So, what else has been happening in the Mortal Realms? Well, as it turns out, the Fyreslayers have had enough of their Pestilens neighbours, and are braving a nasty swamp to reach them in the Realm of Life…
The Story So Far
The Plague Monks of Clan Rotclaw have been very pleased with themselves, as they have managed to raise a warpstone monolith within Withertree Bog. The natives close-by called upon the Fyreslayers of Baeldrag Lodge to sort the rats out.
Employing typical Duardin cunning, the Fyreslayers split their force so they could approach the monolith from two different directions, hopefully catching the Plague Monks offguard.
However, the Plague Monks were quick to respond and they were not alone; led by a couple of Plague Priests, they also had two Hell Pit Abominations to repel the Duardin attack…
As many of our battles go, this is quite a small one, with the Pestilens Skaven having about 90-odd wounds between their models, and the Fyreslayers a little over 50 (in Matched Play terms, both forces are around 1100 points). Not every game has to be a towering, epic fight!
Plague Priest x 2
Plague Monks x 60 (three units of 20)
Hell Pit Abominations x 2
Plague Monks are the classic glass hammer in Age of Sigmar, but they can deal a lot of damage if the turns are kind to them and they get into the right position. However, the two Abominations are nothing to be sniffed at, and counter the Fyreslayers’ two Magmadroths nicely, while the Plague Priests will draw upon the power of the monolith as well as his own spells.
Runefather on Magmadroth
Runesmiter on Magmadroth
Hearthguard Berzerkers x 5
Auric Hearthguard x 5
Vulkite Berzerkers x 20 (two units of 10)
The Fyreslayers force is small but solid, as they say. In terms of numbers, all the Fyreslayer infantry (nearly) matches the Plague Monks, while the two Magmadroths match the Abominations. So, it should be a close fight!
In this battle, the Skaven are trying to complete a ritual. They do not really have enough Priests to complete the ritual (Pestilens Skaven really need some more Heroes – see last post), but they will have a decent chance of getting far enough to turn the battlefield against the Duardin. For their part, the Fyreslayers are trying to topple the monolith but they may get distracted from a major victory by rumours of ur-gold the Skaven are said to have stolen…
The Fyreslayers were confident that the feckless Skaven could not organise a ritual in a warpstone factory and so they took their time picking a route through the bog. This was unfortunate, as the Plague Priests knew exactly what they were doing and by the time the Fyreslayers arrived on the battlefield, the ritual was well underway.
Already, green bolts of swirling energy were pouring out of the monolith, awakening the trees about them with malevolent force. Branches twisted and struck out at anything close by.
Undaunted, the Fyreslayers marched onwards, the Runefather leading one band…
… as the Runesmiter led the other.
Battle Round One
Seeing their enemy, the Fyreslayers gave a low growl as they resolutely stomped forwards. One was plucked from his feet and torn apart by a malignant tree but the Runefather took some solace in seeing three Plague Monks torn apart by foliage, causing another two to flee as fast as their feet could carry them.
However, the Skaven were undaunted. The Plague Priests peered into the mists of the bog to see what approached but continued with their ritual, harnessing yet more warp energy. They cackled as they saw the ritual would easily be completed before the end of the battle.
The rest of the Plague Monks surged outwards to meet both pincers of the Fyreslayer assault. The warpstone-fuelled trees swiped at passing rats, killing more (and encouraging others to flee) and the Abomination received a painful gash in its side, though this quickly healed.
One unit of Plague Monks spied a retinue of Vulkite Berzerkers directly in their path and, heedless of the Runesmiter nearby atop his Magmadroth, they charged.
In a flurry of Foetid Blades, the Fyreslayers were torn apart, their bodies sinking fast into the bog.
Battle Round Two
The Plague Priests continued their ritual and now green warpstone energy crackled into the sky. The Hell Pit Abominations were close enough to start wading into battle and now the Fyreslayers were under serious pressure.
The first charged the Hearthguard Berzerkers, not seeing or not caring that the Grimwrath Berzerker was in their midst. The Abomination crushed four Hearthguard under its great bulk but the Grimwrath Berzerker fought hard, rising from their corpses to open huge wounds in the belly of the beast.
Close by, the Plague Monks that had followed it raced towards the Vulkite Berzerkers protecting their Runefather. The twisted trees had already taken a heavy toll from them, and as they swung their staves, the shields of the Fyreslayers held firm. Then the axes came down, felling seven Plague Monks immediately and forcing the few survivors to flee.
On the other side of the battlefield, the Plague Monks were faring far better. One unit had charged into the Auric Hearthguard, slaying them before they had a chance to raise their Magmapikes and fire, while another unit, joined by another Abomination, swarmed around the Runesmiter and his Magmadroth.
Trying to stay atop his Magmadroth as the Abomination slammed into it, the Runesmiter desperately tried to hold the Skaven back but to no avail. Left greviously wounded by the Abomination, he had no defence against the Plague Monks and was quickly buried under their mass.
Casting his eyes around the battlefield, the Runefather could easily see the battle was not going his way. The Fyreslayers on the other side of the battlefield had been completely destroyed for no real loss on the part of the Skaven, a Hell Pit Abomination was still very much alive on his side, and he did not need to be versed in magic or the gods to see the ritual was very close to completion.
Urging his Vulkite Berzerkers on, he trusted in the fury of the Grimwrath Berzerker to finish off the Abomination and he directed the Magmadroth to stomp towards the monolith.
A lone Plague Priest stood in front of him, quite surprised to see an angry Magmadroth pounding towards it. The Runefather felt his beast about to cough up a bolt of magma but doubted it would hit a solitary target at range – a rare smile found its way to his lips as the Plague Priest was bathed in magma and, taking advantage of its distraction, he charged his Magmadroth forward to decapitate the Skaven with one swipe of his Runekey Axe.
Now the battle looked a little more even again, though the Runefather knew he would have to act quickly if he were to pull down the monolith before the Plague Monks that had dispatched the other Fyreslayer pincer could reverse their path and return to wipe him and his Duardin out.
Battle Round Three
The Grimwrath Berzerker was, well, furious. He had not been able to land a telling blow on the Abomination he faced, his axe simply burying itself into mounds of flesh. Taking a risk, he darted forward and carved several limbs off the beast, but was wounded himself in return. Still the creature would not die.
The last Plague Priest was still close to the monolith and it turned around in surprise as it felt the ground shudder under the great footfalls of the Magmadroth.
Once more, the Magmadroth hawked up a glob of magma and once again the Runefather was amazed at the ability of his beast to score accurate shots against lone targets. This time, the Plague Priest was close enough to receive the full effect of the magma and with a squeal, it was immolated in seconds.
Seeing the rest of the Plague Monks start to scurry back towards him, the Runefather led his Magmadroth to the warpstone monolith and bade it through its full weight against the foul device.
With a mighty roar, the Magmadroth reared up to plant its feet on the stone and with a powerful shove, sent it crashing to the ground in an explosion of warpstone-fuelled energies.
The remaining Plague Monks chittered in frustration but, with no Plague Priests to lead them, they decided it would be better to melt back into the bog than face the enraged Runefather.
Now that was a close one!
Up until about halfway through the second round, it looked like curtains for the Fyreslayers. One of their forces had been completely destroyed (Vulkite Berzerkers, Auric Hearthguard and Runesmiter on Magmadroth) for virtually no loss to the Skaven – in fact, it is possible that more Skaven were killed in that battle by the twisted trees than by Fyreslayers (seriously, the Fyreslayers killed seven Plague Monks and two Plague Priests, that is all!).
Added to that, the ritual had reached step 7 out of 13, and was more than half complete – it looked like the Skaven would do the impossible and actually complete the ritual. Even if that failed, they were well on their way to wiping the remaining Fyreslayers out whom, by turn three, they outnumbered greatly.
Even the Grimwrath Berzerker was failing in his duties, having landed very few blows on the Abomination (his fury ability did not kick off all game!).
It has to be said, it was the Runefather himself who won this battle. Charging his Magmadroth forward, it managed to actually nail two Plague Priests in a row with its magma breath (for a single model, you need to roll a 1 to hit!). Failing either one would likely have delayed the Runefather long enough for the other Plague Monks to reach him and the only support he would have had would be the last Vulkite Berzerkers – no real contest for 40-odd Plague Monks and at least one Abomination (I’ll assume the Grimwrath Berzerker would have killed his Abomination eventually, but he was certainly taking his time).
As it was though, the Runefather had a single turn alone in the centre of the battlefield, which was all he needed to push that monolith down and defeat the plans of the Clans Pestilens!
The Story Continues…
If all goes according to plan on the painting schedule, next week we will be taking a trip to the Realm of Fire to see Sigmar unleash a brand new weapon against the hordes of Chaos…