What Came Before

Countless are the legends from the Age of Myth. They are carved in the ruins of temple walls, handed down on yellowed parchment, or simply retold around roaring fires. This tale is of the later type, a story of the two-headed god Gorkamorka, performed as much as spoken by wild-eyed Wurrgog prophets and wiry Madcap shamans.


This is a tale of the great hunts, when the thunder-god Sigmar tasked Gorkamorka with purging the Mortal Realms of their most fearsome monsters. Of all the godbeasts and other megafauna Gorkamorka gleefully ran to ground, one eluded him: the Ur-Whale, mother of oceans. Always, she swam too fast for his ships to catch, or dove too deep for his harpoons to reach. Scratching his heads, Gorkamorka had a cunnin’ idea: if Shyish was a place where all things came to their end, then that was where he needed to herd his quarry.

After many months at sea, god and godbeast crossed the Cernovoya strait-gate into the freezing Shyishan ocean of Bykaal. Within hours, Gorkamorka’s warfleet had been decimated, the greenskin’s fightin’ barges split open by icebergs hidden in the howling blizzard. His barge sinking beneath his feet, Gorkamorka realized the hunt may indeed end here: with his prey’s looming escape. Putting his heads together, the savage god reasoned that, if the Ur-Whale could not be run aground, then he would simply have to drain the ocean.

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There is little in the Mortal Realms which can withstand Gorkamorka’s fury, save perhaps Sigmar himself.

Plunging into the freezing waters, Gorkamorka swam to the bottom, even has his fingers and toes and nose froze solid. Taking his mighty axe Worldchoppa, Gorkamorka struck at the ocean’s floor once, twice, three times, hacking the realm apart. Upon the fourth blow, the crust of the world broke apart, and all the ocean flooded into the void. The two-headed god planted his axe and held on, lest he too be swept out into the space beyond realms.

With all the ocean’s water gone, Gorkamorka found himself alone in a frozen desert, the trenches of its depths now raised into the sky as vast canyons and peaks. For many days he walked, until finally he came upon a valley, where the half-submerged form of the Ur-Whale lay, breathing its last. Grinning to himself twice over at his own ingenuity, Gorkamorka made good the kill.

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There is no hunter of beasts greater than Gorkamorka, and with the Ur-Whale’s death, no beast greater than the two-headed god, either.

What came after is of little consequence to Wurrgog prophets and Madcap shamans: the Ur-Whale’s corpse and the soul bound to its bones would form a new underworld, one for whalers and hunters of fearsome sea creatures who would never return home. They were cursed to hunt the greatest of prey for all time, and likewise, the Ur-Whale was cursed to never escape her pursuers.

The Age of Myth would pass into prehistory, as the loved ones of those lost traveled to Bykaal and built homes upon the lake’s shores, to be as close to their dearly departed as they still could. This, too, would pass, as the Age of Chaos ravaged Shyish, and these cities and towns were reduced to squalid hovels for barbarian tribes and the beast-children of the Ruinous Powers.

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Now, the Age of Sigmar is come unto this backwater underworld, and if you don’t take care, you may spend the rest of eternity here, too…