Azyr

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"The path to paradise begins in hell."

– Dante Alighieri

"You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden."

– Matthew 5:14

Azyr was originally the Wind of Magic related to all things celestial, such as stars, lightning, and similar phenomena. In the Age of Sigmar it has become the realm of Sigmar himself, and the main stronghold of civilization and order in the multiverse. Needless to say, it's the greatest source of resistance against the forces of Chaos.

Warhammer Fantasy Battle[edit]

Back in the good old days of yore and the Winds of Magic, Azyr was the blue wind related with the heavens. As such, its users were skilled in Astromancy, invoking skills such as divination, casting lightning, and summoning comets. The lore surrounding Azyr was founded in its capability to bring understanding and comprehension even where none should exist. Azyr was therefore associated with dreams, theory, and scholarly desire - or, dare we say, hope but without the chaotic implications. Back during the earlier days of The Empire, the Chaos God Tzeentch managed to trap Sigmar within Azyr. However this didn't go as well as expected as Azyr became linked to Sigmar's essence and, when the magical winds were released during The End Times, Sigmar returned as one of the magical Incarnates united against Chaos, AKA The Warhammer Avengers (Obviously he was Captain America).

The Realm of Azyr[edit]

Genesis[edit]

At the climax of the End Times Sigmar couldn't save the EarthThe-World-That-Was and fell, along with Archaon, into a world-ending Chaos Vortex. But being everyone's Games Workshop's favourite God-EmperorKing, he came back. Sigmar and the core of Warhammer's world (baptized Mallus, which means Hammer in latin-lite, so yeah, the Warhammer's world name was "Hammer") managed to survive, flung into the Aetheric Void until entering Azyr, now condensed into a realm. After being saved from a comatose state and making pals with the godly Star-drake Dracothion (Who may or may not be Sotek all along), Sigmar was introduced to the Mortal Realms by Dracothion, seeing the still nascent realities and the primitive tribes of mortals he set out to rebuild all he had lost.

Meanwhile, the Lizardmen, now space dinosaurs Seraphon, after the destruction of The-World-That-Was, drifted the void in their temple-ships until they too found Dracothion, maybe he is really Sotek, right? The star-drake helped settle the Seraphon in High Azyr (read: near space), where not even the Chaos Gods could reach, allowing for our scaly friends to start their task of ridding the Cosmos of Chaos once and for all.

Age of Myth[edit]

Over long centuries Sigmar built up the Realm of Azyr, taking full advantage of his immortality to ensure that there would be no End Times 2.0. From his palace-city Sigmaron, Sigmar directed his utopia: Azyr became a confluence for all races, epitomised in the massive celestial city Azyrheim where Human, Aelf, and Duardin coexisted peacefully.

Beyond Azyr, Sigmar succeeded over many centuries in promoting many prosperous nations and cultures, at its zenith his alliance engulfed the other 7 realms and had the support of Nagash, Alarielle, Gorkamorka, Grungni, Teclis, Tyrion, Morathi, Malerion and many other divine beings. The Warhammer United Nations managed to disrupt and beat back the first attempts of Chaos to do its thing and destroy the alliance shiny new worlds.

Age of Chaos[edit]

However, Chaos still had Archaon up their collective sleeve, who happened to have as much plot-armour as Sigmar as GW needed some sort of apocalyptic war (I mean, it is a wargame). So yeah, after a series of military disasters Chaos managed to conquer 7 out of the 8 realms and ensure their corruption.

Sigmar, of course, was very mad, and angry "I'll get you back evil bossArchaon!". So he did the intelligent thing and closed all the realmgates of Azyr and with the help of Tyrion and Teclis he activated some sort of realm-spanning camo-field so not even Tzeentch culd see what he was doing.

Like the Emprah, Sigmar decided he would need Space Marines. Unlike Emprah, he decided it would be a very good idea to make them immune to Chaos right from the start and since Sigmar already had "warp" powers in the form of the wind of Azyr, well, he put hands to work.

After many failed attempts to force the Gates of Azyr, Chaos decided to ignore them. This made a lot of Chaos Lords very bored, wishing for a real challenge as preying on little post-apocalyptic tribes loses all its appeal after a couple of centuries.

