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Nighthaunt: The Garrison of Nacht'Tor


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NIGHTHAUNT:  The Garrison Of Nacht'Tor

This thread is a dedicated painting and hobby log for my nighthaunt procession.  The army is split into three main portions, the Shade-Host, the Garrison, and the Dutchy.  This thread was created years ago and so it is now under construction to reflect the refined lore for my army.



In the realms of Ghyran, on the north western frontier, is the budding free city of Fendale.  The bustling city arose within the ever mist shrouded Shade Fen.  In the midst of this fen exists a minor realm gate to the Realm of Life's antithesis , Shyish.  Twisted vines and dark flowers cover an arch of stone that some argue was a natural formation while others suggest it was raised by someone in the Age of Myth.  Regardless of the truth, this minor gate offers a direct connection with other mortal kingdoms in the Amethyst realm and the exchange of goods and cultures that comes with it.  While the gate can only allow five or six men to march abreast, it is large enough to allow the passage of wagons and riders. This fact quickly saw the outpost settlement built nearby to grow and thrive into the current Free City of Fendale.  The dangers of living on a gateway to death itself was not lost on the founding pioneers.

The realm gate exists deep in the moors of the Shade Fen, which has caused the city of Fendale to build causeways to the gate.  In the early days of settling incursions from Shyish were rare but serious, and a stalwart family of noble bearing took it upon themselves to secure the gateway as well as the potential profits that controlling the Shyish side of the gate could entail.  The family Holsstok led the expedition into Shyish to raise the castle of Nacht'Tor.  For generations the keep stood upon grey hills surrounded by the deep and haunted moors that stretch out for leagues to the south and east, and a dark highland to the north and west.  Rumor suggested the endless expanse of wood that merges into the moor was called The Harrowmark by those who live there.  Reports of Outriders into the highlands told of burrowing beasts and countless undead, as well as an endless march of skeletal undead off toward what they deemed the edges of the Amethyst Realm.  Trade with sky ships from The Harrowmark, as well as other dotted mortal kingdoms and even some Skeletal Lords, proved to be extremely lucrative. This enriched both the Holsstok family and the Free City of Fendale beyond the gate in Ghyran.  Likewise, the goods traveling into Shyish could potentially have turned the tide for the people of The Harrowmark or the highlands to the north, yet the attentions of Nagash would be drawn to the keep and the Free People's intrusion. 

While the existence of Nacht'Tor and the Free People flowing into Shyish had not escaped notice, their machinations were paltry and mortal affairs in comparison to the larger game.  If it were not for the gateway being used by Sigmar's agents to infiltrate the realm of Shyish as the Black Pyramid came closer to completion, Nacht'Tor might have escaped the judgement of Nagash.  Unfortunately, the family of Holsstok bore the Twin Tailed Comet of Sigmar upon their crests, and no agent of the God-King would be denied passage through their gates.  Vangaurd Hunter raids on the skeletal processions, seers and agents probing Shyish looking into Nagash's activities, and in some cases chambers of Stormcast marching through the gate of Nacht'Tor brought upon the castle and the Holsstoks, Nagash's justice.


Nagash sent from the north a skeletal legion to lay siege to the castle.  Though they were large in numbers, the rattling legion of the wight king who had been sent to seize the gate had little in the way of magical or monstrous support.  The Holsstok Outriders reported to their Lord, the Duke Aldrik of the approaching army yet they were confident.  The castle had staved off ambitious necromancers,  dark creatures of Dark Moor and incursions from the Harrowmark in the past. The walls and corridors of Nacht'Tor were spell warded against the infiltration of geists and other spirits by the Duke and his mage circle.  Spurred by this confidence, the duke's son Marquess Arnold Holsstok roused the riders of Nacht'Tor to go out and meet the enemy in the open highlands before their horses would be useless amid the moors immediately around the castle.  With Lord Aldrik remaining behind to hold the castle in his old age and with spell instead of blade, the Knight-Hosts of Nacht'Tor sallied to meet the over matched skeletal forces approaching from the northern highland plains.  No sooner had the riders of Nacht'Tor cleared the foothills and tangled mire of Dark Moor, did beasts and creatures of the night detach themselves from the twisted limbs of swampy trees. Vile flesh eaters, dead walkers, and winged things bristling of fur and boney growths launched an assault against the walls of Nacht'Tor directly from the mire.

Despite this treachery, a few brave men with good positions can hold against larger and more fearsome foes.  The guns of Nacht'Tor roared, and the Einhundert Greatswords held the walls with a tenacious will.  The Duke Aldrik scoured the walls clean of climbing creatures with spell and word while upon the plains Marquess Arnold drove his men deep into the skeletal lines. The weight of their charge crushed bone and scattering ranks of the dead like leaves before the wind.  The young Holsstok was a proud and ambitious young man, and only the sounds of the guns coming from Nacht'Tor slowed their headlong rush.  He was brash, but no fool, and the Knight-Host of Nacht'Tor cut their way clear of the scattered deathrattle to ride hard back to the castle, its realm gate, and his father.

The Einhundert slew ghouls and beasts by their hundreds, but gaps allowed beasts and other dark things to slip over the walls of Nacht'Tor.  In the great hall riders being dispatched through the realm gate to warn Fendale and request reinforcement were pulled violently from their saddle, and dark creatures instead began issuing into Ghyran.  The Castellan and his wardens sounded the horns to draw the attention of Duke Aldrik and his Einhundert.  Brave freemen bearing Holsstok colors littered the ramparts the survivors were forced to fall back to the inner curtain wall as the Einhundert rushed back to secure the gate and reinforce the faltering wardens.  The battle on the inner wall was as ferocious as it had been on the outer walls, as the much reduced garrison of Nacht'Tor had less wall to hold.  The handguns and pistols of the defenders had long since run dry of ammunition, and it fell to halberd and blade to win the day.  The final doom though had not yet come.

Young Arnold's host met ambush and rearguard of the half dead hosts assailing his family's keep, yet the Knight-Host rode through them as if fired from a cannon.  The outriders and Knights of the Holsstoks took wild glee in both the hunt and the thunder of hooves. Half starved cannibal beasts did little to slow their stampede home.  Some were pulled from their horses to die or fight alone amid the moor, but most drove directly into the dark trails surrounding the keep to hunt the leaders of the rabid foe.  Rising from the frenzied enemy the Courtiers of the flesh eating mob screamed challenge, with gruesome pennants that were mockeries of the black and gold of the Holsstoks own colors.  A wild eyed beast who fancied itself a debauched king charged to meet the young Marquess, and the battle spilled all across the mirky paths of the Dark Moor.

Within the castle, swarms of the craven seemed to thin and the men of Nacht'Tor dared hope they had weathered the storm.   Yet into the courtyard strode rank and file of skeletal soldiers, remnants of the forces that had been arrayed upon the highland plain, and among them were two gnarled figures in amethyst robes bearing cloth covered mirrors.  From his place at the door to the High Hall where the realm gate stood, Duke Aldrik was too slow to see the doom.  Drawing back the coverings and raising the mirrors high the necromancers dashed them upon the courtyard stones with a soul chilling shriek.  The wave of released geists and hungering spirits had been carried past the carefully crafted wards, and so flowed through the defenders in a rush.  Hands gripped the hafts of halberds so tightly the knuckles popped as men died breathless and unable to even defend themselves.  Duke Aldrik warded himself and those who remained of the Einhundert, but the swirl of spirit hosts plucked men from his defenses and dragged them screaming into swirling green light.  The doom of Nacht'Tor had come, and the Duke Holsstok of Nacht'Tor and his Einhundert champions fought to the last gasp trying to reach the gate back to Ghyran, back to life itself.  Though defeated he would not go quietly into death however, and with his last strength Aldrik cast one last bolt of arcane power into the key stone of the realm gate. Chunks of ancient mortar and stone flew from the arching passage between worlds.  With a sickening crack and the feeling of chill air rushing past, all the fires of Nacht'Tor were snuffed out and the windows of the castle went dark for the first time in so many generations.

