Sunday, 29 September 2019

Shadows of Commorragh, Part 3

Cornered and Surrounded

"There's nothing here!" hissed Torc. Despite their elegance, her short and hurried steps betrayed her frustration.
"Smoke and mirrors" replied Jair nursing her wounded arm.
The Guardian paused for a moment, took a deep breath and coldly assessed the situation. "We can't rejoin Excrucia, the ruins of Voidfall Tower bar our way. There's an alternative route to a safe portal through the Shuddervault."
"What's the level of risk?" cut in the veteran Dire Avenger.
"Unknown. I have no intelligence on the area. Neither Thresyn nor Inghfar have been there."
"I can sense Lann and his party not far" said Torc listening to the Whisper. "How long for them to join us on the way?"
"Three to four cycles", came Jair's reply after she briefly listened too.
"It's a narrow window, but we can make it", the Dire Avenger touched her Exarch's mind over the Whisper and turned to Jair. "Let's go!"

The two Ynnari advanced onto the large, derelict avenue cutting through the Shuddervault. Suddenly, Jair's scanner glared bright.
"Multiple signals, in front and behind. Approaching fast!"

Dark shapes prowled the ruins around them, bright red hair often the only thing visible in the cerulean gloom.

Laying a suppressive fire with their shuriken catapults, Torc and Jair backed towards a portal hidden among the ruins.

Izurad ducked under the salvo and closed on Torc. Morghdrax was close behind. Lakbyrn and Bahreneq approached from the other side, the Parched's pistol sending poisened darts to embedd themselves into the crumbling walls.

Jair vaulted on the platform, but the portal was shut. Still firing, Torc retreated, but Izurad kept closing in and pushed her into the waiting blade of Lakbyrn. Not far, Lann sprinted out of a building.

The Exarch was too late, though. Laughing manically, Izurad felled Torc and pounced towards Lann.

Inghfar, Hal'thar and EƤrandil emerged on either sides of the Bleaksouls' rear elements and opened up with their weapons.

Despite the crossfire, the Bleaksouls charged at the newcomers, the pain inflicted on Torc pushing them into an ever deeper frenzy.

Jair made it for the end of the Shuddervault avenue, but Bahreneq did not relent from her pursuit.

Ecstatic laughter and painful screams filled the air as one by one the Void Phoenixes were incapacitated, ligaments cut and wounds burning with poison.

Silence fell on the Shuddervault as Lann, the last Ynnari standing, squared up to Izurad.
"Let them go!", Morghdrax's shout cut across the ravaged street. In a mocking salute, he swept his sword in front of his gloating grin and bowed with an ostentatious flourish.
"Let them flee back to their master and tell of what happened here. And let them pass along Lady Anielyn's kindest regards."

As the Void Phoenixes dragged themselves away, pain and humilation washed over the Whisper. In Spiritripper's Market, Yrule Vivithrax felt them and rage filled him.

Sunday, 22 September 2019

Shadows of Commorragh, Part 2

A knife in the Dark

"What news do you bring, Thresyn?" asked Yrule, still looking through the oval window overseeing the crammed alleys of Spiritripper's Market.
"The Sprawl is buzzing with rumours about Hurrikhaine, Thanarch" replied the former Kabalite. "It has taken me some time to sift through them and I bring nothing certain. Yet, one of my old sources claims there's something amiss at the old docks around the Fading Obelisk. He's always been reliable in the past".
"What he says?"
"Some unsavoury characters, of the Wrack type, have been busy there. Both slaves and heavy containers have been brought into the buildings. Nothing came out of them, though. And the Bleaksouls have started hanging around the streets there. It's Lady Anielyn's patch, not theirs, but none of her cliques have opposed them".
"Well done, Thresyn" Yrule turned away from the window and smiled at the Kabalite. "It seems you have not lost your instinct for information".
"No, Thanarch. Though I now pity my little birds. I can smell their rotting souls and the soulthirst ravaging them. I wonder how they can be so blind".
"Do not worry, we'll bring them Ynnead's freedom. But first, let's give Verkhosian what he wants. Then we'll use his influence for a higher cause".
The Thanarch then closed his eyes and listened to the Whisper of Ynnead that bound together the spirits of the Ynnari.
'Excrucia' he called through the Whisper. 'Choose your crew. There's some of your old acquaintances from the arenas in need of practice around the Fading Obelisk. Have some fun. Thresyn is coming with you'.

Excrucia stepped lightly on the dock platform, Uless and Thresyn following close behind. The area seemed desert in the cerulean light.

Torc and Jair were already in the streets, cautiosly approaching a minor webway portal.

Barking like hounds, a clutch of Wytches stepped through the ruins of a Khainite temple. Clearly, they were not happy about the intrusion.

With her usual elegance, Torc darted through the webway portal and emerged on top of the Voidfall Tower. An arcane device trummed with energy in front of her. She set a plasma granade for delayed explosion and tossed it at the device.

A hunched Parched led the Bleaksoul Wytches in the open square, taunting Excrucia and her team to engage them. Letting the bitter spirits they had absorbed stunning the Bleaksouls, Excrucia and Uless were more than happy to obblige. Thresyn followed them, letting loose a plume of flame, but the Bleaksouls gracefully dodge it.

Jair emerged from the portal on the Voidfall Tower, her scanner screaching. "Get ready!" she shouted at Torc "Energy build up, at least two incoming!"
The portal flared bright again, Morghdrax and Bahreneq emerging from it, weapon ready and bloodthirst in their eyes.