Meanwhile, back in Azyr, Sigmar started his great work. Across the centuries he worked with Grungni to forge his new weapon against Chaos. His beard singed from the heat of the star forges and his Manly Tears cooled the metal, as he could see what Archebag and the spikey boys were doing with the other realms (eg: turning Warhammer not-Erza Scarlet into a statue by dropping molten silver over her, after some session of torture, sadly he couldn't get Sigmarabulum in time to spirit her away). Eventually the task was done (except not, but more of that later): the Stormcast Eternals, the souls of heroes who stood their ground to Chaos until (almost) death re-forged as divine soldiers. The Stormcast Eternals would form the tip of a lance composing the innumerable armies Azyr could now muster against Chaos after five hundred of years of peace (we wish the old Empire and the Imperium had had this).

Age of Sigmar[edit]

You will need more than a moon-crash and an Apocalypse to keep the old froggy down!

Sigmar launched his forces, with the Stormcast Eternals as his superhuman shock troopers who give zero fucks about daemonically empowered vikings and chaos shenanigans.

Making multiple simultaneous and devastating offensive storm-strikes from the astral fortress of Sigmarabulum into the territories where Azyr's Realmgates still stood sealed the sigmarines fought to reach them, once there they removed the seals, allowing more and more of Sigmar's forces to pour through, freeing vast swathes of territories and their remnant tribes of mortal-kind from the grip of Chaos.

The Stormcast Eternals were soon followed by Azyr's Free Guild armies(Imperial Guard/badass normals, read: the good, old Empire) supported by the Devoted of Sigmar(whose God-King actually has given them his thumbs up unlike certain anatolian guy), the Collegiate Arcanum (Azyr's battle wizards) and the Ironweld Arsenal (because Sigmar may have realized even daemons have a hard time against tanks, weapons teams and artillery), together these armies forced the Ruinous Powers back across hundreds of battlefields.

Azyr's forces were aided in this multiverse spanning conflict by Aelf and Duardin auxiliaries, Fyreslayer mercenaries, the surviving reclaimed tribes of mortal-kind, and the mysterious and ostensibly random help of the Seraphon (we like our space psychic frogs!), while the Stormcast Eternals are the poster boys of the nascent Age of Sigmar all the other armies made equally huge and heroic contributions to Sigmar's cause.

At the conclussion of the Realmgate Wars the forces of Azyr had managed to establish beachheads all across the seven Chaos-tainted Realms and began the process of purifying and rebuilding civilization in the reclaimed territories, with the eventual emergence of a network of nations centered on Realmgate-based sentlements commonly referred as the Cities of Sigmar, making Azyr the first Games Workshop kingdom of order to make a true comeback since... Since forever, which is something many Imperial and order-aligned fans actually feel very happy, indeed, the Sun will Rise Again. Of course, many players who liked the old Empire still hate this, why Azyr had a chance but The Old World not? (This is the reason why playing Mortal Empires as the Empire is awesome).

While innitially very idealistic on purpose and despite Sigmar's decree that everyone is equal, the Azyr-born citizens often have come to see with suspicion and mistrust the descendants of the reclaimed tribes, which in turn have replicated the problems of the Old-World Empire, social and economic disparity is common in many of the Cities of Sigmar, making for a breeding ground for cults of the Ruinous Powers, this in turn has call for action of the Order of Azyr, the AoS Inquisition, using many of the methods of their 40k equivalent to do the job to keep everyone in check.

Still, the majority of the descendants of the reclaimed tribes, now inhabitants of these footholds of Azyr, have earned their chance, however slim it may be, for a better life, and have proved for the most part to be willing to fight for Sigmar's vision of a new age of peace, prosperity and progress for all the Mortal Realms.

Of course, certain skelepope decided everything was too bright and good and in the current edition the Realm of Azyr and Sigmar's armies have had to fight not just the regrouping forces of the Everchosen and the hordes of Destruction but the re-emerging powers of Nagash, his hosts of the Realm of Death and the onslaught of the realm-altering Necroquake. Old business, as usual.

Forces of Azyr[edit]

These are the most representative forces of Azyr, being supplied by auxiliaries whose origins are from other realms.

