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The Eight-castles-that-were-one were the eight Chaos Dreadholds that defended the Brimfire Gate, the Arcway of Aqshy.[1b] The eight fortresses were, in order: the Pyrevault Redoubt; the Keep of Skrathax;[1a] Vulkstroya Keep; Alkatar, the Castle of Screaming Death; Dreadgate; the Bloodskull Fastness; Bloodcombe; and the Great Skullhold.[1b]

Pyrevault Redoubt

The Pyrvault Redoubt was the first fortress after the Black Abyss.[1a] It was studded with brass skulls and magebane wards and its defences were blessed by Khorne himself. When the Stormcast attacked during the Realmgate Wars, even the walls of the castle itself screamed defiance. The dreadhold could launch geysers of boiling blood and fireballs from the gargoyles carved in the walls.[1b] It fell to the Fyreslayers hired by the Stormcast.[1e]

Keep of Skrathax

The Keep of Skrathax was named for the commander of its defences, the Bloodthirster Skrathax.[1e] The fortress's walls were brass and ran with rivulets of molten metal.[1b] It was overrun by the Hammers Draconis Extremis Chamber, and Skrathax was so incensed at the poor showing of its defenders that he slew the last of them himself before falling in a duel with Lord-Celestant Imperius of the Hammers Draconis.[1e]

Vulkstroya Keep

Vulkstroya Keep was nestled amongst active volcanoes[1b] and lava flowed down into the Black Abyss. When the godbeast Ignax awoke during the battle between the Stormcast and the keep's defenders, she destroyed the keep with her breath.[1e]

Alkatar, the Castle of Screaming Death

Alkatar had rage daemons bound into its walls.[1b] It was also destroyed by Ignax.[1e]


The Dreadgate was noted to have red spikes,[1b]. Vandus Hammerhand led the attack that captured it.[1e]

Bloodskull Fastness

Bloodskull Fastness was commanded during the Realmgate Wars by Lord Khar, a Chaos Lord known for his tactical mind. He proved to be a dangerous foe, bleeding the attackers white and forcing them into a brutal war of attrition to take the keep tower by tower.[1c] When the Fyreslayers manage to dominate Ignax with the Father Rune of Binding that had been hammered into Ignax's flesh and use the Godbeast to finally end the fight, Khar escaped to Bloodcombe to marshal the defences there.[1f]


Bloodcombe had been build at Khorne's command by the Children of Hashut, and had monolithic walls made of magma.[1b] At a command, the entire castle could be sealed by causing the magma to flow to cover all weak points.[1f] When Ignax slept, she coiled around the keep. [1d] Lord Khar ordered the keep sealed when the Bloodskull Fastness fell, but the Fyreslayers managed to command the Solar Drake to burn a hole through the walls before the Father Rune of Binding failed, and the Stormcast and Fyreslayers managed to storm the keep through this Hell Breach.[1f]

Great Skullhold

The Great Skullhold was the largest and strongest of the eight fortresses, with unending walls that filled the horizon and surrounded the Brimfire Gate. Skarbrand was bound by the Brass Chain beneath the gate, acting as a final defender.[1b] However, the Bloodthirster would prove to be the downfall of the keep, as when the Stormcast attacked, he broke free and slaughtered the defenders as the attackers were out of reach[1g] and preventing reinforcements from the realmgate.[1f] When Skarbrand fell in battle against Vandus Hammerhand, the Stormcast were free to seal the gate permanently.[1g]


  • 1: The Realmgate Wars: All-gates
    • 1a: The Heart of Fire, pg. 144-145
    • 1b: The Deadliest Hunt, pg. 146-149
    • 1c: Fiery Apocalypse, pg. 176-177
    • 1d: Armies of the Heavens, pg. 156-159
    • 1e: Battle for the Brimfire Gate, pg. 162-165
    • 1f: Beneath Burning Skies, pg. 178-179
    • 1g: The Battle for Hell Breach, pg. 180-196