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Flesh-Eater Courts

Flesh-Eater Courts
Abhorrant Archregent 01.jpg
An Abhorrant Archregent
Grand alliance Death
Main grouping Court
Major characters Ushoran
Grand Justice Gormayne
Allies Soulblight Gravelords
Races Mordant
Vampire
Mounts Zombie Dragon
Terrorgheist
Nightshrieker
Creatures Royal Terrorgheist
Royal Zombie Dragon
Spell lores Lore of Madness
Endless spells Cadaverous Barricade
Chalice of Ushoran
Corpsemare Stampede
Scenery Charnel Throne
Archetypes Crypt Ghast Courtier
Crypt Haunter Courtier
Crypt Infernal Courtier
Warbands Grymwatch
Royal Beastflayers
Hidden among the ruins of the Mortal Realms thrive the Flesh-eater Courts. Bound by the madness of their Abhorrant Ghoul Kings, throngs of mordants live out their pitiful lives feasting upon the corpses provided by the endless war and strife of kingdom after kingdom. - Age of Sigmar faction guide.

Flesh-Eater Courts are the courts of madness that serve and are bound to the vampires known as the Abhorrant Ghoul Kings. Most of them are Mordants, former mortals starved by famine and desolation that trapped themselves within a horrific delusion. They are utterly convinced that their cannibalistic feasts are splendid and grandiose visions of nobility.[1] Their job is to gather feasts made from the flesh of the living and the dead and prepare such flesh to be fit for their lord's culinary pleasure.[2]

History

 
A host of Flesh-Eater Courts attacking a group of Anvils of the Heldenhammer Stormcast Eternals

Age of Myth

  • During the golden days of Sigmar's Pantheon, three vampiric champions served the Great Necromancer Nagash. The most regal and beloved of them all was Ushoran, Ushoran the Bold, the Sombre Paladin, Sumeros Summerking. It was Ushoran who convinced many in Shyish to worship and venerate his Lord Nagash.[6e]
  • Ushoran sired many vampiric children, and the tales of him and his first court at Summerkeep in Charnelcourt echo trough the ages in the tales of the Flesh-Eater Courts.[6d][6f]
  • Yet even this golden age had to come to an end. After returning from a quest to the edge of the Realm of Shyish, Ushoran rampaged across the lands. He waged a brutal war against Nagash, accusing him of perverting the cycle of life and death. Yet in the end he was bested by his fellow Mortarch, Neferata.[6e]
  • For his betrayal, Ushoran was imprisoned in the Shroudcage. Sealed in this prison, his mind was tormented by gheists and reflections of his own mind until his sanity gave away and his mind shattered.[6e]

Age of Chaos

  • It was not until the Age of Chaos that he would be unwittingly released by Sigmar during his war with Nagash. Using this opportunity, the Carrion King slips away from history. Yet his influence can still be felt across the Realms. Ushoran and the vampires sired by him always enjoyed a close bond, so when he fell, so did they. The 'Boon of Ushoran' has twisted the mind and body of his line, creating the first Abhorrants.[6a][6e]
  • While Ushoran's escape created the first of the Ghoul Kingdoms, it was the destruction and despair of the Age of Chaos that spread them across the Realms. The destruction left in the wake of the hordes of Chaos created many easy victims for the infectious madness of the Flesh-Eater Courts. Their shared delusion an almost preferable alternative to despair.[6b]

Age of Sigmar

  • Boosted by the masses of hungry and desperate, the Flesh-Eater Courts survived the Age of Chaos in large numbers. Yet the squabbling petty kings of the ghoulish courts prevented them from forming a united front during the days of the Realmgate Wars.[6b]
  • Just like how all the Realms were affected by Nagash's Necroquake, so where the Vampires and Mordants of the Flesh-Eater Courts. The Abhorrant overlords of the Courts were boosted by this wave of necrotic energy, as were the shared delusions of the Courts themselves. Following the Necroquake, the very land becomes twisted, lakes of clotted gore and changed and strange forests.[6c]
  • The Necroquake also awakened processions of Nighthaunt all over the Realms. The Ghouls in their delusion saw them as columns of farmers, labourers or frightened refugees. Many Ghoul Kings raised their armies to 'protect' them during their rampage across the Realms.[6e]
  • It was a host of Nighthaunt that rediscovered Ushoran. The Carrion King had sought refuge in the mountains of The Neck in northern Verdia. Here he build his domain anew, New Summercourt. Nagash, unwilling to have Ushoran go and find a cure for his madness, or get put down by the followers of Alarielle, errects a barrier around this realm. To keep him in, and others out. Finally, 'ambassadors' from Nulahmia are sent to keep an eye on him.[6e]
  • As Alarielle's Rite of Life rampages across the Realms, Ushoran's cage starts to crumble. Trough the cracks lost souls flock to the Carrion King. The few that arent devoured instantly tell Ushoran of the Realms outside the walls. Moved by their tales of despair, Ushoran sends out the Marrowscroll Heralds. To rally the serfs of the lands, to join the War of Red Errantry.[6e]

Culture

Leadership

 
A noble ruler reflects.

