The Death of the Old World
Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or any other copyrighted or patented element present in this story.
I am Mathias Thulmann, current Lord Protector of the Faith and scribe of this history.
This history begins during the reign of Karl Franz, last true Emperor of the Empire of Man. Doubtless the Foul Powers were gathering their strength long beforehand, but it was during Emperor Karl’s reign that everything came together.
Much of this history is written from information gathered from other sources for I was only at the Great Battle and the events preceding it. I did not learn of the other events or explanations til years later.
Three main events came together to end the Old World and it started with the Chaos incursion of 2517. I was 43 at the time.
Concerning the Lands of Men
The foul Chaos horde pushed deep into the Empire and nearby lands, finally stopping before the city of Altdorf, capital of the Empire. There the righteous men of the Empire pushed back, fighting before the city walls with the horde, led by the Emperor himself. Finally the horde began to be pushed back. All the Empire rallied and personal troops were sent by many Elector counts and Barons to enlarge the army growing outside Altdorf. As the army began to push forward the horde began to retreat and many small groups of beast men that had split off to ransack nearby lands began to rejoin up with the main horde. As they did the men of those lands, Brentonians and Tileans, sent their own armies to follow and they eventually linked up with the Army of the Empire. This huge force pushed the horde north, clearing forests and hills that had long been refuge to beast men and orcs. With each village and besieged city regained more men joined the army and soon the scouts were an army in and of themselves. Eventually the much smaller horde was pushed through Kislev to the very borders of the Chaos Wastes. There they were reinforced, the entire Wastes were emptied to form a massive army.
On one side of the battle lines was the massed army of men. The armies of the Empire, Araby, Tilea, and Bretonnia, along with the disciples of the schools of magic and the many different military orders. And of course the Witch Hunters among whom I was ranked. This glorious army was led by Emperor Karl Franz, wielding the Hammer of Sigmar, Ghal Maraz, the Skull Splitter.
On the opposing side was Chaos united, the four dark powers allied in the cause of defeating this threat to their power. Berserkers devoted to Khorne, sorcerers of Tzeentch, pleasure cultists of Slaanesh, and the plague ridden bodies of followers of Nurgle. Chaos was united under the banner of Dakaath Darkclaw.
The armies clashed on the very borders of the Wastes. Toxic warpstone dust floated through the air, which was so supercharged with magic that demons began to form. With a great roar both sides charged and met with a huge clash. Sorcerous lightning flickered a crossed the battle and meteors rained down. Chaos Knights charged on mutated steeds and were impaled by Empire pike men. Lightly armed Tilean pistoleers were butchered by a Khornate Bloodthirster, which was then brought low by the blessed weapons of the Witch Hunters. Bretonian knights charged with their Lady’s name on their lips and died surrounded by beast men. Mutants of all shapes and sizes fought and died under the blades of true men. Wizards worked alongside Witch Hunters to banish the hordes of chittering demons.
The battle was evenly matched and evenly fought. Finally the two leaders met in single combat. The two fought, demigods amongst mortals. Hammer versus sword, dwarf forged against chaos made, meteorite ore versus blackened steel. They dueled on as their armies clashed around them, no one else daring to interfere. Finally the duel was broken as a great tremor wracked the battlefield. The very earth opened beneath the army and swallowed untold numbers from both sides. This went on for hours and both sides continued to fight, though their leaders duel was interrupted and the currant of battle carried them away from each other.
Eventually they met again and fought amidst the shaking land. Finally Darkclaw struck the Emperor a terrible blow, cleaving through blesses armor to tear into the flesh beneath. Mortally wounded the Emperor fought on though the victory of the enemy seemed sure. Just as Darkclaw raised his sword for the deathblow a second huge quake rocked the battlefield and the chaos horde seemed to falter. Many demons vanished and the warpstone dust seemed to be sucked toward the north. As the chaos-lord staggered with this tremor the Emperor struck, brining his hammer down to smash through the hideous helmet and smash the skull beneath. Even as his foe fell the Emperor collapsed next to him.
Seeing the assured death of their leader and the disappearance of the demons the horde faltered and the armies of men pushed their advantage. In small groups and then ever increasing numbers the enemy began to flee and it turned into a rout. Huge numbers were killed as they fled and the army of men rejoiced at the victory.
