The Legend of the Wendigo
The snow fell silenty on the Kislevite camp, drifiting sideways
in a light winter breeze. Despite the lack of wind, the night
was bitterly cold and Ivan cursed his luck that it should be his
turn to stand watch. He turned to his comrade, Leonard and passed
him the pewter flask of vodka. Drinking on watch was forbidden,
of course, but the commanding officer was fast asleep and besides,
you had to do something to keep out the chill. The liquor was
cooled to the point where you could swallow it without fire in
the throat, but still get a fire in the belly. He smiled in
grateful anticipation as Leonard passed the flask back to him,
after taking a swig.
Around them the wind began to howl, a thin, tearing noise full
of the hunger of the night. Like the chill lusting after the warmth
of human flesh, Ivan thought. Idiots, the rulers of the Empire
must be if they thought they could call on Kislevite allies in
the depths of winter. Idiots still more, or monsters perhaps must
be whatever Kislevite nobles had chosen to heed the call and send
out a column of cavalry in this vile weather. At least they should
know better. Still, the dispatch had said the need was pressing: a
greenskin Waaagh boiling out of the mountains like a tide of
putrescent flesh. And at least there was ample firewood and ..
and vodka! Ivan smiled and took another swig. He felt a pang in
his belly and remembered that there was nothing like drink and
the cold to fuel a rare hunger.
The wind screamed around them again and Ivan adjusted his stance,
leaning more fully on his lance for support. He turned to pass
his flask back to Lenoard and noted how well filled the soldier
was. Had he perhaps been puttin on weight with all these winter
rations? It'd slow him down but that wasn't much a problem with
greenskins. You needed power to cut their tough hides, that was
the problem. Tough, unpalatable hides. Ivan rubbed his belly and
then his eyes. He felt ... odd. Too much vodka, he decided, and
tried to focus on the upcoming battle. He held no fear of orcs
and goblins. Indeed, he felt no fear for any of the opponents he'd
faced in his career in the army. There was the fear of death, of
course, but that was different. There were many ways to die
in the Kislev army. If the weapons didn't kill you, the exposure
might and perhaps worst of all, you might starve in the cold.
A terrible death, to starve out in the freezing wastes, miles
from any help. The pang of emptiness stirred fiercely in his
belly again and it rumbled loudly. He looked up, to see if
Leonard had heard the noise and caught his fellow sentry looking
at him with what might have been hunger in his eyes.
Ivan shifted again, bringing his lance point down between himself
and Leonard. Well, he was dammned if he was going to starve out
in the snow, to be eaten by Leonard for enough provisions to get
them back to civilization. Best strike first and then he'd be the
one doing the eating. Eating the sweet flesh, raw and dripping ...
the two began to circle, feet crunching in the snow, lances
levelled at one another, sentry duty forgotten.
The wind shreaked at fever pitch as Leonard suddenly lunged,
overextended and toppled into the snow. Ivan poised his lance for
the kill, unable to believe his luck when it struck him. The wind,
for all it's horrid howling, hadn't increased in speed at all and
was still a gentle breeze. The chilling screams were coming from
the woods around them, all around them, something
calling with the very voice of the icy wind. In a sudden panic
he reached down and pulled Leonard to his feet, sensing from the
animal fear on the man's face that he'd realised the same thing.
They readied the lances and turned to face the threat just
too late. In time, perhaps to see the white figure burst from
the treeline and come barreling through the snow toward them. In
time to see the ferocious eyes and the long yellow teeth amd claws,
flecked with blood. In time to note the animal horns on the creatures
brow and the way it had chewed off it's own lips in cannibal
hunger. Enough for all that but not so fast to stop it tearing off
Leonards face with a claw and sinking it's vile incisors into
Ivan's neck. As his lifeblood began spurting out into the things
hungry mouth, Ivan was dimly aware of dead figures and fierce
wolves falling down onto the tents in a frenzy of terrible hunger.
He even saw one or two of his own former comrades, overtaken by
the cravings that had crept up on him, biting blindly into the
flesh and muscle of their friends and fellows, the humanity in
their eyes replaced with something indescribable, something
awful. He felt teeth sink into his leg, felt the chunk of his
tendon being torn away to fuel the horrid unlife of another being
and he screamed. He tried to scream, but he had no throat.
Wendigo stood among the bloodied ruin of the camp and watched
his followers feed. He soaked up the human terror that he needed
almost as much as the flesh itself. He laught, and his laugh
was even more horrible than his face.
In the northern wastes of Kislve waits a terror that few men
have seen and even fewer have lived to tell of. A band of
undead, fuelled by cannibalistic hunger than stalk the ice and
snow, consuming whole villages and lone travellers alike and
without mercy. For Wendigo and his band there is no thought,
no compassion, there is only hunger. The great human civilization
on which they prey is nothing, their achivements are nothing,
their rulers and families and feelings are nothing, only
their flesh is important. Wendigo takes only flesh and leaves
treasure and art and everything else behind.
Wendigo's origins are obscure. There are some who say that
the proximity of northern Kislev to the chaos wastes played a
part. That, perhaps, the terrible fear of the northern peasants
of starving in the snow, of being forced to eat one another to
survive, rippled throught the fabric of chaos and gave rise to
this terrible monster as a personification of their terror. In
the summer, Wendigo stalks only the northernmost reaches of the
human lands, and is rarely seen. In the winter, he comes howling
down up the towns and cities of the steppe and it seems his yearly
incursions are coming closer and closer to the Empire itself.
