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Nagash the Necromancer

Nagash, also known as the Great Necromancer, was the first practitioner and creator of Necromancy, and is the most powerful magic user of all time, his power rivalling that of the ancient Slann and High Elf wizards from the dawn of time that fought in the First Great War Against Chaos. He caused the complete destruction of the civilisation of Nehekhara and created the undead, also indirectly creating the first vampires.

Though once a mortal man, Nagash became a liche - the most powerful form of undead - casting aside his mortal flesh in favour of magical power and unmatched mastery over the arcane. He is many thousands of years old, and endured where others would have perished.

During his existence Nagash has sought one thing and one thing alone: absolute power over all things. He is relentless in his ambition for total domination over the world, and will stop at nothing to see his dreams realised. He controls an entire legion of followers, worshippers and acolytes who have done his bidding faithfully, serving him as a god and furthering his fell schemes. He has been one of the greatest threats the world ever faced, and was only stopped at great cost each time he rose, never being truly defeated.

In his attempts to become a god, Nagash learned how to trap the power of magic in certain materials, and so constructed the Black Pyramid, the largest structure ever built by human hands. Its purpose was to draw the Winds of Magic south so that he could use the magical power for himself to fuel his megalomaniacal dreams.

Ironically, after thousands of years of constant setbacks, Nagash finally got what he wanted - though not before he was humiliated by the forces of Chaos.

 HistoryEdit

Origins Edit

Nagash was born two thousand years before the time of Sigmar in the mighty civilization known as Nehekhara. His father was King Khetep of the 3rd Dynasty, ruler of Khemri and all Nehekhara. As a young man he joined the Mortuary Cult (a priesthood dedicated to the veneration of the dead and the magical prolonging of life) and became a leading figure in the cult. Nagash was ambitious, and despite rising to the rank of High Priest of Khemri, the cult's highest position, he coveted his father's throne. It was only when a group of Dark Elves, whom had washed up on the shore of Nehekhara after a battle with the High Elves, were brought to Khemri that his quest for immortality proved fruitful. One among their number was a Sorceress, who revealed all her knowledge of Magic to Nagash.  

From her, he learned of the Realm of Chaos beyond the Chaos Wastes in the north and of the Winds of Magic, and how they could be channeled. Unlike the divine magic of the priests of Khemri, based on the communion with the gods, Nagash learned of magic that mortals could manipulate for themselves. He learned of Dhar and how it could be drawn to a location and condensed inside certain materials. When the sorceress outlived her usefulness, Nagash murdered her companions, defeated her in a magical duel and consumed her soul. He then proceded to enact his plan to put himself on the throne. He brought dozens of weak and dispossessed nobles together and gave them the ability to prolong their life, and in return, they swore to serve him forever. Foremost among them was Arkhan the Black, who became Nagash's second-in-command and one of the most ruthless of Nagash's servants. 

King of Khemri Edit

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Nagash as a mortal man, with his Black Pyramid looming behind him.

After the death of their father, Nagash's brother King Thutep ascended the throne. One night Nagash slew his own brother, murdering him in cold blood and burying his brother's wife alive. The next morning, his hands still covered with Thutep's blood, Nagash claimed the throne of Nehekhara without opposition. Nagash used his knowledge as the basis for a new branch of magic which he called Necromancy. This magic greatly extended his lifespan and during the centuries to come he mastered it, although he did not succeed in preserving his physical body, and it enabled him to reanimate the bodies of the dead.

Nagash ruled Khemri through fear, and with his power forced countless slaves to labour for two hundred years to raise a massive pyramid of black marble-- the dreaded, legendary Black Pyramid of Nagash, which was far larger and more imposing than the tomb of Settra the Imperishable, a testament to his hubris. He then used the Black Pyramid to draw the winds of magic from the far north down to the lands of Nehekhara, storing them there for his use, to aid him in his campaign to subdue the neighbouring kings. Nagash penned his knowledge and findings within nine tomes made of human flesh, bound with Dwarf hair and illuminated with human blood.

These works became known as the Nine Books of Nagash. Others flocked to his promises of immortality and power- dozens of nobles as well as one third of the liche Priests sided with Nagash. However, the other Kings of the various Nehekharan cities were aghast at the reign of terror which Nagash had begun, and railed under the terrible taxes Nagash forced them to pay.

Some two centuries after having been forced to witness what they saw as blasphemy that would surely bring the wrath of the gods upon the blessed lands of Nehekhara, the kings of seven other, lesser cities allied themselves in order to remove Nagash from his throne; a powerful army was raised to march on the city of Khemri. Using his necromantic powers for the first time, Nagash raised a vast horde of skeletons to destroy the attackers. In the death-obsessed culture of Nehekhara, this was recognised as the greatest of obscenities and a grave insult to the gods. Hundreds panicked, terrified by thoughts of battle versus the departed. Although many fled at the sight of the skeletal army, the forces of the other kings rallied and Nagash was ultimately defeated-- but not slain. Arkhan gave his life to protect his master; Nagash fled to the northeast to plot revenge. The Priest Kings, meanwhile, did their utmost to destroy everything Nagash had wrought; his works and many of his books were burned, and the cabal of acolytes he had seduced to his service were put to the sword.

