This is it everyone, the final installment of the End Times. Now that it's all coming to an end, no one is safe. The death count in this one is staggering, almost double what it was in Nagash. Will Archaon be stopped in time, or is the world doomed? Read on to find out, but you've been warned, MAJOR SPOILERS ahead.
One last time before you keep reading, this article goes over every major death in End Times: Archaon. If you have not read it yet and want to be surprised, then turn back now. For everyone else, be prepared for the shocks that lay ahead.
The two headed servant of Tzeentch has been Archaon's guide throughout the whole of the End Times. Unfortunately for him, the Three Eyed King decided that he needed Khorne's might instead of Tzeentch's guile to conquer the world. For Kairos this meant his tenure in the last book was very short lived. Within the opening two page prologue to the main story Archaon split one head before severing the other mid spell. Using the blood of one of the Greater Demons of Chaos he brought forth Ka'bandha, one of Khorne's greatest champions. (Yes, it is the same Ka'bandha whose back was broken by Sanguinius at the siege of Terra in 40k).
Vilitch the Curseling
Tzeentch's greatest mortal champion was put in charge of the siege of Averheim by Archaon. Despite having the combined forces of Chaos and the Skaven hordes, he was unable to break the city's walls. In fact, Karl Franz led an assault out into the Chaos forces to destroy the Hellcannon batteries that were slowly tearing the city apart. Determined not to let his foe escape, Vilitch pursued the retreating human forces into the magical portal they had used to flee back to Averheim. While within the portal Vilitch was trapped, both exits closing, trapping him within the realm of Chaos. Thinking himself lost forever he suddenly found himself back within Tzeentch's realm. Confused on why he was saved by his patron when he had not requested any aide, the answer was not to his liking. Vilitch's silent and brutish conjoined brother spoke for the first time in ages, saying that it was he who requested aide. Realizing his peril too late Vilitch's mind was wiped clean as his brother, so long subservient to his will took control of the pair. You may be saying, well then he's not dead! Vilitch was the weird sorcerer hanging off of the larger warrior, Thomin, so actually Vilitch is dead (or brain dead at least), now it's Thomin's turn to shine!
The Emperor's champion has been absent from all of the previous End Times books besides a brief cameo in Nagash, but at Averheim he was determined to make up for it. Fighting with Karl Franz at all times, the banner of the Emperor could be seen in the thick of all the worst fights. Seeing a worthy skull to claim for her patron, Valkia singled out the champion and swooped low. After a bloody combat he knew that he wasn't going to make it through and leveled his broken banner pole at the charging demon princess. As the two met for the final blow her spear plunged into his heart, killing him instantly.
Valkia the Bloody
The champion of Khorne had started out the End Times leading the Khornate hordes in Naggaroth. There she met both victory and defeat. She utterly crushed the Dark Elves before her and ultimately forced them to flee to Ulthuan lest they waste their might against the Chaos armies. Despite this victory she also fell against Malekith in single combat, supposedly dying. Whether she actually died and Khorne brought her back or the Dark Elves just exaggerated their victory, she eventually ended back with Archaon at Averheim. Determined to redeem herself she sought out a worthy foe. After a brutal combat against Schrwazhelm she met her fate on the end of his broken banner pole as it pierced her heart at the same time she killed him. The two falling dead at the same time.
The most famous spawn of Chaos tested his might against Ungrim Ironfist and the remaining Dwarf Slayers at Averheim. After an intense battle atop the ramparts, Scyla tumbled over the edge. Whether he died or not is not known, but it was a long way down.
Ungrim Ironfist, Incarnate of Fire
The Slayer king had come to the aide of the remaining human forces after helping Thorgrim at Karaz-a-Karak. Once Archaon had breached the walls, Karl Franz led all of the remaining knights on one last charge to try and claim the Everchosen's head. The Dwarfs stayed behind to hold the keep and meet their doom. When it seemed they were about to fall, help came from a most unexpected quarter as Balthasar Gelt flew in on his pegasus, Quicksilver. Having discarded the use of Necromancy, the wind of metal grounded itself in Gelt, making him the newest Incarnate of Magic. Using his newfound powers, the wizard added his might to the Dwarf's.
