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  1. “Ghyran, Realm of Life, home to the children of Alarielle, cries out in pain. Our once great glades wither under the march of the dead, a blight spreading outwards from the Ancient One’s host with each new moon. At the same time, life abundant seethes in the wake of the Foetid Fellows, the Bilespreader come again to his favourite playground. Our rangers rush to intercept both forces, prayers to the Goddess spilling from their lips even as they fall to the blades of their foes. Still they fight, dancing side-by-side with the dryads and the sylphs, their lives buying just enough time for the rest of the Emerald Eyrie to assemble. Soon, our clarion call will ring through the trees. The cycle of nature is broken. Balance must be restored.” * She emerged from between the trees and her light was like the coming of spring on a cold winter’s morning. Far below, the forest was a patchwork of withered glades and walking dead, but she had only eyes for the abomination sailing towards her on ragged wings and the entourage of monsters flapping in its wake. Here was the architect of the forest’s plight, the one for whom the puppets swarming below staggered and danced. Its unnatural presence rolled across her, a shadow over her soul, and then it crashed into the Green Finger. Rock crumbled. The mountainside shook. The delicate weave of life magic in which she hung rippled, sending shivers down her arms, and for one dizzying moment, she felt the nature of the creature and its blasphemous mount like poison through her veins. The once noble wyrm swung its head to regard her through eyes like amethystine marbles. Staring into them, she saw nothing. Then she was amongst it, the winds become pale flames under her touch, a prayer to the Goddess on her lips as she cast back the fell bats and turned her hands on the soulless monster in the saddle. Once more, the winds lurched. Though she couldn’t hear the creature over the gale, she could see its lips moving, and where her pale fire leapt, bolts of amethyst sprang forth to meet it. The monster’s gaze burned into her until she could not resist it. Her ears filled with the screams of the dying, her hair with the wordless roar of the wind. And the unblinking eyes that stared back at her from that long-dead face did so with the detached curiosity of a mortal about to pin and dissect a butterfly. Read more about Tale of Instahammer
  2. "From my rotting body, flowers shall grow, and I am in them, and that is eternity." Edvard Munch Apologies for the lack of updates recently. It's been a while, but then it's taken me a while to tackle this month's challenge. At the beginning of February, to align with Tales of Instahammer's Monster Month, I set myself the task of complete The Ancient One atop his zombie dragon. I'd be lying if I said it hasn't been a slog, but we've made it. Who is The Ancient One? (The lore) For decades, this vampire's spirit has walked the Realm of Death's many underworlds. Unfettered from his cadaver during bouts of deep sleep, he has travelled far in his hunger for knowledge and secrets. Most souls are all too eager to share their stories. Others are doomed to repeat their final moments or strongest memories; The Ancient One need only watch. Even the dead want to be heard. Now his tower stirs again. Fell bats flock to the upmost turrets, crawling like lizards to rest in the rafters. Those humans and the other base creatures held in the laboratories huddle deeper in the shadows. Deep beneath even the duardins' old tunnels, rows of iron maidens rattle once more with madness and the crunch of mandibles. Acolytes long sequestered in their private quarters feel the winds shift and look up with red eyes and trembling hands, helpless against their father's will. Back in possession of his remains, he pushes aside the lid of his sarcophagus and emerges into total darkness to record that knowledge, the secrets of the dead painted on reams of human skin that he might reread them, refer back to them, draw pleasure from them all over again in his quest to understand them. For only in understanding them does he make them his own. And they will be his. "I come back to myself slowly, and the visions of the dead come with me. They dance in the corners of my eyes as I reach out to drag the vast stone cover from before me, retracing steps they once learned in life or else writhing from base memories of a different kind. A select few of them I recognise, their features etched into my being, bound to me or my holdings until such a time as I deem otherwise. Others I might recall once I have woken properly. Most of them are as faceless to me as the dead in my dreams and just as immaterial." Dark Awakening, Ch. 1 Bringing The Ancient One to un-life You might recognise several of the parts used to convert The Ancient One and his mount. Much like his experiments, this vampire's model is made from a variety of different sculpts. At its base is the Tomb Kings Hierophant from the classic Casket of Souls set. There's a Spirit Host arm, an arm from the Warcry Beasts kit, several skulls from the Mortis Engine set, and a Terrorgheist with a Troglodon's head, which to my mind is super serpentine and draconic. The rest is Greenstuff. (Curious? Check out some WIP shots.) I think my favourite part is his gnarly expression, which I feel really captures the essence of the Necrarchs and the classic Vampire Counts artwork that has so inspired me. I hope you like him as much as I do. If so, I'd love to hear about it. Related read: Sunday Spotlight: The Acolytes Five Instagram: @brotherhoodofnecros
  3. To paraphrase the Count himself, "Welcome to my thread. Come freely. Go safely; and leave something of the happiness you bring!" (I'd make a 'Nosferatu' quip but Orlok's not too big on dialogue...) As a new year breaks over Shyish, the Ancient One stirs in his tomb. For decades, his spirit has walked the Realm of Death's many underworlds, his physical remains sustained by a diet of dark magic. Unfettered from his cadaver, he has travelled far in his hunger for knowledge and secrets. Most souls are all too eager to share their stories. Others are doomed to repeat their final moments or strongest memories; the Ancient One need only watch. Even the dead want to be heard. Now his tower stirs again. Fell bats flock to the upmost turrets, crawling like lizards to rest in the rafters. Those humans and the other base creatures held in the laboratories huddle deeper in the shadows. Deep beneath even the duardins' old tunnels, rows of iron maidens rattle once more with madness and the crunch of mandibles. Acolytes long sequestered in their private quarters feel the Winds shift and look up with red eyes and trembling hands, helpless against their Master's will. While his carcass has withered in its casket, that will has grown fat on the words of the dead. Eyes glittering with the patience of one who cannot die, he has walked from the trackless forests of Necros to the howling deserts of Nulahmia seeking answers and learned much about the Mortal Realms in the process. Back in possession of his remains, he pushes aside the lid of his sarcophagus and emerges to record that knowledge, the secrets of the dead captured in crimson that he might reread them, refer back to them, draw pleasure from them all over again in his quest to understand them. For only in understanding them does he make them his own. And they will be his. The Ancient One is still waking, but as he does so, I'll share pictures of (and stories about) the finished things that crawl through the tower and make those tunnels their home. If you're interested in WIP stuff, you can find that in the Laboratory, in the Painting and Modelling forum. For things like inspiration and book reviews, I've also started a blog. Finally, if you're into Instagram, you can follow me at @brotherhoodofnecros. I hope this has captured your interest — I can't get enough of this crazy community. Thanks for following!
