Attention, Empire Citizens!
This article contains information regarding the Storm of Chaos alternative ending, which is now considered non-canon.
- "Forged from the other world, six treasures shall he possess... Upon his head the crown shall see all, and open eyes will prove woe to mortal kind... Then shall he ride unto the World... Then will the World know that the last war has begun... With the coming of doom will march a lowly boy. Anger his nourishment and blood his wine... And from the Land tamed will rise a Champion. Disease shall be his downfall and saviour divine... A King's son shall be chosen. In power will he thrive and glory in is name... And with the coming of the end the old will fall by the hand of the new..."
The Storm of Chaos (2521-2522 IC) was the name later given to the penultimate of the great assaults launched by the servants of Chaos upon the Old World, this time intended to conquer first Kislev and the Empire, and then the rest of the continent.
The Storm of Chaos broke over the northern territories of Kislev and the Empire in 2521 IC and was finally broken by a potent grand alliance of Men, High Elves and the Dwarfs at the Battle of Middenheim in 2522 IC.
The invasion involved nearly every major faction in every nation of the Old World, and was an assault that would herald the End Times as was prophesied by the Dark Gods. From the northern waste, Archaon, the Lord of the End Times has begun his invasion of Kislev, laying waste to entire villages and towns along the River Lynsk. His vast horde swept south, laying siege to Praag, and sacking the port city of Erengrad. From there Archaon's horde surged through the war-torn province of Ostland, laying the entire northern lands of the Empire to smouldering ruin.
To the east, Archaon's herald, Crom the Conqueror, had already smashed his way through the treacherous roads of High Pass and broke through the eastern borders of the Empire, laying siege to Karak Kadrin and invading the sinister lands of Sylvania.
To the west, the Witch King Malekith made an unholy pact with the Ruinous Powers. While the High Elves sent troops into the Empire to aid in the efforts of Men to stem the Chaos tide, Malekith launched his massive invasion force towards the shores of Ulthuan, breaking through the impenetrable High Elven blockade guarding the coast, and moving onto the Blighted Isle, in hopes of recovering the lost Altar of Khaine and claiming the legendary Sword of Khaine as his own.
The sheer size of this invasion force was beyond imagination, and on all sides, Chaos once again surged into the lands of Man, Elves, and Dwarves. If the Empire had fallen, the Old World would have been lost to Chaos.
Yet all was not lost at this time, for the whole of the Old World finally united under the banner of Order. Men, Dwarfs, and High Elves met in the Conclave of Light to forge a temporary alliance and together they fought side by side in a war that heralded the beginning of the End that was to come.
- 1 Origins
- 2 The Spring Driving (2521 IC early Spring)
- 3 The Storm of Chaos (23rd of Sigmarzeit)
- 4 Aftermath
- 5 Factions
- 6 Notable Participants
- 7 Sources
- "Every beginning, comes from some other beginnings end."
- —Senectra the Younger.
The world stands in the brink of annihilation. It has done so since the beginning of time itself, when the great Old Ones of ancient times were destroyed long ago. The Polar Gates of the Old Ones, once a marvel of technology, had collapsed and with it, Chaos flowed like water into the cold harsh lands of the northern and southern wastes. Since then, every few centuries, the Gods of Chaos will reach out their hands towards this dying world and demand a claim of it as their own. So it is fitting that a Champion of Chaos shall unite the warring tribes of the North and put about the End of Times as we know it.
The threat of Chaos comes in many guises, from the mutating Winds of Magic that pour across the known world, to the vile Beastmen tribes that lurk within the dark forests of the Old World, and the numberless hordes of barbaric warriors who live within the Chaos Wastes. However, it is the corruption of souls, the pollution of ideals and dreams that is its most subtle and deadliest weapons, for within every person lurks the heart of Chaos. It is perhaps fitting then that the greatest threat to the Empire came not from a Kurgan Warlord, nor a Beastmen Chieftain, but from one of their very own.
No one knows his original name, all that was known was that he was once a very devout and zealous Templar of Sigmar, born scant few years after Magnus the Pious and the first Great War against Chaos. The Templars were sworn to protect the Empire from the sinister lure of Chaos in all its forms. This Templar had enacted these deeds for many years, ever believing in the divination of his god, and the righteousness of his cause. However, the threads of fate were moving, leading this lone Templar to betray his own people and the god his people worshipped.
There are a great many books and teachings, treatises and scrolls that are kept by these Templars from the stray eyes of the common masses, for these books hold heretical and blasphemous text that tells the truth about Chaos and the truth of the World. The zealous Templar read these very manuscripts written from the Book of Divination from the words of Necrodomo the Insane. Driven with revelation of what destiny lay before him, in utter hopelessness the Templar made his way towards the centre of his faith. Upon the massive Temple of Sigmar in Altdorf, the cursed Templar knelt before the Golden Statue of Sigmar and begged for a sign, to ask for his help from the darkness that would consume him. But the golden statue stood silent, and with his unspoken words, the Templar knew that it was hopeless. From there he travelled to the True North, where his destiny finally lay. There he offered himself to the Chaos Gods as a tool of their own destruction. His lifespan was unnaturally extended by his Chaos patrons, and thus Archaon spent the next century gathering the legendary six artifacts of Chaos.
The Six Treasures of Chaos (??? to 2520 IC)
So it was that Archaon journeyed the wastes for nearly 100 years, searching for the legendary artifacts that would exalt him to his true destiny. The first treasure he sought was a unique Mark of Chaos Undivided that bore the blessings of all four powers in unison, combining all of the advantages of the individual Marks of Chaos, and blessing the bearer with all their power. The first part of Archaon's dark quest was to go to the Altar of True Darkness in Naggaroth and offer himself to the Gods to gain their favour and recognition. He gathered a small band of Chaos Warriors called the Swords of Chaos and battled his way to a citadel so tall it appeared to pierce Morrslieb itself. Inside the citadel, it was said to be blacker than even the heart of a Dark Elf's soul, for when one of Archaon's followers attempted to light a torch, it was snuffed out instead by the darkness. Archaon was unafraid, and marched off alone into the darkness. Such was his skill in combat that he was able to slay hundreds of the misshapen monsters that infested the mighty citadel. Archaon reconsecrated the altar for the Gods of Chaos, offering up the hearts of the creatures that had crawled in and defiled it. When he emerged he bore the eternally burning Mark of Chaos on his forehead.
The next artifact he sought was the Armour of Morkar, the armour worn by the very first Everchosen. It makes the wearer invulnerable to all but the most powerful of attacks, making the wearer nigh-unstoppable in the heat of combat. After leaving Naggaroth on a stolen ship made of black metal and pulled by a massive sea-drake, Archaon took leadership of a seafaring war band along the way to his destination. They sailed to a mysterious land populated with savage half-humans. Neither sun nor moon had ever touched their pallid skin and after six days and six nights of battle after battle, the city of these creatures had been reduced to rubble. Archaon delved deep into their necropolis until he found the Tomb of Morkar and the armour he sought. However, as Archaon reached out to take it, the spirit of Morkar animated the armour and attacked him. The vengeful spirit laid down a relentless flurry of blows until Archaon cursed it in the language of the Unberogen tribe. The attack ceased for a moment, and Archaon smashed him aside, banishing the spirit of Morkar and allowing him to claim the armour as his own.
Then there was the Eye of Sheerian, which is named after the Tzeentchian Sorcerer who discovered it. Although on its own it grants the bearer prophetic powers, when placed in the Crown of Domination its prophetic powers can be used to their true ability and allow the bearer to predict and avoid the attacks of the enemy. After claiming the Armour of Morkar, Archaon set out to retrieve the Eye of Sheerian. At that time it lay in the lair of the Chaos Dragon Flamefang, who valued the Eye above all of its other treasures. Archaon placed his claim for the Eye by smashing his axe into Flamefang's head. Long did man and monster battle at the base of the Cliff of Beasts. Flamefang breathed fire and even swallowed Archaon whole, but the Armour of Morkar protected him from its acidic stomach. Archaon hacked his way out of the Dragon's gullet with the ferocity of a Flesh Hound, until Flamefang's throat was hacked to shreds and it died of exhaustion and blood loss. Archaon plucked the Eye of Sheerian from its place on the belly of the Dragon and hung it around his neck as his rightful reward.
The next treasure to be won was the dreaded Steed of the Apocalypse. Alternatively known as Dorghar, Ghurshy'ish'phak or Yrontalie, this daemonic beast was stolen from the menagerie of the Daemon Prince Agrammon in the Realm of Chaos. Archaon battled his way past the Daemons guarding Agrammon's palace and sneaked inside, hiding beneath a beast that was part man, part mammoth and part insect. Inside was every beast imaginable, and some that are not. Archaon tracked Dorghar through the menagerie by its sulphurous stench. When he found it he vaulted on to its back. The Steed of the Apocalypse changed shape and burst into flames, but Archaon was able to break it like a wayward stallion and escape from the Realm of Chaos.