Knowing that he also had to help his Emperor, Gelt cast the mightiest spell he ever had and transmutated himself and all the Dwarfs into liquid gold which then flowed down the keep, past the Chaos warriors. The Dwarfs reappeared out of the gold where the fighting was thickest, granting the remaining humans a much needed reprieve. Ungrim hacked his way through the Chaos warriors eventually making his way to Archaon himself. Before he could challenge the lord of the End Times a wall of gold rose up between the surviving members of Averheim and their enemies. Gelt had summoned the barrier to grant them some time to regroup and flee. When it was decided that they would attempt to use the same spell that Gelt had used to bring the Dwarfs to thick of the fight it was discovered that there was too many people to take with him. Ungrim, seeing his doom before him, volunteered to stay behind with the rest of the Slayers and stall the horde for as long as they could. Thanks to his sacrifice, Gelt, Karl Franz, the Reiksguard, Brettonians, and remaining non-Slayer Dwarfs were able to make it past Archaon's horde and continue the fight. In the distance Vlad von Carstein, who had been making his way to the city's aide, saw a massive column of flame erupt from the devastated city, marking the end of the Slayer king as the wind of fire departed.
Averheim and the Empire
The last remaining city of man fell to Archaon shortly after his arrival. The Khornate warriors he brought with him flooded through the streets and overwhelmed the defenders through sheer brute force. When it seemed like the Emperor and his army had been backed into a corner they decided to declare one last charge. Knowing their only hope of victory was to kill the Everchosen and break the horde's will to fight, Duke Jerrod and Karl Franz cut a bloody swathe though the city's streets. In combat Franz was no match for Archaon, and the wind of heavens was literally knocked right out of him. Thanks to Gelt's intervention the defender were saved, whisked away to temporary safety and to seek aide and shelter in Athel Loren. Though they may have been saved, the city itself was lost, marking the end of the Empire of man in the Old World. Now the Empire lived only with its people.
The former Pirate Lord of the Vampire Coast had found himself in service to the Lord of Undeath as one of his Mortarchs at the end of Nagash. With Archaon's invasion in full swing even the lands of Sylvania were under attack. Sending a horde of demons under the command of a semi-possessed Isabella von Carstein and the Nameless, Nurgle hoped to bring the land of the undead to ruin. Fighting alongside Mannfred, Luthor raised a vast horde of zombies to repel the invaders. After the Nameless wrenched control of the majority of the zombies away from the vampiric pair they were forced to retreat to in abandoned inn. There they met up with Vlad von Carstein and the remaining Drakenhof Templars to mount a last ditch defense.
Slowly, but surely their defenses were worn down by the combined might of the zombies and demons. Deciding that it was better to flee to safety and abandon his former sire, who had started hacking his way through the horde to get to grips with the Nameless, Mannfred flew away on his dread abyssal. Not wanting to be left behind Luthor attempted to hitch a ride, grabbing on to Ashigaroth as he departed. Mannfred had always hated the pirate vampire and casually severed Luthor's arm, sending him plummeting back down into the horde below. Short an arm and with nowhere to go, Luthor Harkon met his end at the hands of Isabella, as Nurgle's decaying energy flowed through him.
The Nameless has been up to a lot since we lost saw him in Nagash. During the intervening time he had claimed the body of Luthor Huss, possessing the priest of Sigmar after defeating him in a fight. He also decided that Chaos had more to offer him then Nagash and gladly changed allegiances. Now part of Nurgle's host he led the charge on Sylvania alongside Isabella. Content to use his unparalleled necromantic abilities, he hung back during all of the battles, instead impressing his will upon all of the zombies and undead he could. It was thanks to his might that Mannfred and Luthor had to retreat from their initial battle after half their army was taken away from them.