Of the very few soldiers of Nacht'Tor who had escaped the doom into Ghyran, none could say what happened to young Arnold and his mounted host as they dueled the cannibal courts amid the misted woods of Dark Moor.  All that the Free City of Fendale would know is that the gate to Shyish was sealed, and none from the keep nor any expedition that had gone that way would return.


When the realms were rocked by the Necroquake, the connection in the Shade Fen seemed to stutter to life.  On particularly dark nights, the mists would rise from the undergrowth of the Shade Fen, and the ancient doorway would hiss and shudder before waning open like a soup bubble brought to existence in its thresh hold.  It would take some time before any gate wardens or other brave or foolish souls would dare crossing that door way.  They spent multiple cycles mapping out the patterns in its openings and closings before making the crossing.  Those that crossed found a dead and ruined keep, the pennants and accoutrements of the Holsstoks longs since rotted away.  The gateways of the keep remained intact, though the great doors and portcullises were shattered and their remains strewn about.  The land about the forsaken place remained as it was remembered.  Some claim they have seen apparitions of men still standing sentry upon the walls.  Other wild eyed survivors survivors of larger expeditions lost through the gate claim they were assailed by an entire garrison of spirits as they passed the gateway, trapped behind ghostly doors and portcullises made of bramble and dead wood. 

Now the women of Fendale tell the tale of Nacht'Tor and the curse upon the Holsstoks.  They say they are forever bound to garrison the gateway between Ghyran and Shyish, trapped in an eternal and desperate siege of their home where they fight imagined foes in their desperate last memories of life, to die again and again upon the ramparts of the cursed keep.  They tell of the Marquess Curse to forever ride to the aid of his father and to always arrive just late.  They speak of the ruined and fallow temple to Alarielle that stood in the keep, and of the tormented spirits of her devoted who had tended that place.  The shadowy keep on the other side of the Shade Fen, is a story to frighten children in the Free City of Fendale, and one to frighten the most stalwart defenders upon the ramparts.



On the Ghyran side of the realm gate is a sprawling wetland known as the Shade Fen.  This lowland forest is often shrouded in mists and is darker and more oppressive than other such locations in the realm of life.  Early settlers commented that it was as if there was a dark force or influence over the region.  Later pioneers would discover the realm gate to Shyish, and gate Wardens would conclude that the energies of death itself leaking into the realm of life was twisting the wood and swamp of the area.  While the land isn't plagued or riddled with death, it is a dark fen full of decay as is the nature of such wetlands. On the inward side of the fen, is where the once outpost, now free city of Fendale now stands tall.  Mages and Wardens have since overseen the construction of causeways and trails through the fen to the gateway.  Those trails and their construction would be the prototype of what would later be created on the Shyish side by the Holsstoks.  This breakthrough in taming sections of the fen for civilization would not have been possible without the aid of a resident sylvaneth grove.  The dour tree spirits and aelven rangers allied with them were content to aid the budding city so long as the old aelven ruins on the outward side of the fen were left to their keeping.



On the Shyish side of the realmgate is what locals have always known as the Dark Moor.  This region of Shyish was always more full of life, though twisted it might have been, which drew in dozens of mortal tribes and even small cities to its edges.  The southern side of the Dark Moor blends almost seamlessly into an never ending wood known as the Harrowmark, while to the north and west the lands slope up into highland plains.  The entire Dark Moor is then cradled on the east and north by a ridge of bleak mountains, and it is on one of the lowest of these hills that the gate into Ghyran sits.  From this hill is where the expedition of the Holsstoks arrived and constructed their keep directly over the gateway itself, which was a near twin of the one in Ghyran.  The magical break throughs in the Shade Fen allowed the mage circles and wardens of Duke Aldrik to carve stable paths through the Dark Moor and even into the edges of the Harrowmark. These roads and causeways were held together by Waystones and secured by the tireless patrols of the Holsstok Knight-Host.  This lead to a flourishing of civilization in and around the Dark Moor.  When the gate failed at the hand of Duke Aldrik during the fall, the Dark Moor descended into an even darker and oppressive nature. Cutoff from the winds of life from Ghyran, the Moor and the surrounding lands withered.  Countless villages and small towns once protected by the Knight-Host fell into ruin, their occupants killed or driven off.  Some towns and villages still cling to the Moor, and with the reopening of the gate after the necroquake, some flicker of hope has returned to the region.  Expeditions from Ghyran have begun again, and trade has started to resume with Fendale on the otherside, though fitful.

Edited by Nevar
grammar, and additions
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Wonderful post - I love seeing the awesome lore and stories people come up with for their armies, and the background you've come up with for Nacht'Tor and Fendale is excellent. And your interests sound very similar to my own, exploring the opposed forces of life and death, to boot!

I look forward to seeing how this develops :)

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Appreciate the kind words, and once I have time to figure out embedding images in these forum posts in a controlled manner the paint log will begin.  If you appreciate AoS lore, I would recommend the work of WarbossKurgan as he has extensive hobby and lore related content on his blog spot.  He dreamed up an awesome location in Shyish called 'The Harrowmark' which I placed Nacht'Tor on the outer fringes of so as not to directly interfere with his creations, yet sort partially ground both by referencing it in my own corner of Shyish.  Link to his work below.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Minor conversions completed to my mKoS and Reikenor.  Mounted Knight of Shrouds was just given a little undead raven to go with him for lore purposes.  Reikenor sees the most alterations.  I did not install the wings on his fancy flying horse because I am not a fan of winged horse archtype, especially when we are ghosts and fly anyways.  Had to cut down some of the 'shoulders' that he had to support the wings then do some filling with Green Stuff but it was an exceptionally easy conversion.

Secondly, this Reikenor will be standing in as the Duke Aldrik Holsstok of Nacht'Tor, who I have described as a 'mage lord'.  Because of this the scythe seemed out of place on him, so I took a Guardian of Souls lantern, cut off the tip and turned it upside down to keep the fire flowing with the rest of the model's movement.  Reikenor was also a mage lord type guy, so I could likely have left the scythe, but changing it just makes him more Aldrik and less Reikenor.

In a story point of view, we have Duke Aldrik, Marquees Arnold, and an as yet unnamed captain of the Einhundert.

From a painting perspective, I have under coated the models and done a subtle zenith highlight in a lighter green so far.  Still miles from complete, but I figured I would show my conversion for Reikenor in case it helps inspire anyone else.

Lastly...  anyone else who has built Reikenor will probably know what I mean when I say he is the most fragile of all the new Nighthaunt models.  The -entire- wraith rider part of the model is held up and to his horse by nothing but his one hand and that single frail wrist.  Potential ideas on how to reinforce that appreciated.


Edited by Nevar
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58 minutes ago, Nevar said:

The -entire- wraith rider part of the model is held up and to his horse by nothing but his one hand and that single frail wrist.  Potential ideas on how to reinforce that appreciated.


Hi. I don't have the model yet so was curious if its supposed to attach to the wings to help alleviate the wrist stress point?

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2 minutes ago, Vasshpit said:

Hi. I don't have the model yet so was curious if its supposed to attach to the wings to help alleviate the wrist stress point?

I do not believe so, I don't have the build instructions, but when I go back and look at the turn around you can see that he does not touch the wings.  If he isn't touching them than I don't see them helping him other than reducing the distance of flex he could do.

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2 hours ago, Nevar said:

  Potential ideas on how to reinforce that appreciated.


From looking at the picture it seems like his robes flow pretty close to the rear/rump of the horse.

Could you:

1. if the gap is small enough put a bit of glue there to connect those pieces?

2. greenstuff another "tail" of flowing robes that goes between the robe and the horse? onces it dry it should help with support and would blend in as part of the original robes.

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On 7/24/2018 at 10:44 AM, Thundercake said:

From looking at the picture it seems like his robes flow pretty close to the rear/rump of the horse.

Could you:

1. if the gap is small enough put a bit of glue there to connect those pieces?

2. greenstuff another "tail" of flowing robes that goes between the robe and the horse? onces it dry it should help with support and would blend in as part of the original robes.

1.)  The gap is pretty substantial, a quick dab of glue is not going to do it unless you bend his wrist at an odd angle to bring him close enough to the horse to make contact.