But it was victory at a terrible price. The line of Sigmar was ended, the Emperor dead. And the once mighty army that dared to challenge the Chaos Gods was decimated. Though the enemy was almost entirely destroyed the army of men was not much better off. Many knightly orders were wiped out and many villages would not survive the winter with none of their men coming back. The lands of men were almost crippled.
Concerning the Elder Races and the First Great Tremor
While the Chaos invasion and counter attack were occurring a similar attack was happening to the dwarfen cities. The Dawi, also known as the dwarfs had long been allies of men, but they had their own ancient enemies. Vast numbers of orcs had tunneled into the dwarf strongholds and besieged them from below. Each city was an island in a swirling see of green skin. The dwarfs fought valiantly for many months, their skills at tunnel fighting and ingenuity making up for the uneven numbers. The pathways beneath the World Edge Mountains had been breached and the dwarfs were unable to reinforce each other. Instead the paths allowed the orcs to spread even further. The fighting was still going on during the Great Battle.
The cause of the first tremor and the subsequent shifting of the world lies with the Asur, the high elves, and their enemy the Druchi, dark elves. They had been in conflict long before the Founding of the Empire and it was during the Chaos incursion of 2517 that the fighting reached a fevered pitch. The dark elves laid siege to the Elfish island of Ulthuan. Though out numbered the high elves had mighty ships and mightier magics on their side. Archmage Teclis himself was involved in the fighting, causing the destruction of an entire dark elf city during a counter-attack. Finally the high elves were diminished enough that they were confined to defense, no longer having the power of offense. As a result they attempted to reawaken their ancient allies, the dragons in an attempt to save themselves. To counter this move the druchi turned to the magic of the Old Ones. This magic was responsible for holding Ulthuan together and it connected the world in a series of paths and gateways for anyone with the power to use it. It is said the Old Ones were responsible for the Great Chaos Portal and had a plan for the world, shifting it like we would a model. Collapsing the paths accomplished the druchi goal of destroying the continent of Ulthuan and with it the vast majority of the high elves, though in the process they destroyed themselves. Vast waves formed by the sinking crashed into the dark elf cities and washed them away.
The collapse of the pathways and the Old Ones magic traveled through the world shifting it in ways incomprehensible to the mortal mind. As a result of the destruction of the magic the Worlds Edge Mountains collapsed, burying the noble dwarfs and their struggle with the orcs beneath untold tons of stone.
The Battle of the Dead
The second tremor that banished the demons can be blamed on the undead, specifically Nagash, the Great Necromancer. Almost a millennium and a half after his defeat at Sigmar's hands he rose again from his crypt in the great Black Pyramid. Built untold eons ago by Nagash in ancient Nehekhara it served as a fortress and power reserve for him. Rising he bided his time, regaining a small portion of his once godlike power. Eventually he marched to take back Nagashizzar, the Cursed Pit, his ancient stronghold and source of warpstone. Reaching it he found it once again held by the skaven who continued to mine what little warpstone was left. Once again Nagash attempted to take his stronghold from the skaven, but unlike millennium ago this time they were prepared. Fierce fighting filled the dark tunnels of the Cursed Pit as skavens fought the undead. Finally Nagash won through sheer attrition, raising the dead skaven to fight for him. Retaking the stronghold he found it useless to him, the paltry warpstone remaining not worth his effort to extract. He retreated with his remaining army, heading back to the Kingdom of the dead to replenish his army.
Once back in ancient Nehekhara a different foe opposed him. The undead of that land have long hated Nagash for ripping them from the afterlife in his Great Summoning millennium ago and now they faced him. Though Nagash was a match for any three Tomb Kings even he could not match the strength of all the undead of that land. They united against him led by Settra, first Priest King of Khemri. The foes battled for decades with battles lasting years for the undead require no rest or food. As the Tomb Kings destroyed Nagash’s force he would simply take control of part of their army. This stalemate went on for the dead of Nehekhara are endless. Finally the stalemate was broken as a third party joined the fight.
Millennium ago before Nagash attempted to separate the world from the gods and turn it into one populated by the unquiet dead the Vampires betrayed him. And still he hates them for the betrayal. It is he who cursed them with the weakness against the sun, hearth, and Lord Sigmar. Now they fear his return even more then mortals. Rumors of Nagash’s rise had filtered north into the lands of men and there the vampires heard them.
