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Tor Annan was a small, provincial town in the valley beneath Mount Antorec, Yvresse, ruled by Lord Eanith.[2a] The Asur holding was burnt to the ground by the Keeper of Secrets N'Kari in XI 10, after the daemon conjured a storm to decimate an already crumbling waystone atop Antorec, thereby freeing it from the Great Vortex. In pursuit of vengeance against the Blood of Aenarion, the servant of Slaanesh lay siege to the settlement. A howling, daemonic horde raced against the walls, some falling to elf shafts, the daemons otherwise ignoring whatever arrows weren't enchanted by asur mages.[1a]

Alongside his household guard, Eanith formed a wall of spears against the Daemon's onslaught, only to have their weapons splinter on his hide. Snapping Eanith's sword beneath the pincers of one massive claw, N'Kari thrust his fist into the Elf's chest. Closing his fingers about Eanith's heart, the Daemon tore the still pulsating organ from the noble’s body. N'Kari brandished the heart briefly before the Elf's dying eyes, bellowed in triumph and swallowed it whole. Casting the limp corpse aside, the Keeper of Secrets turned his back on the ruins of Tor Annan, and sought out his next victim.[2a]

Winged things flapped down from the sky and attacked first the siege machines, and then the archers. Death had come so close to Prince Sardriane in the opening moments of the battle. The winged Furies had struck down the elves on either side of him. Daemons had smashed through the gates and clambered onto the walls, killing everybody they encountered. One had loomed over the prince, about to strike when at the last second, at the shouted command of N'Kari, instead struck down Alfrik instead. Mad cultists came to swarm through the gateway, howling and chanting ecstatically as they slew.[1a]

At first, the asur of Tor Annan fought bravely. Archers had died where they stood, still unleashing arrows at targets that ignored them. Warriors had tried to halt the monstrous red-skinned daemons. But as the fight went on it became obvious that they could not overcome their foes. Some had fled. Some had tried to surrender. And some, seeing the daemonic leader of their enemies, had been overcome by a strange madness and had started throwing themselves at its feet and grovelling in ecstatic communion.[1a]

Prince Sardriane had been among the ones who had fled, racing through the streets to the ancestral home he shared with his mother and a few ageing retainers. He told them to bar the door and make ready to withstand a siege. Some of them, feeling that death was preferable to falling into the hands of the enemy, had taken their own lives using poisons preserved for that purpose. The prince urged his mother to do the same, fearing what might happen if she were to fall into the taloned claws of the besiegers. But she refused, saying that while he lived, she would. She had as much pride as she. After all, she too was of the Blood.[1a]

For a while, they huddled in their chambers while the town burned around them and screams echoed down the streets. To them, it sounded as if some hideous carnival of torture and wickedness were taking place outside. Sardriane prayed that if they waited long enough, they would go unnoticed by their enemies and escape with their lives. The prince hated himself for his cowardice, hated himself for running, feeling all of it unworthy of his proud ancestry. The only defence he could offer up being that he was young and he did not want to die. When at last the screaming had stopped, and he dared to peek out through his shuttered windows, he saw lines upon lines of silent faces watching the building. Some of them belonged to brazen horned, crimson-skinned daemons. Some of them belonged to cultists. Some of them belonged to people who had once been his neighbors and who now gazed at his house with features dazed and numbed and subtly altered.[1a]

As if looking upon them broke some evil spell, they all shouted and rushed forwards, smashing in through the doors and revelling through the halls of Sardriane's home, smashing ancient furnishings, burning the ancient tapestries, maiming and killing the retainers, howling with insatiable bloodlust and something else, a primitive deep-throated pleasure that was even more disgusting than their desire to do harm.[1a]

The horde overwhelmed both mother and son, carrying them back to N'Kari, whose outline shimmered and shifted constantly sometimes suggesting a crab-clawed hulking daemonic thing, sometimes the most beautiful woman Sardriane had ever imagined, and sometimes the most noble king. When Sardriane threw himself at the monster, trying to strike it with a dagger he seized from the scabbard of one of his tormentors, the prince was struck unconscious by a blow to the head.[1a]

After the sacking, it was discovered that at least one Asur mage survived, casting a Sending to warn of Tor Annan's fall. Along with the report of the ranger, Takalen, this would prove the veracity of claims that Ulthuan was under daemonic invasion.[1b]

Source

  • 1: Blood of Aenarion (novel) by William King
    • 1a: Chapter 14
    • 1b: Chapter 16
  • 2: Warhammer Armies: Daemons of Chaos (8th Edition)
    • 2a: pg. 20

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