Updated: Jan 30, 2022
‘A monster is simply a God seen through fearful eyes’
When mighty Khorne smote the sky city of Ahramentia & obliterated the Agloraxi empire, many inhabitants of the Flamescar Plateau rejoiced, free of the oppression of the megalomaniac Arch-Domini. The Native tribes of Aqshy began to emerge from hiding, believing that life in the realm would begin anew as a phoenix rises from ash. But the horrors that were unleashed in the wake of the Agloraxi’s destruction were far worse than any could have imagined......
Free of the wretched magus’ & their hulking automomatons, the feral beast-kin that roamed the Flamescar Plateau re-appeared. After scattering throughout the realm of Fire during the Agloraxi’s rise to power, many of the brayherds began hunting for their sacred shaman, captives of the Arch domini. After years of searching throughout the Flamescar for their seer-sighted brethren the gor-tribes uncovered the location of the malevolent Magebane Dungeons.
Far to the south-west of the Plateau hidden beneath boiling geysers & volcanic ash clouds dwelt a cavernous network of rune sealed cells that the Agaloraxi used to torture wizards & sorcerers from all across the mortal realms, breaking their will into divulging their arcane secrets & ancient rites. Their captors took a particular interest in the bray shamen for their savage dominion over the many monstrous creatures that roamed the Flamescar, seeking to enslave mighty beasts to do their bidding should their hulking automatons ever fail them.
With no self-proclaimed ‘masters’ to lord over the lands many of the human tribes of Aqshy began to roam the Plateau seeking to expand their territories or plunder the remnants of the Agloraxi empires’ treasures. As the beast-kin closed on the Magebane Dungeons, they were immediately beset by warlords from across the realm who also sought to control the magical prisons. Some coveted the many arcane artefacts seized from the captives while others wanted to control the caverns simply for their strategic position, with many miles of underground cave networks offering cunning generals great manoeuvrability throughout the region. So began the wars of desolation between Man & Beast.
This new war between the beast-kin & the numerous tribes of Aqshy raged for more than a century. During the conflict control over the Magebane Dungeons changed constantly as each warring faction gained advantage over the other. Many of the captive mages remained locked within their sigil-etched cells throughout the fighting, though some where able to negotiate their release - often with the promise of aiding the battle through foresight & forbidden knowledge. Most of the mages that were freed never saw battle, escaping by a variety of magical means the second they crossed the threshold of their mystic prisons. The treachery of those that broke their pacts often resulted in the execution of other prisoners as examples to those considering exile instead of joining their warmongers' campaign.
Before long the brutal conflicts gained the attention of wrathful Khorne once more, drawn to the blasted lands of the Flamescar Plateau by the bitter stalemate being fought in blood-blessed Aqshy. Bellowing a storm breath of pure rage upon the lands, Khornes’ skin searing winds roiled through the Flamescar driving the warring factions into a frenzy that intensified battlefields across the Plateau. As the death toll mounted tenfold mighty Khorne remained unsated, the warring mortals deemed weak, unable to sustain the eternal war that the blood god demanded of them. Only a true champion of chaos could kill & maim & burn enough to earn the favour of such a vengeful god.
When Khorgus Khul's warband rampaged into the Magebane Dungeons, the deadlock was finally broken. Faced with the overwhelming forces of the goretide, and with the hateful breath of Khorne withdrawn from the battlefield, the warring armies released their defeat, retreated & fled.
As Khul renewed the capture & torture of mages throughout the lands, the beast-kin were driven back into hiding once more. With their smouldering hatred of man still burning, the herd brooded in the dark cinder forests of Ashy. The chieftains ordered ungor raiding parties to scout the caverns for hidden pathways to ambush & retake the dungeons. But the Goretide was a vast army, it’s ranks swelled by the submission of many of the warring human tribes that had previously fought for control of the caverns. As the brayherds’ own chieftains began infighting on weaknesses uncovered in their defeat, a dark stranger approached with promises of vengeance.
Valragor: crowfather, scion of the dark gods, had come to the Flamescar Plateau. Whispered among those touched by Chaos as the voice of the ruinous powers themselves, the fell omen, and so the legends say, the doom of mankind. Though the origins of Valragor are varied & misleading, many tell that the great bray shaman was first amongst of the mages to be enslaved by the Agloraxi, & the only sorcerer to ever escape with their vast knowledge. Whatever the truth of the crowfathers’ past, upon reaching the cinder forests & making contact with the beast-kin dwelling within two things were clear; Valragor had intricate knowledge of the structure & layout of the caverns, & his hatred of mans' empires was deeply rooted. If the tales of his capture were to be true, the shaman would be a powerful ally to the gor tribes.
Valragor: crowfather, scion of the dark gods, had come to the Flamescar Plateau. Whispered among those touched by Chaos as the voice of the ruinous powers themselves, the fell omen, and so the legends say, the doom of mankind. Though the origins of Valragor are varied & misleading, many tell that the great bray shaman was first amongst of the mages to be enslaved by the Agloraxi, & the only sorcerer to ever escape with their vast knowledge. Whatever the truth of the crowfathers’ past, upon reaching the cinder forests & making contact with the beast-kin dwelling within two things were clear; Valragor had intricate knowledge of the structure & layout of the caverns, & his hatred of mans' empires was deeply rooted. If the tales of his capture were to be true, the shaman wouled be a powerful ally to the gor tribes.
Valragor told the herd of the coming of Archaon the Everchosen, the Grand Marshall of the Apocalypse, & of his infamous rise to power through the trials of the gods. Loathe to heed the summons & command of man, Everchosen or not, Valragor told the beast-kin of his intent to unite the tribes & ascend their own champion to lay low dread Archaon & enter the everchosen trials with their own true child of chaos.
