Note: for the Marvel Comics elven supervillain, see Malekith the Accursed (Marvel).
Malekith the Witch King of Naggaroth is the lord of the Dark Elves (Warhammer) and a villain from the Warhammer tabletop war game.
Malekith was the child of Aenarion, first of the Phoenix Kings of the Elves, and Morathi, a seeress. As prince of Ulthuan, Malekith became a skilled warrior and general much like his father and a powerful mage, thanks to his mother’s teachings. As time went by, Malekith became surrounded by political intrigue, though politics held little interest for him and he preferred leading armies to win battles for his father. After his father died, Malekith seemed like the natural choice to be the new ruler. He said that though he wanted to lead Ulthuan into a new golden age, he was fine with submitting to another if the council of princes wanted him to. Given this statement, Malekith did not become the Phoenix King and Bel Shanaar was given the position instead. Though he appeared to be fine with the decision, Malekith was actually enraged and resentful and vowed to wait until he could have the throne of Phoenix King. He became the commander of High Elf army and excelled at the position, accumulating power and allies thanks to his victories against the Orcs and Goblins and the armies of Chaos. Malekith lead his forces to the edges of the Elf colonies, but while leading his forces into the New World, he found an abandoned pre-human city. Inside, Malekith found the Circlet of Iron, which possessed incredible magical power. With this and a combination of his masterful combat skills and magic, Malekith became second only to the Phoenix King. He would have been content remaining like this, since he was unchallenged, but the curse of Aenarion’s blood was still present.
Fall into Darkness
Rumors began to circulate of the Cult of Pleasure’s revival, which was a faction of chaos worshipping elves that served Slaanesh. Malekith swore to crush the cult and began a hunt to root out the members, which made the elves see him as a hero. But as time went by, many high ranking and well known officials were executed after being accused of being chaos worshippers. Eventually in the winter of -2571, Malekith accused Bel Shanaar of being a follower of Slaanesh during the Feast of Purity. This was when he went too far, for no elf could believe that the Phoenix King could ever do such a thing. However Bel Shanaar was poisoned before he could defend himself and Malekith seized the shrine of Asuryan, so he could become the Phoenix King, then no one could challenge him. Believing that he could easily crown himself the Phoenix King due to being of Aenarion’s blood, Malekith marched into the flame of the god, Asuryan, the final test each Phoenix King had to pass. However his corruption made the sacred flames reject him and cast him out, burning him horribly. Malekith was brought to the stronghold of Nagarythe by Morathi on her dark pegasus, where she nursed him back to health. There, he was trained in dark magic and Hotek, renegade prince of Vaul, forged him a suit of black armor that gave Malekith’s withered and burned body strength. The armor fused to him when he put it on for it was still white hot from the forging, but after his burning from the flames of Asuryan, Malekith felt little pain. The armor was named the Armour of Midnight and it came to instill dread in all who looked upon it. On that day, Malekith became the Witch-King.
Rise of Naggaroth
Meanwhile Imrik had been chosen as the next Phoenix King, taking the title of Caledor I. Caledor and Malekith each gathered followers and the two battled for the throne of Ulthuan in a war that lasted over a decade. However the time worked to the benefit of Caledor, since Malekith’s corruption and treachery became more and more apparent, making more and more elves join Caledor. The two fought in one final battle in which Caledor defeated Malekith in one on one combat on the Fields of Maledor, sending the Witch-King and his followers fleeing back to their strongholds. Malekith took a gamble and made one final attempt at claiming the throne by commanding his sorcerers to unbind the Realm of Chaos so as to gain help from the Chaos Gods. Even after hours of struggle, Malekith and his sorcerers could not succeed in the task, thanks to the efforts of a group of powerful elf mages trapped in the Isle of the Dead. What resulted was a surge of raw magical power that struck Malekith’s fortress, killing many of his sorcerers. Following this was the cataclysm known as the Sundering, which killed thousands of elves. The land itself buckled, a thousand foot tidal wave crashed down on the northern part of Ulthuan, a series of powerful earthquakes devastated the cites and the land, and the lands of Tiranoc and Nagarythe were submerged. Malekith’s fortresses survived the cataclysm thanks to strong magical protection and broke off of the land, floating out to sea. These were the Black Arks and they grounded on the northern part of the New World. Malekith claimed this as his new kingdom, naming it Naggaroth (Land of Chill) in memory of his people’s homeland and thus was born the kingdom of the Dark Elves. Malekith and his people drove out or enslaved the native barbarians and greenskins and built six great cities as their new homes. The Dark Elves began raiding the coasts of Ulthuan and the Old World in order to get a workforce of slaves and prepare for the war they would resume with their High Elf brethren. As the millenniums went by, Malekith continued to plan and wage war against the Phoenix Kings, having lost any desire for forgiveness from the High Elves. The Dark Elves would never stop until Malekith sat upon the throne he thought was rightfully his and the High Elves were crushed.
Storm of Chaos
During the major Chaos invasion led by Archaon, Malekith and his army landed on the Shadowlands. He easily destroyed the High Elf army led by Eltharion, whom he brushed aside with his dark magic. Afterwards, Malekith tried to make Eltharion aid him by threatening to kill the High Elf survivors he’d captured. Eltharion refused so the Witch King executed all the captives then set his most skilled torturers to work on Eltharion. After months of torture, Malekith sent Eltharion crippled and blinded to Lothern as a warning to those that would oppose him. The Witch-King’s next move was to fully invade Ulthuan, resulting in battles throughout Ulthuan all summer, but during an attack on Evergreen Gardens, Malekith faced Eltharion again. In a one-on-one fight, Malekith was wounded and retreated and despite it only being a flesh-wound, this was the first time in centuries he’d ever been wounded in combat. Malekith has been wary of Eltharion ever since that day.
Powers and AbilitiesMalekith, as lord of the Dark Elves, is extremely powerful and possesses immense skill in dark magic. He is also a skilled warrior, wielding the powerful enchanted sword, Destroyer, which has the power to destroy other magical weapons and armor. Malekith also possesses the Hand of Kaine, a gauntlet capable of dismembering his enemies, and the Circlet of Iron, which increases his magical power. The Armour of Midnight makes Malekith practically invulnerable to physical attack, though he is susceptible to magical attacks and it is prophesized a sorcerer will end him. The Witch King often rides into battle atop his mighty Black Dragon, Seraphon.
- In older editions of the game, Malekith rode in a chariot pulled by four Cold Ones, lizard creatures the Dark Elves use as mounts, and in the seventh, can be fielded either on Seraphon, in his chariot, on a single Cold One, or on foot.