Over the course of their training, the Stormcast Eternals had been taught that there was nothing they could not overcome with sword, hammer, and lightning. The breaking of Sigmar’s Tempest upon the realms, and the era of constant battle thereafter, was to test that supposition to the limit.
The sealed portals to the Realm of Heavens were impenetrable, and Sigmaron remained safe from the all-conquering armies. The ravenous hunger of the Dark Gods could not be sated, for they would be content with nothing less than the total conquest of every Mortal Realm. The early daemonic invasions were horrific, but after Sigmar shut himself away in Azyr they became far worse. A deep and terrible darkness fell over the realms, for the Age of Chaos had arrived.
By attacking and controlling the Realmgates – mystic portals that allow travel between the different realms – the Chaos forces cut off and dominated all who opposed them. One by one, the greatest civilisations were pulled down into ruin. Some fell to sword and fire, others to plague or decadent corruption from within.
Warped creatures crept from the shadows to live amongst the rubble of toppled nations, whispering to the huddled and desperate survivors that their gods had abandoned them, but that they could still regain their former glory. Some of the broken bands of people resisted, though the majority of these were slain or enslaved. Others began to worship the Chaos Gods, swearing dark vows and joining grotesque rituals. Across the realms, abhorrent monuments rose to the skies, and fell fortresses were constructed atop the old ruins. The Chaos forces grew so powerful the lands themselves changed under their corrupting influence.
The Dark Gods, sure of victory yet always grasping for more, began to fight amongst themselves, each striving to be the sole conqueror of the realms. They waxed and waned in power and ascendancy as their plots came to fruition. Khorne, the Blood God; Nurgle, God of Plagues; and Tzeentch, Master of Sorcery – each controlled lands untold. Slaanesh, the Dark Prince of Excess, was mysteriously missing, although his minions were ruthless in their search for the absent deity. Even the Great Horned Rat, god of the skaven, claimed vast kingdoms. It was Khorne, however, who emerged as the most powerful of all. Everywhere his armies ran rampant, mercilessly slaughtering all they found, and the lands ran red with the blood of the mortal races.
Though his need for vengeance simmered hot, the God-King spent as long as he could in preparation before sending forth his Tempest – for he knew he would have but one chance at redemption. Over the course of the Long Wait, he founded armies so extensive even the vast halls of the Sigmarabulum were packed to capacity at times. When Sigmar saw that reality itself was crumbling away, he gathered the legions he had forged thus far in great ceremony, and bade them get ready for war. Though he did not admit his doubts to any save his ancient ally Grungni the Maker, he feared the Stormcast Eternals were not ready, that his grand design was not complete. Already he suspected that the reforging process he had designed to make them immortal contained a small but vital flaw, though he could not say how it might manifest. Even his celestial vision was not infinite, and he could not read the fates. But the Dark Gods had left him little choice – the Stormcast Eternals had to be sent forth.
When Sigmar finally unleashed his Tempest across the Mortal Realms, the Stormcast Eternals struck the minions of the Dark Gods with such force the shock waves were felt across the lands. A new and righteous chapter began in the history of the Mortal Realms – the Age of Sigmar.
Just as their foes had done during those first bloody years of the Age of Chaos, the Stormcast Eternals struck at the Realmgates, seeking to isolate the Chaos forces. Thus began the Realmgate Wars and, for the first time, the tide began to turn. What followed were mighty battles the likes of which had not been seen since the Red Century.
At the Igneous Delta of Aqshy’s Great Parch, the Hammers of Sigmar made war against the Goretide, thousands dying each day. In Chamon, the Stormcast Eternals stormed the Eldritch Fortress and reclaimed Ghal Maraz for their master. Allies thought long lost returned to Sigmar’s banner, given hope by the appearance of this new force in the realms. Among them was Alarielle, the nature goddess of Ghyran, and her arboreal Sylvaneth legions. Though Nurgle’s cloying grip was suffocating the Realm of Life with decay, with the aid of the Hallowed Knights, Alarielle was able to assume her war aspect and fight back. This was a turning point in the battle for the Jade Kingdoms, and a great blow against the forces of Chaos.
The arrival of the Stormcast Eternals at first drove the servants of the Dark Gods into disarray, their daemonic masters caught off-guard by the fury of Sigmar’s wrath. But, over time, those fell armies gathered for a new assault under Archaon the Everchosen – greatest general of the Chaos Gods. Both sides enlisted or enslaved the zodiacal monstrosities known as godbeasts to aid them in their cause. Ignax the Solar Drake, Behemat the World Titan, even Dracothion himself – all were drawn into the fray. Cataclysmic battles ensued, and the lands of the Mortal Realms were in places altered forever.
The servants of Chaos, swollen with power after an age of slaughter and conquest, proved deadly foes, and many noble warriors were sent back to Azyr upon the storm. Though the Stormcast Eternals were to all intents and purposes immortal, they were immune to neither blade nor spell. When they fell in battle their bodies could be remade, but each new reforging stripped them of a little more of their humanity.
The Realmgate Wars reached their climactic conclusion as Sigmar attempted to take back the Allpoints – a nexus of Realmgates that allowed passage to all realms – from Archaon’s armies. In a final tumultuous showdown before the great fortresses known as the All-gates – within which the Realmgates leading to the Allpoints were to be found – Sigmar and the armies of Order were able to recover two vital portals – the Genesis Gate in Ghyran and the Brimfire Gate of Aqshy.
At great cost, the forces of Sigmar claimed valuable territories across the realms, establishing new outposts and raising cities that stand tall and proud to this day. But this hard-fought frontier is far from secure. The hosts of Chaos strike back daily against their hated foes, the greenskin tribes have been roused to fresh heights of savage fury by the escalating conflict, and the legions of Nagash haunt every dark corner. Meanwhile, the Stormhosts must now face the dangers within themselves that cannot be fought with blade and hammer.