Thursday, May 23, 2019

Malerion, Once Malekith : The Eternity King

Malerion, formerly known as Malekith, once Phoenix King, once The Eternity King, forever known as The Witch King, God of Shadow.  Malerion was a driving force in the events of The World That Was having shaped it through either direct manipulation or unintended happenstance.  He was the son of Aenarion, The First Pheonix King, and Morathi which saw him destined for greatness while being surrounded by a shadow they would never truly leave.  As the events of Age of Sigmar and its history have unfolded Malerion has had to will himself back to physical form while finally accepting who he was always meant to be in the cosmos.  He has played his part in The Mortal Realms as a member of Sigmar’s Pantheon, gifting Sigmar the Gladitorium for his Stormcast Eternals to battle without fear of death.  More importantly, he was pivotal in the capture of Slaanesh in order to recreate the Aelven race.  Malerion is an intriguing character full of duality that will always keep you guessing and invested in his story.

To truly understand Malerion and his upbringing we need to look at his father Aenerion a bit first.  Aenarion The Defender was originally married to the current Everqueen with whom he would have children, but during the great invasion of Chaos, The Everqueen was slain casting a dark shadow over Aenerion and causing him to draw The Widowmaker, the Sword of Khaine to defeat the first invasion.  He would eventually remarry an unknown priestess among a group of elves he rescued from a Chaos force.  Her name was Morathi and she would bear Aenerion a son who would be named Malektih, now known as Malerion.  Malekith was raised by his mother in the Eleven land of Nagarythe which was a land rumored to be the source of the pleasure cults and a land full of darkness.  Aenerion would ultimately give up the ultimate sacrifice defending the creation of The Great Vortex as Chaos invaded in an attempt to stop the spell.  Aenerion would return Widowmaker to his hidden isle, but the damage was done and his line cursed by the taint of Khaine.

Malekith was growing up under the tutelage of Morathi with the aspirations of becoming the next Phoenix King in a land of shadow and bad influences.  When the time came to choose the next Phoenix King the council of Ulthuan denied him his claim, worried that he would be as twisted as his Morathi.  Despite all preconceived notions of who Malekith would be he proved them all wrong, graciously stepping aside for their choice. Morathi, however, would have no such restraint in her outcry of the denial of the throne to her son.  Malekith would even be the first to kneel to the first Pheonix King to prove his loyalty and acceptance of the council's decision.

Having defeated Chaos for a second time the Elves entered into a golden age of discovery and began exploring the world.  Malekith would use this opportunity to venture to new lands, open up relations with the Dwarfs, be pivotal in beginning the civilization the Human tribes, and escape the dark schemes of his mother.  He became a beloved leader amongst the elves and become the Ambassador and a good friend to the High King of the Dwarfs.  His power grew in the new lands and he would travel far with armies to defeat the chaos taint he found while settling more and more colonies.  One fateful expedition saw him encounter a city, long covered in ice in the frigid north of The World That Was.  He left with an item that would begin planting a shadow in his heart.  It was an item of powerful sorcery simply called The Circlet of Iron and would cause him to explore the power of Chaos to divine its power.  There was much more to Malektih’s time than adventure and seed planting for both good and ill.  He found love and took a wife known as Allisara, sister of Ariel The Mage Queen of Athel Loren.

As Malekith thrived in the colonies his mother continued her devious methods in Ulthuan by creating and spreading the Pleasure Cults all across the island nation.  Ulthuan was ripe for the cults to thrive as they grew fat in luxury from the work the colonies were doing in their name.  The Pheonix King saw his land falling into the debasement and knowing the source was unwilling to commit a force to stamp out the cults in part due to Nagarythe being the home province of Aenarion The Defender and in part due to his lack of power as the cults infiltrated his court.   The Pheonix King had only one course of action, summon Malekith home to deal with his people and his mother in his name.

Malekith answered his king and made haste back home, leaving his wife in the colonies, with a force far larger than any would have expected.  He denounced the cults and his mother once he learned that she was their creator.  All the kingdoms of Ulthuan were put to task and he traveled the isle routing out the cults and corruption holding everyone accountable equally from civilians to Princes and Princess of the Kingdoms.  He was lauded as a savior and fell in favor with all of Ulthuan.  Despite his decree that none would be shown favoritism when he confronted his mother, he was unable to hold true.  He requested that she be shown clemency and imprisoned for life as opposed to the threat of death most wanted as her fate.  The people seeing the beloved Malektih’s heart bleed for the love of his mother gave The Pheonix King no choice and he obliged his request as long as Malektih would be her jailer.

