple snatched the crown from his dead master's head and fled northward, often being forced to hide from Orc pursuit. Today almost no trace can be found of the lost kingdom of Mourkain save for a few fire-scorched ruins and haunted harrows within which evil things dwell.[2a]

Canon conflict

  • In Warhammer Armies: Undead (4th Edition), the Warboss that slew Kadon is named Dork Redeye.
  • Warhammer Armies: Undead (7th Edition) further elaborates that Garsnag Cracktoof later sacked the rebuilt city of Mourkain again.
  • The Liber Necris expands that Garsnag Craktoof was the Waaagh!-leader and that Red Eye was his shaman who struck down Ushoran with Waaagh! Magic.
  • The Blood in the Badlands supplement for 8th Edition names Garsnag Craktoof as the one who sacked Mourkain and ended the empire of Strigos.
  • Ushoran is stated in the Liber Necris and Warhammer Armies: Vampire Counts (8th Edition) to have presented himself to Kadon and then usurped him in -1020 IC.
  • Warhammer Armies: Vampire Counts (7th Edition) instead claims that Kadon and his realm were already gone by that point (destroyed by a Waaagh! in -1020 IC) and that Ushoran built Strigos upon its ruins in -250 IC. The destruction of Strigos is dated at 200 IC.
  • Warhammer Armies: Orcs and Goblins (8th Edition) dates the death of Alcadizaar and the corresponding founding date of Mourkain at c. -1175 IC. This is in conflict with the dates from the timeline presented in the Tomb Kings and Vampire Counts army books from all editions, which all state that Nagash's defeat and Alcadizaar's death happened in -1151 IC, and is likely a mistake.


  • 1: Blood in the Badlands (supplement)
    • 1a: pg. 10
  • 2: Warhammer Armies: Undead (4th Edition)
    • 2a: pg. 19 - 21

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