The Great Necromancer Edit

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Nagash battling the Skaven.

As he wandered in the desert, Nagash came to the point of death. As his last reserves of strength ran out he collapsed. Near death, he was discovered by several Skaven lost in the wastes like he was. Nagash could sense the pieces of warpstone they carried and waited until they drew closer. As they prepared to cut him up and eat him, Nagash rose up and slaughtered them in a desperate struggle. He took their warpstone and used it to keep himself alive until he found his way out of the desert.

After the bitter defeat in the Battle of the Seven Kings in Khemri, Nagash swore to return to the lands of his father and rule once more. Nagash was strangely drawn into the mountain range to the north of Nehekhara, particularly a mountain which was called Cripple Peak. There he discovered a large deposit of warpstone, which he exploited to increase his power, consuming the fell stuff of Chaos. The exposure to warpstone changed Nagash's physique into that of a monstrosity; little more than a gargantuan skeleton wrapped in armour.

He hid inside the mountain and harvested the warpstone that had accreted on the cavern walls. Within the mountain Nagash set his undead and the local tribesmen (whom Nagash had conquered and forced into servitude) to build his fortress city Nagashizzar, and forged many of his treasures such as the Crown of Sorcery and the Mortis Blade.

Such a large amount of warpstone inevitably drew the Skaven, who fought a war for control of Cripple Peak. The Skaven armies were vast, but Nagash's abilities were incredibly potent, and he raised hordes of undead to throw into war. After countless years of war ended in an inconclusive stalemate, Nagash eventually proposed a truce with the Skaven: he would give them warpstone in return for them luring Greenskins into the Cursed Pit. The Skaven warily agreed to Nagash's offer, but increased their efforts to learn what he was up to. 

Many centuries later in Nehekhara, study of the Books of Nagash by Queen Neferata brought about the creation of the Vampires in the city of Lahmia. When this was discovered by the current King Alcadizaar, he brought his forces against Lahmia to remove the taint of undeath. Despite the efforts of the vampires, the threat of Lahmia was crushed by Alcadizaar's huge army; the Queen fled to Nagashizzar with the six remaining Vampires. Recognising the spawn of his own creation, Nagash made the vampires his captains and sent them back in command of a vast undead horde to conquer Nehekhara. However, he had underestimated his former countrymen.

No longer an isolated score of rival city states but united under the undisputed military genius of Alcadizaar, the king labelled as the greatest general of his age (the sixth dynasty) who led the armies of Nehekhara against the undead. After many years of bloody war the hordes of Nagash were pushed back. The Vampire Masters decided to flee, with only W'soran, eager for more necromantic lore, remaining with Nagash. Nagash was furious and cursed all vampires to burn in the rays of the sun. 

Nagash, in his bitterness, decided that if he couldn't rule Nehekhara then no-one could. He concluded that it was better to kill everything in the kingdom than to see it ruled by someone else. Nagash got his allies, the Skaven, to corrupt the River Vitae; it turned black, spreading pestilence throughout the populace. Alcadizaar was forced to watch first as those he loved, including his wife and children died, and then to see his beloved kingdom crumble before him. When Nagash's undead invaded, their ranks swollen by the deaths in Nehekhara, they were led by W'soran and Arkhan, who Nagash had resurrected as a Liche. The meek defenses put up to stop the invasion were easily thwarted and Alcadizaar himself was captured and thrown into a cell to await torture and death at Nagash's pleasure.

The Great Ritual and Nagash's Defeat Edit

It was now, with Alcadizaar imprisoned and Nehekhara conquered, that Nagash revealed the conclusion of his evil plans. He began to weave one of the most powerful spells ever attempted; at the pinnacle of its power Nagash unleashed a mighty wave of sorcery which washed over the land for hundreds of miles, causing everything that was living to decay and die, and all that was dead to rise again in an unholy parody of life; this was called the Great Ritual. Nagash planned to use his necromantic powers to raise the entire population of Nehekhara as an unstoppable army which he would use to conquer the entire world; had his allies not betrayed him, he may well have succeeded.

The Skaven rulers, the Council of Thirteen, watching from afar, realised the threat posed by this latest development; they were aware that if Nagash succeeded in his plan, he would be all but unstoppable. Still eager for control of Nagash's large deposit of warpstone at Cripple Peak, and aware that they would be amongst the first to suffer Nagash's wrath, the Council made the (for the first and only time in their history) unanimous decision to kill Nagash. Rather than risk their own lives trying to assassinate Nagash, the Council decided to free Alcadizaar and give him the means to do so. Infiltrating Nagashizzar, hooded Skaven agents freed Alcadizaar from his captivity and gave him a blade made of pure Warpstone, the Fellblade; a weapon so lethally powerful that not just its victim, but also its wielder, would succumb to it.  