Stormcast Eternals[edit]

Sigmar's elite, aka Sigmarines, they are like Grey Knights with far less grimdark and more humanity. Like the Space Marines they sport a wide array of variants such as the basic Liberator, the air-borne prosecutor, the heavy infantry Paladins and the Extremis Chamber heavy cavalry as well as the magic-oriented Sacrosanct brotherhoods. Similar to Space Marine Chapters they are organized in self-contained Stormhosts. Unlike the Space Marines each one of them was created from a mortal hero, be it king or beggar, knight or housewife, who willingly chose to fight Chaos in a doomed last-stand and are infused with the essence of Azyr itself. Since 2015 they have had many novels and short stories in Black Library, bringing diversity and characterization to what at first glance was a rather dull force, in the current edition it's revealed Sigmar didn't have time to perfect the reforging process which allows a killed Stormcast to be resurrected, resulting in loses of memories, emotions and personalities, this has made many Stormcasts fearful of losing their humanity, becoming lightning powered automatons, in order to correct this Sigmar has put to work the Sacrosanct chamber in finding a cure, it remains to be seen if they would be capable to save the day.

On a side note, it's important to clarify that while the Hammers of Sigmar have gold and blue in their armor the guys with the most Ultramarines-like color pattern are the Tempest Lords, who actually think themselves as the superior guys something which is explained by the fact they were all formed from Nobles.

Devoted of Sigmar[edit]

A Devoted of Sigmar in a typical work's day.

The church of Sigmar, bringing back flagellants, badass warrior priests and witch hunters, nobody expects the Azyr Inquisition! They are good at cleaning KAY-OSS via whips and faith, unlike the old Empire's Church or the Ecclesiarchy they seem to be very cool guys, making an effort to conciliate the people under the banner of Order, and their priests have healing and shielding powers, they wont necessarily choose as first step to bash the head of anyone who is not aligned with Sigmar, also, they seem to get along with the Stormcast Eternals, who in turn recognize their job in the name of the God-King, by the way, the Silver Tower of Tzeentch features a black priest, which shows GeeDubs has finally started to be more serious with the matter of racial diversity. On the other hand and like many other religious organizations, they have tendency to proselytize the hard way, making Sigmar the more equal of the gods, this in turn has created frictions with other faiths, such as Alarielle's believers, and of late they haven't seen eye to eye to the followers of Nagash and while Sigmar has a policy of non-chaos religious tolerance, perhaps in hopes of bringing Old Bones back into his team, persecution, particularly in Azyr's held territories at the Realm of Shysh, is not unheard of.

Point of fact, it has been the faith of their members that have allowed to create protective fields against the enemies of Order and keep evil entities sealed away, in fact, some of them have a faith so strong they have kept Penumbral Engines running for centuries, a task which obliterated a Stormcast Eternal in an instant.

Collegiate Arcanum[edit]

Proprietors of spells and arcane devices to channel the power of the God-King, with the very nature of Azyr being highly effective against Chaos. Aside from lending magical support in battle the Collegiate can develop magic devices and materials for peacetime projects, using them to bolster the economy and assets of the Realm of Azyr and help in the founding of new cities in the liberated realms.

Free Peoples[edit]

The forces of the Cities of Sigmar, the rank and file of Azyr forces, the grunts, the doughboys, the duckfoots, only this time they can see their god and know that he truly cares about them and fights by their side. They are the old Empire if things haven't gone so bad during its 2500 years of story, brought back as the citizens of Azyrheim and other enclaves of the Realm of Heaven, and they will fight Chaos with honest-to-Sigmar human courage, steel, gunpowder and grit. After the Realmgate Wars the cities of Sigmar have achieved the demographic and socioeconomic development to rise their own Freeguild regiments, while others own forces who declare their descendance from the first azyrite pioneers who ventured into the Chaos-infested realms.

Ironweld Arsenal[edit]

Say hello to the 19th century! Steam-punk tanks and artillery. We hope you didn't throw away your Steam Tank when The End Times happened, but with this faction being so awesome you may want to bring a Leman Russ tank instead. As seen in the novel City of Secrets many cities of Azyr have regiments which count with some artillery teams and Steam Tanks, allowing them to fight off both enemy formations and airborne menaces, and even take down large monstrous creatures. The Ironweld Arsenal also provides with conventional engineering support, their members are seeing working after battle into erecting the foundation of new sentlements and fortresses, working in unison with the Stormcast ordinators to ensure the footholds of Azyr have the right urbanistic development.