  4. "W'soran woke slowly, reluctantly. Eyelids as thin as parchment peeled back from dull orbs — one a grisly yellow, the other milky white and blind — even as thin, desiccated lips retreated from the thicket of needle fangs that occupied his mouth. The twin leathery slashes that were his nostrils flared, taking in the air instinctively. He smelled the effluvium of age, the cold, harsh stink of rock and the faintest odour of long-ago spilled blood." Here we go, people. As an avid (okay, obsessed) fan of all things Necrarch, this book promised to be the mother lode, exploring the background and lore of our bloodline as seen through the eyes of the father of the Necrarchs himself, W'soran the Wicked: W'soran, one of the first vampires and former pupil of the Great Necromancer Nagash, seeks to unravel the secrets of life and death. But his hunt for power is interrupted by a civil war in Mourkain, the mountain nation ruled by his former ally, Ushoran. Now W'soran must battle old friends and new enemies as he weaves a complex web of treachery and deceit in order to anoint himself the Master of Death... What did I think? How couldn't I love a story that brought both W'soran and perhaps the second-most-infamous Necrarch Melkhior together? As I've already mentioned in earlier reviews, what really captures my imagination and inspires me in Black Library's books isn't the (often generous) fighting or even the grimdark fantasy but the characters and their relationships. W'soran wouldn't be half as interesting without his scheming pupil, and Melkhior might seem motiveless if not for his father-in-death, ordering him about like the lackey he is. "Melkhior jerked back, surprised, his flat, black eyes gleaming in the sudden blaze of light and his monstrous features writhing in consternation. Melkhior looked akin to nothing so much as one of the great bats of the deep dark, squeezed and twisted into a mockery of human shape." Ticking away at the back of the reader's mind is the knowledge we have as gamers and fans of the established background of how this unvoiced conflict plays out. Josh knows this, and his solution is both satisfying and fiendishly in-character — I was cackling when I realised what had happened. Of course, the book also explores W'soran's relationship with his peers and (dare I say) equals in the form of Neferata and Ushoran. The book does a great job of painting that picture, helping the reader to understand, if not justify, W'soran's actions and motives and build up a relationship of their own with him. "Even now, after everything that had happened he still felt it, burning in his gut like a slow poison. The need, not for blood or to feel the life of squirming prey ebb from twitching meat, but for — what? — respect, perhaps? Acknowledgement, certainly; the admission of his superiority by those who dared to call themselves his peers." The story continues on from Neferata and the exploits of Ushoran in Mourkain, so if you enjoyed that one, you'll want to give this a read. My favourite thing about the book? There's a moment, deep beneath the mountains, when Melkhior introduces W'soran to something he has found buried in the dark. I won't quote it as it will spoil that moment for you but the reverence and awe that W'soran experiences, standing in its presence, is quite moving and does justice to a creature so often flaunted in fantasy novels without due respect for its sheer size or majesty. Look out for it. Haven't read it yet? Order a copy, turn down the lights, and dive in... Related read: Am Reading: Neferata: The Blood of Nagash Am Reading: The Rise of Nagash Tales #1: The Withering
  5. They are watching us. From the moment we crossed over into this fecund place in search of it, I knew eyes on me, felt its attention shift, infinitesimal speck by speck, a vast consciousness like the hive mind of a colony of wardroth grubs turning its antlered head our way. Even now, it tracks us through the tumbling vales, and what it sees, it wishes to destroy. It dreams of ending us, of trampling us, of impaling us on those magnificent horns, of returning us to the soil and the wind. The mortal coil! Is this what it feels like, to be studied, to be read? Is this what my subjects experience, when I look for the secrets in their skin? We came for a book, but already I have gained something far greater: wisdom with which to fill a tome of my own! Of course, such a text will warrant the finest materials. A bolt of buckskin shall do nicely. Or, failing that, a ream of aelfhide. I shall weave a placeholder from their hair! Her song holds no sway in these old trees. They stir with a different sound. Stop running, child, and you may just hear it: the wind in the boughs, like the billowing of vast wings; its keening shriek, like that of a beast in pain. You may yet hear it, if you just stop running. You may yet sing with them. Yes, little princeling. Catch your breath and raise your voice and sing with the children of the night, even as they catch you. A choir of screams, in harmony! "Awake, O dead! Crawl from your mountain tombs. Once more, the dispossessed have cause to march upon the forests of the aelves: my cause! No root nor branch nor witch-forged blade will spill your blood this time..." * I hear it then: a tapping, the patter of fleshless fingertips between the stalactites. Overhead, blackness, impenetrable except for that sound and something else, almost inaudible, a keening pitch. Scree scatters before my boots, the darkness a precipice over which I dangle, every step my last. One more. Up ahead, a glimmer of light. One more. The entrance is in sight. One more. They are waiting for me, outside, unpacking the camp by torchlight and the glare of the zephyr spites. One more —Wait. Silence has descended over me like a fresh darkness. What of the tapping? Nothing, just that whine, needling into my ears, growing higher, cutting sharper. The dead wolf’s bite didn’t wound so deep. My groan echoes around me. The blackness swallows it utterly, then spits it back in a scrabble of scratches and the flutter of wing beats. I imagine a mainsail filling over and over with competing winds, impossibly vast in the shadows. Run run run —My every footfall kicks pebbles and stones, glottal pops marking my flight. One more step. A smell washes over me, a rotting tide. One more step. The entrance