A Flesh-Eater Court is usually led by an Abhorrant Ghoul King, who is the absolute monarch of a deranged nation. Sometimes, he might create other abhorrants known as sycophants to share in his delusions. An Abhorrant King or Queen who slays another may, by sheer force of will, join a defeated rivals court to his own. Occasionally, a council of like-minded or delusional vampires may command a court together.[3a][4d]

Members of the court with royal vampire blood take on gruesomely appropriate titles such as the Offal Queen or Lord Marrowbroth. Some are true vampires, whilst others are ghouls who have tasted that immortal ichor and grown strong and powerful upon it. In all of them the madness of the Carrion King still runs strong, and its only mercy is the delusions which the court believes in their collective madness.[3a][4d]

All swear allegiance to the Carrion King, and in his absence the mightiest of all abhorrants see his will fulfilled across the realms and they are the Abhorrant Archregents who rule over vast empires of many separate courts. They collect flesh-tithes from the Ghoul Kings and deliver insane proclamations; some allow Ghoul Kings to act autonomously as long as they provide worthy gifts while others oversee all matters within their empires. To a sane mind the empires of Archregents are like continent-sized abattoirs and in them the air itself seethes with madness.[4d]

Courtly Titles

While the exact titles and hierarchy varies from court to court, they often reflect twisted memories of Ushoran's First Court. Below are some common titles.[3a][3b]

  • Carrion King, Sovereign of the Court: The abhorrant ruler is heir to the Carrion King, and the delusions of the court are splinters of Ushoran's madness filtered through the ruler. Often, the monarch takes on an appropriately grand title; for example, the archregent of the Vertigon Court in Hysh calls himself the Bright Emperor.[3b][5]
  • Sycophants, The Royal Family: The closest abhorrant members of the court to the monarch usually take on the role of the royal family. Their titles are even more diverse than the rest of the court's, but often the Giblet Prince is the heir apparent with a coterie of Sweetbread Princeling courtiers of his own, while the Offal Queen takes on the role of dutiful spouse and overseer of the nurseries. There are a great many dark tales of the fates of Ushoran's original family, and the titles may be twisted memories of their deaths.[3a][3b]
  • Lord Chamberslough, Vizier of the Attendants, The Iron Chamberlain: Lord Chamberslough is usually head of the various attendants and courtiers, maintaining order in the court and ensuring the monarch is appropriately praised and fawned upon. The legends of Ushoran's original chamberlain tell of someone far less loyal, vying for control of the empire and once even tried to take the throne by force; now, the position is ironically twisted to master of the Lickspittles.[3b]
  • Lord Marrowbroth, First Knight of the Deadwatch: Lord Marrowbroth is the king's champion and commander of his elite bodyguard, the Deadwatch. Legends say that Ushoran's bodyguard, the Harrow Wrath, earned the title Watches of the Dead in the wars against Nagash and the Mortarchs.[3b]
  • Lord Liverbelch, Master of the Abattoir: Chief taster and master of banquets, Lord Liverbelch is responsible for selecting the food for his liege. According to legend, Ushoran's court in the Age of Myth had a Lord Riverblood whose discerning tastes made the court's blood-feasts were renowned throughout Shyish.[3b]
  • Marquis Gruelsop, Commander of the Royal Mordants: The Marquis is the greatest and most loyal of the court's courtiers, and the one responsible for gathering and training the peasantry for war. Stories tell of Ushoran's brother who the Summerking, in a fit of paranoia, sent away to watch over slaves and prisoners. Desperate to prove his loyalty, the brother trained these dregs into some of the finest and most loyal soldiers in the empire.[3b]
  • Baron Gizzard, Chief Ranger: The scouting ghoul patrols of the court are led by Baron Gizzard, the keenest hunter among the mordants. Legends of Ushoran's court tell of a lowborn ranger of the Helfrost Empires who earned Ushoran's favour; some of the stories say he was affectionately called the Baron of Blizzards in recognition of his icy homelands, though he never officially received a noble title. Now, however, those named in his memory have.[3b]
  • Marquis Retchbile, Lord of the King's Ghouls: Marquis Retchbile, a skilled mordant general, commands the main force of ghouls in the royal armies. It is likely that this title is a conflation of the various marshals and warriors who fought with distinction alongside Ushoran in the Age of Myth like Lord Rilegloom, Prince Retter, and Captain Bilgoth, among others.[3b]

