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Known as the Wrathsinger of Clan Naeth’aer, Haaldhorm is his clan’s most warlike Ancient. He embodies the strength and nobility of Oakenbrow, leading his kin to battle with a confidence born of vast experience. Old even by the standards of the sylvaneth, Haaldhorm has fought for many centuries against his peoples’ enemies, and this constant warfare has honed his abilities as warrior and commander both. Haaldhorm harbours a timeless hatred for the destructive scions of Chaos, and delights in tearing them apart with talon and spell. The Ancient does not allow his hate to make him reckless, however, for he values the life of every sylvaneth that fights beneath his canopy. The War of Life has long been fought against overwhelming enemy forces, and early on, Haaldhorm mastered the art of battling superior foes with whatever small forces were available to him. The Ancient prefers the art of the perfect ambush rather than engaging in costly stand-up fights, and as such, he values the Forest Folk highly for their skills in guerilla warfare.[1b]

History Edit

Atop the Greatstump Edit

When Plaguelord Glurbchrot led his diseased horde up the winding stair set onto the Greatstump’s flank, he did so with a song in his rotten heart. All the way up to the Nurgle-held fortifications of the Rusted Ring, Glurbchrot raised a bubbling chant, his Rotbringers joining him in his devotions. The robed vermin of Clan Feesik stared at the Rotbringers askance, but Glurbchrot cared not for the opinions of grubbing skaven. Heand his followers had been charged with striking the killing blow against one of the last wild enclaves of Ghyran, and Glurbchrot intended to discharge his task with all the relish it deserved.[1a]

Even the most bellicose Rotbringer fell silent as the host marched through the gates of the Rusted Ring. Beyond those flaking walls, skeletal trees clawed from amidst the churning muck of Nurgle’s glopsom glory. Bloated horrors lumbered through the fumes rising from that cursed mire, and stinking slop bubbled and popped on all sides. High above, rumbling firestorms lit the trailing clouds, sending down a snow of cinders from where Ghyran and Aqshy collided like continental plates. Ahead, along the raised dirt causeway, the last huddled remains of the forest of Peakwood clung to its besieged existence. Glurbchrot intended to lead his followers along the road for many leagues, and to hack his way through that island of untainted life to despoilthe mystic groves at its heart. There, seeded plague spores and vomitus concoctions would soon smother whatever spark of defiance the forest might be harbouring. The Plaguelord’s confidence was misplaced, for he had sorely underestimated the threat that lay in wait for his warriors.[1a]

With Alarielle’s rebirth, new realmroots had begun to twine their way up through the heart of the Greatstump.[1a]

Via an offshoot of the Cascading Path, these roots had brought a force of Oakenbrow sylvaneth to defend the Peakwood, and to reawaken the soulpod groves long hidden at its heart. Treelord Ancient Haaldhorm, of the Clan Naeth’aer, had no intention of allowing the Rotbringers to despoil this place. The noxious foe had not yet realised that they, not the sylvaneth, should be treading the Jade Kingdoms with fear. Haaldhorm would enlighten them.[1b]

It was as the Chaos horde neared the heart of the Peakwood that the first sylvaneth appeared. The path was flanked by peculiar tangles of shimmering trees around which hung drifting silver motes. It was from the midst of such a grove that the Dryads appeared, the small band of Forest Folk stepping from the tree line and straight into the path of Glurbchrot’s forces.The Plague Monks of Clan Feesik were the first to spot the tree spirits and, with frenzied shrieks, they broke ranks and charged. With a show of alarm, as though they had only just realised their peril, the Dryads turned and fled down the road. Fangs bared, the frothing skaven scurried close behind. Chortling indulgently, Glurbchrot followed at a cumbersome jog, his warriors at his back.[1b]

The plaguelord’s mirth was short lived. The scrambling mass of Plague Monks and Censer Bearers was almost out of sight in the gloom when sudden, violent motion erupted all around them. Half-glimpsed roots burst from the packed dirt of the path, lashing around to throttle and tear. Arrows the length of saplings whipped from the gloom, punching into robed skaven with such force that the screeching creatures were plucked off their feet and hurled into the trees. On all sides, the forest came alive with cold faerie lights, while clouds of glimmering spites galloped through the air on shrikeling steeds to stab at the skaven with tiny spears. The Dryads – sorecently feigning flight before the skaven charge – had now turned in the path, tearing their way into the front skaven ranks. At the same time,Tree-Revenants hit the skaven flanks, flowing from the trees with their glowing blades whipping in tight, deadly arcs.[1b]

Glurbchrot roared in anger at this sudden ambush. He shook his massive axe in the direction of the fight, signalling for his Rotbringers to advance. The sylvaneth attack had been unexpected, but the road was still packed with hundreds of ratmen, stabbing and biting at the forest spirits.The Rotbringers had only to restore some order, and the outnumbered sylvaneth would be crushed. The plaguelord had taken barely seven steps when a Wyldwood surged up from beneath him, its gnarled trunks and lashing boughs cutting the Rotbringers off from their skaven allies.[1b]

At the same moment, lithe figures surged from the trees either side of the road. The lilting war-dirge of fresh bands of Dryads filled the air as the Forest Folk whirled through the Rotbringer ranks, lashing and stabbing as they went. Talons ripped through blubbery flesh and spilled foetid innards onto the road, even as ponderously swung axes hewed down sylvaneth and reduced them to kindlewood.[1c]

Ripping his way free of the Wyldwood that was trying to tear him apart, Glurbchrot turned and sank his axe into a nearby Branchwraith. The matriarch’s song was stilled, but a deeper, more sonorous, note rang out, a bass thunder that Glurbchrot felt in his soul as much as his body. Rotbringers staggered, clutching at their heads astheir rancid eyeballs burst and black blood spilled from under their rusted helms. The sonant assault grew in intensity, reaching a crescendo that blasted several of Glurbchrot’s followers from their feet and saw others collapse in shuddering heaps. Striding from the trees came three towering figures, the clan lords of Naeth’aer who had loosed the war song upon their enemies.[1c]

At the head of this trio strode Ancient Haaldhorm, eyes burning with cold vengeance as they settled on the plaguelord. Glurbchrot had recovered himself somewhat, and in a show of bravado, he kicked loose the Branchwraith corpse still twitching on his axe-head before licking her sap from the blade.[1c]

Haaldhorm gave a deep cry of anger and summoned the Wyldwood’s roots to snatch at Glubchrot’s flabby limbs. Bursting from the ground, the sinewy tendrils wrapped and curled around the plaguelord’s bulbous legs. As Glurbchrot hacked at the darting, stabbing plant life around him, the other two clan lords ploughed into the surviving Rotbringers. Treelord Haethellae stamped a path through the rancid warriors while Ancient Loremaster Il’yuthorn blasted Rotbringers apart into bloody clouds with bolts of sorcery.[1c]

The impact of the sylvaneth ambush was spectacular, and dozens of Rotbringers were brought down. Still, Glurbchrot was a mighty lord, much blessed by Nurgle, and his followers were many. With nearly every bite of rotting skaven fangs, every thunking impact of rusted axe or mouldering mace, another of Alarielle’s children fell. Soon, congealed gore and cooling bloodsap mingled upon the loamy ground, and still the combatants tore at one another with naked ferocity.[1c]

Source Edit

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