The war of the Stormcast Eternals vs the ghostly hordes of the Nighthaunt is far from over. New Broken Realms fiction is highlighting the unending conflict.
The Soul Wars are essentially all the battles between the Stormcast Eternals (and all their allies) against the forces of Nagash and Death. Sure, Chaos has gotten involved, too – but when you really boil down this conflict it comes down to one thing: souls. You see, when Sigmar created the Stormcasts Eternals and used the re-forged souls of heroes to create his shining armies, he “stole” those souls from Nagash. This didn’t make the god of death too happy as you can imagine. This has led to many, many battles and a series of escalating one-upmanship between Sigmar and Nagash when it comes to capturing souls.
Now, after the events of Broken Realms: Teclis and Broken Realms: Be’lakor, I was starting to wonder who had the upper hand. Teclis handed Nagash a mighty beatdown and even managed to create some “safe havens” for souls in Nagash’s realm of underworlds. And then in BR: Be’lakor, Lady Olynder teamed-up with Be’lakor in an unholy alliance to cut off some Sigmarites from the realm of Azyr. Once they were cut down, those souls then went back to the Nagash’s realm instead of Sigmar’s realm.
The long and the short of it is that the Broken Realms lore is still exploring this idea of souls and who can claim them once their mortal shells die. It’s been a driving force in the conflicts between Sigmar and Nagash and it’s been interesting to see how their “pawns” have been duking it out.
If you’re interested in even more info, read the book – there is a LOT more going on than we’re covering here.
All that to bring us up to speed on what’s going on in the current Broken Realms fiction that GW released today. We’ve got a new short story “Sacrifice” about a team of Stormcasts Eternals who have infiltrated The Great Oubliette – a dungeon of sorts – which imprisons souls for Nagash. But before we continue, go read it.
From here on out, spoilers.
Assuming you’re reading this – let’s keep going.
So this group of Stormcast Eternals has made their way into the Great Oubliette. Again, it’s some sort of dungeon and the Nighthaunt ghosts basically run this place. They trap souls, torture them, and do all manner of terrible things to them. The why and how are never explained but let’s just go with the classic “magic” and move along.
Anyhow, this strike team is here looking for trapped Stormcast souls, apparently. It’s not made clear if these are specific heroes they are looking for or just some Stormcasts who have been trapped for a while in this dungeon of souls. I guess that doesn’t really matter – what matters is this strike team (which has apparently been whittled down already) has fought their way here and their objective is at hand.
“Much has been sacrificed so that the Lord-Exorcist and this small team might make it this far.”
Among the trapped souls, they come across a massive shadeglass sarcophagus which is holding “lightning-spirits” trapped within. We can probably assume these are the souls of the Stormcasts they are after. Naturally, the chamber is warded and when the prison guards can literally float through walls, it was only a matter of time before they get found out. So, of course, more ghosts show up, they smash the sarcophagus and free the souls trapped. These souls go into the Lord-Exorcist’s stave which is connected to the light of Azyr.
Kind of like the ghost trap from the Ghostbusters…
These souls secure, now it’s just a matter of escaping…right? Well, that’s going to be a problem as they are quickly overwhelmed by the ghosts of the Nighthaunt pouring down on them. The Lord-Exorcists basically gives his stave to another member of his strike team named Kataya and tells her (in what I can only imagine as a Gandalf-like voice) to “run.”
If you couldn’t figure it out based on the title, the Lord-Exorcist sacrifices himself by releasing a holy blast of lightning that he’s channeling through himself. Initially, this keeps the Nighthaunt at bay. Turns out the lightning of Order is bad news for them. But this unleashing of raw power can only last so long and when it fades, they Ghosts are still there and close in on him.
“‘A dozen souls for mine,’ Zaicon says, each word a trial. ‘A fair trade. One day my brethren will come for the rest, and we will tear this abomination down stone by stone.’”
Only, I’m not sure about that Mr. Lord-Exorcist. Sure those souls are now “safe” in your Stave, along with your other fallen compadres. But that’s assuming that Kataya made it out of the Great Oubliette. Which, in fairness, is implied that she is cutting her way out of there…but now it’s literally 1 vs the rest of the dungeon. I don’t like her odds.
Anyhow, the other implication is that the souls that were rescued were somehow important or special. We’ve seen what happens when Nagash frees a specific soul from a trap set by Sigmar:
Now we’ll have to see if this “trade” was worth it when it’s the other way around…
The Soul Wars are FAR from over. What do you think is going to happen in the battle over souls?