"Volkmar... Just look at him. He never wavers and never yields. Some say he never even sleeps. Everything about him is bent to that one great task of holding back the darkness. He can't do it alone, but then again, he doesn't need to, for his sheer resolve inspires men like us to greatness."
- —Sir Albrecht Valdorf, Preceptor of the Righteous Lance.[1a]
Volkmar von Hindenstern, known more famously as Volkmar the Grim, is a zealous Warrior Priest of Sigmar, the current Grand Theogonist of the Church of Sigmar and one of the most powerful religious leaders in the Empire.
"The Daemons of Chaos can be likened to hungry and rabid wolves. The shepherd should not waste time hating the wolf that attacks his flock. He should simply kill it."
- —Volkmar the Grim, Grand Theogonist of Sigmar.[5a]
In 2512 during the Time of Troubles Volkmar was the highest capital of the Sigmarite Cult in Altdorf, This is a position almost as highly regarded as the Arch lector . He is an experienced warrior-priest who has gained renown not only for his deep knowledge and devotion to Sigmarite doctrine, but also because he is an effective and inspiring commander on the battlefield. After the end of the conflict during which the Grand Theogonist Yori XV and Aglim were killed, Volkmar was elected the new Grand Theogonist, amd Johann Esmer new the Arch lector of the East
Volkmar is a pious and foreboding man who is utterly dedicated to his faith and the destruction of Chaos in all its form. When the Grand Theogonist accompanies an army into battle, he typically rides atop the resplendent War Altar of Sigmar, inspiring the surrounding soldiers to great acts of heroism as he strikes at the followers of Chaos down with powerful blows and words of divine power.[1a]
Volkmar is a holy terror to all evil within the battlefield, a man who fights with the fury of Sigmar himself. It is said that Volkmar's soul was forged of steel and he fights the malign influence of Chaos with every fibre of his entire being. Though possessed of a warrior's soul, Volkmar is a wise man who knows that Chaos cannot be defeated with strength of arms alone. The Grand Theogonist is convinced that the answer to truly ending the threat that lies in the North lies buried within the archives of the Empire's vaults of ancient scrolls and holy scriptures.[1a]
For days at a time, the Grand Theogonist has locked himself in the secret repositories filled with the tomes of forbidden lore, in search of an answer to ending the dark menace of Chaos. Such a task is epic in the extreme and, so far, the Grand Theogonist has gathered together only a few fragments and scraps of pertinent knowledge. However, what Volkmar has learnt speaks of a great prophecy, a final battle between good and evil that will either see the threat of Chaos crushed forever, or the Empire, and that of the entire world, shall be destroyed in a tide of flame and bloodshed.[1a]
The Great Disciple
To the common man, Volkmar the Grim is an exemplar of the Sigmarite Cult, a noble patriarch blessed by his warrior god and held in awe by soldier and priest alike. Certainly, the deference of those who flock around him reinforces this impression. His stern visage, physical bulk and bombastic character form a bull of a man, a force of indomitable faith who lends limitless strength to the warriors he leads into battle.
Only Volkmar's Arch Lectors know the truth. Behind closed doors, the Theoginist's shoulders slump as he lets the gruelling years of office take their toll. His body is scarred and burnt in a hundred places, and his bones have been broken and healed once too often, for he has battled long and hard against the Chaos-worshipers of the North.
Many prominent politicians believe that the stubborn old priest is a nuisance and an impediment to the schemes of wiser men, and gossips and gainsayers blacken his reputation in Altdorf and beyond. Yet Volkmar is a man of deeds, not words, and prefers to let his actions speak for themselves.
Volkmar's supporters are mainly to be found amongst the rank and file of the Empire. His unflinching bravery and commitment has won him the admiration and respect of much of the Imperial army, who would follow the old man into the jaws of the netherworld if he asked it of them. To the common people, Volkmar is a hero cast in the mould of the ancient kings. He is the spiritual successor of the Heldenhammer himself, held in awe as a living legend by all those of Sigmarite creed. Some of his most fanatical supporters whisper that perhaps, long ago, Sigmar had an illegitimate child, and that Volkmar is the last scion of that bloodline - a rumour that the Sigmarite Cult does little to dispel. Regardless of the truth, it cannot be denied that Volkmar has an aura of divine power about him, a power that is magnified by the artifacts the Sigmarite Cult has bestowed upon him...
