Fates collide as armies march on the hallowed necropolis.
By fateful chance
Although the Necroquake changed the Mortal Realms forever, it did not stop the wars already being waged. With the free cities known as the Seeds of Hope planted in Ghyran, the struggle to defend them is a constant. To this end, Vanguard chambers of Stormcast Eternals ceaselessly patrol the savage Ghyranic wilderness, intent on discovering where the next attack will come from.
It was one of these patrols which first rediscovered Amasya. When the was abandoned, it could be reached only by Realmgate- but more than five centuries have passed, and new paths into Amasya have opened up. These are not roads by any means, but treacherous and inhospitable badlands. Still, it was only a matter of time before the necropolis was rediscovered.
Such is Amasya’s glory that, even abandoned, the Stormcasts patrol knew what they found had to be significant. They chose to cut short their mission and withdraw to Hammerhal directly- a decision they would regret. What happened next was simple back luck- or a terrible trick of fate.
The Dark Gods know
The Varanguard are Archaon Everchosen’s knights of ruin, his mandate made manifest. Each rider is a mighty warlord of Chaos, and even daemon princes heed their demands. In the aftermath of the Necroquake, it is said the Everchosen gathered to him two score of his Varanguard and tasked them with setting to purpose the innumerable warbands of Chaos scattered across the realms.
Two among them are the Basalt Lord Qarang Sarn of the Fourth Circle and Irkut “the Spineless” of the Third Circle. Into the Realm of Life they rode, to gather what remained of those armies broken by constant wars against the Everqueen and the free cities of Sigmar called the Seeds of Hope.
In this way the Vanguard patrol accomplished its mission, of a fashion. In returning to Hammerhal, they came upon the march of a great host, servants of all the ruinous powers in their midst. This was no mere warband to be evaded, and with the alarm raised, the slaves to darkness crashed down upon the Stormcasts, leaving no avenue of retreat. All among their number were slain- but not all returned.
Irkut the Spineless is a disciple of Tzeentch, whom it is said earned his place among the Varanguard by trial of the Silver Tower. He took into his hands the lightning of a slain Stormcast’s soul, and drank from it the warrior’s mind and his memories. He beheld Amasya, and recognized a place of invaluable desecration.
To reclaim a birthright
Mithridates Alti was lost to the Age of Chaos, yet still survived- at the cost of his life as a mortal man. He made a devil’s deal with Mannfred von Carstein, shortly before the Mortarch was imprisoned by the Khorne lord Taka Woebringer. In exchange for five hundred years’ service toward secretive ends, Mithridates Alti would live on as a Soulblight Vampire. While Mannfred saw only an opportunity to exploit a desperate man for his own ends, the exiled Basrahip saw a chance to exact his vengeance.
His debt finally paid to Mannfred’s satisfaction, Mithridates has set into motion a plot more than five centuries in its conception. He’s swayed numerous necromancers, wight kings and vampire lords to his cause, and countless cairn wraiths and tomb banshees besides. While the greatest of his allies are the Nighthaunt hosts mustered by Reikenor the Grimhaler, the most unlikely are the war covens of the Daughters of Khaine whose Hag Qeens have struck a dark accord with Mithridates…
Echoes of madness
Perhaps one in every several hundred Ironjawz possesses a gift. Some think of it as the thunder of Gorkamorka’s rampaging footfalls, others, Gorkamorka’s heart pounding with the fury of battle. Regardless, these warchanters can turn greenskins to violence more readily than any Megaboss. Yet, there’s only one among these rabble-rousers who heard something different: an echo.
This “gift” belonged to Wapkagut. When another warchanter in his mob would drum, the echo was silent, yet when he would drum, both could hear it, reverberating, maddening. Wapkagut beat the other warchanter to a pulp in an attempt to silence it, yet without result. When his Megaboss heard of this, all were in agreement: this “ecko” was a sign from Gorkamorka, calling on his own to come and crush something!
