Animosity I – The Omnibus

It has been three weeks since six figureheads and their coalitions fought to determine the fate of the hallowed necropolis of Amasya. Now, you can read this tale from start to finish, as we’ve compiled the entire campaign in PDF format. It is Team Animosity’s genuine honor to present the ANIMOSITY I – Omnibus for you to download!

Topping out at 120 pages, this compendium is a complete archive of all content created for #AnimosityI – ours AND yours. We’ve taken the liberty of compiling your War Stories and narrative reports into our “official” record, so that your contributions may stand the test of time.

And with that, Animosity I – The Hallowed Necropolis is, quite literally, in the history books! We’ve already begun work on Animosity II – The Burning Winter (October 11th through 20th), so make sure to follow us on Twitter and facebook to stay up to date or simply check back soon for more details!

NEOs who registered to run #AnimosityI, we want to hear your feedback so we can make #AnimosityII the best it can be. Please expect one last email from the campaign team, and we hope to see you again on the next go around.

2

What secrets await in the Shyishan underworld of Lake Baikal?

 

 

 

 

 

Turn 3 Unfolding Narrative & Epilogue

Grung Esik

The enemy had savaged both sides of the mighty works over the past days. Northward, the followers of the Dark Gods had mounted a furious assault on that griffon-fortress. To the south, the Big Eat was in the midst of a smaller, but still dedicated offensive against their end of the dam. For all this, though, Lord-Celestant Han Shizhong seemed perfectly calm.

“He who abides absolutely in Sigmar need not fear a legion of the faithless.” Tornuri Goldensire couldn’t tell if the Lord-Celestant was smiling or frowning behind his mask. For her part, she wasn’t sure if she could be said to absolutely abide- Sigmar was mighty, but Qarang Sarn’s horde was numerous, and had tried twice now to scale the walls with their bare hands and stubborn fury.

“So long as the walls and the men on them agree with you, sir,” she concluded diplomatically, “I’m sure you’re right.”

“They do. We have sufficient supplies inside the works to last for months, and the enemy has already begun to suffer for their lack of preparation. Besides.” Now she was sure he was smiling. “They didn’t bring any artillery. All they can do is what they’ve been doing- attempt to gain the walls, and suffer for it. In a day, or a week, or a month, the children of Chaos will be forced to withdraw, and Grung Esik will remain secure. But we need not wait so long.”

Turning his back on the besiegers, Shizhong raised a fist in the air, signaling to someone further down the causeway- from deep within the works, there was the sound of mighty engines in motion, and then the constant rushing of waters rose in volume.

“The dam’s mechanisms have been re-enabled. We can control the balance of water on both sides of the dam, both where it flows and in what volume. And look.” Slowly but constantly, the moat around the griffon-fortress was beginning to flood, creeping closer to the siege works of the attacking army. The Bloodbound and the Rotbringers realized this too- as the foaming Ur-River consumed their palisades and earthworks, they were forced to retreat or drown. The elevated stone causeway running to the mouth of the fortress was soon choked, a milling mob unsure of whether to stay or run away. Some were not lucky enough to have either choice- they were forced off, and swept away by the increasingly turbulent current.

“Our faith is sufficient.” Tornuri saw then- packed onto the causeway, the Horde was a perfect target for Delegation artillery. “And our gunpowder is equally so. Open fire.”

 

Azyrhol

In the Age of Myth, it was said that Azyrhol shone like the heavens above, eternal light sparkling off of its cupola and ornamentation, the mirror-polished surface of the plaza glittering and shining like lake water or freshly fallen snow. Today, the glory of the cathedral was much reduced- the dome long collapsed, most of the ornaments cracked or toppled, and the plaza tarnished, covered in mud and littered with bodies and the detritus of battle. For all this, though, Monique von Helminger thought it was still magnificent, a tribute to Sigmar in its own right.

“Bring me up to speed, Phineas.” Her aide looked slightly queasy at the sight of so much carnage, even as the Seneschal-General strode confidently across the square. “Tell me what’s going on here.”

“Um, yes ma’am.” He cleared his throat and checked the sheaf of notes, nearly stumbling over the corpse of a Khornate warrior still sprawled across the flagstones. “Well, there was heavy fighting over the cathedral, and both sides took major losses- but in the end, the Delegation was triumphant. Clean-up is still in progress…”

“Really, Phineas?” Monique snapped. “What happened that I can’t see?”

“Ah. Lord-Celestant Oberon Brightblade coordinated the initial attack on the cathedral, and then oversaw its defense against the Horde’s counterattack.”

“Good. Schedule a meeting with him- I wish to give him Hammerhal’s gratitude.”

We received word the Moondaughter’s Warrior Chamber was marching to provide reinforcement, but never arrived. Presumably they were bogged down further downstream.”

“Understandable. What else?”

“Jak Vorpal and the Free People of Hogsface were here, but after the tide turned they advanced on Yol Grimnir to establish contact with the Moondaughters.

“Good initiative. Send a messenger with my commendations.”

Phineas swallowed and flipped through his pad of paper. “That’s all that’s important, ma’am.”

“Right. Everyone!” Their conversation had carried them onto the steps of the Cathedral itself, and the Seneschal-General pitched her voice to draw the attention of the multitude of soldiers swarming about. “You have won a great victory for Hammerhal today- a great victory for Azyr! Three cheers for the Delegation! Huzzah!”

“Huzzah! Huzzah!”

“This army was never meant to face down as much opposition as it faced during these past weeks, but your bravery, ingenuity and sacrifice has managed to secure two of our major objectives. You have done all and more than was asked of you, and you have done it without flinching. Hammerhal is proud of you. Sigmar is proud of you. And I am proud to have been able to command you.”

 

Yol Grimnir

A wave of nostalgia and pride struck Gram Orkhide as he surveyed Grimnir’s Road. The  aftermath of the hundred tiny battles which had swirled around the Unforged Gate lay scattered on the ground like rubies on dust, but the defenses themselves still stood strong, defiant of whatever its enemies could toss at it.

The Duardin felt justifiably proud of how his work had held up in the face of the enemy, even all these centuries after it had been constructed. Today had assuaged a long-held fear of his- that what he had done would not truly last, that the things he had in part wrought would fall to pieces with age instead of truly enduring as great art did. But the gates and the works had held, on both sides of the city, and as a result the Sigmarsmacht Delegation was triumphant.

The Delegation’s victory here had only been by a hair, true. Had their enemies united to present a single front, even with these mighty fortifications at their back the soldiers of Hammerhal could not have prevailed- but the Varanpact, the Horde, and the “Big Eat” hated each other just as much as they hated Sigmar’s people.

True, it had not come easily. As many soldiers of the Delegation lay lifeless on the flagstones as did they of the foe, waiting for their comrades or the crows. Hero and infantryman alike had fallen to the enemy- Gram had watched as Jak Vorpal had been grievously injured by an Exalted Deathbringer, only for a peasant soldier of Hogsface to vanquish the Exalted Deathbringer. Elsewhere, he’d seen an entire column of Stormcast ambushed and shattered by the Arch-Gut, a gluttonous fiend loyal to the Maw that Walks.

Ultimately, though, he had to repeat that these defeats were ultimately insignificant on the grand scale of things. Brightly as they had burned, brightly as the battle had raged, ultimately they were the matters of moments or days- and Yol Grimnir had stood for centuries, and now would stand for centuries more. With both ends of the city secured, and its center firmly held, the Delegation had proven itself dominant- though threats still remained inside, these could be burned, sponged or starved into submission. The soldiers of Hammerhal held the balance, and thus in the end they would hold the totality.

What mattered in the end were not the deeds of a day, but the legacy left behind. And with that comforting thought in mind, Gram faded away to nothingness, another ghost finding its peace.

 

Isik Kulesi & Karanlik Saray

It had been… a good day.