During the battle at the inn Vlad realized that if he could get to the Nameless and kill him the tides of battle would change in their favor. Fighting his way through the zombie horde he almost made it before he was overcome by the sheer weight of numbers. Wanting to be the one to deliver the final death blow to the sire of the von Carstein line, the Nameless rode forth to meet him. In a last ditch effort Vlad attempted to reach whatever nugget of Luthor Huss that still resided inside the Nameless. Taunting the former priest for giving in so easily to the powers he had sworn to fight, Vlad was able to bring Huss to the fore once more. Holy light blazed from Huss' body as he purged the Nameless from his form and banished him to the void of true death once more. Sadly the true identity of the Nameless was never revealed before his death, although it is widely believed that he is Drachenfels.
Now free of the Nameless' control, the warrior priest set about the horde surrounding him with gusto. Vlad and him fought back to back, an unlikely pair. It seemed as though they might even triumph until Isabella decided to join the fight. Leaping onto his horse, the vampire slit his throat in a single strike before confronting Vlad and supposedly killing him too. Unable to fight his one true love, even though she was possessed by a demon of Nurgle, Vlad let himself be killed. For now.
Egrimm van Horstmann
The Tzeentch sorcerer most famous for riding a Chaos dragon and being a playable special character in past editions met his end in a quick throw away line. After the wind of fire left Ungrim Ironfist it travelled the world trying to find another suitable candidate. Sensing the power, Egrimm attempted to bind the wind to himself. It worked, briefly, before burning him to ash and finding it's new Incarnate in Caradryan.
The Dark Elf assassin was last seen when he had attempted to kill Malekith while under the magical control of Morathi. Now with the Elves all residing in Athel Loren under the kingship of Malekith he had returned to the side of Hellebron, his true master. Unfortunately the cult of Khaine had been outlawed due to the trouble it was causing amongst the newly united Elves. Seeking to destroy the Tree of Life, Be'lakor manipulated Hellebron into siding with him as he began his demonic assault upon the woodland realm.
This turn of events found Shadowblade once again testing his might against the Eternity King. While Malekith flew through the air on Seraphon's back Shadowblade struck. Unfortunately for him the former Witch King had been preparing for just such an occasion, making himself almost immune to all of the poisons the assassin was known to use. With power of the wind of shadow on his side, Malekith sensed the imminent attack and pivoted out of the way, suffering only a small grazing wound. For his troubles Shadowblade was quickly defeated and sent tumbling over the side of the dragon, plummeting to his certain doom.
The last surviving member of the Elven pantheon, Lileath was now merely a mortal, having given up her immortality in Khaine. Residing with the rest of the Elves in Athel Loren, she still acted as a guide to them and an immensely powerful mage. She was the one who had set Teclis on his path of manipulating fate to try and avert the End Times by unbinding the winds of magic. In truth she had no hope for the world and knew it was going to end. Her whole plan was to prolong the coming disaster as long as possible to keep the powers of Chaos occupied while she ensured the protection of the Haven she had constructed for her daughter and her baby daddy, Araloth. The Haven was actually another world, or realm...dimension? I'm not really sure, but she put the whole plan in peril when she tried to comfort Duke Jerrod of Bretonnia when he learned she was also the Lady of the Lake. To try and placate him she revealed part of her plan and the existence of her Haven.
Unfortunately for her, a demon of Be'lakor had been nearby and overheard the conversation. Though she couldn't be sure what happened, shortly afterwards she was no longer able to feel the presence of her Haven. Assuming that the Chaos gods had found it and destroyed it she resigned herself to just helping in whatever way she could. In the end this meant sacrificing herself to grant Teclis the power he needed to transport all of the Incarnates to Middenheim and away from Ka'bandha's blood hunt. Since her blood still contained some essence of godhood, she knew the power would boost Teclis' abilities to the levels he would need. Plunging a knife into the chest of his patron goddess, the mage gathered up all the might of the remaining forces of Order and transported them to the city of the White Wolf. Though she had caused much woe in her somewhat selfish plan, in the end she tried her best to make amends.