Eventually, he sought a legendary Chaos Blade, known by many as the Slayer of Kings which was the sacred blade of Vangel, the second Everchosen. He bound the Greater Daemon U'zuhl into the blade, and the millennia of imprisonment have sent it insane with rage and fury. It was said to rest at the top of Chimera Plateau, located near the roof of the world, where Archaon and his steed Dorghar has journeyed. The warriors battling around the plateau saw the determination and destiny of Archaon, and he quickly gathered a huge horde of followers to wage war against the Chimera's. They swiftly defeated the Chimera hordes guarding the higher passes where Archaon and his three companions climbed to the top of the plateau. From the top, Archaon looked down on the world, swearing that he would one day rule over all of it. Suddenly, what he had taken for a mountain behind him turned over in its sleep, causing a series of earthquakes in the lands below. Archaon soon realised that the mountain was actually the father of the Dragon Ogre race, Krakanrok the Black. Even he could not defeat such a foe, so instead he and his companions sneaked past the titanic monster, only to find that the Slayer of Kings was clasped into its chest. Prince Ograx the Great, the strongest of Archaon's companions, was able to lift up one of Krakanrok's talons high enough for Archaon to retrieve the Daemonsword. However, the Daemon bound inside began to shriek with deafening volume. As Krakanrok began to stir, Archaon thought fast and plunged the Slayer of Kings into Prince Ograx's chest. With the blade's thirst quenched with royal blood, Archaon was able to sheathe it and return from the plateau to the cheers of his followers, carrying his blade with him throughout all his battles.
After many years of endless journeying, Archaon has finally gathered all Five of the Artifacts except one. Forged before the dawn of man, the Crown of Domination once held the Eye of Sheerian, but had since been lost to history. It strikes terror into the bearer's foes and gives strength to his very allies. Decades after finding the Slayer of Kings, Archaon still had no clue as to the whereabouts of this ancient battle-helm. Eventually Be'lakor revealed its location, planning to steal the crown after Archaon found it. The crown lay in the First Shrine to Chaos, high on an icy peak in the Worlds Edge Mountains. Be'lakor led Archaon up the mountain, the Steed of the Apocalypse carrying him over the most difficult terrain. After a day and a half of ceaseless climbing, Archaon stood before the massive double gate that was the entrance to the Shrine. Through the gateway was a labyrinth filled with dire beasts and vengeful Daemons. Archaon was tested by each of the Chaos Gods to see if he was truly worthy to be the Everchosen. Nurgle sent deadly diseases that Archaon fought off with sheer willpower. Tzeentch created a labyrinth of crystal, but Archaon blindfolded himself and used instinct alone to navigate it. Slaanesh sent temptation after temptation, but Archaon resisted, never diverting from the path to the inner gates of the Shrine. After passing through the inner gates, Archaon found himself on a narrow causeway surrounded with hellfire that scorched his skin and burnt away his hair. Suddenly, a mighty Bloodthirster of Khorne erupted from the flames and attacked the potential Everchosen.
The Greater Daemon was strong, but Archaon drew strength from the Slayer of Kings and wrested the Bloodthirster's weapons away and strangled it with its own whip. The hellfire died away, leaving Archaon gravely injured and standing in a simple shrine. A throne stood at the back of the shrine, with a withered corpse sitting on it. On the top of its withered skull sat the Crown of Domination. Archaon took the crown and, with his wounds healing and frame swelling with power, he held it to the heavens. After over a century of searching, he had claimed the title of Everchosen. All that he needed now was a coronation. Upon retrieving the Crown, the Daemon Prince Be'lakor performed the coronation that made Archaon the Lord of the End Times. On that day, it is said that a Twin Tailed Comet, both a omen of great or terrible things, has foretold the coming of the Storm. The Twin Tailed Comet was seen in the bright night sky that day. Especially in the city of Altdorf, thousands of people thronged the streets, driven to hysteria by the rumours of Archaon and the coming of the comet. Grand Theogonist Volkmar appeared daily on the steps of the temple of Sigmar in Altdorf after that day to truly know the true extent of the message. Rumours began to pour in from the north about a strange and terrible army marching, and the great storm that is gathering in the far north. The streets were lined full of doomsayers, flagellants, curates, students, scholars, fishwives, pickpockets, preachers, and riots. With the coming of doom, there persist another rumour, one that brought a bit of hope to the scared and afraid, about a man that would deliver them from this horror, a Champion of Light who would arise to face the Everchosen and finally decide the faith of all the world.
The Spring Driving (2521 IC early Spring)
The coming of Archaon and the storm that was sure to follow did not go un-heralded. To the far north, all Four Powers had united in a common cause to finally bring the world to its knees, calling forth champions of their own respective powers and sending forth visions to all that seek plunder and bloodshed. Shamans saw these same visions of the coming invasion and urged the chieftains of the tribes to gather for war. Daemons of all kinds began to claw at the edges of the physical world, awaiting the day that they would be unleashed. Finally, four champions gathered their own armies under the banner of one of the Four, and began their ceaseless march towards Archaon's ever-growing horde. However, some members of his horde were far more eager than most to join in on the coming slaughter and so an army of Chaos Warriors under the leadership of High Zar Surtha Lenk marched south from Blackblood Pass and attacked the northern lands of Kislev, intending to clear the path for the invasion force. This preemptive invasion would be later referred to by the Imperials as the Spring Driving.
Even in the lands of the Empire, discontent had begun to boil within the clergy of the Church of Sigmar as a zealous and radical Warrior Priest by the name of Luthor Huss began preaching against the clergy's corruption and spiritual decadence. Many demanded the usurper to be burned at the stake, but Grand Theogonist Volkmar the Grim knew better than most, and simply silenced such accusations. However, as the drums of war began to beat in the north once more, Volkmar began to enclose himself inside the high pinnacle of the Temple of Sigmar, reading through unholy tomes to find answers for the dark menace gathering at the Empire's gates. Soon, some within the clergy even questioned the Grand Theogonist's sanity, and eventually the Church of Sigmar became divided and concerned about the situation that was occurring in that dire time.
By the 2nd of Pflugzeit, several battalions of Winged Lancers and Ungol Horse Archers intercepted the hordes coming down south in an effort to stall their advance, but Surtha Lenk and his vanguard army smashed his way through their defences and eventually reached the borders of Ostland and the Empire by the 1st of Sigmarzeit. The sudden arrival and the sheer ferocity of the assault had taken the Imperial Armies of Ostland by surprise. Not only did the High Zar manage to reach the borders of Ostland to the east, but warriors and marauders sailing down south from the Norscan coast had already made landfall on the shores of Starivoda Bay in Nordland. Disembarking and marching inland in great secrecy, the second Chaos host ambushed the Ostland State Army, destroying a greater part of its military might. With the enemy in disarray, Surtha Lenk and his Chaos horde smashed their way through the village of Smallhof and delved deep into the Forest of Shadows, en route to the capital city of Wolfenburg.
Despite his best efforts, Elector Count Valmir von Raukov had no choice and issued a plea of aid to the other counts of the Empire. However, the High Zar anticipated this and sent forces to intercept them before they reached their destinations. Miraculously, several messengers survived and with the call for aid came Elector Count Helmut Feuerbach and his elite force of battle-hardened Imperial soldiers. But the greatest aid came when one of the messengers reached the Imperial Court of Emperor Karl Franz himself. Slowly dying of exhaustion and blood-loss, the messenger gave a quick but extremely vague interpretation of the Chaos army that was assailing his gates. Assuming the worst, Karl Franz mustered every single military asset at his disposal and called for the creation of the Grand Army of the Empire to combat this threat. However, by the 31st of Sigmarzeit, Surtha Lenk's vanguard army smashed their way across Ostland territory and finally reached the capital of the province without much resistance, resulting in the devastating First Siege of Wolfenburg.
The Imperial Army, along with regiments of the Emperor's own Reiksguard Order departed Altdorf by the fourth day of the siege. Cadres of wizards from several of the Colleges of Magic had also joined their arcane power toward this growing Imperial army, as well as the aid of Volkmar the Grim and his growing host of Warrior Priests, Flagellants and Zealots. As they reached Talabheim in the twentieth day of the siege, the Imperial army met with the armies of Middenland and awaited the coming of the other Imperial powers.
After eight days of preparation, the armies of Averland, Stirland, Nuln, and Talabheim were assembled, allowing the Grand Army to begin its departure to relieve the siege of Wolfenburg. Along the roads leading to Ostland, the Grand Army was caught in a massive ambush by an enormous horde of Beastmen, resulting in Emperor Karl Franz and his griffon mount being gravely injured. Saved by the heroics of an Averheim Greatsword company, the Emperor had no other alternative but to return back to Altdorf with the Red Arrow coaches along with Volkmar the Grim. Before his departure, he appointed Reiksmarshal Kurt Helborg as the new Supreme Commander of the Grand Army, though his command was strongly opposed by the Elector Count of Middenheim Boris Todbringer and his noble supporters. After five days of bitter fighting, Kurt managed to break the Beastmen horde and sent them reeling back with the aid of local Hochland forces.
