War Story – Battle at the Realm’s Edge, pt. 2

The conclusion of Madrax’ march toward Amasya- for now, at least…

Submitted by Rob W. of MD

Madrax had just finished pulling the shallow arrows from the manticore when the attack came. He was still dismounted when more than a dozen Seraphon warriors rushed at him and the manticore. He fought with Gore Drinker and killed two of them quickly. Three others pressed him hard and he was forced back. Turning aside a blow aimed at his head, he took another in the breastplate to gain an advantage and planted a boot in the stomach of the third while his sword was still raised. A parry and slash gutted one of the lizards and his fist shattered the snout of another. The one gasping for air from the kick was rid of his head and the one with the broken face staggered off while two more had a go. They fared little better; one landed a cutting strike on Madrax’s thigh before Gore Drinker split him from shoulder to hip. The other gave an arm to the cause before running off. He pivoted ready for more but the manticore had dealt with the rest. The arrow that pierced the side of its face was gone, but teeth shown through a ragged hole. He snapped the shaft of the deep-set arrow close to the beast’s hide and leapt into the saddle. It pranced to the right and tossed its head, shaking is great mane. The fighting and the pain from the arrows obviously had it riled up and it took flight with little urging. Madrax needed to see the disposition of the battlefield.

Fog covered the enemy entirely. He did not see the cavalry but rank after rank of bloodreavers were pouring over the long hill and into the fog. In their midst was the Warshine lumbering down the hill. He saw Arrgot Brak, striding near the Warshine, they stopped just short of the fog. The Warshine priest had just finished a ritual sacrifice and was holding a head high in the air. Far above Madrax saw Arrgot plant his Icon to Khorne. The Portal of Skulls opened with a tremendous lightning storm. He had not seen that happen before. The fog burned off in an arc racing out from the Portal. It revealed pure madness.

Near the hill, the cavalry push had stalled then stopped. A mass of juggernaut riding skullcrushers had formed a rough circle and were defending the marauders on all sides, many of whom now fought dismounted from behind the carcasses of their horses. Some skullcrushers fought on foot near them while rider-less juggernauts rampaged through the enemy, throwing lizards aside and trampling others. The Ironhorde knights and a single remaining chariot were forming for a breakout charge. Some bloodreavers were about 50 paces from the cavalry and now that they knew the peril the cavalry was in, they were pressing hard to reach that position. Could that be Roc Shatterhammer leading them? Madrax saw a great anvil smash a hole in the lizards ranks and knew that it was.

The rest of the bloodreavers were swarming over the ranks of aelves and lizards and were hacking a great swath through the enemy. Crag Gorespittle stood on a bronze and iron alter. Madrax had never seen such a thing. Where had it come from? Crag raised his hands and lifted his face to the sky. A giant axe erupted from the ground and plunged into the enemy. Blood flew in a spray from the carnage it caused as it tore a great rent in the enemy ranks, through which the bloodreavers poured. Lizard and aelf alike ran screaming from a huge bleeding bronze icon that

plowed its way across the battlefield. Near the swamp a horrible melee was in progress. The entire flank had deteriorated into chaos. There were no lines, no ranks, no charges or counter charges. Just a huge brawl. He banked the manticore that direction.

There were other things flying near him. Winged lizards with riders were heading toward the Crag and the alter. Huge boulders held in their talons. Madrax veered from his original path and intercepted the flight. He let the manticore do the heavy lifting. It used its claws and barbed tail to eviscerate the flying lizards. The riders plunged screaming to the ground. With the alter and Crag now safe, he turned his attention to the barroom brawl at the edge of the swamp.

As he got closer he saw that the brawl was a one-sided affair with the Gorehorde holding the upper hand. He also saw that the aelves held a strong position on a rocky outcrop that formed a headland into the swamp. Their lines were still intact there and the broken Seraphon were using that avenue to escape the murderous advance of the bloodreavers. If the aelves in the rocks could be dislodged, then the retreat could cut off. He landed in the middle of the brawl.

“GOREHORDE! RALLY TO ME!” He bellowed. “TO ME! TO ME!”

The Gorehorde fighting force near the swamp converged on his position. Once disengaged what was left of the aelves ran full tilt for the rocks. He quickly organized the remaining bloodwarriors, skullreapers and wrathmongers for a charge. He needed daemons for this attack, but they had not come even with all this bloodshed. He did not wait for the lines to be fully formed before he started for the spear bristling fortress of boulders.

Charge after charge crashed upon that terrible bastion. Not once was Madrax and the Gorehorde able to gain the rocky heights. Even when the bloodreavers and remaining cavalry overwhelmed the lizards and joined the attack the aelves held rocks. Half of the Seraphon were able to escape. By nightfall the aelves had reinforced their position and had anchored both flanks against the swamp forming an impenetrable semicircle of rock and steel.

Madrax stood on the long, low hill directly across from the rock fortress. Flights of burning arrows from there rained down on anything that moved in the valley below. The Gorechosen and Bilerot stood a few paces away. Madrax gave orders for all probe attacks to stop and to dig in for the night. They dispersed to their separate commands leaving Bilerot standing alone. He had lost around one third of his fighting force, but he would not allow the enemy to control the field. Arms crossed he waited for dawn.

But in the morning, there was no one to fight. Under the cover of darkness and burning arrows, the aelves had vanished from whence they came. Madrax could only assume that the bushwhacking bloodless heathens had no stomach for a real fight. Which was fine. He had better places to be.

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