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Open Campaign: The War for Vaendin


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I started a narrative campaign over the summer with a few friends from my gaming group, mainly for my own amusement as I enjoy making up scenarios, and writing battle reports in a narrative style.  I thought I would share  what we've done so far with the TGA community. I'll post the scenarios, including custom rules, and the reports as they happen. 

If players in the community would like to have a game that I could weave into the narrative, drop me a line and we'll try and work it out. 

I am not a graphic designer, so forgive the maps made in powerpoint! If any gifted person is inspired to make them pretty then drop me a line. 

Introduction:

The sleepy region of Vaendin, in the realm of Ghyran had been enjoying a period of relative peace and prosperity. The Soulquake has brought that to an abrupt end. A tear in the fabric of the mortal realms has been opened by the cataclysm, and the dead are starting to claw their way into the Realm of Life. The forces of Chaos have not been slow to take advantage of this catastrophe for their own ends: Nurgle, long penned in the swamps of Alushtas to the North, is stirring, and the howling of the followers of Khorne has redoubled on the far side of the fortified Realm-Gate of Raegar.

Protecting the bodies and souls of the inhabitants of the great city of Tethir are a small group of Stormcast Eternals. In the mountains bordering Vaendin, the Seraphon stand watch over a number of small shrines and grave-sites, centred on the tower of Shar Ruar. The dense forests of Ghyran are guarded by a few Aelven folk, the surviving remnants of a once-proud race.

 

BW Map.jpg

Edited by DionTheWanderer
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Battle 1: The Tendrils of Shyish

The tear in the realms between Shyish and Gyran has become wide enough for the advance guard of Nagash to slip into the realm. A Necromancer and his bodyguard attempt to reach the depths of the wildwood, in an attempt to disturb the graves of a long-dead Aelven city and raise their corpses and spirits in the service of Nagash.

As the dead shamble into the fringes of the wood, its guardians rally to its defence. Outnumbered, the Necromancer disguises himself in an attempt to slip through enemy lines undiscovered. 

Armies:
Death: 750pts + 1 Necromancer + 4 Zombies (see detailed rules)
Wanderers: 1000pts
 

Objectives:
If the NECROMANCER is able to leave the Wanderers’ board edge alive, DEATH score a MAJOR victory. 
If the NECROMANCER is slain, but is carried by a unit to the Wanderer’s board edge, DEATH score a MINOR victory
If the NECROMANCER is slain, AND does not leave the table by ANY edge by the end of turn 5 Wanderers score a MAJOR victory
All other outcomes: DRAW
 

Special Rules:

NIGHTTIME: All missile weapons and spells are limited to a maximum range of 16”
NECROMANCER DISGUISE:
The Necromancer starts the game off the table. Instead, 4 Zombie models are deployed on the table with the DEATH army. One of these must be selected in advance as the necromancer in disguise (but concealed from the WANDERERS player). 
These 4 Zombies act as single-model units of normal Zombies (as per warscroll), except with 5 wounds apiece and a 6+ save.
If a WANDERERS unit approaches within 3” of the Necromancer, the Necromancer uses any spells or command abilities, or the Necromancer is slain he must be revealed.  
Transport of Slain Necromancer
If the Necromancer is slain, any DEATH unit within 3” can carry his corpse 
 

See map for deployment/scenery

 

 

Battle 1 - The Tendrils of Shyish.jpg

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Battle 1, Report:

As the dead shambled out of the shadows, the Aelven guardians of Glad Haugh waited calmly. The incursion, although the largest for many years, was still small, and they had numbers enough for the task. Archers nocked arrows to bow strings. A unit of cavalry trotted out towards the flank. 

Out of the darkness, a thundering of skeletal hooves crashed into the Aelvan line. The Sisters of the Thorn were swept aside, their own flank turned by the assault. A hail of arrows flew in response, scything down the enemy general, and cutting down half of the Black Knights. 

By the time the army of Death reached the treeline, they had been reduced to a leaderless horde. Spearmen braced for impact, turning the forest into a fortress. The wave of the dead would surely  break against this wall of wood and bronze. 

