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N'kari

N'kari is a notorious Keeper of Secrets that can trace its origins to the Great Chaos Incursion that occurred during the time of the Old Ones, long ago. During that great struggle, the first Phoenix King Aenarion destroyed N’kari’s mortal form, banishing it back to the Realm of Chaos.[1a]

In the year 2173 IC, scarcely ten years after Finubar the Seafarer ascended to the Phoenix Throne, a black storm swept across the fair isle of Ulthuan. The seas boiled and the skies rained fire down upon the land. Many Elves drowned in swollen rivers, were crushed beneath collapsing buildings or incinerated by bolts of polychromatic lightning. Great was the ruin wrought on Ulthuan that night, but the worst was yet to befall the land.[1a]

At the storm's height, the great waystone atop Mount Antorec was uprooted and hurled into the valley below. Before the broken shards of the monolith had come to rest, a cloud of Chaos Furies clawed their way into the mortal world, tearing reality like wet paper. Moments later, a far more monstrous form forced its way through — the Keeper of Secrets N’kari was reborn into the mortal realm.[1a]

The first town to feel the wrath of N’kari’s horde was Tor Annan, a provincial holding in the valley beneath Antorec. The defenders fought back, but could not hope to prevail against that unholy fury. Furies dove and wheeled through the sky like misshapen bats, their shrill cries freezing the blood of all who heard them. Rage-maddened Bloodletters and Bloodcrushers hurled themselves again and again at the defences, splintering wood and shattering stone, desperate to slay the Elves that cowered inside. N’kari waded through the bloodshed and the Elves scattered before his coming — all save Eanith, Lord of Tor Annan, and his household guard. They 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.[1a]

Scarcely had the echoes of battle about Tor Annan ceased when N’kari struck once again, riding the tides of magical energy to instantly emerge on the other side of Ulthuan, scant leagues from Tor Yvresse. Once again, the Elves responded swiftly. Although sorely pressed, the defenders of the fortress were able to hold the Daemons at bay while aid arrived from Cothique and Hoeth. N’kari withdrew his forces at the battle’s height, retreating into the Annulii Mountains.[1a]

Over the next month, the pattern continued. N’kari struck at outposts in the Dragon Spine Mountains, Avelorn and many other provinces of Ulthuan. Indeed, few areas of the Elven realm remained unscathed. Yet each time N’kari would suddenly abandon the battle, often within minutes of achieving a devastating victory. With no end in sight, and Ulthuan in a state of terror, the Phoenix King ordered every seer in the realm to focus their powers of divination on ending the threat, lest the Daemon’s dread presence befoul Ulthuan entirely.[1a]

After much meditation, the cause behind the attacks became clear. With horror, the Elven seers realised that this abyssal monstrosity was the very same being who had led the invasion of Ulthuan over six thousand years ago, slaughtering millions and shaking the Elven civilization to its core. The seers believed that N’kari had been reborn a thing of vengeance, consumed with a need to settle old scores. As such, the incursions that had recently plagued Ulthuan were far from random, they were directed by the cruelest of motives. N’kari was carving his vengeance on the descendants of Aenarion, bringing towns and fortresses to battle long enough to spirit his victims away to face the eternal torments of Slaanesh. Over the many thousands of years since the time of Aenarion the Defender, the hallowed bloodline had prospered. Not all the scions were of noble rank and had little to connect them beyond their lineage. As such, their disappearance on battlefields where many hundreds of Elves had been slain had gone unnoticed and unconsidered by all but kith and kin.[1a]

The seers believed that almost all known scions of Aenarion’s line had now been accounted for — either lost to N’kari’s rage, or away from Ulthuan and therefore, hopefully, safe for a time. The remaining heirs were twin princes, scarcely beyond childhood by the exacting standards of Elves. Their names were Tyrion and Teclis. Each carried Aenarion's mark, though in different ways. Tyrion had learned his lessons well and already had both the skill and confidence of a warrior born. Teclis, though weak of body, had proved him self adept at the myriad magical arts. The princes were hurriedly summoned from their home in the Cothique woodland and spirited away to the safest place in all Ulthuan — the Shrine of Asuryan. There an army drawn from the finest troops the Elves could field would defend the princes against all possible peril.[1a]

As divined, N’kari’s attack came soon. Scarcely a day after the Shadow Warriors first brought reports of Daemons in the mountains of the Eataine peninsula, the Keeper of Secrets’ vanguard marched within sight of the shrine. As the Daemons advanced, N’kari sent intoxicating visions flowing over the walls of the shrine to bedevil the dreams of those within. Many Elves succumbed to these illusions of desire and phantasms of fulfillment. Some fell into deep comas, never to awaken. Others threw aside armour and weapons, marching blindly into the Daemon hordes and being tom to shreds, or casting themselves from the cliffs to perish on the jagged rocks below.[1a]