It is noted these industrialists have come into conflict with Alarielle and her children, since as classic Industrial Revolution-esque engineers they don't seem to care that much for the ecological impact of their activities. Also of note too is the reference in some novels of the use of custom weaponry, automatons, walking fortresses and other marvels, we wonder when we would get warjacks Imperial Knights in Age of Sigmar.

Seraphon[edit]

While there is no formal alliance between Sigmar's armies and the Seraphon, both forces seem to recognize they have aligned goals; both have fought Chaos side by side. No other realm can boast magical space dinosaurs, or psychic frogs with the power to crush continents. The Seraphon seem to have inherited the poor communication skills of the Lizardmen, on the other hand, they have become far more effective as they are anti-Chaos beings, with the essence being that of Azyr's wind of magic.

Azyr's fauna[edit]

Azyr has its own fauna, most of which follows the theme of dragons, felines and eagles (and combinations thereof). They're often described as having a keen intelligence and are associated with lightning or stars. Some major examples are as follows:

Stardrakes[edit]

Pictured here is a Stardrake in all his Dracothion given glory.

Considered the Children of Dracothion, they usually live in high place, once they die they reincarnate, however, like certain space elves, the coming of Chaos has made the process difficult. There is a pact between their kind and the Stormcasts to fight together against the Ruinous Powers, with the Stardrakes being capable of taking down Greater Daemons on their own. Like Stormcast, they return to Azyr after death to be reborn, barring magical nonsense preventing them from doing so.

Dracoths[edit]

Theories are that they may be hatchlings of Stardrakes, while other people say they are a completely different race. Like the Stardrakes, they work together with the Stormcast Eternals to remove the taint of Chaos. Apparently Vandus Hammerhand, the guy of The Gates of Azyr, was the first one to tame one of them.

Dracolines[edit]

Mountain dwelling reptilian thunder cats that sharpen and charge their claws on Celestium.

Tauralon[edit]

Giant flying star goats. Normally found in the void between realms but have made roost around Sigmar's space station, Sigmarabulum. Their favorite past time is headbutting dangerous asteroids into people.

Gryph-creatures[edit]

Because the Mortal Realms are too cool to settle with the common griffon, Azyr boasts an impressive variety of creatures of the griffin family. There are four varieties currently:

  • Griffon: The ol' chicken we all know and love. Frequently employed by the high-ranking members and leaders of the Free Guilds and Collegiate Arcane as mounts. They grow rather big and sometimes can naturally develop a second head at birth.
  • Demigryph: Another returning type from WHFB. Unable to fly, this species is used as mounts by heavy cavalry units, most commonly the Free Guilds' Demigryph Knights.
  • Gryph-hounds: The good bork-birbs. These are new. Similar in body to demigrypghs but smaller (like a big dog, give or take) they are employed as attack hounds or watchdogs as they can detect dangers at distance and are rather ferocious. Both the Stormcast Eternals and the Devoted of Sigmar can use them. Look at the one accompanying the Excelsior Warpriest. Surprisingly cute.
  • Gryph-chargers: Another new species. The size of a big demigryph but faster and more agile, with the ability to carry considerable weight. They are perfect for rough terrain and/or scouting. Weirdly, they are the only variant with horns, and considering they have hooves instead paws like the other variants, they actually resemble hippogriffons more than griffons. Usually employed by the Stormcast Eternals' Vanguard Chambers as mounts to Palladors and Lords Aquilor.

Others[edit]

  • Dragon Ogors: Former residents of Azyr before Sigmar kicked them out with his no chaos policy, renaming themselves the "Thunderscorn" in memory of this.

See Also[edit]

  • Sigmar, the ruler, incarnate and god of this realm.
  • Terra, the roughest equivalent you may find in Warhammer 40,000, minus the noble-bright.
  • The Empire (Warhammer Fantasy), the predecessor and first attempt of Sigmar to make a better place to live for humans and their allies.
The Nine Realms of the Age of Sigmar
Hysh
Ghur Chamon
Aqshy Realm of Chaos Ghyran
Shyish Azyr
Ulgu