Yet, to the horror of the defenders, for every skeleton they cut down with blade or bow, more began to claw their way out of the earth of the sacred burial ground of the forest. Pale, graceful forms, still clad in bronze armour and clutching aelven spears in skeleton hands. Turning their empty eye sockets on the defenders, they lowered their spears and silently charged. 

A number of zombies emerged from the darkness and stumbled into the fray. Yet as they closed, one of them seemed to shimmer, as the glamour surrounding it failed. Revealed stood the necromancer Khalida Durior, mere yards away from the sacred ground she sought to defile. Two Aelven heroes, bloodied but still standing, leapt into the heart of the melee and cut her down. 

For a moment, all was still. Then, turning as one, the skeletal legions closed ranks around the corpse of their mistress. Six bore her body like pallbearers. The rest formed an escort that the battered Aelvan host attacked with all the fury it could still muster, but their numbers were too great. The corpse of the dark wizard was borne into the heart of the sacred forest.

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Battle 2: Once More Unto the Realm Breach!

Khorne is not a god known for his subtlety. The fortified realm gate of Rhaegar stands between his hordes in Ghur and the realm of Ghyran. Naturally, his plan is to hurl his armies at it until they can climb the bodies of their own fallen and overwhelm the small Aelvan garrison. 

Armies: 
Khorne: Unlimited. No restrictions on battleline etc. However please have a record of points values of the units you bring.
Wanderers: 500 pts

See map for deployment and special scenery (inverted Fortress)

Special Rules:

SEIGE Equipment: Khorne are emerging from a region of Ghur that consists of a barren desert with few trees. They are not able to create siege weapons or equipment. 

GATES: The fortified gate cannot be attacked without siege equipment.

FORTRESS: The fortress cannot be entered from the neutral zone without assaulting it. Models may move between wall parapets through the corner towers. A tower can be occupied like a building If the tower is occupied by the enemy, only one model at a time may attack the defenders of a tower, and only one defender may attack (the doors are deliberately built small for this purpose!)

BATTLEMENTS: All battlements provide COVER to defenders unless the attacker can make a legal pile in move to land on the parapet. Attacks when both models are on the parapet do not involve cover.

ASSAULTING WALLS & TOWERS: 
Walls and towers can only be assaulted during the charge phase. 
Different types of models have different rules:


Mounted or Non-Humanoid units may not attack walls or towers (if a model looks like it can’t scramble up a wall, then it can only pass through the gate when opened.


HUMANOID units may assault the walls (NOT towers). During the charge phase, roll a D6 for each model within 1” of the wall. This model will attempt to scramble up the wall. On a 7 or more (yes, 7!) it is placed on top of the battlements directly above where it began the move (i.e. not yet on the parapet) and may pile in and attack the defenders. On 2-6, the charge fails for that model. On an UNMODIFIED roll of a 1, the model falls and suffers D6 mortal wounds. These wounds only apply to the MODEL not to the UNIT (so a single wound model falling does not slay up to 6 of his comrades!). 

FLYING units may assault a wall or a tower. They reach the top of a wall on a 4+ and a tower on a 6+. They do NOT suffer wounds on the roll of a 1. However, defenders still have the benefit of cover they still need to pile in beyond the battlements.


Unit cohesion rules do not apply between the battlements and the base of the wall (i.e. units must stay in cohesion at the base of the wall and on top of the wall, but the height of the wall is not measured when checking cohesion). However, all models must successfully assault the wall before the attackers can move off the parapet. Models can be left behind, but are treated as slain. 


Close the wall up with our Khornate Dead!: Keep track of models slain within 3” of or while assaulting a wall. For every 5 models slain within 3” of a wall, add +1 to assault rolls for that wall


Unoccupied walls: If the battlements are not defended (i.e. no defenders within 1”) then add +2 to all wall assault rolls

Helping hand: if a wall is occupied only by assaulting troops, then add +4 to all wall assault rolls. 
 