2.)  This is always a solution, Green Stuff can work miracles if you are proficient with it, I am not.  Potentially one can add a thin metal pin from the horse to the rider and the cover it in Green Stuff to mimic the ghostly tails.

On a different note, I was considering doing small conversions to my Grimghasts, but since I do not have any nor have I seen the sprues I am unsure if this would be viable.  I was considering changing the scythe heads for freeguild halberd heads.  I like scythes, but they are representing the ghosts of the freeguild guard who manned the walls of the castle.  My Chainrasps are the handgunners/crossbowmen using their backup weapons, the Grimghasts are the halberdiers, and the Bladegesists will be the souls of the Einhundert.  They can pass with scythes, but changing their pole arms to halberds is one of those small details that stand out in a full army conversion.

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13 minutes ago, Nevar said:

2.)  This is always a solution, Green Stuff can work miracles if you are proficient with it, I am not.  Potentially one can add a thin metal pin from the horse to the rider and the cover it in Green Stuff to mimic the ghostly tails.


I'd try the pin and then some green stuff. Get a small thin string of green stuff, wrap it around the pin once the pin is in place and then pull it backwards to make it look like a trail of cloth. Put a little vaseline on your fingers, chapstick would work, and it'll not stick to your fingers. You could also try this a number of times off the model to practice the effect.

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Orruks in the Mist

The seeming endless dusk stretches across the northern tangled wilds of The Harrowmark as brutish iron shod boots of an Orruk warband disturbs the silence of the wood.  These brutes clad head to toe in purple hued plates of strange metals had heard of both riches to be found in the ruins of what had once been the Dutchy of Holsstok, and of vicious and brutal guardians of the region that promised a fight the likes of which any Orruk would grin at.  These were not any Orruks however, these were merely a raiding part of a much larger tribe who had resided within Shyish for as long as any bothered to remember.  They reveled in the constant battles with the Cannibal Courts and beasts of the tangled Harrowmark, and though they were not individually much fun, the skeletal legions offered near endless ranks of foes to slay.

Mists gathered around the underbrush and pooled like a creeping carpet as the warband jostled each other into a choked clearing where the ruins of what looked like it might have been a village lay sprawled.  The massive Orruk leading the mob paused and gave a glare to his right that caused the three massive green skins riding misshapen boars to advance ahead of his throng.  They had seen enough of the dead's trickery to know unnatural phenomenon when it presented itself.

Hollow and echoing war horns sounded, strange claxons that seemed to be all around, far away, right on top of you, and yet eerily distant as if from another world all together rose up from the dark woods across from the Orruk mob.  From the mists thundered rank upon rank of ghostly riders, or they would have thundered if they were any more substantial than the mists they skated atop.  Leading the charge was a dark figure on a massive nightmare of a horse, and the Orruk warchanter standing in his throng knew he had found the right place.  The Dark Marquees and his host of vengeful riders had come to meet their intrusion.  The warchanter grinned in savage glee and bellowed into the air to rouse his throng... and call back his Big Boss.

With a guttural roar from above, whose energetic and bestial sound that seemed alien to the realm of dead things, a massive drake spawned beast straddled by a giant of an Orruk crashes into the clearing with a shower of dirt and ruined stones.  The warband of Orruks roared in response and charged ahead of the landed mawkrusha.  The spectral riders answered in silence as they tore across the clearing and village ruins.


This was a 1k points battle on a 4x4 board.  Terrain was a few ruins with hedges and walls, plus some wooded area terrain.  The terrain only had the effect of keeping the Mawkrusha out of combat for one additional turn because he couldn't fit into the action. Other than that it was just pretty on the table.

Shyish Orruk Warband

Big Boss on Mawkrusha - Artifact allowed him to ignore -1 rend.


x3 Gore Gruntas

x20 Ardboys - with dual weapons, banner, and champion

The Marquees Shade-Host

Mounted Knight of Shrouds - Ruler of the Spirit Hosts, Midnight Tome

Guardian of Souls

x15 Hexwraiths

x3 Spirit Hosts

x3 Spirit Hosts

Mission:  Border War

All directions like left or right flank will be from the perspective of the Shade-Host's perspective.  Deployment resulted in the mob of 20 Ardboys toeing the deployment line in the center of the clearing.  Mawkrusha was directly behind them, unworried about being stopped up because he can fly.  Warchanter mixed into the Ardboys on the left flank of the block, and on the far left flank were the 3 Goregruntas.

The Hexwraiths matched the Ardboys, forming up in a long line in the center at the very limits of deployment, with the Marquees (mKoS) directly behind in a mirror to the Orruk's general.  Similarly, like the orruks, the Guardian of souls deployed on the left side of the Hexwraiths very aware he will be unlikely to keep up.  Both units of Spirit Hosts were dormant in the ruins of the village.  Unlike the Hexwraiths and the Marquees, these poor souls are the restless dead of the long since slain villagers, not really part of the Shade-Host.

Orruks got first turn, using the destruction ability he got a free move for one unit, which he gave to the Goregruntas, shuffling them forward into the village ruins to claim the left hand objective before the first movement phase had even begun.  The rest of the Orruks advanced, Ardboys running and the Mawkrusha and Warchanter in support.  At the end of his first turn he had scored 3 VPs, 1 for his home field objective, and two for the left hand objective.

Shade-Host's first turn saw the angry dead rise from the ruins of the village to assist the Shade-Host in driving out the interlopers.  The Spirit Hosts deep-strike in the back left and back right of the table behind the Orruk lines just at 9" from the Goregruntas and the Mawkrusha.  The hope was to tie up the two 'heavy' units in the Orruk line, and allow me to tackle the Ardboys in force.  Hexwraiths moved up the center getting somewhere around 7-8" from the Orruk front line.  The Marquees followed his retinue with the Guardian of Souls drifting behind keeping within 6" of the home objective.

In the charge phase, both Spirit Hosts failed their charges, and I withheld my CP reroll for the Hexwraiths.  Fortunately, the Hexwraiths rolled an 11 on their charge, smashing clear into the Orruk lines and using their wave of terror ability brought down four of the Orruks out of sequence.  In the actual combat phase, the Hexwraiths managed to kill three more Orruks.  Their counter attacks resulted in the loss of two Hexwraiths.  Battle-shock saw off three more Orruks, as his bravery is 6 base, +2 for his banner, -1 from the Nighthaunt spooky.  So it was basically a dice roll to see how many fled and he rolled a 3.  With only 12 models left against my 13 Hexwraiths, and my Guardian of Souls still in range of the home objective, the Shade-Host scored 5 VP by claiming his objective and mine.

Initiative roll off was a tie, and therefore went to the Orruks.  Using both of his CP he double WAAAGH! adding +2 attacks to all of his forces.  The Goregruntas turned around to charge back toward the Spirit Host behind him, and the Mawkrusha piled it's way into the action in the gap left by all the slain Ardboys.  The ensuing combat resulted in the loss of four Hexwraiths and two of the Spirit Hosts.  Hexwraith strike back removed another few Orruks, three or four I don't recall.  All attacks were put into the Orruks to ensure I continued to outnumber the Orruks on the point.

Shade-Host turn 2 saw the revival of two Hexwraiths, I rolled a 2 on my Ruler of the Spirit Hosts, and a 3 on the Guardian of Souls spell.  The right flank Spirit Hosts move to outside 3" of the Mawkrusha and also into scoring range of his objective.  The Marquees moves into position to charge the Warchanter who was freed from combat by Hexwraith removals.  Spirit Hosts charged the Mawkrusha, and the Marquees rolled a 10 on his charge and immediately put 4 wounds on the warchanter.  Piling in with the Hexwraiths saw the mop up of the Ardboys and a few wounds on the Mawkrusha.  Warchanter caused a single wound to the Marquees, but he then finished him off and regained that wound with the sword of stolen hours.  The Shade-Host again scores 5 VPs due to outnumbering the Orruks on the their own objective and the Guardian of Souls being within range of our home objective.

The final battleround saw the Mawkrusha get swept up by the Spirit Hosts and Hexwraiths, and the Goregruntas finishing off the Spirit Hosts on the left before riding back toward the middle.  The Orruks conceded the field, as the Shade-Host was set to score another 5 VP, while only having 5 total.

