With Balance of Power complete, we are taking a quick break from the heavyweight campaign books (Godbeasts is next!) to find out what else has been going on in the Mortal Realms during this time. And we are not starting small, either – we are beginning with a titanic clash in the Realm of Metal.
The Story So Far
The Tyrant of Eyes, one of the Gaunt Summoners under Archaon’s command, had been tasked with opening the Palladhor, a Realmgate that linked Chamon directly to the Realm of Chaos, a highly strategic point in the ongoing war. However, it had long since been sealed and required complex rituals to unlock its magicks.
Unfortunately for the Tyrant, the Seraphon had been watching his efforts and arrived to stop him, in force. As the Slann Starmaster began working his own castings, the two engaged in a sorcerous duel from which only one could survive, throwing magical energies at one another while simultaneously trying to influence the Palladhor – one intent on keeping it sealed, the other working hard to open it.
Seeing the duel was balanced on a fine edge, Archaon himself flew into the fray, leading a large Chaos force against the Seraphon in pitched battle, intent on slaying the Slann Starmaster and leaving his Gaunt Summoner free to continue his work.
This is a battle between two heavyweight forces – the Everchosen, led by Archaon himself, versus everything the Seraphon can throw at them!
Arcahon, the Everchosen, Exalted Grand Marshal of the Apocalypse
Gaunt Summoner (the Tyrant of Eyes)
Varanguard x 3
Blightkings x 10 (two units of 5)
Blood Warriors x 10
Bloodreavers x 20
Chaos Warriors x 36 (three units of 12)
Chaos Knights x 10 (two units of 5)
This is an eclectic mix of Chaos forces, with representatives from Khorne, Nurgle, Tzeentch and, of course, the Everchosen’s own forces. With the Gaunt Summoner tied up with the ritual, this army has no ability to summon reinforcements until the Chaos portal is opened, but it has a number of incredibly destructive units, spearheaded by Archaon himself…
Oldblood on Carnosaur
Saurus Guard x 15 (three units of 5)
Saurus Warriors x 40 (two units of 20)
Skinks x 40 (two units of 20)
Stegadon x 2
The Seraphon have the numbers and, of course, the ability to summon yet more as they need so long as the Chaos portal remains closed (a Starhost of Saurus Knights will be waiting in the wings at the start of the battle). However, their biggest advantage might be in the Eternity Starhost that the Saurus Guard will form around the Starmaster, along with the Eternity Warden – they might just be able to protect the Starmaster long enough for him to throw the bulk of his efforts into thwarting the Gaunt Summoner’s ritual. However, with Archaon on the battlefield, it remains to be seen whether this will be enough…
This battle is all about the Slann Starmaster and the Gaunt Summoner, who are concentrating on opposing rituals to seal and open the Chaos portal respectively. While the two sorcerers can attack one another directly, they will have little other affect on the battlefield, and if one army can assault the enemy spellcaster directly, things will turn in their favour very quickly.
The Gaunt Summoner took position within the Overlord Bastion, enjoying the protection of the thick walls. The Starmaster, however, deployed quite close to the front line, within the Numinous Occulum. His Saurus Guard and Eternity Warden remained close by to shield him from the inevitable attacks as it was clear Archaon himself would be leading the assault. A Bastiladon waddled close by to ward off the Everchosen.
Faster moving units were placed by both sides on the opposite flank, both clearly hoping to launch a powerful hook that would begin rolling up the opposing force and put the enemy sorcerer under pressure.
Battle Round One
The opposing sorcerers quickly got into their rituals and targeted one another with lethal arcane energies. Both were wary of their opponent though and both managed to dissipate the magical attack.
Ever wary of the Bloodreavers breaking in battle, Archaon lent them his Inspiring Presence and threw a Mystic Shield over the closest Chaos Knights. Then, he ordered the attack and the entire Chaos line raced forward.
The Seraphon began a more cautious advance, aiming to stymie the oncoming horde and protect their Starmaster, the Saurus Guard and a Stegadon lumbering forward to face the Chaos Knights.
While missile fire from the Seraphon ranks proved ineffective, the Starpriest called the light of the heavens down upon the Oldblood on the Carnosaur – and then he charged!
Ripping into a unit of Chaos Warriors, the Carnosaur swallowed several whole and left the survivors reeling.
However, it was not all going the way of the Seraphon. Close to the Starmaster, a unit of Saurus Knights charged into their Chaos counterparts but were quickly destroyed. More Saurus Knights engaged Chaos Knights on the opposite flank and, supported by a Stegadon, managed to make more of an impact.
Battle Round Two
The Gaunt Summoner unleashed a massive magical assault upon the Starmaster, and the Slann reeled from the attack. The Starmaster was now wounded and the Chaos portal had opened a crack.
The two armies were drawing closer now and fights began to erupt across the entire line. The crew of the Bastiladon chittered as they saw Archaon himself had moved into range and they launched a massive blast of energy at the Everchosen. Unfortunately, the beam simply bounced off Archaon’s defences and a splinter of force rebounded back into he Bastiladon, sending armour plates spinning into the air.
The fighting intensified outside the Numinous Occulum where the Slann Starmaster had taken refuge to concentrate on his duel with the Gaunt Summoner. A Stegadon slammed into the Varanguard and managed to spear one with its horns.
Saurus Warriors were having mixed fortunes across the battlefield. In the centre, one unit had ploughed into a group of Chaos Warriors and simply tore them apart – six fell to Celestial Clubs, another two to jaws and, after the nearbvy Carnosaur unleashed a mighty roar, the rest ran, deciding it was better to risk Archaon’s anger than the wrath of the Seraphon!
However, closer to the Starmaster, another unit of Saurus Warriors found their charge had little effect upon Chaos nights and were decimated when the Blood Warriors piled into them.
A lone member of the Varanguard rode onto the battlefield as the Seraphon attempted to mass a flanking attack with their own knights. Sighting Saurus Knights close by, he charged, killing two then urging his mount onwards to finish off the rest.
Archaon hurled an Arcane Bolt at the Bastiladon but was frustrated to see the magical energy simply bounce off its shell. Snarling, he cloaked himself in a Mystic Shield and then soared over the front line to land amidst the Seraphon.
Urging Dorghar on, Archaon targeted the Bastiladon, wounding it with the Slayer of Kings while Dorghar swallowed three Saurus Guard whole.
The Bastiladon’s huge tail flailed away but bounced off Dorghar’s thick hide. Then, the Saurus Guard attacked. Steeling themselves, they thrust their glaives deep into Dorghar’s flesh, badly wounding the beast and causing even Archaon some cause for concern (eight wounds in one attack!). Dorghar then reared up and its Nurglesque head spewed acid at the Slann Starmaster, though the Eternity Warden bravely absorbed the attack.
Ads the Varanguard slaughtered the Stegadon that had charged them, the Exalted Hero led both retinues of Blightkings against the Oldblood on the Carnosaur.
Their attacks did little damage but the Oldblood and his mount were on fine form. The Exalted Hero was skewered by the Oldblood’s spear while the Carnosaur swallowed two Blightkings whole (and would probably regret that later…).
Battle Round Three
Seeing the Chaos portal beginning to open, the Slann Starmaster summoned his arcane energies to hold it form and stop it gaping any wider, but the Gaunt Summoner took advantage of this distraction to launch a magical attack that threatened to kill the Starmaster outright. The Slann directed a portion of the energies to the Eternity Warden, who was fried instantly, but the Starmaster was still badly hurt.
Seraphon reinforcements appeared around the Starmaster, trying to fill in the gaps that had appeared around him. Another Eternity Warden appeared, along with another Stegadon, though both were a little too far away from the Slann to be of immediate help. Further away, more Saurus Knights appeared to help attack the far flank and perhaps launch a direct attack upon the Gaunt Summoner.
A unit of Chaos Warriors had closed with a large group of Skinks, but the Seraphon were too wily to trade blows with the heavily armoured soldiers, and they slipped past the line, flowing like water to race towards the Overlord Bastion and the Gaunt Summoner inside.
Meanwhile, the battle outside the Numinous Occulum was rapidly heating up as Archaon fought hard to break through the line the Seraphon had mustered and attack the Slann Starmaster directly.