Religion

Shared among the different ghoul kingdoms of the Flesh-Eater Courts is their unshakeable faith in their founder, Ushoran. He is known under many names, and the specifics of the worship differs, but he is venerated all the same. The tales of his and his court's exploits are known far and wide among Ghoul-kind.[6c][6d]

Sometimes, a new Abhorrant will be born, especially marked by a divine touch. Those Abhorrants are given over to the Cardinal order. Cardinals owe their loyalty only to Ushoran himself. Having under gone the pilgrimage to New Summercourt, they have sipped his blood directly from his chalice. Those Abhorrant Cardinals that manage to survive the ordeal gain the ability to shape and steer the shared delusion of the ghoul masses, even manifesting gore ladden miracles. Many Cardinals lead missionary efforts into the lands of Order. Slipping in trough long forgotten catacombs, or hidden inside meat wagons, those vampires quickly attract the souls of the desperate and form ghoulish cults.[6d][6h]

With the coming of the Era of Beasts, a new manifestation of faith has appeared. Minor manifestations of Shyish magic known as Horrors Rampant, a dark mirror of the sigmarite Gargoylians twisted by delusion. They often gather around those ghouls most deeply lost in their delusions. They enjoy a form of reverence, with them often featuring on the heraldic devices of the Abhorrant rulers. So slay them without express permissions carry hard punishments. Its often just the Royal Flaymaster and their hunting party that is granted the right to slay them.[6c]

Some of the courts still revere Nagash as their god and seek to please him in any way that they can, raising great churches and monuments to his glory such as the famed Corpsefane of the Nightlands. Others distrust and hate the Great Necromancer. Many Abhorrants recognize on a subconcious level that their own view of the Realms is in direct conflict with Nagash's Necrotopia. It is these that are most often found beyond the Realm of Shyish and are usually regarded a plague upon those lands. The greatest of these is Highhaven and Nagash now looks upon it as a great prize to be taken, but the courts of that domain are determined to stay out of his reach, warding their Realmgates against the undead.[3c][6d]

Recruitment

Mordants are created from cannibals, starved mortals that turn on their own kind and eat them. These cannibal cults quickly devolve into hideous parodies of their societies. But only when these cannibals eat from the feast of an abhorrant king do they fully complete their transformation into ghouls, becoming fully engulfed in the king's madness of noble courts and benevolent monarchies, standing tall armoured in their own delusion.[2]

What makes the courts even more terrifying is that the madness of the king or queen and their court is infectious and those who linger too long may well succumb to the delusions themselves until they see the world (and the court) as the ruler does. The court itself operate like any other, so plots and schemes abound and ones standing can rise or fall in moments with a badly chosen word or deed.[3]

Promotions

Some mordants are blessed to drink a cup of the king's blood - which their minds understand as drinking wine from their master's table - transforming them further into more powerful, more loyal and less sane variants of mordants. Some even get further blessings allowing them to eventually turn into vampires and join the ranks of the abhorrants ghoul king, allowing them to eventually found their own courts and further spread the Flesh-eating madness.[2]

Organization

 
An Abhorrant Gorewarden leading a host

Abhorrants

Spawns of Ushoran, the Abhorrants represent the aristocratic upper class of the Flesh-Eater Courts.[6h]

