Submitted by Rob W. of Maryland:
The din of battle was dying, along with the remnants of the Great Waaagh that had once prowled the Flamescar Plateau. Madrax Kane allowed his flesh hound, Gnasher, to lead the way through the piled bodies of Bonesplitterz and Ironjaws. The spilt blood from both Bloodbound and Orruk soaked into the dirt creating “Holy Mud”. Crag Gorespittle, one of Madrax’s Slaughtpreists, was starting the ritual of covering himself in it. Bloody hands smeared the dark red/brown muck all over his face and head. He was laughing hysterically. Madrax knew soon he would be wallowing in it like a pig in dung. He did not see the other priest in his Pilgrimage but the Warshine loomed hulking above the far side of the battlefield. In between him and the Warshine was glory to the Blood God like he had not seen since his days with Khorgos Khul.
He found what he sought. His flank attack smashed into a pack of Boarboyz led by a Maniak Weirdnob. The boars and their boyz lay scattered and in heaps. The Maniak was not far off. His boar had reared and ran when Madrax’s axe cleaved its jaw off with most of its face. A glancing blow that Madrax meant to remedy. The Maniak was pinned under the dead boar. He was trying to free himself. Pitiful. Still caught in the emotionless haze of post battle frenzy Madrax looked at the Orruk as one would contemplate the best way to tear the wings off a fly. Gnasher snapped at his face. Madrax let the beast get close, toying with the spineless wretch. Madrax suddenly grabbed a handful of dark hair and pulled hard. The Maniak’s neck stretched. Madrax let go of Gnasher. The flesh hound’s teeth sunk deep into the Orruk’s neck. Madrax twisted the Maniak’s head with both hands. His gurgling scream was suddenly silenced when his spine was snapped. A moment later Madrax ripped the head completely off and held it high to the frenzied cheers of the gathered mass of Gorehorde Pilgrims.
The harvest of skulls began in earnest. The Gorehorde set about the dead chopping and hacking the heads off and throwing them in piles. Brief but violent fights were breaking out here and there over the rights to the worthier skulls. Vorak, the Aspiring Deathbringer that led the attack on the center smashed his hammer into the breastplate of an Ironhorde warrior, defending his rights to the skull of the Big Boss Vorak had killed. The rest of the Ironhorde warriors backed off when Vorak’s bloodwarriors backed his claim. These things always worked themselves out. Vorak claimed the Ironhorde warrior’s skull as well.
It has been said that after great battles, great storms soon follow. It began to rain. Blood. Every face upturned to bask in the glory of Khorne, for He had turned his gaze upon Madrax and the Gorehorde Pilgrims.
There was something manifesting from the pools of blood now. The pools began to shift, unnaturally starting to coalesce in the center of the battlefield. The pool bulged, bubbled and spurted rising in an amorphous tower of gore growing ever higher. Lightening cracked, and thunder boomed. The wind roared. The torrent threatened to sweep the Horde away. The tower of blood loomed higher and higher. Suddenly the tower lost cohesion and blew outward
knocking everyone off their feet. The Warshine was toppled and men wrestled to get horses and gorebeasts under control. As the bloodstorm subsided, Madrax pulled himself to his feet and stared at what stood before him.
Black wings pulsed and glowed red. A huge barbed tail lashed back and forth menacingly. Dark eyes chillingly regarded Madrax. He had never seen a manticore before. His awe matched every other member of the Gorehorde. The manticore was saddled and a massive scabbard hung from the pommel. As he approached, the manticore knelt and bowed its great maned head.
Madrax Kane claimed his prize.
The Realmgate they had captured in the battle would lead his vast pilgrimage out of this place to new lands to soak in blood. A day after the battle he sent scouts through. When they returned he was informed that it led to the Realms edge of Ghyran. How appropriate a place to bring the teachings of the Blood God. A wry smile touched his face. He would bleed the life from the Realm of Life.
The scouts reported back a small skirmish between rats and spirts. They had seemed to be squabbling over a swarm of glowing insects. Magic. Repugnant. They reported that the Nighthaunt were able to wrest the magic away from the rats and were about to make off with their prize when they were run down and scattered by a charge of the patrol’s light horse. A flesh hound with the patrol was able to eat the fowl energies and disperse the swarm. Upset at the loss of the magic, the Skaven reformed and attacked the patrol. The fight was short and brutal. The only rat left alive was their leader, who was now kneeling, chained before Madrax. Gnasher’s slobber dripped down onto the warlock.
“Speak, wizard.” Madrax demanded. “explain your presence in Ghyran.”
Even chained in bronze the Arch-Warlock held himself with an air of superiority.
“I do not recognize your authority” he rasped bluntly. Gnasher snapped his ear off. Blood trickled down his face. He touched the stump wincing slightly. Chains rattled.
“What authority do you recognize?”
“The authority of The Basalt Lord, Qarang Sarn, Varanguard of the Fourth Circle, Reaver of Choas.”
Madrax started. His expression did not change but his mind reeled. Qarang Sarn was in Ghyran? In the ranks of the Gorehorde there was no other lord amongst the Varanguard who was regarded with as much respect as Qarang Sarn. His name was spoke with reverence at campfires and at the Services of Slaughter held by his priests every eight days. The opportunity to lead the Gorehorde in battle alongside Qarang Sarn was irresistible.
“VORAK!” Madrax shouted for his Aspiring Deathbringer. “bring me the Gorechosen!”
Madrax considered the rat wizard. He had been ignored while Madrax had sent his Gorechosen off with orders to assemble the Gorehorde for a recon in force through the Realmgate. There was not much choice in the matter. Another skull for the skull throne.
An hour later, mounted on his manticore, Madrax Kane, Butcher of Flamescar, Mighty Lord of the Gorehorde Pilgrimage, led them through the Realmgate to Ghyran to seek out The Basalt Lord.