Two enemy armies in all their glory had been unable to break the Varanpact’s frenetic defense. The Hedonites of the pretender U’latlii and the Cachinnating Claw had proven themselves the masters of every battlefield they had stood upon, shattering first the Orruks styling themselves ‘Da Big Uns’ and then the Choir of Kadroth Neverforged as an encore. Such unbridled zeal as they possessed would make a Devoted of Sigmar green as a Megaboss with envy, and it had given Irkut Thousandeyes time to claim the prize at the Tower of Light’s heart: an Enlightenment Engine of Teclis, untouched by Sigmar’s meddling.

Isik Kulesi held the prize, but in the end it was Karanlik Saray that had been the key to unlocking it. The light-magics that had fueled the Enlightenment Engine’s defenses had stymied his sorcerers again and again, but when exposed to the undiluted shadow they’d brought from the rubble that had been Malerion’s ancient palace, the ancient wards had simply… ceased to be. Sarn would have found a poetic irony to this, that the power of one god overcame the power of another to bring about an end neither would have wanted, but Irkut Thousandeyes was simply pleased with the result.

The task had not been easy. As well-defended as the Tower of Light had been, the Palace of Shadow was even more foreboding, in its way. True, the thoughtless monsters of the so-called Big Eat had cracked it open easily enough, but they had not cared to venture into the fortresses’ innermost chambers. There, the long-dead fleetmasters of Malerion had hidden their greatest prizes and most secret artifacts. It had taken a legion of Godseeker Hedonites to pry them out; many had fallen to the unseen dangers embedded in the chambers, and those that remained were left frothing, driven mad by the scent of their own absent patron. But the result had been worth the losses.

It was beautiful, the ancient device now resting before him, looking just as it had on the day it was crafted by Teclis’ own hand. The Enlightenment Engines had been intended by their maker to fuel humanity’s ascension to a higher level of understanding, and in a way this one would fulfill its purpose- with the knowledge contained inside, Irkut would understand how the Aelves had once bound a god away from the Realms. In time, perhaps, he could accomplish the same against the pitiful usurpers to the Dark Gods’ glory- but first he had to ensure that there would be time at all.

“Summon the Tzaangors.” A Kairic acolyte shuffled away to carry out his command, and Irkut smiled. Moving Teclis’ engine would be difficult, but with the Sigmarites in control of both ends of the city and its center, doing so was necessary to continue his work. It was almost a shame about the Beastmen, though- few could withstand the presence of such a device and its truths for more than a brief span, and moving it would be an exacting task. Given the choice, he would have much sooner set the Horrors themselves to the task- if Daemons could even exist in proximity to these engines of primordial truth to begin with.

Irkut allowed himself a chuckle, looking on the wondrous machine before him, the key to so many future victories. Ultimately, the sacrifice of a few pawns meant little next to a chance to alter the tempo of the conflict so dramatically. Besides… the Tzaangors and their leaders were absolutely gluttonous for knowledge of the arcane. Really, all he was giving anyone was what they really wanted.

 

Teselli Alari

“Azyrfire!” The daemon sword flew from Qarang Sarn’s hand to embed itself in a massive Nurglish fungal bloom. “Misbegotten sons of a false god! Blind wretches, faithless scum, children of dust…”

“Are you done?” Eris Bloodwrath cocked an amused eye in the Basalt Lord’s direction. The growth the daemonblade had landed in was slowly smoldering, unable to absorb the weapon’s intense heat. After a moment more, it burst into flames, and Sarn retrieved the sword with a sigh.

“Not hardly. I will make those deluded saplings pay for the champions they killed and maimed. The Hamadreth will rue the day she crossed the mind of a Knight of Ruin!”

“I expect they’ve already come to. I mean…” Eris gestured at her surroundings. Even the greatest of the trees had been utterly consumed, and in their place diseased constructions of mold and mildew like the one the Basalt Lord had just injured had taken root. “You’ve successfully destroyed a place sacred to their patron goddess, slaughtered successive armies, and put one of their greatest champions to shame. I would call that vengeance enough for Ranaker Wrath-Bringer and Harrgorath Korr.”

Now it was Sarn’s turn to give a funny look. “Quite the pacifistic words, for a Khornate.”

Eris shrugged, the motion exaggerated by her heavy armor. “Call me rational. We maim, we kill, we burn, and we do not easily dismiss each day we are given to do so. Mighty Khrone cares not from whence the blood flows… but I certainly do.”

“Hmmmph.” Sarn was silent for a long minute, considering. “The tree-folk do not shed true blood. More’s the pity.” Eris had to laugh at this, and after a moment Sarn laughed too.

“Would you be this upset if I had fallen instead of your pet Priestess of Melas?” Eris’ tone was searching.

“Of course. Why wouldn’t I be?”

“Because, not scant weeks ago you threatened to kill me if I displeased you.”

“Eris.” Sarn smiled the smile of a parent speaking to a favored child. “What I said then is still true today. I would gladly offer your skull to Khorne here and now if I thought it the most worthy course- but only I, and Archaon above me, have the right to put you to the sword. For another to do it- that’s an insult, and I think you know I cannot stand to be insulted.”

“It was becoming evident, yes.”

The Basalt Lord drew himself up to his full, towering height, and sighed again with contentment. “You are right, as it stands. True, two worthy skulls rest at the foot of the Blood God’s throne, and I will split the Hamadreth in twain for their untimely deaths. True, the High Priestess fell to a cowardly assassin, and I will make her murderer suffer at least a dozenfold for what he has wrought. But we have taken the victory all the same. We have shown the pathetic offspring of Alarielle what the servants of the True Gods are capable of… and even when we leave this place, our work will remain as a promise of what is yet to come.”

 

Nagaskahip

The battle had lost all shape. The Skoga Grakk grappled with their enemy high and low, from the stony shallows at the river’s edge to deep within the tombs behind the towering cliff faces. Where first the Waaagh! and their mysterious allies had only fought pawns of the Reclamation, others had joined the scrap. Warbands loyal to the Varanpact hunted champions of the Horde amidst the fray whilst scavengers of the Big Eat stole away corpses from every side for their own nefarious ends.

Despite his headache, Wapkagut was having a grand time of it.

By this point, the Reclamation’s defense had all but crumbled, yet the warchanter felt they’d gained little ground- no matter how fun it had been bashing the interlopers. Nagaskahip still stood, despite the appalling violence echoing through its halls and chambers. Worst of all, Wapkagut could still hear that damnable echo.

Well, perhaps not worst of all, the greenskin noted.

Despite his own siege of the Rahipmezar, the Skoga Grakk’s assault had not gone unnoticed by Mithridates Alti. Rising from the river as though it were overflowing its banks had come a great spectral host, a scythe-wielding horror of howling bale-magic atop a corpse-pegasus at their fore. They crashed against one and all, none among the living spared their ghastly attention.

The wave of terror crashed over Wapkagut, and he was in the thick of it, fighting not to win now, but simply to keep from joining the growing number of dead. For a moment- and to his pleasant surprise- his stikks did wonders breaking apart the ghostly apparitions, yet were dashed from his grip by a fearsome axe.

“Felthik the Watcher names me Keldrek,” the vision of a dead man had intoned, a mockery of flapping cloth where his legs ought to have been, “Felthik passes judgement, and Keldrek carries out the sentence.” Far from being fearful, Wapkagut simply looked puzzled. Then he grinned, and leaned in toward the Lord-Executioner before bellowing, “SKOGA GRAKK!”

The Constellation of Zectoka had arrived.

The Nighthaunt legion was consumed by an inferno of white-hot starfire, great scaled beasts roaming the blinding hellscape with impunity. It seemed to Wapkagut as though the sky itself was falling, and after-images danced across squinted vision as star after blazing star slammed into Nagaskahip. Masterwork carvings, which had stood guard over the sacred dead for millenia,  were blasted to superheated dust in moments. In minutes, the mountain itself had begun to give way to the bombardment, the Deepkin and Sylvaneth’s efforts to undermine the tombs finally coming to fruition.

With the grinding groan of a hundred million tonnes of stone breaking apart all at once, the mountain gave way- and the hallowed necropolis was no more, seeming to simply vanish as it fell into the footprint of its own ruin. To Wapkagut, it seemed as though some great emptiness pulled itself free of the mountain’s cadaver, drifting with the dust on the wind toward the Rahipmezar- but perhaps that was simply a trick of the fading starlight.

