Turn 1 Location Control
The Sigmarsmacht Delegation defended Grung Esik
The Varanpact defended Rahipmezar
(contested by the Reclamation)
The Reclamation defended Nagaskahip
(strongly contested by the Skoga Grakk)
The Sigmarsmacht Delegation captured Azyrhol
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
“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.”
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?
“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…”
“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.”
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…
“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.”
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.”
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.