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Codex: Chaos Space Marines (2017), p94 — Plaguebearers

The dull knell of bells and the humming of flies herald the arrival of Nurgle's Plaguebearers. Forming the rank and file of his pestilent legions, the Lesser Daemons of Nurgle shuffle forwards, their ripe bodies swollen with contagion and rife with the stench of decay. Each Daemon has a single rheumy eye and a horn sprouting from its skull - the mark of Nurgle's Rot that each bears through eternity.

It is the Plaguebearers' role to keep stock of new diseases and symptoms, and to maintain some semblance of order amongst Nurgle's naturally mischievous hordes. The Plaguebearers' obsessive need to organise is characterised by their constant counting as they try to calculate every new outbreak of plague. However, this monotonous chanting achieves very little - it is practically impossible to catalogue anything amidst the ever-changing nature of Chaos. This in no way discourages them, however, for they are the embodiment of the need to impose order upon a meaningless and uncaring world. In battle, their corpulent forms resist all but the most fearsome weaponry, and they wield rusted blades that corrupt flesh and rust metal in an instant. Unfortunately for the Plaguebearers, they are prone to losing count during combat, and they stand above their dying foes groaning in frustration before starting their count all over again.

Nurgle's Rot

Chief among the many gifts that the Lord of Plagues has granted an ungrateful galaxy is Nurgle's Rot. This perfect illness does not kill its host quickly; rather, it slowly turns the victim into a bloated living corpse teeming with the stuff of nightmares. Their blood curdles in their veins, their eyes grow together into a single globulous orb, and a horn sprouts from their head. The illness does not merely affect the body, however - it painfully corrupts the diseased mortal's soul to the point where the victim has to either end their own life or fully embrace the ways of Nurgle and become a Plaguebearer.

The longer an infected soul resists Nurgle's Rot, the more likely it is that they will survive the disgusting changes wrought upon them, and the more powerful a Plaguebearer they will become once the transformation is complete. Such individuals are sometimes possessed of a sheepish embarrassment that it took them so long to appreciate the blessings of their new existence. To one who has truly converted to Nurgle's cause, life as a bandy-legged mound of putrescent, boil-covered flesh and disgusting bodily functions is seen as the most fulsome of blessings rather than a despicable curse that will never end.