The warchanter tapped the toes of one foot on the blood-slick ground; then he stomped, fashioning a crude, stamping beat. The echo was gone. Satisfied- and grinning like a right maniac- Wapkagut moved off, eager to rejoin his Megaboss and his old brawl for the next proper scrap. After all, they’d came, they’d seen, they’d bashed… what more could an Ironjaw want?

 

Rahipmezar

Mithridates Alti watched the ruin of Nagaskhaip with impotent fury from the grand plaza of Rahipmezar. Since his earliest memory- a babe, sat on his father’s knee- all he’d wanted was his birthright. To rule Amasya as Basrahip, and rest alongside his forebears until the pantheon saw fight to return them unto new life to wage war against the Dark Gods once more.

“I did this all for you, father,” Mithridates Alti said, his voice strained, torn between panic and madness. “You asked that I bury you living with my buyukbaba and yours. You witnessed my oath to return to your side, and thereby return you to mine. Everything I have done, I have done for you.”

The blood-witches of Morathi had abandoned him, he knew. Perhaps they’d betrayed him when they saw Sigmar’s lapdogs tightening their stranglehold on the city, or perhaps their pledges had meant nothing to begin with. It didn’t matter; the result was the same. He’d made a promise- to return to their kind the Palace of Shadow, that a new Temple might be raised in this holy place- and they’d turned their backs on him without a second thought.

“This was your desire, and now it is turned to ash in your mouth,” Mithridates Besh intoned, stepping forward to stand beside his son as the first clouds of dust washed over them.

Reikenor the Grimhaler had failed him, too, the counter-attack proving to be too little, too late. It gave Mithridates Alti some grim satisfaction that the many lesser soulblight, the wight kings and the necromancers, all of whom had had agreed to fight for him only to further their own ambitions, were now trapped alongside him within the Rahipmezar. It would take a Stormhost to successfully besiege the tomb now- but far less, Mithridates Alti knew, should he attempt to retake the city without reinforcement… and such aid was unlikely to arrive.

For better or for worse, Mithridates Alti had come home. The vampire lord rounded on his father.

“You claim to know my past, and my purpose. I buried you a vampire! You were to return a Soulblight, as I’ve become! Never did I abandon you, not after five hundred years. You cannot abandon me now.”

“What will be, will be,” Mithridates Besh quietly answered, stepping forward and breaking into a stride, walking away from his son and toward the enveloping cloud of dust and disaster. “Truth will bind, and set us free…”

And then he was gone, leaving his son with no choice but to reap that which, by his own hand, he’d sown.

 

Gorkoyuk

The Skoga Grakk had been single-minded, mused da Maw dat Walkz, but perhaps that was to be expected from the puppets of a Slann Starmaster. The puppets had accomplished what the puppet-master wanted. They had destroyed Nagaskahip, and the emptiness which had resided there was no more. Yet this was nothing, no matter, not relevant, immaterial and of no concern. Da Maw dat wud Eat da Wurld was no longer there; she and the empty man of Rahipmezar had seen to that.

For the puppets of a Slann weren’t the only servants with single-minded purpose. The pawn-kings of the bloated grandfather and the farce they named everchosen had sought to claim Gorkoyuk as their own, and scatter da Big Eat back into the forest. All who paid tribute stood equal before the Maw, and thus she had sent Groinbiter-Boss Slogg and da Grey Tide to unmake them. They cast down two of the three Varanguard sent against them, and worse still, allowed the third to withdraw in dishonor.

Soon, however, there would be nothing for their enemies to retake. The beast pits, once meant for the holding and breeding of exotic animals, had become ravenous creatures of their own, an untold number of great gaping maws in the muck of the swamp. They would consume each other, she knew, until only the greatest of them remained- da Maw dat wuld Eat da Wurld.

The irony pleased her; in victory, she would once more walk the realms an exile, and too everyone who followed her. Thus, she had made a grand decree, every word hung upon by Sibyl and all those of devout faith. Only hunger is a constant, she told them, and where once they had devoured in search of this place, now they would starve, so pure was their worship of the Maw. They would do again as their kind had once done, long ago; they would hunt and they would pillage, and bring their prizes back here to Gorkoyuk to feed da Maw- so that someday, it might devour all Amasya, and then, the whole of the Mortal Realms and their silly, petty gods, too…

Animosity I – Narrative Epilogue

The Varangaurd masters of the Horde and the Varanpact did not long rest on their laurels. In the shallows of the River Yensk, that ancient tributary which splits Isik Kulesi from Teselli Alari, their armies did meet for the last time. Once again Madrax Kane did meet the pretender U’latlii in battle, and each exacted a tithe of blood and depravity from the other.

Irkut sent a champion of Tzeentch against the Horde then, a creature whose name could not be pronounced by mortal tongues, yet it too was cast back across the river by King Gurloes the Good and Talaha, the Butcher of Galaza. Finally, Grey Seer Snihrgrin attempted to circumvent the Horde’s line entirely by way of treacherous gnawholes, yet he, too, was repulsed by a Great Unclean One bound in service to Splatchlos Carrionclot, leprous plagueweaver of the Effluvient Mire.

So it was that both Irkut “the Spineless” Thousandeyes and the Bastalt Lord Qarang Sarn knew there would be only one deciding factor between them: the death of one, or the other. The next day, they mustered their armies, and each prepared to cross the Yensk, eager to finally slay the other. Yet, as they made to charge, they discovered a visage standing between them; another Varanguard, dressed in black, sat upon a pale steed.

“The Everchosen has passed judgement upon you,” the newcomer intoned, its voice a whisper heard by all, “and I am to serve as its deliverance.”



Zectoka stirred, restless, the Slann’s dreams troubled. Those he’d tasked had done as they were bidden, and the Skoga Grakk had ensured the hollow place was no more. Yet, the dream was never certain, and even a Starmaster could not weave every thread of fate at once. The old nemesis had escaped its doom by the virtue of a dutiful son, and now grew in strength by the exhortation of a true zealot.

Zectoka shifted again, and opened its eyes, abandoning slumber in favor of action. If the consequences were to be undone, the Slann knew it must find common ground with an undying king…



While the dust had soon settled, the mist and roar of a great waterfall which had not existed but a day before had seemingly replaced it. With a gaping hole where the mountain which once held Nagaskahip had stood, the Ur-River had bifurcated, pouring down into the depression- yet never filling, which had predisposed the Seneschal-General to a terrible suspicion.

A suspicion Lord-Celestant Han Shizhong had been tasked with confirming. He picked his way through the imposing towers of rubble from the back of his Dracoth, Xinglong. Not for the first time did he wish his command included a Vanguard-Hunters, or perhaps that Xinglong would simply transform into a Stardrake by some whim of Dracothian so that they might simply fly.

Finally, they could descend no more, and Han Shizhong was taken aback by the smell of death- not of fresh death, nor the long dead; he knew well the stench of both. No, this was the smell of decay on a terrible scale, as if the air had been swept up from the earth of a freshly-dug grave…

The Lord-Celestant caught himself. As if the wind had blown up from Shyish, the Realm of Death.



The lake is still as glass; indeed, much of its surface is frozen over. For an age, its headwaters have been little more than a trickle. The air itself is stiff with chill, Hysh’s light closer to that of a distant moon on a clear winter’s night.  Impossibly large, the bones of some vast, aquatic megafauna stand sentinel over the water, the shadows they cast long and foreboding.

Suddenly, the waters churn, steaming; a shock of vitality ripples through the lake. Ice cracks and buckles, snapping and hissing with a malevolence that seems more than natural occurrence. Fish desperately attempt to navigate between the shards, only to quickly die regardless- for these waters were never meant for the living.

Mithridates Besh is smiling as he pulls himself from the water, seemingly unaffected by its clawing grasp, and beholds a land undisturbed for centuries, yet which he knows will soon be ravaged by war.

