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Spittlegit is gifted with the spider-tongue – the ability to commune with the blessed Arachnaroks through the power of taste. By ingesting an arachnid’s venom, Spittlegit can sense what strange thoughts lurk within its alien mind. However, consuming the toxic fluid is not without its perils, and more venom than blood now courses through Spittlegit’s wiry frame. A lifetime of culinary experimentation has meant that the chieftain is bombarded with hallucinations of uniting all the Spiderfang tribes of Ghur into one massive nest. Spittlegit wants to build the Realm Web – a net of silvery cords that will cover all the known worlds, snaring them within its sticky strands. Fortunately for Spittlegit, the gifts bestowed by his spider-tongue have left the other tribes in awe of him, and hundreds of thousands of Spiderfang warriors have flocked to his banner. With these armies, Spittlegit has conquered the underways and raised a mighty Arachnarok nest. Soon, his tribes will surge from the underway, and the first strands of the Realm Web will be strung.[1b]


War of the Spider Empire

Feeble sunlight faded into shadow as Archaon’s warhost marched deeper into the underway. Blood-mad berserkers howled into the darkness, and pustule-covered knights drank in the thick, wet smells that wafted up from the depths.[1a]

These cavernous roads linked the loose confederation of the Howling Cities scattered across the Beastplains. Chaos forces had besieged the stubborn cities for months on end, but the entrenched defenders seemed to have few weaknesses – until the underways were discovered. For centuries, these tunnels had been abandoned, becoming a haven for the Spiderfang tribes and their nests of Arachnaroks. The cities’peoples knew better than to enter the underways, for only death dwelt within.[1a]

The Everchosen held no such fears, and so he led the way into the gloom to claim the tunnels. As his army plunged deeper into the underways, the First Circle of the Varanguard rode ahead. Fighting their way through a subterranean forest, its branches thick with webs and desiccated corpses, the Swords of Chaos cleared a path for the rest of Archaon’s host. Sunken trees and gnarled roots loomed from the shadows like the bars of a ghostly prison, skeletons and corpses grinning from their silken cages. Far beyond the torchlight of the Everchosen’s army, the Spiderlord Spittlegit listened as the intruders entered his domain. With a whispered command, he called forth his war-tribes, and thousands of spider-mounted grots scuttled fromtheir nests towards the invaders. [1a]

Descending on glistening cords, spiders and their riders snatched Chaos warriors from the ground or sank venomous fangs into their throats. Though many Spiderfangs fell to vengeful blades, they took their toll. However, with every step Archaon’s army took into the forest, the strength and frequency of the attacks increased.[1b]

The Everchosen did not falter, ordering the Swords of Chaos to set the trees alight and burn the spiders out. The battle raged on under the hellish light of the flaming thickets. Archaon pressed forwards through the glow as burning Spiderfangs charged screeching from the fire-filled tunnels.[1b]

At last, amid the screams and curses of combat, Archaon and his Varanguard rode into a megalithic cavern, hordes of Bloodbound and Rotbringers following in their wake. In the centre of the cave, a massive nest hung from a root the size of an inverted castle tower.[1b]

Its bottom most branches brushed the canopy of the forest covering the cavern floor, the two connected by glistering bridges of web. This was the Everchosen’s prize, and it would be destroyed. Taking to the air, Archaon commanded his Varanguard to cleanse the tunnels ringing the huge chamber. Meanwhile, the rest of the Chaos host spread out and advanced on the nest, blades and axes in hand.[1b]

Archaon’s Bloodbound led the way. Their gore-slick skin reflected the light of their torches as they charged up one of the fibrous spans and surged into the nest, roaring oaths to Khorne.[1b]

Spiderfang warriors spilled out of the tangled nest and surged into the forest, hurling spears of sharpened chitin. Dozens of Bloodbound fell to the ground, convulsing and frothing as venom coursed through their veins, but hundreds more crashed into the horde of grots. Sprays of viscous ichor and steaming blood flowed together as the Bloodbound butchered their way into the nest, while those in the lead hurled torches or set the webs aflame with the heat of their own Khorne-fuelled rage.[1b]

Yet Arachnarok webs are not so easily destroyed, and the fires eventually sputtered and died. Even so, the flames had roused the huge spiders, which now descended on the Bloodbound, their fangs clacking in anticipation.[1b]

His gigantic spider clinging to the apex of the nest, Spittlegit watched with glee as the last of the Bloodbound were devoured. His yellowed eyes then turned to Archaon, who circled high above the Chaos army upon Dorghar. Spittlegit wondered why the flying beast had yet to join the fray.[1c]

Around the base of the nest, a furious battle was unfolding. While the Bloodbound had climbed one of the ramps, the rest of the Chaos horde had held the Spiderfang tribes at bay. Now, that battle engulfed the cavern floor.[1c]

Spiderfang riders scuttled between plate-clad warriors, their spears jabbing and their mounts snapping, while Chaos warriors hacked apart their foes, turning the ground thick with ichor. Meanwhile, Spittlegit’s gargants had joined the battle. The drunken giants staggered into the fray, crushing enemies under foot and fist, while those especially unfortunate met their end stuffed into reeking mouths.[1c][1d]

A knot of Rotbringer Blightkings charged up a bridge of web and into the nest. The Nurgle warriors brought toxic contagions, spilling their acidic bile onto the webs. They fared no better than the devotees of Khorne had. The Arachnaroks turned upon the Blightkings, their crews hurling primitive missiles as the beasts charged. Distracted by the Nurgle assault, Spittlegit took his eyes from Archaon and hurried down to attack.[1d]

Plague-ruined voices breathed their last as the Blightkings were torn apart. Though the webbed floor of the nest was littered with Spiderfang corpses, even the blessed of Nurgle were no match for the mighty arachnids. Spittlegit personally drove a dripping blade into the final Blightking.[1d]

Then, the nest shuddered to its roots and tears opened at its base, sending giant spider spawn tumbling down into the battle below. Looking up, Spittlegit beheld Archaon, his daemonic mount’s talons wrapped around the thick strands that held the nest to the cavern roof. A pair of Arachnaroks surged up through the web-tangled branches with a speed that belied their prodigious bulk, Spittlegit close behind. Archaon would not be taken by surprise so easily, however. With a deafening triple-throated shriek, Dorghar plunged down to meet his attackers.[1d]

One monstrous spider lunged through the air, crossing a dozen yards in a moment to sink its fangs into Dorghar. Locked in a monstrous embrace, spider and daemon plummeted through the nest. As they fell, Dorghar’s three heads tore into the Arachnarok’s chitinous hide, and Archaon leaned from his saddle to sever one of the creature’s legs with a deft blow from the Slayer of Kings. With a terrible, wet ripping noise the massive spider’s bloated abdomen came away, before the rest of its twitching body fell to the ground.[1d]

The other beast shot a tangle of web, but Dorghar deftly swooped away. Giving chase, the remaining Arachnarok charged up the nest, Spittlegit in its wake. Taking roost upon the very top of the great wriggling mass, Archaon raised his blade high, eyes locked upon his foes. His blow fell not upon his Arachnarok pursuer, however, but the root above.[1d]

In a thunderous roar of parting wood and web that drowned out the battle below, the nest fell. With a booming flap of his wings Dorghar carried the Everchosen clear, just in time to see the nest, Arachnaroks and Spittlegit crash into the ground and vanish under a thousand Chaos blades. The Arachnaroks’ brood had fallen, and soon the underway would follow.[1d]