Thursday, 9 August 2012

The Storm Rises

The Old world was in flux. The land was echoing the turmoil brewing in the Sea of Dread. Battles raged across the barren dark lands. Twisting metal met with battle cry sounds. Old allies had turned to sworn enemies. But each great race was pushed forwards with a yearning to reach the Dragon Isles. Whether to prevent or possess the power driving the Maelstrom only time would tell.

It had been an age since man last stepped upon the Dragon Isles. Long abandoned no-one knew what they might find in the dense jungle under the prevalent fog. But this was not a cause for concern. Something powerful created that light and it would be claimed in the name of Bretonnia.

As Aegon the Conqueror neared the coast line raw magical energy sparked from even the fingers of peasants. He ordered his army to clear and area of jungle. As if already empowered by mysterious magic his army made quick work of the dense jungle forest and built him a flotilla of ships to traverse the channel. They would sail close to the islands in hope of safe passage towards the Maelstrom. Within a moon phase his army had skirted the islands heading deep into the veil and towards the eye of the Maelstrom. As they passed close to the shore lines the Knights could not distinguish between the roar of toiling water and the monstrous beasts that ravaged the islands. Fear rose in the ranks of Aegon’s army. Anyone unable to contain that fear was dispatched quickly. The crusade could and would not end in failure for Aegon. Without the harbouring land masses to protect them the rest of the journey would have to be made on hoof. The army disembarked on the most southern of the Dragon isles.

Beasts were everywhere the Knights gazed. Majestic lizards, tamed with time almost came to greet the detachment. Not often could Men walk freely with saurs. What Aegon had found was claimed for Bretonnia. He immediately ordered his men to capture and harness these beasts ready for battle. Not knowing what to expect he pushed ever deeper.

On the fourth day upon the isle the roar of the Maelstrom stopped as suddenly as it had begun. Knights looked around, at each other, towards the dark corners of the jungle isles.  Confusion surfaced. Had the gate collapsed? Had someone reached the Maelstrom before them? Perhaps the High Elves had succeeding in containing the power. Then what hit them was the light. It was blinding. The reflex was to turn away before your very eyes were burnt from the sockets. But Aegon was captured with the beautiful serenity of it. Without sound he moved towards a clearing in the forest and looked towards the heavens.  He stared and the funnel of light which pierced the clouds. It was met by an arc of magic originating from the North West. As he stared in amazement what he witnessed was other worldly. Raw magic was filling the sky. He had to rub his eyes in dis-belief and he saw sea water spiral up into the sky. The maelstrom now hovered above him. Sound returned with the slow pitter-patter of rain water upon metal armour and as it did the Maelstrom of dread moved northwards driven by pure raw magic.

Was the Maelstrom itself the gate to the Chaos realm or an even greater daemon?

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Turn 2 Outcome

The High Prince, Fëanáro Arcamenel, successfully held back the Empire army led by Grand Master Tobias Drakenwelt of the Blazing Fist. During the intense battle the Elves talked of the blood lust in the eyes of their once close ally. An alliance that would now be broken for an age. Hatred filled the veins of the retreating Empire soldiers. What power could turn old friends into mortal enemies? The true danger and hunger for the power generating the maelstrom was bewildering to the Elves. It had to be stopped. However, even in defeat, the Empire had done enough to stop any attempt the High Elves could make to stop Aegon the Conqueror breaching the forest path to the Dragon Isles. By now he must of mapped the entire region. Better news came from Nienna who had re-taken the Elven city of Illustriam. Prince Ithillian now privy to the new threat posed by the Vampires swooping down from the mountains built up the High elf defences. But one can not easily defeat a flying foe. Vampires were now poised to attack from all directions.

With the High Elves bogged down at the mouth of the river, Visenya and Rhaenys were sent to protect the northern borders of the Bretonnian outpost. From the mountains Thograt the Unmovable, a Black Orc, led a horde against Visenya, but the stars were with Bretonnia and after a fierce battle the Orcs retreated. With moral high, Aegon the Conqueror was confident that his Grail Knights had found a safe path through, he would move towards his destiny with the new moon.

The lizardmen continued to establish their outpost on the dark lands. Once word reached them of a safe passage through to the Dragon isles they would slip through undetected and re-establish the link with their ancient kin. Only one thing remained in their way, the entombed kings of the dessert. Quetitza of Tlaxtlan marched forward against the Tomb Kings. Using knowledge from the last battle he was able to forge a victory and secure a position from which to strike at Bretonnia.

