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Magnus the Pious was a famous hero who reunified the Empire, and led its people to victory in the Great War against Chaos, around 300 years before the setting of WAR is set (2200 IC). Following the victory he became the first Emperor to be elected in hundreds of years. Magnus is still venerated today as the second greatest heroes in the Empire's history. Magnus' achievements include victory over the Chaos horde of Asavar Kul, and overseeing the introduction of state-sanctioned magic-users into the Empire.
Magnus was born to the von Bildhofen family of Nuln just after the turn of the twenty-third century in the Warhammer setting, in the aftermath of the Age of Three Emperors - a centuries long civil war that left the Empire divided, run-down and leaderless. Magnus issued the rallying cry which unified the people, and led them in battle against the forces of Chaos which were invading the Kislev.
Prior to the Great WarEdit
In the Chaos Wastes to the North of the Warhammer World, the Dark Gods of Chaos united to conquer the world, with a new Everchosen being crowned. The Wastes expanded beyond their normal borders to engulf the Troll Country. At this time, rumours fly through the Empire telling of a monstrous Chaos host getting ready to invade as portents and unrest tell of the malign powers stirring. To the men of the Old World, it seemed as though the End Times were upon them. In Nuln the Magi, a powerful cult of Tzeentch, led the largest of the uprisings, unleashing demons and other horrors on the city. Those who remained loyal to Sigmar prayed for deliverance, receiving an answer in the twin-tailed comet. Magnus saw the comet, and inspired by his grounding in the church of Sigmar used his influence as a minor noble to rally the people.
Under Magnus's leadership, Nuln was liberated from Chaos, Magnus took his crusade across the Empire. An army began to assemble from the Electors and other powers, either swayed by Magnus' tongue or afraid of any refusal to aid the growing force. It became the largest army ever assembled within the Empire. Eventually Magnus reached Middenheim, where he sought an audience with Ar-Ulric Kriestov to gain support for the war. After Kriestov denounced Magnus as a charlatan, Magnus walked through the Sacred Flame - a holy site of the Church of Ulric which separates the pure from the tainted, and the truthful from the liar. After miraculously emerging unscathed, Magnus had proven the righteousness of his cause, and gained the support of a powerful ally. Magnus tactfully appointed Kriestov as the leader of his cavalry force.
The Road to KislevEdit
Just as the Empire finished uniting behind Magnus, a message was received from the Kislevite leader Tzar Alexis Vassilivich. It told of a crushing defeat inflicted on the army of Kislev, leaving her cities wide open to attack. Magnus heeded the news and decided to march to Kislev, and there take the fight to their foe. As the new year began Magnus finished consolidating his army and split it into two mighty forces: one of infantry and one of cavalry, setting Ar-Ulric Kriestov to lead the former and heading the latter himself. With their greater mobility the cavalry force headed towards Kislev to buy time for the second half of the army.
Although Magnus had a strong faith in Sigmar he did not have the same faith in the men he led. Despite knowing they could defeat any mortal enemy, the daemons of Chaos were not mortal. Magnus knew that the advantage the armies of Chaos had over his own lay in the Winds of Magic, but traditionally any man of the Empire who dabbled with magic was seen as a pawn of Chaos himself. With the help of the High Elves, however, a new system could be devised to allow humans to wield the winds without opening themselves to corruption. With this new status quo possible, Magnus declared an amnesty to those who could use magic, subject to the judgement of the High Elves. Teclis and his brethren subsequently used their own arts to assemble those who could be taught.
Great War against ChaosEdit
Despite the speed of the cavalry force it couldn't reach Kislev in time to stop the fall of Praag to Engra Deathsword, a Chosen of Chaos. With Engra's victory the raw power of Chaos flowed through the city and reformed it according to the whims of the Chaos Gods. People were merged with stone; buildings became monsters. The cavalry reached Praag a day after its fall, Magnus weeping blood at the sight and vowing vengeance before Sigmar. United with the remnants of the Grand Army of Kislev the cavalry caught and destroyed the rearguard of the Chaos armies, leaving Asavar Kul, the Everchosen, oblivious.
Kul's horde continued towards the city of Kislev and lay siege to it just as Magnus' tired and hungry recombined force arrived. The time had come for the two armies to confront each other, the men of the Empire and Kislev along with their dwarven allies vastly outnumbered. Prior to starting the assault Magnus made a speech to uplift his troops:
"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!"
With morale restored Magnus planned his attack with High King Alriksson of the dwarves. In a pincer movement Magnus would attack Kul's western flank, whilst the dwarves charged through the horde's southern flank. Once engaged the static horde of Chaos would be broken by the Kislevite army attacking their rear. Having agreed on their strategy, the armies deployed.
With his infantry Magnus charged the Chaos masses, slaughtering those who initially engaged him but eventually became bogged down and forced on the defensive deep within their ranks. After hours of weathering the Kurgan assault the dwarves tried to relieve Magnus but were driven back with heavy losses. Asavar Kul ordered his shock troops forward into position, as Magnus's embattled army entrenched itself around a low hill, with nowhere to go. Defeat seemed inevitable.
At that point the imperial cavalry struck with a ferocity born of hatred, charging the Chaos horde's northern guard and crushing it beneath their horses hooves. While the Chaos force was still imbalanced Magnus saw a slight chance to claim victory. Putting his forces back on the offensive the forces of Chaos lost all discipline, milling as a mass to be cut down where they stood.
As Magnus prepared to lead another charge a voice warned him of a 'beast in human form' approaching, the enemy leader, Asavar Kul. The Everchosen challenged the champion of Sigmar to single combat, as a test of might between their respective Gods. After an awesome conflict Magnus eventually triumphed, disarming Kul and knocking him to the ground. After removing his helmet Asavar admitted defeat, saying he had failed the Chaos gods and the fight belonged to Magnus. Having slain Asavar, Magnus touched his golden hammer and reflected: "It was your gods who failed you. My god is always with me."
At the same time, the Kislevite and dwarf troops broke through and engaged the Chaos army at their respective flanks. Caught between three armies, the Chaos horde was finally ground down and destroyed, saving the Old World from being Chaos' thrall.
Alriksson and Vassilivich recognised Magnus as the instrument of Chaos' defeat. With Erengrad being relieved and Praag levelled for rebuilding, Chaos was driven back to its domains. As a last piece of clean up Magnus's army destroyed the cursed city of Mordheim, before liberating Ostland and the Ostermark and clearing the Empire's forests of Beastmen.
Emperor Magnus I, the PiousEdit
Having saved the Old World, in 2304 Magnus saw his dream of unity realised and was elected Emperor by overwhelming demand. At his request Teclis founded the eight Colleges of Magic in Altdorf, while Magnus ruled from Nuln. The Empire's infrastructure was revived, corruption rooted out, and ties with other lands were renewed. A regular Conclave of Faith in Altdorf was established for the High Priests of every major faith in the Empire to gather together letting them air their disputes to the reigning Emperor, whilst the prisons were reformed at the urging of the Shallyans. Prior to his death in 2369, Magnus (who had no legitimate offspring) 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.)
- Liber Chaotica Complete, Black Library, Nottingham, 2006
- Terror in Talabheim, Black Industries, 2006
- Warhammer Armies: Empire (1st version), Games Workshop
- Sigmar's Heirs, Black Industries, 2006