- "In that dread desert, beneath the moon´s pale gaze, dead men walk. They haunt the shifting dunes of the breathless, windless night, brandish weapons of bronze in mocking challenge and bitter resentment of the life they no longer possess. And sometimes, in ghastly dry voices, like the rustling of sun-baked reeds, they whisper the one word they remember from life. The Name of the one who cursed them to their existence, more than death but less than life. They whisper the name, Nagash..."
- —Extract from the Liber Necris, translated by Mannfred von Carstein[3a]
Nagash, known by many names such as the Great Necromancer, the Great Betrayer, and even the Supreme Lord of Undeath, is the ultimate incarnation of death, an ancient, evil being who sought to conquer all before him and bring about an age of Undeath that would ruler over this cruel, chaotic world. He is utter darkness, unreasoning hatred given form, the father and creator of foul Necromancy and lord of all Vampire-kind. His every actions and deeds is self-serving, his achievement horrific and loathsome, and his every whim and desires are bent solely for his own gratification. This dark, evil entity came close to ultimate domination, but for the sacrifice of an unsung hero, this world would've been lost millenia ago.[5a]
Now, many generations later, the name of Nagash became little more than a legend by the people of the world, his dark whispers echoing eternally upon the Wind of Shyish. Though he may be gone, death itself could never truly hold him for long, and for centuries after his death, his eternally damned spirit has since recovered his power, whispering to the ears of all those that had served him, and those that soon will. Always, he steered them towards his reawakening, his final apocalyptic rebirth upon the world. Nagash vowed to bide his time, not returning until his powers were regained in full, until he was ready to reign supreme against all life. He envisioned the world filled with the silent, unthinking undead, a realm where only his will and thoughts can think freely and without challenge. However, the portents were troubled. The Dark Gods were moving, and Nagash realized that unless he returned to thwart them, Chaos would finally conquer all. This time the Great Necromancer was going to claim the power of death itself. He would choke all life from the world and rule eternally in the darkness that Followed. This time, there will be nothing to stop him from reaching his ultimate destiny, and to those that try, they shall bow before the true Lord of Death.[5a]
- "The dead do not squabble as this land’s rulers do. The dead do not fight one another. The dead have no desires, no petty jealousies or ambitions. A world of the dead is a world at peace..."
- —Nagash, Supreme Lord of Undeath[3w]
As the firstborn son of King Khetep of the 3rd Dynasty of Khemri, Nagash was destined to serve in the Mortuary Cult whilst his younger brother, Thutep, ascended to rule following their father's death. Nagash was an exceptionally gifted student, and due to his talents and heritage he quickly became one of Khemri's High Priests, but this did not sate his thirst for power. Filled with pride and greed, Nagash coveted the throne held by his brother and set into motion a plot to seize the crown for himself. Nagash began to corrupt the religious incantations of the Mortuary Cult, and he gathered together a dozen like-minded acolytes, of which a cruel noble named Arkhan was the foremost.[2a]
One night, as the clouds covered the moon, Nagash murdered Thutep's bodyguard before entombing the young king alive within the Great Pyramid of their father. The next morning, blood still staining his hands, Nagash placed himself on the throne, and none dared confront him. The reign of Nagash was a time of terror for all the people of Nehekhara. The usurper king sought to increase his own power by means of devilish sorcery; a blasphemy that the people of Nehekhara felt certain would incur the wrath of the gods. Nagash had learned the art of Dark Magic from a cabal of shipwrecked Dark Elves, captured and imprisoned within his father's pyramid on the eve of his funeral. Nagash tortured the pale-skinned foreigners until they divulged the secrets of their mystical powers, and he proved to be an apt pupil indeed. After only a few years, Nagash had surpassed his tutors' powers, and he destroyed them in a deadly magical duel as they tried to escape.[2a]
The Treachery of Nagash (-2000 to -1151 IC)Edit
- "See the fate of all flesh and know despair!"
- —Nagash, Supreme Lord of Undeath[3w]
Nagash began to experiment with necromancy, combining his mastery of Dark Magic with his knowledge of death from the Mortuary Cult. He committed his findings into nine accursed tomes the Books of Nagash — the most powerful source of necromantic magic in the world. One of Nagash's chief successes was the creation of the cursed Elixir of Life. With it, Nagash had finally unlocked the secret of eternal youth. He allowed Arkhan, his trusted vizier, and his other principal lieutenants, to imbibe the elixir. It granted them immortality and incredible strength but, unable to recreate the potion themselves, they were little more than slaves to Nagash's sinister will.[2a]
To increase his power and maintain dominance over the land, Nagash ordered the building of a vast black pyramid. Whilst the populace of Khemri believed this to be just another burial tomb, it was in fact a structure that would channel and harness the Winds of Magic to Nagash's every whim. The pyramid became Nagash's obsession, and its construction quickly drained Khemri's resources, forcing the necromancer to wage war to capture building material and replenish his workforce. Nagash demanded great quantities of gold and slaves from other cities to be sent in tribute to Khemri. That which was not given freely was taken by force, and several cities were brutally conquered by Nagash.[2a]
Marble the colour of midnight was brought from afar, and innumerable slaves toiled day and night for fifty years until the Black Pyramid of Nagash towered above all other monuments in the whole of Nehekhara. Such was Nagash's arrogance that he had built for himself a tomb that dwarfed even the Great Pyramid of Settra. The broken corpses of countless slaves were built into its foundations, and mystic sigils of power were woven into the Black Pyramid's walls. Even in the baking desert sun, the pyramid was cold to the touch, and not even starlight reflected off its magic-saturated surface. Upon its completion, the Winds of Magic blew more strongly across Nehekhara, and Nagash's mastery of Dark Magic and necromancy increased ten-fold. However, the tribute exacted by Khemri was so great that the poverty-wracked cities of Nehekhara had begun to fall into ruin. Eventually, the other Priest Kings rallied against the tyranny of Khemri. They refused to submit to Nagash any longer, and they began to draw their plans against him.[2a]
The War of the DeadEdit
To face the defiant Priest Kings, Nagash used his infernal powers to raise a legion of Skeleton Warriors. This was the first time that the dead were made to walk at the will of another, and the horror of it caused many mortal soldiers to flee before the Undead armies. City after city fell before Nagash, and though the living warriors of Nehekhara fought bravely, every soldier who fell only served to swell the ranks of the Undead. Nagash believed it was only a matter of time before the Priest Kings relented and bent their knees in supplication once more, but his arrogance was to prove his undoing, for he underestimated both their resolve and pride.[2a]
After many long years, the remaining Priest Kings threw all their strengths and hopes into one final gambit, and the combined armies of seven kings marched upon Khemri. It was not only flesh and blood warriors who besieged Khemri, for beside the Priest Kings' armies strode towering statues. Faced with destruction by Nagash's sorcery, the Mortuary Cult had finally decided to take action and put their centuries of magical research into practice on the battlefield.[2a]
In a grand ritual, they summoned the spirits of ancient heroes from the Realm of Souls and bound them into the numerous statues that lined the passageways of the necropolises. The god-like Ushabti, towering Necrolith Colossi and powerful Khemrian Warsphinxes were awakened, ready to be directed to war. With creations such as these fighting at their side, the living warriors of Nehekhara were emboldened, and they crashed into the Undead legions with devastating force.[2a]
After a titanic battle, Nagash's forces were defeated by the combined might of the Army of the Seven Kings. Khemri was besieged, and then sacked. Nagash's immortal lieutenants, who had taken refuge in the cursed Black Pyramid, were dragged out of their sarcophagi into the sunlight one by one and were executed by the vengeful Priest Kings. However, Nagash maanged to escape before the Priest Kings found his tomb thanks to the sacrifice of Arkhan, who stalled the attackers long enough for his master to flee. With a curse on his lips, Nagash vowed to turn the entire world into a kingdom of the dead, and travelled north to plot his revenge.[2a]
Alcadizaar the ConquerorEdit
For hundreds of years, the Priest Kings continued to rule Nehekhara, but the corruption of Nagash had forever tainted the land, and it never truly recovered. The individual city rulers had exhausted their populace in overthrowing Nagash, and they now had to contend with famines, civil wars and marauding barbarians from distant lands. The treachery of Nagash had also tarnished the authority of the royal lines, and it was not until several centuries later that a truly powerful king arose. Alcadizaar, a ruler the likes of which had not been seen since the days of Settra, ascended to the rule of Khemri.[2a]