However, Reiksmarshal Kurt and his army of Imperials came too late, for by the first day of Vorgeheim the city of Wolfenburg had been sacked by the armies of Surtha Lenk. Enraged at his failure, he ordered the Grand Army to attack the fallen Wolfenburg and break the horde into smaller individual hosts. Leading the charge was the elite cavalry core composed of the Reiksguard Knights and the White Wolves Templar Order. Surrounded and tired after a thirty-three-day siege, the vanguard army of Surtha Lenk was broken and scattered. It wasn't until the Battle of Mazhorod that the army was destroyed entirely by the aid of Boyarin Kurkosk's forces, where it was said that the mighty High Zar had fallen in combat.
Within the following week, the remaining vanguard hordes under the leadership of Warlord Aelric Cyenwulf and his mighty Dragon Ogres were defeated at the Battle of Urszebya, by the combined forces of the Empire, the Ice Queen of Kislev, and General Albertalli of Luccini leading Tilean mercenaries. Though it was a total victory, the battle was nonetheless costly.
Volkmar's Challenge (23rd of Nachgeheim)
- "I see more and more people enter these Temple doors each day. I wish I could say it was my teachings that summoned them here, but alas, I believe it is fear and uncertainty that brings them."
- —Grand Theogonist Volkmar the Grim.
Though many held a sigh of relief with the death of the High Zar and his army of Chaos Warriors, many were still naive as to the true intentions of this preventive attack. Volkmar was not one of them, for he had read the unholy books and knew the true darkness that awaited them in the far north. And so, Volkmar issued an ultimatum for all those loyal to Sigmar and his cause to join him on his crusade north and put an end to Archaon before it is too late. Many heeded the call, those of pure faith joining the fledgeling army, both Templars and commoners alike, though others joined simply out of fear of the coming invasion. The faithful Grand Theogonist led his Sigmarite followers north, hoping to intercept Archaons's horde before it reached the Empire. With the visions he received from his god, and the unbending strength of his faith, Volkmar led this fanatical army into the icy tundras of Kislev.
However, some within the Empire had doubts about this holy crusade, one of which was Emperor Karl Franz himself. Assuming the worst, by the 5th day of the next month, the Emperor sent word to all his allies, requesting aid for his cause, and to request a meeting in Altdorf called the Conclave of Light to discuss the issue at hand. Many would answer the call, but such a gathering would take much time to accomplish.
After several weeks of tracking through the lands of Kislev, Volkmar and his fanatical army finally faced the Hordes of Chaos in the lands just north of Troll Country. Hoping to avert the Storm of Chaos, Volkmar attacked Archaon's large horde with his own fanatical army. Before the battle commenced however, Volkmar issued a challenge to the Everchosen in single combat to finally decide which one of their gods was truly stronger than the other. Volkmar knew that Archaon couldn't ignore such a challenge, for his position as Everchosen could only be maintained with the fear and respect of his warriors. Thus Archaon met Volkmar's host and did battle. The two armies clashed long and hard, each fighting with great zeal and faith. Volkmar on top of his War Altar led the charge to face Archaon, but as the Theogonist charged the Everchosen, Archaon struck with amazing speed and slew the Grand Theogonist of Sigmar with a single stroke of his infernal sword. He battered the War Altar aside and proclaimed the duel his.
Though their leader was killed by the hands of the Everchosen, the Sigmarite army fought on courageously, but after many hours, slowly the Sigmarite army was surrounded and cut to shreds. Routed and broken, the retreating Imperial Army led by the surviving Elector Count Helmut Feuerbach was finally destroyed as the remnants of Surtha Lenk's forces slammed their way into the retreating Imperial soldiers. Almost everyone died in that massacre, but it was said that the Elector Count and a few others managed to escape, though none could confirm the rumours.
By the thirty-first of Brauzeit, news of Volkmar's demise reached the ears of Altdorf, and in respect to his death, church bells rang to mourn the passing of such a faithful leader and warrior of the Empire, taken from the people in this most dire time. With his death and ceremony, the Church of Sigmar and the remaining Lectors of the clergy assembled to decide who would be the new Grand Theogonist of the Church. After many days of much debate, former Arch Lector Johan Esmer III was elected.
After the death of Volkmar and the coronation of Johan Esmer III, Luthor Huss left the city of Nuln after a failed protest at the city's Sigmarite cathedral against Johan's coronation. With this outburst against his rule and with his new political power as the new Grand Theogonist, Johan denounced the upstart Warrior Priest, forcing Luthor Huss into the Reikland and Ubersreik. Undeterred by this, Luthor Huss continued his persecution against Chaos in all its forms, beating back cults and warbands that had rose from the forest.
It was during this time that word got out of an extraordinary boy living in the lands of the Reik. This boy was tall, blonde of hair, and powerful in strength. Having beaten back a horde of beastmen using only two of his fathers' smithy hammers, Valten led the survivors of the attack and killed Beastlord Rargarth in single combat. Eventually, Luthor Huss met with the young man, and saw in him the reincarnation of Sigmar himself. With Luthor Huss's aid, they managed to rescue the life of Stefan Wierde and began their march towards Altdorf.
To the north, the ancient Daemon Prince Be'lakor had finally broken free from his bondage after crowning Archaon as the new Everchosen. On that dark day in the Chaos Wastes, the Daemon Prince conjured up a great portal from which his ancient army would begin their march south towards the Empire and aid Archaon in his bid for conquest.
The Conclave of Light (4th of Jahrdung)
- "The Realms of Man must not fall. Our fate is intertwined with theirs, and if they fall, so too do we. For this reason, I taught their first masters of magic, and for this reason, we must not abandon Men, despite their barbarous ways"
- —Teclis, Loremaster of Ulthuan during the Conclave of Light.
On the fourth of Jahrdung, Emperor Karl Franz hosted the grand Conclave of Light at his capital of Altdorf and invited heads of state from across the Old World, explaining the situation of Archaon’s invasion, asking for their aid. The first to arrive was Snorri Thungrimsson, envoy of the Dwarf Slayer King Ungrim Ironfist, who arrived at Altdorf's east gate in the early morning of the eighteenth. After a lengthy discussion, the Dwarfs promised to lend their aid towards the beleaguered Empire.
By the thirtieth of that month, urged on by the Fay Enchantress and messengers from the Empire, King Louen Leoncoeur of Bretonnia declared a new Errantry War to aid the Empire against the Forces of Chaos. Legions of knights from all across the kingdom gathered for the coming march, eager to prove their worth to their king and goddess. Many Grail Knights had dreams of this day and all began their march to the gathering at Montfort. With this, the Bretonnians provided their aid towards the Empire.
The last to arrive were the High Elves of Ulthuan and the envoys of the Ice Queen's court. The High Elves pledged to assist the Empire in its time of need, as did the Tzarina of Kislev. At this Conclave of Light, plans for the defence of the Empire were laid out, and ancient alliances renewed. Coming alongside the High Elf delegation was the legendary Archmage Teclis. Teclis warned the gathered patriarchs of the Colleges of Magic that now, as their ancestors had done before, the magisters would have to mobilise to resist this greatest of all threats.
To the north, Archaon and his horde of Chaos followers breached the northern defences and began to close in on the port-city of Erengrad. In an effort to stall the invasion, the Tzarina sent three armies of Kislevites towards Archaons's host to ensure that the horde didn't cross the river Lysnk. At first the armies managed to hold on, but the horde's numbers proved too much, and eventually the three Kislevite armies were destroyed, leaving the path clear to Erengrad. Desperate to hold the city, the Kislevites made many modifications to the city to ensure that the horde wouldn't be able to breach its formidable walls. However, Vignar, Champion of Khorne from the Aesling tribe of Norsca, led his band of Chaos marauders to blockade the ports of the city, ensuring that the city's inhabitants had no way to escape.
The Siege of Erengrad (8th of Sigmarzeit)
The first days of the siege resulted in massive waves sent against the city walls, as well as continuous bombardment from an array of Chaos Hellcannons. In response to these attacks, skilled archers from a variety of Ungol tribes unleashed volley after volley of steel-tipped arrows against the advancing hordes, with cannon batteries unleashing barrages of ammunition, destroying droves of men with every shot. Not wanting his back exposed to the Kislevites, the Everchosen thusly ordered a portion of his forces under the leadership of D'aggron the Exalted to lay siege to the city of Praag, and to continue on to the capital city of Kislev itself.
For nearly six days the combat continued until, finally, Archaon demanded that the city was to fall by the seventh day. The battle began with another volley of hell-fire from batteries of Chaos artillery. Screaming hell-fire exploded from the maw of the infernal machines, streaking over the teeming mass of Northmen that filled the plains around the doomed city of Erengrad. Even from their location, the horde could see great destruction being wrought around the city, huge infernos gripping the buildings while masonry collapsed like sand before a wave. After the murderous volley of Chaos fire was spent, the Chaos horde used catapults to launch massive boulders of warpstone into the city streets, spewing uncontrollable green lightning. Soon after, war drums were sounded in perfect unison as immense siege towers were brought up, hauled by massive shaggy beasts, pushing or crushing aside those that got in their way. The drum tempo began to grow higher and higher, as hundreds of ironclad warriors and fur-covered barbarians marched in formation towards the city. Sorcerers and cloaked shamans of all kinds began chanting their blasphemous spells and called down lighting to smite their foes on the battlements. Hundreds of misshapen creatures marched beside the warriors only to be greeted by a murderous volley of arrows which felled them by the hundreds.
