art by Chris Rahn
Alexandru Popov wiped the sweat from his brow with the back of his arm and took stock. He had cut a great deal of wood by now, but winter was approaching quickly and his elderly father, the town's priest, had fallen very ill. With Pietr, his father, unable to perform his usual duties, Alexandru would be taking his place. He looked forward to doing Sigmar's work, but he knew he would be very busy soon and his opportunities to perform menial tasks, such as gathering and chopping firewood, would soon be few and far between. Night was coming on fast, and the Blackwood was the last place he wanted to be when the sun set, but he figured he had time to cut another bundle or two. He was still considering when a peal of thunder overhead broke him from his thoughts and convinced him it was, in fact, time to head home.
He was preparing to hoist his bounty onto his back when a panicked scream split the silent forest air, curdling his blood and sending shivers down his spine. Without a second thought, he was tearing between the trees heading for the source of the sound. It was not long before he broke into a clearing, and what he saw there filled him with supernatural dread. Several wolf-men towered over the steaming corpse of a young maiden while an enormous wolf, at least fifteen hands high, stalked around the gathering.
Alexandru stood frozen in fear for a fraction of a second, though for him time froze, and it seemed as if he stood staring at the horrible scene for an endless eternity. Lightning struck in the distance, and he was suddenly bolstered with holy courage and the strength of the heavens. "For the God-King!" his gruff voice bellowed a war cry like a great peal of thunder as heavy drops of rain began to fall. He was across the field in an instant, propelled by an otherworldly force and was among the beasts filled with holy fury. He cleaved the skull of a wolf-man completely in two with his woodaxe and buried it in the chest of a second before any reaction was made by the creatures. A third beast slammed into him knocking him clear of the group and opening grievous wounds on his chest and tearing his face to ribbons. He fought through the pain to remain standing, bellowed another cry, choked with blood and rain, before charging, unarmed, into the fangs and claws of the terrible monstrosities. He felt himself being torn limb from limb. There was another great rumble from the clouds, a flash of light, then darkness, silence, and peace.
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Lord-Relictor Alexei Firstforged stood tall in his resplendent stormy blue-gray armor, the mark of his brotherhood. He looked down upon the forest below, the Wargwood as the people of Noczver called it now. So named for the very beasts who had slain him lifetimes ago. Storm clouds roiled overhead as he thought about his last day of the life he had lived before. He remembered it clearly, the reforging had not robbed him of that memory. At least not yet. Righteous anger filled him to the brim as he lingered on the image of the poor woman he had seen in a gory pile on the ground. The beasts would pay dearly for each life they had taken, but that was the one that drove him. His keen eyes saw the beasts and deformed men crawling from the treeline before he heard the thunderous sound of a warhorn. He hoisted his worn axe high and motioned the retinue forward. "For Sigmar!" his voice bellowed like thunder as the sound of heavy marching boots reverberated down the slope.
The Empyreal Stormhounds had come to burn the infection of Chaos from the Wargwood.
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First model for the Empyrean Stormhounds, Lord-Relictor Alexei Firstforged. So named because he was the first to be named a Stormhound. Just need to base and seal this guy up. Really proud of him. My best model so far, for sure. Sorry if the pictures aren't great, I only have my phone to take them.