The Bastiladon blasted Dorghar with its energy beam at point blank range, wounding the beast though some of the energy rolled back and wounded the Seraphon too. However, the Bastiladon’s thick carapace proved to be resistant to even the Slayer of Kings and Archaon raged as his mighty sword simply bounced off the touch scales. The Everchosen then turned his attention to the Saurus Guard, wiping out one unit completely, but he failed to notice the small but agile form of the Scar Veteran on Cold One darting in, hammering Dorghar with a War Pick. Blood gushed from Dorghar, and the beast was forced to the ground, now badly injured (Archaon and Dorghar had been reduced to a single wound!).
Elsewhere, there were mixed fortunes on both sides. Saurus Warriors turned upon the Bloodreavers and absolutely savaged them, leaving only a small handful of survivors alive but, close by, the Blightkings managed to bring down the Oldblood and Carnosaur with their infected weapons.
Beginning to feel the effects of his wounds, Archaon botched his casting of a Mystic Shield upon himself, and of an Arcane Bolt he tried to throw at the Starmaster. Dorghar had lost so much blood, it could barely raise any of its heads, let alone attack.
Blood Warriors charged into the Scar Veteran, hoping to gain the notice of the Everchosen but, despite inflicting several hideous wounds, the Scar Veteran lived.
The Varanguard threw their weight into the attack as well, charging into the Saurus Guard. Another of the Varanguard fell, but they had taken four Saurus Guard with them, leaving the way clear to the Starmaster.
However, the Scar Veteran was still fighting hard and he unleashed a flurry of attacks with his War Pick. Such was his fury that Archaon had no choice but to goad Dorghar into one last effort, ordering the beast into the sky to flee the battle (the Scar Veteran had ‘killed’ Archaon but, of course, the Everchosen cannot die in a battle like this, so he departed rather quickly instead)!
The Skinks racing towards the Gaunt Summoner in the Overlord Bastion were rapidly developing problems of their own. The Blightkings, having finished off the Oldblood, had reversed their advance and fallen back to attack the Skinks. The Skinks nimbly avoided them but a reinforcing unit of Chaos Warriors appeared to cut them off.
The Skinks were trapped!
Battle Round Four
The Gaunt Summoner chanted with glee as the Chaos portal was flung open by his arcane efforts, then cried out in terrible pain as the Slann Starmaster exacted revenge and burned his mind, leaving the Gaunt Summoner all but crippled. Despite the satisfaction gained from this, the Starmaster realised that not only had he lost the battle but was in very real danger of being killed himself.
To their credit, the surviving Bloodreavers were still fighting but their life span against the Saurus Warriors they faced could barely be measured.
The Saurus Warriors quickly finished them off, then raced to the Overlord Bastion, determined to end the reign of one Gaunt Summoner at least.
The Skinks, realising they were doomed, turned their attention away from the Blightkings and Chaos Warriors who surrounded them and instead hurled their celestial javelins into the Overlord Bastion before they were slaughtered by the Chaos Warriors. However, it was a newly arrived Bastiladon that managed to line up the perfect shot and the cry of the Gaunt Summoner echoed across the battlefield as a massive beam of energy vapourised him where he stood.
While the Starmaster could take some satisfaction that the Gaunt Summoner had fallen, he was all too aware that Chaos Knights had broken into the Numinous Occulum. While three tied up the advancing Eternity Warden, their leader jumped off his horse and scaled the building to reach the Starmaster. Already badly wounded from his duel with the Gaunt Summoner, the Slann could offer no real resistance and faded from reality as the Chaos Warrior’s sword was thrust towards his heart…
Despite having lost the Gaunt Summoner and seeing Archaon driven from the battlefield, this remains a strong win for Chaos – they opened the portal and killed the Slann Starmaster, the two conditions needed for a major victory!
This was a good, solid battle from start to finish, and it could have been anyone’s game right until the Chaos portal was opened as the focus really is on the duel between the sorcerers (though a sorcerer getting immolated by an energy beam does sort of help the matter!). The Sorcerers both have to balance themselves between attacking their enemy and opening/closing the Chaos portal. Get that wrong and your sorcerer can be on the wrong end of some powerful magical feedback, as the Starmaster found out in this battle!
The Story Continues…
Well, Archaon remains quite a brute on the battlefield! No doubt we will be seeing more of his machinations in the future but, next time, we will be hopping off to the Celestial Realm, where followers of Slaanesh are trying hard to find their master. But have they gone unnoticed by the Seraphon (short answer: umm, no)?