 

Battle 2 Deployment.jpg

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Battle 2 Report:

Fenernil, keeper of the Raegar realmgate, had slept fitfully. He woke as soon as Hestirith’s hand touched his shoulder. No words were needed; a look at his guard captain’s face told him all he needed to know. For days now, the howling audible through the breach between the realms had grown louder. Now, even through the thick stone walls of the gatehouse, it was deafening. 


Fenernil pulled his cloak around him and hastened to the battlements. Across the small courtyard, opposite the fortified gate over which he stood, a similar stone arch opened into blackness. In calmer times, a brave traveller could step into the pitch dark and, after a journey that sometimes seemed only a few yards, at other times half a mile, emerge into the blinding sunshine and sandy dunes of Ghur. Now, the shadows of the gate flickered and blurred as half-hidden shapes massed in the darkness. 


All around the courtyard, green cloaks flapped in the gentle breeze as the small garrison stood to, arrows on bowstrings. Hestirith had done well, turning out the guard before hurrying to wake the gatekeeper. All that was required now was a decision from Fenernil. He did not linger over it. 
His words were clear, but barely audible over the noise resonating from the other realm. “Seal it.”


It was not a decision taken lightly. Unsealing the realmgate  would take months, and cost lives. The Kharadron traders would no longer pay the tolls that sustained not only the garrison but many of the surrounding villages. And there was no guarantee that the gate even could be reopened, or that the path would be as safe or as straightforward as it had been before. 


Yet nobody standing on the battlements, listening to the awful noises emerging from the gate, doubted Fenernil’s decision for even a moment. 
Hestirith struggled to keep his voice steady as he spoke his part of the incantation. But he breathed more easily as Fenernil spoke the final sealing-word, and coils of white smoke began to fill the blackness of the gate and harden into a smooth, ethereal wall. But even as he watched, a great blast of hot air belched forth from the gate, blowing the smoke away. He glanced at Ferenil’s face: the gatekeeper’s legendary calm seemed as-yet unruffled. Then the first wave of figures burst through the gate, whirling chains and screaming like bass-voiced banshees. 


Volley after volley of arrows sang down from the battlements, cutting swathes through the attackers. Chaos warriors hurled themselves at the stonework, scrabbling with their bare hands, before falling back to the base of the wall. Most picked themselves up, only to throw themselves again at the walls. Some lay still. Then Hestirith noticed something, and nearly laughed aloud. Not one of the hordes that now filled the courtyard many feet below carried a ladder, or battering ram, or any other way to assault the fortifications. They were powerless, indeed trapped, and at the mercy of the archers that continued to pour arrows into the red-clad hordes below them. Yet was it Hestirith’s imagination, or were the warriors who were trying to climb the walls reaching higher and higher each time? Particularly against the wall to his left? Then, to his horror, he saw. Every time a warrior of Khorne was cut down, or fell and broke his neck, his colleagues would calmly pile his body onto the growing heap at the base of the wall, before climbing the gory pile and launching themselves at the battlements. 


Then, all of a sudden, a champion of Khorne stood atop the battlements, and the tide turned. Three Aelves disappeared in a red mist at a single swipe from his enormous glaive. Their comrades, knives shattering uselessly on armour plate, fell back to the watchtower opposite the gate. The tide of Chaos poured onto the battlements, as the warriors of Khorne abandoned their attempts to climb the other walls in order to exploit the new breach in the defences. And still warriors poured through the gate. But was the white smoke thickening again? 


Fenernil turned to Hestirith and spoke a single word: “Hold.”


Hestirith knew his duty. If he and his spearmen could hold the gatehouse until the realm gate was finally sealed, then the incursion would be limited to the warriors who now crammed the small courtyard. If they could not, then the fortified gates would fall. Who knew how many servants of Khorne would then pour through the breach before the way between the realms could close, if indeed it would?