looms before me, my exit now, and I make out the silhouettes of my comrades, moving about camp. Is that their laughter I hear, or have I gone mad? One more step — * See how quickly they die, how easily they rise again? Necromancy, a written art, its secrets consecrated in blood, His Word made flesh. For the longest time, that was all I saw; runes and languages that sought to confound me even as I learned them. Never did I stop to study that on which they were written. Their medium: human skin, gut for binding, and flesh of a different kind, sprouted from the sodden earth, grown into great forests before being hewn and pulped. That flesh is silent now, but in fair Ghyran, it still sings, the very wind whispering with untold secrets, a shiver down my spine. So I walk that land, and beneath those trees I read again, my fingers teasing stories from the throats of sylphs and the aelves that dance with them, my tongue the sorrow that defines their tales. What more could the undying ask for than that: Nature, a book that never ends! Such a shame that they won’t stop screaming. How is one supposed to read, surrounded by such a racket? Read more about Tale of Instahammer Werble-1C267E295.MP4
  6. This is my second year doing the hobby challenge 'Tales of Instahammer' and I'm absolutely loving it. If you've never heard of Tales before, the premise couldn't be simpler: each month there's a new theme and anyone participating paints up a new unit or leader that fits, the idea being that by the time the challenge ends in July, you've got a small, playable force painted up. Tales is everything I love about the hobby: it's inspiring, it gives me a routine/structure to follow (I LOVE a to-do list...) and it's a great excuse to chat with and get support from other avid hobbyists. We have a Facebook Group where we can share our WIPs, chat about the game, and get ideas. We're also very active on Instagram. As someone who isn't part of a gaming group (and doesn't know anyone else who actually collects or plays), there's a sense of community to Tales that really resonates with me. If you're reading this, I'm going to assume you know my theme for this year is Necrarch Soulblight vampires. I'm going to create an update post once a month to cover off what progress I've made and any accompanying fiction I've written. Below, you can see what's coming up over the next six months. Got a question? Ask away! And if you're on Instagram, do check out the hashtag #talesofinstahammer to see what everyone else is working on! Month #1: The Withering Month #2: TBD Month #3: TBD Month #4: TBD Month #5: TBD Month #6: TBD
  7. For this week's #WIPWednesday, we approach the Casket of Khepra and its keepers... The Ancient One discovered this casket centuries past when wandering the vast deserts of Neferatia. Its cracked stone and ruined glyphs belie the hive of danger held within. On first opening the casket, The Ancient One was devoured almost to the bone by the ravenous swarm that erupted from inside. Today, three Keepers are charged with maintaining timeless vigil over the casket and its roiling contents, a thankless task that involves blessing the artefact, praying to it and, on occasion, feeding it. When the Brotherhood has cause to make battle, its disciples do so in the knowledge that the casket comes with them, and from its sepulchral depths the children of Khepra do emerge to block out the sun, bound to their keepers’ wills, a clicking, chittering swarm beneath which the hearts and minds of men crumble, like so many brittle husks... On the tabletop, this will be a second counts-as Coven Throne or Bloodseeker Palanquin. I'm having a huge amount of fun interpreting these Leaders around the theme of my army and can't wait to get some paint on this for February. Related read: WIP Wednesday: Caspar's Coven Instagram: @brotherhoodofnecros More about me: Joining the ranks
  8. “Do you feel it, Neferata? Do you feel the silent angles of the Corpse Geometries growing sharper about you? The charnel mathematics of Usirian have drawn you here...” This week, I Am Reading: Neferata: The Blood of Nagash by Josh Reynolds. The book continues pretty much directly on from The Rise of Nagash trilogy by Mike Lee so of course I got stuck straight in. What did I think? If you’re in thrall of the Queen of Mysteries, this is a must-read, offering a first-person glimpse into the mind and machinations of the First Vampire and her movements post the fall of Lahmia. The narrative focuses on the kingdom of Strigos and weaves Neferata's fate alongside those of Ushoran, W'soran, and (to an extent) Abhorash, as though the four weren't inextricably linked already. The fact that they have found each other again, despite having scattered after the fall of Lahmia, is called out and goes on to set up the theme that all are one with Nagash, symbolised over and over across the book through the black sun and the Crown of Nagash. For me, this is a story about free will and identity. "Neferata pushed herself to her feet. The voice of the crown — Nagash's voice — was back, smashing at her doubts and worries and fears. For an instant, she wondered if this was how others felt when she turned her gaze upon them." Don't let that fool you — there's intrigue and bloodshed aplenty. The rough'n' ready Strigoi warriors offer a satisfying foil to Neferata and her handmaidens. The ladies get their fair share of action, and when their claws are out, Neferata's enemies die. Flashbacks illuminate what happened to Neferata between the sacking of her city and her arrival at Strigos while conveniently introducing us to the origins of each of her closest handmaidens. My favourite thing about the book? Any book or story offering insights into how the First Vampires think and act is a must-read for me. Neferata lives up to her reputation as a manipulator, coercing warlords and sweet-talking the Lord of Masks as though they were chess pieces, but we also see Abhorash and his get (including some familiar faces!), Ushoran and the madness that slowly envelops him and his doomed bloodline, W'soran, hiding in the dark places beneath the mountains like a hungry spider... For acolytes of W’soran, the story also sets up the sequel, Master of Death. (Review coming soon.) Haven't read Neferata: The Blood of Nagash yet? Order a copy, turn down the lights, and dive in...
