Thursday, 3 August 2017

The Harrowmark Run, Part 4

Seize the Relic

"You're saying that that was the last extra gold you had?" Fernando's voice was full of spite.
"You know the rules, wizard. No gold, no fighting" added Karol pragmatically.
"But the ship journal is clear! The vessel we tracked had to dump the cargo because of a storm and gives precise directions as to where they dumped it" replied Kalyustar, knowing full well there was no such thing as precise directions in the dread of the Harrowmark forests "You'll get double pay once we secure the Realmstone!"
"Sir, what the other captains are trying to say is that, perhaps, we could do with searching that graveyard we just passed by. The men will surely appreciate the opportunity to earn their own money."
If even Scopus, the less questioning of his liutenants was on their side, there was no chance. Bitterly, Kalyustar had to give in.
As the Gilded Hand columun started to backtrack, the wind rose and thunder broke. Another storm was approaching.

Kalyustar and Karol were opening they way through the tangled boughs, the Fencers and Marksmen close behind.

Lightning criss-crossed the grey sky, their glare revealing the Ogresuns moving in a column and making haste to the other entrance to the graveyard.

"Forward men! You'll have to fight if you want your gold!" shouted Kalyustar spurring his steed forward, Karol hot on his heels.

The two made for the central square of the graeyard and felled Dredger Zug in a hail of bullets and magic. The Fencers and Marksmen rushed through the entrance, the narrow alley slowing them down.

Undaunted, the Ogresuns charged forward. Salty Ogbad split from the main column and slammed onto Kalyustar, his Grot lackeys shouting encouragements. The orruks closed onto the Gilded Hand infantry, pinning them into the tight confines of the alley.

Without the space needed to bring all their numbers to bear, it took some time and a few losses for the Fencers to break throught the greenskin wall. As they managed to break through a terrible chill fell on them. Both Kalyustar and Karol were laying unconscious at the Warboss' feet. Without a word, they charged.

Fernando and his men fought brilliantly, parrying, fainting and hitting back.

But alas, Salty Ogbad was not to be undone. Lucius and the last standing Marksman had approached and dealt with the Grots, but at this point the only thing they could do was runnning away.

As they crossed the graveyard fences, the power of the crude fetishes hang on them vanished and they were lost in the raging storm.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

The Harrowmark Run, Part 3

Field of Blood

Karol had returned from his scouting, announcing he had located the crash site but that enemy forces were converging on it.

The Gilded Hand managed to steal a march on them. The Venithyan Marksmen and Fancy Fencers were advaincing in two neat lines, ready to support each other, either flanks protected by Kalyustar and Karol.

The unruly ranks of the Ogresuns came forward shouting, while the Ordeshal Host silently drifted out from the Charybdris Occulum.

Kalyustar ordered the infantry forward onto the crash site, while Karol spurred his steed to intercept Lyrd Radclyffe and his squire.

With astonishing speed, the Ogresuns closed on the Free Companies, their charge hailed by Antonius' drum and Esteban's pipe. A vicious fight erupted, the Free Companies fighting as one but unable to withstand the expert cuts of Salty Ogbad.

Kalyustar threw all the wyrd-gold he had left at the men, but not even this was enough to keep them in the fight. Summoning forth magic bolts, the wizard charged forth. It won't be a bunch of savages to stop him from claiming the Realmstone.

Suddenly, a howling announced Lyrd Radclyffe had drove over Karol. The ghostly riders smashed into the orruks, dispersing them and preparing to close on Kalyustar.

Badly wounded, Kalyustar drew on the powers he had snatched from the magical hurricane. Whatever was left of Radclyffe's squire's soul restored the wizard's forces. He made for the center of the crash site, where Lyrd Radclyffe finally cought up with him.

A flicker of Kalyustar's fingers and the rider transmuted into gold. There was no trace of Realmstone and the White Lady, having dealt with the rearmost Ogresuns was fast approaching. Knowing that prudence was the best part of courage, Kalyustar grabbed what looked like the ship diary and a golden trinket and spurred his horse away.