  • Abhorrant Ghoul King:The heart of every court. These kings and queens form the apex of the ghoulish societies of the Flesh-Eater Courts. Some Abhorrant Sovereign uses their instinctive understanding of Death magic to reanimate a Zombie Dragon or Terrorgheist to serve as mount.[6h]
  • Abhorrant Archregent: Above even a Ghoul King stands the Abhorrant Archregent. Styling themselves as emperors, they claim supremacy over many lesser courts under them. The delusions are so strong with them that their aura might shatter the psyche of even the strongest willed warrior.[6h]
  • Abhorrant Gorewarden: The most loyal members of a sovereign's court might be entrusted with the position of Gorewarden. Entrusted with rusted relics, the 'keys of the kingdom', they guard the borders of their lord's domain. Ever vigilant, they swoop down from crumbled ruins on leathery wings to snatch away any trespasser.[6h]
  • Abhorrant Cardinal: Sometimes a new born Abhorrant shows signs of a divine touch. These are given over to the Cardinal order. After enduring a pilgramige to New Summercourt, and sipping from Ushoran's chalice, they gain the ability to shape the shared delusion of their kin and even perform bloody miracles. [6h]
  • Flaymaster: Regarded as the most skilled hunters of their court, these Abhorrants lead Royal Beastflayers hunting parties into the wilds of the Realms. Many take after the Baron Gizzard of Ushoran's first court, clad in thick furs, many Flaymasters also replace one of their arms with polearms or spears.[6k]

Courtiers

An Abhorrant Monarch will eventually attract their own court of monstrous cannibals. The most favored of them ascend to the position of a courtier. As part of their new position, their liege might grant them a boon, a sap of vampiric blood directly from their veins, initiating a monstrous transformation of the new courtier.[6i]

  • Marrowscroll Herald: Diplomats in service of Ushoran himself. They often act as messengers between different kingdoms of undead. They all carry a piece of bone taken from Ushoran's throne. A relic infused so deeply with infectious delusion that only the strongest of wills can resist its aura.[6h]
  • Royal Decapitator: Some ghouls fall so deeply that they become focused on killing the foes of their monarch that they neglect everything else. Those ghouls become outcasts of the court's society, seen as being touched by Nagash they take it on themselves to deliver his justice.[6i]
  • Crypt Ghast Courtier: The lowliest of a court's nobles. Risen from the ranks of lowly ghouls, they see themselves as gallant military leader, directing their forces with masterfully crafted heirloom blades.[6i]
  • Varghulf Courtier: Varghulfs are vampires, but more affected by the Boons of Ushoran than any other of their Abhorrant cousins. They are more bestial than the other courtiers. Unbothered by the burden of command, they prowl the battlefield, claws and jaws strong enough to crack open even the hull of an Ironweld Arsenal steam-hulk.[6i]
  • Crypt Infernal Courtier: After intaking a mix of their sovereign's blood and drake flesh, a ghoul will mutate into a winged beast known as Crypt Infernal Courtier. They often take command of the Deadwatch, the flying bodyguard of a courts nobility. In the minds of the other members of the Flesh-Eater Courts, a Crypt Infernal as an angelic warrior, to be permitted to touch their wings is seen as blessing amongst them.[6i]
  • Crypt Haunter Courtier: Swollen by necrotic energies, these hulking brutes are barely recognizable as humans anymore. Equally feared and respect by the ghoul serfs, the Crypt Haunter Courtiers prefer to lead their forces from the front.

Knights

From the masses of ghouls, an Abhorrant lord might eventually start recruiting their corps of elite warriors. While they outwardly might perform the role of dutiful guardians or martial champions, inside they are the same deranged cannibal as their brethen.[6j]

  • Morbheg Knights: Sometimes a ghoul manages to bond with one of the children of Morbheg known as Nightshrieker. They ride to war on top of these monstrous beasts in memory of the Pegasi once employed by Ushoran's elite warriors.[6j]
  • Crypt Flayers: Crypt Flayers are Mordants that serve the Flesh-eater Courts that have been transformed by a concoction of Terrorgheist flesh and necromantic fluids combined with the blood of a Abhorrant Ghoul King.[3f]
  • Crypt Horrors: Mutated by the exposure to Abhorrant blood, Crypt Horrors are barely even human anymore. Tall as an Ogor, grotesquely strong, and unable to feel pain, the Crypt Horrors are the hammer of any courts warhost.[6k]

Serfs

Serfs form the delusinal bulk of the Flesh-Eater Courts. While these Ghouls see themselves as humble farmers, labourers or craftsmen, in battle they tear their prey apart all the same.[6k]

  • Cryptguard: Sometimes a ghoul proves itself trough a worthy deed. These ghouls are granted the right to wield a weapon from their liege's armoury and join the Cryptguard. An elite formation dedicated to protect the nobility of their court, devoted beyond most ghouls.[6j]
  • Crypt Ghouls: The lowliest caste of the Flesh-Eater Courts. While they pretend to be simple peasants and labourers, the stench of the battlefield can put them into a frenzy, tearing apart their unfortunate prey with teeth and claws.[6k]
  • Royal Beastflayers: Made up of daring loners, peasant trackers, and grotesque Offal Hounds, a Beastflayer hunting party forms around a vampiric Flaymaster. Shunning ghoul society, Beastflayers are dedicated to the hunt of all kinds of prey, be it noble beasts or repulsive monstrosities.[6k]