Finally, the horde once more swept against the city walls, crushing aside their fellows in a mass rush to come to grip with the enemy, climbing the steep walls with improvised grappling hooks. They were soon greeted with a shower of rocks and arrows killing many outright, but the massive chains these marauders carried allowed their comrades to climb the steep slopes and made breaches in several sections of the city. In response, massive arrays of cannon batteries began booming their ammunition amongst the teeming mass of the Northmen horde, ploughing through rank after rank of Chaos Warriors. Finally, the siege towers reached the walls of the city intact, unleashing packs of berserking marauders against the frightened besiegers. Many towers fell, and many more were crushed under the splintering crash of the infernal contraption, each killing as many men as every volley shot by the Kislevites.
The besieged fought on savagely, more out of fear then courage, but such was the overwhelming power of the Chaos host that they eventually faltered. The Everchosen then ordered in the infernal battering ram, Gharl Mortez, to tear through the northern gate. After a full hour of hammering, the ram bested the city entrance. With an ear splintering crack the ram burst through the north gate, unleashing the armies surging in through the gap.
As the fighting continued, the Chaos worshippers parted as they saw their dreaded leader ride towards the doomed city with baleful eyes. The Everchosen cared not for this city, it merely stood in his way towards destiny. As he drew closer to the gate, a hail of arrows struck the Everchosen in a futile attempt to end his life, yet a man like Archaon could not be killed by mere mortal weapons and the arrows simply shatter against the unholy Armour of Morkar. As he entered through the gate, he bore witness to a gruesome battle taking place where man and beast fought each other to the death. All around him bodies laid mangled and broken. The presence of such a dreaded figure on the battlefield was too much for the remaining defenders and they fled in terror through the streets of the battered city. Suddenly, a unit of noble Kislevite horsemen crashed through the remains of the northern gate into the armies on the blood-soaked plains. They battled past monsters and men, almost breaking through the enemy ranks. But as the horsemen crushed a platoon of Gors, the ground beneath them imploded, leaving many of the Kislev horses dead. From the darkness came a cadre of black-armoured dwarfs, marks of evil on their axes and shields.
Soon after, in the distance war horns roared as it signalled the Norse ships making successful landfalls in the harbour ports. The coastal batteries that were facing seaward were roaring to life, trying desperately to sink the ships before more made landfall. Every shot fired came with a splintering crash as the cannonball wreaked havoc upon the flimsy vessels, yet there were far too many to sink. The fearsome Norsemen all disembarked upon the harbour and one by one the coastal batteries were silenced by a wave of bodies overwhelming the crew of the cannons.
Archaon gazed around him, he saw the battered buildings surrounding him, his armies pillaging the riches of the city, as the last few futile resistance were being crushed as he watched. His steed pawed the ground anxious to join in the slaughter. The mighty Chaos Lord could feel the pleasure of the gods as they looked down upon him and could feel their approval swelling him with power. His legion streamed over the uncontested walls, and many more poured forth through the broken shattered gate, seeking out the last remnants of defence to quench their thirst for blood. The city was ablaze, its intensity the strongest in the ports where the Norscans landed and broken the last vestige of the defenders' courage. Soon this would happen to every single city in the Old World, soon Archaon knew his long and hard journey would finally come to an end.
The Battle of High Pass (13th of Sigmarzeit)
The day before the fall of the city of Erengrad, Archaon's Herald, Vardek Crom the Conqueror and his army of Kurgan warriors made preparations to invade the Eastern lands of the Empire through the High Pass. Blocking his way however, was a massive horde of Greenskin warriors led by the Black Orc Warlord Grimgor Ironhide. Having beaten every challenge presented to him, the battle-hungry Greenskin Warlord had stationed his horde upon the narrowest part of the pass, forcing the Chaos army to attack him, hoping to face the infamous Vardek Crom in combat. With no other alternative, the Chaos horde rushed headlong into the mass of Greenskin warriors. As the sun rose from behind the Mountains of Mourn the two armies met. This would become the greatest battle that had ever been seen in the Dark Lands.
Within moments, the fighting became fierce. The two armies collided in battle, Men and Greenskins died in the hundreds, the Kurgans warriors fought for their Lord Crom and their Dark Gods like men possessed, the Orcs and Goblins indifferent to their losses fought just for the joy of battle and killing. But this time it was the Greenskins that faltered. Never before had they faced men who fought with such blood-rage. For every man cut down, two or three were there to take their place, there seemed to be no end to them. They had met an opponent that was just as indifferent to losses as they were, an army of men so unlike the weak men of the west. After hours of battle, with thousands killed on both sides it was the Orcs that were defeated and who fled the battlefield.
As the battle was raging Grimgor was still looking for an opponent that could give him a challenge. All the Kurgan that he had faced and killed did little to satisfy his need. Fighting in the thick of the battle he fought his way deep into the Chaos horde's lines, fighting and killing dozens as he raged about without finding a worthy opponent. Then he saw Crom. Like Grimgor, Crom easily bested any who faced him. Goblins, Orcs, Black Orcs, boar riders and Trolls all died to his sword and axe. Crom too was looking for an opponent that would test his skill. Then Crom saw Grimgor.
As each set eyes on the other, both knew they had finally met a worthy opponent. The fight was one of epic scale. For hours they fought as their two armies battled around them. Both gaining the advantage at times but neither able to kill the other. As the sun began to set Crom and Grimgor pulled apart, each staring at the other with respect, wondering how to end the other's life. After several minutes of silence, Crom stepped back lowering his weapon, signalling an end to their fight. Grimgor howled in rage at the insult, wanting to continue combat. As Crom stood silently, Grimgor looked around for the first time since the battle began. All he saw was dead bodies everywhere and the army of Chaos staring down at him, his army having fled into the mountains. Looking back at Crom and the Chaos Warriors around them Grimgor retreated slowly back daring any to stop him. Once clear he turned and fled slowly south away from the High Pass. For the first time Grimgor had been defeated. For the first time in his life, he had failed to master a challenge.
Grimgor's own personal standard was almost captured during the battle, a Champion of Chaos about to break it over his knee, until a Black Orc called Taugrek jumped in, throttling the Chaos Champion with his bare hands, before claiming the standard and fleeing with the rest of Grimgor's army.
As the days passed and Grimgor gathered up his scattered forces, he felt the unfamiliar pangs eating away at his pride. He vowed that he would absolve himself in the eyes of Gork and Mork, the Orc Gods. He vowed that he would gather together the greatest Waaagh! that the world had ever known, so massive and destructive that it would wipe away the stain of his loss.
The Storm of Chaos (23rd of Sigmarzeit)
- "Sigmar was a weakling, and his Empire founded on Falsehood. I shall destroy him and his false gods. The city of Ulric will burn and the memory of the upstart king shall be obliterated!"
- —Archaon, Lord of the End Times.
Having beaten the last obstacle standing in his way, Archaon finally led his Chaos hordes onto the lands of the Empire. In desperation, the entire Empire and their Imperial Armies began mass mobilisation of all available military assets towards the northern provinces. Upon his arrival within the borders of Ostland, the massive Chaos horde began to split up between each of their respected powers, each led by one of Archaon's four lieutenants, with the fifth and largest horde being led by Archaon himself.
In an effort to bolster his destroyed city's defences, Valmir von Raukov hired the famous Stars of Victory mercenary company to aid in the defence of the capital. Led by Captain Bruno Hauptlelter, who was originally from the city itself, these veteran warriors would be the main contributors towards holding onto the city against the Northmen hordes that would flood onto its ruined streets. Standing in the horde's way however were the towns and villages of Ferlangen, Zundap, Bohenfels and Kursk. Though badly damaged, these small but stubborn fortified positions in Ostland were the only things holding back the dark tide.
The first engagement in the invasion occurred in the small village of Kursk, where a mighty Steam Tank along with local village defenders miraculously defended the village from several waves of incoming attackers. In response, Chaos artillery was brought up and began a heavy bombardment upon the village to remove the threat. To the south-east, a massive Slaaneshi army sacked the town of Boven, but had unexpectedly bypassed the neighbouring town of Wurzen. This miracle came as a gift to the Baron of the town after betraying Zundap's defences to the Slaaneshi host as a sign of "good faith".