“Through fiery animosity, Nemesis’ sovereignty,” he murmurs to himself, and sets off. Had any been there to see him, they might have noticed his passing left no mark, nor did his body cast any shadow…

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Thank you for coming along with us on this journey! Please check back soon for more info about Animosity II – The Burning Winter, October 11th-20th. Yes, you read that right- ten days, five turns, two weekends. Tell your buddies, because #AnimosityII is on da warpath.

Turn 3 Final Update

Turn 3 Location Control

The Sigmarsmacht Delegation defended Grung Esik
(contested by the Horde, Big Eat, and Varanpact)

The Reclamation defended Rahipmezar
(strongly 
contested by the Varanpact and the Delegation)

The Skoga Grakk defended Nagaskahip
(contested by the Reclamation, Big Eat, Varanpact, Delegation) 

The Sigmarsmacht Delegation captured Azyrhol
(contested by the Horde)

The Varanpact defended Isik Kulesi
(
contested by the Horde, Delegation, and Skoga Grakk)

The Varanpact captured Karanlik Saray
(
contested by the Big Eat, Reclamation, and the Delegation)

Da Big Eat defended Gorkoyuk
(contested by the Skoga Grakk and Varanpact)

The Horde of Rot and Rage defended Teselli Alari
(contested by the Skoga Grakk, Delegation, and Varanpact)

The Sigmarsmacht Delegation captured Yol Grimnir
(contested by the Horde, Big Eat, and Varanpact)

Final Campaign Standings

The Sigmarsmacht Delegation 
Dominant Victory
Captured all 3 Objective Locations

The Varanpact
Strategic Victory
Captured Primary + Secondary Objective Location

The Horde of Rot and Rage
Tactical Victory
Captured Primary Objective Location

The Skoga Grakk
Tactical Victory
Captured Primary Objective Location

The Big Eat
Tactical Victory
Captured Primary Objective Location

The Reclamation
Tactical Victory
Captured Primary Objective Location

Turn 3 Unfolding Narrative

Seneschal-General Monique von Helminger’s Delegation may have taken the hallowed necropolis for Hammerhal, but the city is far from secure, with every other faction securing at least their primary objective. This, plus your own narratives, has triggered some very interesting consequences, which we’re busy typing up now…

  • Turn 3 Unfolding Narrative & Epilogue will post June 8th at 3AM EST

 NEO Notes

Wow- just wow. With 5 events and roughly 40 players reporting in from the east and west coasts and even across the pond in Thailand and the Netherlands, Animosity I can indeed lay claim to the title of worldwide map campaign.

All of us on Team Animosity want to thank every one of you for your participation. Not only have we seen incredible support and enthusiasm from the Age of Sigmar community, but an absolute outpouring of great stories from your games and narratives which we’re still learning to do justice in our turn updates.

Finally, thank you for giving us the opportunity to tell this grand, collaborative tale. We couldn’t do it without our local NEOs, and they couldn’t do it without you, the players. This has been a ton of fun for us, and we hope it was for you too- which is why we’d like to invite you all to join us for our next worldwide map campaign…

Animosity II – The Burning Winter
COMING OCTOBER 2019

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Some of Team Animosity hard at play in a Delegation vs. Reclamation doubles game during Turn 2. Photo by Katie H. at #AnimosityI in Winchester, VA

Turn 2 Unfolding Narrative

The Anvil of Apotheosis

Clang. Clang. The Smiths’ hammers fell again and again, remaking the souls of fallen heroes in the God-King’s image. Andorian Sparkhand would have found the noise deafening as a mortal, but to the Sacrosanct it was like a heartbeat, ever-present and ever-comforting, an audible reminder of Sigmar’s constant preparations for war in the Realms beyond.

One such war had brought Andorian to the Sigmarabulum today, and it was a strange one- for the God-King had sworn to take no part in it. The battle for Amasya was being fought outside of his master’s influence, but that did not mean that Sigmar and the Conclave weren’t hungry for every scrap of information concerning its course- and where better to get it than from the souls of those who had fought and fallen?

“I was Duncan Charles, Sergeant of the Ash-and-Blood. We fought the ghouls at Azyrhol- the Green Man and the Protector were with us, and we made the enemy pay for every step, but there were too many. They sent a beast behind our lines. We were slaughtered, but we never broke. Sigmar would be proud of us…”

Clang. Clang.

“I was Brother Alexius, Anvil of the Heldenhammer, Liberator. We made to stand against Talaha the Butcher, but we were crushed, and the avenue to the cathedral opened. I must return to my comrades in the field…”

“Not today, friend.” Andorian shook his head, and the reforged soul passed on its way.

Clang. Clang.

“I was Sister Carola, Liberator, in the service of Lord-Celestant Vale Lotherine. We held Grung Esik against Talaha the Butcher, and though I died he broke on our shield wall. The dam will not fall while we defend it.”

Andorian smiled at the bit of good news, but then the hammers fell again.

Clang. Clang.

“I was Seymour Nicolus, soldier of Hammerhal. We fought in the cathedral against King Gurloes, and we could have won too- but Usidore was deep in is cups, and began throwing spells around every which way. It was too much… we ran, and the wizard got himself eaten by a plague bat for his troubles.”

Andorian winced.

Clang. Clang.

“I was Robert Edward, Knight of Lileath and protector of the Realms. I watched as the Enemy entered the Cathedral… we charged, and we cut them down in number, but in the end there were too many.”

If Andorian Sparkhand had blood instead of lightning, he would have said it ran cold- and then the soul spoke again.

“All was lost then. Azyrhol has fallen…”

 

Rahipmezar

“Victory.” It tasted  both sweet and bitter on his lips. The necropolis was theirs- Felthik the Watcher had proven himself victorious by conquering where others failed, sweeping the Hedonites before him. Too, at the final hour two full ‘courts’ of deluded ghouls had shown up to clinch his victory… it rankled with Mithridates Alti to truckle and parley with one such as the Pale Saint, but he had done worse in his days and would do so again.

And the necropolis was theirs. For the first time in five centuries, he could walk its sacred halls and look upon the graves of all the High Priests before him. It was a homecoming, of a sort… even if Nagaskahip had fallen to the greenskin, he comforted himself with the thought that this was the center of his power, and once he’d done his duties inside he could rend apart all the enemies who sought to stand against them.

“You thought that I was weak, and you were strong.”

A voice echoed faintly through the halls, and Mithridates hurried on, fearing and hoping what it might be. There was an iron door deep within the complex, and he paused at its threshold- it was choked by the corpses of the dead, Stormvermin and Hedonite in equal number, but his forces had not reached this far- indeed, it looked like they had fought the battle amongst themselves.

“You thought that I could be plucked from my eternal rest, and put to your service.”

He stepped carefully onward- there in the hallways lay more of the Slaaneshi marauders, mutilated beyond recognition by an unknown hand- but as he peered closer, it seemed as though the hand was their own. Yes- some had plucked out their own eyes, others seemed to carve off their fingers and hands. Many had died, all, it seemed, of their own devices, but many were still alive- yet even if they could have fought they made no notice of his presence.

“You believed I would live again, bound in service to the Undying King as you are.”

Further down the hall the carnage grew greater- some among the Hedonites looked to have tried to flay themselves alive, and many seemed to have gotten far in the process before succumbing. But still, there was no sign of battle, or even struggle- it was as though the marauders had suddenly fallen into this, as though gripped by a moment’s mad whim.

“You thought I could be swayed by the promise of power, or wealth, or love, to fight alongside you.”

Mithridates paused at the final threshold. It had been five centuries, half a millennia since he had left this place, swearing then to return in a few short days or weeks- he who had before faced down all the horrors of the Realms paused to rally himself.

“You thought that I was the same as I had always been.”

He knew that voice. The last High Priest of Amasya thrust the door open, and strode inside- and then stopped short, dumbfounded. He had thought to find a body in a casket, or at most a feeble revenant starved by the centuries- but what stood before him was a man, still glowering down at a marauder chieftain splayed against the frescoed wall of the chamber. Alti was well aware that he was old- he had been in his middle age when he had left Amasya behind, and the centuries since had not reversed time’s ravages. And yet the man he found looked in the bloom of youth, as full of life as he might have been when Mithridates was but an infant.

