Magnus the Pious (Warhammer Fantasy)
Magnus the Pious is a male character who features in Warhammer Fantasy.
In the aftermath of the War of the Three Emperors - a civil war that has left the Empire, a country analogous to the medieval Holy Roman Empire of our history, divided, run-down and leaderless. Magnus is born to the Bildhofen family of Nuln. He becomes famous for his rousing speeches, blend of zeal and common sense, and belief in the reunification of the Empire.
In the Chaos Wastes to the North of the Warhammer World, the Dark Gods of Chaos - the setting's principal enemies - have united to conquer the world. The Wastes expand beyond their normal borders to engulf the people of the Old World call Troll Country. An army of hundreds of thousands gathers in the Wastes. Various characters describe how apocalyptic events occur all over the Old World: mages claw out their eyes; animals gave birth to monsters; famine and disease ravage the land; Cultists lead uprisings against local government. At this point, rumours abound of a vast horde of evil marching from the north to sweep over their lands. To the men of the Old World, it seems as if the apocalypse is finally upon them.
In Nuln, the Magi, the most feared Tzeentchian Cult of the age, lead the largest of the uprisings. Daemons are unleashed; Witch Hunters try to rally the populace. The people pray for a for a sign that they do not stand alone. The night after the Magi reveal themselves, their people's prayers are answered. As with the coming of Sigmar (the patron god and founder of the Empire) centuries earlier in the setting's history, the twin-tailed comet once again soars across the sky. Magnus, a minor noble and former seminarian to the Sigmarite Church, steps up to rally the citizens of Nuln and purge the city of Chaos.
Magnus wastes no time in taking his vision of unity and devotion to Sigmar to the wider Empire. As Magnus and his flock travel, so do the tales of his deeds. The Elector Counts, the rulers of the Empire's provincial states, start pledging their troops to his cause. Flagellants, militia, state troops and ordinary citizens who hate Chaos further swell Magnus's army. It becomes the largest army ever assembled within the Empire. Magnus is granted an audience with the Ar-Ulric, the High Priest of the ancient Old World deity of Winter, Wolves, and War. Ar-Ulric Kriestov denounces Magnus as a heretic and charlatan. Magnus walks through the Sacred Flame - a holy site of the Church of Ulric, which, in the setting, can tell the pure from the tainted, and the truthful from the liar. Magnus emerges unscathed: to the men of the Empire, he has just performed a miracle.
The story details how envoys from the northern nation of Kislev arrive in the Empire, carrying a grim message from their ruler, Tzar Alexis Vassilivich. The army of Kislev, together with allied contingents from the Eastern Imperial provinces, have been defeated by the Chaos horde, leaving Northern Kislev all but defenceless, and her three cities wide open to attack. Magnus heeds their advice, and respectfully includes them in his counsel of war. A decision is soon reached: The Imperial army will march to Kislev and engage the enemy. As winter turns to spring, Magnus receives his last reinforcements from the further-flung Imperial states and splits his army into infantry and cavalry, Magnus leading the former and the Ar-Ulric the latter. This cavalry army thunders ahead of the infantry, determined to be the first to meet the enemy.
As Magnus reaches the Imperial city of Talabheim, he is greeted by an old friend, Pieter Lazlo. At Lazlo's side, to the astoundment of all, stand three High Elves - to most humans, Elves are half-believed beings of legend. These Elves are the High Elf mage, Teclis and his two comrades, Finreir and Yrtle.
Despite the strength of Magnus's faith, the story describes his doubts. While Magnus believes to the core that the Empire can prevail over any mortal foe, the daemons of Chaos are another matter. Unlike that of his enemy, Magnus's army is bereft of magic users - a fatal shortcoming. At Teclis's urging and in defiance of Sigmarite dogma, Magnus declares an immediate amnesty for all human magic users, provided they pledge themselves to his cause and to the scrutiny of Teclis. The Elf mages recruit scores of hedge wizards from across the Empire with magical efficiency, and start teaching them many simple battle spells.
As Magnus and his army advances, the story describes how the Kislevite city of Praag falls to Chaos. A black wind blows down through Troll Country and over Praag. The raw power of Chaos surges through the city like flame over wax, melting and reshaping all its touches. People are merged with stone; buildings become monsters. When news of Praag's defeat reaches Magnus, he weeps tears of blood, and vows before Sigmar to avenge the horrors done on that day. The cavalry force arrives the day after Praag's defeat, and bears witness to the hell-city Chaos has wrought. They join with Kislevite survivors and pursue their hated foes. They soon encounter the Chaos rearguard, and fall upon with them without mercy, slaying most and scattering the rest. At this point, both the Horde and its leader, Asavar Kul, are unaware of the cavalry army closing in on them.
