Malign Portents: Fear The Reaper
The line between the Good and Evil blurs a bit more in the latest story for Malign Portents.
Games Workshop is really starting to make me wonder if the Stormcast Eternals are the good guys in the Mortal Realms. The latest story “Reaper’s Revelation” doesn’t just test that stance, it raises more questions: Do the ends justify the means? How far are they (the Stormcasts) willing to go to root out chaos corruption? Have they been so blinded by their fervor that the dead have outsmarted them? It would appear so…
The Stormcast Eternals are supposed to be the Heroes of the Old World and the Mortal Realms that have be reforged into eternal warriors for Sigmar. They liberated the Mortal Realms from the shackles of chaos and helped to re-establish cities and safe-havens for the citizens of the Mortal Realms.
But time has passed since these warriors who rode on thunderbolts saved the Realms. And when you live forever in a constant cycle of war, death, rebirth and more war, that can really start to wear on you. Plus the reforging process strips more and more of their old lives away each time they are reborn. And once that’s gone, well, you start to think of life as pretty cheap.
Cerrus Sentanus, Lord-Veritant of Excelsis, strode through the shadowed dungeons. He ignored the screams and moans that echoed around him. Pale eyes stared out from between thick, black-iron bars as he passed, but swiftly shrank back when they saw the white lines of his armour, and the blazing lantern-stave he carried. They knew well the tools of the White Reaper. One deviant with a raw, burn-marked face was foolish or deranged enough to meet the Lord-Veritant’s gaze as he passed by, barking insults in some crude tongue. Sentanus’ hand shot out, lightning-fast. The human’s eyes bulged, bloodshot and terrified as he clawed pitifully at the metal gauntlet around his throat. Sentanus twisted hard, and there was a sickening crunch. He let the dead body fall, and walked on.
Let’s just break this down, like Cerrus breaking that person’s neck:
- The Stormcast Eternals have an dungeon in the depths of Excelsis
- They keep humans, possible Chaos Cultists there
- They torture people there (and other things which we learn about later)
- They can kill these prisoners without repercussion
Cerrus Sentanus, who is a Lord-Veritant which is one of the highest ranks, has a reputation which causes fear in these prisoners. Now, I’m not saying these folks are innocent, but I guess that’s why they call them the Order faction and not the “Law & Order” faction. This doesn’t sound like a very happy society that has sprung up in the wake of the Stormcasts.
We go on to learn in the story that they (the Stormcasts) also over “agents of the Knights Excelsior” who’s job it is to capture and imprison “the very worst heretics and monsters” of the city. But it doesn’t sound like they are tried and then jailed – they are kept alive, tortured for information, and then set ablaze in the “holy pyres” once they’ve given up all their useful info. Sounds lovely.
This isn’t the first story we’ve seen that the Stormcasts aren’t as wholesome as they appear with that Golden Armor on…
In Death at the Door, we see what appears to be a man trying to defend his home against an invasion. It just turns out that the Invaders are Stormcast Eternals.
Then in To Truly Excel, the Knights Excelsior are attempting to liberate a city, only to find out that they are too late. Their solution? Bar the gates and exterminate the corruption (by slaughtering the survivors).
Ouch. We the realms better off with Chaos running things? I’m sure it was probably pretty bad, too. But this turn for the Stormcasts as “the good guys” in the setting into Tyrants who the common folk fear as much as much as their Chaos counter parts is both Grim and Dark. Whatever happens with the Malign Portents and the Global Campaign, I hope GW addresses this turn in some other way besides making Stormcasts the enforcers of the “Evil Order Empire” – we already have Chaos in the setting as the antagonists. And Death and Destruction are BOTH not what I’d call pleasant alternatives. Plus we already have another game setting where the “Good Guys” aren’t really that good. Do we really need another?
Are the Good Guys turning into the Heels? Is this good drama or are we watching a WWE story-line unfold in the Age of Sigmar?