Some weeks ago
Like a mortuary shroud pulled across a cadaver, the night sky had disappeared, lost in a bank of fog. Pounded into muck by the iron-shod tread of two belligerent adversaries, the battlefield had once been a meadow, its gentle, babbling creeks now choked with blood and mangled corpses.
Impatient, Wapkagut tapped out a beat with his foot, his toes slapping against a puddle that was more effluvia than mud. The fight had been a proper scrap, but even an Ironjaw could see it wasn’t going well. It had been a meeting engagement, not a pitched battle.On the warpath, there was little which could impede the momentum of a Ironjaw brawl and a Beastclaw Alfrostun- yet a wall of insensate Blightkings and a thundering counter-charge of Khornate Juggernauts were among them. Now those same foes lay slain about the warchanter, bodies heaped atop the orruk dead they’d killed only moments before.
Wapkagut grunted out percussion notes under his breath, his thick, his stikks shaking in his twitching grasp. The greenskin’s need to bash something hung in the chill pre-dawn air like a static charge.
Just as Wapkagut and his ‘ardest boyz made to take the Chaos lads with them, the sky- clear as a winter’s night, until that moment- seemed to fall and crash into the bloodied waters of the meadow. From the burning light came steam and mist, even as the forest upon the valley’s mountains seemed to close in about the clashing armies. The sound of furious combat grew muffled and distant, and Wapkagut had been left with nobody to krump, the foes he’d been at grips with moments before disappearing into the mist.
Confused and angry, some of his Waaagh! had found their way back to Wapkagut through the mists. As what remained of the Sovanheng Alfrostun came up behind him, the mist began to freeze and fall, melting as it settled on the still-hot bodies of the recently slain and adding to the bloody quagmire.
The Sovanheng Frostlord gave a bellow of alarm and urged his Stonehorn forward as four figures emerged from the mist before Wapkagut- only to yank back the reigns at a snarl and a raging glare from the Warchanter. Looking back to the strangers, the warchanter sized them up, the cunnin’ of Mork piquing the greenskin’s curiosity.
One was of the sea-aelves, a Tidecaster of the Isharann; another, a splinter-git Branchwraith, the type to turn an orruk’s entrails into extrails with a screeched incantation. Beside them was a small lizard-creature bedecked in feathers: a Starpriest of the Skink breed, and behind him, a Sunblood of the ‘ard Saurus breed. Wapkagut grunted in acknowledgement and stood his ground.
The Branchwraith’s voice was stern and sharp; the creak of old branches, swaying in the wind. “You trespass upon a glade sacred to the Gnarlroot, yet the Old King decrees our interests align this day.”
Her voice thin, fleeting like an ocean breeze, the Isharann’s words were clipped, unsteady- as though speech were not familiar to her. “It same with enclaves of deep and constellations above. We are all share common purpose.”
Wapkagut snorted, and spit on the ground between them. “You ‘ear it too, dat it? Da big hole, were da drummin’ echoes?”
The Brachwraith and the Tidecaster nodded, while the Skink chirruped in agreement. The Sunblood behind him looked away, appearing distracted, agitated, as if listening to a sound that couldn’t be heard. Wapkagut could relate.
“It is a forgotten place, barren and hollow.” The Starpriest intoned, “a monument to death in the realm of life, yet discarded even by the king whom cannot die. It is a gnawing place of black and white, emptiness in the shape of civilization.”
“We’z gonna knock it down, we iz,” Wapkagut barked, his patience for talk wearing thin. “Me an’ da lads, we gonna wreck it good. We gonna crash and bash, stomp an’ smash, ‘til they iz nothin’ left ta kick no more! Den we gonna toss all da rubble into da hole an’ shut it right up.” The twitching Ironjaw leaned forward, beady eyes narrowed, darting between the newcomers. “You’z lot in?”
Bowing in deference, the Starpriest stepped aside, its brawny Sunblood companion heaving forward to take the skink’s place. Wapkagut could feel the Waaagh! energy charge about him, the army at his back ready to crash down upon the Seraphon like an avalanche.
Yet the Sunblood gave no challenge, and instead raised up his maul and shield. With an ear-splitting roar, Saurus crashed them against each other and snarled a bestial call to arms.
Wapkagut’s features turned from a scowl to a gleeful, rictus grin, and with a throaty bellow, he took up the battlecry, his morkstikk and gorkstikk punctuating with ground-shaking force.
“SKOGA GRAKK! SKOGA GRAKK! SKOGA GRAKK!”
An icy wind whipped up, the first real breath of an encroaching Everwinter. The Waaagh! had lingered too long, and now surged forward like some great, charging behemoth, stampeding over the spot their new allies had appeared to stand mere moments before. They gave no thought as to why the strangers wanted Amasya destroyed, or how this alliance would fare once it was. There was only the next scrap to be had; what came after, didn’t matter.