Under his wise and charismatic leadership, Alcadizaar bound the Great Cities under his rule, and Nehekhara began to prosper once more. The treachery of Nagash was hard to forget, and since his Reign of Terror, the Mortuary Cult was watched closely. The Liche Priests were forbidden from deviating from their age-old lore of incantations, which had remained unchanged for centuries. However, the lords of the city of Lahmia hungered for power over their rivals. They saw in Nagash's sorcery the means not only to dominate all of Nehekhara, but also the chance to live forever and sever their dependence on the Mortuary Cult.[2a]
To this end, they stole one of the blasphemous Books of Nagash from the Black Pyramid, and over the course of centuries they secretly become adept practitioners of necromancy. The queen of Lahmia, Neferata, embraced the malign magic and used her powers to consort with daemonic entities. She created a tainted version of Nagash's elixir, extending her life indefinitely, yet cursing herself for all eternity. Not possessing the skill or knowledge of Nagash, Neferata and her court were struck by an unquenchable thirst for mortal blood.[2a]
Lahmia had become the birthplace of the Vampires, fell creatures whose individual strength and unholy power were greater than that of a dozen men. Fearful that necromancy would bring about the wrath of the gods, King Alcadizaar made war on the tainted Vampire queen. Alcadizaar gathered legions from every other Nehekharan city and forged them into a single massed army that he led against Lahmia. Thousands of chariots raced across the land ahead of vast regiments of archers, mighty phalanxes of spearmen and battalions of giant war-statues. Against such a host, not even the accursed Vampires could prevail, and the power of Lahmia was smashed. The pale queen fled, accompanied by those she had embraced into her cursed vampiric existence.[2a]
The Fall of NehekharaEdit
Unbeknownst to the Vampires, they had been guided by the implacable will of Nagash since their creation. Residing far away in his fortress, Nagashizzar, amid the mountains to the north-cast of Nehekhara, the arch-necromancer recognised the spawn of his own ancient evil and was gladdened by the corruption of Lahmia. Here were worthy champions, their damnation a tribute to his dark genius. Drawing them to him, Nagash welcomed the Vampires, and they became his dark captains. Through them, Nagash began a new offensive against Nehekhara, and the two sides fought numerous battles — the outcomes of which would pave the way for the necromancer's inevitable return. Beside the Vampires came the dead warriors of a vast host, Skeletons drawn from the ninths and cairns of the northern lands by the power of Nagash's sorcery.[2a]
Nagash resurrected his trusted servant, Arkhan the Black, who won many victories in his master's name. War assailed Nehekhara for years on end, and the land was irredeemably scarred. However, Alcadizaar was the greatest general of his age, and he led the unified army of Nehekhara against Nagash's evil for all their long years of battle. Under his leadership, the living legions of Nehekhara never yielded, and finally, during the Battle of the Golden Skull, the Undead hordes of Nagash were repulsed from Nehekhara. The Vampires scattered throughout the world to escape destruction, and without their magic and leadership, their armies of Skeletons crumbled. Nagash had been defeated. There was much rejoicing throughout Nehekhara, though the evil sorcerer himself still walked the land.[2a]
Such was Nagash's bitterness, so great the potency of his thwarted ambition, that he chose to end all life in Nehekhara rather than see anyone else hold power over the land. He polluted the Great Vitae River, poisoning it until it turned thick and dark, tainting the lands that relied on it's life-bring waters. Forever after it was known as the Great Mortis River. Pestilence and disease ran rampant across the Great Land. Within a few weeks, those who had succumbed to the terrible plagues outnumbered the living. The city streets were choked with corpses as fully nine-tenths of the Nehekharan population perished. Mourning for his lost people, Alcadizaar sat upon his throne as his kingdom was destroyed — for all his skill at arms, he was powerless. Nagash's Undead forces marched upon Khemri, brushing aside the city's plague-ravaged guard with impunity and walking past the fortress walls and siege-barracks unchallenged. His Skeleton Warriors broke into Khemri's royal palace and dragged Alcadizaar away to rot in a dungeon cell. For the first time in centuries, Nagash sat upon the throne of Khemri.[2a]
The Death of NagashEdit
However, Nagash did not linger in Khemri for long. Filled with insane visions of power, he returned to Nagashizzar and began to cast the greatest and most terrifying spell ever conceived. He intended to enact the Great Ritual, a spell powerful enough to resurrect every corpse across the globe and bind them under his control. With them, Nagash would command an unstoppable army of the dead that he could use to conquer the entire world. To power his Great Ritual, he consumed vast quantities of warpstone and summoned all the energies stored within his cursed Black Pyramid. As Nagash chanted within his fortress, the sky began to darken for hundreds of miles around and the ground shook. As his spell reached its crescendo, a great wave of power surged from the sorcerer's body, washing over the lands of Nehekhara and stealing the life from everything in its path. Crops shrivelled and animals perished within seconds.[2a]
The last people of Nehekhara fell to the ground, their skin withering as if they had aged a century in the blink of an eye. Within minutes, there was not a single living creature in the entirety of Nehekhara. Such was Nagash's execration of Alcadizaar, who had thwarted his plans for so long, that he spared the imprisoned king to witness the horrifying fate that had befallen his former kingdom. Whilst the Great Ritual scoured the land of life, some things remained undetected far beneath Nagashizzar. While Nagash was channelling his great spell, drunk with magical power and lost in dreams of triumph, Alcadizaar, the last mortal king of Nehekhara, was mysteriously freed from his prison below Nagashizzar by a group of hunched, heavily cloaked, rat-like creatures. A powerful blade, made of purest warpstone, was pushed into his hands, and the emaciated king stumbled into Nagash's throne room just as the sorcerer was reaching the climax of his mighty ritual. Through sheer force of will, Alcadizaar summoned the strength to swing his baleful sword and cut the hated necromancer down. As Nagash died, the energies of his accursed spell spiralled out of his control and swept across his homeland. Alcadizaar, filled with horror at the obscenities he had seen and having witnessed the death of his beloved realm, then faded from history.[2a]
The Remnants of Evil (-1151 to 15 IC) Edit
Though Nagash was defeated that day, part of his spirit still lingered on his magical artefacts, the most prominent of which was the Crown of Sorcery. When Nagash was defeated, Alcadizaar tried to find his way back home with the crown in his possession, but the lost of his people and the evil of the Fellblade eventually made him succumb to his wounds, and he fell upon the banks of an unknown river. Alcadizaar's frozen and frost-bitten body was found in the melting spring snow along the banks of Blind River by Kadon, the shaman of the Lodringen folk.
Kadon recognised Alcadizaar for a mighty king and ordered a barrow built for his corpse. There was something about the crown that attracted him though and he kept it. to his eternal damnation. Pan of the Great Necromancer's spirit was infused in the crown, and it fed the old man some of Nagash's secrets. His dreams were full of whispered promises and his mind was filled with dreams of empire. Soon his noble soul was corrupted by the crown's pulsing evil. He told his tribesmen that he had had a vision and ordered them to build a city on the site of Alcadizaar's burial mound.[1a]
The Rise of MourkainEdit
He named the city Mourkain, which in the tongue of his people means Place of Death. For a brief time a wicked civilisation blossomed in the Bad Lands, stretching from the shores of the Black Gulf to the entrance of Mad Dog Pass, from Blood River to the edge of the Marshes of Madness. Colonies were even established in the area that would later become known as the Border Princes. The Orcs were pushed back out of the Bad Lands back into the Worlds Edge Mountains. His mind filled with dreadful visions, Kadon began to re-create the Books of Nagash, inscribing the Great Necromancer's dark tale and committing much of his secret lore to paper. His vision was skewed by the crown and he took to worshipping Nagash as a god and forced his followers to do the same. Soon the cult of Nagash was re-born and Undead things kept guard over its temples. Kadon himself lived in a palace of black marble built over the entrance to Alcadizaar's burial mound and was considered the most devout of Nagash's worshippers.[1a]
The Badlands were not fertile and the population of Mourkain was never great but with labour provided by untiring Zombies, citadels were built and harrows excavated. Roads were created to link the far corners of the land to the capital. Kadon was no mere acolyte but a potent sorcerer in his own right, and, as his mind filled with the Great Necromancer's knowledge, he began to devise his own spells. He wrote his infamous Grimoire in ink distilled from blood, in a volume bound with flayed human skin. Mourkain became the site of ever blacker evils. The Dwarfs, who had once traded with the humans, turned their faces from them and shunned them. Drawn to the crown's power Nagash's severed talon was found by Kadon's acolytes. He took the thing and wrapped it round with dreadful spells turning it into a powerful evil artefact which he used to cow his followers. At one point the armies of Mourkain laid siege to the Dwarf fortress of Barak Varr but the iron-sheathed walls of the keep defeated them and they eventually withdrew.[1a]
The Necromancers of Mourkain became inward-looking and decadent, and the period of expansion was over. Then from the mountains came a savage horde of Orc under the Warlord Dork Redeye. Redeye was armed with an enchanted blade that made him invincible against any evil magics, and the men of Mourkain and their Undead lackeys were no match for his savage horde. The howling greenskinned devils swept through Kadon's kingdom with fire and the sword, driving the few survivors north. Kadon himself was slain by Redeye in an epic duel amid the blazing streets of Morgheim. Upon his death his kingdom ended. Kadon's chief disciple snatched the crown from his dead master's head and fled northward, often being forced to hide from Orc pursuit. Today almost no trace can be found of the lost kingdom of Mourkain save for a few fire-scorched ruins and haunted harrows within which evil things dwell.[1a]
