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Blightwar (2017), p12 — Horticulous Slimux

Since a time before memory, Horticulous Slimux has been the Grand Cultivator of the Garden of Nurgle. Sitting astride the shell of his gruesome steed, Mulch, Horticulous rides into battle with daemons shambling around him and his pruning shears held ready for gory lopping.

Horticulous Slimux is a relentless and methodical being, a pragmatic tactician and resilient warrior whose steady glare can make even the silliest Nurgling behave. Since time before time, he has been the Grand Cultivator of the Garden of Nurgle, and there are many who say that Horticulous was the first daemon the Plague God ever created. Certainly he is amongst the Grandfather's favourites, a position that - uniquely amongst Nurgle's servants - he has never fallen out of.

So long has Horticulous existed that there is little he has not seen or done. His mastery of infernal horticulture is second to none; he knows precisely when to thin out the bone spikes on a spatterbush, when to drain the fluids from a seeping willow, and when to pair cuttings from a rot-blossom in order to attract the most parasites to its pus-sap. Horticulous applies this same methodical approach and steady hand to the battlefield, pruning limbs from his enemies with snicker-snacks of his shears, and droning orders at the daemons under his command.

Horticulous' unpleasant disposition and almost complete lack of humour are well known - amongst the Nurglings he is often referred to as 'old sour-seed'. Only the most reckless mites call him this to his face, however, and soon find themselves dangled as bait for Horticulous' slimy mount. This snail-like monstrosity that Horticulous calls Mulch, is one of the few creatures in the realms whose presence the Grand Cultivator can always tolerate. This may be because Mulch is every bit as curmudgeonly as his master. The snail-beast is always ready with a sardonic snort or guttural sigh, and devours any Nurgling incautious enough to stray within reach.

Horticulous carries everything he needs upon Mulch's pox-riddled shell, from clippings and sacks of rot-spores to riticulturalist paraphernalia and fat maggots to snack on. Though it is not a swift beast, Mulch is absolutely tireless and incredibly resilient. Moreover, tugged along in its wake is the foully enchanted artefact known as Gruntleplough. A groaning, rattling contraption fashioned by Nurgle's own hand, this strange device tills the soil with seeping corruption, mashing together corpse meat, spilled fluids and the diseased slime of the snail beast into a sticky and infectious loam, ripe for sowing with the seeds of Nurgle's Garden. So does Horticulous taint the ground over which he advances, scattering plague spores into the furrows he leaves and channelling the magic of the realms as fertiliser to trigger their growth.

Foul groves spring up in his wake, bloodweed and creeping lianas uncoiling amongst bubo-thickets and gallows trees. Droning insects rise from the burgeoning plague flora, while the lands sicken and break down into rancid slime and seething filth. Meanwhile, Horticulous presses onwards, sowing relentlessly even as he ploughs through the enemy battle-lines.

The Grand Cultivator has fought alongside many of Nurgle's Plague Legions, for he will make use of whatever tools he must to get his sowing done. However, he is most often accompanied by a Tallyband from the Befouling Host. Tasked with garrisoning the fortifications of the Garden of Nurgle, the Befouling Host have a particular affinity for unleashing plague spores on their enemies and transforming their victims into living nurseries for all manner of malignant fungi. This appeals to Horticulous' sensibilities, and together he and the Befouling Host have wrought many atrocities in Nurgle's name.