“Father?” At the sound of his voice, the man glanced up, looking upon his son with eyes that flashed full of malice.

“You thought all these things… but you are a fool.”

 

Isik Kulesi

The final battle had been short, brutal, and utterly victorious. Irkut smiled at the memory- one of Sarn’s followers, Madrax Kane, had thought himself able to challenge the Varanpact for control of the tower ruins, but the Cachinnating Claw had shown him the error of his ways. At the height of the battle, the Keeper of Secrets that led the Claw had torn a Bloodthirster into a dozen equally-sized pieces, putting the followers of Khorne to flight and decisively securing Isik Kulesi against all comers.

Free of distraction, then, Irkut could proceed against the real obstacle here- the ancient defenses built into the tower’s depths, a foe as real and as cunning as any faced on the battlefield. That was what he was doing now, matching wits with a god and trying to break a lock never meant to be opened. It was refreshing, and utterly invigorating.

From a distance, to the dull-witted or the entirely mundane, the wall before Irkut seemed a blank and featureless slab of marble- but those with even a modicum of arcane talent, or a speck of common sense, would realize that it housed a web of magical energy meant to be fatal to any who sought the secrets held behind. They who had a bit more refinement- like him- could almost see the pattern, the warp and weft of power flowing through the stones.

The wall itself seemed to twist and shimmer ever so slightly as a team of sorcerers worked on it, gently persuading the eldritch strands into a newer, more accommodating shape. As he watched, the magic flexed, bent, growled, and then spread apart- and as a hole opened in the web, so too did a dark emptiness appear where there had seemingly been smooth stone.

Irkut nodded. “Send another one.”

A slave, once a soldier of the Delegation, was brought forward before the halberds of Irkut’s minions. Twenty feet before the wall, the guards took a step back- aware of the sudden absence of the steel points, he glanced behind her, then forward towards the door taking shape in front of him. He glanced back again- and then was running, sprinting towards the thin hope of salvation.

Two feet before he reached the door, the web of magic flexed and folded. It seemed to Irkut that a massive arcane hand reached out and seized him, and he vanished with a ‘pop’ into thin air. The room froze for a moment- and then sighed.

“We’re making progress.” However slow it might come, he thought. “We continue.”

There was power on the other side of the barrier, power at the fringes of his wildest dreams. Once, the gods of the Aelves had used the secrets of this place to bind something of awesome power- and when he had broken down the barrier and whatever other defenses lay beyond, he would be master of those same secrets. And with them in hand, he could imprison the so-called gods of the Realms, those creatures who thought themselves the equals of the true Gods.

And then, the Three-Eyed King could remake the Realms as he willed.

 

Teselli Alari

“Ichor. Bile. Blood. Blood!” The spite had folded its twiglike hands into fists, saplike tears running down its face.

“Da flames?” The snotling standing next to it was looking down, openmouthed, at the carnage wreaked before them.

Allarielle’s Solace was dying, and something ugly was being born out of its corpse. Nurgle’s rot had spread deep within the trees, and where just a few brief days before stately pines and majestic yews and goldenwoods and all other manner of trees had bloomed and towered, now there were only rotting stumps and a few gnarled, ravaged survivors. Where once spites had swarmed, now clouds of bloatflies covered every surface. Even grand Hyperion was under threat, the amethyst wargrove assailed by the forces of decay unleashed by Baldaflax and his ilk.

“Fire. Ashes. Seeds. Roots.”

“Da flames.” One green finger stretched out, pointing at two figures creeping through the corrupted undergrowth- a woman in an officer’s uniform, and a man with the bearing of a hunter. “Da flames!”

“Seeds.” The spite’s mouth grew into a malicious, fang-filled smile. “Windfall. Trees. Forests. Growth.”

“Burn it down! Burn it down! Da flames! Da flames!” And the greenskin’s hooting and hollering marked the end of the day.

 

Nagaskahip

The deathrattle legionnaire exploded as Wapkagut clubbed it with a stikk bigger around than the dead soldier’s torso. Nearby, Akhelian King Tralnor’s tide-magic swept away a screeching pack of grimghast reapers even as his Ishlaen Guard held their own against an overwhelming Nighthaunt counter-attack.

“DAT ALL YOU GITZ GOT?!” The warchanter shouted, genuinely enraged. The echo was the worst it had ever been here, a pounding, aching sense of emptiness that washed over him in waves. Gorkamorka’s heartbeat was faint here, and he felt the power of his own warchant waning. It was a most uncomfortable sensation- and greenskins don’t like being out of their comfort zone.

“WAAAGH!” Wapkagut attempted, but it came out weak, the timeless warcry faltering in his throat. Fortunately, his brawls and alfrostuns didn’t need Waaagh! Energy to carry them forward; the absence of it had caused a dark mood to settle over the mobs. Even now, two Sovanghen Thundertusks were bellowing at the grim mortuary columns, their breath causing the ancient stone to freeze and crack, collapsing under their own weight within moments.

Wapkagut snarled through clenched teeth as Wight King with a two-headed axe big enough to make a warboss proud squared up against him. He’d promised to knock it all down, and by Gork and Mork, he hadn’t come this far not to.


 

The branchwraith and the tidecaster walked side by side, deep in the labyrinthe of Nagash’s Graveyard. There were no dead left in these tombs; the petulant child-king Mithridates Alti had seen to that, and thrown them all against Wapkagut at the labyrinthe’s gates. This did not mean there was no danger, however.

“You feel it, Isharann, do you not?” The branchwraith intoned, “the endless emptiness, gnawing at the hole where your kind used to have a soul.”

“I would have you still what passes for a tongue,” the tidecaster spit, “For you cannot know of what you speak.” The branchwraith laughed once more, the harsh bark of the sound grating on the tidecaster’s nerves. “This cancer grows in bones older than even my wargrove, little aelf. It is time; we must see to our task, that the Slann can see to theirs.”

The tidecaster nodded, once, and stood in still concentration, summoning an ocean which would sweep through this place. Around her, she could hear the roots of the ancient trees far above reached deeper than ever before, splitting apart the mortal-made masonry of the tomb.

That it would mean both their deaths, did not matter, and in the mid-day sky beyond, the stars of Azyr grew suddenly close and bright.

 

Gorkoyuk

Da Maw dat Walkz trod the sacred ground of Gorkamorka’s pits. All around her was the bustle of devout worship, the air thick with the heady incense of the recently deceased, their dismembered and disembowled corpses cooking in the hot Hyshan daylight.

She had made a holy decree: her pilgrims had eaten well on their long journey, and now, it was time for da Maw dat will consume da Wurld to feast. To this end, they would drag every corpse to Gorkoyuk; the long dead, the unburied slain, and the living yet to die. The souls of those whose bodies were lost, the bodies of those whose souls were pledged to the Four. All these and more, da Big Eat would toss into the pits, and in turn her messiah would drink deep and eat hearty.

Nearby, Sibyl screeched commands, her shrill voice directing the mobs of ghouls, bonesplitterz, troggoths and others whom returned with tribute. One such faithful, the Spiderfang scuttleboss Spiderbite the Unoriginal had returned empty-handed, with only scorchmarks about his spider’s head to show for the Lord-Celestant he’d slain. Another hadn’t returned at all, the ghoul king whom fashioned himself a pale saint having been lured to Mithridates Alti’s cause by whatever silver-tongued promises Mannfred’s whipped dog had made him.

The betrayal amused da Maw, for the ghoul king had simply traded one prophet for another. She had met the empty man in the hollow mountain, when first she’d washed ashore in the Rahipmezar’s wharf long ago. She knew he served the same purpose as her, in his own misguided way.

The beast pen before her yawned wide, the spikes that once kept creatures from escaping the pit looking like so many bloody, jagged teeth. Yes, she smiled, her worship was pure.

