Sitting proud astride his Dracoth, Calanax, Lord-Celestant Vandus Hammerhand is the very image of the heroic saviour. Vandus is a natural leader and an exceptionally talented warrior, considered among the greatest of Sigmar’s war leaders. Rumourhas it that Vandus’ Reforging was unusually fast, mere heartbeats passing before the Lord-Celestant strode from the scourging lightnings of the Chamber of the Broken World. Since that time, he has trained his warrior chamber to the absolute peak of physical and martial ability. Though he places his duty and his loyalty to Sigmar above all else, many believe that the driving force of Vandus’ excellence is a very personal desire for revenge. Long ago, in another life, Vandus Hammerhand was Vendell Blackfist, smith-chief of the Direbrand tribe. For long hours the tribe bravely resisted Khorgos Khul’s Goretide, but they could not hold out forever. Before he was snatched away by Sigmar, Vendell watched Khul kill everyone he had ever cared for. It is not a sight that he will soon forget, nor ever forgive...
The Fallen King
Vengeance. Justice. For too long, Sigmar and his Stormcast Eternals had hungered for them. Now, at last, their hour was nigh. Chosen to wrest a vital Realmgate in Aqshy from the forces of Chaos, the Hammers of Sigmar fell upon their foes amid coruscating thunderbolts. Most enemies would have recoiled in dismay from this onslaught. Instead, the warriors of Khorgos Khul ’s Goretide welcomed it with bloodthirsty howls. Standing amongst his warriors as the flaring fury of the tempest reflected in his bloodshot eyes, Khorgos Khul roared Khorne’s praise louder than any. Here was a chance for Khul to seize glory once and for all. The Lord of the Goretide would take the head of whatever mighty warrior dared to lead this audacious attack. In doing so, he would at long last earn the ultimate reward of daemonhood.[1a]
The opening moments of the battle for the Igneous Delta were frantic and confused. Even though the Stormcast Eternals had the element of surprise, striking without warning against foes who had long been complacent invictory, the Goretide reacted to their sudden assault with swift violence.The Bloodbound’s vast numbers and battle-lust soon threatened to overwhelm the valiant Hammers of Sigmar. Lord-Relictor Ionus Cryptborn and his Retributors fought to hold back Threx Skullbrand and a tide of raging Blood Warriors, while Lord-Celestant Vandus Hammerhand battled the monstrous Khorgorath Skuldrak, their duel illuminated by ferocious blasts of lightning.[1a]
As they fought to open the Realmgate itself, Anactos Skyhelm’s Prosecutors were engulfed by howling hordes of Bloodreavers. For long moments it seemed as though all of reality held its breath. Finally, woken from its slumber by the celestial might of the Prosecutors, the Realmgate blew wide open. Within moments, the unabated wrath of the Hammers of Sigmar Stormhost descended upon the Goretide. As countless warriors poured into the fight, the battle entered a new phase.[1a]
As violent clashes exploded all across the delta, Khorgos Khul felt elation flow through him. For too long had the Bloodbound been sustained by table-scraps. Now there was a banquet of battle unlike anything they had ever known. Khul intended to gorge himself upon this bloody feast, and he planned to start with the towering Dracoth rider that had led this sudden attack. Whoever he was, this warlord had invaded Khul’s territory, slain his followers and drawn the ire of the Blood God himself. He was a threat to Khorgos Khul’s crown, a clear and worthy rival, and his challenge would not be allowed to stand. Smashing Bloodreavers from his path with brutal swings of his axe, Khul began to hack his way towards Vandus Hammerhand with murder in his heart.[1b]
The two warriors clashed before the very Realmgate that Vandus had been sent to open. Khul’s daemonic hound, Grizzlemaw, was the first to strike a blow, bounding ahead to clamp its jaws around Vandus’ hammer. The beast was repelled by the searing touch of pure sigmarite, falling back with a howl of pain. Khul charged to the attack, seeing only a foe whose skull he wished to claim. Yet as he did, the Lord of the Goretide saw his foe stiffen with recognition, then rage. Vandus’ hammer swept up with incredible speed, parrying Khul’s killing stroke with a clang like a cathedral bell, before spinning to smash Khorgos Khul into the mud. Even as the Lord of the Goretide lost consciousness, a great draconine claw crunched down on his breastplate with crushing force.[1b]
This would not be Khul’s day to die, however. Vandus paused suddenly, his eyes glazed and far-away. At that precise moment, a great surge of Bloodreavers broke over the Stormcast lines. The shield wall formed by Vandus’ Liberators broke, and a howling mass of Bloodbound warriors poured through the rent. Vandus uttered a vehement curse as the Bloodreavers’ charge swept him back, away from Khul. His Dracoth, Calanax, was forced to give ground, roaring as barbarian warriors hacked and bludgeoned at its scaled hide.[1c]
The Hammers of Sigmar reacted with speed and discipline. Seeing their Lord-Celestant at risk of being overwhelmed, the brethren of Vandus’ warrior chamber charged to his aid with their hammers swinging. Bloodreavers fell in their dozens as the vengeful Stormcasts smashed and bludgeoned, and soon enough, the threat to Vandus was extinguished. However, even as Vandus and his warriors had been putting down the berserk Bloodreavers, another, far larger Bloodbound warband had pushed forward. In their midst, Threx Skullbrand bellowed and roared, his portal of skulls sending pulses of daemonic energy washing over the warriors of the Goretide, granting them monstrous strength.[1c]