Sigvald the Magnificent
The prince of Slaanesh was brought to Middenheim at Archaon's behest through magical means. Leading his warriors into battle against Nagash's host, all he could think of is the myriad pleasures he could be indulging in back in his own palace. Worst of all he was forced to lead alongside Throgg, a being he thought below him. These thoughts were banished once he met Krell in battle. Here he found an equal, someone who really presented him with a challenge. The wright struck his first telling blow by scratching the pleasure prince's mirrored shield. His second blow was even more devastating, carving a brutal gash across the side of Sigvald's face and making his eye into a ruined mess.
Enraged that his perfect visage was now ruined forever he bore Krell to the ground, and bereft of his sword proceeded to pummel the wright's skull with his bare hands. After several blows his helmet started to crack and after several more the former champion of Khorne's skull was caved in, his spark of unlife extinguished. Both of his hands were completely ruined, pulped into bloody messes in his rage. While he rested next to Krell's body in a stupor, Throgg the troll king took his revenge for all the insults. A giant club to the head ending Sigvald's tale for good.
Krell is the heavy weight champion of the End Times. He is a brawler without equal and whenever he has been involved in a battle the outcome was never in question. Krell met his first death in the End Times during the siege of Khemri, getting sliced in half by a Tomb Scorpion. During Nurgle's invasion of Sylvania he took on a Great Unclean One single handily. Granted he was then swallowed, but that demon had some pretty intense indigestion afterwards. At the battle's end Nagash resurrected his fallen champion for the second time, knowing he needed his champion by his side when the end came. After Krell's third demise at Sigvald's hands, literally, the wright was left for dead. The Great Necromancer could no longer spare any of his power to bring back his followers and the former champion of Khorne was finally able to greet the void of true death, whether he wanted to or not.
Vlad von Carstein
Multiple deaths seems to be a reoccurring theme amongst the undead forces and Vlad was no exception. He died once in Altdorf against Festus but was immediately resurrected thanks to his ring. He then suffered another defeat at the end of Otto Glott's scythe. He had mistakingly partaken in some of the Nurgle lord's blood, unintentionally poisoning himself. Fleeing to safety before the final blow could be struck he retreated to Sylvania. Out of all of the vampires, he was the least happy with Nagash's rule. He had always had more in common with the living then the dead and wanted to help out the struggling Empire. When Karl Franz sent an envoy requesting aide at Averheim it was only Vlad who answered. Sneaking out of the midnight kingdom with Gelt and a small force he rode towards the last remaining human city.
He was not fast enough to bring aide to Averheim though, beyond Gelt who ranged ahead of the vampire. Turning back for Sylvania he was just in time to join Mannfred against the horde led by Isabella and the Nameless. After helping Luthor Huss regain control of his body and kill the Nameless he was confronted with his former love, Isabella. She was the whole reason he came back when Nagash sought him in the afterlife. All he had wanted was to be reunited with the love of his life. When he realized that she was semi-possessed and her memories of their time together had been tainted he couldn't bring himself to kill her. She had no such qualms though and used her new found powers to kill him in a way only Nurgle could.
It seemed as though he was dead until he reappeared in Athel Loren, taunting Mannfred who was now imprisoned. The von Carstein ring had saved him yet again, and now the poison in his blood from Otto was purged. He fought alongside the Incarnates throughout the remaining battles, often helping out anyone but Nagash. This was in part due to him needing little help and partly because Vlad had little love for him. At Middenheim he ran into Isabella once again on the ramparts. Knowing the he most likely could not escape alive, and still unwilling to kill his love he settled on one course of action to free her from the demon's clutches. Grabbing her close and swiftly putting his ring on her finger he flung the two of them from the ramparts, plummeting to the ground together. History being prone to repeating itself he impaled himself on a spike below, finally dying for good without the resurrecting powers of his ring. Of Isabella there was so sign, but something makes me think that her story may finish in the tie in novel. Vlad has to be my favorite characters from the End Times series. He is so compelling and tragic, it's sad to see him go.