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The Sacred Protector does battle with Marquis Gruelsop the Gangrene at the gates of Azyrhol. Photo by NEO Alex P. at #AnimosityI in Winchester, VA

Turn 2 Update

Turn 2 Location Control

The Sigmarsmacht Delegation defended Grung Esik
(contested by the Horde)

The Reclamation captured Rahipmezar
(strongly 
contested by the Varanpact and the Delegation)

The Skoga Grakk captured Nagaskahip
(strongly contested by the Skoga Grakk)

The Horde of Rot and Rage captured Azyrhol
(strongly contested by the Delegation)

The Varanpact captured Isik Kulesi
(
contested by the Horde, Delegation, and Skoga Grakk)

Da Big Eat defended Karanlik Saray
(
contested by the Varanpact and the Delegation)

Da Big Eat captured Gorkoyuk
(strongly 
contested by the Skoga Grakk)

The Horde of Rot and Rage defended Teselli Alari
(contested by the Delegation and the Skoga Grakk)

Yol Grimnir was not contested

Available spoils for Sunday, Turn 3

Skoga Grakk – 40

Delegation – 40

Varanpact – 60

Big Eat – 60

Horde – 40

Reclamation – 40

Turn 2 NEO Notes

The campaign’s generic allegiance abilities have been updated with the following wording; please re-print if necessary.

Hero of Yore – You may purchase any number of Command Traits and Artefacts that would normally be available to any HERO, either from the Grand Alliance allegiance abilities, your Battletome’s allegiance abilities, Malign Sorcery, or Forbidden Power. You may purchase your first trait or artefact in this way for 4 Spoils, and double the cost for each subsequent trait or artefact. (In this way, your second trait or artefact will cost 8 Spoils; your third will cost 16,  your fourth 32, and so on.) Furthermore, you may never allocate more than 4 traits and artefacts on any single HERO at once.

Turn 2 Unfolding Narrative

Your narrative contributions were IMMENSE, and we’re still typing it all up. Make no mistake, with so many primary objectives captured in a single turn, you’ve changed the course of the war.

The narrative update will post at 12PM EST.

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Pick on someone your own size! #AnimosityI photo by NEO Duncan H. of Blacksburg, VA.

Turn 1 Update

Turn 1 Location Control

The Sigmarsmacht Delegation defended Grung Esik
(
uncontested)

The Varanpact defended Rahipmezar
(
contested by the Reclamation)

The Reclamation defended Nagaskahip
(strongly contested by the Skoga Grakk)

The Sigmarsmacht Delegation captured Azyrhol
(uncontested)

The Horde of Rot and Rage lost Isik Kulesi
(
contested by the Horde, the Varanpact, and the Delegation)

Da Big Eat defended Karanlik Saray
(
strongly contested by the Varanpact)

The Skoga Grakk defended Gorkoyuk
(
contested by the Big Eat)

The Horde of Rot and Rage captured Teselli Alari
(strongly contested by the Delegation)

Yol Grimnir was not contested

Available spoils for Saturday, Turn 2

Skoga Grakk – 40

Delegation – 65

Varanpact – 40

Big Eat – 40

Horde – 40

Reclamation – 40

Turn 1 NEO Notes

The campaign’s generic allegiance abilities have been updated with the following wording; please re-print if neccessary.

Strange Bedfellows – You may choose to replace a unit’s faction keyword (example: Wanderers) with another faction keyword (example: Stormcast Eternals) for 6 Spoils; this also changes that unit’s Grand Alliance keyword to match their new Faction keyword. In addition, apply whichever of the following is applicable: Add +2 Spoils for every 5 models in this unit, or add +3 Spoils for every 5 models with 2-3 wounds per model, or add +2 Spoils for every model with 4 or more wounds per model.”

Turn 1 Unfolding Narrative

Rahipmezar

“Victory.” The marble trees of the necropolis had been shattered by malefic magic, and its grounds were scattered with the corpses of marauders and deadwalkers alike- but the Varanpact yet held the broken walls and the ruined grounds, triumphant yet again over Mithridates Alti’s tottering alliance.

K’jaana Feathertouch exulted in the delicious irony of it. The old man who had ruled over this corpse-city last had been the Gods’ sworn enemy… and now he stood in defense of it, against the very same man’s desperate son. He shook his head in rueful amusement, and then turned his steed towards the central tomb. It still stood proud over the devastation that had once pretended to be a garden, and still held secrets inside- and K’jaana would find them. Victory was sweet, yes, but the fruits of what lay inside would be sweeter still.

“Never-never.” The fear-musk hung heavy around the Stormvermin, but they stood their ground nonetheless. Behind K’jaana a crush of his fellow cultists loomed over the rat-men, their desire for what lay inside almost palpable. “Never-never”, the beast repeated.

“You’re genuinely afraid, aren’t you?” Afraid enough of what lay beyond the steel doors that the white-furred monstrosities were more willing to face down a swarm of the Prince of Pleasure’s children than risk whatever was behind the door.

“Yes-yes. Much-many dangers in the darkness, whisper-lies in the night, monster-things hiding in the shadows.” The Stormvermin was almost comically fearful even for one of its kind, eyes flicking from the inner portal to the Hellreaver and back again. “Must keep safe-secure.”

“Safety.” K’jaana snickered, and the rest of the cultists murmured with him. “Security. These are the final refuges of the weak, but I am strong- strong enough that the future holds no fear for me… only rapture.” He stepped forward so that his lean frame towered over the lead rat-man. “Make your peace with uncertainty now, creature, because in the end I will know what lies beyond that gate.”

Nagaskahip

It had been a day of slim victories, and frustrating defeats. The ancient graveyards below the mount itself were littered with the unhallowed dead, the corpses of the Skoga Grakk practically carpeting the ground in places. For all that, though, they had come very near ascending the mount itself, and only at the eleventh hour had the intervention of his Blood Knights turned the tide… though they never had been his, had they?

“You are melancholy.” Mithridates cursed inwardly at the sound of the Grimhailer’s voice.

“Just… reflecting, on the task ahead. How close we are to victory.”

“And yet how far away.” The worst part of it was, Reikanor was right. All he had done so far was tear up some of the scenery- the tomb itself, and what lay inside, was yet beyond his grasp… and he could feel power slipping through his fingers by the moment. The coalition he had so carefully built was falling to pieces, and the destiny he had appointed for himself with it.

“We must capture the Rahipmezar if we are to have any hope of victory. This is of paramount importance- indeed, it might be the only thing that’s of any importance now.”

“Why? Because that will serve Nagash? Or is it just because it will serve the line of Mithridates?”

Rage flashing in his eyes, the priest spun. “Hold your tongue, unquiet spirit! My father is one of the Undying King’s greatest servants. If anything will reverse the course of this war, it’s his release.” The two paused for a moment, Mithridates’ all too human one matched by Reikanor’s empty eyes and face. Then the priest shook his head. “Rally my host. I will lead them against the necropolis and retake it myself, as I need.”

Reikanor inclined his head respectfully. “As you command.” Still, he stared out at the Rahipmezar after his charge vanished, and wondered. Truly, what was it that the priest desired… and what was it that lay inside? And what would be the consequences when he found out?

Isik Kulesi

“This place was in a sorry state when we found it, and it’s only gotten worse.” Eris Bloodwrath shook her head, looking at the distant ruins between the three armies. At least this way, having lost the vicinity of the tower, they wouldn’t have to deal with the bodies of the insane occasionally wandering out… or the predations of the shadow-beasts living in the river.

“Pfft. Small comfort, though.” Instead of beasts and madmen who may try to kill you, they were facing not one but two armies, both of which wanted nothing more than to see them- to see her- dead. It was a sobering thought, to be sure, though hardly an unfamiliar one. At least she knew how to deal with human foes rather than monsters and test subjects.


“Fascinating.” The structure of the beast’s innards was entirely abnormal, and shouldn’t even be possible- as though there was some malign force in the area specifically warping the environment. The marauders they’d captured from Sarn’s horde hadn’t been much use, sadly- three of them were stark raving mad and had to be put down, and the rest were genuinely clueless.

Still- whatever lay inside must be exciting, not to mention potent, for so many people to come after it. Powerful enough to twist these beasts in such a way, even through rock and earth- when Irkut had confirmed his hold over the shattered tower, and uncovered its secrets, his might would be vast indeed.


