Krüll, City of Slaanesh

The Hierophant of Krüll cocked his helmeted head, resting his steel cheek on a curled claw. The magnificent white plume on the top of his crown fluttered in the bitter breeze blowing in from the tooth-lined portal across the chamber.

Beneath his throne, a man grovelled, hardly anything left of him but skin and bone and weeping sores wrapped in a hessian sack. He cried for the broken shape in his arms, a daughter once loved dearly, but spirited away to the temples long ago.

“And I was told your family came from stronger stock, Gunther.” The Hierophant weezed. His voice was a cold wind, a metallic rasp and a sensuous whisper all at once. “We were expecting this one to last more than a few years.”

Gunther cried out, stroking back hair from a blue, dead face. He lifted his own head in the direction of the city’s ultimate Lord, suddenly filled with rage. But before he could gaze upon the Lord’s boots, a blade whipped out from the shadows and fluttered around his neck.

“You think you are worthy to look upon our Dark Prince’s chosen voice?” Some one spat out from behind Gunther. “Avert thy gaze, worm.”

Gunther did what he was told. It was all one could do in the city of Krüll.

“Now, now. Don’t be so glum. You have a new world in front of you, child,” said the Hierophant. “Now you are honoured by a truly rare sensation: utter loss. Feel it, embrace it. It’s what Slaanesh wants of you, of us. To truly feel. How many of us can claim that?

“I feel nothing anymore.” Gunther cried.

“That is a shame.”

Gunther heard the armoured giant rise from his throne, but kept his eyes firmly fixed on the marble floor. He smelt a rising musk and heard chains and bells clatter from some far off corner of the room.

“I’m sure we can teach you how to feel again, Gunther … TAKE HIM TO THE TEMPLE!”

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A Walking City

The city of Krüll is a crawling monolith. From across the murky horizon of The Realm of Shadow, it would simply appear as a hive of crenelated towers and spiked parapets. If one was to watch long enough (without going mad) they would see the mass of buildings moving slowly but surely through the land.

Krüll is, itself, a chariot. Upon wheels the size of castles and pulled by an army of 66,666 daemonic steeds, Krüll slowly cuts through the wastelands and swamps of the Realm of Shadow. Like a scythe, it topples lesser cities, crushes forests and shakes mountains. The city is an inhabited pilgrim, crossing the worlds in search of the missing Prince of Chaos, Slaanesh.

The city has moved for countless centuries, only stopping occasionally as the daemonically possessed steeds exhaust themselves and return to the Warp. In these periods of sloth, before the army of yoked beasts can be replenished, vast armies march from the city for the joy of bloodshed and to collect the slaves necessary for the working of the city. It is in these times that the influence of Chaos waxes strongest, causing daemons to rupture into reality and join the endless march of Krüll.

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Society of the Damned

Krüll, like any city, has its own layers of castes and classes. For the largest part it is, for lack of a better word, a civilised city of men. Slaves and “Freemen” (those claiming no allegiance to the so called “god-king” Sigmar) form the lower rung of this society, performing menial work and living in barbaric squalor for most of their lives. Still, inside Krüll and under the eye of its tyrants, they are safe from the Realm’s many monsters.

Above them are the Horselords, Marauders and Bandits turned from their wild ways into slave masters and property owners. Branded with the mark of Slaanesh, the Chaos god of excess, they hold dominion that would make men of Sigmar’s empire jealous. It is the Horselords who ensure the city keeps moving, by goading the horses and keeping the enormous wheels turning.

The Horselords bow in turn to the Warriors of Slaanesh who have taken Krüll as their barracks. These Champions of Chaos live for nothing but the din of battle, the warmth of fleshly-spilled blood and the cries of pained ecstasy that ring out in their wake.

The upper echelons of Krüll’s society are dominated by the wealthy, who dine nightly on banquets of human flesh and commit unspeakable acts behind velvet curtains. They strut through the city without fear, able to pick and choose their human “toys” with the backing of mercenary Warriors. Alongside these lucky few are the priests and priestesses of Slaanesh who run the dark temples scattered throughout the city. They are magic users, daemon consorts and vile monsters all.

Finally, the overall Lord of Krüll is a creature known simply as “The Hierophant”. Though he was once, most likely, a mortal man, he has long since abandoned his humanity to grow closer to his god. He is the Dark Prince’s Chosen Voice and ultimate pilot of the city’s movements. It is The Hierophant who “speaks” to Slaanesh, reading the signs in the winds of magic and following them on the decadent path towards finding the missing god.