Shade-Host Victory - 10 VP to 5 VP

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  • 5 months later...

Welp, I have been away for a long bit here in my paint log.  A lot has been painted, so I figured I would post some here.


For now, I am finishing the models needed for my upcoming Path to Glory.  Character conversions are limited to the sword wielding Lord Executioner who is a former 'village constable' who can tether in and lead the swirling spirit hosts made up of the lost villagers from the Dutchy of Holsstok.  He is not a named character in my procession, I imagine there would be one in most villages, and he would have been lawman and executioner when need arose.  The Spirit Guardian represents one of the many mages in the service of the Duke, again not a named character and there would be dozens haunting the fallen dutchy.  The Spirit Torment is much the same as the other two, nameless jailers who helped the constables maintain order in the hay day of the dutchy, now they haunt the ruins of the realm capturing the souls of those who expire in the blighted dutchy.

These models represent the souls of the 'civilians' of the former dutchy.

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Paint log update.

Worked on chainrasps (oh my so fun...) as well as the Briar Queen and her group.  Chainrasps have a lot personality and interesting details and all, but I found them to have just enough to be tedious, without being enough to make each spook fun to paint.  I also started the process on the Cairn Wraith, Banshee, alternate Guardian of Souls, and alternate foot Knight of Shrouds.


There is also the nearly complete 'counts-as' Reikenor the Grim Hailer.


I am aware he is not on a horse, but I he is a character for the Garrison of Nacht'Tor.  This is the right hand of the Black Duke, a former career adventurer and traveler of the Mortal Realms.  He helped stabilize the gate to Ghyran, carve out the Harroways between the villages and the castle (more to come on that), and was one of the final defenders at the gate as it fell.  A more detailed profile on him to come when I finalize his concept.  He exists because the Black Duke is a powerful mage and named character... I will be making a conversion to 'count as' Lady Olynder to represent the Duke.  Kurdoss is a cool lord, but he is a melee character and so can't represent the Duke, and Reikenor is more a warrior+mage middle ground that doesn't seem to match either the Duke or the Marquees.  One is an arch mage, and the other is a warrior son.  I could not use the -actual- Reikenor since I do not like having realm wide major characters in my background fluff or even in my table top games. (Why are they at this battle?)  Since I planned on making a 'circle of mages' conversion to 'count as' Nagash, and I knew I would want an inner circle for the Black Duke.  This character is the first in that plan.

When it comes to rules, I do not see any issue on his size or speed or the like.  His staff reaches the horse's shoulders, so drawing line of sight is slightly harder against this model, and likewise drawing line of sight from is slightly less advantageous.  With the same base size, I do not foresee any specific 'model for advantage' issue coming up with this conversion.  What do you guys think? 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Four new characters coming to the Garrison.  I made a 'themed' Spirit Torment to go with the Einhundert.  He is the Watchmaster, and has his lantern, keys, and Great Blade.  Second is a custom Dreadblade Harrow.  I upgraded him to the larger steed so he will stand out from my converted Hexwraiths who are using dreadblade horses.  Third is a foot Knight of Shroud.  Last... is my ethereal amulet vampire.  I used the chalice ghost from the Black Coach, added the vampire mask and a great blade.  Story wise he is a character in the Einhundert, rules wise he is an ethereal vampire lord with wings.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Meddlers of Morathi

Northwest of the shattered keep of Nacht'Tor, lies vast deserts that seem to stretch on forever.  Unknown clattering legions of deathrattle kings march eternally to war with each other and outside forces alike.  This blasted waste is home to many small realm gates much like the Harrowmark to the fallen keep's south east.  From one of them marched a contingent of the murder god's children.  The orating priests roll a massive relic topped with a macabre idol of their god.  Why these meddlers enter the domain of the Black Duke is unknown to the fleeting awareness of the spectral garrison, but regardless an enemy army marches toward their ward.  A contingent of flickering Einhundert drift from the gates of the dark keep to face the unknown aelves.  Leading the spectral column is the tattered banner of the long gone Holsstok's, and below it the dark continanance of the former captain Shargul Raulth, underlit by the eerie green lantern of the company's battle wizard Tyr Vaanse.

Though only a quarter of the Einhundert are sent to the waste to deal with the aelves, several handfuls of spectral men-at-arms of the House are drawn up in their wake.  The garrison of Nacht'Tor will not let this trespass go without answer.


Ulgu Coven of Witches

Slaughter Queen on Cauldron + Iron Crown

Haq Queen on Foot

Bloodwrack Medusa

x20 Witch Aelves

x10 Sisters of Slaughter

First File of Blades of the Einhundert

Kurdoss Valentian (Captain Shargul)

Guardian of Souls (Company Wizard Tyr Vaanse) + Wychlight Lantern

x20 Bladegeist Revenants

x10 Chainrasps

x10 Chainrasps

Mission:  Open War Cards, 3 Objectives, one in middle, one in each deployment zones.  If anyone ever holds all three they win immediately, otherwise most held at the end of Battle Round 5 wins.

All directions will be from the point of view of the Einhundert for the battle report.  We also seem to have both forgotten our command traits entirely.

The Einhundert swept into the pass as the witch coven began their attempt to make the crossing.  Drawing his long blade, the dark captain thrust it forward with a silent command.  Not even the whipping banner made a sound as the First File of Blade surged past him to close the gap.  As the witches heads came up to register the sweeping charge of spectral blade masters, the shadows on the right flank swirl and from gathering mist also charge in the ghostly men-at-arms of the lost house of Holsstok.  Several of the aelven women were cut down in the suddenness of the charge, never even drawing their blades.  The others shout praises to Khaine draw their blades to meet the onrushing charge of blade masters.  The dark steel blades of the Einhundert sent aelf weapons flying from hands as they cut down the witches by the handfuls in the initial rush.  Still, the fervor of the witches empowered their own strikes, shattering spectral forms leaving nothing where they had been.  Raising a chalice of the slain, an aelf priest rallied her sisters to hold the line.


Daughters of Khaine lost twelve of their number in the initial charge.  The Chainrasps arriving from the underworld made a Wave of Terror and managed to put a single wound on the Cauldron, and cut down three Sisters of Slaughter.  Their second fight killed only another.  The blender blades of Sisters and Witches struck extremely well and knocked out a lot of ghosts.  Another note, the Captain (Kurdoss) managed to steal the DoK command point on the first turn, keeping the Cauldron from using it's command ability to kill the Chainrasps in the hero phase to get free.  Instead, Sisters of Slaughter and Cauldron remain engaged by a handful of Chainrasps. Bahaha


All of the witches were slain, eleven Bladegeists survive the counter attack of the witches and the melee attentions of the Haq Queen.  I also lost four more bladegeists to battleshock leaving seven standing.  Only three Chainrasps survived the cauldron striking them, and the last dreadwarden stood his ground until he was eventually pulled down by the Sisters of Slaughter.


The game was decided on battle round three.  Wrath of the Gods caused a MW to the last Bladegeist banishing the last rank and file of the Einhundert.  The Cauldron would charge Captain Shargul's command causing only 1 wound.  The captain piled on the damage, doing 8 damage to the Cauldron all told.  Company mage Tyr, who is also a blademaster of the Einhundert was able to bring down another two of the most skilled Sisters of Slaughter and pull one of the Cauldron's riders from her relic before being shattered by the animated idol of Khaine.  As Captain Shargul and his command began to move up the steps of the relic shrine, eyes intent on the high priestess... the sweeping fire wreathed blade of the avatar of Khaine cut all three of the command in half with one strike.LastGuardian.jpg.21ccb6078c4ad3c1c8ff7f3a3ac48356.jpg


Victory Daughters of Khaine.

Lessons Learned

Letting my bladegeists outrun my Guardian of Souls means I didn't even benefit from the lantern buff to wounding. 

I forgot to even have a command trait.

Guardian of Souls with +2 to cast (Wychlight Lantern + Open War Twist) succeeded in casting zero spells.  No returned models, no healing the Captain (Kurdoss)

Stealing CP is amazing and seriously threw the DoK into disarray early in the game.

Bladegeists never fail to perform.  They wiped out x20 Witch Aelves and the Bloodwrack Medusa without any support.  Had the Guardian been able to revive them, and if i had used Ruler of the Spirit Hosts... they could have still been swinging and finishing the game in the favor of the Nighthaunt.  Sometimes the dice are sadness.

Kurdoss' mace is -really- swingy.  I got 2d6 damage past the Cauldron's armor save, and did 3 wounds, that roll of a 1 and a 2 was extremely upsetting.  Cauldron had 4 wounds left, if it had fallen mopping up the last Sisters of Slaughter and the Hag Queen would have been nearly in the bag.

Points of Order

I could have won the game on turn 1.  My initial charge gained me control of his objective, the Captain had control of the middle objective, and I had x2 Chainrasp units in the underworld.  All i had to do was bring in one unit in my own backfield and I would have controlled all three, ending the game immediately.  However we were both wanting to play the game for fun.  Just figured I would acknowledge that to cut off that feedback I might get.

Plans Delayed

Pushing herself up from where she had been splayed by a blow from an ancient trumpet, the high priestess snatches up her dagger and surveys the battlefield.  Dozens of corpses of her sisters lay sprawled in the dead earth of the miserable wastes of Shyish.  Her two best fighters slumped staring in death on the steps of her shrine.  Only five of her coven remained, herself included.  As her own rage simmered, she could hear the bubble and hiss from inside the now inanimate avatar standing over her.  Thank the Lord Khaine for his protection and favor, but now her expedition was derailed.  Stooping, she picks up the fallen spear she had attempted to wield against the lead geist who had moved like a blur up her alter to confront her in person.  Her eyes go to the perpetual dusk of Shyish, frustration tainting her victory.


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  • 4 months later...


Hammond Ladrian - Master of the Einhundert

  Before the fall of Nacht'Tor, Kolonal Ladrian was the commander of the Einhundert mercenary company.  While the Einhundert and Ladrian himself worked for the highest bidder across the Realms, he was a personal friend and former companion to Duke Holsstok in his earlier more adventurous days.  Like Janis Mistwalker, Hammond Ladrian's loyalty to the Duke came from years of travelling and fighting side by side with the Arch Mage seeking wealth and glory in their youth.  When Duke Holsstok contacted his friend to hire The Einhundert, more than the promise of pay brought the loyal Einhundert through the gate into Nacht'Tor.


Janis Mistwalker - Realm Gate Warden

  Janis Mistwalker has been a traveling companion of Duke Holsstok since they traveled the Realms together with Hammond Ladrian.  Where Hammond was a peerless tactician and swordmaster, and the Duke was an arcane prodigy, Janis was a bit less specialized.  While he drew on some arcane might of his own and learned what he could from Aldrik, he also sparred and learned the sword with Hammond.  While Ladrian went off to form his own mercenary company, and Aldrik settled into a role as Lord and husband in Fendale, Janis continued to probe the Realms and investigate the waygates between them.  It was Janis Mistwalker that convinced Aldrik Holsstok to form an expedition into the Harrowmark.  As a Gate Warden he was extremely familiar with many of the Ways into and out of the Harrowmark, and he was instrumental in carving out the Harrowways between the villages in the Holsstok domain.


Arnold Holsstok - Marquees of Nacht'Tor

  The son of Aldrik Holsstok, Duke of the Holsstok Duchy in the Harrowmark, is Arnold Holsstok.  As the heir to both his father's titles and his arcane talent, Arnold was trained in arms by his father's swordmaster Hammond Ladrian, in arcane rites and the winds of magic by both his father and Janis Mistwalker, and horsemanship by the House retainer Talmanis.  During his coming of age years he rode with the Knight-Host of Nacht'Tor directly under Ser Talmanis to respond to threats to the outlying villages of the Duchy as the mounted force was the primary security that the fortress could provide to settlements ranging far and wide from it's walls.  Thanks to the Harrowway network of warded roads created by Janis, Arnold and the Knight-Host would have nearly a decade of success before the fall.


Lady Valet Shareez - Betrothed of Arnold Holsstok

  The Lady Valet Shareez was the first daughter of House Shareez back in the city of Fendale.  While the Holsstoks bore the twin tailed comet of Sigmar upon their crests for generations, the House Shareez had kept the faith in Alarielle The Everqueen.  The marriage of the Marquees and joining of the two houses was thought to help unify some of the faction back in Fendale, as well as garner further support for the Holsstok expedition into Shyish from House Shareez and other faithful of the Everqueen.  While the Holsstoks could bring Sigmar's Order to the fringes of the Harrowmark, only the touch of the Everqueen could hope to turn the struggling farms and settlements into truly thriving colonies.  Unfortunately Lady Valet, her armsmen, and a cadre of her priestesses were in the Keep during the fall.  Now the twisting vines and brambles in and around Keep Nacht'Tor writhe with malignant anger, and the shrieks of cursed banshees are not unknown among the haunted halls.


Fedrin Kane - Watchmaster of Nacht'Tor

  As a former member of the Einhundert, Fedrin had retired into the Holsstok House Guard long before the Duke decided to launch his doomed expedition into Shyish.  As a swordmaster of the legendary band, he had quickly rose in ranks among Duke Holsstok's armsmen and gained the position of Watchmaster.  When the expedition was planned, Fedrin Kane was the foremost voice of warning about such an ambitious venture.  It was also Fedrin's cautious voice that had Aldrik refrain from moving the House nobles into the keep until its construction had been complete.  While the glories and fall of the keep is what is mainly recorded and whispered about, the construction of the keep though hastened by arcane means was a harrowing struggle of its own.  Armsmen and mercenaries like Fedrin were the first ones through the realm gate and were charged with months of encampment at the site to defend the builders of the keep as they worked.  The loyal Fedrin Kane was the first to raise the alarm on the night of the fall, though was quickly killed by a traitor in the keep.   Now his shade is the most often seen specter by any who pass through the keep, with watch lantern leading the way, and his sound of alarms driving the spirits of the keep into maddening fury.


Keegan - Quartermaster of the House Guard

  Unlike many of the important persons among the Duke's retinue, the man known only as Keegan was a man of humble beginnings in the slums of Fendale.  Seeking a better life he enlists in the household guard of the first noble family that would have him.  Fate would see that this House was that of the Holsstoks.  He served a distinguished yet quiet and dutiful career in the House Guard for two decades before being chosen from the ranks for his honesty and skill with numbers.  The Duke named him Quartermaster and attempted to give him a minor title, but the man known as Keegan humbly refused the title and took the position out of duty.  Keegan it was said, thought honest pay and the love of his wife Bethany were all that was needed in the realms.  He was last seen holding the passage to the Sanctuary of Alarielle where the women and children of the keep had been sent.


Sayzen Veloran - Chief Librarian

  The mage known as Sayzen was first recruited by Aldrik a decade before the expedition to Shyish.  Through their travels and adventures, Ladrian, Aldrik, and Janus had come by many artifacts, scrolls, books, and items of power across the realms.  With the duties of being a Lord and seeing to his family, Aldrik no longer was confident in his ability to keep these items safe, nor did he have the time to devote to studying them and unlocking their secrets.  The kindly scholar and mage known to all as Sayzen was a friend of Janis and fit in quickly with the House hold.  He would even go on to be one of the Duke's most trusted advisors.  His position also helped the scholarly mage learn much from the seasoned members of the household like Ladrian and Aldrik making him a compitent swordsman and powerful mage.  Even so, if one wanted to find the man named Sayzen, the vaults and libraries of the keep were the best bet.


Swordmasters of the Einhundert

  Not actually originally formed by Hammond Ladrian, the Einhundert was a Free Guild greatsword company working for coin in Ghyran.  The seasoned company had fought campaigns against everything from beastmen to sylvaneth and everything in between.  While not yet famous in anyway, they had an honest and reliable reputation that ensured that they were nearly always employed.  When Hammond joined them, their rise and fame would enrich their company, and eventually doom them.  In the decade Aldrik was building up his House, Hammond Ladrian was rising through the ranks and leading his mercenary company from a respected and reliable company of swordsmen, to becoming the single most famous company of swordmasters in the leagues surrounding the budding city of Fendale.  While their fame was muted by distance as they traveled the Realms, the Einhundert would see action across half a dozen of the Mortal Realms.  The loyalty of company was squarely behind the accomplished adventurer Ladrian when the call came from Aldrik seeking to hire their services.   The friendship of Ladrian to Aldrik, and the loyalty of the men of the Einhundert to Ladrian, would see the famed company hired for much lower than what they might have demanded from other patrons.  It would be the Einhundert that added backbone to the garrison of Nacht'Tor and made the setup of Aldrik's duchy in Shyish possible.  Even the stalwart nature of this famed company however, could not stand before the ire of Nagash in his own realm.


Knight-Host of House Holsstok

  Unlike the hired mercenaries and lowborn armsmen of the House, the men of the Knight-Host were to a man, third and fourth sons of various noble houses of Fendale.  While they would find no lands or titles, a life in the Knight-Host gave these forgotten noble sons meaning and purpose and solidified their loyalty to House Holsstok beyond that of coin to a mercenary.  This loyalty did not stop internal competition and rivalries among the lordlings, but this spirit of competition also helped garner an edge of skill in the Knights of House Holsstok.  While the Knight-Host numbered only a couple hundred Knights plus that again in squires and supporting armsmen, they were numerous and well equipped enough to serve as the fast response force of the House when it moved into the Harrowmark.  With Janis Mistwalker and the mage circle of the House spending nearly two years carving out warded roadways called the Harrowways between villages, the reach of the Knight-Host ever expanded.  At the height of the Duchy's expansion, the Knight-Host could ride to the defense of even the farthest flung village of the holdings in two days or less depending on how hard they pushed their steeds.  The combination of the Harrowways and the skills of the Knight-Host would see to the safety of travel among the haunted woods of the Harrowmark's fringe and allow the Duke's domain to flourish in what was everywhere else, the choking malignant forest of the Harrowmark.


House Shareez Armsmen

  The souls of Lady Valet Shareez's personal Armsmen sent to ensure her safety in the keep of Nacht'Tor, lead by her Warden Kevin Kale.


Armsmen of House Holsstok

  Lowborn soldiers of the House, one unit modeled with shields so I can tell them apart if they blob up.


Endless Spells

I prefer endless spells that cannot backfire on me.  Shackles are good for board control, Cogs normally can't be stolen from me, and the Pendulum goes on off in one direction and won't come back.



Thanks to the Legion of Grief, I can properly use my gravesite markers now.  I had been using them as Nighthaunt objectives for a bit, but most missions have specific objectives.


I only have five more units unpainted in my collection.  Once they are complete I just need to expand the Einhundert with more Bladegeists, total of 40, and but some direwolves as battleline to let me play 2k points.

Still on the painting desk is the Knight Captain Telmanis, the Traitor of the South Gate, Duke Aldrik himself, the Holsstok Huntsmen, and Aldrik's Circle of Mages.  For those who care about actual AoS rules and such, the characters above are models representing these units.

Ladrian - Kurdoss

Janis - Dreadblade Harrow: normally with an artifact or command ability to make him a wizard

Arnold - Reikenor

Valet - Briar Queen

Fedrin - Spirit Torment

Keegan - Knight of Shrouds (foot)

Sayzen - Guardian of Souls

Telmanis - Will be a mounted Knight of Shrouds

Edis the Coward - Necromancer (traitor of the north gate)

Duke Aldrik - Lady Olynder

Duke Aldrik on Circle of Mages - Nagash

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  • 2 weeks later...

I also added a white dry brush starting near the bottom wisps of the models and moving up.  The tips of the wisps are nearly completely white from the dry brushing, and I also added a bit more at the top of the models to highlight specific details and the like.

Here is an example of a model in progress that has no white dry brushing yet.   While the oxide does a good job, you don't get the full definition of forms you get with the added step of dry brushing.  The white drybrush can also be done sloppily near their hands or other places their ghostly bodies come into contact with 'physical' objects like their weapons and the like, and it gives a semi-object source lighting effect that helps make them feel ghosty.

My friend says they look like undead marshmallows with swords.


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  • 11 months later...

The blare of the trumpets sounded to signal the victory, and young Arnold Holsstok, Marquess of Nacht'Tor pulled on the reigns of his massive warhorse bringing the destrier to a stop.  The horse tossed his head sending his mane cascading about and wickered.  Removing his helmet, a slightly pointed afair with a nasal guard and flaring yellow and black feathered wings to each side, Arnold took a moment to pat the healthy beast with a gloved hand to calm the horse's nerves.  Beside him his second in command pulled to a stop as well to his left, sword in hand and eyes searching for any danger to his younger noble commander.

"That is the signal from Boris, the enemy is at flight Keegan, relax!"

The broad smile of the young heir of the House Holsstok turned to the old grizzled captain beside him even as the man carrying the Holsstok banner reigned to a stop to his right.

"Another glorious victory for the Knight-Host mlord.  At this rate we will have them cleared from the Harrowmark itself!"

The jovial response from Sevrin caused the Marquess to laugh again.

"Indeed Sevrin, though you don't do much but carry that bit of cloth about, not much use if I do say."

The bannerman laughed as well, the relationship between the masses of third and fourth born sons that made up the Knight-Host under the young Marquess was generally light and informal in the field.  Especially when they were out for a hunt in the fringes of the wood locals referred to as the Harrowmark.  Unlike his father the Duke, the young heir Arnold didn't see what all the fuss was about Shyish. Of course he had been born in the realm and raised in the castle constructed on this side of the Shadevale Gate, so perhaps that is why he and his bands of forgotten lordlings could revel in hunting dark things at the fringes of the wood.  Of course there were dangers, but there were dangers across any of the realms, and so far the much feared and so-called Undying King had never so much as whispered in his family's direction.

The Marquess turned his light hearted gaze back to the battlefield.  Dozens if not hundreds of beasts lay slaughtered in the fields. Twisted creatures half man and half beast.  There were a handful of downed horses, screaming under broken legs, or unmoving and skewered on wicked spears, but for the most part it seemed the Knight-Host had come off fairly unscathed.  The yellow and black banner of the Holsstok's emblazoned with the twin-tailed comet ruffled lazily as the chill Shyishan air lept up briefly before dying down again.  The nearly perpetual dusk had a certain beauty to it Arnold though as another rider approached from the battlefield proper to speak with him on the small rise he had directed the battle from.

Raising a hand in salute and greeting as the young man with blood spattered across his otherwise shining silver platemail rode up and spun his armored horse to a stop in front of his lord.
"Casualties Edward?"

"Aye mlord, we lost three. Harrington, Sigmund, and Rodrey."

"Fine men, they died well."

"In as glorious a charge as that mlord, aye."

"Well we had bet..."

The Marquess paused confused.  It was as if the world itself had... flickered.  At one moment the Shyishan field on the edge of the Harrowmark had been as it always had been... and for a moment only it had been darker... colder... with snow driving across his vision...

Young Arnold shook his head looking back to Edward.

"We had better round up the surviving citizenry. We need to escort them back to the castle. They are not going to be able to go back to their..."

The Marquess flinched, gasped and drew his sword in horror and shock.  Again the world was driving snow and dark sky. The familiar edges of the Harrowmark replaced by craggy hills and what seemed like... a lake? A massive frozen lake stretching out as far as he could see.  But this disorienting vista was not what startled him... the man... the thing... he had been talking to called Edward hung there right where young Edward had sat astride his war horse.  In his place was an ephemeral thing of tattered robes, dented and aged armor, and a skeletal beast that could only claim long distant connection to a living horse.  The creature gripped semi translucient reigns in one hand, the empty sockets of the skull inside the aged armor glowed dimly with pinpoints of willo-wisp lights.

"My... looord...?"

The thing rasped in an unearthly voice.

"My Lord?"

Asked Edward, a slight quiver of fear and confusion in his voice.  Marquess Arnold Holsstok blinked.  He had his sword drawn, the tip leveled at young Edward's throat.

"Edward... I... something is wrong..."

The Holsstok heir and commander of the Knight-Host allowed the tip of his long straight sword to drop down from menacing his captain.

"Wrong mlord? Did you see something?"

