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The Greatest Spell Ever Cast
Nagash took great pleasure is telling the helpless Alcadizzar of his plans before preparing for his greatest spell yet. The upstart dark magician now sought to rule a world of the dead, and had even created a crown for himself. As Alcadizzar languished in the dungeons, Nagash’s Skaven allies were called to herd tribes of orcs into a great pit to await the necromancer’s pleasure.
Dark Magic requires sacrifice, and great magics require great sacrifices. An orc is a measly sacrifice but here Nagash decided that quantity had a quality all of its own. Nagash’s minions drugged and and brought them before a dark altar to be killed. Once he had finished, Nagash had the power for the greatest feat of necromancy the world had seen.
Winds howled, lightning struck, and the black moon glowed in the night sky. In Nehekhara the ground began to shake. Corpses of the recent plague victims shook themselves and awoke. The magic continued until even the most ancient dead of Nehekhara rose from their tombs. Every priest-king and peasant, every soldier and sandalmaker rose that night. This was no ordinary necromancy, and these cursed dead retained the knowledge of their former lives, but all were bound to the will of the great necromancer Nagash. In silent ranks they marched to Nagashizzar. A great army of the dead stood ready to turn the world into a mausoleum. All they needed was Nagash’s word to march forth.
That’s So Skaven
Nagash gave no word. Exhausted by the greatest spell ever cast, he slumbered in his throne. Sensing their moment, the Skaven acted. The Council of Thirteen realised Nagash’s dread purpose and had created a deadly weapon to stop him. So deadly was this blade and to wield it was fatal. All the Council of Thirteen needed was to find a single Skaven among millions they could trust and who would be willing to sacrifice himself for the sake of others.
It was hopeless. But there was one species the Skaven knew of, one pathetic runt-mass given to moronic acts of altruism. What they needed was a hero.
Alcadizzar was surprised in his cell by giant rat men who dumped a bungle of filthy, steaming rags on the floor or his cell and then fled, leaving the door open.
The Fall of Nagash
Alcadizzar took up the cursed blade, which led him to the slumbering Nagash on his throne. Alcadizzar had lost his wife, his children, his kingdom and even his civilization. He needed no urging the strike. The first blow severed Nagash’s hand, which took on a life of its own and scuttled away into the shadows. Nagash rose and fought back, exhausted though he was, but the Skaven runes of death weakened him further and Alcadizzar’s frenzied stabbing took the last of his unlife.
Alzcadizzar threw down the blade. He knew he was dying, but would not succumb in his enemy’s lair. Taking Nagash’s crown, he left Nagashizzar and wandered into the hills above the Badlands, where he fell into a river and drowned. Nagash’s crown went on a journey of its own passing through many hands. To each wearer the crown became… precious.
The Skaven burned Nagash’s body (except the hand, which hid), and that, they assumed, was that. Taking Nagashizzar for themselves they began mining the warpstone with gusto.
The denizens of Khemri did not crumble with the death of their necromancer. The spell that had caused them to rise was too powerful. They returned home to live out a ghastly mockery of their former lives. The Land of the Dead had its namesake.
The Slow Rise
The soot from Nagash corpse fell to the ground and began to coagulate into a dark ichor.
Year after patient year these droplets inched towards the Black Pyramid in the heart of the Land of the Dead. Once there they squeezed their way through the seals of Nagash’s sarcophagus. One night, centuries after his fall to the Skaven blade, Nagash emerged once more.
His power was great, but diminished. His crown had been imbued with much of his power and without it he was a great but not godlike necromancer. His hand never returned and without that, shoelaces were a problem.
Nagash emerged into the lands of Khemri, where the dead dwelled. His attempts to command them failed, for they were bound to unlife but not to Nagash, and their hatred of him was great. For the second time Nagash was forced to flee into the desert.
He returned to Nagashizzar, ousted the Skaven, and set about dominating the nearby humans, but it just wasn’t the same. The industrious Skaven had stripped out the warpstone, leaving only scraps for Nagash to work with. His crown was still out in the world. Nagash reopened his forges and fashioned himself a claw to replace his hand, but otherwise spent his time brooding.
Enough dark magic swirled around Cripple Peak to draw in the occasional mad wizard and evil schemer. The survivors became Nagash’s agents in the world and soon news came to the Great Necromancer that his crown was now in the hands of some upstart tribal chieftain far to the north.
Humans are easily corrupted and so Nagash bestirred himself and went out into the world once more. Sigmar had indeed wrested the crown from a dark sorcerer. Recognising its evil he had forsworn the wearing of it and instead locked it away. Nagash’s attempts at negotiation failed, and so he raised an army and tried more direct means.
The clash between Sigmar and Nagash was titanic and while Nagash struck first, it was Sigmar who struck last, bringing the great necromancer down once again. Sigmar himself never fully recovered from the wounds Nagash gave him. Nagash’s body was burned, starting the whole soot, ichor, sarcophagus cycle again. With further to travel, Nagash’s return took longer.
When Nagash emerged this time he was diminished in power still further. Other powers in the world could strike him down, and this time he resolved never again to leave the sanctuary of Cripple Peak. He is still there, trapped in an immortality that is neither life nor death. His agents wander the world and perhaps Nagash will regain his crown and destroy the world. But that could never happen…