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A Brief History of The Skaven

Author: Alex M

The following account was discovered by Ironbreaker Dwarves on a reconnaissance mission deep into recently unearthed caverns. It purports to hold a first-hand account of the Skaven and details of their history. Since its discovery it has been passed from scholar to scholar until it reached the libraries of the University of Nuln, where it awaits independent verification.

I write this as a warning: The Skaven are a plague upon our world, their chittering hordes bustle under every inch of our land. Dig deep and you’ll reach Skaven, the tunnels of their Under-Empire reach every corner of our land, and beyond. They are hatred incarnate, existing only to despoil our lands and murder us down to the last soul.

I’ve been watching them for years, learning their ways, hiding amongst them. I have learned their language and altered my appearance to hide in plain sight. They think me some form of grotesque, a reject created by the horrific flesh-shapers Clan Moulder, I dance and caper for scraps of food. My dignity has taken many a knock, but it’s worth it to report back with what I know now about the Skaven hordes. I was told back in human lands that the Skaven were alien, unknowable. I have begun to know them all too well.

The Skaven have their own legends of how they came to exist, but the most common one is that a beautiful shining city once existed, populated by both humans and dwarves. A great temple was built with a colossal tower that graced the heavens, to thank the gods for their bounty. This tower grew so tall that it couldn’t be completed by the hands of mortal beings. A stranger appeared afore the city, and offered his aid but for a simple boon, that he could add his own dedication to the gods at the top of the tower, agreeing he entered the tower and darkness fell over the city. After the morning came, the darkness lifted and the tower was complete, with a strange horned bell hanging from the top.

The bell began to toll and as it rang out chaos erupted across the city, lightning crackled across the sky and thunder burst the heavens in twain. Clouds covered the city, rain pouring on it for many weeks until the food supplies ran low and the inhabitants began to flee for safer climes.

The humans of the city entreated the dwarves for help, but the dwarves shut themselves away to hide from the calamity befalling the city aboveground. The humans became scarce in their own city, fleeing from the rains and the hail from the skies, running low on food and turning in their desperation to dark gods and ancient demons for help. Each night the bell tolled, its dark ring booming across the once glorious city, each night new troubles befall the dwindling inhabitants. The worst of these were rat packs, scouring the streets for flesh and devouring all who they fell upon.

In desperation the humans beat their lives against the doors to the dwarves underground caverns, eventually breaking their way into the promised safety within. Inside however they found only a tomb of bone, the dwarves dead weeks past, and a million blinking eyes staring back at them from the rodent faces of a million teeming vermin. The humans were overrun like the dwarves before them, and the city fell to the swarm of death that had been unleashed upon it.

The city passed from knowledge into legend, then myth, then forgotten completely. Yet I tell you it still lives on! A dark inversion of its former shining self, it has become the city of Skavenblight and the centre of the Skaven’s evil Under-Empire. Millions of Skaven scuttle through its dread warrens plotting against each other, but more and more they look upon us with envious eyes and plot our downfall. They hunger and the meal they hunger for is us!

Nothing has changed for the Skaven since those early days in the old city, they still have the same terrible impulses and still are a living plague upon us, they may have embraced technology, magic, and weaponry but they’re still the same vermin they always were. They may enhance themselves and their tools through use of the cursed Warpstone, but they are still under all that, vermin.

Their god, the terrible Horned Rat, urges them to despoil our lands, our people, our lives. The Skaven tunnels reach every part of our lands, it cannot be long before they appear in our cities, burrowing upwards and murdering us in our very beds!

What heroes will stand before them? Will wizards be there to blast them with fire, or soldiers to put them to steel? I entreat you; prepare and resist, they are a threat the likes of which outweigh even those of the Northern Chaos hordes!

My time here in the Skaven warrens has come to an end, I will make my way back to human lands now, this warning must be passed on, I must be heard!

The passage ends here. No sign of the author was found near the discovery site, however signs of recent Skaven activity were present all round the area. The cavern has since been sealed, on a personal note this Editor holds out little hope that the author of this brief history will be seen again in human lands.