Aether War

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Aether War
Kharadron Overlords vs Disciples of Tzeentch 01.jpeg
Drak Grolsson combatting Ab-het in the Azure Crown
Conflict Great Sky War
Era Arcanum Optimar
Location Chamon-Spiral Crux-Griffon's Eyrie
Outcome Kharadron victory
The Aetherstreams of Griffon's Eyrie are claimed by Barak-Nar
Intensification of the Great Sky War
{{{3}}}Barak-Nar {{{3}}}Cult of the Transient Form
{{{3}}}Shimmering Eye
{{{3}}}Bjarnus Tragg
{{{3}}}Drak Grolsson
{{{3}}}Watcher King
Sky-fleet of Bjarnus Tragg, consisting of:
•The Ironclad Intrepid
•Some Grundstok Gunhaulers
Cult of the Transient Form

The Ather War was a conflict between the Kharadron Overlords of Barak-Nar and the Disciples of Tzeentch of the Cult of the Transient Form, it was provoked by the ever-increasing forrays that the Kharadron made into the sacred tzeentchian ground of Griffon's Eyrie.[2a]


Ever since the Sky Exodus, the Great Sky War has raged in the skies of the Mortal Realms.[1a] While initially in Tzeentch's advantage, the unprecedented technological advancement of the Kharadron Overlords had inevitably turned the tides of the conflict in their favour, culminating in the groundbreaking kharadron victory at the Battle of the First Coalition.[5a]

The Chaos cults and tribes inhabiting the inner isles of the Spiral Crux were relentlessly driven back by the kharadron sky-fleets in search of aether-gold. Many retreated towards the centre of the Spiral Crux, seeking refuge in sacred lands so magically infused by the blessings of Tzeentch that they remained an impassable no man's land to all but the true followers of Tzeentch, the Tzaangors. At the centre of it all was Griffon's Eyrie - magical ground zero, former lair of the Lode-Griffon and location of the Sky-Rift.[2d]

To the Kharadron, however, the inimical environment of Griffon's Eyrie was but an inconvenience that would inevitably be overcome by their techno-arcane expertise. Over time, an increasing amount of sky-fleets braved the deadly magnostorms endemic to the region.[2d]

Cults of the Eyrie

The greatest of the Eyrie's Tzaangor tribes, known as the Shimmering Eye, inhabited in the Azure Crown, a formation of floating rocks that orbited the Sky-Rift and circled the golden carcass of the lode-griffon. They served the Watcher King, even after his fateful collision with the Thantanik had left him banished into the void.[2b]

Despite his condition, the Watcher King employed a network of spies and sorcerers to control the disciples of Tzeentch of the Spiral Crux. His most trusted agent was Magister Ab-het, High Potentate of the Cult of the Transient Form.[2b]

Barak-Nar and the Gorak-drek

For the Kharadron of Barak-Nar, the Garaktormun heralded a time of both loss and opportunity. The ensuing aetheric storms displaced many lucrative aetherstreams owned by Barak-Nar and damaged large segments of the sky-port. Despite this, Barak-Nar's Admiralty saw an opportunity to secure new profitable resources.[2c]

Barak-Nar, retaining the ‘Steering Hand’ over the Geldraad, employed its greater number of delegates to secure first rights to several exceptionally profitable locations across the Mortal Realms. Despite this monopoly, the Admirals of Barak-Nar knew they had to be swift to prevent their rival sky-ports to overpass them.[2c] In Barak-Nar alone, hundreds of sky-fleets were chartered into action, most heading into new and deadly lands to seize innumerable swathes of enemy territory and further expand an empire that already stretched across every Mortal Realm. Following the Aetherstream Intrepid, Barak-Nar drifted ominously ever-closer to Griffon's Eyrie.[2b]

Drak Grolsson and the Aethermatic Repulsion Field

It was Drak Grolsson of Barak-Nar who ultimately invented a device able to ward off the sorcerous winds of Griffon's Eyrie. His so-called Aethermatic Repulsion Field would later be copied by the other sky-ports, allowing all Kharadron to venture into the last sacred refuge of Tzeentch's faithful.[3a][1a]


The Ritual

Bristling with aethercannons and skyburst mortars, Barak-Nar proved impervious to any frontal assault from the Disciples of Tzeentch. To destroy it, they resorted to the arcane powers of the Eyrie itself.[2b]

In communion with the Watcher King, Magister Ab-het devised a grand magnomantic ritual. When the Lode-Griffon was slain centuries ago by aetheric magic, great torrents of its blood had been, upon contact with the air, transmuted into beads of pure clot-crystal suffused with a fraction of its divine magnetic aura. To accomplish his ritual, the Magister tasked his Tzaangor Warriors with recovering enough of this clot-crystal.[2b]

