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

1

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

 

The Hall of the Heavens

As the hour of reckoning draws near, we close out our series of expanded location descriptions where it all began- the shore where Sigmar beheld the vision which would reunite him with his fellow gods, and laid the foundation of the Hallowed Necropolis today.

Azyrhol, “The Hall of Heavens”

Legendarily, this cathedral-planetarium is built upon the very spot where Sigmar stooped to drink from the waters of the Ur-River, and beheld the Pantheon that was to be. Built in the same style as the soaring edifices of Azyrheim, in gentler times this complex housed a coterie of priests giving praise to the God-King and was thronged with worshippers of every description. When the Age of Myth darkened, it served instead as a mustering-ground- first, for those crusaders ultimately denied the chance to fight at Sigmar’s side by Mithridates Besh, then for the last chaotic evacuation of the city in its final days.

The years have not been kind to Azyrhol- five hundred years of wind and rain, which in other places has had curiously little effect, has worn away at the building until it is only a shadow of its former grandeur. Many of the ancient statues of saints and martyrs that once stood atop the walls have fallen to the ground, and the roof covering much of the central building has collapsed. Once, standing inside and looking up, one could see a spectacular simulacrum of Azyr frescoed into the ceiling- now, at dusk and dawn an observer can sometimes see the Realm of Heavens in their own glory spread out overhead.

The center of the cathedral was and is a great throne, built supposedly upon the precise spot of the Heldenhammer’s revelation. The throne always stood empty, except for on the rare occasions where Sigmar himself came to sit in judgement and meditation. Cautionary tales still abound about the fate of mortals reckless enough to try to usurp the God-King’s seat. In these fallen days, the halls of worship are haunted by feral Azyrite star-hounds, who can smell taint and death in the air.

Beneath the complex, there lie catacombs stretching deep into the earth, home to the remains of those priests, saints and martyrs unwilling to submit their mortal shells to Nagash’s care. Descending into them, one could believe they had descended into a charnel pit- but the bones of the departed are arranged here with greatest care, and the Lord of Death has no dominion. In earlier days, the existence of the catacombs was a source of tension between the priesthoods of the Undying King and the Heldenhammer- in this day and age, it’s said that the spirits of the saints still haunt the subterranean chambers, defending it against incursions by the tainted.

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And that’s it, folks! #AnimosityI begins in a few short hours. Make sure to check back after 2AM EST for the next four days for turn results and narrative updates, and don’t forget to follow along on facebook at fb.me/AnimosityCmpgns and on twitter @AnimosityCmpgns.

May your gods favor you in the war to come!

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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Solitude of life, fury of beasts

As we begin to wind down our location features, we visit two outlying districts of the city which yet still reflect the temperament of the deities they were raised to pay tribute to…

Teselli Alari, “Alarielle’s Solace”

In the Age of Myth, this was an arboreal suburb of Amasya, primarily occupied by Sylvaneth and what are now Wanderers. Now, it has been almost completely overgrown, buildings and parks turned into trackless forests by the passage of years. Only the strongest mortal constructions remain, and even these are under siege by the sea of green. One day the forest will have its due.

Once, the community was centered around a leafy temple to its patron goddess, where the mortal races could come to honor and worship her. In the course of more than five centuries, though, the trees and vines beloved to Alarielle have undone much of what was wrought in her name- the mighty amphitheatre has been turned into a woody hollow, the altar split apart by the trunk of a massive oak, monuments and images washed away as the forest performs truer worship than even the Wanderers ever could.

The pattern of the streets has long been subsumed, but some of the major intersections can still be identified by the proud waystones and statues that stood at their center. Each of these ancient monuments still crackles with power, which has driven off all but the hardiest roots and shoots and kept them intact throughout the years. Though the plants hate them, they have not yet been able to overcome the inbuilt defenses, and thus the stones still stand- but their power is finite, and left to their own devices they will crumble along with everything else before the relentless tide of green.