Now this mass of murderous lunatics bore down upon Vandus and his brethren like a clenched fist, driving them further from the spot where Khorgos Khul had fallen. Blood Warriors and Wrathmongers raced each other into battle, wrath-flails and axes whirling with savagery and skill. Khornate blades slammed through sigmarite shields and breastplates, sending the crackling energies of slain Stormcasts arcing up to rejoin the clouds. Mighty Skullcrushers ploughed through the hastily formed Stormcast lines like battering rams through a castle door. Retributors’ hammers blasted Bloodbound warriors to ash on the wind, only for their wielders to be pulled down and hacked to death by screaming Bloodreavers. In the midst of the butchery, Threx Skullbrand hacked left and right, his blade opening throats and lopping off limbs with every swing. A gold-armoured warrior came at him from the side, hammer raised. Threx caught the hammer blow on his shoulder, shrugging off an impact that would have killed a lesser man before slamming his axe through his assailant’s faceplate. Another Stormcast charged the Bloodsecrator, only for Threx to sweep the warrior’s legs from under him with his icon’s staff before stamping on his neck. Raising his icon high, the Bloodsecrator slammed its haft downward, right through his victim’s skull and into the ground below. With a sickening lurch, the realm of Khorne broke through into the battle’s midst, driving the Goretide to even greater heights of frenzy.[1c]
As the intensity of the battle reached new heights, the Stormcast Eternals were gradually pushed back. Vandus knew that if he forced his warriors to hold here, unsupported in the face of the Goretide’s wrath, he would condemn them all to death for the sake of his revenge. With a heavy heart, the Lord-Celestant ordered Retinues Adractus and Voltanis to enact a sacrificial counter-charge, buying their brethren time to join forces with the brotherhoods scattered across the delta.[1d]
Between Threx Skullbrand’s advance and the reforming of the Stormcasts’ battle lines, Vandus was inexorably drawn away from the place where he had struck down Khul. As the Bloodbound continued to throw themselves against Sigmar’s warriors, forcing the battle across the delta, they were oblivious to the fact that their vicious assault had saved the life of their mighty leader. Only some minutes later did Khul rise from the heaped corpses with a bellow of rage, the need for vengeance a raging inferno in his armoured breast.[1d]
Vandus and his warriors were chosen to be the first of the Stormcasts to be sent forth from Azyr.
Vandus's golden war helm is crowned with the image of Ghal Maraz, Sigmar's fabled hammer.
Vandus forces led a vanguard into the realm of Aqshy against the forces of Khorgos Khul, now a feared Might Lord of Khorne, and his army the Goretide in an attempt to open the Realmgate leading to Azyr and thus allowing reinforcements to arrive.
Even though the Khuls forces vastly outnumbered the stormcasts they were ultimately unprepared for the might of Sigmars warriors having grown soft as a result of there being no worthy enemys for them to fight. As a result the Hammerhands managed to destroy the seals on the Realmgate and allow reinforcements to arrive and overwhelm the Goretide. During this conflict Vandus confronted and defeated Khul but due to aid from his followers was unable to finish the Warlord off.
Due to a vision showing Khuls Pyramid of skulls as well as his pursuit of daemonhood the stormcasts set out to destroy this offering to the blood god as well as destroy a gate that led to the realm of chaos. During the second battle Khul manages to kill a lord Celestant and intends to use his skull to complete his pyramid and secure his place at the blood gods side. Before he can achieve this however Vandus, with the aid of the lord relictor Ionus Kryptborn, manages to intercept and engage Khul in a second duel before he reaches the top of his pyramid.
Despite his great power Khul gains the upperhand and overpowers both Vandus and Calanax. In a last attempt to rob Khul of his victory Vandus throws himself at the chaos gate and asks sigmar to use him as a focus point for his power so that he may destroy the gate. Sigmar seemingly answers his warriors prayer and sends a titanic bolt of lightning down which destorys the gate and seemingly Vandus with it. The resulting explosion of the destroyed gate also destroys Khuls pyramid of skulls and Khul last scene atop the ruins howling in rage as his forces are destroyed by Ionus and the remainging Stormcasts.
Vandus was not killed however but was saved at the last moment by Sigmar himself who transported Vandus back to Azyr the moment the lighting struck the gate. Vandus and his Hammerhands were soon sent by Sigmar to assist the Celestial Vindicators in retrieving the newly discovered Ghal Maraz in the realm of Chamon.
Retrieving Ghal Maraz
The Hammerhands and the Celestial Vindicators fought through the realm of Chamon to the dreadhold where Ghal Maraz was being kept my a Tzeenchian wizard at the behest of Fateweaver. He along with a covern of Lords of change attempted to use the power of Ghal Maraz to transport the Realm of metal into the Realm of Chaos. However the stormcasts managed to breakthrough and confront the daemons.
During the battle Vandus and the Lord Cellestant of the Celestial Vindicators confronted Fateweaver. The battle was going poorly until Vandus managed to get a hold of Ghal Maraz. Using Sigmars hammer Vandus was able to bansih the Daemon almost effortlessly.
The hammer was returned to Sigmar in the Realm of Azyr where he used its power to complete the reforging of the Celesatant Prime and gave him the weapon to bare.