Led by the Varanguard knights of ruin Qarang Sarn and Irkut Thousandeyes, the Undivided are Archaon Everchosen’s armored fist in this war. Everything they do now is to advance a single purpose: harness the secrets of aelven god-binding and finally bring Sigmar’s pantheon to their knees.
Although any faction may join any Coalition, the majority of the Undivided number among…
Basalt Lord Qarang Sarn and Irkut “the Spineless” Thousandeyes
The Undivided are anything but. During the war for Amasya, the armies that comprise the Undivided eagerly came to blows. Where the Arcanites of Tzeentch and Hedonites of Slaanesh followed Varanguard champion Irkut “the Spineless” Thousandeyes in Archaon Everchosen’s name, the Maggotkin of Nurgle and Blades of Khorne would rally behind Basalt Lord Qarang Sarn in a vast horde of rot and rage.
This feud was brought to an abrupt end after Irkut spirited away an Enlightenment Engine of Teclis from the ruins of Isik Kulesi, the Tower of Light. Where most of these devices had been remade into Penumbral Engines by Grungni at Sigmar’s instruction, this one had not been tampered with, allowing Irkut the opportunity to sup from a limitless font of aelven knowledge.
This peace was not by their choice, but rather, a harsh reminder of their fealty, as an emissary of Archaon appeared to secure Irkut’s discovery. Retreating through the realmgate with their prize, the discovery of Lake Bykaal and the godbeast soul trapped within it led the emissary to instruct the Varanguard to begin to unravel the secrets of aelven god-binding, for if they could shackle primal Slaanesh, then surely the same methods could be used to imprison the lesser gods of Sigmar’s pantheon.
The Basalt Lord Qarang Sarn is a warrior-orator, a bastion of belief in the Dark Gods, a man who sows the fields with corpses and waters them with the blood of friend and foe. He was- perhaps literally- born to become a Varanguard, and his faith in Archaon Everchosen is absolute. His was a life of bloodshed and unspeakable acts, the grace of the Gods given form.
His place has always been among the Sixth Circle, the Blades of Desolation, and to
them, Qarang Sarn is an exemplar. He does not simply slay his foes, but utterly vanquish them with blade and rhetoric. His moniker “The Basalt Lord” does not refer to some mighty fortress or subjugated domain, but speaks to the Varanguard’s force of personality, for his word and will are as stone.
Among the Bloodbound, the Basalt Lord is thought to cull the weak in the role of the
Slaughterpriest, and forge the strong in the role of the Skullgrinder. To the Maggotkin, Qarang Sarn is a jolly father-figure, a son who sits upon grandfather’s knee and urges them to greater acts of service. It should come as no surprise, then, that Sarn has never liked Irkut Thousandeyes…
Irkut “the Spineless” lived mortal life as the son of a Darkoath chieftan. The youngest of half a dozen siblings whom turned up dead throughout Irkut’s youth, his father demanded a great deed in the eyes of their gods to prove him worthy of leading their tribe. Always greedy and ever deceitful, Irkut’s choice of trial was fateful: he sought out a Silver Tower of Tzeentch and willingly entered it.
In that nightmare labyrinth where time has no meaning and fate is the most fickle of
things, Irkut chose not to serve the tribe of his birth, but the master of the Silver Tower- and soon after, the one to whom the Tower’s master pledged fealty: Archaon Everchosen, Grand Marshal of the Apocalypse.
Thus, Irkut’s reward for surviving all the Silver Tower’s trials was elevation into the
Varanguard- for who could be more worthy than a warrior vouched for by one of Archaon’s own dutiful Gaunt Summoners? Now granted more power than his lowly barbarian birth could have ever afforded him, Irkut applied his mind toward new conquests- of both the ego and the flesh.
Since Sigmar unleashed the Stormhosts upon the realms, Irkut’s fascination has been with the binding and shaping of soul-stuff. This pursuit has led him to make many friends- of a fashion, at least- with the servants of Tzeentch, Slaanesh, the Great Horned Rat, and even some among the Beasts of Chaos. All trade in twisting the mind, body and soul of living things, and all provide unique tools for doing so.
His discovery of the Enlightenment Engine of Teclis has provided a unique opportunity, and one that he has applied himself to with mind, body, and soul. Just as the Silver Tower allowed Irkut to cheat his way into the Varanguard, this discovery promises to allow him to cheat his way to Archaon’s side- or perhaps, even usurp his title of Everchosen, for surely the Dark Gods would abandon their Grand Marshal if Irkut offered up Sigmar in chains.
“What will be, what will be, truth will bind and set us free, through fiery animosity, Nemesis’ sovereignty…”
Qarang Sarn gave his companion a sidelong glance of the sort usually reserved for Khornate warhounds and Champions one iota of blessing from spawndom. Before, Irkut had been a smug, self-important, holier than thou prick – ever since he got his hands on that accursed Aelf-engine he’d become downright insufferable.
