The Forsaken :
The herjar-brothers of the 49th Grand Company love to tell stories. To honour worthy opponents, to remember friends, to simply amuse one another, or to contemplate the bittersweet illusions of life. A herjar-brother who can weave a good tale is valued, and the best are kept close to the Warsmith. Story-telling is a deeply ingrained part of life in the Grand Company, an exercise of the warband's mystic cult. Some stories, however, are told reluctantly, and with bitterness. These are cautionary tales, made necessary by the razor-thin edge separating the Way of the Old Dead Gods from the Ruinous Powers. Temptation and corruption is never more than a heartbeat, and lurking in the minds of every member of the Iron Hounds is the dread knowledge that not all are worthy of the Pure Land, and the Waelheim Road is long and filled with danger.
The most repeated tale of woe is that of a being now known only as The Forsaken. In the early days after the Grand Company was rededicated to the Old Dead Gods, and the Ruinous Powers were rejected, there was a promising sergeant of a tactical squad. He was a skilled warrior with a gift for command, but his discipline was undermined by his pride. He rejected the Ruinous Powers along with the rest of the Grand Company, but secretly felt that he could simply use the false gods of the warp, taking from them what he wanted but staying true to his convictions. He wanted to show the Warsmith how clever he was, to pluck the beards of the cursed usurpers while enjoying their stolen power.
This was not the Way.
The 49th Grand Company had broken free of the Eye of Terror and slipped the leash of the Warmaster during the 7th Black Crusade, and set about establishing a reputation as the pirates and mercenaries known to the Imperium as the Iron Hounds. During one of these early battles, The Forsaken, then still known by his real name, sought out and challenged four worthy enemy leaders. He taunted the Ruinous Powers in turn with each victory, imagining he could play them against one another to his own benefit. He first took a skull and held it aloft for Khorne to see. He was rewarded with strength, but he controlled his blood lust. He next made a show of his skill for Slaanesh, cutting the second champion six times six times with his blade before executing him with an artful flourish. He was rewarded with speed, but he focused his mind and would not be distracted by the brilliant colours and sweet sensations of the battle. Third, he withstood the hammer blows of an enraged assault terminator sergeant, fighting on through pain and suffering so as to make even his opponent stop and wonder. As he slew the the incredulous sergeant, he felt his pain melt away as life surged through his ruined sword arm once more. He tore the mutating arm from his own shoulder socket, scorning the boons of Nurgle. Next he sought out the enemy Librarian, advancing through terrible sorceries to come to blows with him. The enemy's psychic powers lashed at him, but he allowed them to flow into him and through him. He exerted his willpower on the raw stuff of the Warp around him, and killed the astonished Librarian with his mind alone. He felt the potentiality of Tzeentch coursing through his veins, but held tight to his reality and ego.
He had become powerful, crackling with energy, bending realspace around him as he moved triumphantly across the battlefield. He would display himself before the Warsmith and earn much honour, perhaps even be accepted as one of the Warsmith's equals in his council. His own squad, however, attempted to stop him approaching the Warsmith. His best friend, his trusted corporal, denounced his actions, pleading with him to return to the Waelheim Road. The shock of that betrayal caused his mental fortitude to slip and, filled with rage, he rained angry blows at his comrade.
The corporal valiantly defended himself, trying to the end to avoid killing his sergeant. But his bludgeoning attempts to subdue were answered with deadly cuts, and The Forsaken slew his fifth champion of the day.
Khorne, Slaanesh, Nurgle, and Tzeentch had granted their boons to The Forsaken and had been rejected in turn. But a forgotten power deep within the Warp, a hidden entity of mindless corruption, betrayal, and contradiction, answered his final act of evil and thrust upon The Forsaken a twisted apotheosis. Gone was the promising sergeant, replaced by a Daemon Prince whose true name would be struck from the histories of the Grand Company, never to be uttered by any of his former comrades again. He had sought glory and honour, but damned even the memory of himself in the eyes of his former brothers.
The Forsaken was driven off, escaping into the raging tempest of the Warp. But deep in the creature's mind it still desired to stand before the Warsmith and prove his worth. He would have his praises sung by the Warsmith, or he would have the Warsmith's head from its neck. Dark tales tell of The Forsaken appearing during battles and attempting to lead the Iron Hounds, enraged by their rejection but compelled by his perverted ego to attack their enemies. He can appear in the moments before a battle begins or, even worse, manifest in the body of any of the herjar-brothers who have wandered too far from the Waelheim Road themselves. All the recruits are warned against him, lest their hearts open a doorway for him and they lose their Way.