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Wolfram Hertwig

Wolfram Hertwig, Elector Count of Ostermark.

Elector Count Wolfram Hertwig, Chancellor of the League of Ostermark and Prince of Bechafen, was the current ruler of the Grand Province of Ostermark.[1a] Although in his youth he was infamously stubborn and proud[3a][5b], he grew into a fussy man, renowned for his methodical approach to warfare.[7a]

History

Wolfram Hertwig was crowned as the Elector Count of Ostermark at a very young age. Soon after, in the year 2485 IC, he stubbornly refused to yield command to Grand Master Kessler of the Knights of the Everlasting Light[5b] at the Battle of Black Road, though Hertwig was barely into his teens and had never commanded an army in battle. In response, Grand Master Kessler and his warriors rode back to their chapter house, leaving Hertwig's army to fight the invading Orcs without their aid.[3a] The inexperienced Hertwig led his troops into a bloodbath, barely escaping the carnage with his life.[5b] Though the greenskins were eventually defeated, the count's army suffered horrific losses and for many years, the Ostermark was dependant on aid from the armies of Ostland or Talabecland for its survival.[3a] Hertwig's Folly, as it is now known, stands as a cautionary tale to those who would let pride blind them to the value of having the greatest warriors of the Empire fighting at their side.[3a][5b]

Count Hertwig represented the League of Ostermark in the elections of 2502 IC, after the death of Emperor Luitpold I. He voted for Boris Todbringer of Middenland in the first round, who got was two votes shy of getting the throne. In the fortnight before the second vote, he agreed to meet with Karl Franz, Luitpold's son and Boris' rival, who was looking to turn Boris' supporters to his side. Karl had previously promised the electors of The Moot and Stirland that he would create a tax on the River Stir, forcing Ostermark to move their trade goods through their territories to reach the untaxed River Aver. Wolfram was furious upon hearing about the Stir tariff, but Franz managed to turn the situation around by saying the tax would be implemented in relation to distance to Altdorf, meaning it would affect Ostermark's rival Talabecland much more as their goods traveled down the river faster. In addition, Franz offered to have Talabecland be given part of the responsibility of defending the northern border with Kislev which, unknown to Hertwig, the Elector of Talabecland had requested while negotiating with Franz. Satisfied with the advantage Ostermark would have against Talabecland, Wolfram voted for Franz, who took the throne with all but one vote.[6]

When Ostland was invaded by Lord Mortkin in 2515 IC[5a], Count Hertwig sent several volunteer units from Ostermark, including the Bechafen Halberdiers, the Moormen Blackbolts and Mannstein's Manticores - swordsmen drawn from his own retinue.[4a]

End Times

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After Supreme Patriarch Balthasar Gelt raised the Auric Bastion to contain the tide of the Forces of Chaos in the summer of 2524 IC, Wolfram Hertwig took command over the defence of its eastern span.[7a]

Some time after Geheimnisnacht that year, one of the Bastion's ritual circles - based at the Ostermark village of Alderfen - had been silenced, and its section of the wall had collapsed.[7b] No one had expected a serious assault at Alderfen, and the garrison was little more than a mismatched conglomeration of units on the march elsewhere. Had not Wolfram Hertwig's Ostermarkers been one such force, Alderfen would surely have become a slaughter.[7c]

Although not technically part of the Alderfen garrison, Count Hertwig was on a tour of inspection when the breach occurred, and thus he took command of the battle. Ordinarily he would have fought from the saddle of his war Griffon, Bloodfeather, but the beast had succumbed to plague two days earlier.[7c]

In the ensuing battle against the forces of Chaos, Hertwig fought as valiantly as any man during the first assault, and had been dragged away by his bodyguard when defeat had loomed. The Elector Count then seized command of the first reinforcements to reach him and, with tears of sorrow still staining his cheeks, sought vengeance for the slain. Hertwig knew that his line of Swordsmen and Halberdiers was too thin to hold, he knew they would be overwhelmed, but he didn't care. If the End Times were truly upon the world, as the doomsayers told, then Hertwig was determined to pass into history spitting defiance with a sword in his hand.[7d]

Thus, as the horde of Chaos reached the base of the hill, Wolfram Herwig raised his Runefang high and his men responded. A thousand voices bellowed the name of Sigmar, with such force that for a moment even the drums of the horde were drowned out, and the Middenlanders roared for Ulric in reply, the ferocity of their voices more than compensating for their slim numbers. Then Hertwig lowered his Runefang, and the men of the Empire swept from the hilltop, into the maelstrom of death.[7d]

Hertwig's momentum soon carried him deep into the enemy ranks, so deep that only one band of Middenlanders had been able to keep pace with him. Dead and dying Chaos Warriors lay thick around the Elector Count, for even their hell-forged plate could not resist a legendary Runefang's enchanted blade. A short way from where Hertwig fought, a brutish and lumpen figure marked the Elector's progress with interest. This was Festak Krann, and through Nurgle's favour and his own prowess, he commanded this portion of the Northlander horde. In Hertwig he saw a worthy foe, one whose death would bring glory to his slayer.[7d]

Surrounded as he was by the din of battle, the first Hertwig knew of Krann's approach was when the warlord's rust pitted axe swept aside the two Middenlanders fighting to his front. Krann's axe came about again, too fast to parry, and Hertwig screamed in agony as the heavy blade hacked through his armour and deep into his shoulder. Ignoring the pain from his crippled arm, Hertwig cut at his assailant, but the vision was blurring and the blow did nothing more than slice a splinter of wood from the axe's haft. As Krann's axe came down once more, Hertwig gathered the last of his strength and threw his weight behind one final thrust. The last sound the Elector Count heard was Krann's bellow of surprise as the Runefang's blade slid deep into the brute's belly. Hertwig's lips had time to twitch into a brief smile before Krann's rusted axe split his skull. His foe roared with laughter as Hertwig's body fell to the ground, its lifeless hands leaving the sword buried in the warlord's gut.[7d]

Krann believed the wound would heal as any other, only to slowly die as the wound failed to regenerate. Hertwig's Runefang was known as the Troll Cleaver, and its enchantments thwarted the Northman's attempts to heal as easily as it did those gnarled brutes. Krann collapsed to his knees, his plight ignored by the Northmen charging past, his life gushing away. Finally the warlord keeled over, sprawled next to Wolfram Hertwig who stared sightlessly skyward, his lips still hooked in a knowing smile.[7d]

Wargear

As the Elector Count of Ostermark, he had the right to wield the Runefang known as Troll Cleaver.[2a] Its enchantments rendered Trolls and other foul regenerative foes unable to heal their wounds.[7d] He usually went to battle on his Griffon Bloodfeather.[7c]

Sources

  • 1: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd Ed.: Sigmar's Heirs
    • 1a: pg. 68
  • 2: White Dwarf #325 (UK Edition)
    • 2a: pg. 73
  • 3: Warhammer Armies: The Empire (7th Edition)
    • 3a: pg. 41
  • 4: Warhammer Fantasy: Rulebook (8th Edition)
    • 4a: pg. 461
  • 5: Warhammer Armies: The Empire (8th Edition)
    • 5a: pg. 17
    • 5b: pg. 43
  • 6: The Prince of Altdorf (Short Story) by Andy Hall
  • 7: The End Times Vol I: Nagash
    • 7a: pg. 243
    • 7b: pg. 246
    • 7c: pg. 249
    • 7d: pp. 256-9

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