Malektih would “find” evidence that even the Phoenix King was a member of the cults and just how deep this corruption ran.  He requested a council be called at the shrine of Asuryan to grant him power over all the armies of Ulthuan and reveal the truth of The Pheonix Kings activities claiming he had poisoned himself instead of facing the retribution of the council.  In truth, Malekith was treading far down the corrupting influences of Chaos he sought to control through his divining of The Iron Circlet and the subtle whispering and dark schemes of his mother Morathi.  Malekith had poisoned the Pheonix King to make his play for the crown he now believed was his by right.  During the council, he sprung his trap having his personal armed guards slay any of the Princes who dared oppose him.  As the blood was being spilled he stepped into the Flame of Asuryan as his father had before to receive the gods blessing.  Aenerion was reborn through the flames, but Malektih was consumed and as he screams filled the shrine he threw himself out of the fire a burned and crippled husk, but alive.  Having no protection from the Flame as every other Pheonix King had, with exception to Aenerion.  His guard carried his body away back to Nagarythe and Morathi.

Civil war erupted across Ulthuan due to Malekiths actions as the armies of Nagarythe enacted his will and began conquering the kingdoms as the remanents of the Pleasure Cults took cities down from within.  As those who opposed Malektih rallied to fight back this new threat Malekith was unable to do anything due to his injuries.  As the magical suit of armor was being crafted by Hotek, a disciple of Vaul the Elven god of metalcraft, for him to wear it was Morathi who lead the war effort to take full control of Ulthuan.  Was she doing it for her son or for the memory of her late husband remains unknown.  As the armor was being crafted Malekith survived on the magic from his mother and bitterness and hate that had taken hold of his heart.  He swore oaths of hate and violence and some say he made deals with his soul to the dark gods.  When ready the armor, crowned with The Iron Circlet from long ago, was riveted onto his body and into his bones.  Forever trapped in the armor, The Armour of Midnight, to sustain his life he was known from then on as The Witch King.

As the Civil War dragged on, Malekith and the new Pheonix King Imrik being evenly matched, the Elf Colonies became more and more isolated and eventually began to refuse to send any more troops to aid a nation most of them had never visited.  This would lead to these elves splitting off into what would be known as the Asari or Wood Elves.  Allisara was among them and hearing of Malektihs deeds set off to ease the hatred in his heart as only she knew she could, but it was an ill-fated voyage.  Morathi had used her powers to corrupt a Prince to attack the Allisara and her forces as soon as they landed.  Allisara was slain and so was any chance of healing Malekith.  Malkeith would one day discover this treachery, but as he so often would he forgave his mother of her sin.  Although he refused to aid her when the Asari attacked her city to seek retribution.

In a decisive battle, Malekith would finally be put on the backfoot as his army was broken and shattered by the army of The Pheonix King.  Fleeing back to Morathi the pair enacted a final great plan to dispell The Great Vortex.  The very Vortex Aernarion gave his life to see created.  Malekith was ready to see Ulthuan engulfed by Daemons under his control if he could not rule it himself.  However, a single elf saw the evil that was about to be unleashed and managed to send word to prevent the catastrophe from being unleashed.  A magical duel between the Dark Disciples of Morathi and Malektih fought for control of The Vortex against the reaming Elven mages loyal to The Pheonix King. Malektihs forces would win the magical dual and in the first moment of tampering with The Vortex itself they awakened the might of Caledor Dragontamer, greatest elven mage to have lived, and creator of The Vortex who was trapped within the spell he created alongside his disciples.  Their might wrested control of the Vortex back into their own hands.  The magical energy was thrown back at Nagarythe and the Dark Mages who fought to unbind the spell.  Nagarythe was flooded by tidal waves and only the quick thinking of Morathi and her Mages allowed any to live as they used the magic to create the Black Arks from the remains of their cities to float upon the water and escape North.

Malekith had failed and the insult raged within his soul as they drifted further north, closer and closer to The Chaos Wastes.  He would eventually find new land to settle his broken kingdom and name it Naggarond.  Far from the lush green lands of Ulthuan, this new land was cold and harsh and survival was far from guaranteed.  From here Malekith and his mother would spend years plotting, scheming, and making dark pacts in order to conquer Ulthuan once and for all.  Malekith would use his power and schemes to set into motion The War of the Beard to see the Asur (High Elves) forced into a bitter and long war with the Dwarfs.  After that war ended he would invade to take the weakened Asur by surprise, but he would find only armies of veterans to oppose him and cast him away from his homeland once more.  Malektih would play this long war over and over through various invasions of Ulthuan, each time being defeated before fleeing north to lick his wounds and stoke the fires of hatred in his heart.  There is a lot of great lore to dive into here and I encourage you all to go research it much more to see it in all its glory.  However, as this article is focused on Malekith as a character I plan to skip past this to The End Times as Malekith doesn't develop as a character all that much within this long time period.  You can also check out a bit of what Malekith was up to in the lore articles I have done about Alarielle and Teclis.  He is bitter, angry, and willing to do whatever it takes to become The Phoenix King, he even sought The Widowmaker in order to draw it from its altar once more and become the avatar of Khaine he claimed to be to his people, the Druichii.