The next day, on the 24th of Sigmarzeit, news began streaming in from the south that a mighty vanguard host of elite Bretonnian Knights under the leadership of Duke Bohemond Beastslayer had broken through the treacherous Axebite Pass and have begun their ceaseless march north to the beleaguered Empire. In Zundap, the soldiers of Count Valmir von Raukov were pushed back west after their fortified position on the old Steam Mill was overrun by mighty Dragon Ogres and Chaos Giants. Fighting continued on for the next few days, with the town changing hands several times. In an effort to push the Imperial forces out, Styrkaar, Champion of Slaanesh, began to mobilize his forces for a concentrated attack on their fortifications. During the fighting, a massive horde of Greenskin warriors entered the contested battlefield. Under the ruthless leadership of Grimgor Ironhide and his army of 'Ard Boys, the Greenskin Warlord had begun to fight both Imperial and Chaos forces alike in his effort to reach Middenheim.
On that same day, the village of Kursk fell to the Chaos forces after the boiler from the Steam Tank ruptured, resulting in its total immobility and the destruction of the village defenders.
By the 26th of Sigmarzeit, cultists, marauders, and warriors of the Dark Gods began to pour in through the shattered remains of Wolfenburg's walls, resulting in the Second Siege of Wolfenburg. As the Chaos armies surged into the streets of the fallen city, bands of courageous soldiers stalked its shattered buildings, ambushing and attacking isolated bands of Chaos Warriors from a variety of cellars and ruined passages before retreating once more. These tactics managed to stall the horde for the time being, buying precious time for those defenders further out west.
At the fortified keep of Bohsenfels, the mighty Imperial castle had managed to hold on strong against the relentless tide of Chaos warriors after retaining possession of the castle's underground catacombs. After some time however, the battlefield became silent as a massive gathering was being issued by Melekh the Changer, Champion of Tzeentch. Using the sacrifices offered up to his Dark God, he gathered an immense amount of dark power to be used against the Imperial defenders.
At the Ostland town of Ferlangen, the initial successes of the defenders were beginning to fade into memory as the hunters of Ostland were driven back towards their homes. Others had even retreated to lodges in the mountains, expecting the settlement to eventually fall under Chaos control very soon. By the next day, the town defences had been weakened to a breaking point, and the Imperial generals were torn to decide whether to send fresh reinforcements towards their location, weakening their fortified positions in other areas, or to surrender the town to Chaos forces, and possibly cut off support from Bohsenfels Keep.
After nearly seven days of hard fighting, Count von Raukov ordered the Imperial defenders within the city of Wolfenburg to withdraw from the capital and head towards their fortified positions in Castle Lenkster. Most hastily left the shattered city, but a few determined and vengeful souls stayed behind to continue on their harassment against the forces of Archaon and his two lieutenants, Feytor, Champion of Nurgle, and Haargroth, Champion of Khorne. With their sacrifice, the defences at Castle Lenkster were modified and further refitted with a variety of fortifications with each passing hour.
By the 29th, Melekh finally unleashed his tremendous arcane magic upon the Imperial defenders guarding the northern approach to the Middle Mountains, turning them against the castle defenders like men possessed. Eventually, Bohsenfels began to buckle under the relentless assault, and the remaining officers were debating whether to withdraw their forces to the Imperial positions in Ferlangen. However, by the 1st of Sommarzeit, Ferlagen had fallen under the iron-fisted rule of Kordel Shorgaar, standard-bearer of Archaon the Everchosen. With their line of escape cut off, the Imperial soldiers were trapped. However, the delay at Bohsenfels had forced the Chaos armies to halt their advance, awaiting news from Melekh and his success.
The Coronation of Valten (1st of Sommerzeit)
As the war ravaged the lands of the Northern Empire, terror and utter fear had gripped the once proud and loyal citizens of the Empire. Messenger pigeons from a variety of outposts and fortified garrisons all along the war-zones of the northern provinces had begun to flow into the capital city of Altdorf like a flood. Soon, the entire city knew that the mighty fortress-city of Wolfenburg had fallen, and that the lands of Nordland and Ostland were burning to the ground. The city was gripped in fear, and many decent folks of the Empire began to renounce their devotion to Sigmar, believing that the Empire was lost, and that Sigmar had indeed forsaken his people in their time of need.
However, to the south, a mighty horde of fanatical followers arrived at the city of Altdorf by the 1st of Sommerzeit. Luthor Huss, the now self-proclaimed Prophet of Sigmar, led this mighty host alongside the boy Valten, Sigmar Reborn, in their bid to see the Emperor and proclaim him as the reincarnation of Sigmar himself. By the time this army of Flagellants, Warrior Priests and Witch Hunters reached the outskirts of Altdorf, the great capital gates were immediately locked shut to them. Huss demanded entrance into the city, threatening the Reiksguard Captain guarding the entrance with holy retribution if he did not allow passage. Whilst the army stood outside, the nobility of Altdorf began a discussion about this issue with the Emperor and Grand Theogonist in court. Some believed that this was indeed Sigmar Reborn, coming to the Empire's side in their time of great need. Others, however, were filled with a sense of false hope and foreboding disappointment. This split between opinions forced the Court to continue its discussions for another three days, allowing Archaon to slowly make his way towards Middenheim.
However, the delay at Castle Bohsenfels had forced Archaon to react to the incompetence of Melekh the Changer and his Tzeentchite warriors. Archaon arrived in the twilight hours outside the besieged castle of Bohsenfels, and with him the dreaded riders of the Swords of Chaos. Fighting stopped as he immediately summoned the warriors of Melekh to pull back from the walls and hear his words. There are jeers from the defenders, loudest amongst them from the mercenaries that had initially been paid to hold the castle and yet now fought merely to survive. Archaon brought the curses of the gods upon the followers of Tzeentch for failing to take the castle, and as an example, five hundred warriors were ordered butchered by the Swords of Chaos. As the heads of the dead Tzeentch followers were piled onto a great pyre, Archaon confronted Melekh himself. Pleading for forgiveness, the Champions of Tzeentch watched helplessly as Archaon severed Melekh's head with one mighty sweep from his blade. A grim silence descended as Archaon commanded Melekh's son, the mutated Cyspeth, to leave only a holding force behind and advance through Ferlangen to the town of Nordbergbruche. With the death of his father, Cyspeth followed Archaon orders to the letter, allowing the remaining Imperial survivors of the siege to be able to live through this Chaos invasion.
With the Chaos armies on the move once more, Imperial forces at the fallen town of Zundap had retreated back to the eastern end of the bridge at the town of Struhelspan. The excesses Styrkaar and his army of Slaaneshi warriors indulged themselves after taking the steam mill at Zundap had allowed time for these retreating forces to gather themselves again and join the garrison at Struhelspan. When Styrkaar's vanguard army of demented warriors finally launched their attack upon Struhelspan, they found their initial assaults blunted from a barrage of devastating cannon and handgun fire, forcing the assault force back into the forest to seek cover. In an effort to bypass their defences, Grey Seer Verminous Fang and his host of Skaven warriors began putting into action a devious plan to tunnel under the river itself and assault the enemy from behind. Initial attacks on the bridge fortifications themselves were lacklustre and the men of Ostland and Middenland were able to strengthen their defences. Hearing about these failures, the Champion of Slaanesh and the rest of his Slaaneshi army marched from the ruins of Zundap towards the siege at Struhelspan.
With the fall of Ferlangen, another Chaos army, bolstered by Beastmen from the Middle Mountains, marched speedily along the pass from Ferlangen to the town of Nordbergbruche, the glimmering sides of the mountain's tallest peak, Nordberg, stretching above them. The scattered bands of hunters and Imperial troops present have managed to slow the advance for a few hours, however, they soon became outflanked by a force of Skaven that had been instrumental in the fall of Ferlangen, led by a Grey Seer named Skoll. Buckling under the assault, the town of Nordbergbruche began to break by the sheer ferocity of the Chaos attacks. Luckily however, entire companies of Dwarf warriors from the Middle Mountains few remaining Dwarfholds and mines lent their aid to the beleaguered warriors of the Empire, fulfilling their long-standing oath of brotherhood to the heirs of Sigmar's kingdom. However, with the aid of their Skaven allies, the Chaos forces managed to bypass the Imperial defences by going into underground tunnels underneath the Nordbergbruche, but Imperial and Dwarf forces quickly reacted to the exposure and began to halt their advance.
To the south of Norbergbruche, the fighting at Castle Lenkster continued as an Imperial strike force under the leadership of Lord Jared von Strudt prepared to defend against an assault brought upstream. Under the cover of a bombardment, Lord Jared, amongst others, fought a valiant defence against the Chaos forces until a sortie from the castle garrison pushed back the invaders. With his position being reinforced with the soldiers of Captain Kaufmann, Lord Jared then conducted a counter-attack that drove the attackers from the northern castle wall. Demanding its downfall, Archaon changed course towards Lenkster to put an end to all this himself.
