Sunday, 17 September 2017

Free Companies of the Gilded Hand - 6

Aldrik the Young, Castellan of Iridiumspire

Aldrik is the first Freeguild Hero I'm adding to my Free Companies. This time around I just worked with the bits I had without trying to replicate any of the classic Dogs of War models. I had the Freeguild General kit and I'm planning a Freeguild General on foot to accompany Fernando's Fancy Fencers, the Venithyan Marksmen and a few more infantry units. So, the mounted general was the perfect opportunity to give some support to Karol's Cuirassiers.

This meant that Aldrik needed a pistol. I had one in my bits box attached to a satchel, from the Pistoliers I think. I clipped away the satchel and handle and glued the barrel to the Freeguild General's arm holding a mace. I also gave Aldrik a banner since I intend to use the General on foot as my army general in larger games, and a Stately Warbanner is definetely a nice addition. Because I want my Free Companies to look as mundane as possibile I swapped the angel of death banner for the banner from the Imperial Knights. I've choosen the skull with laurel top as it perfectly matches the laurel and skeleton on the horse crest. Finally, since I'm keeping the General's heads for my unit champions, I've emebellished a Freeguildguard's head with the feathers from the same kit.

As I was working on Aldrik I've also built the rest of Karol's Cuirassiers, as planned using the Imperial Knights bodies and the feathered helms and pistol arms from the Freeguild infantry.

I'm still working on the details of Aldrik's backstory, but meanwhile you can (re)read that of the Cuirassiers here.

Monday, 28 August 2017

The Harrowmark Run, Part 5

Retrieve the Fallen

"Damn you and your greed!" shouted Kalyustar at his liutenants "See where it took us?". The three mercenary captains stood silent, the freshly bandaged wounds reminding them of the beating they took from the Ogresuns. "Let's move now! We have some Realmstone to find, if those orruks didn't already get there".
"Well, Sir..." intervened Lucius Scopos.
"What? If it is gold you want, you'll have it once we have the Realmstone!" a faint purple glow lit Kalyustar's mask from the inside.
"No, Sir... but... one of my men is still missing. I lost him in the storm".
"You, incompetent simpleton!" the purple glow flared stronger, filling Scopos with an unnatural fear. Still, Kalyustar battled the urge to drain the man's soul with his new powers. The wizard knew that, second to gold, mercenaries respected a leader that cared for his followers. "Very well, let's comb these woods. But pray this is the last time you slow me down", the purple glare slowly faded away.

As the Free Companies prepared to move, a chilling howl pierced the Harrowmark gloom. The incorporeal shapes of the White Lady and her retinue flickered into view, advancing through the crooked trees.

"Fernando, through the Gate! Karol, ride around it! You two look for our companion. The rest with me!" cried Kalyustar. A few crossbow bolts felled the White Lady's Deadwalker servant.

Lyrd Radclyffe and his squire galloped to a clearing, where a lumpen shape laid on the ground. Screaming spirits floated to bar Karol's way.

"Men, get the Spirits, free Karol! I'll deal with the Riders!" Kalyustar spurred his steed and turned Lyrd Radclyffe into a golden statue. In a flash of greenish light, Fernando emerged from his trip through the Haunted Gate, ready to charge Radclyffe's squire.

A chilling laughter rung through the wood as the White Lady stumbled upon the fallen Marksman.

Kalyustar and Fernando charged, the Fencer falling but buying time for his master to banish the squire. In a blur of speed, the White Lady was upon Karol. The Spirits flew away to guard the fallen man.

Kalyustar rode for the Spirits, battering them with magic and finally despatching them with his staff. The White Lady unhorsed Karol, only to find herself surrounded by the Gilded Hand infantry.

The wizard stood firm, waving counterspells to stop all of the White Lady's fell incantations. And then, he latched into her withered soul and drew some of it into himself.

Weakened and robbed of her magic, the White Lady struggled against the infantrymen. More soldiers piled in, pinning the revenant where she was.

The taste of blood lingering in his mouth, Kalyustar felt a deeper connection with the land around him. A thick mist started to gather around him and the Marksman. He ordered his men to fall back. Now their companion was safe it was time to resume the search for the Realmstone.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

The Harrowmark Run, Part 4

Seize the Relic

"You're saying that that was the last extra gold you had?" Fernando's voice was full of spite.
"You know the rules, wizard. No gold, no fighting" added Karol pragmatically.
"But the ship journal is clear! The vessel we tracked had to dump the cargo because of a storm and gives precise directions as to where they dumped it" replied Kalyustar, knowing full well there was no such thing as precise directions in the dread of the Harrowmark forests "You'll get double pay once we secure the Realmstone!"
"Sir, what the other captains are trying to say is that, perhaps, we could do with searching that graveyard we just passed by. The men will surely appreciate the opportunity to earn their own money."
If even Scopus, the less questioning of his liutenants was on their side, there was no chance. Bitterly, Kalyustar had to give in.
As the Gilded Hand columun started to backtrack, the wind rose and thunder broke. Another storm was approaching.