The wendigo are a small clan of Strigoi vampires that dwell
in the frozen north. Their skin is white and ice-blue and some
believe they have hearts of ice. Some carry animal characteristics
such as horns and hooves. The Wendigo (note caps) is their lord
and leader. None of them speak, they just scream with the voice of
the wind and laugh their terrible laughs but that doesn't mean
they're not intellegent. In fact, they can influence humans on
a psychic level. Strigoi are driven by cannibal hunger and little
else, and they like to taste the flesh of as many different peoples
as possible. All wendigo armies contain at least one of these
Boris and Mikhael, the Cannibal Conjurors
Boris and Mikhael are the products of an upbringing far too
steeped in the obscene wealth of Kislevite overlords. Twin brothers
in a noble household the sons proved too weak and feeble to
be trained in war as tradition demanded. Starved of love and
affection by their disappointed parents, the two were packed off
to a boarding school while attention was lavished on their
However, they did not lack for money away from home and
were able to buy anything and everything that money can. Two
young men free of parental control with too much to spend is a
dangerous thing and soon the two were indulging every whim
and lust that overtook them. They acquired a most unsavoury
reputation as they grew more and more jaded and perverse.
Eventually the school threw them out and dispatched a
message to their parents. The two boys were terrified that they
might get found out and their money stopped and so they
hired a private tutor from amongst the circle of strange friends
they had, one who promised them he could ensure the message never
reached it's destination.
Their new tutor soon revealed himself to be a mage of not
inconsiderable power and claimed he had used magic to prevent
the messanger reaching their parents. Fascinated by this new power
the twins threw money at the man to persuade him to teach them
this new art. He agreed, but it wasn't long before the jaded
twins demanded to see some of the darker aspects of magical
power, and began their own research into necromantic lore.
Their parents, meanwhile had grown suspicious due to lack of
communiation from the school and, getting no reply from letters
to their errants sons, they contacted the school and learned
what had happened. Enraged, they cut off the supply of money
immediately and demanded the twins come home.
Come home, they did, and deprived of any last reason to honour
their familiy, years of parental neglect came home to roost. The
twins arrived back at home with a small army of skeletons and ghouls,
overpowered the guard and proceeded to slaughter their whole
familiy in a night of unspeakable terror. Hungring for a parents
love, the two twisted brothers roasted and devoured the corpses
of their mother and father, believing in thier madness that it
would somehow bring them closer.
No-one commits an act of cannibalism within reach of a
Wendigo vampire without ill effect and the two soon found themselves
wracked by a terrible need for human flesh. When wendigoes came
out of the wilderness and offered them an unlimited supply
in exchange for military service, they jumped at the chance.
Boris and Mikhael now walk with the armies of the hungry dead.
Besides being powerful necromancers, they also act as a voice
in an army where nothing else can speak. Not that they often
have much to say, too busy are they stuffing their mouths with
their favourite food.
Some humans are very sensitive to the psychic emissions of hunger
that Wendigo vampires send out. Others are driven to cannibalism
in the freezing winters. Still others acquire a taste for human
meat after being bitten by a wendigo or a ghoul. Either way, once
the habit has begun, those who are in the proximity, even quite
distant, of a Wendigo, will find that the hunger grows inside them
like a cancer. Some resist and some are lucky enough to move away
from the vampire but most eventually give in an indulge their
perverse addiction. They become animal ghouls, in thrall to the
vampire that influnced them and join the army to hunt for food
to satiate their awful appetites.
Zombies raised by the power of a Wendigo are also possesed by
a terrible craving for human flesh. They become little more than
eating machines, shambling toward the nearest source of fresh
meat that they can smell. It seems the intellegent members of
Wendigo armies enjoy seeing these mindless things feasting on the
corpses of the slain, although in times of want the zombies
themselves become food for the vampires and ghouls. Many Wendigo
zombies are the animated remains of Kislevite soldiers, and
still wear the red-purple-blue livery over rotting torsos.
Wolves may come to hunt any prey when they are hunger, the blind
need overiding animal caution. Those unfortunate enough to hunt
humans may find themselves drawn into the vampire army, to be
rewarded with fresh chunks of meat after the battle. Dire wolves
in a Wendigo army are undead remnants of the white winter wolves
of northern Kislev.
Skeletons tend to be rare in Wendigo armies but they consume
nothing and make useful servitors. If the food runs out and all the
zombies have been eaten, soldiers or servants can be made out
of the boney remains.
Black Knights are the reanimated remains of powerful members of
the Kisleve cavalry units, sustained in undeath by a glimmer of
thier former personalities. Many of them still wear the livery
of winged lancers, the feathers rotted and torn with age. Although
they do nothing to indulge the perverse tastes of the Wendigos,
Black Knights are sometimes raised by accident after battles with
the cavalry-heavy Kislevite armies. They're too powerful and
potentially useful to be ignored, and so are tolerated.
A variety of etheral creatures, especially spirit hosts, have
been known to follow Wendgo armies, crying out for blood. Hungry
ghosts are the spirits of those who, in Kislevite lore, are denied
entry to an afterlife because of greed. The armies of the Wendgos
attract these sorry beings like magnets.
appear as shvrilled and emaciated and are driven by what could
be hundreds of years of hunger and thirst. The hungry ghosts can
never drink, but they can hunger. Oh yes.
There are many, many bats in the forests of Kislev, but there
are few indeed in the far north, so the Wendigos tend to acquire
these allies on trips southward. Both fell bats and bat swarms
are seen in the armies and as both are rare, they tend to be
the delight of the armies general. The Wendigo are fascinated
by these creatures who are born with the desire for blood in them
and treat them with a strange respect.
Grave guard are not seen in Wendigo armies. There's simply
no need for them. They do not feed the Wendigo's appetite for
cannibalism as they cannot eat and indivduals powerful enough
to be raised as wights tend to end up in cavalry armies in
Kislev, and so become black knights.