The other races continued their exploration of the depths of the world, hopeful of finding a new path to the Dragon Isles. Any adventurer who made it out of the hell pits told tales of Thor Thorsen a Dwarf Lord who stumbled upon an long abandoned Chaos Dwarf brewery. Barrels of ale were stacked high the the crevices. No Dwarf would be worth his name without quaffing ale, especially that brewed by Chaos Dwarves, and that's what Thor did. What madness? The Chaos nectar could of poisoned him, damned him to the ends of the old world, opened a portal in his very soul. His bravery became tale of legend, people feared the name Thor Thorsen, he was scared of nothing.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Turn 2 Movement

Rumours were rife that Aegon the Conqueror was attempting passage through the jungle to capture whatever evil was present on the Dragon Isles. Over the past 2 months he had ordered numerous scribes and scouts to Middow’s tower. By now they must of mapped a safe route for the Bretonnian Knights. The other races in the East moved in like vultures eager to steal whatever advantage they could.

But High Elf reinforcements from the West were struggling to get a foot hold on the dangerous terrain. As if cursed by the ground itself tunnels under their very feet erupted again, but no Skaven flooded out as expected. Instead it was a detachment of Empire soldiers, and the lust for power had driven them mad. They would not let the High Elf council control whatever was to be found on the Dragon isles. It could enable the Empire to harness the very Winds of magic themselves.

Perturb by their old ally's aggression the Elves vowed to rid the Old world of this menace. It could not be allowed to turn the hearts of men. But as they met in their fair city of Illustriam to discuss how to proceed against the Empire the skies blackened as from the mountains came a swarm of vampires. The city had to be abandoned to protect their people.  Nienna couldn't believe her eyes upon return from the recent skirmish with the Skaven., She vowed to retake the city and restore peace to the outpost. But it wouldn't be easy as the vampire still bayed for sweet Eleven blood.

The lizardmen, led by Quetitza of Tlaxtlan remained eager to reach the Dragon isles in search of new kin. After their recent defeat they regrouped and strove forward intent of passing through the Tomb King empire in their quest.

The Dwarves and the Skaven appeared quiet on the surface. But the inns and taverns spoke of their adventures and perils. Had they unearthed a greater evil in the bowels of the world?

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Turn 1 Outcome

With the Bretonnian Prince Aegon exploring the ruined tower to the south and another force under Rhaenys moving along the coast to meet an armed force that had been sighted there, a Sigmarite crusade from the north plunged deep into the principality threatened to capture the capital.

Prophetess of the Lady, Visenya, mustered the garrison and rode out to meet the religious fanatics in the open field, rather than allow them to ravage the surrounding countryside. Visenya marshalled the peasant levy to muster around the edge of a small hamlet, and dispatched a large contingent of Knights to the flank to sweep around the enemy horde.

The frenzied Sigmarites, led by their 'Arch-Lector', advanced at a pace, but took heavy casualties from the Bretonnian arrows and artillery. The Knights Errant swept away the enemy skirmishers whilst the Knights of the Realm and Pegasus Knights thundered into the Inner Circle Knights and ran them down.

The remains of the Empire host continued towards Visenya in the village, aided by foul magics, and for a brief moment it seemed that the beautiful lady might fall beneath the cruel warhammer of the Arch-Lector, until a brave champion stepped up to meet the Demagogue's challenge. With the enemy charge held, the Knights' encircling manoeuvre was complete and the fell like an avalanche on to the rear of the enemy host, routing them and running them down.

The crusade was over, the Northern borders were safe. However along the coast Rhaenys met the High Elf Prince Fëanáro Arcamenel and was beaten back. She retreated back to gather reinforcements for an expected second encounter.

Whether this encounter would occur looked unlikely. The High Elf landing party on the coast had attracted some unwanted attention. A legion of Undead marched down from the mountains and onwards towards them. Prince Ithilian realising he was out-numbered returned to the safety of the nearby fortress. He would have to re-call Arcamenel to aide the fortification of the landing position. And it would take some fortification. During the late spring campaign Eleven archmages could sense scurrying beneath the very ground they stood. A Skaven invasion was immanent. The council acted quickly and lay it wait at dawn as the Skaven broke the surface.

Their number was huge.  Nienna held her position raining arrows down upon the vermin horde. Assassins were dealt with by brave Shadow Warriors. Magic was controlled by the Elves with their fantastic ability to dispel anything the Skaven threw at them. But it didn't halt the Skaven advance and it wasn't long before the Elves were deep in mortal combat. Worse was to come when Nienna didn't notice a Grey Seer break away and speak the curse of the horned rat with irresistible force. Her entire unit of protecting sea guard mutated and died horribly before her (well 20 of 28!). The Grey Seer survived the miscast. Her Silver Helms bravely fought on but the long bow archers couldn't hold. She ordered the retreat to re-group. Getting to the Dragon Isles would have to wait until they could secure the area.