The hag queen had joined forces with the demon Be'lakor after the cult of Khaine had been outlawed, intent on revenge against those who shunned her. After suffering defeat in Athel Loren she retreated to the safety of the Chaos held Middenheim. There she found a welcome response from the worshippers of Khorne, who saw her as one of his chosen. After the Incanates were transported to the city she was able to take out her wrath on Allarielle, Gelt, Vlad and their forces. At the height of the battle she confronted the Everqueen in a duel. Already suffering fatigue from past battle and her connection with ravaged Athel Loren, Allarielle was no match for the Bride of Khaine. As she lay dying with Hellebron looming over her ready to deliver the death blow, she tried on last spell. Casting the healing powers of the wind of life onto the hag queen, the madness that had gripped her for millennia was cast aside, and Hellebron saw the world with a clear mind. Stunned by her own betrayals, the death blow was stalled. Taking advantage of the distraction that was sure to be short lived, Allarielle grabbed a nearby spear and thrust it into Hellebron's heart, ending her trail of destruction for good.
The ancient treeman had fought to protect Allarielle throughout the final conflicts of the End Times. His might and loyalty helped hold the line in both Athel Loren and Middenheim. During Be'lakor's assault on the Oak of Ages, it was he who finally killed the mad treeman Coeddil. He was also responsible for holding off the majority of Hellebron's horde at the city of the White Wolf, taking on a Bloodthrister single handily. He finally died, not in battle, but in sacrifice. After Allarielle's duel with Hellebron she was left on the edge of death. Knowing that it was more important for her to live, Durthu gave his remaining life force to heal her, turning him into an unmoving, petrified tree. Thanks to his sacrifice, not only did the Everqueen yet live, but it gave her the strength to cast a spell that banished the demons assailing them and giving them the valuable time they needed to come to Caradryan's aide.
Caradryan had become the last Incarnate of Magic when the wind of fire picked him as it's vessel. Not quite wanting to take such responsibility and be on the same level as Tyrion and Malekith, whom he saw as his superiors, he still tried to do the best he could. He was instrumental in holding off the forces of Chaos in Athel Loren. Once Teclis transported the Incarnates and their armies to Middenheim they were scattered across the city, isolated from each other. Caradryan found himself right at the entrance to Archaon's excavation pit, which pitted him against a large bulk of his horde as they tried to hold onto the entrance until the others could arrive. Knowing that even though he had the power of the wind of fire at his disposal, he wasn't going to be able to hold back the enemy single handily. Instead of hoarding the power, he dispersed a portion of it across the entirety of his army, transforming them into blazing champions of fire.
Thanks to his efforts the area was held until the remaining Incarnates could arrive. Even though they were at the excavation pit they couldn't progress yet due to a magical barrier blocking it. This gave Ka'bandha enough time to arrive with his Blood Hunt, still intent on claiming the Emperor's skull. The Emperor, always willing to potentially sacrifice himself for the sake of others, charged into combat. Without the power of the wind of heavens though, he would be no match for the Bloodthirster. After one swing he was knocked flying backwards straight through the wall of the Temple of Ulric, now Archaon's throne room. Flying in to distract the demon, Caradryan charged with his Phoenix, Ashtari. For awhile the pair were evenly matched against Ka'bandha, but as time wore on, they grew weaker. A lucky blow brought his Phoenix crashing to the ground, who was then quickly slain. The demon towered over the Elf, who even with his Incarnate powers, was clearly not a match for him. Raising one hoofed foot, Ka'bandha brought it down on Caradryan, crushing him under his bulk. With the last of his will, and knowing he was about to die, the Incarnate transferred all of the wrath and power of the wind of fire into the demon, setting his flesh and blood alight with pain and fire. Though it did not fell the Bloodthrister, he did give his fellow Incarnates a better chance with his final selfless act.