Kalyustar and Karol were opening they way through the tangled boughs, the Fencers and Marksmen close behind.

Lightning criss-crossed the grey sky, their glare revealing the Ogresuns moving in a column and making haste to the other entrance to the graveyard.

"Forward men! You'll have to fight if you want your gold!" shouted Kalyustar spurring his steed forward, Karol hot on his heels.

The two made for the central square of the graeyard and felled Dredger Zug in a hail of bullets and magic. The Fencers and Marksmen rushed through the entrance, the narrow alley slowing them down.

Undaunted, the Ogresuns charged forward. Salty Ogbad split from the main column and slammed onto Kalyustar, his Grot lackeys shouting encouragements. The orruks closed onto the Gilded Hand infantry, pinning them into the tight confines of the alley.

Without the space needed to bring all their numbers to bear, it took some time and a few losses for the Fencers to break throught the greenskin wall. As they managed to break through a terrible chill fell on them. Both Kalyustar and Karol were laying unconscious at the Warboss' feet. Without a word, they charged.

Fernando and his men fought brilliantly, parrying, fainting and hitting back.

But alas, Salty Ogbad was not to be undone. Lucius and the last standing Marksman had approached and dealt with the Grots, but at this point the only thing they could do was runnning away.

As they crossed the graveyard fences, the power of the crude fetishes hang on them vanished and they were lost in the raging storm.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

The Harrowmark Run, Part 3

Field of Blood

Karol had returned from his scouting, announcing he had located the crash site but that enemy forces were converging on it.

The Gilded Hand managed to steal a march on them. The Venithyan Marksmen and Fancy Fencers were advaincing in two neat lines, ready to support each other, either flanks protected by Kalyustar and Karol.

The unruly ranks of the Ogresuns came forward shouting, while the Ordeshal Host silently drifted out from the Charybdris Occulum.

Kalyustar ordered the infantry forward onto the crash site, while Karol spurred his steed to intercept Lyrd Radclyffe and his squire.

With astonishing speed, the Ogresuns closed on the Free Companies, their charge hailed by Antonius' drum and Esteban's pipe. A vicious fight erupted, the Free Companies fighting as one but unable to withstand the expert cuts of Salty Ogbad.

Kalyustar threw all the wyrd-gold he had left at the men, but not even this was enough to keep them in the fight. Summoning forth magic bolts, the wizard charged forth. It won't be a bunch of savages to stop him from claiming the Realmstone.

Suddenly, a howling announced Lyrd Radclyffe had drove over Karol. The ghostly riders smashed into the orruks, dispersing them and preparing to close on Kalyustar.

Badly wounded, Kalyustar drew on the powers he had snatched from the magical hurricane. Whatever was left of Radclyffe's squire's soul restored the wizard's forces. He made for the center of the crash site, where Lyrd Radclyffe finally cought up with him.

A flicker of Kalyustar's fingers and the rider transmuted into gold. There was no trace of Realmstone and the White Lady, having dealt with the rearmost Ogresuns was fast approaching. Knowing that prudence was the best part of courage, Kalyustar grabbed what looked like the ship diary and a golden trinket and spurred his horse away.

The power from the hurricane was indeed great, and had won him the day. Yet Kalyustar couldn't shake from himself the feeling of smething wrong, as the bitter smell of the hexwraith he had siphoned onto himself still lingered around him.

The Harrowmark Run, First Interlude

Clash at Dawn

From atop a crumbling platform, Pieter von Toorn took in the malignant immensity of the Harrowmark. He had lost any sense of time, of how long they had been there since the Deadwalker horde had overtaken them, the Nachtjägers and the last few yards of hallowed ground in Wortbad. He had found some members of the Church of Sigmar's Retribution and with them had fought countless skirmishes against the fell servants of Nagash, but still could not find a way out of that thrice-cursed forest. Thanks to the powers of the ruin he could see the Darksuns in spite of the pre-dawn darkness. They had already clashed before and now they stood on the only partly open route between him and the small party he had sent scouting ahead.

He spotted a hellhound and skeleton that had been separated by the other Darksuns. Climbing down from the platform he joined Brother Speak No Evil and made for them. Meanwhile, Wilhelm Glaübig and Brother See No Evil charged the larger Darksuns group. Brother Hear No Evil, blinded by the darkness, failed to join them.

The Darksuns surrounded the Warpriest and Brother See No Evil, while another hellhound fell upon Brother Hear No Evil. Froathing curses, Brother Speak No Evil also charged the isolated hellhound. Soon, he was the only Flagellant standing and Glaübig found himself badly outnumbered.

Pieter was rushing to the warpriest's aid when the holy man was dragged down. As the Deathrattle turned to close on him, Pieter muttered a prayer to Sigmar, even if he was starting to believe the God-king had abandoned them.