The Second Skaven Civil War was a conflict among the Skaven race. Lasting from around 1850 to 2302 IC, it again pit the Great Clans of the Skaven race against one another.[1b]


After the disastrous failure of the Red Pox, many of the Lords of Decay demanded the Plague Lords be ousted from the Council of Thirteen. After months of intense political manoeuvering, blackmail, bribery, threats and assassination, a vote of the full Council was ordered.[1a]

On the day of the vote, Clan Pestilens attempted to seize control, declaring the existing Lords of Decay to be heretics. Many Warlord clans rose up with them. Fighting broke out between the Albino Guard of the Temple of the Horned Rat, the Plague Monks and countless clans throughout Skavenblight. Anarchy ruled as factions gained and subsequently lost control.[1a]

Clan Skryre had long foreseen such an uprising and unleashed their own offensive. Technological wizardry confronted the rabid Plague Monks in the sprawling tunnels and ruins. Ikit Claw was promoted to Chief Warlock and it was he who led the charge, ostensibly to restore order. Within weeks Clan Skryre took command of the Temple of the Horned Rat. With Warplock Jezzail teams ensconced in the bell tower and every entrance covered by diabolic weaponry, all counter-attacks were repulsed. Lord Morskittar declared himself ruler of Skavenblight and sought to re-establish a Council (beneath his mighty rule) but it was too late. Fighting had spread through the Under-Empire and none could stop it.[1a]

So it went for 400 years. Dozens of factions existed and the war was marked by constant shifts of allegiance. Clans Pestilens, Skryre, and Moulder each headed a powerful faction with Clan Eshin remaining neutral and hiring out its deadly expertise to the highest bidder. It was during these centuries that Clan Skryre transformed their nest-lair in Skavenblight. Infernal devices and engines of destruction were assembled on a level previously undreamt. It was with this newly developed apparatus that Ikit Claw detected the rising tide of Dark Magic that preceded the Great Chaos Invasion. So it was that Lord Morskittar was prepared when the Grey Seers declared their intentions.[1a]

As vast Chaos armies built up in the north, portents abounded - Morrslieb hung low and showers of meteors rained from the skies. The Grey Seers visited every Skaven stronghold up and down the Underway. They gave a single ultimatum - be at the annual feast of Vermintide or suffer the wrath of the Great Horned Rat. The Grey Seers planned to invoke the Great Horned Rat himself in an effort to end the war between clans.[1a]

Some clans feared a trap and so sent representatives, but none dared to stay away altogether. On the eve of Vermintide each lord or agent arrived in Skavenblight. For only the second time in their history a member of each clan gathered at the foot of the Temple of the Great Horned Rat. An atmosphere of fearful expectation could be smelt upon the assembly as the temple doors swung open and the full order of 169 Grey Seers filed out. The Seerlord Kritislik was last of the thirteen thirteens and carried wit him a great skin-bound book, which he set upon an iron lectern. As he squeaked, leading the incantation, the very air seemed to twist and a distant ominous cracking could be heard. The Grey Seers picked up the chant and amplified the sound. The intensity rose as they began the sacrifices.[1a]

One by one, 169 slaves died in increasing agony, the last dying to the torments of the Seerlord himself. Their squeals of fear and pain reached out to the bowels of creation where the Horned Rat gnawed on the roots of reason. The Great Bell tolled as the brooding skies lashed chains of lightning to illuminate the scene. Again and again rang the unholy bell, so impossibly loud that it drowned out the sound of chanting and thunder alike. After the thirteenth toll the bell stopped, but its hellish reverberations could still be felt.[1a]

In the sudden quiet the Seerlord opened his jaws and screeched, emitting a cloud of dark vapour that poured endlessly up until it plumed to the height of the tower itself. A great claw reached out and ripped the very curtain of reality. Now a shape, blacker than black, could be seen amidst the vapours. Two blood-red eyes as wide as castle gates stared out. As one the Skaven fell prostrate, pressing their muzzles to the dirt. Some dropped dead as their hearts burst.[1a]

The silhouette of curving horns could be seen as the great claw reached out and leisurely scooped up a score of squealing Skaven. Yellow-fanged jaws flashed as the Great Horned Rat consumed them. The gaze of the Horned One swept over his quailing children and he reached out again and again. When the paw last withdrew. A glowing pillar of purest warpstone was revealed. It had 13 sides, each marked by 13 blocks of glowing runes. These runes contained the unholy verminous commandments of ruination and the dictates of rulership, along with prophecies of the Great Ascendancy.[1a]

Then the Horned Rat whispered to the assembled horde with the voice of a million scratching and gnawing rats. He told them their wars amused him, but they must cease. The Skaven must spread corruption in order to inherit the world and assure his full return. He demanded the reformation of the Council of Thirteen and promised that all must obey their commands or feel his wrath. Only his favoured could touch the pillar and thus only his chosen ones could join the Council. With that the awesome presence withdrew into the netherworld, the crack narrowing and sealing behind it.[1a]

The musk of fear hung heavy over the survivors as they blinked at the black pillar and reassured themselves that the Horned One had really been there and was really gone. Lord Rakin was the first to touch the pillar. He burned with black fire until only ashes remained. Over the long night no few relinquished their claims to the Council rather than face the test, but many more touched the pillar. Only twelve lived. Each of the Lords of Decay was imbued with an aura of dark power, truly the blessing of the Great Horned Rat. From that day, the Council of Thirteen has remained unchanged. Many Skaven have touched the pillar, some have survived, but none have defeated the existing Lords of Decay.[1a]


  • 1 Warhammer Armies: Skaven (7th Edition)
    • 1a pg. 25.
    • 1b pg. 31

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