 Fenernil slipped from his side. He took up a defensive position in the tower separating the wall that now swarmed with the minions of Chaos from the precious gatehouse. Hestirith watched, first with apprehension, but then with something approaching exultation as Fenernil skilfully danced in and out of the cover of the doorway, greatblade swinging. No fewer than three Wrathmongers fell before him, ichor spraying from their wounds, while Fenernil appeared unscathed. The forces of Chaos fell back, and to Hestirith’s alarm, Fenernil abandoned the cover of his doorway to pursue them. His greatblade swung more and more wildly, and for the first time Hestirith saw his usually impassive face distorted with rage. Finding himself alone on the battlements Fenernil hacked at thin air, then madly at the stonework itself, his frenzy growing so wild that the final swipe took his own head from his shoulders. Hestirith, unable to look away, watched his friend’s severed head, still screaming demonic blasphemies, fall into the press of bodies at the base of the wall. 
All seemed lost. Opposite the gatehouse, laughing and shrieking Chaos warriors chased the surviving aelvan archers across the battlements. More flooded into the tower that Fenernil had given his life to defend. 


With a choking gasp, Hestirith half ran, half stumbled to the door of that tower, and barred it from the outside. Then, in a desperation that lent him an icy calm, he arranged his spearmen in a phalanx and prepared to hold the doorway to the last aelf. 


For a moment, all seemed still, before an enormous warglaive burst through the wood of the door and struck sparks off the iron frame. Then all were hacking and stabbing through the doorway, which, mercifully, was only wide enough to admit a single enemy at a time. Hestirith saw the spear of the aelf next to him strike home, wounding the Chaos champion on the other side of the door. A moment later, he was wiping blood from his eyes as the counter-blow cut his comrade in half. In desperation, he struck back, sheer luck guiding his blade into a gap into the champion’s armour. 
To the surprise of the handful of defenders left standing, the demise of their champion seemed to blunt the attackers’ spirit. They fell back into a corner of the tower. But then, emerging from the shadows, Hespirith saw his doom approaching. 


The Skullgrinder burst out of the darkness, the flames trailing from his anvil throwing flickering shadows on the stone walls of the tower. His first blow pulverised two of Hespirith’s remaining spearmen, and sent the third flying over the battlements into the waiting hordes below. The second swing seemed to come in slow motion; Hestirith could almost read the runes graven into the side of the anvil. At the last possible moment he threw himself behind the door frame, and shut his eyes as the iron thudded into the stonework, only inches from his head. 


Opening them again, he found himself looking across the courtyard at the realm-gate. His heart leapt; the blackness of the gate was gone, replaced by what looked like white marble, shutting out the countless thousands who waited to pour into Ghyran.  With a lightness in his heart, he turned to meet his fate. His life, and those of his friends, had been sold dearly enough to hold back the tide. For now. 
 

Through the gates 2.jpg

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Battle 3: Waking the Dead

The attempt to infiltrate the sacred forest of Gladh Haudh was a success for the forces of death, with one small caveat: Khalida Durior, the chief necromancer, was slain in the course of the battle. However, for the servants of Nagash, death is not the obstacle that it might be for mere mortals. Deep in the forest, a ritual has commenced to raise Khalida Durior from the dead. They are discovered, however a pursuing force of Wanderers, aiming to disrupt the ritual and prevent the necromancer from rising from the dead. 

Armies: 1000pts a side
Death Army Cannot include Khalida Durior and may only start with 1 grave marker in addition to the ritual site (which counts as a gravemarker).

Unholy Ritual:
The Ritualist must roll a dice in each of their Hero Phases. Adding 1 to the roll for each friendly WIZARD or PRIEST that is within 12" of the Magicial Artefact, and Subtract 1 from the roll for each enemy WIZARD or PRIEST that is within 36" of the Magicial Artefact.The roll cannot be increased above 6 or reduced to less than 1. Keep a note of the sum total of these rolls

When the total of ritual rolls reaches 5, the Death player may place an additional grave marker
When the total of ritual rolls reaches 10, the Death player may summon a free unit of 3D6 skeletons or zombies
When the total of ritual rolls reaches 12, the Death player may deploy Khalida Durior to take part in the ritual/battle. However, she starts with 1 wound. For every wound she suffers, reduce the total of ritual rolls by 1. If deployed, Khalida gains a wound for every ritual point above 12 (i.e. if the total of ritual rolls is 13, Khalida will have 2 wounds).The Ritual is complete when the total of all ritual rolls is 18 or more.Shatter the Artefact:The General or Second in Command can in his Hero Phase attempt to break the artefact. if he is within 3" of the terrain piece, roll a dice. On a 2 or more the Artefact has been shattered/destroyed or disrupted