Well actually it appears that Karl Franz DID die back in Glottkin. When the Emperor was knocked through the wall into the Temple of Ulric he was left completely in the dark, with no way of seeing what was around him. There was something that was drawing him towards it though, and trusting his instincts he went towards it. Finding himself before Archaon's throne he saw something gleaming that the Lord of the End Times had left behind in his haste. It was a trophy he had taken from Valten, it was Ghal Maraz, Sigmar's hammer. Upon taking hold of it the wind of heavens returned to the Emperor, with lightning striking the roof of the temple multiple times. Once he rejoined the battle it was clear to everyone that he wasn't Karl Franz, he was in fact Sigmar reborn. Tzeentch had trapped Sigmar within the wind of heavens and the magical vortex for thousands of years. When Karl Franz was killed by Otto Glott and Teclis unleashed the vortex Sigmar took control of the Emperor's body, bringing him back from the dead. If there was anyone who could stop Archaon, it was Sigmar, but first he had a Bloodthirster to deal with...
The undisputed champion of all the Bloodthirsters let loose in the Old World, Ka'bandha was tasked by Archaon with leading the armies of Khorne. He led the Blood Hunt, an army of demons, into the heart of Athel Loren, intent on claiming the Emperor's skull. Unsuccessful there, he was unwittingly caught up in Teclis' spell and transported to Middenheim as well. Due to the nature of Chaos though, his transportation was not clean and he was left in the Realm of Chaos until he was finally able to break free. Gathering the Blood Hunt around him once again, the Bloofthirster assaulted the gathered Incarnates at the Temple of Ulric. The Incarnates were unable to match the pure might and wrath of Ka'bandha and Caradryan fell in battle against him. It wasn't until the Emperor retrieved Ghal Maraz and Sigmar's power was full returned that he faced a true challenge. On Deathclaw's back, Sigmar charged straight at the demon, blasting his chest with a bolt of lightning and melting his armor. One swift crack of his hammer against the demon's skull collapsed him to the ground. Once pinned by the griffon, Sigmar brought a second blow down upon Ka'bandha, splitting open his skull and banishing his essence back to the Realm of Chaos.
Grimgor had been fighting off in the east when the End Times started. After his endless supply of Skaven to fight ran out the warboss took his Waaaagh where ever he could find a good scrap. This eventually led him into what remained of the Ogre tribes, which he subjugated one after the other. It was during one of these battles the wind of beats found him, making him one of the Incarnates of magic. Although he did not know what happened or how to utilize the power, everyone who saw him could tell he was changed.
When Teclis had brought all the Incarnates to Middenheim, he had unwittingly brought Grimgor and his Waaaagh as well. The Skaven fighting against Malekith's elves had originally tried to lure the greenskins who were rampaging through the city towards the Eternity Kings forces. Better to let their enemies waste their strength on each other then on them. Malekith had tried to fight off the warboss, but decided that any victory would be too costly and waste valuable strength. Swallowing his pride, the former Witch King knelt before Grimgor, offering him his service and telling him about Archaon. He told the warboss how the Three Eyed King claimed to be the best and was trying to end the world. How could Grimgor be the best if there was no world? His plan worked and the Orcs joined forces with the rest of the Incarnates.
It was an ax blow from Grimgor that had broken the magical barrier around the excavation site. Once down in the depths of the Fauschlag where Archaon's uncovered dooms day device was, he wasted no time in challenging the Lord of the End Times. Charging at the greenskin, Archaon was knocked square on his back off of his horse, his shield dented and scratched. It seemed as though Grimgor may even win, head butting Archaon so hard that the Eye of Sheerian was shattered and his helmet dented in. That's his third eye in his helmet that grants him foresight. Unfortunately the Orc couldn't keep it up and Grimgor's head was removed from his shoulders. I think it's fair to say that Archaon was sufficiently softened up by him though.