Back in Altdorf, after nearly three days of constant deliberation, the court of the nobility of Altdorf was unexpectedly interrupted as Luthor Huss and his entourage managed to finally get inside the city after a Captain of the Reiksguard, filled with religious fear of Huss' declaration, disobeyed his orders and opened the gates. This incident eventually escalated to a small-scale civil war within the Grand Order of the Reiksguard, as those loyal to Karl Franz clashed against those Knights that believed Luthor Huss's claim that the boy Valten was truly Sigmar. Upon entering the Imperial Palace to meet the Emperor in person, people gathered by the thousands at the Coronation Square to hear what Karl Franz would do next. Those Elector Counts from the more southern realms truly believed that this boy was indeed Sigmar reborn, and wished him to receive the proper coronation as the heir to the Imperial kingdom, whilst Johan and his clergy supporters demanded the upstart to be denied such a declaration.
Threatened by the appearance of Valten, Karl Franz had a difficult decision to make. To spurn the young man would be to invite disaster from those who believed in him. To accept him would be to splinter the Empire when strong leadership was needed the most. The faith of his kingdom hung in the balance, but Karl Franz once more showed his skills as a true leader and bestowed a gift to Valten that would unite his people and quell such infighting. Karl Franz handed the young blacksmith boy the mighty warhammer, Ghal Maraz, and bestowed upon him the title of the Chosen of Sigmar, the spiritual leader of the Empire, much to Johan's dismay. As prince of the Reikland, Karl Franz once more took up the sacred Runefang of his forefathers and walked side by side with Valten as they and the entire Empire began to march north to face Archaon and end this Storm once and for all.
The Push Westward (4th of Sommerzeit)
- "Hochland was once the Light of the East. Now its just embers."
- —A Hochland refugee.
Though the threat of civil war had been averted and the whole of the Empire finally united under the banner of Valten the Chosen of Sigmar, it would still be many days before the mighty armies of Reikland, Averland, Stirland, and Wissenland reached the war-torn provinces of the north. As the men of the southern realms picked up old halberds and blunted swords to once more fight for their home and country, the lands of Hochland had begun to suffer as the war gradually moved the battlefield towards the forested regions of their homeland. To the East, Vardek Crom the Conqueror had managed to breach the first two defences built by the Slayer King Ungrim Ironfist, and had pushed his way towards the gates of the Slayer Keep itself.
To the northeast, an army of Dwarf Slayers and Kislevite horsemen were battling against the Chaos hordes of D'aggron the Exalted, fighting for control of the capital city of Kislev. To the West, Wood Elf warriors and Beastmen tribes hacked at each other with gruesome butchery as they fought for the dominion of the sacred woods of Athel Loren. But it was in the lands of the Empire where the true fate of this world truly lay, and it was there where Archaon sought to destroy the last vestige of courage the Imperials at Castle Lenkster still possessed.
However, the arrival of the School of Engineers' expeditionary force from the city of Altdorf greatly stemmed Chaos forces from crossing the treacherous river. Demanding its downfall, Archaon has brought up his array of Hellcannons to put an end to this stubborn defence. By the 8th of Sommerzeit, the bombardment of Castle Lenkster began. The air was ripped asunder by the tortured screams of the Imperials as the first arcane blasts from the Chaos Hellcannons screeched through the air, and impacted upon the keep’s formidable walls, shattering stone and flesh in equal measure. For half a day the infernal cannonade continued its deadly barrage, resulting in parts of the eastern tower crumbling to ruins and the northern walls being breached in several places. Yet despite this damage, Archaon held his forces back, waiting perhaps for some signal, some sign from the gods, that it was time to launch the final assault.
It was only by the next day that Archaon continued the bombardment once more, unleashing foul chemicals upon the walls above. Those defenders in the castle walls quickly fell to their knees gasping and spewing the contents of their guts over the battlements. Even the doughty Dwarfs that had raised their axes in defence of Castle Lenkster were afflicted by this strange malaise, their legendary constitutions no safeguard against the unnatural disease. Faltering, only the Imperial gunboat from the recently arrived Engineer Expedition managed to hold the bridge from Chaos forces. This allowed Count Valmir von Raukov to muster some semblance of a retreat from the rout that had threatened to destroy his forces, eventually forced to fall back towards Breder in Middenland after Archaon's horde overran the Castle by the 9th of Sommerzeit.
Just a few days behind the Chaos horde, Grimgor Ironhide and his army of Greenskin warriors were slaughtering their way towards Castle Lenkster, picking up odds and ends of tribes and warbands along the way in his efforts to prove himself mightier than Archaon by reaching Middenheim first. Orc and Goblin tribes from the Worlds Edge Mountains and beyond had begun to join en masse towards Waaagh! Grimgor, making daring attacks against the rearguard of Chaos forces heading further west.
Further south, a small force of Bretonnian Knights, the scouting vanguard of an even larger force of Knights under Duke Bohemond Beastslayer, reached the lands just south of the Middle Mountains. On their way to the Nordbergbruch, the cavalry force was intercepted by a force of Chaos Warriors of the Tzeentchite Warlord Asil Yarp, who unleashed a volley of Chaos fire from his artillery train of Chaos Hellcannons, scattering the brave knights to the wind. With this counter-attack foiled, the Imperials at the Nordbergbruch had lost their only hope of reinforcements, inevitably allowing Cyspeth and his Skaven allies to flesh out their latest strategy.
Around the 10th of Sommerzeit, Imperial and Dwarf forces around the bridge of Norbergbruch were suddenly assailed from the far end by Skaven that had tunnelled around their defences. At the other side of the valley, Cyspeth and his coven of sorcerous allies unleashed raw chaos energies upon the Imperials holding the bridge, striking their enemies with a barrage of Chaos bolts and mutating them into twisted, mewling wrecks. The sheer ferocity and speed of the onslaught swept away their resistance, and within an hour the bridge was taken. With the path cleared, the Tzeentchite army and their allies moved eastward, eventually reaching the great Imperial Fortress of Brass Keep.
Imperial Counter-Offensive (11th of Sommerzeit)
As Count Valmir von Raukov and his Ostland army fell back towards the town of Breder after the Fall of Lenkster, the armies of Middenland and Middenheim moved eastward to reinforce the defences around the village of Esk. Upon his arrival, Count von Raukov established Breder as his new headquarters, mustering forces in an attempt to reclaim the fallen Castle Lenkster. But the forces of Archaon and Feytor had crossed the river in considerable numbers during the night, and dawn saw them advancing rapidly on Breder. Caught unprepared for this attack, the soldiers of Breder were hard-pressed to hold back the avalanche of howling warriors and roaring monsters that descended on their town, and Archaon, sensing victory, urged his warriors to press home whilst they held the advantage.
In the aftermath of the great Storm of Chaos, many minor events took place that brought stability, or destruction to other parts of the Empire and other realms. All events listed below happened within the span of one year after the war's end.
Grand Theogonist Johann Esmer III flees to Marienburg before Volkmar the Grim returns to Altdorf. There isn't much support to Esmer, but he is still saying that he is the rightful Theogonist and speaking against Volkmar. When Volkmar returns he takes over the Templars of Sigmar (force of witch-hunters and templars created by Esmer). Volkmar gives them even more rights to find the servants of the Dark Gods.
Archaon’s Horde had spread misery and death across Ostland, Hochland, and Middenland. Tens of thousands were homeless and starving. Their fields had been burned, and their homes were left in ruins. Confronted by the full horror of Chaos, many were the folk who had been driven insane through terror and misery. The forests were crawling with soldiers and peasants who had abandoned their gods and bartered their souls to the all-conquering power of the Dark Gods. Though Middenheim had been defended to the last and Archaon’s horde was shattered, the remnants of warbands and Beast Herds still lurked throughout the northern Empire. Zundap was overrun with verminous Skaven, who had turned the old steam mill into an unholy hive of rat creatures. Brass Keep was just an empty shell. Its dark corners were home to strange beasts and twisted spawn, and the warriors of the Dark Gods gathered in its ruined towers and cellars.
It is little surprise that Boris Todbringer has led the White Wolves and the remnants of the forces of Middenland into the south and west, seeking a sign of Khazrak's whereabouts. His search is cautious, though, for he knows well the dangers of fighting in the Drakwald.
Helmut Feuerbach, Elector Count of Talabecland, survived the failed attack against Archaon in 2521, with Volkmar the Grim. But he has not returned from the Storm of Chaos and is feared dead. With him also disappeared the Knights of the Red Shield (Elector Count's personal bodyguards).
Vampires from all the blood-lines have suddenly "awaken". Many among their ranks believe that the legendary time of The Thousand Thrones is near.
Two powerful Beastman arise among the scattered tribes of Drakwald - Shaman Urslak Cripplehorn and Gargorath the God-Touched. Shaman Urslak's plan is to cast a mighty ritual that will transform everyone living in the forests of the Empire into Beastmen using enchanted menhirs. Gargorath's herd will be huge by the end of year, when he moves them against the Empire forces.
Dreaded necromancer Heinrich Kemmler has returned to the Empire. He remains unseen and disguised until he finally strikes.
Boyar Alexi Makarev, having fought valiantly in the defence of Middenheim, rides with all speed to his homeland to assist in the reclamation of Erengrad, and on to the fighting still raging at Praag. Having disobeyed the wishes of the Ice Queen and ridden south to the Empire, it remains to see what reception he will receive.
