The sky was alive.

Such a statement could be attributed to primitive superstition or fever dreams most of the time, but the current circumstances were such that it was the only way to describe what was occurring in the air and heavens.

The wind swirled like the breath of a being of unfathomable size. The stench of nameless incense and iron ichor, sickeningly perfect perfumes and overripe rotting flesh was carried in it. The horizon shifted in one's vision into a myriad of forms while the clouds and stars shaped themselves as leering faces and grasping claws. The sound of the breeze was a growl that was a chortle that was a purr that was a hiss.

When lightning tore across the sky, it left behind fissures carved into the vast expanse like jagged blades cutting open skin. Fungi and moldy growths sprouted where it impacted, or fountains of blood that seemed to channel from some underground reservoir that any excavation would reveal had not been there prior to the strike.

Other times sparks and fire burst where it struck, only for the embers to devour a blob of air and ground as fuel for their flames, and float away in the breeze, their crackling fire more akin to cackling. And then there was the fulgurite, the merger of ground and lightning, soil and dirt and stone shaped like living creatures contorted in expressions of raw emotion and passion so evocative, so lifelike, it caused the heart to skip a beat.

Into this hell, just slightly more eye-catching than the impossible sky that rebelled against his presence, the ground that trembled and twisted at his step, a Dwarf marched.

He did not march unhindered. From all directions, yet principally from the north, hordes of monsters and daemons and things hurled themselves at him.

Horns and claws and extended twitching tongues, eyes of every color that were windows into madness, their forms twitching and undulating with more hues than could be comprehended. A sea of madness that howled and roared, spitting in tongues not meant for mortal minds, a wave of sound fit to drive the world to despair and insanity, bearing weapons natural and not, some bone, some metal, some appendages or moldings sprung from their very flesh. A foul ocean formed of the droplets of something or somethings infinitely larger and incomprehensibly wrong. Anywhere that was sane would have cried out and resisted their existence, yet this slice of hell carved into reality was heaven to them.

And they were dying.

His pace was relatively slow and unrelenting, yet the air around him blurred with the force of his strikes. Where his axes struck, flesh and metal were unmade, turned into so much debris by the sheer force of the destruction that scythed through the masses like a volley of bolts and sling stones. The god-forged blades cut through hell-forged armor as though it were paper-thin, the cleaving blows knocking around the fortunate ones; those not so lucky were drawn into the vortex and rent asunder. In those moments where the Dwarf braced his feet against the ground to put effort behind his blows, it cracked and ruptured from his exertions.

Not all simply died. Whether by dint of numbers, unnatural resilience, superior skill than their fellows or sheer size, some managed to slash and stab and hack at him. Or perhaps it was by design.
The Dwarf's style lacked elegance, there was nothing graceful about it. But there was precision, an efficacy that was marvelous in its own way. He observed the battlefield with supernal five senses and likely more, embedding it all into his mind in a million sequential moments of frozen time that saw his enemies analyzed in ability and position, and carried out his next move accordingly.

Those with the skill to weather the initial onslaught that was his presence stumbled into the next strike.
The faster ones who sought to take his blind spot found themselves sliced apart from his backswing, seemingly without his notice.

The most resilient of the horde were hit as much by their own so-called allies as they were by the Dwarf, or served as bulwarks against the wave of enemies long enough to be obliterated by a spinning whirlwind or split in two under downward cuts that split the earth apart and blew those around back.

Grungni and Smednir applied their hands to the rock and metal of the earth in just the right manner as to shape it to their desires.

Grimnir applied himself to the battlefield in just the right manner and shaped it to his desire. The battleground was his forge, himself the hammer and chisel, and the battle itself the iron to be melded by his design.

Enemies came from the skies as well. Wretched furies and harpies and crossbreeds of the two circled like vultures, spiteful, weak creatures glutted on the magic in the air this far north. But they ever sought more. Chimerae and Manticores that would have otherwise challenged them flying in the same airspace were more focused on the raging bright souls far below, and leprous flies as large as oxen buzzed near manta rays soaring on arcane winds, their mutual hatred of each other's patron put aside.

The otherwise dazzling aerial spectacle, for all the violence and terror it represented, was being torn apart. But it was not the work of Grimnir that was responsible. Fireballs burst into existence, vaporizing the lucky, the less fortunate fell from the sky blackened as coal. Holes appeared in the larger monstrosities followed almost immediately by the thunderclap, other times by flashes of light as sun rays fried swathes of winged daemon-things and bored instantly cauterized holes through the larger beasts. Lightning came not from the sky, but the ground, crisscrossing through the air as it leapt from entity to entity.

The source of this destructive barrage was a great thing of silvery metal, covered in artfully arranged tubes and protrusions. Great treads rumbled at its sides and base, and smoke and ash roared out from funnels in great clouds that scorched the unwary and incinerated the foolish who dared to approach. It was brutish elegance and masterful craftsmanship incarnate into a machine fit to tread over all in its path. Drengi, the greatest work of the greatest engineer.

Not all the combat was blade-work. Illusions and curses rained upon the Ancestor God, magical attempts to dull his senses, loosen his muscles and confuse his sight. He squinted and with a flex shattered the enchantments. Globs of rancid mucus and fetid gas sought to strip the flesh from his bones and suffocate him. He swung his axes with purpose and redirected it into those nearby. Crackling prismatic bolts and fireballs met upraised arms, and where steel would have twisted into abominations of flesh and metal and stone would have been set aflame, there was nothing.

Indirect methods of magical use were no more successful. Rusted blades gangrenous and covered in necrotic pus glowed a noxious emerald as the contagions they were doused in were amplified, while others shimmered unnaturally as every swing deposited specks of gold dust or glowed so hot steam rose from the metal as if just out of the forge. It meant nothing when they could never hit their opponent. They were dead before they could try, their strikes dodged or deflected by offhand blows that more often than not cracked and shattered their sorcery empowered weapons.

Buboes and pustules erupted across many a daemon. In small showers of gore swarms of flies burst out to obscure his eyes with their bodies and his ears with their buzzing, too weak to pierce his skin with their claws and teeth. He didn't need either sense, he could smell their hosts and had already predicted what they would do.

Thread gold scale-plate from some abominable reptile wove itself across even more abominable forms. Muscles twisted and contorted as they swelled with unnatural strength to the point of bursting. Minds were forcefully absolved of reason and logic and replaced with the savage desire to kill and maim.

Grimnir's axes treated all equally, small or large, weak or powerful. Mystical protections came undone like wind splitting against a mountain, muscles that could have swallowed a hundred knife wounds in their constantly swelling slabs eviscerated in showers of blood.

Now the Dwarf turned his scowl upon one group of spellcasters and tightened his glare. Their next spells faltered as distance seemed to shrink, that bearded visage of pure wrath filling their vision, the sheer spite and contempt for their arcane work seared into what passed for their minds. Gathering energy was twisted, misaligned under their loss of focus, and burst apart into vortices of ectoplasm and warp lightning with thunderous cracks, obliterating all in their vicinity.