The worried voice of his bannerman Sevrin asked as his cantered his horse a bit closer.

Blinking furiously Arnold looked to his bannerman now siddling up beside him on his right.  He immediately choked on his own saliva and flicked up his sword cantering his huge destrider in a circle forcing the three lietenants to back away from him if they wanted to maintain their mounts.

"Lord Arnold what is wrong?!"

Asked the bannerman... the youthful and jovial face of his friend Sevrin seeming a pale and semi translucent mask over the decrepit and decaying dead thing.  His rich full voice interlacing with the gravely hiss of bones.

"Stay back fiend! Your illusions will not entrap me!"

The Marquess bellowed.

The craggy grizzled face of Keegan remained unsurprised, nonplussed, and passive as his eyes tracked the spinning panic of the young noble in his charge.
Arnold's eyes darted around, trying to gain his bearings and discover where the actual Knight-Host was that he had found himself surrounded by these... what? Malignant spirits trying to masquerade as his friends?  Yet... there was the edge of the wood... there was the battlefield littered in defeated beastmen and the three lost men.  There was no snow... no craggy hills... no dreadful lake.  He rubbed his eyes frantically and looked back to his bannerman.  There sat Sevrin, a worried look on his face.

"My lord?"

Gasping a little to calm himself down, Arnold reminded himself of who he was... he couldn't be acting a fool for some Shyishan devilry. These were his men... this must be a trick of some necromancer or beastman shaman.  He turned his eyes out over the field past his three lieutenants.  The dusky sky was the same, and if he craned just right he could see the mountain spur to the north where his family home was built atop a minor realmgate to Ghyran.

"My lord!"

A new voice called as another knight of the host rode up with two companions pressing three twisted creatures between them.

"Three are still alive, perhaps they can be persuaded to point us to their herdstone."

Blinking, the Marquess refocused from the horizon to look at the three wretched things.  Twisted horns and bent back legs mixed with matted dark fur were common among these brutes.  Luckily their cloven legs were not as swift as the Knight-Host's horses.  Calming his nerves, he glanced toward the man his father kept beside him to look after him.

"Keegan... I think there is sorcery in play... I..."

The world flickered again... and this time stayed.  Sitting upon his own nightmare steed, the tarnished armor and winged helmet dented and aged as if by centuries, Keegan's empty lamp like eyes glowered at him from empty sockets.  Pulling his reigns in sudden panic to get his destrier to flee, the Marquess found his massive horse didn't so much as budge under his attempt to guide it. Losing his balance having anticipated the movement of his steed the young noble fell awkwardly from the saddle.
Panic flooded through him and he immediately sprung up from the frozen ground taking his long straight shining sword in two hands and playing the point out as far as he could toward the not-Keegan. Quickly he moved back to mount his horse, still intent on fleeing... and stopped dead.  Standing before him was not his destrier as he was just riding it.  Standing there, reigns limp, shadowy flanks ephemeral was a massive skeletal nightmare.  Gasping Arnold fell back spinning to point his shining silver sword from not-Sevrin to not-Edward.

"MMmm... My looord...?"

Rasped the voice of the bannerman, like dried leaves running across old stone.  Young Arnold's mind started racing to make sense of this turn of events, how could...
Then the laughter started.  Not a sound exactly... a pressure... a feeling...  The laughter was mocking, and it originated from inside his own mind.

"My... loord?"

Again rasped the drawn out echoing voice of the dead thing that wasn't Sevrin, holding a tattered and faded banner that whipped in the frozen snow riddled wind.

The laughter grew louder and more mocking.

"My lord... what ssshall we do with them...?"

The Marquess whirled, silver sword flickering in the dull light of night in Shyish.   Kneeling before three more undead ghostly riders were three men.  Their clothing was ripped and bloodied. One appeared to have an eight pointed star branded on one arm.  Pieces of haphazard armor was attached in random places on their persons.  The Marquess blinked, confused that the ghostly riders were addressing him with the question.  He looked into the eyes of one of brutish men, who spat in his direction.

"Git it over wif you overglorified bedsheet. Some Dark Marquess you are, scared of yer own shadow seems ta me."

The warrior of the dark gods gave a sneering grin revealing bloodied missing teeth. Apparently he had lost them recently.

The laughter now boomed in Arnold's head, the mocking taking on a harsher tone.  The wind whipped, snow driving straight into Arnold's eyes.  Yet... it didn't seem to bother him any.  In fact... he didn't feel the cold at all.  Arnold looked to his horse... a massive creature of insubstantial shadow with pinpoints of light in the sockets of its skull.  His eyes scanned across his ghostly lieutenants who looked at him expectantly.  The wild laughter of the captured mortal echoed the disembodied voice laughing mockingly in his mind.

"Nagash is ALL... ALL are ONE in Nagash..."

Whispered a voice in the back of Arnold's mind causing a cold feeling to spring up in his gut.  He lifted his ancient and pocked blade that drank in the light and reflected none of it, pointing the tip at the throat of the man on his knees.

"Stop laughing!"

Shouted the Marquess, heir to the Holsstok Dutchy.

"Look what you have become, proud son of Holsstok's line."

Echoed the mocking voice inside his head.

Arnold blinked noticing the decayed state of his riding gloves. Lifting his offhand he could see the pale bones of his skeletal hand through the worn out patches of ancient armored gloves.  The tip of his light eating black blade drooped slightly as he staggered backward, eyes scanning himself in rising alarm.

"You and your family are mine, as you would always be. The cost of your trespass and the trespass of your entire lineage is to serve me forever.  Justice must be done."

Whispered the voice in his head.

"Myy... loordd...?"

Hissed the voice of the not-Sevrin bannerman.

"Remember for a time, despair in the ruin of your family and its legacy."

Whispered the voice in the depths of Arnold's mind.

"Ha, some spook o' Nagash you are."

Shouted the obstinate mortal.

Swift as a blink, the towering ephemeral form of the Dark Marquess jittered into place before the kneeling mortal. The blade moving too swift to register.  All three captured mortals slumped into the snow, pools of blood quickly staining the driven snow on the shores of Lake Bykaal.

The thing that was Keegan sat silently upon his ethereal steed, his sword of stolen hours still gripped in hand as he watched his charge, the man he had betrayed and the spirit that was now his general remount onto his massive shadowy nightmare.  Pin points of light burned in the sockets of the thing that was Keegan's skull as he watched the thing that was Sevrin hand the winged helmet over to the Dark Marquess.  The lost son of the dead house of Holsstok slid the cursed helmet over the ephemeral grinning skull.

"Your orderssss... my loord?"

Asked the thing that had been Edwards.

"We should return to the keep to feast before the next hunt! My father will be pleased with the victory we have won here today."

Bellowed the young lord as he smiled broadly to his lieutenants around him.  Jovial Sevrin grinning back as he rolled up the gleaming banner of house Holsstok.

"I will round up the men My Lord."

Said Edwards crisply, with a salute.

Young Lord Arnold smiled a contented smile, things in his family's dutchy couldn't be better in these warm summer days on the edges of the Harrowmark.  He really didn't understand what all the dread was about here in Shyish.

The grim blank eyes of the thing that had been Keegan watched his charge as they began riding north towards Old Dyunsk... through the driving snow.


Join in on the global Animosity Narrative Campaign here: https://animositycampaigns.com/

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  • 2 weeks later...

The frosted mists clung close to the ground in the lower valleys south of Old Dyunsk.  It slithered between the trunks of old trees and through the clinging vines of ancient underbrush.  At some point this passage had been named Sobolev's Road by long forgotten inhabitants, or perhaps even the gods, none yet living know.  These vales and woods were long haunted and devoid of human passage, and yet there came the faint echo of iron shod hooves.  Were there anyone around to hear the distant, yet right on top of you sound they would surely have huddled into the brush to hide from the thunder yet echo of hundreds of warhorses.

The sound was strange... it was near at hand and impossible to ignore... yet it echoed like a long remembered dream. The sound would send a chill up a man's spine and leave him wondering if he had heard it at all once it had passed.  One might even swear they heard the blare of trumpets and shouting voices, yet in the next moment deny having heard anything in confusion.  As it was there were none but the local natural denizens of the impassable road to note the unnaturally swift passage of ephemeral mounted silhouettes.  Hundreds of flickering specters on ethereal steeds seemed to skate as much as they thundered across the tops of the unnatural mists.

