The Stormhosts have a clear structure, but in practice are often organised as necessity demands. All are led into battle by seasoned commanders who combine the role of lord, champion and master strategist alike – but even these paragons are not immune to the vagaries of war.
Each Stormcast Eternals chamber is an independent army unto itself. Its commanders are given authority by Sigmar, their remit to wrest victory from the armies of evil warlords and consolidate those gains in whatever way they see fit. That said, each Stormhost’s command structure has similarities in the way it is organised, commonalities of hierarchy that mean a chamber from one Stormhost will appear much like its equivalent in another when a crusade is first gathered in the halls of Sigmaron.
Ultimately, each chamber is a meritocracy. It has been shorn of the politics and back-biting of a mortal institution – such pettiness has no place in a shield-wall that must stand firm against the hordes of Chaos, or an arcane cabal that faces the mind-twisting sorceries of the Dark Gods. If a Stormcast Eternal proves wise in the ways of a particular enemy, or hails from the land in which the chamber seeks to do battle, his superiors will listen closely to his advice without bias.
If an individual shows true promise – demonstrating outstanding quality of the mind and soul, as well as the body – they will be elevated to a new rank upon their next reforging. This is no simple promotion, no battlefield edict that conveys authority alone, but a holistic transformation that sees their soul energised even further by the magic of Azyr. A Liberator-Prime that defends a fortress city for months against the most horrific siege weapons might be reforged as a Lord-Castellant after giving his life to repel the enemy in the final assault. Similarly, a Sequitor or Castigator who banishes every gheist that crosses his path and devotes many sleepless nights to learning the lore of undeath may be reforged as a Lord-Exorcist. Such individuals are not always accepted as easily in the chamber command as those Sigmar judged born to the role, but in most instances their exceptional quality soon proves they have found their true place.
It is not the way of a Strike Chamber’s commanders to sit back whilst their men fight and die on their behalf. Instead, they lead from the front, as inspiring to their kin as they are frightening to their enemies. Such heroic individuals are colloquially known as the Lords of the Storm. It is they that take on the direst of foes blade-to-blade, who stand before monsters that shake the earth with their tread, and who plunge fearlessly into the unknown horizons of each Realmgate without hesitation. Because of their selfless heroism, it is often the officers of a chamber’s command that have been reforged the most, giving their lives in battle only to be sent back into the fray over and over again.
The side effects of this cycle of war, death and rebirth mean the leaders of each chamber become exemplars of that which their Stormhost embodies, each a living incarnation of Sigmar’s divine will. The officers of the Hallowed Knights, for instance, number amongst them saintly figures that glow with an inner light – this radiance becomes stronger with each act of martyrdom until it literally shines through the joints in their armour. Many leaders of the Knights Excelsior, infamous for the obsessive vigour with which they scour the taint of Chaos from the lands, literally view the world in a monochromatic schema of good and evil, and claim they can perceive intent as well as action. Some of the vengeful lords of the Celestial Vindicators find their endless ire burning around them in a tangible aura when they charge headlong into the enemy, trailing blue flame like the tail of a meteor. Some exhibit even stranger manifestations; it is said that Lord-Celestant Ossiach Vanderghule of the Anvils of the Heldenhammer is surrounded by wisps of amethyst energy that resemble tiny ethereal haemonculi, and that a new phantasm appears after his every reforging.
The changes that these leaders undergo are not all obvious. In their minds, those amongst them that have become transfigured have long ago departed the realm of human emotion and morality. Some embrace the cold, analytical perspective of one who looks down from on high, literally as well as metaphorically. Others rail against the change, doing everything in their power to hold onto the traditions, cultural idiosyncrasies and even indulgences that once made them who they were – and, in the process, influencing the warriors of their respective chambers to do the same.
Even with these exemplars of the Stormhosts there is no predictable outcome from repeated reforgings. The more esoteric the transfiguration, the more the unwanted reputation of the Stormcast Eternals spreads – that they are no longer recognisably human. All that is known for sure is that these lords epitomise Sigmar’s divine power more than any other. They embody not only the blessings of the tempest’s mantle, but also the side-effects that take the Stormcasts ever further from the simple mortality that was once their birthright.