The Martyrs of Taalford
In the year 2518 IC, the Chaos warhost of Grakthor Flameaxe was vanquished when Volkmar the Grim arrived with an army of ten thousand Flagellants. Riding atop the War Altar of Sigmar, the Grand Theogonist led them across the River Talabec, into the heart of the enemy force. The river ran red with the blood of the slain, and at battle's end, only a score of Flagellants, and Volkmar himself, were left standing...
Storm of Chaos
Attention, Empire Citizens!
This article contains information regarding the Storm of Chaos campaign and its aftermath, which is now considered non-canon.
Rumours of Archaon's coronation were soon heard in the south, and news of this great threat came to the ears of Volkmar the Grim. A great Warrior Priest of the Sigmarite cult, Volkmar was also a talented leader and a canny strategist. The Grand Theogonist saw a chance to avert the coming Storm of Chaos. Heading north at the head of an army of devout Sigmarites, aided by the Elector Count of Talabheim and his army, Volkmar issued a challenge to Archaon to face him in single combat.
Volkmar knew that Archaon could not ignore the challenge, for his position could only be maintained with the fear and respect of his warriors. To show any kind of weakness would invite challenges to his power from within his own ranks. Thus Archaon met Volkmar's host across a blasted wasteland in the Troll Country north of Kislev. The two armies battled long, and borne upon his glowing war altar, the Grand Theogonist charged the Everchosen of Chaos. Volkamer's bravery was unquestioned, but even with his faith in Sigmar, he could not best the raw power of Chaos that flowed through Archaon. Unleashing the energy of the daemon U'zuhl, Archaon slew Volkmar with a single stroke and smashed asunder the War Alter on which he stood. Though the forces of the Empire bravely battled on, they were no match for the fury of the affronted Chaos lord. Archaon allowed them to retreat, knowing that their return in defeat would sow further discord and misery through the Empire.
Volkmar's body was left amongst the many others on the unnamed battlefield, the news of his death being greeted in Altdorf by the solemn tolling of bells and mournful prayers of the priesthood. A great warrior and leader had been taken from the Empire in its most needy time. Or so it seemed.
It was in the cold, frozen lands north of Kislev that the Daemon Prince Be'lakor was drawn to a certain place, and upon arriving recognised it as the battlefield upon which Volkmar the grim had faced down the Everchosen. Frozen corpses littered the bloodied field, half-eaten by crows and vermin. And in the midst of that deathly, immobile scene he spied the ruins of the Grand Theogonist's war altar, its trapping broken and its images of Sigmar cast into the bloodied, frozen mud. Amongst the ruin of the battle chariot lay the body of Volkmar himself, frozen in his final agonising death-throes, a sparkling gash of blood across his chest, and the broken remnants of the jade griffon amulet lying at his feet.
Sensing a means to assert his superiority over Archaon, Be'lakor drew forth his most ancient magics and dragged the Theogonist's soul back into his body. Pain flaring through him, Volkmar breathed again, and his eyelids fluttered open. Even the faith of the mighty Volkmar was sorely tested as he looked upon the terrifying apparition that stood before him. Be'lakor had the Theogonist taken up and chained to the battle standard of his legion, from where the agonised screams of the priest could be heard, and his writhing body seen.
Siege of Middenheim
When Be'lakor and his unholy army marched upon Middenheim, they still carried Volkmar's tormented body upon their war-banner. The Imperial defenders were horrified, and terror began to visibly spread amongst their ranks. Hundreds of men knelt and clawed at their eyes as the great, winged figure of Be'lakor rose into the air above his unnatural legion. Hope was not lost, however, for the knights of Bretonnia had witnessed the Dark Master's coming, and charged into his ranks.
In the melee that followed, the Bretonnian King and his knights battled fiercely against the daemonic host. Protected from the evil sorceries of the Daemon Prince by enchantments of the Lady, Louen Leoncoeur engaged Be'lakor in single combat. As the King of Bretonnia fought bravely against the Dark Master, an anguished cry was heard over the battlefield. Volkmar the Grim had ripped free of the chains binding him to Be'lakor's army standard, and laid about the surrounding daemons with those self-same enchanted chains. Bloodied but unbowed, the injured Volkmar was carried free upon the back of Louen's hippogryph and taken to the Temple of Shallya in Middenheim.
After his defiance of Be'lakor and his rescue by King Louen, Volkmar was placed in the care of the Priestesses of Shallya. His exertions on the battlefield had taken a toll on his near-crippled body, while his mind wandered between the real and the unreal, tortured by the suffering he had endured since his capture. The taint of Chaos was still strong and a constant guard stood at the Shallyan temple, protecting Volkmar from any danger while he drifted in and out of a fevered sleep.
