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Codex: Chaos Daemons (2008), p13 — The Garden of Nurgle

While the mortal realm is laid waste by blight and pestilence, the lands of Nurgle thrive on disease and corruption. Tended by the Lord of Decay, this unwholesome realm is home to every pox and affliction imaginable and is foetid with the stench of rot.

In death there is life. Upon the decay of the living thrive untold numbers of bacteria, viruses, insects and other carrion- feeders. All life feeds upon other life to exist, and from every plague grow new generations, stronger and more virile than before. As regeneration comes from decay, so hope springs from despair. The greatest inspiration comes in the darkest moments; in times of crisis are mortals truly tested and driven to excel. This is the creed of Nurgle, the Lord of Decay, Master of Pestilence. Though utterly foul to look upon, and creator of every infection and epidemic to have ever swept the universe, Nurgle is a vibrant god of life and laughter, not a morose purveyor of despair and gloom. As the god, so too his immortal realm. The domain of Nurgle is not a barren wasteland, but a macabre paradise of death and pestilence.

Under a sky thick with buzzing swarms of black, furry flies grows the Garden of Nurgle. Twisted, rotten boughs entangled with grasping vines cover the mouldering ground, beneath an insect- ravaged canopy of leaves. Fungi both plain and spectacular break through the leaf-strewn mulch of the forest floor, puffing out clouds of choking spores. The stems of half-Daemonic plants wave of their own accord, unstirred by the still, pungent air. Bright sprays of red, blue, yellow and purple puncture the gloom; havens of cheeriness in a dismal woodscape. Burrowing and scuttling beetles of all kinds, with brightly-patterned carapaces and shining wings, flit along the banks of sluggish, muddy rivers. Reeds rattle, whispering the names of the poxes inflicted upon the worlds of mortals by Great Nurgle; or lamenting those that have died from the fatal caress of their creator.

Jutting from amidst this primordial mire is Nurgle's manse. Decrepit and ancient, yet eternally strong at its foundations, the mansion is an eclectic structure of rotted timbers and broken walls, overgrown with crawling poison ivy and thick mosses. Cracked windows and crumbling stone compete with verdigris-coated bronze, rusted ironworks and lichen-covered cornices to outdo each other with their corrupted charm.

Within these tumbling walls, Nurgle toils. His gigantic body is bloated with corruption and exudes an overpowering stench. His skin is greenish, leathery and necrotic, its surface abundant with running sores, swelling boils and fruitful infestation. Nurgle's gurgling and pulsating organs are rank with the excrement of decay, spilling through his ruptured skin to hang like obscene fruit around his girth. From these organs burst swarms of tiny Nurglings that chew on Grandfather Nurgle's rotting bowels and suck upon his bountiful, nauseous juices.

Beneath mildewed and sagging beams, the great god works for eternity at a rusted cauldron, a receptacle vasy enough to contain all the oceans of all the worlds of the galaxy. Chuckling and murmuring to himself, Nurgle labours to create contagion and pestilence - the most perfect, unfettered forms of life. With every stir of Nurgle's maggot-ridden ladle, a dozen fresh diseases flourish and are scattered through the universes to bring low civilisations and destroy the populations of worlds. From time to time Nurgle ceases his stirring, and reaches down with a clawed hand to scoop a portion of the ghastly mixture into his cavernous mouth to taste the fruits of his labour.

Dwarfed by their mighty lord, a host of Plaguebearers are gathered about Nurgle. Each chants sonorously: keeping count of the diseases created; of the Nurglings that have hatched; of the souls claimed by the Lord of Decay's putrid blessings. This hum drowns out the creaking of the rotten floor and the scrape of ladle on cauldron, so eternal in its monotony that to hear it is to invite madness.

When Nurgle's power waxes, his garden blooms with death's heads and filth, encroaching upon the lands of the other gods. War follows as Nurgle's adversaries fight back and the Plaguebearers take up arms to defend the morbid forest. From such war springs the richness of life and death, of triumph over adversity. Though Nurgle's realm will eventually recede again, it will have fed deeply on the immaterial bodies of those who have perished, and will lie in gestate peace for another eternity until it is ready to swell once more.