Kul's horde continues towards Kislev. By accident or design, Magnus arrives in time to see his enemy encircle the city. Weary, in need of provisions, Magnus's army knows what lies ahead. It will be neither a battle for glory, nor for conquest: Mankind will fight for its very existence. As the sun sets for the final time before they will confront their enemies, Magnus reminds his men of Sigmar's promise - that the sun will not set on His people so long as they keep Him as their Lord. He leads his troops in final prayer, speaking what will become his most famous words:
"I can see in your eyes that you fear this enemy. I can see in your eyes that you wonder how we can fight such terrible monsters. Men of the Empire, I have the answer: We fight them with our steel, we fight them with our courage, but above all we fight them with our faith in Sigmar!"
Magnus's inspirational presence and charisma prove invaluable in binding the Empire army together. Magnus decides to launch a two-pronged assault on Kul's horde, which will force the Chaos Lord to split his troops. Magnus will confront Kul's western flank, and the dwarfs under High King Alriksson, who have marched to Kislev's aid from Karaz-a-Karak, will break through the horde's southern flank. Pinned down, the horde will become vulnerable to a sally from the Tzar's forces at the rear. Having agreed on their strategy, the armies depart.
Magnus calls on all his reserves and immediately charges the Chaos horde. With the advantage of surprise, his army falls upon Kul's like a righteous hammer, routing thousands of enemy troops, advancing deep into its ranks. The Chaos horde hurriedly redeploys to contain Magnus, eventually forcing him and his troops into a defensive circle. Hours pass; no word comes from the dwarfs. The people within Kislev, who had initially cheered Magnus's arrival, fall into silence. Their despair is deepened when Dwarf contingents attempt to leave and help Magnus, only to be driven back with heavy losses. Asavar Kul orders his shock troops forward into position, as Magnus's embattled army draws up around a low hill, surrounded by Chaos troops. The fate of the Old World seems sealed.
It is then that Magnus's cavalry army finally arrives. With a ferocity born of hatred, the mounted army charges the Chaos horde's northern flank, which bows before their anger. Seeing the confusion at the Chaos army's rear, Magnus realises that he has a final chance to turn the tide. Mustering his troops for a final time more, he leads them into battle. The Chaos horde rapidly collapses into anarchy: Cultists and marauders flee, beastmen mill around, impossible to draw into order, and hamper any attempt to respond. Chaos Warriors are hewn down where they stand.
Magnus prepares to lead another charge when a voice warns him of a 'beast in human form' approaching, the enemy leader. Asavar Kul dismounts from his chariot and strides towards Magnus, bellowing out a challenge on behalf of the Chaos Gods. Kul is suffused with the power of Chaos; within Magnus flows the divine powers of the deified Sigmar. With his combat skills augmented Magnus eventually triumphs, disarming Kul and knocking him to the ground. Kul removes his helmet, saying he has failed the Chaos gods and the fight belongs to Magnus. Magnus beheads him without hesitation. As Kul's corpse slumps to the floor, Magnus touches his golden hammer and reflects thusly: "It was your gods who failed you. My god is always with me."
At the same time, the Kislevite and dwarf troops break through and engage the Chaos army on each side. Caught between three armies, the Chaos horde is slowly ground down and destroyed. The Old World is saved. Magnus receives the gratitude of the Tzar and the Dwarf High King. In time, Erengrad is relieved, Praag is levelled, to be rebuilt in the future, and Chaos is driven back to its domains. As the Chaos followers fragment, the men of the Empire unite. On return to the Empire, Magnus's army levels the cursed city of Mordheim, before liberating Ostland and the Ostermark, clearing the Empire's forests of beastmen.
The story describes how Magnus's victory ushers in a new Golden Age for the Empire. Magnus had saved the Old World. In 2304, Magnus sees his dream of unity realised, and is elected Emperor by overwhelming demand. For the first time in centuries, the Empire is united under a single leader. Magnus requests that Teclis found an institution to teach magic to humans, so adding another weapon to mankind's arsenal. He moves the capital to Nuln, and rules wisely for more than three decades. Institutions are revived, corruption is rooted out, and ties with other lands are renewed. The Empire emerges anew. As Magnus had no legitimate offspring, prior to his death in 2369 he proclaimed the Reikland noble, Wilhelm Holswig-Schliestein, as the new Grand Prince of Reikland. (The present Emperor, Karl Franz, is one of Wilhelm's descendants.)
In the setting's present, Grand Theogonist Volkmar's reign is heavily influenced by Magnus's deeds, symbols, teachings, and sermons. Many believe Magnus's canonisation to be imminent.
Personality and attributes
Powers and abilities
- Magnus the Pious featured in the setting of Warhammer Fantasy.
- The character was perhaps modelled on Magnus 'the Pious' of 14th century Brunswick Germany.
In other media
- Warhammer Fantasy: