- "The gates that stand between the mortal world and immortal realms of Chaos lie open before us. That we will die having glimpsed eternity is better than never having stirred from the cold furrow of mortal life. We embrace death without regret, as we embrace life without fear."
Zhufor, also called Zhufor the Impaler and the Butcher of Vraks, is the Chaos Lord who led the warband of World Eaters' Chaos Space Marines named the Skulltakers during the Siege of Vraks. Before his corruption, Zhufor was a Sergeant of the loyalist Storm Lords Space Marine Chapter. Zhufor is massive, even by the physical standards of the Space Marines, and stands taller than most other Heretic Astartes.
Zhufor was not always a servant of the Dark Gods. Once, millennia ago, he was known as Balzach, a former Sergeant of the Storm Lords Chapter. During the sacking of the hive cities of Paramar, Sergeant Balzach was severely wounded and taken captive by the Traitor Marines of the World Eaters Legion. Balzach was then drugged and subjected to torture and psycho-corrective surgery to alter his brainwave patterns in order to break his Imperial indoctrination. He was turned into a raging psychopathic killer, tall and muscular beyond even his normal Space Marine physique, and reborn as Zhufor the Impaler. His former life as a Loyalist Space Marine was forgotten.
He joined the World Eaters' ranks as a Khornate Berserker. Blessed by the Blood God, Zhufor rose quickly through the ranks of the Khornate Berserkers until he had become a Skull Champion, and then an Exalted Champion in turn by dint of his formidable strength. Believing himself to have been chosen by Khorne for greatness, Zhufor enacted a bold plan. Leading what little men he had, Zhufor launched a treacherous attack against an allied warband of the World Eaters -- the Skulltakers. The bloody internecine fighting that ensued ended with Zhufor's men subjugating their foes, and he became the Chaos Lord of the combined warband.
Taking command, Zhufor's first act as their leader was to offer himself and his warband in service to Abaddon the Despoiler. With the Warmaster of Chaos' powerful political and material support, the Skulltakers could grow into a formidable fighting force, no longer mere raiders and pirates, but a formidable army better able serve their true master Khorne. Zhufor did the Warmaster's bidding in return for Abaddon's aid -- a small price to pay for the power that he acquired along with access to Abaddon's immense Armouries.
Sanctioned by Abaddon, Zhufor led the Skulltakers into the defence of the Forces of Chaos during the Siege of Vraks. Once upon that Imperial Armoury World, Zhufor committed his warband to the front, sweeping all Imperial forces before them in a bloody swathe of hacking blades and whirling Chainaxes. Lacking numbers, the shrewd Chaos Lord allowed his warband to roam the surface of Vraks, killing and plundering wherever they pleased.
As the Imperial siege closed in and it seemed that they might be defeated, Zhufor enacted his plan to take over supreme command of the Apostate Cardinal Xaphan's army and ultimate control over Vraks Prime to transform it into a new Daemon World dedicated to the Blood God. First, he targeted and united all of the Khornate warbands on the world under his command. Next, he attacked the Cardinal's Palace, sweeping through it with his Chaos Terminator bodyguard, the Blood Cult, slaughtering the garrison and taking Xaphan captive. He turned the Cardinal over to the warband known as The Sanctified, proclaiming himself the new ruler of Vraks.
During the final stages of the siege, Zhufor took to the field and sought out the thickest of the fighting, leading his psychotic followers against the Imperial forces. During one such counterattack he fought and slew Commissar-General Maugh of the Death Korps of Krieg's 143rd Regiment, taking the body of the Imperial hero and mounting it as a gory trophy upon his blood encrusted Terminator Armour. By the end of the siege, Zhufor found himself surrounded, with the Chaos-controlled fortress at the heart of the Chaos lines being pounded by relentless Imperial artillery day and night.
Ultimately, Zhufor and his surviving followers managed to escape before the Imperial forces could capture him. He left behind a rear guard of Khornate fanatics and daemons and, it is believed, used a Warp portal to flee back into the Immaterium to safety. Following the dire events on Vraks Prime, Zhufor remains a grave threat to the Imperium, and is still regarded as one of Abaddon's mightiest lieutenants. Zhufor commands the Skulltakers from his flagship Blood Dawn, which has been identified leading many bloody raids upon Imperial targets from the Eye of Terror. At the end of the 41st Millennium he and the Skulltakers served at the forefront of Abaddon's 13th Black Crusade. Four attempts by the Assassins of the Officio Assassinorum to find and eliminate him have all ended in failure.
- Chaos Terminator Armour
- Claw of Demnos - Torn from the dead hand of the Dark Apostle Demnos of the Word Bearers Traitor Legion during the Scathak War, when Zhufor was but an Aspiring Champion, the Claw is a Power Fist which incorporates a rapid-firing Combi-Bolter of ancient design.
- Skulltaker Chainaxe - The Skulltaker Chainaxe is a brutal hand-to-hand Chain Weapon crafted in the form of a great two-handed axe which incorporates a powered chainsaw edge. The biting action of the whirling row of monomolecular teeth means this weapon can easily hack through both flesh and armour with ease.
- Blood Cult - In battle, Zhufor is accompanied by a bodyguard of Chaos Terminators who are outfitted in the finest Chaos Terminator Armour available, and are known as the Blood Cult. They were the most numerous and dreaded of the Chaos Terminators who operated on Vraks Prime during the Siege of Vraks. They fought with inhuman skill and savagery, and were feared in equal measure by their enemies and their erstwhile comrades, whose blood they were more than inclined to spill when the Khornate battle-rage overcame them.
- Imperial Armour Volume Six - The Siege of Vraks - Part Two, pp. 9, 13, 21-22, 32-33
- Imperial Armour Volume Seven - The Siege of Vraks - Part Three, pp. 17-18, 88, 174