- "I anoint myself with the blood of Ulric that I shall not fear to bleed.
- I pledge myself to Ulric's work that I shall not fear to suffer.
- I give myself to Ulric, that I shall not fear to die.''"
- —Ulrican Initiation
Ulric is the Imperial God of War, Winter and Wolves, the Divine Protector of the Northern Empire and a prominent member of the Old World Pantheon. Once worshiped as the foremost god of warfare amongst the ancient tribes of the Reik Basin and seen as the patron deity of the Early Empire, his influence in the southerly regions of the Empire has mostly been usurped by the newly emergent Sigmarite and Myrmidian faiths. Despite this, the Ulrican flock remains first and foremost in Middenland, Ostland and most of Nordland, for the war-like provinces of the north know that there is only one true warrior amongst the heavens, and thus continue to remain an impenetrable stronghold of the Ulrican Church. According to legend, Ulric is said to have once walked the land, leading a tribe of warriors known as the Teutogens out from the East. These savage warriors slaughtered their way through the indigenous forest tribes of the Reik in order to secure a new homeland and prove their dominance, dedicating every kill in honour of their war-god. After uncounted years of bloodshed, Ulric led these savage tribesmen to a great mountain in the frigid forests of the icy north. Here, he struck the mountaintop flat with his fist (or with the haft of his axe, depending on which version of the tale), and a great flame sprung up from where his fist had hit the stone. The Teutogens followed the pale blue light, beset upon their way by ravening packs of giant wolves.
Though starving and wary, the Teutogens answered the howls of the wolves with battle-cries of their own, and matched tooth and claw with axe and hammer. As the holy books of the Cult of Ulric says that Great Ulric was pleased with his people's bravery and bathed the Teutogens in a cold light that caused the wolves to panic and flee. The Teutogens finally reached the mountain, and in awe of the hallowed place, which they now named the Fauschlag, meaning "Fist-Strike" in their dialect of Old Reikspiel, immediately swore to build the grandest of temples at this site, where they would forever worship mighty Ulric, their god of Winter, Wolves and War.
Ulric's faith spread to the other tribes who had settled the Reik Basin alongside the Teutogens. Eventually, he had become the foremost warrior-god of the tribesmen of the Reik, and the patron of many war-like tribes aside from the Teutogens, such as the Unberogens and Thuringians. Presiding over the Eternal Warrior's Hall, Ulric was beloved and feared by all the ancient tribes. To the Teutogens, however, Ulric would always remain their god; their mighty chieftain, who had led them to glory.
The Winter WolfEdit
According to the Liber Lupus, Teutonengeschichte and the Ulric Creed, which is the main holy texts of the Ulrican Cult, tells of how Ulric is the brother of Taal, who is Lord of the Deep Wilds just as Ulric is Lord of War and Winter. Despite the Wolf-Lord's glory, it seemed to him that Taal, who ruled over the world in all seasons while Ulric could only claim lordship in winter, came before him in all things. He confided this concern to his brother, who asked him what it would take to banish these troubles from his mind. Ulric replied that he sought a place that he could forever say belonged to him and him alone. Out of love for his brother, Taal gave Ulric a great mountain and absolute lordship over the cold forests surrounding it. Mightily pleased with this gift, Ulric thanked his brother and smashed the mountaintop flat with his fist. He then decreed that his followers would claim the mountain and the harsh forests surrounding it, erecting a mighty temple to celebrate his glory till the coming of He Who Brings the End Times. Even to this day, the great mountain settled by Ulric's followers has been known as both the the Fauschlag, as well as the Ulricsberg.
The great deeds of Ulric are recounted within the holy books of his worshipers. Through metaphor and analogy, they teach how the wolf god expects his followers to behave. As a warrior-god, Ulric favours the direct approach, and relishes the inevitable confrontation such approaches cause. He expects strength, honour, ruthlessness, self-reliance and courage from his followers and is angered by dishonourable displays of weakness and cowardice. Indeed, the Ulric Creed is filled with chapter after chapter of the Wolf God punishing those who dare to show fear. As a result, the hardy Ulricans stand strong and true, retreating only at the command of their superiors, and even then most begrudgingly.
In ancient days long past, when the Gods of Chaos were making their stronghold in the north, it was Mighty Ulric who demanded his brethren rise up to take the fight to them before they grew too powerful. Alas, the other gods lacked Ulric's courage, so the Lord of Winter was forced to journey alone and pit his might against the Dark Lords of the North. With this inspiration tale as a focus, the Ulricans strive to emulate their god's self-reliant manner in all things, just as Ulric demands his warriors fend for themselves just as he did. The best teacher, the Ulricans believe, is the mistake you survive.