These blighted remnants of the lost kingdom account for the burial mounds scattered throughout the Badlands and the Border Princes. Some of those who survived entombed themselves alive within the barrows and their evil spirits lurk there still. Others who lived through the fall of the kingdom carried their evil knowledge northwards into a land where a new power stirred. The man-god called Sigmar had arisen to unite the warring tribes of men and forge an empire in blood and fire. Within his realm were shadowy corners where the Necromancers could practise their vile art.[1a]
The Ressurection of NagashEdit
At the same time as Sigmar founded his Empire dark rumours drifted northward that an old evil had been re-born. The Council of Thirteen believed that they had destroyed Nagash. They were wrong: so mighty a being, so adept in the ways of Undeath, could not easily he dispatched from the world. His corporeal form had been destroyed but his spirit lived on. It waited beyond death, still rooted to the world by the presence of his claw, his crown and his tomb. Nagash had long planned for the possibility of his death, and part of his spirit and his power had been imbued in his crown, allowing him a foothold in the world of the living. Although it might take many centuries, Nagash would return, and when he did the manner of his returning was to be spectacularly horrible.[1a]
His body had been burned in the furnaces of Nagashizzar and all that remained of it were particles of black sooty dust drifting on the wind. One by one these particles were drawn to each other. Down the long centuries clumps of them slowly coalesced in the Desolation of Nagash, forming black putrescent blobs that flowed inch by inch across the country to the Black Pyramid of Nagash in Khemri. At the rate of one drop a year the sarcophagus slowly filled with the vile black fluid, becoming a dark chrysalis within which an evil being was being re-born. As the fluid congealed, parts clotted till they became hard as bone. Overlaying this ebony skeleton, unnatural organs grew. Worm-like clumps of veins writhed and burrowed their way through newly forming muscles.[1a]
A sinister carapace of horny skin grew to cover the mass. Only the right hand, cut off by Alcadizaar, did not re-grow. One dark night, centuries after his defeat by the Skaven, the lid slowly rolled back from the sarcophagus and Nagash emerged once more into the world. Outside his tomb Khemri was still. Nagash stood atop his pyramid and bathed in dark power. Although still mighty beyond mortal measure he was but a pale shadow of his former self. He was weakened by his long sojourn beyond death and part of his power was still lost with his claw and his crown. He called upon the dead of Khemri but they hated him in death as they had hated him in life and he no longer had the power to bind them as once he had. He could control a portion of Khemri's countless dead but the others rebelled and for a time there was civil war within the greatest of the necropolises.[1a]
Eventually Nagash became tired of this and visited the other cities of the dead. There the tale was the same. The dead remembered him and they hated him with the strange unnatural hatred that centuries had bred. Although individually more than a match for any of the Tomb Kings, Nagash could not stand against the alliance that formed against him. For the second time in his long unlife he was driven out of his native land. He brooded on his fall and decided once more that he would use the power of warpstone to augment his strength and make his enemies pay. Once more he travelled north, setting his feet on the path he had so long ago followed to the shores of the Sour Sea. This time he was accompanied by an army of loyal Undead followers. At last he came to Nagashizzar and found the Skaven entrenched there.[1a]
For years they had mined the warpstone, using it for their own fell purposes until it was almost exhausted. Nagashizzar itself had become a gigantic warren for the ratmen although a comparatively less populous one for no food would grow in the Desolation of Nagash and it all had to be shipped in from other Skavenholds in return for warpstone. Nagash approached the gates of his former fortress and demanded entrance. The Skaven garrison commander looked down on him and cursed him and chittered insults in his own vile tongue. With a word the Great Necromancer slew him then with a word he opened the gates of Nagashizzar, for he had forged them and knew all the secret commands to which they would respond. In one night the forces of Nagash swept through the Cursed Pit and overwhelmed the surprised Skaven, driving them from the city.[1a]
Search for the CrownEdit
- "You see? This is what you are. This is who you are. Embrace it and the pain will end. Cease your resistance and give me your flesh to wear. You cannot keep my spirit out forever, and when you are mine, I shall give you power beyond your wildest imaginings. This petty empire of man that you have built is nothing to what we might achieve together. There are lands far beyond these shores to be conquered, worlds beyond this paltry rock to be enslaved! Stand at my side and this entire world will be yours!"