  9. For this instalment of WIP Wednesday, meet Caspar, often known as Lickspittle, a priest of Necros, most subservient and loyal to The Ancient One. Caspar spends much of his time keeping watch while his father sleeps and waiting on him when he wakes. Of all The Ancient One's get, his obedience is willing. He is particularly jealous of Eli and the good favour the Blissful One receives. He calls The Ancient One ‘Master’. This is his small coven — on the tabletop, counts-as Vargheists. Caspar is based on a classic (2006?) Necrarch sculpt. A Tomb Kings banner top represents his collar/headpiece. His left arm is from the Crypt Ghouls kit, his right the bone-quill from a Nurgle Tallyman. Between these tweaks and the joyous expression you can see across his Abhorrent Ghoul King head, you can hopefully see just how much he is enjoying his work... Instagram: @brotherhoodofnecros More about me: Joining the ranks
  10. "Tell me a story, Abel." One sandalled foot on the marble steps, my brother stops. "A story, Teacher?" "That is what I said." He tugs at the sleeves of his robes, eyes unblinking, and I almost imagine I can see them playing out behind those glassy orbs: a hundred tales, a thousand sagas retold in the recesses of his mind. They say the dead don’t dream, but I have tasted Abel and know better, know that in the dusty aisles of his compliant head, an imagination like no other gluts itself on a centuries-long banquet of literature and lore. Grimoires. Codices. Maps, books of maths and legislature, litanies and more fill his brain. Another once described his sort as books of blood. If so, I am his sole translator. Dark Awakening, Ch. 2 For month one of Tales of Instahammer, we've been asked to complete a regiment and a character. To kick off my collection, I've chosen to tackle a unit of Fell Bats and my counts-as Coven Throne. It's the latter I'd like to shine the spotlight on today, specifically one of the vampire 'handmaidens' mounted on it. Befitting my Necrarch theme, I've imagined the Coven Throne as a kind of chariot/platform from where Abel and his get recite their litanies. A priest of Necros, Abel the Unwritten spends much of his time in the library. A shadow of their progenitor, his get are similarly obsessed with literature. As a coven, they are never far from one of their books. To represent this on the Throne, this acolyte will be reading studiously from a necromantic tome, muttering the word-perfect incantation that you can see manifesting from his outstretched hand. I'll share another update once I've made more progress. For now, I've a book of my own to finish reading... Related read: Sunday Spotlight: The Acolytes Five Flash Fiction: A Copse of Books
  11. “Akhmen-hotep, Beloved of the Gods, Priest King of Ka-Sabar and Lord of the Brittle Peaks, woke among his concubines in the hours before dawn and listened to the faint sounds of the great army that surrounded him.” For this week's Am Reading, we take a look at the Warhammer Chronicles trilogy The Rise of Nagash, by Mike Lee. I picked up this collection last year as preparatory reading for my new death-themed army. The background and lore is a huge part of the hobby for me — so much so that I often write entire novels to bring my collections to life — and a series digging into the Great Necromancer and the history of necromancy itself was a no-brainer. It should be said that I also have a long-lived interest in ancient Egypt and the Old World's geographic equivalent, Nehekhara, so the series had a lot going for it before I'd even turned the first page. What did I think? As deep dives into ancient Nehekharan culture, warfare, and religion go, the three novels in this series smash it. From the first few pages, I found myself drawn in by the setting and the details that bring it to life. The Nehekharans genuinely belief their gods fight with them on the battlefield, if only they uphold their covenant and make the ritual sacrifices necessary to invoke them: "Akhmen-hotep and the nobles of the great army gathered by the waters of the oasis, glittering in their martial finery, and offered up sacrifices to the gods. Rare incense was burned to win the favour of Phakth, the god of the sky and bringer of swift justice. Nobles cut their arms and bled upon the sands to placate great Khsar, god of the desert, and beg him to scourge the army of Khemri with his merciless touch. Young bullocks were brought stumbling up to Geheb's stone altar, and their lifeblood was poured out into shining bronze bowls that were then passed among the assembled lords. The nobles drank deep, beseeching the god to lend them his strength." And to all intents and purposes, their gods do fight with them, blessing the many priest kinds and cohorts of Ushabti bodyguard throughout the books with divine gifts befitting each god's realm of power. Having only known ushabti as animated temple constructs built by the Nehekharan's necrotects, it's fascinating (and quite inspiring) to read about the regiments of god-heroes who went on to inspire the creation of those statuary. It's small yet creative liberties like this that really bring the Nehekharan's living culture to life for me, across the first book in particular. Explored across two timelines in the books, Nagash's quest for dominance over all Nehekhara and the priest-kings' campaign against him form the driving force of the story, and I would've loved to read more about the characters we meet over the course of the series, perhaps at expense of some of the battle scenes, of which there are many. As well as the more character-driven parts of the story, I particularly enjoyed the way Lee explores the Nehekharan response to the undead, which is all the more horrifying for their beliefs in the sanctity of death and the afterlife. As a reader, I'm quite familiar with the concept of the undead as a Warhammer army and fantasy trope, but Nagash the Sorcerer offers us a glimpse of a people coming into contact with it for the very first time: "Something heavy crashed against the side of the chariot to the priest king's right [...] A terrible stink emanated from the attacker, and Akhmen-hotep smelled bitter blood and freshly ruptured bowels [...] It was one of the Usurper's tormented soldiers, clad only in a ragged, blood-stained kilt. Its chest was misshapen, having been crushed by the bronze-shod wheel of a chariot, and a spear point had torn open the warrior's cheek [...] Akhmen-hotep choked back a cry of horror. Nagash's unholy powers were far greater than he imagined. The dead rose from the bloodied earth to do his foul bidding!" My favourite thing about the book(s)?The epic trilogy offers a fascinating look at Nagash’s origins and the influences that shaped his rise to power, as well as his relationship