The heart of the forest has always been the tree called Hyperion, a giant goldwood pine stretching five hundred feet into the air. In Amasya’s heyday, the tree was revered by the Sylvaneth as a direct manifestation of their goddess- this reverence has continued among the spites that are now the sole inhabitants of Alarielle’s Solace. At night, they swarm like fireflies around Hyperion, bathing it in their luminescence. Few, if any, have seen this and lived to tell the tale, though- the spites have grown mad with abandonment, and would readily strip flesh from bone or bark from stem of any who dared trespass in their sacred grove.

Gorkoyuk, “Gorkamorka’s Pits”

On the fringes of the city, this coliseum and menagerie stood as monument to the power of Gorkamorka, a sort of temple to the Twin-Headed God where his worshippers could bring him their trophies from across the Realms. Beasts of every possible description and talent roamed freely through the pits, and their keepers eagerly awaited the times when two or more would come to blows. Though the keepers may have abandoned the pits long ago, the walls are deep and sheer, and it’s easy to imagine something surviving still trapped inside.

When the Pantheon was united, the fringes of the pits served as part casino, part racetrack, part open-air bazaar. Hundreds if not thousands of people of every possible race and description gathered to bet on the fights to come and their results, to hold various and sundry sport of their own devising, and to buy and sell away from the constant danger of the Palace of Shadows and the watchful eyes of Azyrhol. Now, it is merely a threshold- whatever fences or walls kept spectators from falling into the beasts’ lair have long since crumbled away, meaning that walking too close to the edge is a precarious course indeed.

The pits themselves are host to teeming wildlife of all kinds, as well as the apex predators that feed upon it. Descending into the depths is a profoundly dangerous move- it is difficult to quickly ascend back up the pit walls, and once on the ground the thick underbrush makes it hard to spot potential threats before they become urgently important. If there is a reason to walk this earth beyond bravado and the thrill of the hunt, it is in search of the ancient warding-amulets left behind by the architects of the pits, crude but effective guards against mighty beasts such as rule this sunken land.

During the Age of Myth, it was believed that the pits served as an effective containment for its inhabitants- rage as they might, the fearsome creatures could not escape to trouble the rest of the city. While there were monster-hunters and followers of the Twin-Headed God patrolling the fringes, this was maybe almost true- now that they have gone or been exterminated, though, this has been shown for the lie it always was. There are caverns beneath the pits, some flooded, some dry, by which particularly clever or stupid but lucky creatures may make their way into the Ur-River or the depths of other parts of the city. Even the beasts are wary of this place, though, for in its lightless depths dwell the albino rockwyrms, ever ready to leap out and consume the careless and the bold.

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War Story – Battle at the Realm’s Edge, Pt. 1

Submitted by Rob W. of MD

Opening Sortie

The Gorehorde attack on the rear of the Seraphon column went according to plan, initially. Madrax led the cavalry in a devastating charge that completely crushed a hastily formed rearguard line. The ranks of lizard warriors reformed quickly but Madrax continued to push hard. Gore Drinker, Madrax’s Chaos forged daemon blade rent bone and pierced flesh. The manticore was tearing lizardmen apart with blood dripping claws. Outrider spears fell in a deadly rain of steel. The Skullcrushers wheeled and charged again, punching a hole through the line. The Ironhorde knights were right on their heels. It appeared as though his attack was about to roll the whole Seraphon column. Madrax stood in his stirrups and studied the land to his front. The main host of the Seraphon was turning to the right to form lines of battle. Just as Vorak had predicted the swamp prevented any other movement. They formed a line of attack but were not advancing. They just sat at the far end of the shallow valley. The remains of the rearguard were in full retreat to that line.

A strange stillness settled over the battlefield.

“Kane,” It was Noxious. He reined in his rot fly next to Madrax. “This is not right. This is what happened when my host was destroyed.” He pointed to their left at a bank of fog starting to roll in from the swamp. “There is death in that fog. We need to regroup.”

Madrax wheeled on Bilerot, however his derision for cowardice froze on his lips. Noxious Bilerot’s black eyes pierced Madrax. There was determination in those hard eyes, concern yes but not fear.