Under the Watcher King's guidance and in conjunction with a coven of Tzaangor Shamans, Ab-het awakened the latent magic within the clot-crystals. The magnetic tides of the Eyrie went havoc and the magnostorms that ravaged Griffon's Eyrie reached new heights, creating a lethal whirlwind of drifting rocks and shards. Kharadron aethermatic instruments too close to Griffon's Eyrie went haywire. While but an echo of the Lode-Griffon's power, many Barak-Nar sky-fleets were dashed to pieces. This was only the outset of the Watcher King's plan, the first winds of a great storm that would lay waste to Barak-Nar.[2b]

The Expedition

Admiral Bjarnus Tragg had used his influence to secure aether-gold mining rights within the Azure Crown. Tragg was able to stake his claim upon this invaluable plot due to how deep in Griffon's Eyrie it was located. There, the atmosphere was so inimical to life that arkanaut armour was incapable to stop the corruption to spread its wearer's flesh.[2c]

However, Bjarnus Tragg had a secret advantage in the form of his connection with Drak Grolsson. Tragg saw the potential of Grolsson's Aethermatic Repulsion Field and immediately outfitted his prospecting sky-fleet with several of the devices.[2c] Using Grolsson's aetheric forcefield, Tragg's fleet departed for the Azure Crown.[3a]

Upon reaching the borders of Griffon's Eyrie, the chronometers and atmospheric gauges began to swing and whirl, and the hulls of the Intrepid and its accompanying Gunhaulers groaned under the building pressure. The Aethermatic Repulsion Field had only been tested briefly, and Tragg had no idea exactly how long it would work. Regardless, Tragg's fleet slipped into the growing magical maelstrom, making for the Azure Crown.[2c]

Initial Ambush

Magister Ab-het watched the trespassing Kharadron sky-fleet with his scrying mirror. Concerned by the apparent immunity of the sky-fleet to the Eyrie's winds and knowing and knowing that the Intrepid carried sufficient firepower to throw the great ritual into disarray, the Magister ordered an all-out assault upon the Intrepid.[2c]

The elite Tzaangor Skyfires of the Shimmering Eye tribe swept down from the Azure Crown to fall upon the Intrepid. They loosed sparking arrows upon the Arkanaut crew members, sending them flying overboard or spitting them where they stood. Screamers of Tzeentch cut through the skies towards the now pinned Kharadron aboard the Intrepid. Grundstok Thunderers and Arkanauts hastened to repel boarders, firing into the onrushing swarm while Gunhaulers bombarded the flanks of the Screamer tide, blasting a great many into clouds of pinkish mist.[2c]

Regardless of the Tzaangors best efforts, the Kharadron gunline could not be breached. Tzeentch's faithful only had to delay the sky-fleet, however, and delay it they did. As the atmospheric dials of the Intrepid's Aether-Khemist began spinning wildly, he bellowed a futile warning. As the Tzaangors scattered, a devastating wave of gravitic force slammed into the Ironclad, all but overturning it. Without the protective bubble of the aethermantic repulsion fields the Intrepid would surely have been hurled into a death spiral. This bought enough time for the Intrepid's Captain to drag the vessel free of the energy surge. The skyvessel sustained major damage nonetheless, its fore hull-plates had buckled under the sudden onslaught, and several Arkanauts had been thrown overboard to their doom.[2c]

While assessing his sky-fleet's damage, Admiral Tragg was informed, by his Aether-Khemist, that the magnetic tides of the Eyrie were growing in force and ferocity by the moment. Since the source of the disturbance laid close at hand, Tragg ordered Endrinmaster Grolsson to lead a small force deep into the Azure Crown to seek out and destroy the source of the magnetic tides.[2c]

Grolsson's Expedition

Leaving Tragg and the damaged Intrepid behind, Grolsson headed for the most powerful readings of aethermantic energy. Knowing to have mere hours to discover and eliminate the origin of the aetheric disturbance. Any longer and his aethermatic repulsion field would fail, condemning him and his men to a flesh-melting demise. Wearing his homemade master-crafted aether-turbine he nonetheless eagerly lead his forces through the deadly maze that lay ahead. They were all willing to risk everything to claim an aetherstream for their sky-port and sky-fleet.[2c]

Drak Grolsson's Expedition, nammed the Intrepid Prospectors[2h], was composed of:

Eye of the Storm

So treacherous were the storm-wracked depths of the Azure Crown that Grolsson ordered the Bronzebeard and some of his Skywardens to scout ahead and find a path through the tumbling rock-field.[2e]