First, the Brayherd would need to seek out a worthy champion to be their dark vessel & win the favour of the chaos gods. To ensure their chosen would succeed on the path to glory, a powerful artefact known as the Sceptre of Flame must be reforged. A reality burning weapon of mass destruction created by the Agloraxi, the sceptre would provide the beast-kin with both their mighty champion & powerful weapon. Then they would seize the wayward realm gate roaming the Flamescar Plateau & attack the Varanspire itself, burning all who stood in their path before felling the Chaos lord & entering their champion to the trials of the Everchosen. Only then would they be free to inherit the realms that the gods intended for them. As the beastlords began to bare their horns & snort in contest for the right to be the chosen, Valragor foretold that the gods had already selected another to be their champion.
An Ulfen in human-clothing
Just as the Magebane Dungeons held wizards within its cavernous cells, 'the chains' were the Agloraxi prison of a menagerie of accursed creatures from throughout the realms. During his unholy pilgrimage through the Plateau, Valragor used flocks of char-crows that trailed his every step to scour the plains of Aqshy for signs of any beast-kin scattered throughout the realm. Within the dread holds at the centre of the chains Valragors' dark ravens used their seer-sight, revealing the prison of a powerful beast through the eyes of his winged messengers. Feral, cunning & brimming with insatiable fury, a giant Ulfen roared & railed against its binds, pure hatred pumping through its dark veins. Valragor sent many of the crows to whisper dark promises & release into the captives’ mongrel ears, but each avian vassal sent was ripped apart or devoured by the raging beast. The monstrous captive was interested only in vengeance, of survival by combat, of victory at any cost, a perfect subject of chaos.
Drawn to this dark beacon of Chaos, Valragor foretold the herd that the gods had chosen this feral beast to be their champion, & that they must march north to free the beast & prepare it for their dark machinations. As Sigmar threw open the gates of Azyr & unleashed his Stormcast Eternals upon the realm of Aqshy, Khorgus Khul was forced to abandon the Magebane Dungeons & march towards the Brimstone Penninsula. With little garrison left to hold the caverns, the armies of the beast-kin easily overwhelmed gore tribe’s defences, aided by Valagor’s intricate knowledge of the caverns. Now in control of a key strategic position within the Flamescar Plateau, the Brayherd could gather their strength for the coming war. The remaining mages captive within the dungeons were executed, offered up to the Gods in bloody sacrifice & tribute. The most powerful had their eyes consumed by Valragor, and in respect of his Beastlord peers, reluctantly offered up their hearts.
With crows sent to all the corners of the Flamescar Plateau, & whispers upon the ash strewn winds of Aqshy, more & more beast-kin soon arrived at the caverns to pledge their allegiance to Valragor, or rather his beastlord chieftains. Now at the head of a sizeable force, Valragor would need to ascend above the beast lord chieftains in order to control the herd. Scion of the dark gods or not, only those who win trials by combat could become chieftains.
The herd would be split into two factions - the Ash-Coven would fight with stealth & guile, sent out on raids & ambushes throughout the Flamescar Plateau to seek the whereabouts of the artefacts that could recreate the Sceptre of Flames. Meanwhile the Ember-Coven would form the main bulk of the Brayherd’s forces, burning brightly before their enemies before igniting into furious retribution.
Marching out at the head of the Ember-Coven, Valragor convinced the Beastlords to take the Dreadhold known only as the Chains & force the beasts captive within its bloodslick walls to submit to their new masters. Upon reaching the bastion, the defences were well prepared for attack. The ‘Chains’ were named after mighty constructs that released giant flails to whip at the scorched earth far from the keep’s battlements, raking their foes with barbs the length of longswords. Many got-kin were slain in the fighting for the dreadhold, but where eventually overwhelmed by the Brayherd that attacked from all sides in concert, pure rage pushing them through the walls of the keep.
Deep within the central chamber of the dreadhold, bound in barbed chains of ancient metals stood Fenrior, a savage & monstrous creature who’s eyes smouldered with the fires Ashy itself. As the great wolf roared & barked a hateful chorus at its unreachable prey, Valragor bade the assembled Brayherd to leave the bray shaman to tame the beast & bend it to the will of the dark gods. When the army returned sometime later, Fenrior was free of its infernal bonds & kneeling at the feet of Valragor.
Knowing he could not best the beastlords in single combat, Valragor weaved a tirade of dark promises of bloodshed & slaughter into the mind of the great beast. He told Fenrior of the Everchosen & that only through the destruction of mighty enemies could the Gods’ favour be earned. Offering up the Ember Coven to the mighty wolf, Valragor used Fenrior to dispatch the mighty beastlords,proclaiming himself Chieftain while still under the manipulations of the Crowfather. The last to fall was fashioned into a grisley trophy as Fenrior skinned the beast lord, draping his flesh all over his torso & crowning his head with its hollowed skull. A subtle reminder of his hierarchy within the herd.
With their chosen champion discovered, an altar to the chaos gods was constructed on the ruins of the ‘Chains’. Marching back to the Magebane Dungeons, Valragor ordered the sealing of all the secret tunnels to the caverns, & erected the dreadhold of Ravenspire upon its maw-like entrance. Now encased within the iron walls of the skull drenched keep, the bray herd would no longer need to fear from surprise attack, the high walls of the hold providing a superior vantage point over much of the surrounding Plateau. Thick, dark clouds of ravens circled far above the arcane edifice awaiting the summons of Valragor to deliver his dark message throughout the realm.
The first winged messanger was sent to the Ash-Coven, alerting them that their Chosen champion had been received, & the that the herd was mustered for war……..