Calmly, as tought by Asurmen, Torc opened fire. The shuriken salvo ravaged Morghdrax.

Down in the square, the Parched and Wytches returned fire at Thresyn with their splinter pistols and the Kabalite fell to the ground.

Before the Bleaksouls could close on Thresyn to claim him, Excrucia and Uless vaulted around them, their swords singing in unison like they had done so many times in the arenas. A Wytch fell but another kept fighting on, her body pumped full of stimulants.

Bahreneq screamed wildly seeing her Hekatrix felled. Her Hydra Gauntlets tore deep gauges in Jain's armour, but Torc stopped her from reaching the device.

The plasma granade detonated, showering the embattled Wytches and Ynnari with flaming debris. Torc vaulted down to the lower level of the ruined tower and disappeared in the gloom. The Bleaksouls stepped back, knowing full well when there was no longer a point in fighting.
Over the Whisper, Uless spoke to Excrucia.
'That was a good fight! It's been a while since I felt the thrill I was used to in the arena'.
'Yes, I felt it too! And you are once again lagging one kill behind!'

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Shadows of Commorragh, Part 1


Daisan Verkosian sat behind a stone desk, a gyrinx cub resting on his lap. The Drachon looked at the felid, scratching its head. He then lifted his eyes to meet Yrule Vivithrax's gaze and raised, briskly dropping the gyrinx onto the table. He walked away from the table and the dim light surrounding it. Then, from the darkness at the back of the room, he spoke.
"Yrule, Yrule. What have I ever done to make you treat me so disrespectfully? I had a lot of respect for your business, Yrule. When you've sold us weapons in the past we've always been satisfied. But, now you come to me and ask 'Lord Verkosian, give me your servants' souls'. But you don't ask with respect. You don't offer friendship."

"I want to make a deal" was Yrule's icy reply, his eyes locked onto those of the gyrinx.

"Always straight to business, eh Yrule?" chuckled Verkosian.
"Well... I have something you want. To make a deal, you must have something I want, yes? And it so happens there is something I want... something our mutual friend Lady Anielyn might one day use against me." The Drachon's sarchasm turned into utter spite at the mention of his once lover.
"My informants tell me she has secured a deal with the Hex. The Haemonculi are developing a new elixir for her. Hurrikhaine, they call it in the streets".

Daisan Verkosian paused to walk around the table and then past the Thanarch. Yrule kept his eyes on the gyrinx still sprawled on the table. Then Daisan turned and leaned close to whisper into the Thanarch's hear.
"Find where they are making it, raid the Haemonculi's dungeon and bring me a Hurrikhaine sample. Do this discretely, so that no one can link you to me. Do this, and I'll let you preach the word of your Sleeping God among my subjects".

"So be it. You'll have your elixir, Lord Verkosian". Yrule's voice was even colder than that of the Dracon.
"But mark my words, Daisan. Show once again disdain for Ynnead and I will take what I want from you, whether you like it or not".

"That we shall see", replied Lord Verkosian laughing. "That we shall see".
Yrule Vivitrax lightly stepped away and left the room, Verkosian's laugh ringing loud in his hears.
What the Drachon did not notice was the gyrinx jumping down from the table to follow the Thanarch, its paws touching the floor precisely when every of Yrule's steps echoed through the corridor.

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Free Companies of the Gilded Hand - 10

The Road to Armies on Parade, Part 1

After finishing the Void Phoenixes inspiration has dried out a bit. This was not really helping as I wanted to try Warcry but simply can't bring myself to play with unpainted models. Hence, I went back to my Orcs & Goblins army from the 8th edition Fantasy days. 3500 points and counting of old currency, all locked away and still on their square bases.
The first models to jump at me when I opened the army case were not the Black Orcs I was looking for. Rather, it was Ruglud's Armoured Orcs. As I hefted the metal (!) models I was reminded of my Free Companies of the Gilded Hand and the project to pay tribute to the Regiments of Renown from ages past. And then, inspiration struck me. What if I was to enter the new Themed Army category for Armies on Parade by recreating with my models the cover of the Dogs of War Army Book?

Ruglud's Orcs could take the place of the goblins. All that was needed was a bit of rebasing!

Since I've used red and yellow as the unifying colours for all the human regiments, I touched up the paint work on the orcs so that they looked coherent when put next to them. The same went for Skargat's Ironforged Ogors, the very first warband I assembled for Age of Sigmar and used during the Season of War.

As I was rebasing and painting them, I also cobbled together an Ardboyz warband, lead by none other than Badruk 'eadsplitta, glorious limited edition model from Games Day 2005.

He only needed a new base, while his boyz needed some touches of colour as they had been batch painted in a rather monochromatic scheme. After all, who cares for individuality when you can't see the details of ranked up models?

What I did was adding the splatters of blood on their weapons and picking up some of the armour plates in bronze to break up the dull metal I had painted so long ago.

As 10 Ardboyz makes for a decently varied Warcry roster and as there are exactly 10 names in the Core Book random name generator, the rest of the unit only got new bases and some licks of bronze. I'm not going to use them for Warcry, but who knows, I might play the odd big army Age of Sigmar game and one more unit is always handy!
The next models that will need a new coat of paint will be Gudrun's Grudgebreakers, my duardin privateers, and the halflings of the Kitchen Crew, which you can also see in the posts from the Season of War period. Then, it'll be just a matter of composing my board for Armies on Parade...