with the vampires and all things undead. This is something that Games Workshop really seems to have run with in the Age of Sigmar setting ("All are one with the Great Necromancer") so I found it really interesting to see this theme play out here, so early into Nagash's story. The relationship between my vampire protagonist and his get, and in turn Nagash and my vampire protagonist, is central to the novel I'm currently drafting, and I gobbled up any and all inspiration I found across this series in relation to Nagash's control over the vampires and those touched by necromancy: W'soran made his way towards the king's dais. Hunched, growling figures paced him from the shadows along either side of the hall [...] Of course they served the Undying King [...] Every creature within sight of the great mountain, living or dead, likely bent its knee before Nagash's might. W'soran did so as well, falling onto his knees before the dais. Of course, my favourite character is W’soran. From the moment I learned that he featured as a PoV character in the series, I had ordered the omnibus. Lee does a wonderful job of capturing his character. As you might expect from the progenitor of a bloodline that goes on to become as reviled as the Necrarchs, some of the most affecting descriptions come not from W'soran but those of other characters observing him. (I'd love to share these here but I wouldn't want to spoil anything for you. Let's just say that long before W'soran's physical form one day degenerates into something you might recognise more immediately as a Necrarch now, there are aspects of his characterisation that inspire horror and awe even amongst his vampire lord equals.) If you have any questions about the book or you want to compare good ol' fashioned notes, drop me a message! Haven't read it yet? Order a copy, turn down the lights, and dive in...
  12. "With a gesture, my wailing attendants dissipate, revealing a slew of previously unheard sounds: the scrape of leather on stone, the flutter of robes caught in the wind and a quiet scratching, which could as readily belong to claws scrabbling at rock or the dutiful drag of nibs across parchment. Their aroma betrays them; turning from the bruised skyline, I watch while the brotherhood assembles around me, crawling like the great bats of the Blood Wastes into the tower’s belfry..." Dark Awakening, Ch. 1 Blood Knights don’t immediately marry with the Necrarch theme but they’re a mainstay Soulblight unit, so a little conversion work was in order to breathe (un)life into these classic Vampire Counts (and a stray Tomb Kings) sculpts. For my first Sunday Spotlight, here’s a group shot of the Acolytes Five. Gifted the Soulblight Curse by a son of the Ancient One, even these lowly get are but extensions of his implacable will. Be it battle, reconnaissance, sermon or ritual, they enact his commandments unfailingly, for he is all things to them: Master, Teacher, High Priest, Father, and who are they to disappoint him, after all he has done for them, after all he promises to do? Keep your eyes peeled (!) for individual spotlights over the coming weeks.
  13. I love reading. I love horror. I love Warhammer. You can imagine my face when I 'calmly unwrapped' a present on Christmas morning and found this beauty staring back at me. Black Library's new Warhammer Horror line caught my eye from the very first newsletter, but Maledictions was my first chance to check it out up close. (You should see the size of my TBR pile — now that's horror.) More than anything else, I was intrigued to find out how BL was positioning these stories, in terms of distinguishing them from the hundreds of other, often horrifying, tales set across their various universes. Horror comes in so many flavours already — which of those were BL identifying with, and were they frightening? Interestingly, they went right ahead and called this out in the first sentence of the blurb: Horror is no stranger to the dark worlds of Warhammer. Its very fabric is infested with the arcane, the abnormal and the downright terrifying. From the cold vastness of the 41st millennium to the creeping evil at large in the Mortal Realms, this anthology of short stories explores the sinister side of Warhammer in a way like never before. Psychological torment, visceral horrors, harrowing accounts of the supernatural and the nightmares buried within, this collection brings together a grim host of tales to chill the very blood... With everything from 'psychological torment' and 'visceral horrors' to the 'supernatural' mentioned, I was fully expecting a Quality Street approach the styles and flavours of horror contained within. (Shotgun the purple hazelnut.) Boxing Day was the perfect opportunity to stick the kettle on and sink my teeth into the book. (Anything but more turkey...) What did I think? I wasn't disappointed. The collection opened with a strong entry in 'Nepenthe' by Cassandra Khaw, and my eyes lit up when I read the words 'space hulk' beside one another — a real Ghost of Christmas Past, reminding me of what must have been one of my first impressions of Warhammer as a small child (a time when I saw Genestealers as nothing more than purple space aliens — ignorance is bliss!) True to its word, horror comes in all kinds of varieties, with the distinguishing take (for me) being the emphasis on the character and emotion of more relatable protagonists over the God-level special characters and epic battles we often see in BL's traditional lines. We're looking out at the world through the eyes of widows in small fishing towns and sewer guards lost in the dark, even a young dryad, witnessing the horror of battle for the first time. There are twists aplenty, serving to bring the reader back to the true horrors being explored across the stories, and an attention to the darker side of realms, races, and settings that are perhaps overshadowed by Chaos and Death in the mainstream narrative. "I smashed the collection in a couple of days. Between Christmas dinners, bottles of rum, and an excruciating game of family Monopoly, that says everything it needs to about how much I enjoyed Maledictions." My favourite story? The one that's really stuck in my head is 'A Darksome Place' by BL legend Josh Reynolds. I won't spoil it for you but it ticked a lot of boxes for me — the atmosphere, the mystery, the revelation (which wasn't over-explained, preserving much of the strangeness and wonder while giving just enough away to produce that 'aha!' moment), and some beautifully descriptive writing meant this one planted some firm roots in my mind. If you have any questions about the book or you want to compare good ol' fashioned notes, drop me a message! Haven't read it yet? Order a copy, turn down the lights, and dive in...
