The different kingdoms and peoples of the Eight Realms have their own unique ways to mark time and record their history. There are three distinct ages, however, that overshadow everything, and it is these great epochs that have most shaped the Eight Realms.
It began as a streak in the endless black void. Clinging to the molten core of the Broken World, Sigmar hurtled unchecked through the dark aether. Attracted by the careening orb, Dracothion – the Great Drake – discovered Sigmar’s battered form and sensed a kindred spirit. Reviving the god with a warming breath, Dracothion befriended Sigmar and showed him the secret paths that led to the Eight Realms.
During his travels, Sigmar encountered and awakened many other gods, building an alliance with them. The Age of Myth was full of such tales. It was in Aqshy that the duardin god Grimnir met his doom fighting fell Vulcatrix.
Grateful to be awoken, many gods pledged to aid Sigmar and the nascent civilisations. A golden age followed, a time of cooperation. Eldritch tempests brought the taint of Chaos, but these early attacks were repulsed by the strong union of many peoples and their gods. Only when the alliance faltered did a new age begin.
Aqshy shuddered as Grimnir and the Mother of Salamanders, Vulcatrix, did battle. The ground beneath their feet burned as it was bathed in their molten blood, until with a roar heard all across Aqshy, Grimnir and his foe fell. In that moment, the Fyreslayers were born.
Sigmar faced Archaon’s armies at the Battle of Burning Skies. Wielding Ghal Maraz, the God-King was nigh unstoppable as he strode through the fray, striking down Greater Daemons of each of the Dark Gods in turn. When Sigmar at last faced the Everchosen, Archaon’s trickery robbed him of his hammer, turning the tide of battle in favour of Chaos and forcing Sigmar and his armies to retreat.
The Age of Chaos began in blood and betrayal. So devastating were the first invasions that people would later know them as the Red Century. Armies were mustered to halt them, but with old alliances shattered, and every faction fearing further treachery, no single power could stand before the forces of the Dark Gods.
Such was the speed at which Archaon’s armies rampaged across the Mortal Realms that Sigmar was forced to seal the Gates of Azyr for fear that they would reach Sigmaron itself. The God-King gave the order just as Archaon’s banners crested the horizon. Denied his prize, Archaon turned his attention to the remaining realms, venting his wrath upon those peoples the God-King had abandoned.
From the seeds of conflict sown across the Jade Kingdoms, wars beyond counting grew to bloody fruition. Though Khorne sent eight times eight legions through the Gates of Chogkorr, and though Tzeentch sank his claws into those kingdoms richest in magical lore, it was Nurgle that committed the greatest hosts to conquer the Realm of Life.
After the Gates of Azyr were closed, campaigns were fought to rid the Heavens of evil. Enclaves of orruks and creatures which bore the taint of Chaos were hunted down, first by the armies of Azyrheim and then by the newly formed Stormhosts. Mythic beasts remain in Azyr to this day, but none bear any trace of corruption.
Long seasons of death and disaster had withered Alarielle’s heartwood and embittered her spirit. Her best efforts to heal the land had failed. Betrayals had eroded her faith in even her own beloved children, and in a fit of madness, she had banished her remaining Sons of Durthu. No longer believing that victory over Nurgle was possible, the Queen of the Radiant Wood retreated to the hidden vale of Athelwyrd and left the last enclaves of Sylvaneth to fight on alone.
Not all of the Stormhosts' training was monster hunting. A gift from Malerion, the enchanted dome of the Gladitorium enabled the Stormcasts to fight each other, yet arise unharmed when battle was done. In the greatest exercises, entire Stormhosts were pitted against each other in thunderous war drills.
Sigmar first struck in the Brimstone Peninsula, where Vandus Hammerhand’s Thunderstrike Brotherhood seized the first Gate of Azyr. Now war raged across the realms, the God-King’s tempest never tiring.
Sigmar’s Tempest roils across the skies of Chamon, driving potent veins of aether-gold before it. The Kharadron Overlords scramble to mine this bounty before the storm disrupts their plans entirely.
