Having picked up the first volume of Age of Sigmar today, I felt I should post as much information as I can so that my fellow Heretics can understand the new lore and history of the Mortal Realms and the War Against Chaos. I will be dividing the information into Chapters so that it is organized and not overwhelming on new info.
So let us begin with The Lost Ages, the time between The World That Was and The Worlds That Are;
Into darkness he fell, a glimmering streak in the endless black void.
It was Dracothion, the Great Drake, that first beheld Sigmar. He was clinging to a lustrous sphere of shimmering sigmarite that hurtled unchecked through the dark ether.
Entranced by the gleam of its core, Dracothion chased the careening orb, seeking to capture it and set it in the Heavens to better admire its beauty. Only then did the Great Drake notice the battered form of Sigmar gripping the pitted metal. Sensing a kindred spirit, Dracothion revived the god with a warming breath and permitted him to ride upon his back.
Sigmar was grateful and thanked Dracothion, bestowing gifts upon the Great Drake. In turn, Dracothion showed Sigmar hidden paths - star bridges and crystalline pathways - that led to each of the Eight Realms.
Thus began the Age of Myth.
The Ages of the Mortal Realms are divided into three distinct epochs that have shaped the Realms. The Age of Myth, the Age of Chaos and the Age of Sigmar. After being found by Dracothion both he and Sigmar discovered that the God-King was not the only survivor of The World That Was, which Dracothion had hung in the cosmos and named Mallus. Its core was an anchor against the storm, a lodestone for the echoing souls of those who sought to deny Chaos its ultimate victory. Memories have great power, especially those of vengeful souls. Those of embittered gods are the most potent of all. Like seeds that weather winter to sprout anew in spring, Sigmar and the other lost divinities of that world began to grow stronger once more. All bar the God-King himself slumbered in an unknowable limbo, but the fallen were nourished nonetheless by the ever-shifting magics that saturated Mallus. Their memories and dreams slowly shaped the grand sphere’s eldritch aura, coalescing into forms that had a presence in the material universe. When the suns and moons of the heavens glowed bright, the surface of Mallus surged and flickered with the light of a billion lost souls, hosts of the vengeful that were one moment corporeal, the next as diaphanous and incorporeal as ghosts. These shadows of a bygone age were not alone. There remained those warriors and seers who had escaped the unbridled destruction of Chaos, who had sheltered in otherworldy havens, passed into mirror dimensions, or been swallowed by the Realm of Chaos only to fight their way back out. But for every soul that somehow clung on to existence, there were thousands who were gone forever. In many ways, it was this grand outrage that gave the survivors a sense of purpose, a bitter need for vengeance, and a material form.
After discovering the Realms, still covered in the dew of creation, Sigmar and Dracothion went on a great voyage across each of them, both of them journeyed far and wide, finding enclaves of primitive humans and monstrous beasts. Sigmar taught mankind many things and in turn he was worshipped as a God-King again. There are many tales of Sigmar's encounters in this time; such as how he slew the Hydragors that guarded the gates to the Realm of Shyish, and how there he found the fallen god Nagash buried under a mountain-cairn and freed him; or how he freed the Realm of Aqshy from the tyrannical rule of the Volc-Giants. Everywhere Sigmar went he found more humans, trapped under the oppressive yoke of beasts and monsters, and everywhere he went Sigmar dispatched them and brought freedom and pride to his new subjects.
Meanwhile in the Realm of Hysh, Tyrion of Cothique awoke from his long slumber to find that he had been elevated to godhood. The Lord of Lumination had finally risen. Discovering his brother Teclis, also raised to godhood, next to him and that the now-blind God of Light could see through his brother's gaze, Tyrion set about shaping the Realm of Hysh, but they were alone in this new and strange world. When the Twin Gods found Sigmar they were pleased, but despaired to learn that outside the still-growing city of Azyrheim, there were no signs of Aelfkind. Both swore allegience to Sigmar and joined his growing pantheon.
