Wednesday, 27 September 2017

The Harrowmark Run, Part 6

Artefact of Ultimate Power

The cold mist coiled around Kalyustar and spread from him to envelop Karol's Cuirassiers. Something was amiss with the wizard, but the stoic horsemen kept their unease to themselves. The trio spurred their steeds forward, the Gilded Hand infantry half a mile behind them. 'They would keep up' thought Kalyustar 'Or the woods may well take them'. He could sense the Shiyshan wyrdstone beckoning to him, from a clearing just past Wortbad. He had never felt so attuned to any kind of wyrdstone before and the only thing he wanted now was to seize it. And if this meant sacrificing the mercenaries, so be it. It was a little price to pay for the power that laid ahead of him

As Kalyustar and his escort galloped through Wortbad, the dawn gloom was pierced by the faint glow of the Ordshal's Host cavalry materialising out of the Rose & Scythe, their mistress directing them from the inn's balcony. Raucos taunts hailed the pale horsemen, the Ogresuns pressing forward past the village's Dreadfire Portal.

Kalyustar felt a vibration in the magic filling the air, and then the White Lady appeared close to the ship cargo he had been tracking for so long. Salty Ogbad's shouts from the Dreadfire Portal matched the wizard silent curses in frustration. The orruks seemed to fear their boss more than the White Lady and started to make for her. Her servants rode forth, ready to intercept the greenskinz.

"Karol! Stop the wraiths! Let me and the orruk deal with the Lady!". Bolts of coruscating energy darted at the Lady as the Cuirassiers sounded the advance and opened fire. Cheering, the orruks prepared to fell on the Lady.

Lucius' Marksmen made it to the battle, but their quarrels were of little help against the Hexwraiths. Riding over the Cuirassiers, Lyrd Radclyffe prepared to avenge the slight on his Lady. With contempt, Kalyustar dispatched his squires. Then the spectral knight was on him.

The White Lady, robbed of her escort, was soon surrounded by raving orruks. The greenskinz kept charging in, trumpling over their fallen comrades.

As a large host of spirits flew out of the Rose & Scythe, Esteban's pipe marked the arrival of the Fancy Fencers. Still engaged with Lyrd Radclyffe, Kalyustar ordered them and the Marksmen to cut of the Lady's reinforcements.

Noisey William, what little brain he had left, reached for the Inn, leaving his Lady to the attentions of Salty Ogbad.

Kalyustar finally blew away Lyrd Radclyffe with his magic. He took in the scene around him. Salty Ogbad battering at the White Lady. Mister Whalebelly charging in to support his captain. The White Lady turning to red mist around the orruk's cutlass and drifting away.

With his men still fighting the spectral host there was little he could do. Even with all of his magic, the two brutes were too much for him alone. He ordered the retreat, leaving the orruk captain to gloat over a price he was not meant to seize.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Free Companies of the Gilded Hand - 6

Aldrik the Young, Castellan of Iridiumspire

Aldrik is the first Freeguild Hero I'm adding to my Free Companies. This time around I just worked with the bits I had without trying to replicate any of the classic Dogs of War models. I had the Freeguild General kit and I'm planning a Freeguild General on foot to accompany Fernando's Fancy Fencers, the Venithyan Marksmen and a few more infantry units. So, the mounted general was the perfect opportunity to give some support to Karol's Cuirassiers.

This meant that Aldrik needed a pistol. I had one in my bits box attached to a satchel, from the Pistoliers I think. I clipped away the satchel and handle and glued the barrel to the Freeguild General's arm holding a mace. I also gave Aldrik a banner since I intend to use the General on foot as my army general in larger games, and a Stately Warbanner is definetely a nice addition. Because I want my Free Companies to look as mundane as possibile I swapped the angel of death banner for the banner from the Imperial Knights. I've choosen the skull with laurel top as it perfectly matches the laurel and skeleton on the horse crest. Finally, since I'm keeping the General's heads for my unit champions, I've emebellished a Freeguildguard's head with the feathers from the same kit.

As I was working on Aldrik I've also built the rest of Karol's Cuirassiers, as planned using the Imperial Knights bodies and the feathered helms and pistol arms from the Freeguild infantry.

I'm still working on the details of Aldrik's backstory, but meanwhile you can (re)read that of the Cuirassiers here.

Monday, 28 August 2017

The Harrowmark Run, Part 5

Retrieve the Fallen

"Damn you and your greed!" shouted Kalyustar at his liutenants "See where it took us?". The three mercenary captains stood silent, the freshly bandaged wounds reminding them of the beating they took from the Ogresuns. "Let's move now! We have some Realmstone to find, if those orruks didn't already get there".
"Well, Sir..." intervened Lucius Scopos.
"What? If it is gold you want, you'll have it once we have the Realmstone!" a faint purple glow lit Kalyustar's mask from the inside.
"No, Sir... but... one of my men is still missing. I lost him in the storm".
"You, incompetent simpleton!" the purple glow flared stronger, filling Scopos with an unnatural fear. Still, Kalyustar battled the urge to drain the man's soul with his new powers. The wizard knew that, second to gold, mercenaries respected a leader that cared for his followers. "Very well, let's comb these woods. But pray this is the last time you slow me down", the purple glare slowly faded away.

As the Free Companies prepared to move, a chilling howl pierced the Harrowmark gloom. The incorporeal shapes of the White Lady and her retinue flickered into view, advancing through the crooked trees.

"Fernando, through the Gate! Karol, ride around it! You two look for our companion. The rest with me!" cried Kalyustar. A few crossbow bolts felled the White Lady's Deadwalker servant.

Lyrd Radclyffe and his squire galloped to a clearing, where a lumpen shape laid on the ground. Screaming spirits floated to bar Karol's way.

"Men, get the Spirits, free Karol! I'll deal with the Riders!" Kalyustar spurred his steed and turned Lyrd Radclyffe into a golden statue. In a flash of greenish light, Fernando emerged from his trip through the Haunted Gate, ready to charge Radclyffe's squire.

A chilling laughter rung through the wood as the White Lady stumbled upon the fallen Marksman.

Kalyustar and Fernando charged, the Fencer falling but buying time for his master to banish the squire. In a blur of speed, the White Lady was upon Karol. The Spirits flew away to guard the fallen man.

Kalyustar rode for the Spirits, battering them with magic and finally despatching them with his staff. The White Lady unhorsed Karol, only to find herself surrounded by the Gilded Hand infantry.

The wizard stood firm, waving counterspells to stop all of the White Lady's fell incantations. And then, he latched into her withered soul and drew some of it into himself.

Weakened and robbed of her magic, the White Lady struggled against the infantrymen. More soldiers piled in, pinning the revenant where she was.

The taste of blood lingering in his mouth, Kalyustar felt a deeper connection with the land around him. A thick mist started to gather around him and the Marksman. He ordered his men to fall back. Now their companion was safe it was time to resume the search for the Realmstone.

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.