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The Verminlord Corruptor known as Sepskrik the Foul has been responsible for some of the most horrific plague outbreaks in the history of the Mortal Realms. It was he who introduced the Crimsonweal Curse to the fountains of the Glittering City, and who set loose the Grey Shrivelling amid the Everwoods of High Sephardia. Sepskrik is known as the Foul for his pestilent stench and for the living carpet of parasites that seethes over his fur. Yet even though the Verminlord’s very presence leaves greasy trails of dark corruption on everything he touches, the daemon is actually a fastidious and obsessive collector of the very finest plague ingredients. Hagwolf teeth must be polished to a fine sheen, rotwater must retain the perfect, porridgy consistency, while troggoth warts must be shrivelled to just the right size.The daemon’s strange lair is a clinking, creaking repository of alembic jars beyond count, within which float myriad horrors gathered from across the realms, horrors that he has slain entire armies just to possess…[1c]


Battle of the Serpenstone

Deep within the trackless wastes of the Basalt Plains, the volcano Ashmaw rumbled angrily. None had trod the still, dead streets below its slopes for many a long age. But scurrying, scuttling claws marked them now.[1a]

From the Bitterglass Realmgate deep within the ruins, a foulness seeped into the City of Secrets. Plague Monks from half a dozen Clans Pestilens spilled from the crackling portal. Festering Plague Priests chittered passages fromthe Withered Word while Plague Harbingers frantically clanged doom gongs and rusted bells, the sound falling dead in the oppressive, airless heat.[1a]

Hundreds of Plague Monks gathered amongst the ruins, forming a clotted mass as they waited for Verminlord Sepskrik’s arrival.[1a]

He was the last one through the Realmgate, a vast, pestilent presence before whom the stench of dying things billowed. Striding on taloned hooves, the Verminlord Corruptor had come to claim a very particular prize. Here was a daemon powerful enough to force an alliance between the rival clans of Morbidus, Vomikrit, Retchid and the rest. Here was the being that knew where a rare ingredient for the Great Plague known as the Undulant Scourge had been revealed, vomited from the ground somewhere within this city.[1a]

Other, ancient eyes watched from on high as the skaven emerged. Levitating above the leaping flames of the volcano’s caldera, the Slann Starmaster X’loc X’hul watched with serene interest. The slann knew what this city had so recently spat out – an ancient serpentstone so evil that no celestial being could lay hand upon it and live. He knew that Sepskrik could not be allowed to get his claws on the venomous gem. Though his physical form remained motionless, the slann’s mind began to spin like an ancient machine. His magics reached out into the ether, to the Realm of Heavens, and summoned an army.[1a][1b]

By now the Plague Monks had spread out into the empty streets and shadowed, smouldering ruins of the City of Secrets. They followed the whispered words of their daemonic master, leaving churned trails of clawprints in their wake as they hefted aside rubble and dug through the dust of ages for their prize. When the first motes of light fell from the smoke-wreathed skies, the verminous hordes slowed their desperate search and looked up. Tails twitched nervously, and the musk of fear drifted amid the rank stink of the filthy, verminous bodies. Suddenly the motes began to explode in dazzling bursts of light. From the illumination thundered saurus warriors on greatriding beasts.[1b]

Within moments, the search for the serpentstone had become a scattered and bloody battle. Heavenly light was bursting into being throughout the streets of the City of Secrets, and Sepskrik cursed as he recognised the magics of the seraphon. All was not lost, however. The Verminlord could feel the serpentstone’s power calling to him. He was closing in.[1c]

Throwing back his head, the Verminlord let loose a great shriek of rage that echoed out impossibly long and loud across the ruins. Rallying to that fearsome cry, the Plague Monks fought back against their terrifying attackers, forming larger and larger swarms as they battled their way towards their master.[1c]

Floating down the mountainside, Lord X’loc X’hul enjoyed a god’s eye view. The skaven were strewn at random across the ruined city, but their numbers were many and they were fighting with a zealous fury. By comparison, his own forces were arrayed in the radiating, everturning wheels of the sun and stars configuration. Galloping down streets and crashing through ruins, the saurian warriors drove the Plague Monks before them. But now that the enemy had recovered from their surprise, the seraphon were losing momentum, plague fog engulfing them and rusted blades hacking through their hides.[1c]

Lord X’loc X’hul drew the celestial energies to him and blinked out of existence, re-manifesting in the city’s old square. Around him appeared Saurus Guard, with shields locked. Beneath his palanquin, glinting beside the lip of the ragged rift from which it had escaped, lay the serpentstone. LordX’loc X’hul meant to see that Sepskrik never laid a claw upon it.[1c]

The sounds of battle swiftly grew closer. Suddenly the reek of filth swept the square, and Sepskrik strode into view, surrounded by a seething horde of devotees. Wasting no time, the Verminlord Corruptor raised one yellowed talon and ordered the attack.[1c]

Plague Monks and Censer Bearers dashed across the ashen square, corrosive fumes swirling around them. In response, Lord X’loc X’hul summoned up his greatest magics. As weeping wave of golden fire roared forth, blasting the front skaven ranks to ash. Even as those behind were squealing their fear and blinking cinders from their eyes, the slann raised his hands and saurus cavalry came thundering in from the side streets, hitting the skaven flanks like battering rams. At the same time, his bone-helmed guards pressed forwards, slamming Plague Monks into the dirt with their shields and hacking through verminous bodies with their glowing polearms.[1c]

Seeing his lackeys dying in droves, and with his own flesh scorched by the slann’s magic, Sepskrik let out a low and dangerous hiss. He had not come all this way just to be denied his prize by the incompetence of underlings.[1d]

Conjuring up plague magics of the blackest sort, the Verminlord Corruptor hurled them into the stumbling, panicking mass of his own followers. The results were horrific and immediate. Plague Monks coughed and squealed as they vomited great gouts of black, stinking blood across one another. Every new victim struck by this stinking substance was infected in turn, the sickness racing through the Plague Monks like a tide.[1d]

In moments, the sickness had reached the seraphon, and it was no more merciful to them. Lord X’loc X’hul blinked in surprise as his warriors fell, vomiting and convulsing before shimmering away like heat haze. Tar like sputum covered everything, as the square was reduced to a seething morass of writhing, retching figures and reeking vomitous gore. Even the slann himself felt a noxious stirring deep in his gut, and was forced to devote precious energies to keeping the sorcerous contagion at bay. The Verminlord Corruptor strode through the scene of horror, plague-reapers in hand. With a vicious backhand sweep, he tore the throat from the last Saurus Guard and flung its corpse aside. In response, Lord X’loc X’hul tried to hurl his foe through a rift in reality.[1d]

Contemptuously, the Verminlord unravelled the weakened magics and, jaws yawning wide, belched a great sizzling cloud of corrosive fog across the ancient slann. Lord X’loc X’hul uttered his first vocalisation in millennia – a croak of agony – as his flesh began to blister and bubble. With a sneer, Sepskrik raised a sickle and brought it down on the slann’s skull. The blade met only air. Lord X’loc X’hul had vanished.[1d]

The Verminlord Corruptor reached down into the swilling, bloody filth of the battlefield and plucked the pulsing serpentstone from the ground. Carefully, he rubbed it clean with his claws. The mounds of fallen Plague Monks that surrounded Sepskrik were already dismissed from his mind; he had eyes only for his wondrous bounty. With a cruel leer of satisfaction, the Verminlord Corruptor turned and strode back through the filth-spattered corpses towards the Realmgate, his prize in hand.[1d]