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Each Slann remembers indistinct fragments of the Seraphon’s long war against the Dark Gods, the past and future often mingling in their complex minds. One memory, however, is as clear to Zectoka as the stars that blaze in the night sky. He recalls the Dreaming City and the beginning of the Days of Blood, when he stood witness to eight thousand murders and his temple became a place of death.[1a]

Since his long journey to the Realm of Azyr, Zectoka has dreamed of the crimson path trodden by the Khorne’s crazed followers. This is the road which led towards the Days of Blood, or – as Zectoka believes – that which leads away from them. Choosing his battles with care, the slann descends from the heavens as a great falling star, searing away Khorne’s servants in waves of purifying celestial light. Only when all of the Blood God’s soldiers are destroyed will Zectoka finally know if he himself has sealed the crimson path at its source – or followed it to its conclusion.[1a]

Recently, this sprawling conflict has led the slann into the rotting kingdoms and plague-riddled continents of Ghyran, where Khorne’s forces are striving to prevent Nurgle’s ascendence. In the foetid swamps and infected vales of the realm, his armies excel at sudden, blazing strikes, vanquishing the enemy before vanishing like dew. For these tactics, Zectoka favours skink cohorts, sometimes summoning thousands of the nimble warriors to lay complex and deadly ambushes for the crazed followers of the Blood God. However, the coming of the Ironjawz has torn apart the slann’s carefully laid war plans. As a fire spreads without concern for what it burns, so too have the Ironjawz ripped their way from one arboreal kingdom to the next. With the deliberate determination of the moving heavens, Zectoka is realising that his war against the followers of Khorne will be all the harder if he cannot find a way to blunt the brutal advance of the Ironjawz.[2a]


The Fortress of Embers

Sigmarite weapons rang off Chaos armour as the Hammers of Sigmar fought their way up the skull-paved steps of the Fortress of Embers. On all sides the Bloodbound of Kaelgor’s host hurled themselves at the Stormcast Eternals, and blood flowed down the slopes beneath the smouldering keep like a crimson river.[1a]

Lord-Celestant Aurgos Trueforged smashed another of the corrupted mortals to the ground, the crunch of bone lost among the Bloodbound’s harsh battle cries. His force was but three hundred against thousands, yet on they fought, streaking down from the heavens in bolts of lightning to bring down the hated Fortress of Embers and free Obsidia Isle from the tyranny of its lord. Beyond the press of foes, the Lord-Celestant could see the Mighty Lord of Khorne striding purposefully from the castle gates, intent on slaughter. Yet Aurgos feared he would not live to cross blades with the tyrant. Another wave of Khornate warriors crashed into the flank of his formation, a dozen Stormcasts carried back to Azyr in flashes of actinic light.[1a]

Neither Stormcast nor Bloodbound noticed the star until it had almost eclipsed the sky, so swiftly did it fall – a roaring comet of magic hurled from far Azyr. It fell at the foot of the fortress, exploding with ground-shattering force, hurling bodies and shards of blackglass into the air. Out of the fading halo around the impact site came the slann Zectoka, and as the light ebbed away hundreds of reptilian warriors appeared as if from nowhere.[1a]

Aurgos had never seen such creatures before, but he had heard tell of the race that lived among the stars. Even separated from them by a sea of foes, the Lord-Celestant could sense the celestial energy radiating from the newcomers. With a cry he plunged into the fray, the Stormcasts following him as he fought his way towards Kaelgor. Meanwhile ominous cracks spread out from the comet’s crater – Obsidia Isle had been shaken to its foundations.[1a]

Bloodbound crashed against scaled shields and bristling spears as snarling ranks of saurus led the seraphon assault. From the comet’s glowing crater, the slann conjured bellowing Stegadons that thundered into foe and sent warriors flying with each sweep of their massive horns. In the sky, Terradon Riders wheeled and banked upon the thermals rising from the molten sea, hurling meteoric rocks and crackling javelins down into the Khornate host.[1b]

From his place at the head of the Stormcast Eternals, Aurgos could see Kaelgor hewing apart Saurus Warriors with broad sweeps of his axe as he barged his way towards the slann. Aurgos doubted the sedentary sorcerer would live long should the Khornate lord reach him.[1b]

Suddenly the ground shuddered, and one of the cracks formed by the meteor’s impact opened into a yawning chasm in front of Aurgos. Stormcasts and Bloodbound alike tumbled to their deaths but, undaunted, Aurgos leapt the gap, landing alone among the foes on the other side.[1b]

Everywhere the isle was breaking apart. The Fortress of Embers shuddered on its foundations as the edges of the ancient landmass fell away into the molten sea. The seraphon seemed not to notice, for their warriors hurled themselves at the Bloodbound with renewed ferocity.[1b]

Swinging his hammer around his head in a wide, crackling arc, Aurgos cleared a path. Any Khornate warrior foolish enough to come within reach met a brutal fate, and though he suffered a dozen wounds from curved axes and saw-toothed blades, the Lord-Celestant reached the crater’s edge justas Kaelgor and his Gorechosen charged down toward the slann.[1b]

Horn-helmed saurus closed ranks around the ancient seer, their polearms glittering with the magic of Azyr and maws opening in anticipation of bloodshed. The first warriors to throw themselves into the Saurus Guard were put down like rabid beasts, but then Kaelgor joined battle. Saurus Guard were in turn hacked apart, their forms vanishing in blurs of celestial light as the Khornate champion hacked and hewed them apart. Motionless, the slann sat upon his floating palanquin, seemingly oblivious to the Bloodbound’s presence.[1b]

Elsewhere, the Hammers of Sigmar fought back-to-back, knots of gold and azure amidst a sea of black iron and ruddy flesh. Despite their valour, they endured by virtue of the seraphon, who were pushing the Bloodbound back towards their shuddering fortress, its walls even now crumbling into the widening chasms as the isle came apart.[1c]

Aurgos charged down the side of the crater and into the Gorechosen. Smashing down a hulking warrior, he pounded towards where Kaelgor had finally reached the slann. A split second before the Khornate lord could strike, Aurgos’ sigmarite hammer parried the blow. Roaring in rage, Kaelgor turned on Aurgos, a thunderous strike from his fist sending the Lord-Celestant crashing to the ground. Aurgos struggled to his feet, even as the Khorne lord loomed over him, axe held high.[1c]