For a heartbeat the battlefield seemed to still, the circle around Grimnir remaining empty rather than immediately filling with new contenders. The daemons that wielded magic were hesitant to catch his attention, while the rest paused at the sheer unexpectedness that came from being attacked in such a way.

Then the Ancestor snorted and took a step forward.

The battlefield was covered in rents and cracks, craters and scorched earth. There were no corpses, no blood. Thunder roared in the distance, the fell voices in the air aware of the intruder in ways they had not been before. Awful mirth was heavy in the breeze. Grimnir continued his march north, the rumble of Morgrim's treaded behemoth the only indication he was not alone.

With that, the first fight in the Northern Wastes was concluded.

The next bands were the foolish and the desperate. Greedy specks seeking to gorge themselves on a bountiful morsel all alone, a prize usually reserved for the greatest among them. Clouds of furies descended in sky-darkening swarms, the bitter, hateful things pushing and clawing their way through each other in their eagerness to reach the Ancestor Gods.

Great swathes of the spiteful winged daemons were obliterated, blasted from the sky by Drengi. Those rare few of the downpour who outpaced the Ancestor God of Engineers in destructive output falling to his father's axes.

No evil raindrops could wear away a mountain.

Even the most stringent writers, the authors most frugal with words, could fill whole books on the enemies defeated in the march north. After the first warbands were slaughtered, word spread on fell winds of something the Daemons had not experienced in their long war on Mallus: invasion. They came in their hundreds and thousands, intermittently, led by Greater Daemons of the four. They competed with both their rivals aligned to other gods and their own kin serving the same dread deity. The fastest arrived first.

Gankhgrokha, Bloodthirster of the Sixth Circle, eschewed flight in favor of riding an enormous brass and bone throne on iron wheels, built up over eons with the bones of his enemies and blazing fire in its wake that accelerated it and gave singularly mighty bursts just before impact.

Adorned upon his mount was a massive totem taller than the Greater Daemon, shaped in the form of Khorne's rune. Yet despite what should have been an awkward encumbrance the chariot moved like it didn't exist. In his wake was a land armada of scaled Bloodletters riding atop metallic daemon-rhinos known as Juggernauts and ebony chariots driven by carmine Gorebeasts, a dusty cloud tinged crimson and black rising as they passed.

Morgrim and Grimnir met their charge head on, Drengi colliding with and through Gankhgrokha's mount with a thunderous collision as Grimnir leapt forward, axes swinging through the daemon's guard and neck. He landed behind the broken Blood Throne, swinging out an arm to latch onto Morgrim's swiftly approaching vehicle, broken pieces of hellish brass fading where they lay as scattered debris on Pure Gromril hull. Around them was the chaos of daemonic cavalry thrown into confusion and a moment of uncertainty. The Bloodthirster's head finally hit the ground, frozen in a rictus of rage and bewilderment. The rest of the riders were cut down with axe and fiery, scorching energy.

Rooglababha the Hive Queen led an aerial assault, a Rotfly Queen with gargantuan wings that caused the very air to shudder as they buzzed too fast for most eyes to see served as the pestilent matron's mount. Two Rotfly Queens were insensate save for their buzzing wings, towed by strands of slime-drenched intestines while all three birthed swarms of drones, burrowing as maggots straight out of their flesh.

While some fell to the earth far below as piles of slime and bone that rose uncaring of the deformities of impact, most were fully formed drones that flew immediately into battle. They were not a huge swarm at first, and individually were no match for the father and son pair of Ancestor Gods, but the breeders expelled more drones and Beasts of Nurgle by the minute, supported and augmented by the pungent and toxic magics of the Great Unclean One and her Herald attendants.

Morasses of filth rained from the sky, uncaring of what it hit, for life begat life under the aegis of Grandfather Nurgle. Pincers, claws and stingers already vile and filled with lethal payloads increased in toxicity while flesh torn apart caked itself back together with violent, bloody motions, while the less sturdy maggot-things on the ground grew bulky with leathery flesh covered in sores and lesions as ghastly fumes turned their eyewatering odor to something physically painful to experience. It did not save them from being carved apart by the axes of Grimnir, run over and splattered into piles of gore by Drengi, or blasted into pieces by the weapons of Morgrim.

But it did take a little bit longer.

Worse still, the daemonflies of Nurgle attended Rooglababha in droves. These did not bother trying to attack the Dwarves. Instead, every daemon that was killed had its essence drained by a fly with humanoid features, which they carried back to the source, the breeder drones. With these infusions marked by pulsing yellow bands of energy across their insectile forms, every new batch was greater in some way. Poisons were that much deadlier, hides crusted with exoskeletons pushed out from under their skin and still wet with gore, wounds were scabbed over by moldy growths without sorcerous aid and stomachs churned up warp-bile that could melt flesh.

It was a war of attrition, one that favored Nurgle's children. As nurglings began to wriggle from the bloody mulch that was once the shells of slain drones and beasts, Grimnir determined a new course of action. Drengi had scored a near mortal wound to one of the breeders near the start of the combat, but it had been swiftly healed and Rooglababha had taken herself and her attendants higher and, more importantly, directly over them. Those instruments of destruction Drengi possessed capable of hitting targets straight above at that height lacked the killing power to get through the swarms of drones that gladly sacrificed themselves as living shields.

Drengi weighed more than a calcified Elder Stonehorn, more than a Bull Mammoth. That did not stop Grimnir reaching down, taking hold of one tread and heaving it slowly but surely onto its side, muscles bulging and straining. With a flash, its greatest weapons fired, blasting holes in the sky as the swarm of drones and flies was pierced and the queens blown away, the air visibly lightening in its coloration and odor.

Lascelississazata led a dancing coterie of Slaanesh's handmaidens and Heralds riding the Prince of Pleasure's steeds or driving a horde of chariots, relying on lightning fast hit and run attacks as illusionary copies of the daemons leapt about. Grimnir ignored what his eyes and nose told him and grabbed hold of one of the six serpent headed lashes of the Keeper's whip as it came by for another pass, batting the rest aside with an axe. With a grunt and a yank he pulled, dragging the Greater Daemon off its pincer-feet towards him before felling it with a single great strike.

Such set the stage for much of the journey. The forces of Khorne and Nurgle were most fervent in barring the way. The Blood God's followers well approved of the complete absence of magic and sorcery while seeking to claim the skull of a false god of war and his progeny.

Nurglites found the intractability and endurance of Dwarves charming in its own way, akin to their own focus on ever-lastingness, making the very thought of their eventual surrender to the Grandfather's gifts all the more alluring; others saw it the other way around, seeking to break their stubborn refusal of pox and contagion that they bore such resistance to.

Ku'gath Plaguefather was foremost among those united in disdain after his defeat before the walls of Karaz-a-Karak, and he found the idea of drowning two Ancestor Gods all alone in the Wastes with contagions and diseases before parading their plagued and defiled corpses across the Karaz Ankor to be intoxicating. Grimnir and Morgrim would be the catalyst for his ascension to untold heights. Their bodies would be the testing grounds for a disease that by proof of concept laid low gods. Their deaths would break the Dwarves, a festival of despair ringing across the mountains, their internal organs would serve as the bedrock of a new plague that would lay low the world for Father Nurgle. All thanks to the virulent lifebringer that would reap the rewards.