“Did you see anything?” But Tornuri Goldensire shook her head.

“They are watching the skies, and it was all I could do to avoid becoming pigeon-pie. Besides… if there is anything, it’s hidden pretty well… probably underground.”

“I see.” Shizhong considered thoughtfully for a moment. “Very well. I will write a dispatch to the Seneschal-General. You’ve done well.”

But as he turned to walk away, the Knight-Azyros fluttered nearer. “Sir…”

“Yes?”

“What do you think is inside?”

“Hmm.” He smiled. “Probably a bunch of old books, some trinkets, and mountains of dust. Anything else is for me to know and you to find out about.”

“Yes sir.” She looked downcast enough that he sighed and shook his head.

“The desire to know more is a good thing. But remember also that knowledge is a sword with two blades- it must be wielded carefully, and should not be lightly taken up. Yes, I have some pretty good clues as to what must be within- but none of my conclusions are relevant yet. In the meantime, I think we have a battle to fight.”

“Yes sir.” She still sounded curious, but it was hidden behind the iron mask of duty. And as he watched her take to the skies Han shook his head again.

“You’ll find out eventually. But you may be sorry you ever asked.”

Karanlik Saray

For over five hundred years, the temple to Malerion had stood cold and empty, in mute defiance of the sun and the rain and the light of its brother across the river- but now, finally, it had recovered its true purpose as a slaughterhouse.

Albeit, its builders probably wouldn’t have expected it to be at this particular set of hands. If any Aelfs walked its halls, it was as sacrifices, not as lords- the masters of the Palace of Shadow were now Ogors, ghouls and Grots, and everyone was on the chopping block.

Lady Sibyl now stalked through the chambers, sampling a bit of each of the sacrifices offered up in every chamber. True, none of them were prepared in a way a lady of noble standing would recognize, but that just added to the appeal of it- like making love in the grass, sampling the ichor and entrails laying about on the floor was deliciously rustic and delightfully crude. Truly, they were partaking in deadly decadence in a way the previous occupants would have grudgingly appreciated.

And, she thought, all in defiance of the war raging just outside their walls. The hordes of the Varanpact had been repelled again and again by the brave warriors of the Big Eat, mad cultists broken on ranks of serried steel led by the Maw herself. Under the prophet’s guidance, they had grown as strong as she promised- strong enough, Sibyl thought, that from here the city, and perhaps the Realm beyond, was theirs for the eating…

Teselli Alari

“When I was a child, I used to love playing among the fountains.” The one who had once been High Priestess of Melas leaned over creakily, open sores weeping pus onto the verdant ground. “All the crystal clear waters bubbling up, flowing through marble and silver to sparkle in the sunshine. I have learned a great many things since then, but I still look back at those days with fondness.”

She cast a sidelong glance at the crowd of prisoners huddled before her, each held in place by a Plaguebearer. “There was one fountain among the ninety-nine that I did not like, though, and that was the last among them. You see, the water would flow from each source to another, and be cast into the air and then recovered into the mechanisms to be purified and flow onwards- until the ninety-ninth would cast it into the air to land on the dirty ground below and flow back into the Ur-River. That seemed a great shame to me, to lose such beauty.”

The former priestess smiled, revealing toothless and rotten gums. “But then the High Priest at the time explained to me- the other fountains were sterile and cold, but this one brought life and growth and nourishment. That revelation opened my eyes, and I saw the complex in an utterly different light- performance and beauty are well and good, but it was the end step, the passing-on, that was most important.”

Step by ponderous step, she advanced on the huddled captives until she stood before their leader, a noble Prince of the Wanderers. He tried to jerk away from her reaching hand, but the daemon tightened its grip and she rested her fingers on his cheek, thoughtfully.

“You have to understand, that’s what is happening here. You think we’re polluting your precious forest, but in fact all we have done is to generate life and grant Papa Nurgle’s blessing.” Even now, new fungus had begun to bloom and twist the foliage around them into more beautiful shapes. “You try to resist, and that is good. Our grandfather loves those who are strong. But it’s time to stop fighting- you thought you could keep us out of the forest, could hide behind your wards, but no one can ever resist the end.”

Her thumb idly stroked the Aelf’s cheek, noting the incipient pox-marks. “Just let go, and let the change overcome you. You’ll be glad you did.”

Azyrhol

The cathedral was much reduced from the years of Amasya’s glory, its domed roof collapsed, its statues and ornaments worn away by centuries of rain and wind. For all this, though, Sigmar’s throne still stood in its center, towering over everything else in the building- towering over everything in the city beyond, throwing all of Amasya into its shadow.

Cai Leonas smiled in wonder. “We’ve returned.”

Yol Grimnir

The lonely winds blew over the Unforged Gate and the Grand Mustering Grounds, chasing clouds of dust like eager hounds. In contrast to the battles raging through the city beyond, Grimnir’s Road was quiet and empty, with only the ghosts of the dead to stand their silent witness, watch, and wait.

Turn 0 Update

Turn 0 Results

The Sigmarsmacht Delegation captured Grung Esik
(uncontested)

The Varanpact captured Rahipmezar
(uncontested)

The Reclamation captured Nagaskahip
(uncontested)

Azyrhol was not contested

The Horde of Rot and Rage captured Isik Kulesi
(uncontested)

Da Big Eat captured Karanlik Saray
(uncontested)

The Skoga Grakk captured Gorkoyuk
(uncontested)

Teselli Alari was not contested

Yol Grimnir was not contested

Available spoils for Friday, Turn 1

Skoga Grakk – 35

Delegation – 35

Varanpact – 35

Big Eat – 35

Horde – 35

Reclamation – 35

Turn 0 Unfolding Narrative

Grung Esik

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The great bulwark stretched out beneath the Delegation’s van, at this distance forming a shining slate ribbon stretching across the placid blue river. There was no sound save the gentle susurrus of the water, but for all this Han Shizhong was wracked with nerves- his commander’s eye saw a hundred different places along the dam’s length where enemies could wait in concealment, and properly manned the works could hold until the end of time with a suitably determined defender.

A single figure rose on shining wings in the distance, waving excitedly at the Lord-Celestant. Tornuri Goldensire beat her way over to land hastily before him, eyes shining through her helm.

“Empty, sir- the entire length, I flew it twice, not a single soul. We’re first!”

“It worked.” Monique’s face had the vicious look of a predator, enough to set Shizhong at unease thinking of all the lives they’d spent to make the march so quickly. “Open the gates and begin rebuilding the walls- we’ve no time to lose.”

“A proverb, Dame Goldensire.” They walked through the dam’s depths. “Haste will earn back double, but care always reaps tenfold.” At the sight of her downcast face Shizhong could not help but smile. “Fear not, though. This place might not have been entirely empty… but Troggoths are no great foe, and it was high time Santi and his men earned their way.”

“What do you think they found, Lord Han?” But the Lord-Celestant only shook his head.

“Santi knows that, the Marshal will find it out from him, and until then Oberon Brightblade will keep the information from spreading.” But he’d heard the rumors. That the sellsword had uncovered the control mechanisms for the ancient works, that could even now be ready to come back online. If that was true, the reservoir and the sheer power it held was the Delegation’s to command, and the city was far closer to their grasp than it had seemed mere hours before.

 

Nagaskahip

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There is a path through the caverns and cliffs on the hubward side of the Ur-River, leading from a place outside the city’s defenses into its heart, deep in Amasya’s primeval tombs. It was through here that Mithridates Alti had come, never breaking stride until he stood at the tomb’s mouth and gazed out at the city of his birth.

“So close.” If he had tears to shed, he had no doubt they would have come then, with his birthright laid out before him once again.

“And yet so far. There is still a river to cross.” The Grimhailer dogged his steps even now, and Alti cursed his moment of sentimentality. Of weakness.

“Reikenor. Take your host and search the caverns. Leave the deadwalkers to fortify the entrances, muster whatever strength lies within, and convince any who imagine themselves beyond Nagash’s reach.”

