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This article is focused upon the past and personal background of Gotrek Gurnisson. For his adventures go to the article Gotrek & Felix.
Gotrek, son of Gurni, was born in 2370 IC and raised in the corridors of Karaz-a-Karak. Like all citizens of the King's Council he did his military service in the depths below the Everpeak as a youth, learning how to fight in tunnels. He has supposedly also spent time as a mercenary and an engineer, but details of his past are scarce.
He was part of an ill-fated attempt to find the lost city of Karak Dum by voyaging through the Chaos Wastes in a train of armoured wagons. He, Snorri Nosebiter and Borek Forkbeard were among the few survivors. Becoming separated from the others as they fled the Wastes, Gotrek wandered into a cave where he found the corpse of a dwarf surrounded by dead beastmen and holding an ancient starmetal Rune Axe, which he claimed for his own. The axe is later revealed to be the Runemaster's Axe, a powerful weapon capable of slaying Greater Daemons taken from Karag Dum by the King's son, shortly before its fall.
In a vision shown to Arek Demonclaw by Chaos sorcerers Lhoigor Goldenrod and Kelmain Blackstaff, Gotrek is seen returning from the Chaos Wastes to find his wife and children dead. The vision then shows Gotrek in the court of an unnamed dwarf lord, and Gotrek arguing with said lord, demanding vengeance for his family's murder. Gotrek kills the Lord and his bodyguard and all others that do not flee. Racked with guilt and shame Gotrek shaved his hair, becoming a Slayer.
Gotrek was in the Imperial capital of Altdorf during the Window Tax Riots in which Felix Jaeger, recently ousted from college after accidentally slaying a fellow student in a duel, took part. Gotrek rescued Felix by pulling him out from under the hooves of the Imperial Cavalry sent to quell the riots and, after a night of drinking, Felix swore a blood oath to follow the Slayer on his quest to find a mighty doom and record the story in an epic poem. The two have been companions ever since.
As a Slayer, Gotrek sports a bright orange crest and numerous tattoos. He is huge and though the top of his hair only comes up to Felix’s chest, he outweighs him by a substantial margin, all of it muscle. A gold chain runs from his nostril to his ear and after losing an eye in battle with goblins at Fort von Diehl he wears a leather eye patch.
Gotrek is morose, taciturn and gruff. Even after years of travelling and fighting side by side he still refers to Felix as 'manling', though he respects him in other ways and values him more than any other human. Completely obsessed with finding his doom Gotrek is fearless in the face of any danger and actively seeks it out in order to fulfil his vow. He is a heavy drinker, able to consume amounts of alcohol that would kill a human. Though outcast from dwarfen society he retains many dwarfen qualities, including a lust for gold, mistrust and contempt for other races, the ability to see easily in the dark, an affinity with stone and strong dislike of elves, trees and boats.
Imperial wizard Maximilian Schreiber has confirmed through scrying that great power is flowing into Gotrek through his axe, which is presumably responsible for his prodigious strength. He has also confirmed that this power has made Gotrek immortal, or near enough that is does not matter. This may be the reason why, despite many years of trying, he has yet to find his doom. Felix has sometimes wondered and others have speculated as well that his and Gotrek's propensity for encountering and overcoming the servants of Chaos may be evidence that they are being guided by supernatural powers opposed to Chaos.
- 1: Daemonslayer (novel) by William King, Needs Citation
- 2: Beastslayer (novel) by William King, Needs Citation
- 3: Trollslayer (novel) by William King, Needs Citation
- 4: Realmslayer: A Gotrek Gurnisson Series (audio drama) by David Guymer
- 4a: Booklet