The battle lasts 6 battle rounds
 

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Battle 3 Report:

Vorchad the Purple picked nervously at a loose thread on the hem of his robe. He stared at the still form lying on the bier before him. Khalida Durior’s cunning scheme to slip through Aelvan lines in disguise had not been an unqualified success. While she had indeed arrived at the burial ground from which she intended to raise an army, she had done so as a corpse.

Still, for those with faith in Nagash, that was not the impediment it might otherwise be. Vorchad began to chant under his breath, and curling tendrils of green mist rose from the damp earth of Ghyran, and began to surround the  body of the sorceress.

As he muttered and sang by turns, Vorchad looked admiringly at the still figure before him. The hard lines of her face had been softened in death, and she was almost...beautiful. Surely, he thought, she would be grateful to the man who brought her back from the void to complete her plan.

The tendrils of mist swirled around the gaping wounds made by the cruel spears of the Aelves. Her flesh softened from its rigor mortis. Blood began to flow again from her wounds. The gashes themselves began to slowly knit themselves together.

It was not strictly part of the ritual, but Vorchad could not resist. At a suitable pause in the series of chants and incantations, he bent low and kissed the cold lips before him.

An impossibly strong hand gripped his upper arm. Vorchad bit his tongue. Hard.

Heart racing, he spun round to see Karlos Von Drak looking at him coldly. The vampire pointed with his free hand at the treeline. The moonlight glinted on bronze. The Aelves had found them at last.

“I will hold them off as long as we can” rasped the vampire. “You will complete the ritual swiftly. Without... frills.” With that, he released Vorchad, and stalked away to where a thin line of skeleton spearmen stood in readiness.

Vorchad hurried to begin the second part of the ritual, his swollen tongue stumbling over the complex syllables. From time to time he glanced up nervously. A posse of aelvan women, apparently riding deer, had emerged from the darkness to his left. A thunder of rattling hooves behind him heralded the Black Knights cantering out to attack the opposite flank.

Karlos, with a sweeping gesture, commanded a body of skeleton spearmen to attack the Aelvan cavalry. At his exhortation the long-dead warriors fought madly, hacking and tearing many of the women from their saddles. The few casualties they took in return were swiftly replaced, as bony hands emerged from the earth of the burial ground, and joined the fight against their living cousins.

A hissing noise distracted Vorchad from his work. Dozens of arrows flew out of the forest ahead, smashing into the black knights. The arrowheads tore through rusted plate armour as if it were paper. In moments, the entire regiment was reduced to dust and scraps of bone. The right flank of the undead line was totally exposed - only a few shambling zombies stood between Vorchad, and a dangerous looking Aelvan noble. He began to feel a tightness in his throat.

Karlos swore, and turned to face this new threat. He held out his hands. Sweat appeared on his forehead. Veins stood out. Finally, with a great cry of effort, he raised his arms aloft and the earth around him burst asunder. A fresh body of skeleton horsemen emerged from the earth, and charged out to secure the vulnerable flank.

Vorchad was distracted again when Khalida’s elite bodyguard suddenly pushed past him, and began to shamble towards the rear. Where were they going? Vorchad peered into the darkness, and saw to his horror a knot of hooded Aelvan rangers jogging out of the darkness towards him. How had they got there? The two units met in a great clash of blades and armour, the rangers’ draiths cutting great swathes through the dead warriors.

Vorchad began to chant faster, as fast as he dared. Out of the corner of his eyes he saw the resurrected black knights ride into a second storm of arrows. Although less devastating than the first, there were few survivors, and those that remained were swiftly despatched by the Aelvan noble. Only the Zombies, looking increasingly ragged, delayed his advance.

Behind Vorchad, a few surviving rangers, having dispatched Khalida’s grave guard, closed in. Vorchad felt a lump rising in his throat.