Gelt's story throughout the End Times has been tumultuous to say the least. Lured by the easy power of Necromancy, he was responsible for the fall of the Auric Bastion and became a thrall of Vlad for awhile. During the battle for Averheim he came back to the Empire's rescue, now imbued with the power of the wind of metal. Now an Incarnate of Magic, he found himself fighting with the help of the remaining Dwarf's for the rest of the time. They saw him as Grungi reborn because of his mastery of metal and the effect he had on their rune weapons.
His power was instrumental in many of the battles and he made it all the way to the final confrontation with Archaon beneath Middenheim. There he tried to add his magical might to that of the other Incarnates as they tried to contain the horrible power unleashed by Chaos. Unseen by anyone, Mannfred had snuck into the cavern with them. Originally intent on aiding the forces of good, he changed his mind at the last moment. Plunging his sword into the former Supreme Patriarch of Magic, the vampire ended Gelt's life and let loose the wind of metal.
The elf mage who had been behind all of the scheming involving the Elfs and the winds of magic found himself fighting beside the Incarnates in the end. When he first returned to Athel Loren he did so with a purpose. Bringing with him his brother's corpse and the essence of the flame of Ulric, Teclis' first stop was beneath the Oak of Ages. There, utilizing his powers and those he had stolen he brought Tyrion back to life, now no longer suffering from the curse of Aenarion. His next great feat was to transport all of the Incarnates and their armies to Middenheim. This was beyond his capabilities, and he was only able to do it thanks to the sacrifice of Lileath. Once at Middenheim, the mage awoke chained inside of Archaon's throne room. The Lord of the End Times took great pleasure in taunting Teclis, and dragged him along behind him chained to his steed. Archaon brought him to the edge of the excavation pit to witness the perils his allies faced, where Teclis revealed what he had long suspected, that Karl Franz was actually Sigmar reborn. Archaon did not take kindly to this threat and refused to believe it.
Once the Incarnates made it down to the doomsday device beneath the city, Teclis was chained to the wall. Bereft of his staff and sword, he was unable to channel the winds of magic and so could not help until freed. His main contribution was to try and chain the winds of beasts and fire to himself to add their might to the Incarnates as they attempted to contain the ever growing orb of blackness from the mysterious device. He barely able to contain the power of two of the winds and slowly started to get torn apart by their might. Once Gelt was killed he was forced to try and master the wind of metal as well. Despite his great power, this was too much for Teclis who was almost instantly torn apart into nothing, the three winds let loose and the hopes of the world lost.
Mannfred van Carstein
The petty vampire had always been bitter about the hand dealt to him. Upon Nagash's arrival in Athel Loren, Mannfred was offered up as a sign of loyalty to Tyrion and the Everqueen. The great necromancer figured they would want revenge for their daughter's death, and though it had been Arkhan who had delivered the killing blow to her, it had been Mannfred who had kidnapped her in the first place. Imprisoned beneath the Oak of Ages he was taunted by Vlad, who had once again returned from the dead. His imprisonment was short lived though as he was freed by Be'lakor in exchange for the knowledge of Lileath's existence within the woodland realm. In one final twist of the knife before departing, the vampire told Duke Jerrod the truth about their Lady of the Lake, of how she was really Lileath. This knowledge led to the elven goddess revealing the truth about the Haven to Jerrod, which possibly led to its destruction, and finally led to the remaining Brettonians leaving the alliance to fight on their own.