- —The Voice within the Crown of Sorcery, speaking to Sigmar[6p]
Nagash was now in control of his citadel but was angered beyond mortal comprehension to discover that the warpstone was almost exhausted by Skaven mining. The devices he had used to refine, concentrate and purify it for his own sorcerous purposes were all destroyed. Even had they not been, there was no longer enough warpstone to allow him to re-create the Great Summoning. Undaunted by the armies the Council of Thirteen sent to reclaim Nagashizzar the Great Necromancer set to work. First he laboured in his forges creating a great metal talon for himself to replace his lost claw. His Undead hosts carried out instructions under his supervision to make the device. The artificial claw was cunningly wrought and covered in disturbing runes that hurt the eye. It was as flexible and useful as a normal hand and many times stronger.[1a]
Now Nagash could once more hold a weapon and with his own hands he could create more devices, lie summoned the spirits of the dead and interrogated them for information and slowly, piece by piece, he re-constructed the events that had taken place during his long absence. He learned of the disappearance of Alcadizaar and how he had been driven to madness and death by the crown and exposure to the Skaven's Deathblade. Eventually his attention was drawn to the north where Kadon's heir. Month, had taken his crown. Wrapping himself in a black cloak and many powerful protective enchantments, Nagash set out in secret for the northern lands determined to re-claim what was his. Far were his wanderings and many were his battles on the hard road to the cold northern lands. Nagash travelled through lands where stalwart Dwarf warriors battled Ores and Goblins and where the followers of Chaos still lurked. At last he arrived in the lands of the nascent Empire and took up residence within the long abandoned ruins of the Elf city of Athel Tamara.[1a]
This was to be his base from which he would scour the north in search of his crown. From the ruins Nagash sent messengers winging out to locate Kadon's heir. But Month was dead. The evil mage had been slain by Sigmar, and the crown was in the possession of the first Emperor. Sensing its utter evil, he refused to use it and kept it under lock and key within his treasure vaults, far from the eyes of those who might be tempted by it. Nagash sent a messenger to Sigmar's camp. claiming his crown and offering infinite riches for its return. A great cowled figure, mounted on the back of a carrion bird descended on the tribesmen. All quailed as the dark figure dismounted and presented its master's demands in a voice like a death-rattle.[1a]
Sigmar and NagashEdit
- "Some, though headless, stood erect. From some the arms were hacked, some were pierced from front to back. And some on horse in armour sat, some were choked while at their food. Some were drowned in flood, And some were withered up by fire, some raving mad and others dead. Merciful Shallya of the sorrow pours bright tears from her eyes, weeping and wailing the fate of Men. Alas my grief that ye did not heed her cries."
- —The Legend of Sigmar[3a]
The stench of evil and decay surrounded the messenger, and all who looked upon it became afraid and encouraged their leader to give way. However, Sigmar was not inclined to surrender the crown, and, seeing their leader's resolve, the warriors took heart. Their cheering was silenced when the messenger spoke once again, saying that they were fools and that they would not live to regret their folly. Sigmar raised his great hammer Ghal Mharaz and smote the Undead thing. It collapsed in on itself leaving only a foul dark cloak behind. Sigmar ordered the remains burned. Nagash spent many months gathering his strength. His spells raised legions of the dead from their burial mounds and other dark things came at his call till a mighty army of the Undead was assembled. At last he was ready to make war against Sigmar and his followers. The great army of the walking dead marched through the primaeval forests of the Empire, killing all those they encountered.[1a]
Those they killed swelled their army's ranks. Many men were killed and many others driven before the Undead army to spread the word of its coming. Nagash understood how potent an ally fear was. And the men of the north were afraid. They had vanquished the Orcs and driven all their enemies before them but they now they faced a foe that filled them with dread and was seemingly invincible. Of them all only Sigmar was unafraid. He sent to his Dwarf allies for aid, and they forged many potent weapons wrapped round with potent magics for the undoing of their necromantic foes. The two armies met on the banks of the river Reik in the late spring of the year IC 15. It was an evenly matched and bitterly fought contest. The humans and the Dwarfs were resolute.[1a]
The Undead regiments of animated Skeletons and walking corpses marched forward like automatons, every step perfectly synchronised to the beat of a massive. human-skinned drum. Carrion darkened the sky overhead. Vampires stalked through the red murk. Ghouls feasted on the dead and the wounded alike. Wights clutched men in their cold grip. The army of Nagash charged and broke like a wave against the stolid Dwarf shield wall. The forces of Sigmar counter-charged and a huge general melee broke out that pitted man against monster in single combat all across the field of battle.[1a]
Champions of Life and DeathEdit
- "You see...? This is what flesh entails. Suffering. Bloodshed. Misery. Why would you seek to perpetuate this horror? What creature in my service knows fear, pain or desire? The legions of the dead want for nothing, care for nothing, love nothing. End your foolish resistance and you will be a king of death, a master of the world at my side. You will be my greatest champion and together we will end the suffering of this world!"