Mannfred von Carstein, Lord of Sylvania, vampire of the line of Vashanesh the original betrayer, heard these rumors and marshaled a huge force. Vampires of all lines except the necrarchs who serve Nagash answered his call to arms, united in the cause of Nagash’s downfall. They marched south, a force of vampires, human cattle, and undead minions, toward the Kingdom of the Dead.
There they crashed into the ranks of both armies. The first battle lasted three days, the vampires hiding under sorcerous blackness to blot out the sun. Though the Tomb Kings and Vampires still fought each other they managed to push Nagash all the way back to the Black Pyramid. There they were shown the power of the undead god as he unleashed the Spell of Unbinding, sending the huge armies of undead crashing to the ground as he cut the thread holding them to this world. All that was left were the various vampires and their human cattle. Vampire fought vampire as the necrarchs hurtled themselves against the vampires of the other lines while Nagash stood on the steps of his pyramid, sending deadly spells at the enemy vampires. Eventually it was down to a single massive duel. Melkhior, first of the Necrarchs, and Nagash versus Abhorash, one of the first vampires, Vashanesh, the original betrayer, and Mannfred von Carstein, Lord of Sylvania. Terrible magics were thrown and great feats of swordsmanship and strength. In the end though the result was the only one possible, Nagash stood alone over the bodies of his enemies. Summoning an army to stand guard he retreated to the depths of his pyramid to rest and recover his strength. Eventually he felt the great shift in magic that represented the fall of the Paths of the Old Ones.
Realizing his chance was at hand to separate the mortal world from the gods forever more he strode to the top of his pyramid. There he drained the entire store of dhar, black magic, which the temple had stored over the millenniums. Twisting it to fit his needs he sent it streaking far to the north where the Great Portal connected this world to the Chaos Plane. Like rot it oozed its way around the Great Portal collapsed it, separating the mortal realm from the gods. Exhausted despite the vast reservoir of magic he drained he staggered into his throne room and collapsed into a deep trance, allowing his army to stand guard.
But another foe approached. Knowing of Nagash’s rise since his attack on Nagashizzar the skaven had waited and bided their time til the perfect opportunity arose. Much like eons ago when they attacked Nagash after he was exhausted from his Great Summoning they attacked after his closing of the portal. A vast army of the ratmen marched against him. Warpfire throwers burned huge numbers of the undead, the liquid-like fire spreading through the undead ranks. Rat-orges tore through masses of skeletons and hordes of chittering rats swarmed over zombies to rip the flesh from the bone. But all was not in the favor of the skaven. Skeletal feet crushed rats while rusted blades severed limbs. Through sheer numbers the undead were winning.
The skaven had a plan though, the battle nothing but a distraction. An elite group of Storm Vermin penetrated the pyramids and made it all the way to the throne room, escorting the Council of Thirteen. These Thirteen skaven were the strongest sorcerers of their entire race and their already mighty power was augmented by huge amounts of consumed warpstone. Surrounding Nagash’s comatose form they began to cast powerful spells of binding, weaving a web of invisible chains to bind Nagash to his throne. As they started to work Nagash stirred, but it was too late for the first bindings were already placed. A god’s strength was thrown against them and the Council rocked back. Consuming even more warpstone they continued to work, one ward after another until finally six were consumed in green flame their very souls powering the wards. Even as the survivors left Nagash’s empty eyes seemed to curse them. Reforming the skaven army left the lands of the undead and retreated to Skavenblight, their capital.
The skaven are all but gone now. What parts of their underground kingdom not collapsed by the shifting earth was destroyed by a powerful plague brought back by their returning army. Now they live in scattered family groups hidden in the dark places of the world.
No further news of the dwarfs, elves, or orcs has reached my ears and I believe their races may be gone from this world.
The world still trembles from the mighty magics released. The land shifts almost daily now and landmarks are forever changing. All of the old maps are obsolete and no new maps can be made due to changes occurring even as the map is made. The continent of Lustria has moved so much that ships are no longer finding it. All of the old cities have collapsed and new ones have been made to resist the tremors. The shifting land now matches the people though.
The unity represented by the once great army is gone. Now each surviving noble attempts to claim the throne for his own while many cities have declared themselves their own kingdom. Many of the old orders created to help check the balance of the regional rulers are gone, wiped out in the Great Battle and never resurrected. I fear my own order will soon join them and that I am one of the last Lord Protectors. The people believe the threat of Chaos is gone now, the fools. They fight amongst themselves and soon the Empire will be no more as claimants with no claim go to war over a throne no one will remember.