“And what of your own goal, fallen priest?” The Grimhailer’s words stung, but only a trifle- the palace of the dead was close, so close, the Rahipmezar sitting just across the mirrored waters.

“Send me Felthik the Watcher.” The Guardian of Souls would do the job if any could. “I have a task for him.”

“Has this city made you a fool, or just careless?” For all that mortal emotion was centuries behind the Grimhailer, Mithridates reflected, he seemed gripped by a bitter rage.

“How was I to know the Arcanites and Hedonists would be here too?” He had thought himself to have left the servants of the Dark Gods behind in the hinterlands, and yet Felthik had still broken his teeth on their divine sorceries and blades. Not that any could have carried the day alone, against those odds.

“If you are going to name yourself our leader, everything is yours to know and prepare for. Now you’ve thrown away a tithe of our strength on a forlorn hope… for what, exactly?”

He was silent for a long moment, weighing secrecy against the Grimhailer’s rising impatience before sighing. “My father.”

“What?” He smiled, as his companion seemed genuinely taken aback.

“I entombed him, still alive, before the city fell. I swore I would return to him… and now I have.” Again, Mithridates turned to the perfect lifeless garden across the waters. “Rally our forces. We strike again, and this time I will take back what is rightfully mine.”

 

Near Rahipmezar

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The one-sidedness of the carnage only barely began to assuage Irkut Thousandeye’s foul mood. The day’s disasters had been twofold, and nearly three- first, his ravens espied the Prince of Azyr’s host already dug in at Grung Esik, only to be spotted themselves and driven off in a hail of shot and star-fated arrow. Second, when they entered the city proper it was to find that brute Sarn’s mob already occupying the Tower of Light, with the first clashes leaving none in doubt as to who held its grounds.

If they had been in a little worse order, they might have been taken by surprise by the spirit-host that then boiled from across the water, smashing against his serried ranks- but they were not surprised, and so they had carried the day there in that strange lifeless garden, destroying or scattering the unquiet dead.

Not for the first time, he almost wished that he hadn’t burned the Oracle- maddening and even insulting as its prophecies might have been, it was still better than this… this blindness. He wondered how it was that someone like Sarn could live in it every day, and marveled that he should be so stupid as to not know what he was missing.

He was saved from further rumination by a chittering noise by his side, and glanced down to see a rat-man in what looked like hasty supplication. “What is it, vermin?”

“News from the scouts, oh master-sage! Grim-terrible tidings and strange report-squeakings, yes-yes!” At the Varanguard’s silent gesture, the Skaven bowed even deeper. “Yes-yes, many twistings and turnings there were- and much kill-slayings and fear-tremblings, but good-good Zuaqzelk is returning-victorious with news *urk*”

He held the giant rat’s throat in one armored gauntlet. “You are a coward and a fool, do you understand?” Irkut held on until he smelled the musk of fear rising off the creature. “Now, what did you find?”

*kaff kaff* “Ancient-terrible danger-fear, most glorious master! Power that rent Zuaqzelk’s company-host to shreds. Power that could be yours to possess-control.” Irkut nodded thoughtfully, setting the rat down gently at his feet. Power his for the grasping- even if only a tenth of what was said can be believed (and that was generous) it still meant that a gods-given prize was in sight.

“Changers and Despoilers! We have a new target!” A third objective to take, and the possibility of great might when they succeeded.

The released rat watched Irkut carefully, until he had gone out of sight. He had not mentioned the worst of it- power was there, true-true, but it was just as easy that he would encounter the evil-bad monster-thing he had felt deep within the tomb… a tomb-horror that was now soon to be released into the world…

 

Isik Kulesi

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It had been a very good day, up until now. The Yensk River had lead the Horde of Rot and Ruin march almost  unobstructed to the city proper- the only thing that could have made it better would be if they had come sooner. As it was, much of the field was filled with enemies… which Sarn and the Horde had encountered no sooner than entering.

First it had been a mere spite and the creature’s horde of followers, fighting tenaciously to hold Gorkoyuk from the Horde. That had been a worthy fight, though, and much blood and sap was spilled before he called his vanguard back. Then they had come across this place- the ancient ruins, already picked over, doubtless held enough trinkets and knowledge to be worth their while, if only to spite his fellow Varanguard.

Yet staring at the eldritch citadel, Qarang Sarn was now feeling a twinge of apprehension- not least at what was coming out of the citadel. He’d sent some of the proud retinues of Talaha the Butcher and Madrax Kane in to destroy the ruined tower- only for what looked less like warriors of the Gods and more like gibbering madmen (not that there was much difference, sometimes) to come stumbling out again.

“Eris.”

“Varanguard?” His disciple’s voice was suitably deferent, and the Varanguard smiled.

“Round up these… creatures.” He gestured dismissively. “Find out what has become of them. The ones that you judge still of use, put to a task. The rest go to the sword.”

“Yes, Varanguard.” Eris paused. “Are we to depart, then?”

Sarn fixed her with an amused glance. “I am the Basalt Lord, child. Not the Spineless. I do not bend so easily. I will not give Irkut his pleasure. No, we will learn what we can, and then…” He cast a bemused glance at the collapsed Aelf tower- “Then we will try again.”

 

Gorkoyuk

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“WE’Z GOT DEM ON DA RUN, LADZ!!” Wapkagut bellowed, his stikks flinging mud as the warchanter pounded a rythm in the soft ground. The fat, soft Gutbusters and their makeshift rafts had never stood a chance. He knew they’d come for this place- they were children of Gorkamorka too, after all, but Gorkoyuk wasn’t theirs, not really. Might makes right- that’s the way of it- and they don’t come any stronger than an Ironjaw.

Wapkagut was kunnin’, and no doubt about it. At first warning of da Big Eat’s approach, the warchanter had withdrawn his brawls and alfrostuns from the shore where they’d been watering, and gathered them within the half-collapsed, half-submerged beast pits the Ur-River had been eroding for the last five centuries. The gambit worked, and lulled into false confidence, Wapkagut’s horde struck the disembarking ghouls and gutbusters like a mailed fist to the face.

Still, they wouldn’t have won the battle without their strange allies. Even as the greenskins tossed their wayward cousins back into the river, the Idoneth Deepkin had risen from it, herding them back against the choppas of Waaagh! Wapkagut. A number of flying corpse-beasts had attempted to break out, but found themselves driven into the freezing bellows of Thundertusks by Akhelian Allopexes instead. In the end, it was numbers which saved them; there were simply too many in da Maw’s congregation to kill, and those still making their way up-river slipped the noose.

The Ionrach Tidecaster scowled as the primitive greenskin chanted and shouted, his brute fellows hacking apart fellow offspring of Gorkamorka without a second thought. Life was cheap to their kind, and the Isharann wished she could drown them all for it.

“How do you know they will not despoil the Everqueen’s precious Solace?” The Tidecaster asked, and the gnarled water-level growth beside her twisted with newly-spring life in response. “It is known, for we shall never allow them to tread within it,” the Gnarlroot branchwraith answered.

“Your kind’s rage did little to impede the Plague God’s grandchildren, while your goddess hid away in forgotten places.” The Tidecaster felt the branchwraith bristle with anger at the insult, its blood-sap burning hot. “And you are not one to lecture another on cowardice and forgotten places, withered soul,” it snapped, “and our lady is no longer of a waning season, but a red dawn, promising violence. In this, we are not unlike those spawned of the green beast with two heads.”

“Yet still, trusting their loyalty is a desperate measure, is it not?” The Tidecaster finally turned to her counterpart. “This is a task we should have undertaken ourselves, no matter the Starmaster’s counsel.” At this, the branchwraith gave a sharp, rattling noise, which the Tidecaster soon realized was laughter. “Misbegotten child of Teclis, you carry your conciever’s hubris. If the constellation of Zectoka cannot complete this task alone, then all of us are already in mortal peril, no matter the greenskin.”

As if in answer, the stars above- unusually bright for this time of evening- twisted and writhed, as if a great serpent were uncoiling to strike…

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A first sight of the Amasyan valley, south of Yol Grimnir. Art by Joakim Olofsson