  14. This is a test model for my new Necrarch-themed Soulblight army. It is the first of three Fell Bats known across the Brotherhood as Blood-Fat Bats. I love the classic Fell Bat models but I wanted to try and create a more ghoulish, Frankenstein's Monster look to my flock. To achieve this, I've borrowed elements from the Crypt Ghoul kit with the Chaos Beasts Warcry kit (the Chaos Furies and the Raptors) to create a bat that, to my mind, has more of a mangy, mishmash appearance, as though it has been sewn together by the Brotherhood in their laboratories, if not bred by them in the dark caves beneath the tower... I have assembled two more of these and will field them as a unit of three. Check out the Blood-Fat Bat in the Gallery. Instagram: @brotherhoodofnecros Read the previous post: Joining the ranks
  15. For the first instalment of 'WIP Wednesday', meet The Ancient One, the Everliving, the Wicked, Spider King and High Priest of The Brotherhood of Necros. Mad, knowledge-hungry, this vampire lord whiles away the centuries in deep trances, communing with the spirits to decipher their secrets and better understand them. On waking, he records his findings in writing and, more recently, on canvas, creating beautiful paintings from the blood and memories of the dead. Every acolyte of The Brotherhood owes their lineage to him, at once powerful vampires in their own right and slaves to the Ancient One and his will.The Ancient One is a work-in-progress Vampire Lord on Zombie Dragon. I’ve used the OOP Tomb Kings Hierophant as a base, bringing that ghastly expression, a stitched cloak, ancient collar and several painful-looking utensils to the sculpt. But mostly that expression. He just needed a little tongue... Still to do: I'm keen to add a coterie of spirits and other creations flying around him, evidencing his horrifying aura, his mastery of the dark arts and power of all things dead. For this, I intend to use the skull-faced wisps of death magic from the Coven Throne kit, which will give the effect I want without overcrowding the mini or overpowering the vampire himself. There's also his dragon to complete, but that's a post for another day... Instagram: @brotherhoodofnecros More about me: Joining the ranks Read the previous post: Test-Mini: A Blood-Fat Bat
  16. Hey! I’m Tom and for 2020 I’ve decided to revisit one of my favourite Fantasy factions, the much-reviled Necrarchs. This is my second year back in the hobby after a hiatus of almost a decade. I was introduced to the game at a young age (cheers, Dad!) and have followed it ever since. I’ve always had a soft spot for W’soran’s acolytes. They’re characterful, they wear their heart on their sleeve (often literally) for the way in which they actually look like the undead monsters they are, and I can really relate to the desire to squirrel myself away in a tall tower far from civilisation to read/study/sleep... "The Necrarchs are the most learned of Vampires, more skilled at sorcery than with the blade. These skills have come at a price, however. The appearance of the Necrarchs has grown so hideous and unnatural that an ordinary man cannot bear to look upon them, and many run screaming at the sight. When their great library was burned to the ground by fearful mortals, many Necrarchs remained to burn with it, so strong was their devotion to knowledge." I collect strongly themed, heavily converted armies that inspire me to write. This project has itself been inspired by the grotesque yet haunting artwork of Melkhior the Ancient, shared below. If I can capture a sliver of that horror across my collection and in my writing, I’ll be a happy man! Thanks for following — feel free to message or comment and say hi! Instagram: @brotherhoodofnecros More about me: Hello from Oxfordshire, UK! My first test mini: A Blood-Fat Bat
  17. Hi All, I've decided to get back into the hobby. I've been out of the hobby since the dropping of WHFB 8th edition so I'm completely new to AoS. In 8th edition I've played both High Elves and Ogre Kingdoms, but I want to start a whole new army. Soulblight! The fast playing style, low model count, general tactics and the models make this the go to army for me. Also budget wise this should be a good army for me as I already know what I like to pick up from the shop. I tried making a list with those models and I'm curious what you guys think of it. The models I'd like to use are: 2x AoS SC Flesheater Courts which contains: 2x VLoZD 2x Flying Horror (Ghoul Kings conversion using the little Vargheist wings) 6x Vargheists 1 box of Tyranid Gargoyle Brood to convert the Ghouls from the SC kit to 10 Fell Bats Probably another 2 boxes of Vargheists The list I came up with using these models would be the following: Death - Soulblight - Swift Death = 2000 Points VLoZD - 440 -General -Lance, shield, chalice VLoZD - 440 -Lance, shield, chalice VL - 140 -Flying Horror VL - 140 -Flying Horror 4x3 Vargheists - 150x4=600 3x3 Fell Bats - 80x3=240 This is exactly 2000 points. I haven't made up my mind about artefact or lore of the vampires. I'd like to know what you think about it so far. If you have any tips or recommendations. If you have any tactical tips for this list? I'll be playing in an AoS group 2 or 3 times a month and there will probably be a tournament two times a year. The list doesn't have to be the most competitive list possible. It has to be a fun and good looking list which is competitive enough that I won't be losing every game.