The Von Carsteins Strike
While Volkmar lay in Shallya's temple, the forces of light, defiant to the last, managed to push back and defeat the hordes of Archaon. However, they had no time to celebrate this victory, for in that moment, Mannfred von Carstein turned his attention towards the weakened Empire. With the armies of Chaos crushed, Mannfred gathered his followers and summoned the deathly might of Sylvania, before leading them towards the shattered defences of Middenheim.
As the frightened army of Karl Franz drew up at the foot of Middenheim's eastern causeway, a single figure rode out from the Undead lines. It was Mannfred himself, who slowly came forward on his steed and stopped a few dozen paces from where Karl Franz sat on Deathclaw, flanked by Kurt Helborg and Ludwig Schwarzhelm. The Vampire’s voice rose above the tumult of the storm:
- “As my sire once called upon your ancestor, I shall call upon you. Surrender the city to me, and you shall be spared. Resist, and you shall all die.”
A solitary figure walked out from the Empire regiments and confronted Mannfred. His bald head glistened in the light of the raging storm, his long moustache whipped across his cheeks in the howling wind. Arms crossed, a frown on his face, Volkmar the Grim stared into the eyes of the Vampire Lord:
- "Nearly five hundred years ago, a man like me killed a monster like you. It can be done again.”
Mannfred considered his options and looked at the stern-faced Theogonist. The Vampire remembered well the sight of Grand Theogonist Wilhelm throwing himself off the walls of Altdorf with Vlad von Carstein and impaling both of them on the stakes below. He thought also of his lands and the encroaching army of Vardek Crom. With a snarl, Mannfred turned his nightmarish steed around and rode east, his deathly army following in his wake.
As night fell, the fields and forests around Middenheim were quiet, almost silent. For the first time in nearly three months, the sound of war could not be heard...
Even as the Storm of Chaos passed, a new danger rose up within the Empire - schism. The recently elected Grand Theogonist, Johann Esmer, came to Middenheim. With Volkmar returned, but possibly cursed by the taint of Chaos that had been the source of his rebirth, there were calls for Esmer to stand down. However, the current Grand Theogonist’s supporters called for Volkmar to bless Esmer’s appointment.
Meanwhile, crazed Flagellants and battle-hungry Warrior Priests began to stir up trouble around Middenheim and called for Esmer to leave. In the midst of this confusion, there was a growing voice among the Priests of Ulric for there to be reforms in the Electors, as ancient arguments began to resurface in the wake of the conflict.
So it was that the Emperor consulted with his advisors, Volkmar among them, regarding what to do in this new period of uncertainty...
- Jade Griffon - This talisman is carved from enchanted jade and is said to have been blessed by Magnus the Pious himself. The Jade Griffon hangs upon the Grand Theogonist's chest, glowing with a green inner light that suffuses Volkmar with regenerative powers.[1a]
- Staff of Commands - This staff is the Grand Theogonist's badge of office. It draws power from the War Altar of Sigmar and channels it into the Grand Theogonist ageing limbs, suffusing him with strength and vigour.[1a]
- War Altar of Sigmar - When the Grand Theogonist accompanies an army into battle, he typically rides atop the resplendent War Altar of Sigmar, inspiring the soldiers around him to great acts of heroism. The altar prominently features a noble griffon bearing Ghal Maraz, Sigmar's hammer and the emblem of imperial unity and strength.
The lavish Heldenhammer was the greatest warship of the Imperial fleet, it was stolen from the Great Theogist by Jaego Roth, after his refusal to help what would become known as the Grand Alliance, a fleet with the aim of bringing down Count Noctilus once and for all.[7a]
- 1: Warhammer Armies: The Empire (8th Edition)
- 1a: pg. 59
- 2: Warhammer Armies: Storm of Chaos (6th Edition)
- 3: Storm of Chaos - The Loremaster's Journal
- 4: Total War: Warhammer
- 5: Warhammer Armies: The Empire (8th Edition)
- 5a: pg. 20
- 6: Sigmar's Blood' (Supplement)
- 7: Dreadfleet
- 7a: pg. 45-47
- Warhammer Armies: The Empire (4th Edition)
- pg. 69
- Warhammer Armies: The Empire (6th Edition)
- pg. 76
- pg. 77
- Warhammer Armies: The Empire (7th Edition)
- pg. 60
- pg. 61
- The End Times I - Nagash
- Liber Chaotica
- Warhammer Armies: Chaos (4th Edition)
- Warhammer RPG 4th Edition: Empire in Flames Companion