“Tell me, QUICKLY” Madrax demanded. The lesser lord knew his place and gave a quick account.

“During a fight with Orruk, we were flanked by a force of aelves that came out of a fog that looked just like THAT.” He pointed his sword hatefully at the fog to emphasize his point. “It was a trap.”

Well, Madrax considered, a trap must be sprung.

“Noxious,” Madrax spoke quickly. “find the Gorechosen in the clearing. Tell the Slaughterpriests to lead the bloodreavers in the center. The Deathbringers will take the heavy infantry and secure our left flank. Tell them to attack when the trap is well sprung. You make sure they come quickly. I will be hard pressed by that time I think.”

Madrax knew the gamble he just made. He was putting a lot of faith in his new companion as well as the rest of the Gorechosen. It was a prime opportunity for a coup. His infantry could have been spotted already, the enemy in the fog could be of any size. He felt a strange confidence though. Like everything was going to work out the way it was in his head.

He watched Noxious Bilerot fly off and disappear behind the hill. It was time. The fog was getting close to the edge of the swamp. Waves of mist seemed roll in as if on a rising tide. The tang of salt and the rankness of a wharf filled the air. A black shape broke the surface of the fog then

disappeared back down below. Madrax thought it looked like a fin. He swore he heard the tolling of a boat’s bell.

Madrax set his line of cavalry. From right to left in a wedge; Ironhorde knights, himself and gorebeast chariots formed the tip of the wedge, then the skullcrushers on juggernauts. The marauders were in the middle of the wedge to provide fire support.

He set of at a walk, then a trot. 300 yards, 200; halfway to the Seraphon line. The fog began to hasten its advance. Whoever, whatever was in command of the fog was certainly licking its lips at the sight of its trap being sprung.

“CHARGE!” Madrax bellowed as he spurred the manticore into the air.

The entire line lurched forward at full speed, heading for the enemy line. Madrax climbed then dove the manticore into the secondary ranks of the enemy. A chariot smashed through the front rank and plowed into the lizards reeling from a manticore suddenly appearing in their midst. Gorebeast tore limbs off and trampled the bodies to a pulp. The Ironhorde knights were with him as they drove deeper into the lizard line. To his left the skullcrushers were keeping pace. Marauder javelins rained down.

Then the fog crashed on them like a wave upon rocks. His field of vision was suddenly reduced to a few paces. Sounds of fighting rang out all around him. He pulled his lance out of the smoking hole in a Seraphon’s chest and Gore Drinker cleaved in half a lizard who leapt at him. He did not see any Gorehorde warriors anywhere around him now. Dark shapes raced above him. He wheeled the manticore in a circle. Seraphon had him surrounded and were closing in. A volley of arrows came shooting out from the fog. Strange fin-fletched arrows seemed to suddenly bloom from his shoulder and the manticore’s side. Only one arrow seemed deep in the manticore and one arrow stuck from its cheek. The one in his shoulder was lodged in his armor. Not too bad.

Suddenly a mass of black that had been circling above darted toward him. What materialized from the fog was nothing he had expected. He and the manticore barley dodged the massive jaws and tearing teeth of a huge shark like beast. He took to the air himself. A yard of steel shot past his face as he turned on the shark beast. He saw several riders. Heavy beats of wing brought him higher than the shark beast. Then he dove at it.

He crashed into the shark beast and a terrible melee ensued. The manticore had the shark beast with both claws and was tearing at it with its teeth, spiked tail jabbed in vicious uppercuts. The jaws of the shark could not reach the manticore but its tail beat at them furiously. A bluish aelf with a black topknot came at Madrax with a curved sward, but the blow was turned aside, and Gore Drinker drank the gore. A black topknotted head fell away into the fog. The beasts were unable to maintain flight and they all crashed to the ground. Madrax was thrown from the saddle. He picked himself up and slew another shark rider struggling to get up after being thrown from the battling beasts. He watched as his manticore disemboweled the shark beast. Victorious, it raised its bloody maw and roared.