Whether the Skaven saw the retreat as a brilliant tactical manoeuvre to muster a larger force against them is unknown, but something disturbed them and as quickly as they appeared they scurried back into the very tunnels that brought them upon the Eleven outpost.

The other major conflict in late spring/early summer came between the lizardmen, furiously trying to reach their kin on the Dragon isles, and the Tomb King warriors at the watch tower overlooking the blasted wastes. Even though they were backed by a Slann priest the Lizardmen couldn't break the unit of Skeleton warriors that had secured the watch tower. They were forced to pull back and re-consider their path to the isles.

Orcs and Goblins secured the remaining watch-tower and the ancient sentinel.

Dwarfs true to their nature dug deep into the caves.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Turn 1 Movement

It would be Bretonnia who would show her hand first. Guided by the celestial prophets a crusade of Knights rode with speed across the dark lands to the coast. Led by Aegon the Conqueror they established an outpost on the banks of the river Nuin. From there Aegon would move his Knights through the dense unfavourable jungle and make haste for the Dragon Isles to seize this new power.

However, Aegon under-estimated how thick the jungle was. With the wild maelstrom winds pounding, his progress was severely hampered. As quickly as his men could cut down the overgrowth with their steel it would grow back. It was as if the jungle was alive swallowing entire regiments of his best Knights. Rumours of missing detachments were rife and moral for the quest dwindled.

Aegon moved his army to the shelter of Middow’s tower (the black fortress) to re-muster. From the sanctuary and vantage of Middow’s tower he ordered his cartographers and scouts to plan a safe route through the foreboding jungle. He wanted this power and would stop at nothing or no-one to reach the Dragon Isles. He was incensed when he learnt that he would have to wait 2 months for his cartographers to complete a map of the area. Rage filled his veins. He could sense Orc tribes moving on his position from the east. Empire defectors had already told him of the Eleven messengers alerting the Emperor to this new threat. He scoffed at their stupidity. This was no threat, it was power, sent from the stars to rule the new world. He ascertained that the Empire pushed southwards while the Elves pushed along the coast towards him. No-one but Aegon would be able to hold this power; it had a firm grasp of his mind and ultimately his sanity. He ordered Rhaenys a Prophetess to tackle the Elves head on, leaving his fate against the charging empire to play out.

Prince Ithillian would not be able to reinforce Prince

Arcamenel on the coast. The arrival of the Elves had stirred a true evil in the mountains. Vampires arose eager for the taste of eleven blood. Ithillian moved towards the mountain passes to protect his outpost and stem the rising counts but feared it was too late as he heard ominous screams from Massae Mountain. It would be left to the Dwarves to investigate this menace.

As the old world powers struggled to maintain a foot hold in the Dark Lands the plain of Bones came alive. Whether animated by the Maelstrom of Dread or some other magical horror no one knew. Armies of ancient long dead warriors emerged from the sands. Turmoil above land was matched beneath. As if driven with some ancient alliance with the Tomb kings the Skaven burrowed deep and halted the Elves dispatched North to investigate the Tomb King menace. The Skaven horde also hindered any Dwarven attempt to find the ancient catacombs that might lead them to the Dragon isles. Only a small detachment of lizardmen, led by Quetitza of Tlaxtlan eager to reach the Dragon isles in search of new kin, would be allowed to slip undeterred onto the Plain of Bones to meet Lord Semerkhet, Pharoah of the Ages, at Golgoth Tower.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Starting positions

With all the armies in place to wage war across the Dark Lands the campaign begins.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The light was blinding; a beacon in the long forgotten dead lands of the world, a catalyst of doom. Although the increased magic flux at the vortex was warning enough, reports from the city of spires made word in Ulthuan some 4 days later. The council met and dispatched a fleet immediately to make haste for the Dragon isles while messengers left with speed to communicate this old world peril with the Empire.

Fear rode upon the old battle hardened Elven hearts. Only the return of the Slann Mage priests could generate such vast changes in the winds, and it seemed beyond the power of the mightiest archmages of Ulthuan to stop this re-balance of power. Eleven, Dwarf and Human Scouts alike traversed the main land desperate to find the path to the isles. For miles around all one could hear were primal roars. The isles were awakening. What had been uncovered on those fog veiled isles?

As the eleven fleet approached the Sea of Dread a storm to rule them all eclipsed the mapped world. The waters twisted and toiled as if a maelstrom the size of the Empire was upon it. Darkness fell upon the fearful fleet. It was forced to skirt the main land and find shelter from the storm. The rest of the journey would have to be made on foot.

Could it be possible? The raw magical power required to generate a maelstrom of this magnitude had never been known in this life. It would open a gate to the Chaos relam not seen since the time of Aenarion.

Unbeknown to the High elves the other mighty races of the world also marched forward to the Dragon isles; some to stop this madness, some to harness it.