Slaanesh's get made the occasional play, but the Dwarves were too dull in their feelings to excite them, especially when the Elves offered such delightful sport. The followers of the Changer of Ways meanwhile preferred their current targets, seeking to take advantage of a realm deprived of its greatest defenders.

A great pack of Flesh Hounds, half-breeds born of hellish unions between daemon dog and mortal mutt, and Slaughterbrutes hunted the Ancestor Gods for weeks on end. Their howls were a mix of snarl and high-pitched crooning, a savage chorus that kept both father or son up at night when they did not attack. When they did, it was with blood-red clouds filling the sky, through which shone Morrslieb's fell light, drowning the land in baleful red. It was like walking along the bottom of a blood red ocean for all the light that could be made out, while scent was…significantly hindered by the overwhelming stench of iron. But the dread mutts were at home, the reek of the divine guided their noses and the aura of anti-magic was like a beacon to them.

The leader of this pack was unique even among daemon-kind. Their mother had been a warhound of Chaos, gluttoned on the Chaotic energies of the far north. Rather than evolve (or perhaps, devolve) into a Giant Spined Chaos Beast with a form of twisted flesh and ever new protruding spikes and fangs, it maintained its lupine form. But that was all that separated it from its kind.

The bitch still led a torturous existence, a body wracked by pain barely contained by her flesh. One day, by chance, fate, or something else, it made its way directly into the Realm of Chaos. There, in the formless wastes between the lands of the gods, it was found by the greatest of dogs, the Talon of the Skull Throne, the Endless Hunter.

Karanak, the Hound of Vengeance.

The tri-headed daemon-beast bred with the oversized warhound, and days or centuries later, impossible to tell, she whelped a trio of pups. The ivory skin they inherited from their mother was stretched, their abnormally red muscles stood in stark contrast beneath it. In the madness of the aether they hunted as a pack, eerily attuned to each other's movements and working as a team with unnatural levels of synchronicity. They grew as large as their mother, but also possessed a portion of the unnatural daemonic attributes of their father.

Their final hunt together was at a Silver Tower of Tzeentch. They made their way through mind-bending labyrinths, traps spewing every manner of flame, hallucinations and illusions that boggled their individual senses but not all of them at once, and an assortment of lesser rainbow-colored flamers.

At last, as the strongest of the triplets lay dying with his teeth fastened around the neck of the Tower's sorcerous overlord and his siblings' corpses lying nearby, his mind finally actualized a word that had been on the tip of their tongues all their lives.

His attention now firmly on them for a second, the Blood God melded their essences together into a fully daemonic amalgamation. The siblings were now three-in-one, each adorned with brass collars of embodied scorn of those they hunted, weakening the blows of the hound's prey and making ever feckless sorcery all the more dangerous to their selves.

The left head boasted a weaker form of their sire's tracking abilities, the right head a bite that transformed the worthy hounds into lesser versions of their pre-union self and the unworthy into Slaughterbrutes, empowered and greater than before but shamed in form. The central head commanded the pack, melding sense and skill as the triplets once had when separated, imposing their savage killing ability on the lesser members. The left head found their new recruits, the right head melded them into a more fitting image, and the central head made the ever-growing hunting party that much more lethal. Its name was Fornaruus.

It was this canid parade that thought to make Grimnir and Morgrim their quarry. And though they prowled about, biting and snapping and lunging back and forth out of the eerily thick blood-mist, they died again and again. But as the weeks dragged on, even the Ancestor Gods began to feel weary. They had suffered scratches aplenty, and while they killed many of the dogs that hunted as if they were one entity in many bodies, more flocked to the pack every day, Flesh Hounds and Chaos Warhounds drawn by the howl of a blessed mutt of Khorne and the tiny hints of divine blood in the air.

In the end, however, it was Fornaruus' oldest gift, the hunting bond it had carried from its days as three half-breed entities, that was its undoing. The efficiency with which they hunted, the impossible levels of cooperation, from it Grimnir discerned a pattern and how it was carried out. He altered his and Morgrim's activities and responses and lured out Fornaruus himself. The Wolfkin was mighty, but Grimnir was still above it. With their leader erased, the rest of the pack lost their effectiveness, abandoning the hit and run tactics carried out at Fornaruus' will and hurling themselves headlong into oblivion.

The next threat would be as much Morgrim's domain as Grimnir's. A full battalion of no less than three Gorethunder Batteries traded fire with Drengi for hours until they were silenced. Grimnir rode atop the war machine, deflecting the flaming skulls as best he could while Morgrim returned fire. For all their capacity for ranged combat the Skull Cannoneers could not help but get closer, and the Ancestor God of Engineers was a better shot than them.

More conventional armies challenged them too. Hordes of mixed daemonic infantry and cavalry, Greater Daemons with more traditional and unoriginal armies and weapons but still infamous legends spanning beyond time. More than once, those with lesser daemon champions or seeking success above all joined forces with armies of rival gods, though rivalry and contention never truly disappeared.

Ku'gath Plaguefather mustered his personal hosts, made alliances with those of the Lord of Decay's get who bore similar grudges against the Dwarves, bartered the recipes of much of his vast collection of personal plagues and poxes for the allegiance of those who did not, and endeavored to alter the battleground itself. Returning to Nurgle's rotting, decrepit manse, he made his way to Nurgle's hotspring, filling seven vials with the liquid in which the Chaos God bathed, and returned to the mortal world. With him came two of the seven Proctors of Pestilence, Affligan and Cankis, four emerald-stained Hellgrinders gifted souls in Ku'gath's collection to help them complete their quota (though one simply desired to return to fight against the Dwarves faster), three of his own kin and their attendant legions of Plaguebearers, and seventy seven pox slugs that churned up fallow ground into rancid soil fit for the finest parasites, mushrooms, and other vegetation afflicting the Garden of Nurgle.

The Great Unclean One's plans to entrap them in a great lagoon bursting with the fruits of life borne directly from the Grandfather's lands were put paid to when someone sabotaged the ritual and much of the accumulated power transmuted nearby lands into a multi-fractal reflection of Tzeentch's Crystal Labyrinth. Tzeentch may have better mortals to plot and war against than a pair of lone Ancestor Gods, but he would not stomach Nurgle of all beings succeeding in any of the few possible futures gleaned.

The resulting battles scarred the earth and created multiple terrible, sprawling landmarks in the Chaos Wastes that persist to this day such as the Eternal Lagoon, the Twisted Towers, the Blighted Grove, the Crystal Spires and the Forest of Decay. Ku'gath Plaguebearer never learned what had went wrong, but as the daemonic hordes clashed, hatred empowering their blows, Cankin slipped away, the bulbous, plagueridden daemonic form shifting into a blue cloak absent a wearer.