On the flank

Vorak and Crag lay on the ground peering across the field from the same spot they had first observed the enemy. Now they watched the rear guard of Seraphon retreat from Madrax and the Horde’s cavalry. A fog had formed over the swamp during the brief fight. The delay of the rear guard had allowed the rest of the lizards to reform as expected but they did not advance to crush the smaller force. They just sat there; too far up the valley for an effective flank attack.

“That is unfortunate.” Vorak observed dryly.

Crag did not reply. He was not looking at the enemy line. He appeared to be watching something happening at the cavalry’s position. Vorak looked over in time to see that putrid Nurgle rotter flying toward the hill. He passed their hiding spot and headed back into the trees. Vorak and his companion slid back from the summit and proceeded to back through the trees. They found Bilerot in the same clearing as before. Now the Warshine dominated half the area and bloodreavers stood in ranks. The rest of the Gorechosen were standing around Bilerot.

“…and the rest of the Gorechosen,” Bilerot was saying. “will lead the bloodwarriors and the heavy infantry on the left.”

Roc Shatterhammer scoffed. “Kane again honors the Deathbringers.”

“And the priests.” Argot added. Arrgot Brak was the Bloodsecretor of the Gorehorde. He leaned against the staff of his icon.

“We all have our place in the Horde.” Snapped Exalted Deathbringer Heinryk Dreadspear. He leveled his giant spear at Arrgot. “You hold the highest honor among us.” He swung the point at Roc. “You have much to prove. Your trial may be complete, but if you want to do more than just make armor you will strive to bring glory to the Horde. Only in that will your accomplishments have meaning.” He turned to the rest of the Gorechosen. “You have heard Lord Bilerot. His words are the words of your Mighty Lord. Follow them.” With that he turned away and walked out of the clearing.

Vorak and Crag exchanged a look and wordlessly grasped each other’s forearm roughly. Vorak turned to follow Heinryk. The three Horde’s Deathbringers hurried down the line gathering the bloodwarriors, wrathmongers and skullreapers.

The sound of fighting echoed down the valley. Vorak climbed the hill and looked up the valley. Madrax and his command were driving deep into the enemy line. The fog raced across the field. It unnaturally turned against the wind and swept around to engulf the entire enemy host along with the Horde’s cavalry. It was time. He raised his arm and a horn sounded deep and mournful from behind him. That horn was answered by one, then two and three others. Soon a dozen horns sounded. Their long low wails echoed off the trees and reverberated across the valley. Bloodwarriors moved up to him and they all set off down the long slope as one. Vorak looked to

his right and saw the Warshine top the hill. Arrgot was next to it, keeping pace. He lost sight of the imposing alter as he and the other Deathbringers swung their command up the valley. A few moments later a flurry erupted in the distance, above the fog. A manticore seemed to be fighting a shark. As suddenly as they appeared the shapes fell back into the fog.

They were moving fast, and they covered the tree spotted ground quickly. Vorak led the way quietly into the fog. Zac Brak, Arrgot’s brother was the other Aspiring Deathbringer in the Gorehorde and he was right next to Vorak when they found the enemy flank in the fog. The aelvish bowmen were too surprised to put up much of a fight. Not that they could have against the superior prowess of his bloodwarriors. They were slaughtered.

A mass of dark shapes was moving across their front from left to right. Zac nodded at Vorak and he nodded back. With a roaring shout, they charged the mass. His hammer rose and fell smashing aside foes and his axe sent heads flying. He had no idea how big the force he faced was. He just kept killing. He felt the wrathmongers near. His fury intensified as if injected with the pure essence of the Blood God. Red rage filled him, and he became a whirlwind of death. An endless roar ripped at his throat. A spear tore the flesh of his arm and he laughed at the pain.

Suddenly the fog around them seemed to shudder and it took on a ruddy red hue. A bolt of blood red lightening shot across the sky, then another and another. Thunder cracked and rolled. The fog seared off the battlefield like water in a hot pan. Arrgot had opened the Portal of Skulls.

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