At their head was a figure more dark and solidified than the rest.  On a massive, if mostly not there, nightmare of a warhorse with a long ancient sword raised overhead as if in a perpetual signal to charge, the Dark Marquess led his Shade-Host on its errand for their current allies known as the Expedition.  The voice of the diplomat echoed in his mind as if in reminder.  The thing that had been Keegan had returned with the words, and instead of speaking them the conversation had simply passed from one spirit's understanding to another.

"We need to take Tsatraya. To fullfill your pact of aid, would you please send your spirits ahead..."

The thing named Valencia had begun.

"... gather intelligence on the pilgrimage to deliver to my agents in the city, seek out and destroy any skulking agents seeking ambush or surprise on expedition forces..."

Seek and destroy myesss... that was a mission the Dark Marquess and his lost fourth and fifth sons could enjoy!  The Dark Marquess twirled his sword and the hundreds of hexknights around him began to scatter like leaves in a late autumn wind.  Their distant yet immediate thunder of hooves spread out across the whole of the pathways south of Old Dyunsk to the place called Tsatraya.

Even as the Dark Marquess himself rode like a ball fired from a cannon directly toward the target city surrounded by his most elite and trusted lieutenants, his host scattered to counter ambush and hunt down messengers, skirmishers, and against any who could potentially give the Expeditionary forces trouble on their march to war.  Ghostly knights phased directly through the stone of mountains to emerge on the other side as if the stone itself were no more boundary than the open vales.  Mortals hiding in ambush found the air go even more chill as the sounds of echoing hooves drew their attentions, only to have the spirit knights materialize from the earth or out of thin air amongst them.  Some were lucky enough to avoid the initial assaults, others found their souls ripped from them by the passing ghostly blades of a knight of the Shade-Host.

The Shade-Host had been held in reserve for so long securing the city of Old Dyunsk with honey words and negotiations with mortals.  That time was over, they would ride south and scour the lands from Old Dyunsk to Tsatraya of all small groups of agents or skirmishers. They would ride down messengers, and turn those setting up ambushes into the ones ambushed.  If they found stiff resistance they would melt away into the ground or the mists or the mountain walls themselves to ride swiftly back to the marching Expeditionary forces to warn the mortal generals of where the worst resistance would be.

They would be reapers of souls and the fastest scouts and messengers the forces of the Expedition could hope for.  The very woods and hills and shores were suddenly the haunting grounds of a large wild hunt of angry and enthusiastic hexwraiths finally set loose across the battle space.

In the actual battle for the city, the Dark Marquess himself would lurk and wait for the best chance to break the back of the Pilgrimage.  He would charge into the midst of them to support the Expeditionary force, coalescing out of the fog and thin air where his charge and that of his closest retinue could do the most damage.


Join in on the global Animosity Narrative Campaign here: https://animositycampaigns.com/

Edited by Nevar
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Across the freezing stretch of waters that is known as the Thawing, frosty mist slides out along the surface.

Echoing as though far away, yet unable to be ignored as if it were directly on top of whose who heard it, was the ghostly sound of thousands of steel shod hooves.  Clamoring in loud yet silent echoes of shouting riders, the Shade-Host rides to war.  The surface of the lake's ice cracked and split as if thundering hooves were churning at the Thawing, yet no horses or men were to seen.  For unlike the riders of mortal armies, or even those of the Archenemy, the riders of the Shade-Host are not constrained to the mere natural laws.

As the sound and yet silence of the approaching cavalry charge rose up over the din of battle already joined between the forces of the Perpetual and the orruk barbarians near the wreck of the Marie Elaine, the Dark Marquess rode at the head of his hexknight host.  Their spectral horses and riders hanging suspended upside down from the surface, riding through water as though it were air, and their hooves finding purchase on the surface of the lake as the though the air above were the ground for the inverted host.  Any sea aelves in the deeps surrounding the Marie Elaine would find themselves suddenly overrun by hundreds if not thousands of spectral horsemen whose steeds ride through water as easily as if on solid ground.  Even their elite eel riders would find themselves suddenly beset by spectral sword, lance, and mace that slices, pierces, and crushes the soul instead of the body.  Even those enemies fighting upon the ice, orruks and grots alike, would suddenly in the midst of their combat find themselves charged by ghostly apparitions of armored knights riding up from the ice as if rising from beneath the waves, cruel swords flashing.

The sudden appearance and shock of the Shade-Host's charge could break even the most stalwart of defenders, and only time would tell if the orruks and their fish aelf allies would stand before the shocking charge of ghostly heavy cavalry.  Amid it all, appearing and vanishing in streaming puffs of dark ghostly smoke wherever the enemy seemed strongest, was the Dark Marquess.  His sword was quickly slick with orruk and aelven blood as he sought out the champions and heroes he could find to challenge.

As the din of battle carried on, the Shade-Host would continue it's strange ghostly charge and fade tactics, lending their shock and dreaded aura of fear wherever the combat seemed to need it most.  The Marquess would do all he could to ensure the Perpetual carried the field this day, for the Perpetual, for Reikenor, for NAGASH.

All are ONE in NAGASH, and NAGASH is all...


Join in on the global Animosity Narrative Campaign here: https://animositycampaigns.com/

Edited by Nevar
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  • 3 weeks later...

The darkness was complete.

The thing that was Keegan lead three wings of the Shade-Host's hexknights through a perpetual gloom that reeked of the living must of Ghyran,  None but the squirming worms and reaching roots of the realm of life could have passed the way the Shade-Host detachment did.  Only the spectral can ride through solid matter as if it were not there, and the echoing ghostly beat of hooves and jingles of spectral harness and chain was absorbed eagerly by the soil of the realm of life.

His command had passed through the Gyreplunge riding along the underside of the water to avoid attention as much as possible, and once through the gate, the one who had been known as Keegan lifted a shadowy blade and pointed low.  The ethereal heavy cavalry company rode down at a steep angle, toward the silty bottom of the Gyreplunge's watery exit, and straight into the solid earth below the waters.

The darkness was complete, for they rode through solid earth, passed through worms and roots, and passed without a trace other than a slight withering of that which they passed through.  Perhaps some particularly wise soul could understand the subtle signs of their malignant passing, but the vast majority of mortals would go on happily unaware that hundreds of spectral horsemen rode beneath their feet.

The goal was simple, follow the one they called Ashavohlk to his meeting with the representatives of Hammerhall, and ensure that if there was to be any treachery, it would be at the hands of Nagash's minions and not those of the betrayer-god's children.

Above the unseen companies of spectral cavalry, a very visible contingent of the ghostly horsemen rode in plain view amid Ashavohlk's retinue.  They rode in double column surrounding a finely wrought coach of black wood.  Inside the coach as with all of the feared Black Coaches, was a vampire's coffin allegedly filled with grave sand for the vampire's comfort.  This was the official capacity that the Shade-Host had agreed to aid the expedition into Ghyran.  This was the official capacity that the Hammerhall detachment were told of.

Riding at the head of the double column was a specter swirling with black smoke and afterimage with a winged helm and a black blade that drank in the vibrant light of the realm as if it were a dry sponge.  The Dark Marquess himself rode at the head of the column, having appeared as if from no where following the transition through the realm gate.  A mortarch was in play, and that meant the greater will of NAGASH was at work in this undertaking.  If anything were true, it was that The Dark Marquess would be where the greatest glory to NAGASH was to be found.  Bringing final vengeance to the 'Expedition' near the end of the campaign would be sweet, and drinking the souls of the betrayer-god's children with his mirror dark blade would be... exquisite.

His host could ride swiftly when unbound by secrecy and the need to move at the speed of the vampire's forces.  Once this deal was done, the Shade-Host would ride with all speed for Bykaal and the final showdown with Besh.  First though, to show the arrogant Hammerhall the folly of their hubris.

Join in on the global Animosity Narrative Campaign here: https://animositycampaigns.com/

Edited by Nevar
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