Nor was it solely the daemonic that barred their way. Beastmen thrived in the far north, blessed by their gods in ways they would never see again in the future, living in ramshackle camps and twisted forests that shifted locations by the day. Legions could rush in howling and, if they ever emerged, do so leagues away. Monsters crawled out of caves and descended from mountain peaks that resembled mutilated flesh as the storm of magic rolled over them. Chimerae and manticores darkened the skies at times such were their numbers, creatures bearing the personal mark of Chaos Gods and so wracked with mutations their true species could barely be made out under armored shells, waving tentacles and mucus covered pelts. Daemongors with flesh that shifted and flickered in and out of reality, Ghorgons and Cygors taller than small hills with even more arms than normal, while Dread Maws large enough to swallow small workshops swam beneath the tainted grounds, eager to devour godly flesh, sometimes with an additional maw either adjacent to their main one or at the other end of their body.

The Chaos Wastes were the primordial ooze and from it squirmed forth a menagerie worthy only of nightmares and the minds of the insane. The worst of them brought the nightmares with them.
While Chaos blessed the world like it would hopefully never again, it doled out punishment and disdain as well. Spawn of Chaos, protean masses of shifting and oozing flesh, twisted bones, limbs and mouths alongside ill-designed eyes with no rhyme or reason to their form, emerged straight from the earth itself, from battlefields where semi-mortal corpses lay piled atop one another and forests that provided the clay of life from vegetation and wood.

All was smushed together, twisted from inanimate to a perverse form of life and sent shambling off mindless and insane, without direction save where there was something to kill or forces of the Dark Gods did battle. Those formed of the unlucky or the unfortunate mortal servants of Chaos were even worse in this day and age. Many were particularly sensitive to the tides of magic sweeping the world, supping the nectar of the gods and swelling in size until they could match hydras and Stonehorns in raw strength.

In this time of plenty even Chaos Spawn were granted the marks and blessings of the cruelly merciful Chaos Gods, some of which were anointed with the gifts of all four at once and could not exist outside of the north, as suffused with hellish energy as they were. Others were made savagery incarnate as Slaughterbrutes, while the more magically attuned were masses of claws and tentacles on a vaguely four limbed form, carrying a bizarrely attached sphere of magical energy atop their backs, mutating everyone and everything in the vicinity, including itself, flesh warping in and out of reality, their shapes molding themselves in and out of a caricature of a definite form.

Revolting as they were, they were pleasant to look at compared to the Jabberslythes. Where Manticores, Chimerae, Griffons and other creatures born of mutation and magic could arguably be said to derive from a mortal primogenitor, none would suggest the same of the Jabberslythe.

A thing born of madness, shaped by the mutating tides, in the far north they were comparatively populous. Perhaps there was something of a bat in them, maybe an essence of frog or some other amphibian, some scaled being, a hint of the serpentine, mammalian fur possibly? To gaze upon these things was to behold something so ugly, so indescribably hideous, it ravaged the mind and body. They gave even Grimnir a headache as he cut them down.

One particularly vile specimen had engaged in a fight with a Basilisk and barely won as the cold-blooded creature's mind gave out before the Jabberslythe's body. Flesh partly melting away, eyes boiled in their own juices, the creature blindly followed its instinct to feed, gulping down chunks of flesh even as they left scorch marks and permanent impressions in its tongue and throat. For months, a war of absolute annihilation raged inside the abomination's body, basilisk meat dissolving all around it while eye juices petrified what they touched, only for those bits to dissolve later and carry the stone-turning liquid elsewhere.

Stomach acid whose viscosity was something evil and acidic blood met and bored holes through the beast's own flesh. And all the while it writhed and contorted in indescribable agony, its flesh shifting as the world around it went into flux. That it survived is much the doing of the Chaos Wastes as its own durability.

Where it had lain was a partially living citadel of flesh and vegetation, shifting and pulsing with vile sounds. The air was like standing in a bonfire and cracks into the Realm of Chaos randomly open every second of every hour of every day. And yet no daemon has ever been known to lay claim to this place.

It is beyond the capacity of mortal thought to describe what became of the Jabberslythe in the battle. Suffice to say, it survived and remained there until the presence of Grimnir and Morgrim spurred it into action. Not until the appearance of the Cor-Dum thousands of years later would something akin to that horror blight the world.

Trolls there were as well, heavily mutated with extra limbs and heads and other, unnatural appendages.
This far north the wildlife was so disturbed by the coming of Chaos that the hulking brutes were pushed so far as to hunt and consume even daemons.

Those who survived the digestion were transformed into creatures reminiscent of Slaughterbrutes, but larger, possessed of regenerative abilities only slightly lesser to what they once had, skin so scabbed from lesions and healing it became thicker than leather. Most ominous was how they now expelled blood from insides that forever churned, a soup of gore and plasma that melted flesh and bone.

Other were transmuted into bipedal slabs of constantly churning muscle, a vortex beast's transmutation turned inward heightening the healing with an internal source of magical energy, mutations rampaging across the body mid battle, mid strike. An entirely new opponent from adaptation to the current enemy or random chance, who can say? Their bodies shifted in composition and shape so often one could mistake them for Chaos Spawn, their patterns and fighting styles effectively unreadable.

Still more emitted a stench noxious and enthralling at the same time, distracting their prey while their disturbingly svelte forms grabbed at them to gobble them down. Far less enchanting were those covered in lesions and scabs, their healing factors lessoned even as their skin toughened and flies boiled around them, attracted to the muck and bile that dripped from their mouths and eyes, the pus and boils erupted every minute.

Every possible monster and abomination that could exist occupied these lands, and Grimnir and Morgrim cut their way through them. That is not to say they went out of their way to hunt them down. There were kingdoms established by Daemon Princes born up in the ranks of the damned from the followers of Be'lakor, warring among themselves for the right to control the world. These were bypassed.

It was simply a matter of what was directly in their way (and their way changed often, putting these obstacles directly in their path, for all that the two had strength of will to keep their course and distance relative and constantly decreasing towards their goal as opposed to being transported around the wastes); Grimnir's goal lay beyond the servants and shards. But many armies of these daemonic warlords challenged them directly, to varying degrees of success. What they shared was destruction.

Mortals dwelt here as well, Fimir in established settlements. The cyclopean lizard-folk favored marshes, swamps, and other semi-aquatic environments the most, but devotion was a seductive lure to those seeking communion with the divine, and here the presence of the gods was clearest. Their greatest settlement in the Chaos Wastes lay atop a great plateau called K'datha, and in the city atop it worship of Chaos was built into society itself. It was covered in mist that shifted from hue to hue in mimicry of the warped skies overhead and spilled over the plateau's sides like a hazy waterfall, the city's aura forever falling.

It is forever a mystery as to why Grimnir targeted this settlement. Perhaps the Ancestor God of War foresaw how a defeat here would impact the standing of the Fimir in the eyes of the dark gods.

It might well be that a civilization, true civilization and not the lies perpetuated by daemonic settlements or ramshackle Beastmen camps where they wallowed in their own filth and detritus, so offended him he could not help but destroy it.