While exploring the Realm of Chamon Sigmar found the Duardin Gods Grungni and Grimnir imprisoned at the top of the Iron Mountains. How they came to be there, they would not say, but each readily swore the oath of allegience and set about repaying their debt to Sigmar. Grungni, now crippled in form and unable to raise his hammer and fight alongside his brother-god, promised to fabricate whatever Sigmar desired as his smithing skills were unharmed. Grungni gathered the remaining Duardin and established the Iron Karak, a bastion of the Steamhead Duardin that would always answer Sigmars call. However Grimnir was a warrior and asked Sigmar to name an enemy worthy of his axes and that it would die, Sigmar named Vulcatrix the Mother of Salamanders that terrorized the Realm of Aqshy. Though the battle was titanic and created the Plains of Aqshy by it's very occurence, the end result was that both the Slayer God and the Ur-Salamander destroyed each other. Where the hoat coal remnants of Vulcatrix landed a new volcano was born, but where Grimnir's fragments ended up is a mystery that the Duardian share with no one.
In the Realm of Ulgu, a new being awoke. This being with little memory of himself could not control his own solidarity, a fact that enraged him. As his anger grew, so did his physicality, and thus Malerion, once Malekith the Witch King, now a twisted being born of the Chaos-fuelled merging of Malekith and his dragon Seraphon, explored the Thirteen Domains of Ulgu. He found many strange beings but no signs of Aelfkind, apart from one. In a glade of Shadow Daemons he found a bacchanal staged by a enrapturing she-aelf, one that Malerion recognized. His own mother Morathi, changed in ways not recorded. Mother and son, remembering their final actions towards each other in the World That Was, were not happy to be reunited, but made an uneasy truce and united under Sigmar, joining the Great Alliance.
In the Realm of Ghur Sigmar discovered the twin-headed God of Orruks and Grots known as Gorkamorka, trapped withijn the Drakatoa, a living avalance that ruled Ghyrria. Destroying the amber-massed monster, Sigmar and Dracothion freed Gorkamorka, believing that the Orruks that infested each of the Eight Realms would make fearsome allies in the fight against Chaos. Gorkamorka was pleased to be freed, yet infuriated that he had required help at all. Attacking his benefactor, Gorkamorka knocked Dracothion senseless with a single blow of his club, and in response Sigmar began what turned into a twelve-day battle. During this epic confrontation the Eight Realms themselves shuddered, when Sigmar flung Gorkamorka down from the sky the resulting blast created the Mountains of Maraz, while errant strikes from Gorkamorka's club created the Gouge Canyons. After twelve days both gods were weary and upon seeing the wreckage they had created, and the audience of beasts that had paused to watch this once-in-an-eternity confrontation, both Sigmar and Gorkamorka began to laugh. They grasped each other's hands and agreed to fight alongside each other, Gorkamorka seeing an equal in strength that would lead him to many great battles.
In the Realm of Ghyran Sigmar found Alarielle, now the God of Life, and recruited her to join his pantheon. How he did this is not recorded as of yet. In Ghyran Alarielle found a realm that abounded with life in all it's forms; living mountains strode aross eternal forests, geysers birthed spumes of colourful birds, and glittering streams graced floating gardens. Though Alarielle was grateful to the man-god for awakeningher, she found solace in nature alone and after centuries of wandering through her new garden world, she revealed her own secret. The Everqueen bore magical seeds harvested from Athel Loren in The World That Was, and as she sowed these seeds in various conditions across all of Ghyran, a race was reborn. The Sylvaneth, once called Treeman and Dryads and a myriad of other names, flourished in this magical forest world. Aelven spirit beings found a home there as well, and Ghyran was truly at peace.
Finally Sigmar alighted into the Heavens and discovered the Celestial Realm, the Realm that would be his. In gratitude towards Dracothion for all his help, Sigmar forged a necklace of pure sigmarite and gifted it to the being that helped make this second chance possible. The great city of Azyrheim was built around Mallus, and from this incredible place the Grand Alliance of Gods was forged with the God-King Sigmar at it's head and peace was spread across the Mortal Realms.
