"First I heard the howling in my sleep, when I still could afford to rest, but now I hear it in my wake, continuous, growing ever louder as they get nearer. I have been running for weeks, but now I'm tired, so tired, and the Hounds are almost upon me."
- —Last record in the log of Librarian Agapemachus before his disappearance
A Flesh Hound of Khorne is a powerful and bloody-minded daemonic beast in service to the Blood God Khorne. Found by the hundreds and thousands on the bone-littered plains surrounding Khorne's demesne in the Realm of Chaos, Flesh Hounds are great wolf-like beasts that hunt down and destroy the enemies of the Blood God. They are often unleashed into realspace when possible to pursue those who have earned Khorne's wrath.
Flesh Hounds are implacable when on the hunt and pursue their target across vast -- even interstellar -- distances. Constantly closing in, their howling often drives their target to madness before the Hound's own razor sharp teeth sink into flesh. What remains of their victims, especially their skulls, are brought back to their unholy master, to add to the uncountable others that make up his massive throne.
The babbling tales of maniacs who have been exposed to the unshielded horrors of the Warp speak of the blood-red hounds of Khorne, whose howls of rage haunt their sleep and the memory of which stalks their every waking moment. The baying of the hounds chills the heart, spreading icy tendrils of fear through mortal souls. With twisted crimson frames, these beasts lope across the Warp and the blighted lands of reality both, tracking the terror-spoor of their prey, driven by the insatiable bloodlust of their kind. They are the Flesh Hounds, the attack beasts of Khorne, and they are created to endlessly hunt down cowards, traitors and other fools who have dared to offend the Blood God.
Flesh Hounds, it is said, are fierce and bestial daemons, with a sinuous, wolf-like form, thick, scaled hides, and a blunt maw full of sharp, shredding teeth. They roam the Immaterium in packs, never resting, always hunting. At times, Khorne summons them to the Skull Throne, as a packmaster might call his dogs. He gives his hounds the scent of the blood of some doomed soul, and unleashes them upon the world.
Imperial Navigators have even reported hearing the cry of Hounds on the hunt while guiding ships through the Warp, such as the possibly apocryphal tale of The Ready Brace and Rogue Trader Meical Rede. Rede was unlucky enough to have a Hound manifest on board his ship, apparently seeking one of his passengers. The Hound raged through the vessel and slaughtered hundreds before finally being brought down by the ship’s Arch-Militant and masses of Gun Servitors.
Though vaguely canine in form, Flesh Hounds are more a horrific cross between dog and reptile. Covered with thick scales, Hounds mount large horns and usually feature a series of spikes down the spine. Frills grow from various locations, such as the back of the skull, on the throat, or the rear of the jaws. Coloration ranges from dark red to greyish-black, and all Hounds wear the spiked brass Chaos relic known as the Collar of Khorne, granting them protection from the psychic energies so despised by their master.
While patient enough as trackers, Hounds tend to give in to their inherent bloodlust when prey is finally sighted. With bone-chilling howls, they rush forward, crossing open ground with astonishing speed. Leaping at the last moment, the Hounds attempt to physically overpower their targets, savaging them with teeth and claws. Large or particularly well-armed foes (such as armoured vehicles) are encircled, with individual Hounds darting in from different directions, worrying at their target until it finally falls from exhaustion (or, in the case of a vehicle, is disabled and unable to move.) Once the foe is down, the Hounds rush in en masse for the final kill. Hounds normally hunt in packs, and only the most well-armed and disciplined of groups can hope to face such an assault and survive.
Those marked as quarry for the Flesh Hounds are doomed to be run to ground and torn to shreds by their red, dripping fangs. Faultless trackers and merciless in the chase, the hounds of Khorne make implacable foes, and only a few ever live to recount their gory pursuit. With their prey slain, the Flesh Hounds growl and snap at each other as they compete for cuts of meat; once stripped of flesh, the choicest bones are then carried back and buried amidst the huge collection of diverse skulls that festoons their master's Brass Citadel.
In the realm of Khorne, the Flesh Hounds are a threat to all creatures. Even Greater Daemons must tread warily when out on the plains of powdered bone, for in their domain the Flesh Hounds are territorial, and pounce on intruders in ravenous packs hundreds-strong. Flesh Hounds are led by the largest and most vicious of their kind, invariably a slavering beast of pure aggression that has survived centuries of challenges for supremacy in the pack.
It is common to find Flesh Hounds fighting in the daemonic Blood Legions of Khorne. Some are incorporated as fast flanking units, vanguards sent to probe enemy lines or savage vulnerable targets. The cohorts of the Execution Legions are filled with Flesh Hound packs, directed by Heralds of Khorne to hunt down specific targets or swarm an enemy position.
Lord of the Slaughter
According to the whim of Khorne, the daemons of his realm take part in an immense tournament. Khorne takes the Daemonsword known as Khartoth the Bloodhunger, which is capable of cutting through not only matter but also time, and hides it within one of his Flesh Hounds. The legions of Khorne fall upon each other with sword and axe, slaughtering and butchering whilst hunting the Flesh Hounds, who tear apart any daemon who approaches. The daemon brave, strong or fortunate enough to slay the Flesh Hound containing the Daemonsword becomes the Lord of the Slaughter, and may wield the Bloodhunger. For a day or an age, as Khorne sees fit, the Lord of the Slaughter enjoys great privilege in battle. When Khorne wearies of his Lord of the Slaughter's exploits, the Blood God begins the tournament again. A Flesh Hound devours both wielder and sword, combining their essence, and the Daemons battle again until Khorne finds a new Lord of the Slaughter.
Collar of Khorne
One of the most recognisable features of a Flesh Hound is the large brass collar that seems to grow out of its neck. The Collar of Khorne that hangs about the throat of every Flesh Hound is forged at the very foot of the Blood God's throne, shaped from the heat of Khorne's loathing for witchcraft. The collar has the power to suck the Warp energy from the psychic attacks of their foes, protecting the Flesh Hounds from the cowardly attacks of enemy psykers, without diminishing the unnatural power of the beasts themselves. This anti-psychic defence makes the Flesh Hounds the bane of all sorcerers, and because of this there is not a single psyker in the galaxy who does not fear the hunting beasts of the Blood God.
Notable Flesh Hounds
- Karanak - Karanak is a unique Flesh Hound of Khorne who is the incarnation of Khorne's vengeance against those who insult the Blood God's pride, warriors who break Khorne's creed, and cowards who refuse to shed blood. None can hide from the Blood God's favoured hound. Karanak hunts them all down across the length and breadth of space and time, no matter where they hide or for how long they run. When not hunting, Karanak keeps watch over Khorne's Throne of Brass. Unlike normal Flesh Hounds, Karanak has three heads, each capable of tracking unlucky prey by different means. The first follows the prey's trail through space, the second tracks the scent through time, and the third, the most dangerous of all, can detect its intended prey's thoughts.
- Gore-Drenched Fangs
- Codex: Chaos Daemons (8th Edition), pp. 40-41, 110
- Codex: Chaos Daemons (4th Edition), pp. 36, 55
- Codex Imperialis (1st Edition), pg. 81
- Dark Heresy: Creatures Anathema (RPG), pg. 119
- Rogue Trader: Koronus Bestiary (RPG), pg. 119
- Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness (1st Edition), pg. 27