Interlude: Wheels within WheelsThe Thief of Wits contemplated the results of its schemes about the Prime Dominion of Hysh. He had not secured the map that would have taken it to the Umbral Web, that was true. Still, Alti's maddened plan had come to the result the Changer of Ways always wanted. The Ur-River had bursted its banks,weakening the barriers between Realms. But now, something was interfeering with the Architect of Fate's Great Scheme.
For too long had the Twisted Oak of the Harromark shackled aetheric energies that Tzeentch wanted loose at precisely the same time as parts of Ghur and Chamon bleeded into each other. And just when the Rotmoons and the Cursed Company were close to fight for it, Alarielle had sent her followers to keep the Oak safe from predation. Tiuthen's party needed to be drawn away so that orruk and undead could fight for and kill the Twisted Oak.
A plan quickly formed into the daemon's mind. All that was needed was to lure the Sylvaneth noble to a vital node into the Realmroots by threatening it. so it was that the Thief of Wits despatched Ak'glar Xamolomax, a powerful Ogroid Thaumaturge and his coven to the Harrowmark.
As the Thief of Wits had predicted, the servants of Alarielle emerged from the woods, words of abjuration on their lips.
Ak'glar coordinated the sorcerous fire of the Kairic Acolytes, slowing the advance of the Wild Hunters.
Tiuthen and his personal guard advanced to reclaim one of the nodes taken by the Tzaangor.
Paralax Quiverbloom cast away the charm that kept him and his followers hidden, ready to threaten y a third geomantic node held by a Wildwood Ranger.
Tzaangor blades and Eternal Guard spears clashed, and soon blood was drenching the soil. But Tiuthen did reclaim one og the nodes.
A Branchwych emerged from the shadows, her scythe swinging at Ak'glar.
The wildwood Ranger and the wild Hunters mounted a spirited defense, felling Paralax and helding his Acolytes away from the geomantic node.
Suddenly, a loud moaning sounded near the node where the fighting was raging. Drawn by the blood, the zombies of the Harrowmark had come to feed.
Tiuthen's guard felled another Tzaangor and moved on to reclaim one more node.
Wounded and with control of the field slipping from his hands, Ak'glar gave in to his bestial fury. Soon, all that was left of the Branchwych was just a pile of kindlings.
The Zombies shambled onto the embattled Arcanites and Wanderers, turning the combat into a bloodbath.
Like the expert hunter he was, Tiuthen kept Ak'glar at a distance with his spear. Still, the raging Thaumaturge managed to push close to a node, the changefire erupting from his staff corrupting it to its very core.
The Thief of Wits watched with pleasure as Ak'glar withdrew, leaving Tiuthen with a sense of achievement. Now, drawn closer to Wortbad, his band of ragged survivors would have been drawn in a pointless fight with a Rotmoons' raiding party. Meanwhile, the rest of the orruk pirates and Kalyustar's Cursed Company would have clashed for the Twisted Oak and finally broke it. The Changer of Ways was mighty pleased.