The winding pathways leading up to the base of the plateau were guarded by heavily fortified gatehouses bedecked with the skulls and bodies of would-be invaders, mainly monsters but some mortal rivals. Even Daemons were gruesome trophies, preserved in fleshy raiment containing their essence via dark sorcery and the ample amount of magic in the air. The Fimir's subservience to Chaos did not preclude them to assault. These gatehouses were typically manned by the least of the Fimir soldiery along with grotesque halfbreeds born of forced unions with trolls and serving as expendable shock troops.

Morgrim bombarded them from afar seemingly without rhyme or reason, not even bothering to begin the ascent. The mists grew denser as protections were activated, but Morgrim had calibrated his deadly weapons after the battle with Fornaruus, and though he could only make out living bodies it was enough to calculate based on their positions and movements the general scale of the fortifications themselves. What artillery they had was readied but helpless as the Dawi war machine was well out of range of the Fimir weapons despite them being designed to trade with even the Skull Cannons of Khorne.

But the Fimir were well used to war and unusual opponents. Drugged and insensate harpies were prodded out, their wills broken and sent in flocks to assault the lone attacker while enslaved Beastmen were forced to march under banners that numbed them until all they felt was fury and the desire to kill. The slave masters and Fimir garrisons of the path holds took to underground bunkers, leaving the more durable and expendable to hold the walls against any assault. Alongside the cannon fodder meant to distract and absorb Drengi's fire, champions took to the skies on Manticores and Chimerae, while enormous swamp golems formed of the detritus of the sacred mires were animated and given over to Poxbringers as vessels, their sheer size and regenerative capabilities surpassing trolls making them lumbering distractions.

Finally, an elite, fast moving cavalry force consisting of a small mixed legion armored in baroque hellplate and swollen with blessings riding prized daemonic steeds set out. Things that might have been akin to oversized lizards or goats or both, but stretched out, distended like a colossus might pinch and peel at clay until it was ragged and made flesh. Azure triple appendages with eyes and mouths yet no discernible face swirling on jets of warpfire, bipedal flightless bird-snakes with conical sphincter-like mouths and lash-whipped tails, absent any uniformity in coloration.

Last but not least were massive one horned beasts of metal, dried blood decorating their flanks as still fresh ichor leaked from between iron-clad joints. Light flickered and distorted around them as they thundered down the plateau paths, leaving chronal afterimages in their wake. Balefiends casting from arcane sanctums within the city could reach targets anywhere on K'datha, if not further. The blessings of passage and speed were maintained as they passed through gatehouse after gatehouse.

Then they reached the midway point and a mountain fell on them.

Grimnir had scaled the vast rock with naught but his axes and bare hands. Though he lacked any cloaks or more arcane tools of stealth and guile, he did not need them. He had analyzed the defenses and patrols for hours, discerned enchantments of alarm and protection and the various magical traps fit to cover what soldiery and construction could not. With Morgrim's distraction perfectly timed, he slipped and nudged his way through the more metaphysical obstructions without notice.

Compared to that, the actual physical rigor of the ascent was akin to a pleasant workout.

After he reached the summit, he stealthily made his way over and took an axe to the very rock and earth at the edge of the plateau. His weapon was a poor tool for this sort of work, but needs must, and this place did not deserve proper demolition.

The resulting avalanche contained no more than a small fraction of the summit with it, but it was still more than enough to squash and obliterate the mounted response force, sweep the gatehouse over the cliff and completely separate both halves of the line of forts meant to allow entry and exit to and from K'datha.

Now Grimnir revealed himself, tearing through the gates he let his fury run wild. He had not bothered to hide his approach after he chopped up part of K'datha's stony body and sent it falling, and he was met with a force willing to fight even a god.

The Fimir had been the most favored of the mortal servants of Chaos for eons, and their veneration showed. The entire population was ready and able to fight when necessary.

Many wore the ebony Chaos Armor of the most elite warriors of the Ruinous Powers, while many more had some mutation or dark blessing adorning their skin or form. Daemon weapons and enchanted arms were in ample evidence, and for every three that bore the honor of being Chaos Warriors, one was something beyond even that, an exalted soldier destined for greatness by the god they favored and who in turn favored them.

Bloated with power, they were their species writ half again as large if not moreso, their bodies no longer entirely tied to the mortal realm. Individual clans and groups were small leviathans of muscle and mutated flesh from pacts with daemons and not just their gods, misshaped Fimir that could overpower trolls and wrestle with dragons and Ghorgons, while others were normal sized but joined in harmony with daemons, two entities in one body. And in the heart of their power, their home, they fought with a determination and stubbornness that could not be broken by things as simple as fear and death.

Their great mountain city had been built compact but confusing. The lanes and streets were relatively tight and purposefully built akin to a maze. The roofs were lined with huge spikes pointing down and up to forestall assault from the street or air, and iron fences and gates were everywhere, carved with runes that hurt the eyes and harmed those seeking entry. It was a city meant to hamper any attack by army or monster, punish those seeking to overwhelm them with sheer numbers or relying on raw size. But it had not been designed with the inconceivable idea of a single, lone attacker that was smaller than the vast majority of the inhabitants.

Their magical defenses and embedded hexes and curses washed over Grimnir like water over rock, while the mad yet specific design of their city now prevented them from bringing their numbers to bear. That did not stop them. Though they died by the handful every second, they were always replaced by cyclopeans no less eager for battle. Priests and officers extolled them on, speaking of guaranteed ascension for the Dwarf's head and a place at the side of the gods.

It availed them not. They could not attack faster and fiercer than Grimnir could kill them. In the tight streets and lanes, he began walking over piles of corpses that could have engulfed him, the ground covered by armored bodies and discarded weapons.

As the Ancestor God trudged over hills of bodies and arms through the city, the leaders of the highest caste grew increasingly desperate. But as their desperation rose so too did their ambition. As the dead piled higher, so too did the potential rewards for he who triumphed over their city's greatest threat. A victory would wash away any cost, any sacrifice, and propel themselves to the highest echelons of power, infamy and glory among their race.

Aegnarl Bilgegut, who had offered up her own flesh as an offering to the Lord of Decay before ritually consuming it for seven days and nights before she was empowered, had become so decrepit and bare of skin and muscle, save for her belly from which bile and intestines flowed incessantly, that she had used her enhanced magic to form a half-daemonic fen beast which she piloted from within. No Fimir had seen her actual body in years.

Hyshene Firecatcher took his pyromania to new levels by tinging his Aqshy based spells with the versatility and malignant power of Dhar, with which he burnt nine hundred and ninety nine captives alive, controlling the rate at which the fires ate away at their flesh, souls, and even minds such that they all expired one at a time a fraction of a heartbeat after the other. From the still glowing ashes Horrors emerged by the individual, then the handful, then the dozen and more until hundreds capered and gibbered words from dozens of languages living and dead in no particular order. They burnt too at his whim, a bonfire that shrank into a condensed flame that he bottled inside a lantern and used to empower his fiery spells with the multi-colored, law-defying fires of Tzeentch.