- —Nagash, speaking to Emperor Sigmar[3w]
Amid all the death two god-like beings walked. Sigmar led charge after charge by the men of the Unberogens. His awesome warhammer turned him into a living engine of destruction and he left a wake of ruin behind him as he waded through his foes. Mounted on a great black chariot Nagash drove through the fray. a howling black runesword clutched in his mighty metal fist. In the centre of the battle the two titans clashed. Sigmar vaulted up onto the running board of the chariot and wrestled with the fiche. It was a contest of awesome strengths that sent the two of them tumbling from the vehicle to clash on the honest earth. For an hour the two fought while the battle rolled on all around them. Nagash stabbed Sigmar in the arm, and the wound was poisoned. Feeling his strength seep away Sigmar launched himself into a final berserk assault. The hammer became a thunderbolt in his hands. He struck home time and again driving the Great Necromancer before him right to the banks of the Reik. Nagash summoned his most potent minions to aid him. Vampires leapt on the first Emperor. He struck right and left, crushing them utterly.[1a]
Sensing that his foe was weakening Nagash stood his ground. Sigmar stood panting before him. Both knew that this was the final conflict. The wounded Sigmar threw himself forward once again. His hammer descended like a meteor. Nagash parried and the hammer was halted. For a long moment the two strained against each other. Sparks flew as their weapons met. The thunder of metal on metal drowned out the screams of the dying. Steel sinews pitted themselves against unnatural vitality. Cold blue eyes glared into awful empty sockets. Then at last Sigmar prevailed, knocking aside the Great Necromancer's blade and smashing his weapon down on the head of his foe.[1a]
As the Necromancer fell, a dark cloud emerged from his cracked skull and rose like a plume of poison gas over the battlefield before drifting off south. The legions animated by his dark will collapsed. Skeletons fell into piles of bone. Zombies stumbled and fell, decomposing before the eyes of the watchers till they became pools of rot on the ground. Vampires and Ghouls fled into the deep woods. Only when the battle was over did Sigmar stumble and fall. It took the man-god several months to recover from the wound Nagash inflicted and he never regained his full strength. On the other hand it took the Great Necromancer many centuries to once more take on mortal form in the great sarcophagus in Khemri. He had learned a bitter lesson. Now there were powers in the world who could catch him. He resolved to more careful next time. From that day, he has dwelled within Nagashizzar, a pale shadow of his former mighty self, and uses a web of agents to do his will.[1a]
- "Man is cattle...."
