The Petrifex Elite, also known as the Bleak Exhumers, the Stone Colossi and the Archaeossians, are one of the Ossiarch Legions. They form a grinding juggernaut of rockhard bone, a nomadic force created from the stuff of skeletons turned to stone over aeons spent beneath the earth. They are the grinding fist of the Ossiarch Empire, set loose crush the fragile nations of their mortal prey.[1a]
Those that set themselves against the Petrifex Elite are matched not against conventional human remains, but petrified bone as unyielding as bedrock. Arrows rebound harmlessly from the titanic frames of these giants, swords shatter and axes are blunted or broken apart. The return blows, though ponderous, are devastating – the metres-long glaives and scimitars of these creatures shiver upraised shields and hack right through the limbs beneath, or else mangle and maim those foolish enough to challenge them as their wielders stride on without pause.[1a]
The Petrifex Elite are an anomaly in Bonereaper society, for they do not create, construct, nor reshape the lands they conquer. They exist only to slay, and to pillage ancient bone from the civilisations they shatter, each haul of petrified bone used to create more of these terrifying shock-troops so their rampage can grow ever deadlier. It is rumoured that the Petrifex Elite once numbered only twenty, amongst them those same Mortisans that rule the legion to this day. In the Age of Myth, they were given but one command by Nagash himself, an order rumoured by the other legions to be no longer than a sentence. Some say it was to crush the hopes and dreams of all those who would stand against him, others that it was to strike terror into the hearts of mortals – or perhaps to take the finest bodily remains for Nagash, thereby ensuring that no rival could ever surpass him in the dark arts of necromancy. That reason has long been lost to the annals of history, but the Archaeossians march onward still.