As grand as the Alliance was, cracks soon began to form in it. Gorkamorka, though filled with respect for Sigmar, felt outright hate or contempt of his fellow gods and caused unrest wherever he went. Tired of this, Sigmar dispatched Gorkamorka to clear the wild countries, a task that suited the Sometimes Two Gods perfectly. Meanwhile Alarielle, now tired of both mortal and immortal company and pining for The World That Was, desired only to nurture her crops, spending more and more time in the Realm of Ghyran and rueing having to return to the Vault Celestial for councils and endless bickering among brother and sister gods. The greatest fracture came when Malerion and Tyrion, both still eager to find signs of Aelfkind beyond their own realms and Azyrheim's golden walls. They could find nothing in the land of waking, but in their dreams both the gods of light and shadow heard endless screams and cries, the sounds of the damned undergoing eternal torment. It was at the ending of The World That Was that Slaanesh, youngest of the Dark Gods, feasted mightily upon the endless stream of Aelven souls that came to him, so great that by the final end of what was, the Dark Prince was bloated and helpless. Seeing an opportunity to at last remove a fellow God and rival from the Black Pantheon, Tzeentch manipulated Khorne and the newly born Aelven Gods into a quest that saw the Dark Prince's realm invaded by the hordes of the Blood God and the Prince himself stolen from his throne by the Lords of Lumination and Shadow. But in pursuing their own goals, Malerion and Tyrion weakened the Great Alliance by being derelict in their duties to Sigmar.
Next came the first betrayal. Tired of the tedious orders and constricting laws of his fellow Gods, Gorkamorka could take no more. With no warning the twin-headed god snapped and gave a deepthroated roar of 'WAAAAGH!'
that sent the Orruks to new heights of rage. The invasion that followed swept across the Eight Realms, devastating them; cities were crushed, armies were trampled, and allies were destroyed in an avalance of green skin and crude choppas. Upon reaching the edge of nothingness - the abyssal World's End - Gorkamorka turned his forces around and set off to do it all again. The Great Waaagh! ended only when the greenskin tribes became mired in endless infighting, and Gorkamorka himself fractured into the twin gods Gork and Mork and succumbed to same arguments and infighting that plagued their children. Since that day Gorkamorka has reformed several times, each time heralding a new Great Waaagh! that unites the Orruk tribes into a wave of death and destruction, but no Great Waaagh! has ever been as devastating as the very first.
But this age was not to last forever, for the Dark Gods had their gaze fixed upon the Mortal Realms. Khorne, Nurgle, Tzeentch, and soul-bloated Slaanesh before his capture, coveted what they saw and began making plans to invade the newly born Realms and corrupt everything within. However the Realms proved their greatest challenge yet as they naturally resisted the incursion of Chaos. Only the mightiest of the Greater Daemons or the Gods themselves could open the veil between realms, and even then the fissures they tore were temporary things that closed quickly. This did not stop them and Daemons like Ghorghax, commander of the Rage Legion, and Kairos Fateweaver, Oracle of Tzeentch, led horrific incursions into the Eight Realms. At first these invasions were paltry things led by slaughter-mad Daemons that quickly dwindled in numbers as the valiant defenders of the Mortal Realms sent the Daemons screaming back to the Forge of Souls, but this did not last as the Dark Gods began combining their powers to open greater and greater rifts, allowing larger armies to enter the Eight Realms. As more and more rifts were opened the Age of Myth entered it's final era, made possible only by the capture of Slaanesh. The Dark Gods, ever greedy for more power, began fighting among themselves to seize the captured Dark Prince's territory for themselves. After centuries of war between the Fell Powers, they finally turned their gaze to the ultimate prize, the Eight Realms.
And with that, the Age of Myth was over and the Age of Chaos began.