Even during the Age of Myth, there were events which had already passed into legend. One among them was the tale that told of how deep in the wylds of Ghyran, Sigmar bathed in the Ur-River and beheld a vision of the gods he would raise into his new pantheon. In the centuries which followed, the settlement that was raised in this place grew to become a towering edifice: Amasya, City of Worship. Now a Mecca for all races, it became common practice for the most devout servants of man, aelf, and orruk alike to journey there to die, or otherwise send their bones to be entombed in the cliffs above shrines in the sight of their gods. Thus were laid the foundations of Amasya’s decline into the hallowed necropolis, a place of death in the Realm of Life.
As innumerable priesthoods and sects of faith took root in Amasya, the need emerged for a single voice to guide the city’s populace, and the office of Basrahip became ordained. The greatest and the last of these priest-wardens was the Mithridates bloodline.
Four generations of the house of Mithridates would reign over Amasya. Devout of
Alarielle, Mithridates Uch was the first ordained, even as the insidious practices of the ruinous powers first began to corrupt the Mortal Realms. The Pantheon shuddered and splintered apart in the decades that followed, into the time of Uch’s grandson, Mithridates Besh. With Amasya largely abandoned by the worshipers of all save Sigmar and Nagash, Besh renounced the Goddess of Life kept by his father and grandfather and converted to servitude of the Undying King.
With the Age of Chaos crashing down upon the Mortal Realms, Mithridates Besh
reformed Amasya not as a place of peaceful worship but a mustering ground for holy crusades. The practices of Nagashizzar become commonplace, all but replacing Sigmar as the preeminent god of Amasya and dividing the city between the faithful of Sigmar and Nagash even as the city’s faithful campaign against the armies of Chaos time and again.
It was during these crusades that Besh was dealt a grievous injury on the field of battle. Although the wound appeared shallow, it was dealt by the festering blade of a Plaguebearer. Soon, Besh was wracked with fevers, screaming through night terrors and waking dreams as his flesh blistered and fell from his bones.
In a moment of lucidity, Besh commanded his son to bury him living within a black sarcophagus. The elder Besh reasoned that, with his death immanent, the energies of the sarcophagus- empowered by the innumerable dead buried in Amasya- would restore him to life. The mantle of Amasya passed to his son, Besh promised that he would live again, and raise all the dead of Amasya to walk at his son’s side. Their faith in the Undying King absolute, Besh did as he as told.
The story of his son, Mithridates Alti, is told elsewhere. What is known is that the Battle of Burning Skies befell soon after, and Amasya was abandoned by the Sigmarites while Alti was away on crusade. It would take five centuries for his son to return, choosing the life of a Soulblight vampire to fulfill his promise to his father… and when he did, his father abandoned him. Appearing healthy and hale, impossibly restored without Nagash’s necromantic touch, Besh now walks a path that is a mystery to all. For indeed, that which can eternal lie…
“I have ever been the son of poverty, but I grew to become the husband of power.” So spoke Han Shizhong upon his deathbed. True to his word, he was born into obscurity, the son of poor farmers much like millions of others in the vast and fecund Empire of Zhong Guo.
For all the inauspiciousness of his birth, though, Shizhong was blessed by Azyr with an analytical mind as sharp and clear as glass and as swift as a summer zephyr. In the constant warfare of the Age of Chaos, this allowed him to rise high in Zhong Guo’s army, winning impossible victory after victory.
His alliance and love affair with his future wife, the courtier Li Qiang, allowed him access to the Imperial Court and true power- together, they reformed Zhong Guo’s army, rebuilt its defenses and ushered in a century of security and prosperity.
Reforged, Shizhong was no less the leader than he had been in life- as a Lord Celestant of the Hammers of Sigmar, he proved versatile and ferocious, purging the taint of Chaos all across the Realms. It was this ability that brought him to the attention of Monique von Helminger, and which saw him maneuvered into serving in the armies of the Delegation during the war for Amasya.
In the aftermath of that war, with the opening of the Ghyrplunge, Shizhong volunteered to lead the first Delegation forces through to the other side, a handpicked squad of Prosecutors and Vanguard seeking to sound out how the new Realmgate might change the strategic situation in the city.
Those among his retinue who reached the Anvil of Apotheosis describe a freak storm falling upon them, dividing their ranks and leaving them nearly blinded by the swirling snow and ice. Out of the maelstrom came a titanic, shadowy figure, who struck them down one by one. And yet Han Shizhong was not among the number to be reforged.
A captive, a martyr, a survivor- Shizhong’s fate remains unknown, and yet many among the Expedition and beyond counted him as a friend, and are determined to find the truth…
Anruil Althariel was the scion of the Azyrheim branch of a well-respected and unthinkably wealthy Hyshan family.
Born just a scant few decades before the end of the Age of Myth, he had only just reached adulthood when the majority when the Realms came crashing down and his branch of the family suddenly found itself in a position of power and authority over the sullen, impoverished refugees that named themselves his kindred.
Over the next five hundred years his star and his legend only rose, as he became not just the head of an aggressively expanding noble family but also nabbed a seat on the Conclave of Sigmaron.
By the beginning of the Age of Sigmar, Anruil was in equal parts beloved and hated by the upper crust (sometimes by the same people) and greatly feared by the common folk. After the Gates of Azyr opened again, though, he went from being a partier and an aristocrat to a legend.
A sober historian, given the time and the freedom to explore Anruil’s later life away from the family’s censors, would likely conclude that most of Anruil’s prized accomplishments were either overstated, pure dumb luck, actively stolen or made up entirely. But the Althariel family propaganda mill has meant that no such account has emerged, and in fact several notable but momentarily impoverished scholars have indeed published blockbuster chronicles in praise of the legendary Aelf.
What is undoubtedly true is that Anruil’s fame rapidly spread from Azyr outwards, as the Aelf debauched, swindled, lied and plundered his way across the Realms. His exploits, motley as they were, brought fortune and prestige to House Althariel even as he accrued a host of grudges and a slew of unpaid debts. Given enough time, Anruil’s actions would have doubtless caught up with him- but time turned out to be in short supply. In the midst of a titanic naval battle with the fearsome Orruk called Da Adm’rul, Anruil disappeared- he, his opponent and most of their fleets vanishing to an unknown fate.
Although Anruil himself has vanished from the Realms, his legacy lives on in the powerful noble house he left behind, the children- legitimate and more often otherwise- he fathered, and the storms he brewed. To the great relief of many, his legend is all of him that lives on today, but it will be a long time before he is forgotten.