Tilean mercenary regiments fought alongside General Pavian at Krasicyno and held the line for three hours straight. Later General Albertalli of Luccini led the charge against the Kurgan line at Mazhorod in 2522 IC.1BB Alongside the armies of Stirland, Talabecland, and the Ice Queen, Albertalli fought at Urszebya against the hordes of Aelfric Cyenwulf in 2522 IC.[1b]
Morathi has heard rumour that Hellebron has moved against the temple of Slaanesh that is now found in Naggarond, and is returning to the capital of Naggaroth to see off the Witch Queen's challenge. It is likely that the encounter will be bloody, as followers of both sects seek to dispose of their rivals. A potential civil war could erupt if the situation is not brought back under control.
There are rumours of the dreaded Dark Elven Black Ark in the western parts of Sea of Claws few months after the war.
For many generations the Norse will tell of the White Ghost, the Sea Spectre, the Mist with Fangs. Lord Aislinn and his warriors of Lothern have been ruthless in their patrols of the Sea of Claws, slaying thousands of warriors destined for the coasts of Nordland and Kislev. It is unsure whether Aislinn and his fleet have returned to Ulthuan, where they are needed to support the war against the Druchii (Dark Elves) – the terror amongst the Norse tribes that he is still prowling the waves is enough now for the seas to be free of their longships. How long the fear remains cannot be judged, and perhaps as soon as the next summer, the Dragonships and Hawkships of Ulthuan will be sorely missed.
Even as Slayer King Ungrim heard the great gates of Karak Kadrin slamming shut once more, he was brought news of the death of his son, Garagrim. It was too much to bear, and through the ancestral debt to his people had been lifted, Ungrim once more renewed his Slayer oath, to avenge his fallen son and to atone for his defeat. It was a bitter king that brooded upon the dragonbone throne of Karak Kadrin that night.
As the winds grow chill and the first fingers of autumn grip parts of Athel Loren, Orion begins to weary of the hunt. He has retreated to the Great Hall to feast and celebrate his great victories of the summer, his exploits now retold in the songs and dances of his subjects. Winter comes soon and the Time of Dying, and before the cold touch of snow falls upon the mystical forest of Athel Loren, Ariel bends her will to healing the lands despoiled by the Beastmen. The forest itself has claimed many victims, the blood and flesh of fallen mutants nourishing the magically-charged soil of Athel Loren. The haunting melodies of the Dryads and the bass rumblings of the Treemen echo through the boles of the trees, singing of the long depredations suffered at the hands of the kin of Morghur and the joy of victory.
But in the shadows, a few twisted beasts still lurk, fearful of the woods and the shadowy warriors within, but with ancient hatred burning in their hearts. Vanquished, cowed by the fury of the Wood Elves, they slink through the guardian stones, taking out their petty anger on villagers and livestock, retreating back to the Vaults and the Forest of Chalons. It will be a while before the fires burn bright at the herdstones again, for there are hundreds of warbands that will no longer fight, dozens of shamans who will no longer bring the blessings of the gods. But Morghur still remains, and while he lives, the Beasts will forever turn their jealous eye towards the enchanted realm of Athel Loren.
The Fall of Miragliano. A massive Skaven force from the Blighted Marshes crushes the defending mercenary army and sacks the city of Miragliano. The disgraced former Imperial Count Leopold von Stroheim - once an aspirant to the lordship of the fledgeling province of Neuland on the island of Albion - led the remnants of the defeated force through the Blighted Marshes until cornered and destroyed by a force led by Warlord Quickpaw and Grey Seer Squelch.
Skaven are already plotting new attacks against the weakened Empire.
Greenskin hordes are on the move. Many tribes from the World Edge Mountains and in the Border Kingdoms and Badlands will cause much trouble in the near future attacking southern and eastern provinces of the Empire, Dwarf Holds and Border Kingdoms.
- Archaon's Swords of Chaos warband and Chaos Horde
- The Daemonic Legions of Chaos
- The Imperial Army of Middenland
- The Imperial Army of Ostland
- The Imperial Army of Hochland
- The Imperial Army of Nordland
- The Imperial Army of Talabecland
- The Imperial Army of Reikland
- Orc Warboss Grimgor Ironhide's WAAAGH!
- The Dwarf Slayers of Karak Kadrin
- The Dark Elf Cult of Slaanesh
- The Vampire Counts' Army of Sylvania
- The Bretonnian Armies of the Errantry War
- Skaven Clan Eshin
- High Elf Sea Patrol (Lothern Sea Guard)
- Witch King Malekith's Invasion Army
- Aislinn - Admiral of the High Elven fleet deployed from Ulthuan to aid the Empire against the Forces of Chaos.
- Albertalli - Leader of the Tilean mercenary regiments that fought alongside General Pavian at Krasicyno during which Albertalli's countrymen held the line for three hours straight[1b] and later led the charge against the Kurgan line at Mazhorod in 2522 IC. He is described as a dark-haired man with swarthy skin, his moustache waxed in an elaborate upward curl.[1a] Alongside the armies of Stirland, Talabecland, and the Ice Queen, Albertalli fought at Urszebya against the hordes of Aelfric Cyenwulf in 2522 IC. He and his huge, greataxe-wielding, Tilean sergeants defended the standard of Luccini as they made a brutal counterattack against the Kurgans. He himself wielded a heavy sword alongside his halberdiers, only to replace the thing mid-battle (having left its dull blade inside the enemy's groin) with a fallen halberd of his own. This weapon would also be lost after its tip snapped off inside the belly of a horned, dog-headed beast. Before he could fire with his personal flintlock, the general's head was torn off by the bite of that very same creature.[1c]
- Archaon - The Everchosen, the "Lord of the End Times," Champion of Chaos Undivided and leader of the Swords of Chaos warband. Archaon is the Everchosen, the supreme champion of the four Great Gods of Chaos who led the last terrible Chaos incursion - known as the Storm of Chaos deep into The Empire. According to rumours, he was once a zealous Templar of Sigmar, devoted to battling the menace of Chaos. He read ancient manuscripts written by Necrodomo the Insane, which contained blasphemies about the religion of Sigmar and the nature of Chaos. Screaming in rage, he called the gods liars and burned down the temple and manuscript. He then hunted down and killed his entire family. Adopting the name Archaon, he travelled north towards the Chaos Wastes. He is known as the greatest Chaos Warlord to have ever lived, doing feats that even surpass that of previous Chaos Lords, even that of the Dreaded Chaos Lord Asavar Kul. He is also the instigator and bringer of the Storm of Chaos, having fought and killed his way through the trial's the Chaos Gods has sent him. He himself has bested Greater Daemons, deadly monsters, and scaled great feats of power and determination that the gods finally bestowed him the title "Lord of the End Times" and giving him the complete control of all Chaos Worshippers in the Warhammer World. He was last seen in the Siege of Middenheim, where he lost against Grimgor Ironhide. His fate is unknown.
- Be'lakor - The Dark Master, a daemonic power that had been punished by the Chaos Gods for thinking he was their equal. Be'lakor was finally released from his prison to perform the coronation of Archaon as the Everchosen of the Ruinous Powers, a position he himself coveted. Before the time of Man, Elves or Dwarves he was the first Chaos Champion to be elevated to the glorious title of Deamon Prince, and some say was considered a Demi-God among men. His pride however ensured that Be'lakor's will consider himself an equal of the Gods, which incurred their wrath. His fate is unknown.
- Borgut Facebeater - An Orc Nob and Grimgor Ironhide's second-in-command. He and Grimgor were present during the chaotic battle of High Pass, where tens of thousands of Greenskins and ten-times the amount of Chaos Worshippers fought savagely. He was last seen with Grimgor after the war.
- Boris Todbringer - Elector Count of Middenland and considered an unsurpassed warrior and general. He and the Al-Ulric were in charge of the defence of Middenheim, and the armies sent to protect it. After the war, the Elector Count was responsible for repairing and rebuilding his ravaged lands and to ensure the Chaos taint removed from the lands surrounding Middenheim after the siege.
- Deathmaster Snikch - the most deadly and skilled Skaven assassin to have ever lived. Sniktch is a member of the Council of Thirteen, a covenant of all the major leaders of the whole Skaven race, where he is the supreme leader of the feared Clan Eshin, a cadre of the most skillful and dangerous skaven assassins in the world. Thought to have been the assassin of Valten.
- Ar-Ulric Emil Valgeir - High Priest of Ulric, and the central authority in the Cult of Ulric. He is bestowed the greatest seat of power in the cult, having almost as great an influence and power as those of other Elector Counts. He is also an extremely exceptional warrior, as the Cult of Ulric values valour and power above all else, which would make the priesthood of the religion nothing more than pious wolf-furred warriors. He fought and defeated Archaon's Lieutenant Haargoth the Bloody, Champion of Khorne.