  18. “Necromancy, a written art, its secrets consecrated in blood, His Word made flesh. For the longest time, that was all I saw; runes and languages that sought to confound me even as I learned them. Never did I stop to study that on which they were written. "Their medium: human skin, gut for binding, and flesh of a different kind, sprouted from the fecund earth, grown into great forests before being hewn and pulped. That flesh is silent now, but in fair Ghyran, it still sings, the very wind whispering with untold secrets, a shiver down my spine. So I walk that land now, and beneath those trees I read again, my fingers teasing stories from the throats of sylphs, my tongue the sorrow that defines their tales. "What more could the undying ask for than that: Nature, a book that never ends! Such a shame that they won’t stop screaming. How is one supposed to read, surrounded by such a racket?” — Abel, Dark Awakenings Related read: Flash Fiction: A Choir of Screams Flash Fiction: One More Step video-ad666f8faec9489095adf7da21d970dc.MP4
  19. "Her song holds no sway in these old trees. They stir with a different sound. Stop running, child, and you may just hear it: the wind in the boughs, like the billowing of vast wings; its keening shriek, like that of a beast in pain. You may yet hear it, if you just stop running. You may yet sing with them. "Yes, little princeling. Catch your breath and raise your voice and sing with the children of the night, even as they catch you. A choir of screams, in harmony!" Related read: Flash Fiction: One More Step Werble-094F7D401.MP4
  20. This is a test model for my new Necrarch-themed Soulblight army. It is the first of three Fell Bats known across the Brotherhood as Blood-Fat Bats. I love the classic Fell Bat models but I wanted to try and create a more ghoulish, Frankenstein's Monster look to my flock. You can find out more about this lil' bloodsucker over on the blog.
  21. The Great Task of Ralazhar Deathsworn Nagash had led the emissaries of the Anvils of the Heldenhammer to believe that he would join them in their assault upon the fortress of Gothizzar, the All-gate that guarded the Endgate. Nagash knew that the arcway leading from the Allpoints to Shyish must be shuttered, but he did not aid the Stormcast Eternals. Such an alliance did not suit the Great Necromancer; after all, Nagash still did not consider his long-standing grudge against Sigmar for the wrongs done to him repaid. From his throne of bones, he watched the Stormcast Eternals die at Gothizzar. When he was ready, Nagash’s assault upon that fortress would not fail. -Excerpt from the Freeguilder General’s Handbook, a history of the Age of Chaos Shyish, some days following the battle of Gothizzar during the Age of Chaos. What utter Heresy, Ralazahr thought as he left the Sanctum of his Master. An order of Blood Knights had defied the Supreme One to save a band of the Thief-King’s Stormcast at the battle of Gothizzar. He had never understood why anyone would not bow their heads in subservience to the glory of the Supreme One in the first place. But for the Order of Allurah, favoured servants who had fought in the Supreme One’s Grand Host for centuries, to defy their Master was a Heresy almost beyond belief. Still, Ralazahr smiled to himself as he walked out of the Black Tower. His place was not to dwell on such matters, his place was to see the Supreme One’s will be done. Currently that meant claiming the Vampires’ souls for their just punishment. And as one of the foremost Dark Acolytes to the Legion of Sacrament that would be precisely what he’d do. ~ Hello everyone and welcome to my painting log! I have been painting and modelling on and off over the last 15 years. I have been in love with all things vampiric and undead since the ancient days of the world-that-was. However, over those years I have never managed to complete a full army 😅 So, after switching to a new job I now have the money and time to start building not one but two armies! In this blog I will keep everyone posted about my progress and the developing lore for the armies. Starting with Ralazhar Deathsworn's Undead Horde. Ralazhar is one of Arkhan's most zealous Dark Acolytes, a devoted servant of Nagash and a powerful Master Necromancer. He has been tasked with reclaiming the souls of the Order of Allurah, a band of Blood Knights led by Geneva Isidora. Once favoured knights of Nagash, they believe that the only way to resist the tide of Chaos is to unite the living and the dead under one banner as equals, not slaves. Of course no blogpost would be complete without miniatures, so here are a group of fallen Warrior Priests. Once, these priests fought valiantly to destroy necromancers and other evildoers. Now, they serve as Ralazhar's Hexwraith trackers. More pictures behind the spoilers bar.
