Monday, September 13, 2010

Month 1 Week 2 - Incidental Enemies

Though Grey Seer Malkrit's attempted ambush on the High Elves had failed, his kind are not known for dwelling on their defeats, and so the Skaven commander was hatching another devilish scheme.

Returning breathless one night, his Gutter Runner scouts had reported a sizable caravan of foreigners travelling towards the northern barrowlands. In addition to the supplies, slaves and the promise of an easy victory to bolster morale such a target represented, his keen-nosed scouts had detected the scent of warpstone!

This opportunity could not have come at a better time, for the Council of Thirteen's minions had come once more to exact their punishing tithe of warptokens on his force. The time had come to act.

As his army formed up in their path under the cover of darkness, he discovered something amiss however- the caravan's wagons were not carriages piled high with food and trade goods as expected, but disguised war chariots drawn by unliving Skeletal Steeds, while the caravan's numerous guards and followers were grim Skeleton warriors swathed in cloaks.

Surprising though the discovery was, it made little difference to Malkrit. The Council would have their warpstone, or have his hide for it. His preference was clear.

The Blockade

As the Skaven scurried to form a blockade across the their path, Ramses' silent army fanned out into a battle line without missing a step.

Skeletons and chariots aplenty form a battle line.

The Undead find their path blocked by a horde of ratmen in a looting frame of mind.

Whiskered snout and grinning skull face off across the battlefield.

Eager to prove he did not fear the unnatural enemy army, Malkrit ordered his Clanrats forward, bearing him towards the undead line on his mighty Screaming Bell. Surging forward enthusiastically, they made up the heart of the Skaven advance, while other units cautiously brought up the flanks.

Malkrit leads the way! What a rat.

As ever, the magical Storm Banner was unfurled to cover the Skaven advance from the hail of missiles the Tomb Kings were bound to unleash upon them.

The sight of the ominous bulk of the Screaming Bell approaching stirred something in Ramses' centuries-dead heart, however. Leveling the rune-bound Spear of Antharak at the Skaven war machine, he signalled a headlong charge, certain his fell presence alone would prevent the Skaven from engaging his chariot bodyguard from the flanks.

Like a bolt from the blue, Ramses and his men tore into the Clanrats, hewing left and right. Yet Ramses himself was unconcerned with the Skaven rank-and-file; his target was Malkrit himself, and bellowed his challenge at the Grey Seer.

Aware of the hundreds of pairs of yellow eyes that waited for his reaction, Malkrit took a gamble on the protective magics that enshrouded his Bell, and accepted.

Ramses and Malkrit fight man to rat.

His gamble was a poor one however, and with a series of deft swings, the Grey Seer tumbled from his lofty perch.

Rightly shaken by the loss of their brave leader, both units of Skavenslaves shied away from attacking the flanks of Ramses' unit.

If a lord should perish, what chance does a slave have? The Skavenslaves refuse to engage.

Sensing weakness in the enemy, the rest of the Undead army surged forward to capitalize on the Skaven army's indecision.

From deep within the Tomb King lines, the Screaming Skull Catapult refused to fire as its crewmen fumbled the shot. The sightless Skeleton Archers had no such problems, and culled a handful of Skaven from amongst the verminous swarm.

Where the Slaves had faltered in the face of the enemy however, the Plague Monks, frothing with nameless diseases, had no such complications. Brandishing filth encrusted weapons, they charged headlong into Ramses' bodyguard, whose attack had lost impetus now they were locked in combat.

Seriously pissed off Plague Monks attack the Chariots flank, after the Slave traffic jam abates.

With the putrid ratmen in their flank, Ramses and his bodyguard fared a good deal worse. Before long, just Ramses and his chariot remained, battling defiantly against the horde.

Elsewhere, a unit of Skavenslaves charged headlong into Prince Seti's Charioteers, who held against their charge. Try as they might, they could not inflict telling damage against the Chariots, and were wiped out by the Ushabti that thundered into their flank.

Then, with a dread tolling that echoed across the battlefield, a maelstrom of magical power erupted from the Screaming Bell, sending arcing bolts of infernal energy into the ranks of the Tomb King army.

The lightning struck down a great many of Ramses's army, including Setep, who tumbled from his saddle. Even Imhotep cowered before the magical firestorm, narrowly escaping destruction by seeking the shelter of his Skeleton archers, who shielded him from harm.

Eager to inflict further damage on the enemy, Warlock Engineer Kritislik let fly with a deadly accurate Doomrocket, which landed square in the middle of the Skeleton Spearmen, who were reduced to a mere handful of warriors.

10,000 years of war never prepared the Skeleton Spearmen for devastation like this.

But it was too little too late to carry the day, for the Tomb Kings had also inflicted telling damage on the Skaven army.

As dawn came, both armies regrouped and quit the battlefield, having inflicted heavy losses on their opposite number, but having not quite driven them from the field.

Result: Draw

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