“The veil – the veil is torn. This fog is no obstacle to mine eyes, for I see – I see – I see two souls, half-joined, one hates, one regrets, but neither knows – know – no! I can deny it, I pass the test.”
The mist hardly hid the shining golden wheels of the Enlightenment Engine, whirring and flickering and illuminating this unnatural haze. For his part, Sarn gave the device a wide berth – knowledge was well and useful, but it was like divine blessing – a little made you stronger, a lot made you a wreck fit only to be usefully expended.
So thought Qarang Sarn, anyways. Irkut had barely left the machine’s epicenter for weeks, and who knew what strange Aelven ideas were now flying through his head?
‘See how it shines? See how it burns? It shines like starlight, oh, but starlight cannot die, can it? Neither can he, which confuses his enemies and disturbs his friends. But he knows the truth, yes, and soon I will also…”
Correction – Sarn did not want to know what strange thoughts were flying through Irkut’s head. Understanding your enemy was often said to be the key to victory, but the Basalt Lord found that crushing and over-aweing your foes required precious little by way of deep thought. Not that Irkut was an enemy now.
“Ah, but it does not burn with its own light, but only reflects – mirror – mirrors – they are mirrors, and what they see is only the reflection of who they are. For Humility harbors vain thoughts and Peace breeds war by the day.”
He was being punished. Bykaal was a hell, and apparently it was an ironic one because here he was lamenting having to witness a foe’s slow demise even as he tried and failed to celebrate that man’s sole accomplishment of note. As if on cue, Irkut turned and looked him in the eye.
‘Hunter, King, Prophet. The hunter has his prey, and the Prophet sees a path to victory. But what has the King done? He rules over a court of nothing, bearing an empty crown. Even his deeds are hollow now, and his words twice so-‘
“You DARE!?” The instincts of countless heroes’ halls and battlefields took hold, and in a breath Qarang was on his feet, daemon-hammer thirsting in his hand. “I am the Basalt Lord, Slaughterer of Princes, Feller of Hyperion-”
“-menace to old men, children, and goblins everywhere-” There was the old Irkut the Spineless, with his infuriating smirk. “-and YOU!”
It felt good to be this angry again, to have something besides an unpleasant ennui to fill his days, to feel the Blood God stoke the fire in his belly. “You are a collector of trinkets. A tomcat chasing after baubles. An infant with a pretty glass bead to play with.”
“My toy will one day soon humble the Pantheon of Order. Your ‘victory’ was nothing more than a speck in Alarielle’s eye. Who is the true Champion here?” Irkut lounged such that his hand rested an inch away from the haft of his spear, and Sarn felt the heat of his anger die away, replaced with the steady pendulum-beat of his heart, the whisper of his daemonforged weapon, even as his senses expanded to take in every subtle motion of the Spineless’ body.
“Please.” A step to the right, and his foe shifted subtly, weight coming to rest in a tiger’s crouch even as his eyes betrayed only nonchalance. “Your sad devotion to that Aelvish curiosity hasn’t given you the power to take Amasya or Bykaal, nor the clairvoyance to bind the Ur-Whale.” Step, step, step, and every time Irkut moved to match – but Sarn could almost see his focus fraying. He had him now. “The fact is, oh Spineless one, that that – thing, is nothing at all next to the power of the-”
“Children.” The word cut like a dagger through the air, and at its touch all the blood fury, the focus, the fire that the Basalt Lord felt crumbled into ash. He sighed, inwardly, and sheathed his weapon.
“Emissary.” The woman so named seemed a strange addition to Archaon’s hosts. Unhelmed, her hair was white and her skin leathery – her face could have graced a washerwoman or a fishwife, plain and unremarkable save for the slate-grey eyes that burned with their own bitter, tightly controlled malice. More than once, Sarn had wondered what fate had taken her to the Eighth Circle – more than once, he had demurred to ask.
“Here you are, ready to fight and to kill over insults and trifles. You are pathetic – both of you.” Irkut’s vindicated grin vanished into a sour grimace of reproach. “The Lord of the End Times has given us a task, and we will fulfill it. We have taken a single, faltering step towards our goal – now we will take another, and we will not trip over our feet. Am I understood?”
“Thy will, Varanguard.”
“And if that means that I must send my sword where Hysh’s light never touched and hold you aloft, I will do so without an ounce of regret or a hint of remorse. Now, we have a job to do. And not a word will pass your lips unless it be to that job’s fulfillment.”
“Yes, Varanguard.” Irkut stalked back towards the machine, muttering sibilantly.
“…thy will, Emissary.” And Sarn returned to his watch, waiting for the swirling fog to resolve itself again into war.