It was protected by concentric rings of mainly wooden palisades with the decaying bodies of beastmen and Orcs impaled on stakes that lined the approach roads. A great but crumbling stone gateway decorated by skulls guarded a bridge that granted access over a river - ropes connected to it allowed the city defenders to control it from within. [1a]
The culture of Mourkain was heavily steeped in death and decay, destined for an unsavory end from the moment that a young human shaman and leader of the Lodringen tribe named Kadon first discovered the corpse of King Alcadizaar of Khemri along the banks of the Blind River in -1147 IC. The fallen king still gripped the sorcerous Crown of Nagash tightly in his hand. [2a]
Drawn by the power that emanated from the crown, Kadon took it and placed it upon his own head. Almost immediately, the corrupting influence of the crown effected a change in the young Shaman. Kadon became obsessed with death and the magic of Necromancy. He commanded his people to build a magnificent tomb for Alcadizaar and around that tomb, their settlement evolved into a city that came to be called Mourkain. [2a] Kadon saw the city grow over the years into an empire which, at its height, stretched from the Marshes of Madness all the way to the Black Gulf
The rapid expansion of the Mourkain civilization drove many Greenskins out of their settlements in the Badlands and into the World's Edge Mountains. It was an injury the bellicose Orcs would not forget. In retaliation, the Orc tribes united in a massive Waaagh! under the warboss Dork Redeye and marched upon the city of Mourkain. Despite being well-schooled in the Necromantic arts, the Strygos people were no match for the amassed might of the fearsome greenskins and were slaughtered wholesale, their cities and villages burned to the ground.
The few human survivors fled north, forced to become nomadic travelers known as the Strigany. These gypsies were often met with suspicion and/or abuse by the inhabitants of the northern lands due to their association with vampires, which much of the time was unfounded but some bands did indeed harbour their traditional masters.
The ruins of this once powerful empire remain abandoned and desolate, haunted by the tormented spirits of its former citizens. It is said that the dark heart of the ruined city of Mourkain is still inhabited by the fabled Ghoul King, who surrounds himself with undead minions in a twisted parody of the ancient court of Strygos.
The city had been built in a spiral of stone clad streets with great stone buildings at its core and crude thatched huts at the edge and merchants stalls lining the inside of the city wall. Before Neferata arrived, there were no temples but at the very centre was a crude pyramid of black stone. [1a]
- 1: Neferata (novel)
- 2: Warhammer Armies: Vampire Counts (8th Edition)
- 2a: A Lineage of Blood, pg. 22