Ulric is a furious, savage god. A predatory manifestation of unbridled power, fitting for a chief god of a barbaric race as the ancient forebears of the Empire were. There are those amongst the over-civilized Cults of Myrmidia and the more fundamentalist elements of the Sigmarite Cult who criticize his barbarism. Some, such as the former Sigmarite Priest Richter Kleiss, are brave enough to even go so far as to equate him with the Dark Gods of the Norsemen, particularly Khorne. For their part, the Ulricans pay little heed to such sentiments. Indeed, Ulric is a harsh god, but when the winters come and cruel storms grip the land, it is the wolf who survives while the lambs perish.
The Wolf and the GriffonEdit
- "Friends, let me explain what I mean; Sigmar was an Ulrican. Sigmar founded this Empire, thus, the Empire is Ulric's nation. We are all Ulricans! This slavish devotion to Sigmar must end!"
- —Johann Von Schattenlas, Carroburg Politician
The Ulricans are proud of their god and of their traditions. They are also proud of the Empire, but are resentful of the notion that it is solely the Empire of the Sigmarite, for it was primarily Ulrican blood that was shed in order to establish it, and is still spent daily to guard its northern borders from the ravages of the Chaos-worshiping Norsemen Marauders, as well as the Beastmen of the forest and the Orcs of the mountains. The undeniable fact that Sigmar himself was a devout Ulrican also casts the Ulricans' complaints in a more understandable light. Yet an atmosphere of Sigmarite hegemony continues to persist across the length and breadth of the Empire, especially in the south.
Thus, many Ulricans see it as their duty to carry the Word of Ulric through the length and breadth of the Empire, even to the warmer climes of the south where his benevolence and power may not be apparent. His place amongst the gods must be fought for with words and deeds. It is an accepted practice within the cult that the stories of Ulric's warriors must be presented to show them in a good light when compared to Sigmar's.
While most Ulricans are happy to give the Sigmarites their due respect, they are not inclined to deference, and believe that respect should be earned, particularly through feats of valour on the battlefield. They are resentful of the Sigmarites' newfound political influence over the Empire, and often go out of their way to prove to the Sigmarites that it is the Ulricans who are the true strength of the Empire. Some priests of the cult, however, go further than that, and are adamant in their notion that Sigmar is not a god at all, but merely a powerful mortal warrior, blessed by Ulric with the strength and will to unite his people, and thus go on to decry the Sigmarite cult as being founded on heresies and lies. Yet others go so far as to claim Sigmar as the son of Ulric, an argument far more difficult to defend, as it is quite clear that Sigmar had a mortal father. One individual within the cult itself, the High Priest of the Order in Altdorf, Olaf Eichermann, is perhaps the most well-known proponent of such views. He has long resented the dominance and hypocrisy of the Sigmarite Church and has defamed them in many of his sermons, which may one day see him branded a heretic if heard by a less than generous Sigmarite or, worse, by a Witch Hunter. In private, Olaf too holds on to the radical view that Sigmar was merely one of Ulric's Chosen, and that by extension, the Empire as it exists today is itself founded on heresy.
The Ar-Ulric, the supreme leader of the cult in its entirety, still retains his single vote in the process of Imperial election, just as the Grand Theoginist of the Sigmarites also has his single vote. This gives the Ulrican cult incredible power and influence when compared to other, lesser cults of the Empire, such as the Myrmidians and the Morrites. However, when one takes into account the single votes afforded to the two Arch-Lectors of the Sigmarite Cult, the Ulricans' power begins to pale in comparison. It is the view of many Ulricans that the Empire would be better served by having a more even balance of power between the two great factions. Whatever the Ulrican theologians may think about the desirability of such a balance of power, it is true, put simply, that the Ulricans are not too fond of the Sigmarites.
Ulric is commonly depicted as a hulking warrior clad in furs and iron armour, thus appearing much akin to the barbarian warriors of the ancient tribes. His long black hair and beard are white with hoarfrost, and he bears a massive battle-axe. At his side are two great, snarling wolves. Other depictions of Ulric portray him as a massive white wolf.
The legendary axe of Ulric is known as Blitzbeil; in some traditions of the tale of the founding of Middenheim, Ulric is said to have struck the mountain flat with this mighty iron-hafted blade, causing the silver-white Flame of Ulric to sprout at the mountain's centre.
- Tome of Salvation (RPG) pg. 66 - 70
- Tome of Blessings (RPG) pg. 5 - 6, 17 - 18
- Signs of Faith (RPG) pg. 4 - 8, 14 - 15
- Ashes of Middenheim (RPG) pg. 5, 16
- Life of Sigmar (Background Book)
- Empire (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- Heldenhammer (Novel) by Graham McNeill