Very few indeed knew how Magllagla had gotten where he was in the favor of the Prince of Pleasure. Suffice to say, his palace was always given a wide berth despite the raucous ever-present noise inside and lack of guards. Nowadays, few even knew what he looked like. Those still living at any rate.

Agiskartis the Skinwalker was remarkably calm for one who worshiped the God of Blood, especially considering that he was constantly kept on the edge of life and death, frozen in time at that point of total agony where his body was barely holding on, his flesh hanging from him like ribbons, until Khorne revitalized him. At least, until battle began, after which he was completely devoid of any sense or reason beyond overwhelming pain and all-consuming rage.

The first three took to the holiest places of their gods, beginning elaborate rituals whereby their most devoted servants and acolytes, along with huge numbers of slaves, were to be sacrificed to provide the magical impetus for the true work. The bog mires with their small, scattered personal shrines to the Fly Lord, the Decadent Pits below the city where every hint of what debauchery and madness might take place could be heard echoing over between alleys and through windows, but never known unless one actively participated, and the Nine Eyed Tower, with massive still-blinking eyes of nine Cygors and Balefiends fused together, their gaze piercing the fabric of reality and looking upon the realms of Tzeentch in awful, mind-shattering detail.

Agiskartis was preoccupied. He had leapt over the walls following Grimnir's collapse of part of the plateau, but the Dwarf had departed by the time he got there. He followed his trail to the shattered gates but found that others had crowded in between him and the Ancestor God. Rage growing to even greater heights he simply began cutting his way through his own kind to reach Grimnir. Some fought back, others turned on those who followed rival gods, and some joined him in carving his way through, though he barely noticed or cared.

Their sacrifices complete, the Chaos Lords of Tzeentch, Nurgle and Slaanesh began to work their magic upon the very soul of the city. Cyclopean flesh and organs broke into gas and flies and flew away to the holy swamps, magical essence slivered out of those same corpses' orifices, while the very memory embedded in their skein was lost to them.

Leering faces appeared in the blood-streaked skies as lightning strikes began to hit the city without leaving any marks. The Nine Eyed Tower began to blister and smolder, yet no flames were obvious. The mires and swamps churned and swirled in three great streams towards a central source. The terrible cacophony began to ring out of the mouths of dying Fimir as their essences were stolen. Agiskartis began to glow crimson as the spilled blood moved of its own accord like a wave of serpents, flooding into his forever open wounds.

As the last Fimir died, four pillars of raw aetheric energy shot into the skies.

Grimnir awaited them in the great amphitheater that had been used for everything from blood sports to calls for war. He could smell them. Four that were one, one that was four, each a tiny, tiny part of four great blights on reality that was a single conglomerate mass of foulness. He was calm, idly cleaning his axes and brushing dirt and blood out of his beard.

And then they arrived.

Their concordance was obvious to his eyes, he saw beyond their forms and into the twisted miasma of magic that connected their essences before spiraling into the otherworld, strengthening them beyond what they would have had they been alone.

He got to his feet and readied his axes.

Grimnir and Morgrim spent five days demolishing the city, leaving only ruins behind. It would later be occupied by humans, and come to be called Zanbaijin, the Fallen City.

There was no warning or prelude. The silence with which it appeared more suited an assassin or a servant trained to be unseen and unheard.

A shadow rose in the distance. Literally, the horizon turned black and green as a pall of emerald dimness spread from one corner of the earth to the other, the land that laughed at the laws of physics darkening as an umbral silhouette was cast across the earth. The sky was distorted as something spread across it, leathery and scaled and of a pair, and then it was a speck in the distance. A distance which meant nothing to the shape unfolding as if crawling off a painting, coming to hover before the Ancestors, every wingbeat causing a gale in the mortal realm, a minor magical tempest in the otherworld.

Its body was large for its species, but its soul was so vast the sky shuddered and flickered as blighted the world, a figure fit to devour armies, to turn the skies themselves to ash, eyes that were stars of verdant maliciousness, Morrslieb's infernal gaze given life in orbs of balefire. Its form was that of an ebony behemoth impaled through the chest by a shard of Chaos given physical form, a living corpse sustained by naught but the foulest of energies and the mightiest of souls, a proud scion of the eldest race twisted by circumstance as deathly virescence roamed through its veins. Its scales were the darkest obsidian tinged poisonous green…its appearance was one and many, shifting under perception with every blink, every gust of magical wind.

Warp lightning played across its scales without rhyme or rhythm, while the air shimmered, nay, shivered under the weight of the beast's green aura. Pitch black smoke rose from nothing as reality itself was kindled, cracks forming and leaking prismatic soul-ichor, mites and scavengers of the Warp peeking through only to shrivel and crumble away under the invisible fire of its heart.

The dirt and grass and ice, touched by Chaos for a thousand years and an eternity, stirred itself into motion as it landed with a sigh and a rumble at the same time. Like waves, shunting towards the beast only to recoil back as it was burned the color of roasted flesh and bone, only to charge back in like a starving lemming.

It was a dragon. But no son of the Karaz Ankor had ever seen a wyrm like this before.

Some argue it was Kalgalanos the Black, an entity that was at least a primogenitor of a subspecies of drakes and claimed by others to be the original progenitor of the entire draconic race, its heart and mind clearly as black as its body.

Others put forth the supposition of it being Urmskaladrak himself, the beast's soul preserved even after its body was dealt the mortal blow by Grimnir the Valiant, raised up against as something other for the sole purpose of getting revenge on the one who had slaughtered his kin in the War Against Dragons and his self in the battle that created Black Fire Pass.

Its sheer size and claims of a living corpse led others to theorize it was a long dead drake that had gone to rest at the Plain of Bones, resurrected by one of the incursive waves of Chaos magic that swept over the land, summoned to block Grimnir's path northward. There was even a claim that it was not a dragon at all, rather a daemon that had taken the form of one.

Perhaps none of these are the true epic. Perhaps all of them are, for who can fathom an entity fit to challenge Valiant Grimnir and his son, in an age of legends and monsters and a place where time and space have little hold over reality? Indeed, this account might be naught but the ramblings of a delusional fool.
Regardless, this is the tale that is told.

On the other side of the world a third continent existed, separated by the Great Pond. And it was the location of the second star gate created by the ones of old. The Elves and Dwarves and other races had been kept away by both their custodians and distance, and here some creatures that preferred the times of old, the days of snow and ice, made their lairs.

Among them were the greatest of those primordial times, the dragons. When the polar gates burst apart and Morrslieb formed from the tides of magic spewing forth, its violent birth sent newly crystallized and broken off shards to crash land in what would become the Southern Chaos Wastes. Many dragons, tainted by clouds of Warpstone-dust, were forced in turn to subsist on this Warpstone to survive and maintain their mutated forms.