- Emperor Karl Franz - Karl Franz, also sometimes styled Karl-Franz or Karl Franz I, Protector of the Empire, Defier of the Dark, Emperor Himself and the Son of Emperors, Elector Count of Reikland and Prince of Altdorf (formal titles) is the current Emperor of the Empire of Man, the Elector Count of Reikland, the Prince of Altdorf and the greatest statesman and general the Empire or perhaps the entire Old World has seen in many centuries. Karl Franz, who was elected to the Imperial title in 2502 IC and inherited it from his father, is acclaimed as a patron of the arts and science, as a military innovator and as a valiant general. Thanks to his tireless efforts on the behalf of its people, the Empire has flourished during his reign as never before: the Imperial Engineers School in Altdorf has grown, the Colleges of Magic have thrived and his armies have marched from victory to victory, most recently during the terrible events of the Storm of Chaos. The Emperor frequently takes personal command of his troops, wielding Ghal Maraz, the fabled magical warhammer given to Sigmar himself by the Dwarf king Kurgan Ironbeard over two thousand years ago, or his Runefang sword, and riding atop Deathclaw, his Griffon mount of many years.
- Feytor the Tainted - One of Archaon's four lieutenants. A Chaos Lord devoted to the Plague Lord Nurgle.
- Garagrim Ironfist - The son of the Dwarf Ungrim Ironfist and War-Mourner of Karak Kadrin, Garagrim had devised a plan to rid his family line of its dishonour. By dying in combat as his father's champion, Garagrim believed he would prove the worthiness of the Ironfist bloodline. He was killed when a Chaos Giant fell on him as it died, thus fulfilling his Slayer vow.
- Grimgor Ironhide - The greatest living Orc Warboss suffered defeat at the hands of Crom the Conqueror a couple of months before Archaon's Chaos Horde attacked the Empire. Shamed and now in a risky position, Grimgor kept control over his Orc WAAAGH! only by claiming that the Orc God Gork had given him a religious vision. Guided by this vision he ordered the massacre of all the Goblins in his army. He later managed to defeat Archaon in single combat before the gates of Middenheim, effectively ending the Storm of Chaos by badly wounding the Chaos Lord. Thus satisfied at the level of carnage he had unleashed, the Orc Warboss quit the field. His fate after the battle is unknown.
- Haargroth the Blooded - Once a simple goatherd of one of the Graeling tribes, Haargroth was chosen by the god Khorne for great and power. As a young lad, he happened upon a beastkin warlord and in a rage, killed him with his own axe. By chance, the weapon was marked by the Blood God and set Haargroth on the path to glory. He took control of his tribe by sheer strength and will and dedicated himself solely to the worship of the Norse warrior-god. Haargroth led his tribe to many victories, assimilating many of the other clans of Norsca to his banner and annihilating those who would not join him. The fearsome reputation of his raiders became such that his tribe was later termed as 'the Slaughterers of Haargroth'. Haargroth even led his fellow Norscans on daring and bloody longship raids, despoiling the Empire, Kislev and even the mangrove-lined shores of Lustria to the south. Eventually, while raiding in the Chaos Wastes, Haargroth came into battle with Archaon himself. Howling and thanking his god for finally sending him a worthy adversary, Haargroth fought Archaon, but even the Norseman could not prevail against one so favoured by all four of the Chaos Gods. Haargroth was laid low, but Archaon was sufficiently impressed with his skill to offer him leadership of one of his armies. Haargroth accepted the offer, becoming one of Archaon's Four Lieutenants. He was slain by Ar-Ulric Valgeir during the Battle of Middenheim.
- Johann Esmer - The weak-willed Grand Theogonist of Sigmar, Esmer was central in the opening phases of the Storm of Chaos. He was a very corrupt and unpious Theogonist, who was later removed from power after the return of Volkmar, the former Theogonist. He was last seen fleeing towards the port-city of Marienburg.
- Kordel Shorgaar - One of Archaon's lieutenants and the standard bearer of the Swords of Chaos.
- King Louen Leoncoeur - The Duke of Couronne, one of the mighty Grail Knights and the penultimate warrior-King of Bretonnia. Louen took the Questing Vow when he was a young prince. He travelled across the realm of Bretonnia and into lands beyond, displaying such courage and honour that he earned the epithet Leoncoeur or "Lionhearted."
- Luthor Huss - The self-styled "Prophet of Sigmar" who spoke up against the corruption and complacency that was rampant among the Sigmarite priesthood before the Storm of Chaos. He was also credited for finding the reincarnation of Sigmar, Valten. Once founded, he lead Valten towards the court of the Emperor himself, along with an army of Peasants and religious fanatics. There Valten was proclaimed "Exalted of Sigmar" and Huss granted the title "Prophet of Sigmar". After the war he would to become the new Theogonist of the Sigmarite Cult.
- Mannfred von Carstein - The Count of Sylvania and a powerful Vampire lord who used the political instability caused by Archaon's invasion of the Empire to launch his own invasion of the Empire with a massive army of Undead in a bid to become its new master like the von Carstein Vampires before him. He was also central in the Storm of Chaos event, as he himself managed to stop the Chaos armies coming in from the east to invade the lands of Stirland and Averland. He and his army destroyed the remnants of Crom's army that managed to bypass the Dwarves of Karak Kadrin.
- Melekh the Changer - An Aesling blacksmith and warrior whose wife died in childbirth, after the tribal sorcerer, known as Gaerkoll attempted to use his magic to ease the birthing process. Gaerkoll's drunkenness caused his spells to spiral out of control and instead cause the infant within the woman's womb to mutate, thus did Melekh father a monstrous mutant for a son. Seeing this as the sign of favour from Tzeentch, the chieftain ordered much feasting in Melekh's and the child's honour. Melekh was later charged by Gaerkoll to journey into the Chaos Wastes and learn the true name of a Lord of Change. He accomplished this task and later returned to his people, and found his son had murdered the shaman outright, allowing his father to take leadership. Thus an ancient prophecy was fulfilled of father and son uniting and the old falling by the hand of the new -- recognizing this, Archaon rode down and offered both champions of Tzeentch leadership of one of his hordes.
- Morathi - The Hag Queen of the Dark Elves. Morathi once more swore her loyalty to Slaanesh, the Prince of Chaos, and led the Dark Elf Cult of Slaaneshi forces in an invasion of the Lizardmen city-states of Lustria in an attempt to parallel Archaon's accomplishments in the New World even as the Everchosen sought to conquer the Old World.
- Styrkaar - A Chaos Champion of Slaanesh and chieftain of the Sortsvinear tribe, Styrkaar gained much fame from daring longship raids on the southern lands and against the Kurgan tribes to the east. From birth he shared his body with a daemon of Slaanesh and merged with it after gaining the title of chieftain by killing his own father in single combat. Styrkaar was later recruited by Archaon the Everchosen to lead one of his armies.
- Teclis - Teclis was the greatest of the High Elven High Mages. Teclis had always worried about the place of Mankind in the struggle between Chaos and Order because of humanity's easy susceptibility to Chaotic corruption, and was therefore eager to once again help the human Empire in battle when the next great Chaotic incursion swept over the lands of Mankind. It was Teclis who presented Valten with the magical steed Althandir, and banished Be'lakor's Daemonic Legions back to the Warp at the Battle of Middenheim.
- Ungrim Ironfist - The "Slayer King", or more properly, the King of the Dwarfhold of Karak Kadrin.
- Valten, Exalted of Sigmar - Valten was the young man who Luthor Huss claimed was the reincarnation of the Imperial warrior God Sigmar. He was defeated by Archaon in battle before the walls of Middenheim and was later assassinated by the Skaven assassin, Deathmaster Sniktch.
- Vardek Crom the Conqueror, Herald of Archaon - A Chaos Lord who was Archaon's second-in-command of the Swords of Chaos warband. During the Storm of Chaos, Vardek Crom was supposed to manoeuvre his troops so that they could attack the Empire's frontiers from the east. Vardek Crom defeated the Orc Warboss Grimgor Ironhide in single combat, leading to the Orc’s shaming and his determination to find redemption at the Battle of Middenheim where he defeated Archaon, Crom's superior, in personal combat. At the end of the campaign, he is presumed to have died, leading an army of Chaos-loyal Kurgan tribesmen through Sylvania, the Vampire Count Mannfred Von Carstein’s cursed homeland.
- Volkmar the Grim - The resurrected former Grand Theogonist of Sigmar whose death at the hands of Archaon had marked the start of the Swords of Chaos' invasion of the Empire.
- 1: Ursun's Teeth (novel) by Graham McNeill
- 2: Storm of Chaos (7th Edition)
- 2a: pg. 6-14
- Warhammer Armies: Storm of Chaos (6th Edition) pg. 14-42
- (WFRP) The Enemy Within pg. 32-53
- Warhammer Armies: Chaos (7th Edition) pg.
- Gotrek and Felix: Orcslayer (Novel) by William King
- Gotrek and Felix: Manslayer (Novel) by William King
- Archaon: Everchosen (Novel) by Rob Sanders
- Luthor Huss (Novel) by Chris Wraight