- "And Blessed Myrmidia observed: When confronted by a vastly superior foe, the Good General must use her guile, and her enemy's hubris. The general of a vastly superior force expects to win, and through that expectation, victory can be plucked.
And Lagario exclaimed: But, general, they outnumber us by too much, we will be enveloped. I will not allow the slaughter of my people.
And Blessed Myrmidia said: Fortunate for us that we outnumber their southern force.
And Lagario goggled: They have a southern force?
And Blessed Myrmidia smiled: Not yet, but we can resolve that."
- —The Book of War, ‘The Battle for Four Tears Bridge.’[1a]
Myrmidia is the Human goddess of war, and her worship has spread into the Empire from the southern Old World nations of Tilea and Estalia, where she is also known as the goddess of civilisation, beauty, and honour.
She is a goddess from the classical age, depicted as the daughter of Verena and Morr, and is said to have been given to mortal parents as a child and then grew into a maiden warrior who rallied the people of both lands against all enemies.
Myrmidia embodies the civilised tactics and strategies of warfare in comparison to the barbaric savagery of Ulrican warriors and the fanatical zeal of the Sigmarites. Hers is the domain of tactics, formation and strategy, the order within the chaos that is the battlefield.
Myrmidia is commonly portrayed as a tall, well-proportioned young woman armed and equipped in the style of the soldiers of the southern Old World. She can also take the form of an eagle. Her symbols are the spear and the shield as well as a sun with a female, often smiling benevolently face upon it.
Myrmidia is also often associated with lions, and so many depictions show some of the great beasts resting at her feet. A stylised lion head with a giant mane looks quite similar to her sun symbol. Another important symbol are eagles, which feature heavily in the Cult of Myrmidia.
Myrmidia the Mortal
Myrmidia is reported by some sacred texts to once have walked the earth clad in mortal flesh. Disputes are about her place of origin. Tileans claim she was born in Remas and conquered Estalia, the Estalians claim she was born in Magritta and conquered Tilea. Regardless which version is true, she united the southern civilizations. The day she was crowned queen of the southern realms, however, she was assassinated.[1b] Sacral texts claim that when Myrmidia, as a mortal woman, was born, her parents died early and she had to live with her aunt and uncle. Both treated her poorly and forced her to work from dawn till dusk. Eventually, they sold her off to a local lord, under whom she suffered many indignities before killing him with a ceremonial spear.[1c] When Myrmidia lay dying from her wounds, she ordered a great ship be built, and, it is said, sailed west upon it, there to return to her home amongst the Gods, known now, and forever after, as a Goddess of War.
The similarity between Myrmidia and the rise of Sigmar sparked heavy religious controversy in the Empire. The southern people claimed that Myrmidia, in contrast to Sigmar, had always been a god that had chosen to incarnate herself in the world to better know the ways of man, in contrast to Sigmar who was born as a man and later ascended to godhood in his life.[1b] Heresies appeared that claimed that Sigmar had been a god as well before and was actually the son of Ulric. The Church of Sigmar tried to quell these stories, but they proved a popular myth.
While imperial records seem to imply that the woman named Myrmidia appeared after the formation of the Empire,[1b] other sources seem to imply that Myrmidia as a warrior-goddess was worshipped already in pre-imperial times around Magritta, her temples protected by an order known as Myrmidons. The Bellona Myrmidia claims that she guided the founding father of Tilean civilisation, Tyleus, in the founding of a great city and that she abandoned him when the people began to erect a large edifice in pointless toil.[1d] Others believe that multiple local gods, such as an Eagle Goddess that was even worshipped as far north as the Reik,[1e] and Margileo, the Guardian of Honor,[1f] have been folded into one goddess and that the mortal conqueror has similarly been absorbed into that figure.
Another story written in The Bellona Myrmidia's Book of Transgressions tells the tale of the Dark Maiden, a woman rescued by Myrmidia who, in thanks, warned the Goddess of an ambush that lay ahead. Myrmidia sent her forces to flank the ambushers, and the resulting battle, the Massacre of the Three Gorges, proved to be the turning point in Myrmidia’s campaign. The Dark Maiden then left for the mountains, there to live the life of “a stranger in a very strange land,” and vanished from Myrmidian records. The Dark Maiden receives only seven definite mentions in the Bellona Myrmidia, but this has been enough for her to have a widereaching impact upon the Myrmidian Cult. Three Knightly Orders revere her as their patron, and two Monastic Orders have sworn to follow her reclusive ways. One such order is the Hermitic Order of Nahmud’s Peace, or the Leoricans as they are more commonly known.[1g]
While worship of Myrmidia in the Empire is overshadowed by the cults of Sigmar and Ulric, she is worshipped with fanatical devotion in Tilea and Estalia, where people invoke her name as a ward against everything from illness to death at the hands of Dark Elf Corsairs.
Myrmidia is popular with both common soldiers and mercenaries as well as their officers. Many Tilean mercenary companies adorn their banners with a portrait of hers (often using the Monna Lissa or a portrait of Gossippa Lotta as inspiration) or one of her symbols. Her greatest temple is located in Magritta in the lands of Estalia, where she is also worshipped as the Goddess of Wisdom. The Great Book of Wisdom which is stored there was at one time the target of an assault by the Necrarch, Nourgul the Black. The Vampire Count led a bloody campaign just to reach it, only to be eviscerated into dust when he touched the tome. Her main temple also houses the Archecclesiastium, a kind of ruling council of her cult whom all other temples have to answer to.[2a]
Additional temples are found in nearly every Tilean and Estalian city and in some cities in the south of Bretonnia and The Empire, such as Talabheim or Nuln. Smaller shrines are found everywhere Tilean mercenaries are in high demand. The architecture of Myrmidia's temples usually has an Estalian or Tilean style. They consist of quadratic or rectangular halls with high and pointy roofs. Rich mosaics of giant weapons or shields are usually adorning the outside of her temples, while real weapons and shields hang on the inner walls. Shrines are often miniature versions of these temples with statues of the goddess or sculptures of piled weapons, shields and armour.
Priests of Myrmidia traditionally wear white robes. They are held in high regard by generals and other army leaders for being nearly unmatched tacticians.
Myrmidia is the patron god of the Knights of the Blazing Sun, an order of templars who were formed after a battle during the Estalian wars against Araby. During fighting around a temple dedicated to Myrmidia in the town of Magritta, she is said to have intervened by causing an earthquake which toppled a large bronze statue on top of the temple. The falling statue landed directly on the enemy general, causing the Arabyan forces to flee, and saving a group of Imperial knights from certain doom. Upon returning to the Empire, the veterans of that battle founded the Order of the Blazing Sun and built a shrine to Myrmidia in the heart of Talabheim.