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.

The Harrowmark Run, Part 2

Vortex of Power

While recovering, Kalyustar went over the latest events. He had recognised the orruks as the infamous Ogresuns and the undead as the accursed Ordeshal Host. That they were, clearly, after the same wreckship was a problem. He was not yet prepared to face this kind of enemy, but the sudden eruption of a hurricane of Shyishan winds could give him some more tools. While he was channeling the hurricane's power, his men spread around, ready to intercept any interlopers.

An imposing Wight King emerged from the nearby ruins. In a mockery of its former life as a servant of Khorne, he ordered its minions to claim the wizard's skull. A slavering undead wolf bursted out of the woods, falling on Lucius Scopos. One of the Fencers counter-charged to assist the marksman, but the spiteful woods claimed him, leaving Lucius at the mercy of the wolf.

The Haunted Gate flared to life, unsettled by the raging hurricane. The men nearby were ravaged by its energies. Karol the Cuirassier, just brought in by Kalyustar, levelled his repeater handgun at the Wight, but couldn't stop the revenant's charge. The undead wolf launched itself on Kalyustar.

'There will be more gold!' shouted Kalyustar, glad he had taken plenty of wyrd-gold with him. Nothing better to find hidden reserves of courage in his men. As expected, Esteban, the only survivor of the Gate's blast, bravely charged the shambling deathrattlers. Kalyustar then fulminated the wolf and steared his horse to put the hurricane between himself and the Wight King, silently screaming in triumph over the fallen Karol. Undaunted by the swirling magical energies, however, the Wight charged Kalyustar.

But the wizard was prepared. Drawing more power from his cursed scroll, he turned his opponent into a glemaing gold statue. Pleased, he checked if Esteban was still holding back the skeletons and resumed his ritual. Then, the statue crumbled and its dust, carried away on the winds, reformed in the Wight's shape at the feet of a rocky outcrop.

It was no time for heroics. Continuing to recite the enchantment's words, Kalyustar spurred the horse around the raging hurricane.

Now safely away from the Wight, Kalyustar finally managed to tap into the magical vortex. Words of power seared themselves into his mind, together with a distant, disturbingly cold laugh.

The Harromark Run, Part 1


'Sir, I think there's a clearing over there', said Lucius Scopos pointing at a tiny speck of light piercing the gloom.
'What I'd give for an inn, a mug of warm wine and a warmer young lady...' replied Fernando, idly practicing his favoured combination of parries and thrusts.
'Enough, Fernando!' hissed Kalyustar 'We're here on serious business. Signal your men to move forward, let's see if Lucius is right'.
As his Free Companies negotiated the tangled wood, Kalyustar sank in his toughts. The Eclipse had come and gone and he was no closer than before it to achieving his true goal, adding the fabled sigmarite to his collection of rare substances. If nothing else, he had wrested a scroll of power from the mutated claws of a Chaos Sorcer. And now he had accepted the Elders' order to lead an expedition to try and recover the Church of Sigmar's Retribution from the cursed Harrowmark. He didn't particularly care about the fate of the crazed Devoted, but he knew valuable substances can be recovered from the skyship wrecks that dotted the region. So far, they had found no sign of Lothar Valdemius and his followers, but they had heard of a recently crashed vessel loaded with Shyishan Realmstone. Who knew, perhaps Realmstone attuned to the power of the Great Necromancer might be the tool he needed to stop sigmarite from discorporating and return to Azyr. That crashed vessel was their quarry now, if only they can manage to find a way through the suffocating gloom.

Might is Right

Dawn had not yet broke when the Free Companies finally approached the Freebooter's Tower. From there, Kalyustar was hoping to located the wreck site. Suddenly, a pale lady, accompanied by a ghostly horseman advanced towards them. Slightly away, the raucos shouting of orruks could be heard above the whistling winds.

As the first sunlight touched upon the Tower's battlements, one of the Fancy Fencers reached them and started scanning the region. The White Lady run for Kalyustar. Crossbow bolts darted at her, but she ignored them with a cruel smile on her lips. With contempt, she dispatched Kalyustar and Antonius, the Marksmen's drummer.

A hulking orruk boss charged one of the Fancy Fencer, but as the trill of Esteban's flute dissipated, the brute found itself surrounded. Another orruk charged a lone Deathwalker. Slowed down by the grasping roots, the greenskin failed to hit and was brought down. The White Lady, after felling Lucius Scopos poured her Arcane Bolts onto the melee at the feet of Freeboter's Tower.

Jorge, from the top of the Hurricane Bell, saw the ghostly horseman running over most of the orruks. As his companions felled the boss he ordered them to rally around him. The undead had clearly won the day and dragging the wounded to the safety of the Hurricane Belt was the only thing to do. From there, they could reorganise themselves and plan their next move.