- "Least-son of Farnir, King Jorundr forsook all ties to kin and clan and pledged himself in fulsome service to Chaos' Dark Lords. To Jorundr the Gods gifted such glory of war, such bloody victory that all his kin obeyed him gladly till great grew his host of battle-wrought warriors. Jorundr was undone, lust for power his bane, truth sundered, his masters brought a curse on all his blood. Brothers, sons, all suffered his fate, two faced now in form and thought, swollen and twisted, faithless hearts made plain."
- —The Saga of Jorundr the Betrayer
The Curs'd Ettins are fell creatures renowned in the dreaded sagas of the Norsemen. Even in that barbarous, Chaos-touched land, few are as feared or reviled as they. Twin-headed abominations born of Chaos, they are the terror of the high moorlands and mountains of the North, dwelling in lonely caverns and the once-proud ruins of Chaos Citadels. Hulking and twisted creatures, they greatly resemble the more commonplace Giants in size and strength, as well as in hunger for flesh and blood. Yet they are also easily distinguished from those already brutal creatures by their horrific deformities and cruel intellects.
According to the legends of the Chaos-worshiping Norse barbarians, the Curs'd Ettins are the descendants of a single clan of Northmen, though now scattered and even shunning the company of their own. The most bitter of creatures born under the shadow of Chaos in the Fell North, the Ettins are said, in those same sagas, to be incapable of dying, save by great violence done to them.
Although they have been clearly touched by the unholy hand of the Chaos Gods, each Curs'd Ettins bears certain warped traits marking them as unique. Carrying their dark stigmata as a curse under whose torment they are damned to eternally suffer, they despise all that walks and crawls in the world, saving their vilest enmity for the Dark Gods who have cursed them to this hellish fate.
The origins of the Curs'd Ettins are forever lost in tides of blood and darkness, but many are the tales of the North which teach that they were once men, not giants, and that their affliction is the punishment for their pride and treachery. According to the Norse sagas, they were once one of the many Marauder tribes of Norsca, headed in ancient days by the Warlord-King Jorundr, Son of Farnir. Jorundr was, like many of the leaders of Norsca, a mighty and terrible Champion of the Chaos Gods, and he stood high in their esteem, but ever did he seek even greater power and dominion. To this end, Jorundr made bargains with Daemons, who gifted unholy powers to him and his kinsmen. Many were the victories of Jorundr and his clansmen, with this power bought with coin of blood and sacrifice.
As the sagas say, as Jorundr's glory grew, so did his foolish pride, until finally he believed himself greater than even the Dark Gods of the North, and refused their call to a long prophesied invasion of the southlands; betraying them to instead conquer the lands of the other tribes who had dutifully paid heed to the gods' call to war. Jorundr treacherously ravaged the length and breadth of Norsca, and pillaged the sacred Chaos Altars where the Norse worshiped their deities, bringing back the prisoners of his invasions as Thralls. The Dark Gods were angered at this faithlessness, and in their anger, visited upon Jorundr and his blood their cruelty a hundredfold.
Jorundr and his descendants kept the might they so craved, but in unnatural form. Curs'd now to be riven of soul and twisted of body, fused kinsman to kinsman, greater and lesser locked in an eternal struggle for mastery of this new form. Terrible to look upon, and denied the blessed mindlessness of Spawndom. When the other Norse clans returned from the south, draped in blood and victory, only to behold their holdings and holy places defiled and destroyed, they took up arms in fury and drove Jorundr and his people from Norsca.
Driven into the mountains, they soon learned to hate all that lived and their works, for they only served to remind them of what they had lost. Over time, as they grew in hatred so too did they grow in size, and those who survived the wilds of Norsca evolved into a fearsome race of Giants: bitterest of all monsters born under the shadow of Chaos. Their saga stands as a warning to all those foolish enough to think to cheat the Dark Gods.
In many ways, the Ettins have come to resemble giants, as their mutations have taken hold of them. Yet even a cursory glance can easily reveal the distinctions between the two. As they are in fact two beings fused together, each Ettin possess two heads of vastly different disposition, but each possessed of similar malice towards even their fellow creatures of Chaos.
In addition, every Ettin carries various abominable qualities unique to itself. Those that dwell closest to the Chaos Wastes are often most affected by the black winds of Warp Stone that periodically sweep down from the north, causing them to become covered in plates of scabrous scales while their blood turns rancid and acidic. Others have had their arms covered in spikes of bones or long, calcified talons. The most common of their degenerations is that their hands have been twisted into aborted mass of hardened flesh, known amongst the disparate Ettin tribes as the Hammer-Hand.
Some Ettins are capable spell-casters, recalling dimly the tribal magic they once wielded as men. These Ettins are branded with magical runes that burn with unholy power, allowing them to call upon the various Lores of Magic, such as those of Shadow and Death. Though their power cannot hope to approach that of a true Sorcerer, the combination of adept magical knowledge and brute strength makes the Ettin even more dangerous. Such savage magicians are known as Rune-Callers.
Two headed, the soul of the Ettin is made of two men melded together by the cruelty of Chaos. Both heads constantly fight for supremacy to command their tainted flesh. With every great wound done to them, the pendulum of this struggle shifts, and the trauma may cause the other personality to overcome the one in current control, thus making the Ettin an unpredictable opponent.
- Warhammer: Monstrous Arcanum pg. 58 - 59