The Hallowed Knights are the first Stormcast Eternals to enter Ghyran, crashing down before the Gates of Dawn to destroy the host of the sorcerer Kraderblob and the seven greater daemons led by the rotting monstrosity Bolathrax. Gardus of the Steel Soul forces his way into the Garden of Nurgle, Bolathrax hard upon his heels – the gate crumbles under the Great Unclean One’s bulk, preventing further Chaos reinforcements from coming through. Ultimately, it is Gardus’ miraculous reappearance that turns the tide for the Hallowed Knights.
The Briomdar stronghold of Green Gulch is invaded by Nurgle’s Plague Legions, who seek the hidden refuge of Alarielle. Led by a triumvirate of Great Unclean Ones, the daemon armies threaten to contaminate the entire underwater fortress. Timely reinforcements are delivered by the Ionrach, led by High King Volturnos, who himself hunts down and slays the trio of greater daemons. Thanks to the magics of the Tidecasters, the filth is soon washed away. Following the battle, Volturnos seeks the Everqueen, hoping to make amends for the rift that lies between her and the Idoneth Deepkin. Alarielle, fearing a Chaos trap, remains in seclusion.
All across the vast Realm of Beasts, word spread of the Fist of Gork – Gordrakk, the boss of bosses. Piling up victories like ogors stack bones at a feast, Gordrakk led his growing Waaagh! to smash Chaos Lord Festerheart's Plague Legions. Hearing rumours of the great Fangathrak and the Mawgate it bore, which led to the Allpoints, Gordrakk marched out to find it.
The agents of Sigmar seek the duardin across the Spiral Crux, hoping to reinforce ancient alliances that they might win a significant beachhead on the largest of the inner islands. Though they fight their way to the peaks of many ancient duardin holds, they find nothing but corpses and the echoes of an empire long forsaken.
The opening stages of the Realmgate Wars were complete. By securing many of the ancient Realmgates that led to Azyr, the vanguard of the Stormcast Eternals had opened the floodgates of Sigmar’s vengeance, paving the way for the greater body of Sigmar’s hosts. In doing so, they had struck hard at the dominion of Chaos, shattering the stranglehold that choked all freedom and hope from the Mortal Realms.
With the coming of Sigmar's Storm, the Sylvaneth found fresh allies. From Briarhaven to the Gnarled Spire, the Sylvaneth went into battle alongside the Stormcast Eternals. Meanwhile, in Ghyran, the Lady of Vines helped the Stormcasts find Athelwyrd with hope in her heartwood, little knowing what would come next.
In the Realm of Metal lay hidden a mighty secret – Ghal Maraz. Many of the God‑King’s Stormhosts descended on Tzeentch’s minions in the Eldritch Fortress to reclaim the weapon. Vandus Hammerhand, Lord-Celestant of the Hammers of Sigmar, at last returned the legendary Skull Splitter to Azyr.
In the Jade Kingdoms, the battle for the soul of an entire realm raged fierce. From his cauldron of divine diseases, Grandfather Nurgle had ladled unwholesome gifts without number, corrupting all but the most sacred of Ghyran’s spaces until nearly every acre writhed with feculent life. In seeking out Alarielle, the Hallowed Knights inadvertently led Nurgle’s champions to Athelwyrd. Ghyran’s last haven from the taint of Chaos fell, and the hopes of the Radiant Queen fell with it.
Stormcast Eternal emissaries visited the Ionrach capital of Príom, beseeching the aid of the largest of the Idoneth enclaves. An assembral was held, with many enclaves abstaining or voting against any such alliance, despite the impassioned pleas of High King Volturnos. So did Sigmar’s Stormhosts fight the battles of the Realmgate Wars with little to no help offered from the Idoneth Deepkin.
After receiving the almighty warhammer Ghal Maraz, the Celestant-Prime joined the forefront of Sigmar’s war against Chaos. With the roar of a hundred thunderbolts, the Celestant-Prime arrived upon battlefields across the Mortal Realms, striking terror into the servants of the Dark Gods. Where the lightning-wreathed avatar of Sigmar fought, victory followed.