Menagerie

  • Royal Terrorgheist: Once large and proud scions of Morbheg, now rotten and reanimated carcases that can separate a soul from its body with their terrible scream.[6l]
  • Royal Zombie Dragon: The crown jewel of a Abhorrant's menagerie. Zombie dragons inspire awe in their delusional servants and utter disgust by all those unaffected by the madness of the Flesh-Eaters.[6l]

Courts

Grand Courts

While there are many Flesh-Eater Kingdoms across the Realms, the Grand Courts stand apart from these lesser fiefdoms. The tales of these Ghoul empires and their deranged rulers have become the stuff of gory legends.[6g]

  • Blisterskin: The ancestors of the Blisterskins dwelled in the Realm of Aqshy, worshipping Hysh's light as divine. With the coming of the Age of Chaos, the rampaging hordes of [[Khorne]} drove them to desperate human sacrifices. Soon enough, the tribes were taken over by vampiric 'Summer Children'. Now the Blisterskins, lead by their Priest-Kings spread the word of their Solar Deity and the Summerking.[6g]
  • Gristlegore: The sons of the long lost Tranquil Kingdoms from savage Thondia. Once they sought to live in harmony with their environment, now they have been transformed into savage alpha-predators that go to war on top of reanimated ancient behemoths.[6g]
  • Hollowmourne: Long ago these Knights swore an oath to bring civilisation to the Realms. When Chaos arrived, their now forgotten master gave them one last command, to seek out powerful artifacts from forgotten vaults so that they might turn the tide. For reasons unknown, these knights failed in their mission. As starvation and mania seized them they started to devour their foes, their squires and their beloved mounts. Yet, in their broken state they found a new master. Now they serve as the vanguard of their new Abhorrant 'Grand Master'.[6g]
  • Morgaunt: The now lost kingdoms of the northern Prime Innerlands were once seen as the epitomes of chivalry and gallantry. The nobles of these lands believed that the strong should defend the weak. So they refused to cede any ground in the face of the onslaught of Chaos. While it wasnt enough to prevent the demise of their realms, their sacrifice lived on in the memory of their people. So now they project these images on their new vampiric lords. The Morgaunts are the most ardent supporters of Ushoran's War of Red Errantry. Regiments of warriors and serfs spill out from the Realmgates to 'liberate' the downtrodden from their tyrannic lords.[6g]


Other Courts

Sources


Flesh-Eater Courts Death
Background MordantsVampires
Magic Lore (Madness) • Unit-specific Spells
Grand Courts
Grand Courts BlisterskinGristlegoreHeartgashHollowmourneMorgauntWargspine Citadel
Lesser Courts Carnedine CortegeClatterbone CourtCrookfang KingdomDreamgheistFallow CourtGibbering CourtsGluttonous CarnivalHalfblood CourtsSanguine CourtSuppurating CourtSunderborne CourtWitherclaw
Units
Abhorrant Archregent - Cardinal - Ghoul king - Gorewarden
Courtier Crypt Ghast - Crypt Haunter - Crypt Infernal - Varghulf
Ghouls Crypt Flayer - Crypt Ghoul - Crypt Horror - Marrowscroll Herald
Beasts Royal Terrorgheist - Royal Zombie Dragon
Special Unique GormayneGrymwatchSkinnerkinUshoran
Endless Spells Cadaverous BarricadeChalice of UshoranCorpsemare Stampede
Scenery Charnel Throne
Characters
Deities & Mortarchs NagashUshoran
Vampire AtheldadeCarrion KingFangheartGalanGloomheartGoretalonGristlegobHorgloomKorlockMaldorosMarrowthirstPrince of CrowsShivergoreSkinless SultanSplinterbloodSplinterboneThyador DurensteinZernmeister
Mordant Grymwatch (CrakmarrowMaster TalonNight's HeraldRoyal ButcherValreek) • Urglom
ArmouryArtworkMiniatures
Grand Alliances and factions
OrderChaosDestructionDeath
DeathlordsFlesh-Eater CourtsLegions of Nagash (Grand Host of NagashLegion of BloodLegion of GriefLegion of NightLegion of Sacrament) • NighthauntOssiarch BonereapersSoulblight Gravelords (Beasts of the GraveDeadwalkersDeathmagesDeathrattleSoulblight)