Within moments, the stony slopes of Asuryan’s Isle were engulfed by N’kari’s hordes. Daemons darted and leapt across the jagged rocks, paying no heed to the clouds o f arrows launched into their ranks from the shrine’s walls. Lords of Change hurled bolts of sorcerous fire at the defenders, cawing with delight as Elves twisted and burnt in multi-hued flames. Flocks of Furies swarmed across the defenders, plucking unfortunate Elves from the walls and casting them onto jagged rocks. Nurglings oozed their way through gratings and coverlets to tear and bite at the ankles of the defenders. Asuryan still watched over his shrine however, and daemonic flesh blackened and burnt wherever it touched the walls and fortifications. Yet still the horde came on.[1a]

Through it all, the Elves fought without hope, knowing that to yield was to deny the sacred trust of Aenarion. Along the walls, each strove without thought for his own life, hacking at Daemonettes and Plaguebearers until armour and stone were stained with Daemon blood. A hundred unnamed heroes struggled and died that day. Archers from Yvresse and Swordmasters from Hoeth fought alongside knights from Caledor and Ellyrion. Wherever the fighting was thickest, there fought the Phoenix Guard, striving as if to drive back the foe by their valour alone. Yet the Daemons cared not for their losses.[1b]

Finally, the Elves were undone not by a lack of courage or skill, but by the timbers of the shrine's gate. Battered by sorcery and daemonic might, the gate collapsed under the immense weight of a Beast of Nurgle. The battle now devolved into a primal contest of survival. Groups of Elves fought back to back as Daemons swirled and slaughtered their way through the shrine. Now the balance of arms began to tilt in favour of the Elves. The merest wound left Daemons vulnerable to the holy power of Asuryan's shrine, and the weakest of N’kari’s horde were consumed by cleansing fire. N’kari stepped through the ruined gate and drank in the heady scent of fear and slaughter. None could stand before him, and he strode swiftly through the chaos of battle, climbing the Stair of Eternity and into the innermost sanctum of Asuryan where his prey waited.[1b]

At the last, only twenty Phoenix Guard stood between N’kari and the twin princes, yet the Elves did not yield. They fought bravely, on stones already slippery with carnage, yet N’kari would not be denied vengeance. As one arm darted to block the guards’ halberds, another gracefully disemboweled half a dozen opponents. Bolts of shrivelling fire burst from N’kari’s eyes to consume the rest of his foes. As the last desiccated corpse fell, the young Tyrion knew his defence, and that of his brother, fell solely in his hands. He mouthed a prayer to Asuryan, drew his sword, and went to meet his destiny.[1b]

Promising warrior though he was, Tyrion was overmatched from the first. N’kari parried Tyrion's desperate thrusts with mocking ease. In lilting tones, he taunted the Elf with every cheated blow. Yet N’kari had made one fatal misjudgment. So focused was he on Tyrion that the Daemon had all but forgotten Teclis’ presence. As Tyrion was knocked sprawling by the sweep of a massive claw, Teclis unleashed an attack of his own. While Teclis did not have Tyrion's strength and vigour, his crippled frame harboured a mastery of the mystic arts. Now Teclis hammered at the Daemon with all the sorcerous fire he could muster. As the bolt struck, the creature was blasted clear off its feet. N’kari tumbled across the plinth where Asuryan's flame burned, one mighty arm passed through the eternal flame, and the Daemon screamed in agony. No ordinary flame could mark N’kari’s hide, but against this, the sacred fire of Asuryan, the Daemon had no defence. The fire coursed across the Daemon’s body, burning ever fiercer as it spread.[1b]

N’kari screamed as his skin blackened and crackled. Rising to his feet, Tyrion struck the Daemon again, and his sword took up the flame. Each new cut opened up fresh wounds, lancing the cleansing fire into the Daemon’s core. Crippled with pain, N’kari was able to do little except stagger away from Tyrion's onslaught. With each stroke, the Elf prince drove the Daemon towards the great arch that overlooked the Sea of Dreams. With a final scream, N’kari’s monstrous bulk toppled through the arch and plummeted the thousands of feet into the sea below, where the waves swiftly stole the Daemon from sight.[1b]

Tyrion and Teclis emerged from the sanctum to find the battle won. Daemons could not easily endure in that holy place, and only N’kari’s maddened will had sustained them even this long. When the Keeper of Secrets was lost to the sea, the power that sustained his horde faded, and the Daemons were swiftly consumed by the power of Asuryan, leaving only piles of blackened ash. As dusk fell, the Elves celebrated their victory and mourned their losses. Through it all, Tyrion and Teclis stood in silence. They knew their destinies had been forever altered, and that one day they would have to face N’kari again.[1b]

Source Edit

  • 1 Warhammer Armies: Daemons of Chaos (8th Edition)
    • 1a -- pg. 20
    • 1b -- pg. 21

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