When Lord-Celestant Sargassus' Heavenhost marched upon Bloodkeep, intent on turning the Bloodthirster Skarbrand’s rage against his master Khorne, a host of Fyreslayers fought and died alongside them. In destroying Bloodkeep’s portcullis, the Heavenhost unwittingly broke apart a great metallic rune that contained the last syllable of the Tetrarch Kiathanus’ true name – a fragment of power that could set the greater daemon free once more. Sigmar recognised the danger the Lord of Change posed, and dispatched the Hammerhands to Mount Kronus to banish Kiathanus permanently.
Upon Mount Kronus the Stormcast Eternals did battle with Archaon and his lieutenants, for he too sought Kiathanus – not to banish him, but to claim the daemon oracle for his own. Vandus Hammerhand was bodily ripped apart by the daemon blade known as the Slayer of Kings, his soul sent flashing back to Azyr. He was not the only one to perish. In a single bloody day, the Hammerhands died to the last warrior at the hands of the Everchosen and his Varanguard.
From the Heavens of Azyr came the echoing roar of the great Dracothion, a sound that sent ripples through the stars themselves. Upon the Sigmarabulum – the artificial ring around Mallus where could be found the laboratories, sky-vaults, forges, and barracks of Sigmar – a series of sigil-sealed gates unlocked, the first sign that something stirred deep within the sealed Vaults Extremis.
The most devious of Archaon’s plots was revealed, as he attempted to forcibly enlist godbeasts into his armies. With their titanic power, Archaon could destroy the locked gates and enter Azyr. Argentine, the Silver Wyrm, he had turned from the light long ago, corrupting that serpentine terror with the raw mania of Tzeentch. Now he sought the godbeast’s brethren. Some, like Nyxtor, father of the seventeen-headed heptadecagors, could not be found, but in the Land of the Chained Sun, Archaon himself corrupted the mind of Ignax, the Solar Drake.
In Ghyran's Scabrous Sprawl, Archaon's skaven allies worked to corrupt the sleeping Star Gargant Behemat. War erupted over the Great Green Torc and the surface of Behemat himself as Sigmar and the Everchosen sent every force at their disposal into the fray. The World Titan awoke, but was so poisoned by the taint of Chaos that the Stormhost's Lord-Relictors were forced to call down the wrath of Sigmar's Great Bolts, slaying the godbeast.
Once again, Sigmar’s far-seeing gaze looked out upon the Allpoints, the nexus of Realmgates. Many battles had been fought there in the past, and now the Allpoints served as headquarters for the greatest of Chaos Champions, Archaon. The Realmgates that led to the Allpoints were called arcways, and each was protected by a fortress known as an All-gate. Sigmar knew that if he was to usurp the Everchosen, he must first retake those strongholds.
Having fought and died to protect Alarielle’s soulpod against Nurgle’s foetid hosts, the heroic martyrs of the Hallowed Knights and many other Stormhosts were vindicated when Alarielle re‑emerged from dormancy in her war form. Full of wrath, she led a merciless purge of her realm to free it from Nurgle’s taint.
At the Mercurial Gate of Chamon, Thostos Bladestorm and the Celestial Vindicators attacked the impregnable Ironholds from below, tunnelling under their serried walls using the lava-magic of their Fyreslayer allies. There Archaon himself rode his monstrous steed Dorghar into the fray. Thostos wounded the Chaos warlord in a duel, only to be ripped apart and devoured by Dorghar, never to return.
Nagash had led the emissaries of the Anvils of the Heldenhammer to believe that he would join them in their assault upon the fortress of Gothizzar, the All-gate that guarded the Endgate. Nagash knew that the arcway leading from the Allpoints to Shyish must be shuttered, but he did not aid the Stormcast Eternals. Such an alliance did not suit the Great Necromancer; after all, Nagash still did not consider his long-standing grudge against Sigmar for the wrongs done to him repaid. From his throne of bones, he watched the Stormcast Eternals die at Gothizzar. When he was ready, Nagash’s assault upon that fortress would not fail.