As Rhana Dandra, The End Times, loomed Naggarond was overrun and instead of defending a land Malekith did not really want he ordered everything to be burned and the Black Arks to set sail for one final conflict to reclaim Ulthuan.  After thousands of years of failure Malkeith was finally ready to throw everything into a final effort whether he failed or succeeded.  Malektih having been forged into a being of indomitable will through the long years was about to face his final challenge to the throne.  Aid would come from an unexpected player though as Teclis would begin secretly aiding Malekith in his quest.  Teclis had once touched the power of Asuryan and as such had, a special connection to the god and Teclis had finally understood that these many years had been a test for Malekith by the god Asuryan and it was indeed his will that Malekith becomes The Pheonix King.

Rhana Dandra would see Aelves from both the Asur and the Druichii swap sides on the battle.  Tyrion would draw Widowmaker and head down a dark path while Malekith, with aid from Teclis, would be seen as a savior and uniter of the races.  Although Teclis would help Malekith in killing the current Pheonix King in a final act of malice to the pretenders of the Phoenix Crown.  It was during this time that Morathi sided with Tyrion as she saw him as Aenerion reborn and truly showed he true colors as all her schemes and desires were due to her love for her departed husband more so than love for her son.  This time away from the lots of Morathi would prove to be one of the biggest times of change for Malekith.  The facade of Malekith being the avatar of Khaine faded and he would relearn how to lead without using fear and the threat of violence to encourage his forces.

During this final war of the aelves, Malekith finally realized his destiny and learned the truth of his failure to withstand the flame of Asuryan.  He only needed to survive for a single heartbeat longer and he would have been reborn as Aenerion had been so long ago.  Malekith would step once more into the flame and be burned once more to his soul, but this time he would be reborn and rise as The Pheonix King.  It is never mentioned if his burns were healed through this power as his armor was still sealed to his body, but it is a possibility.  Shortly after the isle shrine of Asuryan would sink beneath the waves signifying that Malekeith would be the final Pheonix King.  Through much convincing from Teclis, Malekith would even marry Alarielle, The Everqueen to solidify the crown although the union was very much a symbol as there was no love between them.  Alarielle, having witnessed how far Tyrion had fallen eventually saw the truth in Malekith being the true Pheonix King.

Having secured his crown and winning the battle over Tyrion and his forces you would think Malekith would be set to rule for a long time, but fate is never that kind.  Nagash had ripped the wind of Shyish from The Great Vortex, which all the winds of magic funneled into to be removed from The World That was in order to keep magic balanced and prevent the world from tearing apart.  The Vortex was becoming unstable and Teclis, with help and guidance from Caledor Dragontamer, had devised The End Times were at hand and The Vortex needed to be dismantled and its power put into Elven beings of power to combat The Great Victory of Chaos, but in this process destroying all of Ulthuan.  Malekith angered at this fate agreed and took his forces to The Isle of The Dead, site of The Great Vortex.  Tyrion, Morathi, and their forces followed in their wake intent in stopping their plan, one way or another.

On the Isle, Teclis set to work with aid from Caledor while Malekith, Alarielle and their forces set up to defend him.  A final grand battle of the Elves took place that day which saw the spirits of Elves from ages past erupt from The Vortex as it was dismantled to ensure Malekith would win the day.  Although, Morathi was able to disrupt the spell enough that some of the winds managed to escape control.  Malkeith absorbed the wind of Ulgu, despite Teclis trying to give him Aqshy to cement the concept of his firey rebirth, but despite Malekith’s recent changes he was far to stepped in shadow to connect with anything else.  Alarielle would obtain the wind of Ghyran and Teclis would place the wind of Hysh within his staff.

All this death and releases of Elven spirits, however, attracted Slaanesh who appeared physically in The World That Was to feast upon the souls and even consume the souls of Caledor and Morathi in one all-consuming bite.  Malekith was victorious, Tyrion lay, and Ulthuan was sinking as the magical backlash dragged the island to the ocean floor.  Malekith, Alarielle, and elves of all three races would escape through the world roots to Athel Loren.  Teclis would disappear beneath the waves with the body of his brother.