Once at Middenheim, the vampire found himself a tool of the Chaos powers, which suited him illy. He would have no master besides himself. After speaking to Vlad one last time before leaving him to the clutches of Isabella, Mannfred changed allegiances yet again, determined to show Chaos that he was no one's pawn. On his way to help the Incarnates beneath the city he switched sides one last time, either through the corrupting powers of Chaos or due to his own arrogance we will never know. Sneaking up upon the Incarnates as they tried to contain the black orb that grew before them, Mannfred plunged his sword into Gelt, killing him instantly. Once Teclis also perished, unable to contain the power of three winds of magic, the black orb drew all of the winds of magic into it, tearing the remaining ones from the Incarnates' forms. The sudden influx of power blinded the vampire and left his mind a wreck. The rest of the Incarnates fared little better, collapsing to the cavern floor as their newfound power was forcibly taken from them. Malekith and Nagash fared worst, as the magic sustained their existence. The Eternity King fell to the ground and has his legs crushed by a falling chunk of ceiling, pinning him in place. Nagash slowly started to unravel as the power he had used the keep himself alive left the world. Tyrion, infuriated at the loss of his brother, was first to recover. Blaming the vampire for his death, the elven prince grabbed the mindless Mannfred and plunged his sword, Sunfang, though his chest. Not intent to just stab him, he then used his swords power to set the vampire aflame. Though Archaon may have been the architect of the world's demise, it was the selfish and petty acts of Mannfred von Carstein who sealed its fate.
Sigmar and Archaon?
After slaying Grimgor, Archaon started making his way through the battle to confront the Emperor. Once the two met the combat was brutal and epic. Deathclaw was the first to fall, killed by Archaon's demonic steed Dorghar. This death was quickly avenged as the Three Eyed King brought his steed around for another charge. Meeting the assault head on, Sigmar held his ground and brought Ghal Maraz up in an underhanded swing, cracking against Dorghur's jaw and sending shards of bone spearing through the demon horses brain. Now both on foot, the pair found themselves an equal match. The duel went back and forth as they fought across the cavern but eventually Ghal Maraz was knocked from Sigmar's hands. Preparing for the death blow, Archaon brought the Slayer of Kings around to strike the Emperor's head from his shoulders. Before the blow could land however, Sigmar brought all of his magical might to bear and sent a searing bolt of lightning into the Everchosen, shattering his demonic sword and staggering Archaon. Seeing his opening, Sigmar locked his hands together and smashed them into Archaon's face, knocking him back over the edge of the hole that the black orb now occupied.
The Everchosen was not dead though, barely finding purchase along the hole's edge. After Teclis' and Mannfred's death he hauled himself back over the edge and threw himself at Sigmar. Pummeling him with a rain of blows from his fists the two were locked together as they disappeared within the growing orb of blackness that was slowly consuming the world.
With all hope now gone, the orb continued to grow, first consuming Tyrion and Allarielle and then Malekith. As the Eternity King was swallowed up by the inky blackness he found himself in a realm with no meaning. He saw his entire life, reliving his childhood and all that came after, and then his memories were wiped clean, all that was Malekith gone. It does sound like even though his personality was gone, Malekith himself is still alive. This of course makes you wonder who else still lived. Technically Tyrion, Allarielle, Sigmar, Archaon, and Nagash could all still be "alive" in some sense of the word. With the power unleashed at Middenheim, the Realm of Chaos began to spill out into the real world and the polar warp gates were also destabilized. For some it seemed as though it was instantaneous, the world wiped away, for others it lasted millennia. Each being saw the world's demise differently, but in the end the result was the same. The Warhammer world was no more, wholly consumed by the powers of Chaos. With nothing left to entertain them, the four powers moved on to new worlds and new ventures. With their attention elsewhere they did not see the single spark of light that shone in the darkness. The essence of what had once been a man. Grabbing onto the remnants of a world, it held tight and a miracle began to take shape. Though this was the end, it was also the beginning...
And that's that everyone! That is a wrap on Warhammer as we know it. What the future holds, no one knows, but I for one am excited to see what comes of Warhammer. Bring on 9th edition!
As a side note, not everyone's fate was covered in Archaon. From what I've heard some characters, like Isabella, Settra, Arkhan, Thanquol, and others, are covered in the novel, Lord of the End Times. The book is on my night stand right now, so expect a much smaller follow up article to this one, in which I will cover all of the deaths from the novel that, in a few weeks. So please be courteous to others and do not mention what happens to those characters in the comments if you already know. At the very least put a SPOILER tag at the start of your comment so people can decide whether or not they want to find out now or later.
Until next time,