  22. Amidst a land of looming cliffs, wild streams, and dark pine forests, a harsh and rugged people claw their existence out of that brutal archipelago – Northern Ossia in inner Shyish. While the weather is rarely ever kind, and the wilds often teem with baleful spirits as often as wild animals, the seafaring Ossians proudly sustain themselves on trade and plunder in equal measure. Divided into independent, often feuding clans, Ossians recognize no rule above their Soulblight Jarls, and a king chosen from amongst their rank during ceremonial gatherings of heinous violence. The Age of Chaos tested the normally indomitable will of the Clans, many of which only survive as ghosts and dusty bones. Even in death however, the culture endures. Druidic necromancers have interpreted the Necroquake as the dawn of a new time, one of unending war and plunder which will restore former glory. Their greatest Jarl, Havard Fuilbeorn – literally the “Blood Bear” – has returned from a pilgrimage to remote Penultima astride a massive dragon, unique in almost all the realms. He has united both the living and the dead, the corporeal and the spectral, for the first time in a thousand years. With this grand army, he shall carve a bloody swathe across the Mortal Realms. Do you dare to stand in his way? Hello everyone, Martin here with a new hobby project. I’m moving on from a two-year devotion to Stormcast Eternals to break away from every comfort zone I’ve ever held dear, and have turned to Legions of Nagash. I’ve wanted to do this army for a long time, probably since early 2017, but hadn’t the courage nor the idea on how to execute it properly. The tidbit of lore attached should provide some context into what I want, but to further explain I didn’t want something like the endless waves of indistinguishable dead, I wanted something more aggressive and vibrant looking. The idea came about from playing fames like The Witcher 3 and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice to create an army born of Celtic and Nordic influences. Brooding greens and cold greys would contrast with the pallid flesh of vampires and bright bone of the skeletons. There are subliminal nature themes within the army, though it is not one of reverence like that found in Sylvaneth armies, rather representing the inscrutable, inhospitable nature of the Ossian homeland. I have a goal of painting 1,000 points of the army over the next five weeks, and I will be posting regular updates delving into why I made certain choices about how things looked as well as the lore behind them. In addition to picking an army I believe can be more competitive for me in the long run, I also wanted to infuse more of a story into each unit, giving them as much character as possible. My test Nighthaunt unit for example, is a banshee sent from Nagashizzar to corral the spirits of deserter clansmen, commanding them to fight even when the Jarl had forsaken such a miserable and pathetic house of ingrates. In this month I have to paint -Vampire Lord on Zombie Dragon -Necromancer -30 Skeletons -5 Dire Wolves -10 Grimghast Reapers -4 Gravesites I’m doing this in cooperation with my local gaming club which is running a Warhammer charity event around building, painting, and playing models. I also want 1000 points complete so I can begin acclimating to the army as quickly as possible, even if the games are smaller. I hope you enjoy these pictures, feel free to leave feedback and check back in with the thread later down the line to see progress. Thank you.
  23. Hello everyone. The Soulblight faction can choose the Swift Death bloodline that gives additional movement to all units and this little bonus... "In addition, Swift Death models can always move as if they can fly." How does this interact with things that prohibit flying, such as the Skaven vortex spell? There are two different aspects to this question. 1) Blood Knights and Vampire Lords on foot and on nightmares do not have the FLY keyword on their warscrolls, and the Swift Death bloodline does not give that keyword. As such they never actually fly, they only ever move as though they were flying. 2) All other Soulblight units have the FLY keyword native on their warscrolls. These are all actually flying when they move and follow all the normal rules for fliers. Does the "always" part of the Swift Death ability trump any attempts to stop any Swift Death models from flying? Or would it be only Blood Knights and Vampire Lords without FLY? Or are they all stopped from "flying", even the ones who never actually were flying?
  24. The VLords upper body and upper arms came from the Abhorrant Ghoulking, his cape and the whole flesh/muscle/additional skin was done using Greenstuff. -- Detlaff, warden of the Queen's livestock, proconsul of the flayed fields.
  25. Hello all. I’m a long time GW hobby participant that loves to convert and kitbash. Figured I’d make a place to share the things I come up with. Knights of the Black Chalice This is the start of my Soulblight force. I want them to be an army of knights so I’m converting a lot of counts as units to keep the knightly theme. The plan is to expand it to run as a Legion of Blood force too. We’ll see if I ever get there. Chaos knights as Blood Knights. Shield arms left off for ease of painting. I plan on having 2 more units of 5. This is the start of my counts as Blood Palanquin. Instead of a platform carried into battle by an ethereal host it is a war machine around which spirit hosts will cavort. My converted Knight of Shrouds for Malign Portents who madly believes himself to be a Knight Questor. More Death will eventually follow. I have plans for counts as Vargheist using Stormcast Prosecutors, huge vampire knights borne aloft on ethereal wings. Aetherwings painted as huge ravens to count as Fell Bats, Executioners with head and weapon swaps to be Grave Guard etc. Storm Scions (name still in flux) My custom Stormcast warhost. Taking my inspiration from Viking myth (Sigmar as a mix of Odin and Thor), the god Ulric from the World-that-was, and Space Wolves. First 6 Liberators. 4 more planned in a similar vein. Lord Celestant is still WIP, based on the Neave Blacktalon model. I had to stop working on my Liberators to make this guy once I saw the Warscroll for the upcoming Knight Incantor. Since they are described as stormcallers and I’m using some Space Wolf inspiration I knew I had to make me an AoS version of THE Stormcaller, Njal himself. So I took the leader of the Farstriders as the base since he has a bird on his arm. That gave my my Nightwing, Njal’s Cyber raven. I swapped the head and hands and voila. My Stormcaller Knight Incantor. Up next will be a Lord Relictor then the rest of the Liberators. Other plans include Judicators, Paladins, Raptors and Palladors. Let me know what you think so far.
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