- —Nagash, the Lord of the Undead[3r]
Nagash is the most powerful of all the lords of the Undead. Although once human, Nagash's long use of warpstone to enhance his powers has transformed him to a creature more akin to a daemon than any living creature. Nagash has no room for remorse, love and compassion in his cold, dead heart, for he believes such emotions of empathy are beneath a being as great as he. He stands well over 15 feet tall, his size greatly increased by the mutating effects of the warpstone he has consumed over the millennia. His skin has withered, his eyes have become pools of luminous pus in their sockets, and his body only continues to walk driven by his dark will and the power of his evil sorcery.[1b]
Foes quake in terror as he advances upon them, terrified by his vile visage and gagging on the sickly sweet scent of death that surrounds him. Nagash is armed with an immense sword so tall and heavy that an ordinary man could not even lift it. Nagash's right hand was cut off in his epic struggle with the doomed King Alcadizaar, and has been replaced with a magnificently crafted iron claw bound about with powerful magical runes. His body is protected by a suit of magical armour crafted from lead and meteoric iron. These potent magical items greatly increase Nagash's physical strength and toughness, and make him more than a match for nearly any opponent in hand-to-hand combat. Nagash also carries the Staff of Power, an ancient artifact crafted by Nagash himself which thrums with the raw power of Dark Magic. At his hip sways one of the nine Books of Nagash, an arcane text which contains the secrets of his many spells.[1b]
- Morikhane – Black Armour of Nagash - Nagash's armour is forged from an alloy of lead and meteoric iron. Over the millennia the armour has fused itself with his body, so it may only be worn by Nagash. Obviously, the armour does not prevent him casting spells.[1c]
- Mortis – The Great Blade of Death - Mortis is a huge magic sword that crackles with unearthly power. The blade was forged and enchanted by Nagash himself and no-one else may use it. The sword increases his already considerable strength, and wounds caused by the sword can be used to heal Nagash himself.[1c]
- Nine Book of Nagash - Nagash was the first and greatest of all the Necromancers, and he created almost all of the spells that allow these followers of the dark arts to raise and control the Undead. The secrets of his magical spells are recorded in nine massive tomes known as the Nine Books of Nagash. Each book contains the secrets of one of Nagash's Necromantic spells.[1c]
- Alakanash – Staff of Power - The Staff of Power was created by Nagash to allow him to store the additional power he needed to carry out his most arcane and dangerous magical spells.[1c]
- 1: Warhammer Armies: Undead (4th Edition)
- 2: Warhammer Armies: Tomb Kings (8th Edition)
- 2a: pg. 13 - 15
- 3: Legend of Sigmar: God-King (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- 3a: Chapter 1: "Fire and Retribution"
- 3b: Chapter 2: "Young Minds and Old Men"
- 3c: Chapter 3: "Flight and Fight"
- 3d: Chapter 4: "New Friends and Old Enemies"
- 3e: Chapter 5: "Homecoming"
- 3f: Chapter 6: "Dead Flesh"
- 3g: Chapter 7: "Portents of Death"
- 3h: Chapter 8: "The First to Die"
- 3i: Chapter 9: "Darkness Closes In"
- 3j: Chapter 10: "Creeping Death"
- 3k: Chapter 11: "Unwelcome Guests"
- 3l: Chapter 12: "Three Thrusts to to the Heart"
- 3m: Chapter 13: "The Next to Die"
- 3n: Chapter 14: "North, East and West"
- 3o: Chapter 15: "Reunion"
- 3p: Chapter 16: "Murder Most Foul"
- 3q: Chapter 17: "The Price of Knowledge"
- 3r: Chapter 18: "The Dead of Reikdorf"
- 3s: Chapter 19: "The Last Night"
- 3t: Chapter 20: "The Battle of the River Reik"
- 3u: Chapter 21: "The End is Nigh"
- 3v: Chapter 22: "Champion of Life and Death"
- 3w: Chapter 23: "The End of All Things"
- 4: Liber Necris (Supplement)
- 4a: pg. 4 - 5
- 5: End Times: Nagash (Expansion)
- 5a: pg. 486 - 488
- 6: Time of Legend: Empire (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- 6a: Chapter 1: "The Last Days of Kings"
- 6b: Chapter 2: "Rise an Emperor"
- 6c: Chapter 3: "Reckoning"
- 6d: Chapter 4: "City of Mist"
- 6e: Chapter 5: "Daemon Moon"
- 6f: Chapter 6: "Troublesome Kings"
- 6g: Chapter 7: "The Namathir"
- 6h: Chapter 8: "A Darkness of the Heart"
- 6i: Chapter 9: "Northern Fire"
- 6j: Chapter 10: "Curse of the Dead"
- 6k: Chapter 11: "The Mountains of Fear"
- 6l: Chapter 12: "The Battle of Brass Keep"
- 6m: Chapter 13: "A Warning Unheeded"
- 6n: Chapter 14: "Sigmar's Justice"
- 6o: Chapter 15: "The Price of Betrayal"
- 6p: Chapter 16: "The Temptation of Sigmar"
- 6q: Chapter 17: "Wolves of the North"
- 6r: Chapter 18: "The Empire at Bay"
- 6s: Chapter 19: "Heroes of the Hour"
- 6t: Chapter 20: "The Last Days"
- 6u: Chapter 21: "The Last Day"
- 6v: Chapter 22: "The Doom of Men"