Then, without warning, Khalida’s eyes snapped open. Ignoring Vorchad completely, she swung herself off her slab and looked around as the battle. A careless gesture from her, and again the earth split asunder to release a phalanx of Black Knights. The few surviving rangers disappeared under their hooves.

With a cry of triumph, Karlos flung himself at a second Aelf Hero who had been trying to sneak round the flank to attack Vorchad. The latter laughed aloud as, in the face of the Vampire’s furious attack, the aelf cowered behind a tree. The vampire's blows hacked chunks out of the bark, but the aelf emerged unscathed.

Khalida stood still, eyes shut, gently moving her hands as if she were conducting an orchestra. All around the sacred grove, long-dead aelves rose from their rest and formed themselves into ranks. Their living brethren, seeing the day was lost, slipped away into the darkness.

RESULT: MAJOR VICTORY FOR DEATH

Bloody black knights.jpg

Rangers vs Tomb Kings.jpg

Skeletons vs SoT.jpg

Edited by DionTheWanderer
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Battle 4: A Clash of Princes.

Wanderers vs Death

1500 points a side

Deployment: Diagonal deployment, 24” apart.

Victory Conditions: Kingslayer (add up wounds caused by each side. Enemy general counts double)

Twist: Eager for battle (add 2” to all move characteristics. Add 1 to all run and charge rolls)

Realm conditions (Ghyran): Add 1 wound to a chosen hero of each army

 

Vorchad stumbled over yet another tree root and swore quietly to himself. His feet hurt, his legs ached. The strap of the small leather bag over his shoulder had long ago rubbed his skin raw. He sighed, and stopped for a moment to adjust it. The bag did not contain much, just the few knickknacks he considered indispensable to the junior necromancer. Yet, after twelve hours’ march, it seemed unbearably heavy. Resisting for the umpteenth time an urge to hurl his burden into the thick undergrowth, he trotted after his charges. These, a phalanx of skeletal spearmen, had already gained a few dozen yards on him in the brief moments he had paused to rest. Vorchad had never known skeletons move so fast. In contrast to the poor, shambling creatures of his experience, these strode confidently and indefatigably across the lush turf of Ghyran. Whether they were inspired by the vital energy of their surroundings, or the fanatical energy their mistress had displayed since her unholy resurrection, Vorchad neither knew nor cared. All he could think about was the punishing pace they were setting. Vorchad had spent his youth poring over ancient tomes, and practicing dark rituals in stuffy rooms. He was not at his best moving energetically at speed over hearty, open countryside. His only respite had been the few occasions on which they had stopped to exhume yet another ancient grave site, and for Khalida Durior to breathe life into the skeletal forms therin.

Breathing hard, Vorchad caught up with the rearguard of the skeletal legion that made up the left flank of the undead forces. In the centre, Karlos von Drak marched amongst a host of cavalry. He was flanked by two hulking Morghasts. These were the crowning glory to emerge from the desecrated the burial site that had provided the core of Khalida’s new army. Their bodies had been painstakingly constructed from the bones of two ancient Aelvan heroes, tall even by the standards of that race. The souls that inhabited them, von Drak had hinted, had been a gift from Nagash himself.

On the far flank, Khalida Durior and her bodyguard held the right of the line.  Even it was she who had raised the bulk of the army by plundering the gravesites that dotted this patch of sacred woodland, it was von Drak who was nominally in charge. He had insisted on the separation of the two Necromancers during the march. Ostensibly, this reduced the risk to them both in case of an ambush. It also prevented the two of them talking. Vorchad was not entirely averse to this arrangement, as Khalida’s attitude since her resurrection had been icy, to say the least. It was said that those raised from the dead left part of themselves behind. In Khalida’s case, thought Vorchad bitterly, the part in question was clearly her capacity for gratitude.  

Yet von Drak’s expression was colder still. While Vampires were rarely known for the warmth of their manner, it was increasingly clear that he trusted neither necromancer, and was determined to keep them apart.