Into Hysh and Ulgu Sigmar sent his Stormcast Eternals, but of how those wars fared, none could tell. Few returned, and none could speak clearly of what they had seen. Even the far-seeing eyes of the immortal gods could not be sure of what they beheld…
At the Genesis Gate in Ghyran, the resurgent Alarialle led a force of Sylvaneth and Stormcast Eternals against the entrenched forces of the Glottkin. Though they were opposed by legions of diseased mortals and feculent daemons, the forces of order were triumphant. In the wake of the battle, Alarielle closed the Genesis Gate with a straining effort, locking the path that led to the Allpoints. There were many wars still to fight, but at long last, the tide had changed in the War of Life.
In Ghur, the Knights Excelsior battled a horde of Khorne Bloodbound who controlled the Mawgate, formed from the mouth of the great beast Fangathrak. When Gordrakk's Waaagh! arrived, the battle became a slaughter. The Fist of Gork's primal fury was so intense that Fangathrak burrowed into the ground. Sigmar’s chance to secure the Mawgate and its path to the Allpoints was gone. Gordrakk did not dwell on his victory, paying no mind to the fields of corpses that encircled the huge sinkhole where Fangathrak had vanished. Even before the last Stormcast had fallen, he was looking for battle anew.
In Aqshy, the Brimfire Gate was closed to the scions of Chaos. Archaon unleashed Ignax the Solar Drake, but the Fyreslayers triggered the secret Rune of Binding that they had hammered into the godbeast’s hide, turning Archaon’s slave into a deadly enemy at the moment of his triumph.
The defining battles of the Realmgate Wars would be those fought for control of the All-gates. When the dust settled and the screaming ceased, Sigmar’s forces had closed both the Brimfire Gate of Aqshy and the Genesis Gate of Ghyran. Archaon’s iron grasp upon the realms had not been entirely undone, but the closure of these two All-gates was of vital significance to the God-King’s plans of reconquest.
The three cities known as the Seeds of Hope were established in Ghyran as Nurgle found his power waning. Fast-tracked by Alarielle’s life-magic, the cities of Greywater Fastness, the Living City and the Phoenicium sprang into existence.
The greatest of threats to aelven kind began to stir once more. Due to the machinations of Morathi, the self-proclaimed High Oracle of Khaine, the trap that has long held the Chaos God Slaanesh began to shift.
The Twin-tailed City was founded, the seat of Sigmar’s power in the Mortal Realms, a sprawling metropolis that stretched from the fiery plains of Aqshy to the verdant wilds of Ghyran. The city in fact comprises two settlements governed as one; in the Realm of Fire lies the industrial, fortified bastion of Hammerhal Aqsha, and in the Realm of Life the bountiful gardens of Hammerhal Ghyra. The symbiotic relationship between these two strongholds has safeguarded them against many threats, from within and without.
Many new cities have been established by the God-King’s forces, every one built around the formidable shadow of a Stormkeep – the imposing citadels of the Stormcast Eternals that guard each reclaimed Realmgate. Anvilgard and Tempest’s Eye in Aqshy, Excelsis in Ghur, Glymmsforge and Lake Lethis in the Realm of Death – these beacons of progress teem with mortal souls, and their battle-hardened garrisons and defences keep the manifold threats of the realms at bay. Yet the forces of Order must remain ever vigilant, for their empire is built upon the precipice of ruin.
A resurgent Nagash burst from the Starless Gates, unleashing a tempest of necromantic energy that swept across the Realm of Death. The armies of Chaos found themselves assailed on all fronts by vast hosts of the risen dead. The Legions of Nagash reclaimed the ruined citadel of Nagashizzar, seat of the Death God's power.
As the malignant omens of Shyish’s ascendance spread across the lands, every one of the Mortal Realms found itself assailed by new perils. Some of the most unscrupulous peoples found opportunity in this time, but most girded themselves for battle against a new foe – the restless dead. Led to war by those amongst them who claimed to have seen the only true path to avert the disaster to come, they fought tooth and nail against the darkness.
With dark portents abounding, and seers and prophets from every race seeking to allay this new doom, dozens of harbingers led warhosts into Shyish to attack the Great Necromancer’s seat of power. They were likely going to their deaths, but they went nonetheless.