Rats and fleas.

The rats failed, as the dark magic protected the dead and the undead alike. But the rats weren't alone. Their bodies and fur were covered in parasites. And some of them, the fleas, jumped off the rats onto their new hosts, feeding on their blood.

Rats and fleas.

Today we're talking about Age of Sigmar pests. Yeah. Feel free to scratch that itch you just felt on your head.

You all know about how the blood of Ushoran was weaponized by Sekhar and Neferata:

This was the Nulahmian scheme. Claiming to be distributing his fabled wine to deserving souls, Sekhar and her brood leeched Ushoran’s blood. These ‘offerings’ were smuggled into enemy lands on black-sailed barques, spreading his creeping madness. It was the only way, Sekhar maintained, that Ushoran – so mercurial of soul – could be trusted to contribute to the war against the living. Nagash had not forgiven his Mortarch’s past transgressions, but in his cunning, the god had found a use for him.

But the human scribes forgot to write down a little fact in the history grimoires of that era: That the Skaven tried to kill Ushoran using obscure magic and foul tricks without any luck.

One of those attacks used big Moulder rats infected with the worst Pestilens diseases. Should any ghoul or their king try to feast on the bodies of those rats (if they succeeded in killing them first) would be infected and died sooner than later.

The rats failed, as the dark magic protected the dead and the undead alike. But the rats weren't alone: Their bodies and furs were covered in awful parasites. And some of those, the humble fleas, jumped off the rats onto their new cave dwelling hosts, feeding on their blood...

So what if some of those fleas ended biting Ushoran himself? Humans drinking his blood became huge cannibal horrors across the realms. But what about insects? They did well. They grew stronger. They grew thirsty. They got bigger enough to be noticed by the Order of Morbheg.

Yeah, you've guessed it: That's the mount I'll be using instead of Nightshriekers, boars or Mournfang beasts for my Knights: Dustback Helamites (stay tuned for the WIP pictures of my first unit).

But let's not stray from our topic and let me talk about the big thing GW is not telling you about the #NewAoS Skaven releases.

You've seen the new Clawlord on Gnaw-beast, but What's a Gnaw-beast if not a Sumatran Rat Monkey from Skull Island?

First seen in the classic 1992 movie Braindead by Peter Jackson (Dead Alive or Tu madre se ha comido a mi perro, depending on your country), the Sumatran Rat Monkey also appeared in 2005 Jackson's Kink Kong (not the creature, but a crate labeled with its name).

What looks obvious to me is that someone at the studio loves that monster and knows the art by Greco Westermann.

I mean, look at that: An emaciated, long limbed rat that looks half dead? That's exactly what a Gnaw-beast is, and as you've imagined by now is my head-canon for now on. I'm totally going to paint that one with black eyes. I mean, look at that cute face!

What do you think? See you in the comments!