Ahead of the army Vorchad could see a few copses of trees and some stone ruins. He hoped that this might represent another burial ground, partly to swell the ranks of the burgeoning horde, but mainly to give him a chance to rest his aching feet.

His hope was short lived. The branches of the largest copse began to rustle and shake. Glints of bronze met Vorchads’ eyes; clearly the forest was being fortified against them. A knot of hooded figures broke cover, making for a second copse on the flank opposite Vorchad. Flashes of gold underneath cloaks indicated that some of their number might be more than mere footsoldiers. Vorchad hoped that he would not be the one to rouse them out of the wood.

He need not have worried. The cavalry that made up the undead vanguard moved from the trot to a full gallop, seemingly without effort. Moving impossibly fast, they crashed into the group of aelves before they could make the cover of the trees. An Aelvan noble, his hood dislodged by the fury of the charge, was speared by multiple lances and tossed aside. Vorchad, catching a glimpse of the Aelf’s expression of agony, licked his lips reflexively. Two more of the hooded figures were trampled under the hooves of the skeletal steeds.

It seemed that the entire right flank of the Aelvan line would crumple in the face of this furious assault. That suited Vorchad fine - he would gladly secure the copse full of corpses while his comrades dealt with the wood bristling with living aelves. He glanced towards his general, and frowned. In sending his cavalry to smash the enemy line, Karlos had left himself exposed to enemy fire. An aelf, dressed in a fine cloak, stepped out of the forest and fired an arrow high into the air. Von Drak eyed the newcomer with mild contempt, before turning his gaze back to his cavalry, now engaged in a roiling melée with the surviving rangers. With a burst of eldritch light, a great blade sliced its way out of the copse beside them. A spell, aimed at the Black Knights? If so it missed its target, succeeding only in decapitating a pair of aelves who, their attention fixed on the melee, had stepped unwarily into its path.

Vorchad’s eyes had followed that single arrow fired aimlessly into the air. He saw it shatter into a black cloud of fragments a full second or two before a noise like a thunderclap echoed around the battlefield. He flung himself to the ground, but it was von Drak who found himself at the centre of the storm. A rain of fragments began to spatter the earth around the vampire’s feet, causing him to glance up - just in time for the hail of wood and metal to catch him full in the face. Vorchad, peering between his fingers, blenched at the sight.

The Morghasts looked down blankly at the fragmented remains. Vorchad, still prone, wondered for a moment whether they had any sense of what useless bodyguards they’d been. The next moment, the woods exploded in a hail of arrow fire, and the shattered remains of the Morghasts mingled those of their erstwhile master. Further volleys of javelins and arrow fire thinned the ranks of the Black Knights still more. The centre of the undead line gaped like an open wound. Was all lost?

Vorchad felt the ripple of power wash across the battlefield like a wave. It bore Khalida’s bodyguard forward, sending them crashing into the living fortress the aelves had created in their knot of trees. Skeletons began to claw their way from the ground, and hurl themselves at the aelves.

The young necromancer felt something akin to a flicker of home. With a wave of his hand he sent his own unit of spearmen lumbering into the fray, although he prudently remained lying half buried in leaf-litter. Then he sent his mind wandering into the earth before him, found the shapes of corpses long dormant, and, with terrific effort, sent a few reinforcements to join the legions raised by Khalida.

The faint sense of hope did not last long. While the defenders of the wood were outnumbered manyfold, the branches and briars themselves seemed to be on the side of the aelves, skeletal limbs tangling themselves in brambles, then being snapped apart as they struggled mechanically to free themselves.

Vorchad looked around for Khalida, but could not see her. She was no longer commanding the right flank of the battle; that much was clear. A shadow fell across him, and his heart almost stopped as he looked up into her cold, impassive face. She did not gesture for him to follow, but what choice did he have? Leaving their undead minions to struggle with the living aelves, the two necromancers slipped away, unseen, into the heart of the forest.

RESULT: MAJOR VICTORY FOR WANDERERS

Armies clash.jpg

Combat at the treeline.jpg

Incoming horde.jpg

Edited by DionTheWanderer
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