One dragon had a somewhat different path. An elder wyrm was impaled by a fragment of solidified evil almost half as large it was. Barely alive, only magic sufficed to keep it so, and the only magic it could draw on was embedded in it. Day by day it slowly made its way north, clinging to life, away from the monsters and hellspawn pouring out of the hole in the world. Not far from the coast, much of the warpstone drained and the fragment diminished, it stumbled into a crevice to rest in a bed of moss and reeds sustained by an underground river.

Starving, a fever dream overtook it, a deep hunger for something, anything. It awoke and followed its nose down the canyon. Sprinkled across ferns were bits of concentrated warpstone dust. It dug in with a vigor, barely able to even think it was so hungry. It did not notice as it scraped away at vegetation and rock alike that the surroundings were changing. It only noticed that it was eating something, then the taste changed slightly but it was still edible, still good, something to ward away the knives in its belly. It just ate and ate and ate and ate until suddenly it could think again. It was no longer ravenous. And the land looked different. It was no longer dark, in fact, it was not in the ravine any longer.

Long ago, a great tree was planted in the center of the world, and its roots spread across the planet, transcending time and space. The forests that formed were all connected to that tree, which had grown large and mighty. The coming of Chaos corrupted and broke many of the world spanning roots, particularly in the far north and south, but not immediately. The great drake had stumbled upon these roots unconsciously, it's arcane senses and a confluence of coincidences seeing it to the point it had dug its way in. Now, having gnawed on the roots of the world from one end to the other, it was whole again. Greater than whole.

No longer feasting on mere flesh, the daemons of the north became its prey. Their essences were the sweetest morsel, their blood like nectar. They were not dead, a part of something greater now. And then one day there was a new scent, and for a second it could not even think straight it was so scrumptious and enticing.

Perhaps this was the Changer of Fate's true grand move against Grimnir, a change of heart or a lie writ upon reality itself? Or perhaps it was just coincidence. Certainly, Glammendrüng was no friend to Chaos, and with the unique state of the dragon's soul it could well have scented Grimnir from halfway across the northern wastes. But it did not appear to travel far to meet the Ancestor Gods.

What is fact though, is that they fought.

How can one possibly describe such a battle…? Where the earth was shattered and broken with each clash, as god-axes scraped against scales that were something beyond natural armor and warpstone alike, a material existing in both dimensions. No physical material had withstood his axes before yet now those ebony emerald scales were scratched and chipped away, but they held. Grimnir spent so long climbing over the wyrm's body, hacking away again and again.

Drengi loosed enough fire and force to level mountains, and the dragon responded with eruptions of warpfire that left the air twitching from the absence of anything where it passed, warpstone bursting into existence where it impacted like ice thrust up from the ground. Blackness was ripped from the space between worlds as tendrils of purest black, slashing and thrusting away, a second skin folding over the already gargantuan creature like armor of dark will. The landscape was broken in their passing, cracks and craters and crevices dotting the land.

Where divine dwarven blood fell, it burned everything. The corrupted air, the twisted ground. Where the drake's blood fell, trees sprouted, crystalline and made of fractals of nightmares, life born from the antithesis of it. Hurricanes of ice from before heat was a concept ravaged the land, and a mohawked body wrestled on the ground with one a thousand times its size while the land splintered apart. They fought for so very long in that place that disdained the rules of time.

And when the dragon fell, its skull split open and its brain savaged, it caused the Warp to tremble but left naught but a sigh in the mortal realm. This battlefield scarred the Chaos Wastes forever, echoes of the destructive powers that clashed brushing against the minds of those who dare make sojourns to it. It is known as Dragon's Death, and its only constant in the Chaos Wastes is that it is after Zanbaijin, but never on the same axis as the Red Abyss.

There was one final challenge. At least, that is how the sagas tell it. After the Wayblocker was felled and the ritual scars from the tips of its claws applied upon Grimnir's body, the duo made their way further north. Reality became inconsistent, the world around them shifting and molding itself into an infinite series of possibilities. By the strength of their will and the power of their souls, the Ancestor Gods forced their path, their way forward, to remain consistent. There were more bands of daemons, more hordes, more monsters of course. How could there not be, this close to the gates of hell? But the last momentous enemy would eclipse them all.

Long ago it came to pass that the favored of Chaos, Be'lakor, began to grow boring to his dark patrons. They began to seek out new champions, ones beholden to not all the Chaos Gods but to one. The name and species of the mortal that became known as Kragen'ome'nanthal has been lost to time, perhaps plucked away from it by the Ruinous Powers. Indeed, given the unique status of the scion of Khorne, that might well have been the case.

When the first mortal drew the greatest of favors from the Blood God and discarded fleshy vestments for daemonic essence, there was nothing to base their new form on. But they were worthy of being the mightiest, and so he equated them to his mightiest of daemons, the shards of his own self, the Bloodthirster. The first Daemon Prince held Khorne's favor like none would ever again in those days, save perhaps Valkia. He was Khorne's scion, their son in soul and blood. This new daemon had its skill sharpened by the personal instruction of the War God, confined to the Great Game between the gods until Grimnir and Morgrim defeated the greatest of Warpfire Dragons.

Was it patriarchal jealousy or favor, some stratagem or plan that kept this one from Mallus? Perhaps it was his existence, for his blood had been replaced with droplets spilling from Khorne's own palm, his body armored in the splintered piece of Khorne's own armor chipped off in Skarbrand's rebellion. Even in the Great Catastrophe such a being could not enter the mortal realm easily. But he did. Deep, deep inside the Chaos Wastes, so close his true form was a flicker in the sky, tendrils of blood and the skulls of armies visible even to those with lesser arcane sight. This fight transcended the boundaries of possibility and left a bruise in reality, a column of hellfire dripping blood, a doorway to, but not from, the Blood God's very throne. To enter is to receive Khorne's full attention, and only the absolute greatest and most favored of his mortal servants survive the experience. Those who do not are burnt to nothing, evaporating in the bloodfire until nothing, not even the tiniest mote of their souls, remains.

At the scion of Khorne's call, bloody daggers rained from the sky. Flaming skulls the size of boulders fell where he directed. But it was when he matched blades with Grimnir that the true power of the first Daemon Prince of Khorne was revealed. They did not move nearly as much. Whole hours were spent in a small circle marked by ruin, blades flickering back forth dozens of times in a heartbeat. No sparks came as godblades met godblade, rather sheets of flame burst with every clash and faded as quickly as they appeared. The earth trembled as if living mountains dashed across them, every strike a death blow that turned into a parry into another death blow faster than thought. Lakes worth of blood danced along the daemon's axe and sword, expanding into building cleaving slashes with every flick, erupting into hellfire hotter than an elder magma wyrm's breath with a thought. Space distorted itself in flickers and flashes of pure crimson, such that distance disappeared; when Kragen'ome'nanthal struck his opponents were within reach.