As Grundpilot Sygund's aeronautical dials and surge-readers spun madly as they struggled to make sense of the ever-changing gales, all he could do was keeping his Gunhauler on a vaguely even keel. He felt pity for the Skywardens clinging gamely to the sides of his skyvessels, buffeted terribly by the rushing winds. Grolsson's aetheric repulsion field had kept the Eyrie's toxic aura at bay until then, but the risk of a collision damaging the device, or of the aether-gold accumulator running dry was still present.[2e]

As the Bronzebeard broke through the bank of clouds and the whirlwind of crystal-edged rock, the Gunhauler's aethermatic gauge screamed in protest and cracks appeared across its luminrock surface. Looming past the clouds was a churning maelstrom large enough to swallow an entire sky-fleet. Caught in the grasp of the monstrous spiral, chunks of rock and crystal spires the size of Arkanaut Ironclads were being wrenched and spun effortlessly about. Streaks of purplish lightning darted across the seething tempest, and snaking tendrils reached out to ensnare more soaring debris.[2e]

In the eye of the storm, an island of stone wreathed in a nimbus of azure light floated serenely in the face of ruin. Tzaangors mounted on discs of Tzeentch flocked about the structure. As the Kharadron drew closer, Tzeentch's servants wheeled as one and descended towards the Bronzebeard upon trails of blue flame.[2e]

Staking a Claim

Regardless of the presence of the growing threat of the storms gathering in the Azure Crown, the Kharadron expedition is not willing to retreat without marking out a few valuable aether-gold mining sites for future excavation. Outraged, the Disciples of Tzeentch seek to put an abrupt end to this shameless intrusion.[2f]

Left behind by the scouting part, Mizzenmaster Rollo and his prospectors locate a significant aetherstream and staking a claim. Standing upon a great shelf of stone hundreds of metres wide and almost as deep, they drove great struts of rune-marked iron into the rock with hammers and gun butts to form a latticed tower. The runic symbols on the structure glowed with a faint trace of aethermantic magic — this unique marker combined the personal sigil of Admiral Bjarnus Tragg and the seal of Barak-Nar. This beacon, which gave off a strong geomantic signature trackable by Aether-Khemists, ensured the sacrosanctity of Barak-Nar's claim upon the Azure Crown.[2f]

As Rollo's team was claiming the area, the scouting party, escorted by the Bronzebeard and led by Mizzenmaster Hrolf, came back to warn them of the renewal of the Tzaangor assaults and the ever-growing sorcerous storm. While Custodian Beggrun advised to fall back even further and inform Drak Grolsson of the situation, Rollo refused to give any ground before having carved their claim upon it. Instead, Rollo tasked Hrolf to fall back to Grolsson's position in order to request reinforcements. Meanwhile, the remaining Kharadron were going to stand their ground to avoid relinquishing their profit.[2f]

Race Against Time

When Drak Grolsson locates the source of the growing aethermantic disturbance within the Azure Crown, he realises that the threat is far greater than he had anticipated. His expedition must put an end to Abhet and his magnomantic ritual before its terrible power is unleashed upon the Kharadron.[2g]

The magnostorm grew exponentially as the Bronzebread and the rest of the Kharadron, clamped to its flank, drew nearer to the source of the arcane energy ravaging the Azure Crown. Drifting islands of stone as large as mountains crumbled to pieces as they neared the gathering storm. In truth, the storm had become powerful enough to threaten Barak-Nar itself, regardless of its gyromatic stabilisers and arcane dampener fields.[2g]

Endrinmaster Grolsson reflected on the best course of actions. His expedition could withdraw, for they still had time to return to the Intrepid and get clear of the advancing hurricane. On the other hand, they could travel within a whisker of that brewing catastrophe while fighting their way through the Tzaangor Warriors of the Shimmering Eye in order to attack the source of the disturbance.[2g]

However, Grolsson had calculated that, if no action was taken, the storm would crash directly across the path of his home port of Barak-Nar. Countless Kharadron would die and the Disciples of Tzeentch would seize the opportunity to inflict even more damage. Lastly, withdrawing implied that the members of Tragg's sky-fleet had to forfeit any profits from their voyage... Unthinkable![2g]

‘Take us in low and hard, Grundpilot Sarggund,’

'Ready your guns and prepare for battle,’

‘Such a bounteous vein of aether-gold is worth risking our lives for, by Grungni’s beard!’

- Drak Grolsson chosing to attack the tzeentchian ritual.[2g]


Drak Grolsson and his forces successfully thwart the tzeentchian plot, but the Great Sky War between the Disciples of Tzeentch and Kharadron intensifies.[4a]