Having survived Rhana Dandra Malekith had achieved ultimate victory while losing nearly everything.  The Vortex he once tried to dismantle out of spite was now dismantled in order to save the world.  Malekith held more power in his hand than he ever had before, but was the price worth it?  Despite how he truly felt Malekith had united the disparate elven races under one banner once more and was crowned The Eternity King by The Elven god Lileath.  The stage was set for the final battle for The World That Was as all surviving humans and dwarfs found shelter in Athel Loren.  A fierce invasion of Daemons would eventually attack Athel Loren and Malekith and his forces would only survive due to the unseens aid from Teclis and his brother Tyrion, now reborn with the wind of Hysh within him.
Directly after the final battle would commence as Malekith’s army would be transported through the remaining power of Lileath through a spell crafted by Teclis and with aid from the returned Sigmar.  Having regained his awareness quickly Malekith jumped right into battle giving his nearby forces time to collect themselves.  Malektih would even kneel to the orc Grimgor Ironhide who held the wind of Ghur in order to have his aid in   Archaon and his plan to engulf tow world in chaos by opening a third chaos rift.  This moment is key to showing how much Malekith had grown during this time period.  Before The End Times, this would never have been an option to Malekith, but now he was willing to do it to save his people and the world.

Ultimately, the avatars who held the winds of magic would fail due to a betrayal by Mannfred Von Carstein.  As the world crumbled around him Malekith’s legs were crushed by rubble and all he could do was watch the rift open wider and wider.  Although he did joke about the futility of it all to Alarielle and Tyrion who were nearby.

The next thing Malektih would know was being a shade roaming a Realm of Shadow.  Having made it through to The Mortal Realms he was only partially aware of his being.  He would eventually find a kindred being int he Realm, Morathi.  Mortahi would teach him to reclaim his physical form by focusing his hate, but he was not the same Aelf he was before.  He was merged with his dragon mount during the crossing and was now known as Malerion.  Morthai would teach Malerion what she knew of the Realm and what had happened, once again finding a way into having his ear to whisper in.  Malerion and her would join Sigmars Pantheon and reunite with Alarielle, Tyrion, and Teclis.  Malerion would gift Sigmar The Gladitorium to give his Stormcast Eternals a place to battle to the death in grand melee, but instead of death they would simply heal and stand back up and while there is more to this gift, but it has yet to be revealed.

During this Age, Malerion would learn many more truths about who he was and had been from Tyrion and Teclis and the three would unite in a common cause or finding their lost kin in the realms.  They would search to no avail as most of their kind had been wiped out, but they would enact a plan, with Morathi’s help to capture Slaanesh and siphon out the souls to bring new forms of Aelves into the Realms.  This plan would succeed through the four Aelves efforts, alongside their disciples.  Malerion now rules over Ulgu as the God of Shadow and while there is no clear answer to what he has been doing with the souls he has taken from Slaanesh there are rumors and mysteries abound about a race of Aelves with dragonlike traits, similar to his own current form.  Time will tell what he is truly planning and if these rumors are correct, but when he is ready the shadows will be pulled back and Malerion will become a major force in the lore.

Malerion is a long and storied character full of dichotomy and fates denied.  He has shaped The World That Was as well as The Mortal Realms through his actions and I eagerly await his return to see exactly what he has been up to during The Age of Sigmar.  Will Malekith remain full of hate and bitterness or will he have healed his heart and found new purpose within the Realms and his new Godhood.  Does he still wear the mantle of The Pheonix King or The Eternity King or have his aspirations exceeded even these lofty goals?  I assume, with a character like Malerion that he has set goals of a new magnitude and will not rest until he achieves them, even if it takes thousands of more years.  He is the second oldest being in The Mortal Realms, next to Morathi, and now has the power of a god and an entire realm.  What couldn’t he achieve if he hasn't set his mind to it?   I am also excited that he doesn't appear to be as influenced by his mother Morathi anymore as it will allow him to grow as a character even more after his experience during The End Times.  Being under her thumb would discredit who he neede dot become to have a hope of saving his race and the world and knowing that this path will continue will only take him farther while also getting under Morathi’s skin causing her to grow more as well.

I can forsee him dedicating himself to resurrecting the kingdom that he lost through the souls he has acquired, but even this seems a simple task for him at the point.  Perhaps he will attempt to bind the realms together so he can rule over them all?  He may even be fully dedicated to destroying Slaanesh and all the being of Chaos to claim their realms as his own as well. Whatever his new goals are we can be sure that they will permanently shape the Realms, for better or for worse, but while his actions may seem odd lets never forget he is excellent at playing the long game.

Happy Hobbying.

Chuck Moore