The power from the hurricane was indeed great, and had won him the day. Yet Kalyustar couldn't shake from himself the feeling of smething wrong, as the bitter smell of the hexwraith he had siphoned onto himself still lingered around him.

The Harrowmark Run, First Interlude

Clash at Dawn

From atop a crumbling platform, Pieter von Toorn took in the malignant immensity of the Harrowmark. He had lost any sense of time, of how long they had been there since the Deadwalker horde had overtaken them, the Nachtjägers and the last few yards of hallowed ground in Wortbad. He had found some members of the Church of Sigmar's Retribution and with them had fought countless skirmishes against the fell servants of Nagash, but still could not find a way out of that thrice-cursed forest. Thanks to the powers of the ruin he could see the Darksuns in spite of the pre-dawn darkness. They had already clashed before and now they stood on the only partly open route between him and the small party he had sent scouting ahead.

He spotted a hellhound and skeleton that had been separated by the other Darksuns. Climbing down from the platform he joined Brother Speak No Evil and made for them. Meanwhile, Wilhelm Glaübig and Brother See No Evil charged the larger Darksuns group. Brother Hear No Evil, blinded by the darkness, failed to join them.

The Darksuns surrounded the Warpriest and Brother See No Evil, while another hellhound fell upon Brother Hear No Evil. Froathing curses, Brother Speak No Evil also charged the isolated hellhound. Soon, he was the only Flagellant standing and Glaübig found himself badly outnumbered.

Pieter was rushing to the warpriest's aid when the holy man was dragged down. As the Deathrattle turned to close on him, Pieter muttered a prayer to Sigmar, even if he was starting to believe the God-king had abandoned them.

The Harrowmark Run, Part 2

Vortex of Power

While recovering, Kalyustar went over the latest events. He had recognised the orruks as the infamous Ogresuns and the undead as the accursed Ordeshal Host. That they were, clearly, after the same wreckship was a problem. He was not yet prepared to face this kind of enemy, but the sudden eruption of a hurricane of Shyishan winds could give him some more tools. While he was channeling the hurricane's power, his men spread around, ready to intercept any interlopers.

An imposing Wight King emerged from the nearby ruins. In a mockery of its former life as a servant of Khorne, he ordered its minions to claim the wizard's skull. A slavering undead wolf bursted out of the woods, falling on Lucius Scopos. One of the Fencers counter-charged to assist the marksman, but the spiteful woods claimed him, leaving Lucius at the mercy of the wolf.

The Haunted Gate flared to life, unsettled by the raging hurricane. The men nearby were ravaged by its energies. Karol the Cuirassier, just brought in by Kalyustar, levelled his repeater handgun at the Wight, but couldn't stop the revenant's charge. The undead wolf launched itself on Kalyustar.

'There will be more gold!' shouted Kalyustar, glad he had taken plenty of wyrd-gold with him. Nothing better to find hidden reserves of courage in his men. As expected, Esteban, the only survivor of the Gate's blast, bravely charged the shambling deathrattlers. Kalyustar then fulminated the wolf and steared his horse to put the hurricane between himself and the Wight King, silently screaming in triumph over the fallen Karol. Undaunted by the swirling magical energies, however, the Wight charged Kalyustar.

But the wizard was prepared. Drawing more power from his cursed scroll, he turned his opponent into a glemaing gold statue. Pleased, he checked if Esteban was still holding back the skeletons and resumed his ritual. Then, the statue crumbled and its dust, carried away on the winds, reformed in the Wight's shape at the feet of a rocky outcrop.

It was no time for heroics. Continuing to recite the enchantment's words, Kalyustar spurred the horse around the raging hurricane.

Now safely away from the Wight, Kalyustar finally managed to tap into the magical vortex. Words of power seared themselves into his mind, together with a distant, disturbingly cold laugh.