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In the Wake of the City

Though Slaanesh can claim the city of Krüll as his domain (should he choose to reappear in the Mortal Realms), the city’s movement leaves in its wake a world belonging to Nurgle, god of sickness, fear and entropy.

The passage of a gigantic fortress city, with its millions of slaves and obscenely wealthy, wasteful tyrants, leaves behind a world totally riven. Krüll deposits a trail of pollution, sickness and destruction for thousands of kilometers, from which has grown a completely different society.

Enter: The Sewer Kings, disgusting Champions of Nurgle who have gathered armies of escaped slaves, local monsters and Wildmen to their side. Though they live in constant filth, they are happy. Grandfather Nurgle has blessed them with a constant supply of fresh meat and ripe disease. They dance in the sewers of Krüll, perform in grand carnivals and raid scattered towns with rictus grins on their faces.

The Hierophant knows well about the Sewer Kings existence, but pays them little heed. He sees them simply as a band of merry madmen, deluded into worshiping a truly disgusting god. At times of war, The Hierophant and The Sewer Kings have even been known to fight alongside one another. Though they worship a filthy deity, the fly-ridden armies of Nurgle are unnaturally hardy warriors who are more than happy to bring Chaos to the Mortal Realms however they can.

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The Search Continues

The Hierophant is seemingly immortal, relentless and cruel beyond reasoning. His search for his missing god has taken him across worlds, through the Realm of Chaos and into battle with hundreds of armies. Yet still he searches, still the city moves.

Perhaps he will never find Slaanesh. Perhaps he doesn’t want to. For if the god were to reveal himself, The Hierophant would have to relinquish his tyrannical grip on the city. Perhaps the search itself is meaningless, eternal for the sake of it. Either way, for someone to challenge this mad demi-god, they would have to halt the movement of an impossible machine, climb a mile high fortress, defeating Champions of Slaanesh and hordes of drugged slaves along the way, before finally entering the marble and gold tower at the city’s peak.

And so Krüll continues onward, for ever into the darkness …

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A Gallery of Evil

I have recently resurrected my old Warriors of Chaos army, giving them a bit of a lick of paint and a whole new over-the-top, Age of Sigmar backstory. I might put together a few “Designer’s Notes” on this whole project in the near future, so keep an eye out for that. The Hierophant is watching.

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The Thirteenth Horseman (Warhammer – Conversion) 2016

The dead do not rest peacefully along the tainted borders of Praag. The city long ago became a distended hive for daemons and other warped creatures. The walls wail with the souls of the trapped and butchered. The graveyards and churches are now haunted by beings not quite living, not quite dead and not quite sane.
 
But still there are noble souls in the city, or at least something like that. 
 
Stomping, grunting and galloping up and down the length of Praag’s great walls are thirteen horesemen, knights of an unknown order who stand in eternal vigil. Twisted and broken by the powers of Chaos, these beings know no rest. 
 
Whether they be daemon, undead or some almagamation of both, no one can be sure. Some bear the arms and armour of Norse Marauders, others the ragged colours of Empire knights. One amongst them even carries Elder blades and wears a phoenix helm. Whatever their previous allegiance, it is obvious that they now serve a greater, more mysterious master. Repelling invaders and looters from the Northlands, mountains and great cities alike, they are silent guardians of the entombed city. 

The Thirteenth Horseman was a fun little conversion, made largely from the bitz-box of my local hobby store. I remember spotting a cute “skeletaur” conversion in one of the very first Golden Demon publications (all the way from the 80s). It’s really liberating and enjoyable to challenge yourself with “complex” conversions for the simple sake of creating, instead of hacking and pasting weapons for WYSIWYG gaming.

The most challenging parts of this conversion were those involved in making the Horseman look like he was “leaping” over the barricade. I had to do a bit of cutting and greenstuffing around the back legs to make the plastic horse skeleton to “rear up”. It’s quite simple to do this, just follow the contours already in place as designed by the modeller, cut into them and then fill the space with greenstuff. It can be painful to watch it slowly droop and fall apart as the greenstuff dries, but just hold it in a neutral position so that the weight does not pull it down. Look for more of a tutorial on this in the future!
The painting style was very much inspired by the recent influx of “Blanchitsu” warbands and, in particular, the blog Ex Profundis, one of my favourite hobby websites ever!
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The Triumph of Death – The Thirteenth Horseman

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