Lost souls return
Reforged, word soon spreads of the slaughtered Vanguard patrol’s discovery and comes to the attention of Balthas Arum, a venerable and scholarly Lord-Arcanum held in high regard by Sigmar himself. Balthas scoured the Grand Library of Sigmaron for clues as to the necropolis’ identity, only for the answer to be found among the library’s own acolytes by Aderphi, the chief librarian. It was revealed to Balthas that those Sigmarite priests whom fled Amasya passed down their secret heritage in the hope that one day, the city could be restored.
Balthas petitions the God-King directly for permission to muster his Chamber and retake Amasya. Sigmar refuses, and instructs Balthas to mind his duties. Frustrated, the Lord-Arcanum has no choice but to obey his liege. Still, even Sigmar cannot account for all the machinations of mortals; knowing they’ve been found out, the descendants of Amasya begin organizing among thsemselves…
A fortuitous feast
The wandering ogor butcher-pilgrim known as “da Maw dat walkz” was considered quite mad by the tribes of Gorkamorka which followed him, yet followed him all the same as food had become bounteous in his wake. Having made camp beside a great lake so as to better slaughter the native fauna, da Maw is come upon by a stampeding Gorefist seeking to water their gruntas. The Ironjawz boast of how they’re riding to join Waaagh! Wapkagut and topple some fancy old ‘umie city.
Realizing the Ironjawz warchanter has discovered a way back to his lost mecca- where “da maw dat will eat da wurld” resides- da Maw commands his tribes to slaughter the resting Ironjawz and prepare a great feast to sustain them for the march to come.
Waaagh! Wapkagut, now swollen with many Ironjawz brawls and Beastclaw alfrostuns, crashes into the Varanpact legion of Qarang Sarn and Irkut the Spineless. Relishing the opportunity to exterminate so many savages at once, the Basalt Lord demanded the honor of victory and rallied a counter-attack. While the ogors and greenskins fought ferociously, whipped into a primal fury by Wapkagut’s mad drumming, the outcome was never truly in doubt.
With only the most fearsome of his allies remaining, Wapkagut’s Frostlords and Megabosses made ready for a final charge when ranks of Seraphon, Sylvaneth and Idoneth Deepkin appeared. Striking from the wilderness, they outflanked Qarang Sarn’s army and ground them against the forces of destruction.
The tide of battle turned against him, Qarang Sarn’s hand was forced. Loathe to share the glory, he sent for Irkut the Spineless to re-enforce him… only to discover his companion Varanguard had moved on, leaving the Basalt Lord alone to face a losing battle.
By Hammerhal’s decree
The schemes of Amasya’s descendants bear fruit, as the priests-turned-scholars bring word to the Grand Conclave of Hammerhal of Amasya’s rediscovery. A debate ensued- on the one hand, Hammerhal’s armies were already stretched thin. On the other, allowing such a holy place to fall into the hands of Chaos was unpalatable to many, including Stormcast of the Hallowed Knights and Anvils of the Heldenhammer stormhosts.
The issue was settled by the fervent oratory of Aventis Firestrike, Stormcast Eternal and Magister of Hammerhal, and the decision made to annex Amasya as a protectorate of Twin-Tailed City. A taciturn strategist from Azyrheim named Monique von Helminger is chosen to lead the expedition; her first act as Seneschal-General is to meet with the Stormcast lords now under her command.
The board is set
Somewhere above, Sigmar’s brow furrows, as action he did not desire is set into motion. Elsewhere, the God of Death and the Goddess of Life take note of transpiring events. Gorkamorka bellows his approval, and Grungni works his forge- preparing, perhaps, for what may come after.
Morathi gives a crocodile’s smile, even as Tyrion, Teclis and Malerion’s attention are drawn elsewhere. Grandfather and the Blood God howl and slobber, eager to cast down another bauble of Sigmar’s pathetic pantheon, and are joined in their aspiration by the spawn of Slaanesh and the Great Horned Rat. Tzeentch grins, bearing needle-like teeth, at the prospect of a scheme which may have once already come to pass.
And Amasya, empty, its great edifices abandoned, its streets deserted, shudders as if stirring from a long slumber. There are none to witness this however, and no alarm is raised…