The nephilim are a strain of intelligent spawn created by the dragon Everblight, capable of using weapons and tactics in combat. The ultimate expression of their master’s sadistic genius, these unnatural creatures owe their genesis to a fusion of elven flesh and blighted essence. Belying their monstrous forms, each nephilim possesses a sentient soul inherited from its Nyss parentage. The nephilim are one of Everblight's greatest achievements in the refinement of his blight, combining the intelligence and versatility of the Nyss with the tenacity and ferocity of spawn.
The nephilim are a wholly new species utterly unlike the race from which they were derived. While other spawn are created directly from the blood of one of Everblight's warlocks, the nephilim has a much stranger and more familiar life cycle: certain pregnant Nyss are selected by Everblight or his warlocks to receive a special draconic 'blessing' in the form of an infusion of warlock blood. This blighted essence courses through their bodies, transforming the life growing within them into spawn. This process almost invariably kills the mother.
Infant nephilim are the size of a dog and are deadly within minutes of birth. All blighted Nyss mature rapidly, but nephilim grow to maturity in just a few days. They grow to towering heights, and their appearance combines the dragonspawn's features - eyeless faces, bony spurs, savage teeth and claws - with a perverse mockery of the Nyss' silhouette. As a side effect of their gestation, nephilim are born with souls, making them unique among dragonspawn.
Nephilim wield weapons and armour yet boast the powers, fearless tenacity, and inexhaustible stamina of dragonspawn. While most dragonspawn are little more than mindless without the control of a warlock, the nephilim are self-willed and can act independently. This greater self-determination sets them apart from their more tractable brethren and gives them unique advantages, such as the ability to interpret their master’s orders, act with some measure of forethought, and adapt to evolving situations. In exchange for their advantages, the nephilim appear to give up nothing of the savagery of Everblight's other creations. Their cunning comes at a price, however, as they do not fear the athanc shard and can turn on warlocks in the heat of frenzy. Such risks are seen as a small price to pay for the intelligence and skill of the nephilim.
The nephilim occupy a unique place in the emerging society of the Legion of Everblight. Isolated from the tribal Nyss society, the creatures naturally gravitate toward warlocks, whom they revere as the only individuals as close to Everblight as they are themselves. In years to come they may develop the rudiments of their own culture, but for now they seem willing to devote their lives to loyal service.
Taking advantage of their unprecedented intelligence, the nephilim have been developed into specific strains each trained and shaped to fulfil specific battlefield roles. Their ability to act independently means they can be deployed on missions without a warlock. All nephilim are intelligent enough to fulfil simple orders and to use tactics suitable for their role and situation. Even unbound nephilim still serve Everblight and act as his unquestioning slaves.
Nephilim training goes far beyond simply teaching them to use weapons and armour. It also shapes their minds to create a pervasive desire that connects the nephilim to their role.
The soldier is the first, simplest and most common nephilim variant. They have been trained to wield massive swords that are far too large for even ogrun. Their minds and skills have been hardened for battle, allowing them to stand toe-to-toe with other warbeasts and cut down smaller warriors.
Protectors are specifically developed to defend Everblight's generals. The training of a nephilim protector makes it uniquely suited to ensure the survival of its warlock. Protectors unerringly follow an instinctive imperative to guard Everblight’s generals and will dive into harm’s way without hesitation or concern for their own lives. They are also ideal vessels for any grave wounds their warlocks receive and shunt to them, bred as they are to accept and endure these injuries even when other spawn can sustain no more. Requiring no rest and incapable of mental fatigue, protectors stay constantly alert for danger, ever wary of their surroundings in the interest of their charges.
Nephilim bolt thrower
Bolt throwers operate a ballista large enough to hurl yard-long bolts. Extremely mobile living siege engines, they stalk the battlefield guided by their unnatural senses to unleash a lethal barrage of crushing projectiles. They are normally flightless creatures, but a warlock can manipulate a bolt thrower's draconic blood to cause it to immediately sprout wings from its atrophied stumps, allowing the beast to take the fight to the air - at least for the short time before its flesh returns to its normal form. With the training to become a bolt thrower, a nephilim becomes deadly at a distance without losing any of its ferocity.
Bloodseers are so far the crowning achievement in Everblight's refinement of the nephilim. They are capable of leading other nephilim, which seem to naturally defer to bloodseers. Prfectly attuned to the dragon’s blight, the power of the dragon emanates and surrounds these creatures, who can harness a kind of primal magic by tapping into the animi of other dragonspawn. Though appearing more evolved than other nephilim, bloodseers are no less vicious.