Still weak from the exertion of casting his spell, Nagash was recovering when Alcadizaar stumbled into his throne room. Surprising Nagash in his moment of weakness, Alcadizaar cut off one of Nagash's hands. Stumbling back, Nagash unleashed deadly magics at Alcadizaar. The Council of Thirteen, watching the titanic battle unfold, joined their powers to protect Alcadizaar from Nagash's onslaught, though they were slowly being killed by Nagash's power as they did so. It was an epic struggle, for even though exhausted and wounded, Nagash was still a foe to be reckoned with, but Alcadizaar ultimately triumphed. Flying into a rage, Alcadizaar flew at Nagash and hacked away until Nagash was left in pieces. Looking across the land at the destruction of his land and people, Alcadizaar despaired. He took Nagash's crown and stumbled to the River Mortis. The fate of Alcadizar was a cruel one as he was being tormented by the Skaven gifted weapon Fellblade; its power was such that its wielder's ultimate fate was to be consumed as the raw substance of Chaos itself burned the soul, mind, and body. He died and his body floated into the Great Ocean until a young shaman named Kadon discovered it, along with Nagash's crown which he took for himself, while the Skaven would eventually recover the Fellblade. Meanwhile, the Skaven swarmed in to the warpstone filled realm of Nagash and claimed it for their own. The Skaven also gathered up every piece of Nagash's body they could find and destroyed it, burning the Great Necromancer's corpse on a warpstone fuelled bonfire. However, they never found Nagash's severed right hand.

Return of the Necromancer Edit

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Nagash's spell inadvertently cost him dominion of Nehekhara for thousands of years.

Nagash's spell caused the long-dead kings of Nehekhara to return to life. However, they retained their free will and were tended to by the Priests who had seemingly reached their prophesied immortality. Ironically, through Nagash's attempt to destroy the lands of Nehekhara, he had given them a cruel mockery of eternal life, creating the realms of the Tomb Kings. From then on, Nehekhara was known as the Land of the Dead. Using the power of his Black Pyramid, Nagash was able to knit his body back together, piece by tiny piece. The next time he rose, 1,111 years later, he found the lands of Nehekhara defended by many jealous undead kings, their combined armies equal to anything he could muster. Nagash challenged the reigning High King, Settra. Settra and the other Kings, furious at what Nagash had done to them, chased him from their lands. They no longer feared Nagash or his necromancy, for they had become as monstrous in visage as him and commanded undead legions of their own now.

Returning to his fortress, Nagash found the Skaven had mined most of the warpstone away; in retaliation, one night he drove them all from Cripple Peak. The Skaven made many attempts at regaining the mountain, but after being defeated by Arkhan they decided that they had both gathered enough warpstone and didn't desire another war with Nagash, and left Cripple Peak for good. Nagash, still weak from his death, realised that he needed his old magical artifacts to reassert his power, including his stolen Crown of Sorcery. He forged a replacement hand out of a warpstone alloy and led a great army into the nascent Empire of Man to reclaim the crown, but was slain by Sigmar at the Battle of the River Reik, his skull smashed by Sigmar's hammer Ghal Maraz. According to Mannfred von Carstein, Nagash's defeat at the hands of Sigmar resulted in a curse being laid upon all vampires: for their refusal to come to his aid, they would forever be weak against the power of Sigmar. It has long been claimed that sufficient faith in any deity would be of aid against vampires, but it appears that the Sigmarite faith now has additional potency against the undead.

Nagash's crown eventually fell into the hands of the Orc warlord, Azhag the Slaughterer; the portion of Nagash's twisted spirit that still clung to the artefact twisted Azhag's mind, making his Waaagh! uncannily skilled and tactically organised. When Azhag was finally slain at the Battle of Osterwald by the forces of the Empire, Nagash's crown was seized and locked away in the Imperial Vaults in Altdorf.

Modern Times Edit

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Battle between Sigmar and Nagash.

Nagash once again returned to life, 1,666 years after his death at the hands of Sigmar, in the night known as the Night of the Restless Dead, or Geheimnisnacht.

It was rumoured by the wise that he was again re-building his power. Though only a shadow of his former self and his most potent artefacts scattered around the world, he was still considered to be one of the most powerful beings in the Warhammer World, and was worshipped by some as the god of undeath and the creator of vampires and necromancy. Nagash bided his time until he could once more take on the world. It was believed that he was enacting his will through others, particularly the Lichemaster Heinrich Kemmler, Arkhan the Black, Mannfred von Carstein, and Krell, the Wight-lord and general of Nagash's armies in ages past.

The End Times Edit

See the page regarding The End Times.

Magic ItemsEdit

  • 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.[1a][2a]
  • 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.[1b]
  • 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.[1b]
  • 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.[1b]

SourcesEdit

  • Nagash the Sorcerer (Novel) ("Time of Legends Series" 2008)
  • Nagash the Unbroken (Novel) ("Time of Legends Series")
  • 1: Warhammer Armies: Undead (4th Edition)
    • 1a: pg. 88
    • 1b: pg. 89
  • 2: The End Times Vol I: Nagash
    • 2a: pg. 67

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