Time seemed to fragment as godly will met that of a shard of war, and at times there were more than one pair of fighters, their analysis and reading of each other's moves transcending the passing of seconds and minutes. When the daemon was wounded blood gushed in steel rending bursts of hypersharp vitae, expelling far more than even a Bloodthirster's body could reasonably contain with a mere scratch. With every drop of divine ichor the Daemon Prince's blades tasted, they struck harder, hungrier. Khorne's eyes were fixed firmly upon this battle. After three days, the Daemon Prince, the son of the Blood God, was erased, the scar of its death throes permanently marking reality. Khorne scream of fury shook the Warp, his realm itself collapsed under its force, then rebuilt itself from the same energy that destroyed it, eight times over.

It is difficult to say just what prompted Grimnir to force his son to turn back, to follow their path south to rejoin the Karaz Ankor. The battle had only been one at great cost and immense exertion, and they had not even reached the end of the road. The ignorant would assume it to be based on fatalism, belief that their cause was hopeless and seeking to preserve his only child while distracting the daemon lords and their armies with his presence ever closer to his target. It would perhaps explain why he gave him one of his axes, to weaken himself so when the final push still lay ahead. Indeed, the axe could have been for Morgrim's own protection, with the great Drengi dealt so much terrible damage and lacking the degree of martial prowess his sire possessed, though he was still mightier than most.

Others are less (but ever quietly and in the privacy of their own thoughts or far out of earshot of any Dawi) say that it was less the certainty of his failure and more a precaution. Having faced merely the warden, if perhaps among the greatest, he deemed the loss of both himself and his son to be far more disastrous.

Only a fool does not have contingency plans, and of the two Grimnir was undoubtedly more likely to survive. His wounds had healed, but not even Morgrim could repair all of Drengi's mechanisms in this hellish wasteland. Better to not deprive the Karaz Ankor of two Ancestor Gods if the worst should come to pass. Some go so far as to suggest Grimnir felt his son more important to the survival of the Karaz Ankor with his skills of creation and development over the warrior's way that was the father's path.

The most respectful of his sacrifice would harshly rebuke both, and instead point out that was not Morgrim also instructed to be the defender of the Karaz Ankor in his stead? To fathom the mind of an Ancestor God is beyond any save perhaps their immediate scions, yet Valiant Grimnir was the God of War, deep in the heartlands of the enemy, having fought foes no other Dwarf could comprehend, let alone engage in combat with. He had time and again shown a sense for battle and war that went beyond mere intellectual genius and into the realm of the supernatural, or as some would say with some ironic amusement, the divine.

Most likely he had seen enough, perceived enough, to see a wavering of sorts as the battles in far off Ulthuan and Lustria and other lands progressed, foreseeing the coming Vortex, or at least some sign of vulnerability, for who can fathom those who tap into the infinite possibilities of the realm of souls and magic? After all, Grimnir had communed with the very one responsible for enacting the Vortex. Better to not take away an Ancestor and a divine weapon that could be used in the defense of all Dwarves where it was unnecessary.

It was likely not a single reason, but one stands out. Grimnir was the god of war, but he had always devoted his abilities to the defense of his people. He was the Valiant, the protector, the guardian whose skills did not fit with the craftsman and creator focus of the Dawi, yet possessing the abilities needed to thrive in a hostile world, while at the same time providing the materials for the most potent of their craft. He was the oddity, yet still played a vital role in society. A logical one, for no Dwarf did not have a craft that contributed to the welfare of the Karaz Ankor as well as the individual self.

Only Grimnir himself could answer as to whether his decision was backed by strategic implications, that now was the time while he was on the enemy's doorstep, or if he saw it as necessary given the challenge presented by Kragen'ome'nanthal and the remaining leagues and legions between him and his goal. Some part of the decision may well have been a desire for Morgrim for not to see what was to come.

Whatever the reason, Grimnir continued north. Morgrim's eyes remained fixed on his form until he disappeared over the horizon, the nebulous surface and sense of distance of the Wastes troubling him not as be bore witness to his father's departure.

-
There was once a room. Dark and empty, great in expanse yet with clearly defined and orderly boundaries. It was a pleasant room, calm. And there was another room next to it, separated by walls and no doors. This room was different. It was small yet infinite in its composition, no limit to its boundaries, and forever rang with a beautiful song. A symphony that echoed across eternity yet despite the vast differences between the rooms, it was heard clearly in the empty one. It was muffled perhaps, but the melody was clearly there. It was a good song, and both benefited from its presence.

Then new songs arose, and the rhythm was disrupted. One, two, three, four. New tunes sounded, and the order was disrupted. The newly arrived songs were chaotic and without reason, a billion-billion producers of songs each slightly different, yet by the specific methods of sounding out their cacophony they proscribed certain ideas.

One was violent and metallic, angry tunes that rang with rage and fury; a simple ruckus, yet easily identified with and powerful. Another moved from sensual and long into the whines and screeches of misapplied notes. A third was low and full of life, building up and grasping at the silence like a leech as it rose into a crescendo before reversing, and repeating again and again. Finally, there was the most random of the four songs, a stampede of ever-changing sounds wherein each musician changed their tune mid-way through a note, always hinting at something but never reaching it.

The discord grated and rasped against the walls between rooms, filling the empty room with their din far more so than the ordered melody of before, and it was most unpleasant. Over time, the racket grew louder and louder, threatening to flood both rooms equally in awful dissonance. And really, if both rooms eventually rang out with the same song, was there truly a wall between them?

One day, suddenly, a single, piercing note rang out. It was vengeful and angry and above all violent, interjected into the furious song's discordant melody in such a manner as to, for a fraction of a heartbeat, give order to the noise, a hint of a hint of a rhythm. It was louder than any other of the countless raging inflections and as such it commanded such notice. Then another, and another and another and another and another, thrust into the mix and suggesting at the possibility of synchronicity and structure.

The other songs cared not for it did not fit their themes. The infinite incensed chorus however could not help but take notice, such did the theme implied call to them in its strength, and it had been heard once before so it was somewhat familiar.

It was different now. Precise in how it was done, and it hinted at stability of the music, of fury and violence meshed into proper words and intonations that could be understood, and increasingly frequent enough to occupy a tiny but noticeable niche in the furious symphony. And if a song were proper, it would have an ending. If one's existence and identity were defined by their specific, individual note, then an ordered and planned song would see individuality made lesser, and eventually the end to all notes as music came to a close. And that was an unpleasant line of thought indeed.

Grimnir tore a path into the deepest parts of the Chaos Wastes. His axes stinging the air and dealing the true death to every daemon that was in his way. His beard and mohawk shining like a sun with the power of his wrath and fury. The essences of his kills marked a trail into the Warp, the Blood God himself shrank back, experiencing too much blood in the form of impossibility imposed on his self, his concept, his fragments and will a hundred thousand times over.

No one knows for sure if Grimnir succeeded in his quest, though his priests and his entire race say he did, and to this day fights to keep the northern gate of hell closed. What is fact is that at some point, but not during the formation of the Great Vortex, the Chaos Wastes receded, shrinking back as if in surprise, or even fear.

So much of what I have said is spoken with uncertainty, no? A myriad of different possibilities and mysteries left untold by the page. Well, I suppose that when one is dealing with gods, anything is possible.