The forces of Order have launched their assault upon the Ironwarp Citadel and managed to gain entry – but the Khornate defenders are going to have something to say about that…
The Story So Far
The Stormcasts’ attack on the Ironwarp Citadel was now in full swing, with breaches made all along its walls. However, the Stormcasts were holding onto this ground by their fingernails as more and more of the Bloodbound rallied to throw back the beseigers.
However, the Ironwarp Citadel was of particular interest to the Fyreslayers, as it protected one of the Great Tethers, massive chains that reached up into the sky to hold the whole floating island under the Godbeast Ignax. One Runeson, Volgrov Borrson, possessed Auriakh, the Father Rune of Binding. He hoped he would be able to slip past the Khorne defenders, climb the huge links of the chain, and hammer the rune into Ignax, hopefully thwarting the plans of the Everchosen to bind the Godbeast to his will.
This would rely on the forces of Order not only holding onto the territory they gained, but forging ahead deeper into the Ironwarp Citadel.
As more and more worshippers of Khorne realise that the forces of Order have managed to get inside the Ironwarp Citadel, the size of these battles is going to increase – we will have some truly epic confrontations on the way!
Skaarac the Bloodborn
Mighty Skullcrushers x 6
Bloodcrushers x 6
Wrathmongers x 5
Skullreapers x 5
Bloodreavers x 40 (two units of 20)
Blood Warriors x 25 (two units of 10, one unit of 5)
Skaarac is back, this time joined by Scyla. On top of that, we have all the usual Khorne suspects, including Wrathmongers and Skullreapers.
Concussors x 3
Liberators x 20 (four units of 5)
Judicators x 10 (two units of 5)
Retributors x 10 (two units of 5)
Runesmiter on Magmadroth
Runeson (Volgrov Borrson)
Vulkite Berzerkers x 30 (three units of 10)
Hearthguard Berzerkers x 10
Auric Hearthguard x 5
The Dracothian Guard are reforming their line, ready for the next phase of the assault, so the strain of holding onto the breach and allowing more reinforcements to come in is going to be left to the rest of the Stormcasts – however, the Fyreslayers have arrived to lend their weight to the attack as well.
The forces of Order are surrounded in the Ironwarp Citadel’s main courtyard in this battle, Securing a Foothold. To make things worse, the Khorne defenders are able to constantly recycle destroyed units, ensuring a constant wave of attacks against the Stormcasts and Fyreslayers.
The only thing the forces really have in their favour is that the battle may be short – either four or five rounds (it is random). They also do not need to take Battleshock tests but, considering the sheer number of attackers they will be facing, that may be small comfort.
If the Khorne attackers wipe out every Order unit, they gain a major victory. However, if just one Order model survives, major victory goes to them.
Having burst through the Chaos defences, the forces of Order were ragged and in desperate need to reform before they renewed their assault upon the Ironwarp Citadel. The Lord-Castellant took over command, seeing the need for a defensive formation, and the Retributors and few members of the Dracothian Guard caught within this force clustered around him. Liberators and Judicators occupied the Overlord Bastion, but Vulkite Berzerkers halted in their advance towards a Skull Keep when they saw the Bloodbound massing around them.
The Bloodbound completely ringed the pitifully small army of Order, but two main threats rapidly became apparent. Skaarac the Bloodborn was back, and the Skullcrushers and Bloodcrushers had combined their weight into one, terrible charge of Juggernauts.
The Doomseeker saw his opportunity for a good death, and promised he would slay Skaarac or die in the attempt.
Battle Round One
The power of Ignax caused the gates of the Ironwarp Citadel to burst into flame, columns of smoke reaching high into the sky. Far above, the sentient firestorm, the Pyroclasm, hungrily sought new victims, but the noble sacrifice of three Liberators temporarily abated its wrath.
The Lord-Castellant ordered both Stormcast and Fyreslayer to hold their ground and not be baited into charging the Bloodbound. A few long-ranged shots from the Auric Hearthguard immolated a Mighty Skullcrusher, while the Judicators in the Overlord Bastion shredded the Bloodreavers running towards them, dropping five and forcing another to flee the battlefield in terror.
Then, as Skaarac roared in fury, the Bloodbound charged.
Paying no heed to the Pyroclasm as it burned through their forces, the Bloodbound sprinted to the lines of Stormcasts and Fyreslayers, even as the Overlord Bastion burst into flame from the heat of Ignax, claiming a Liberator and Vulkite Berzerker.
Skaarac led the way, and he saw the Doomseeker standing behind a shield wall of Liberators, taunting the Bloodborn. The Doomseeker mocked Skaarac as the beast vomited burning blood at him, the Fyreslayer nimbly rolling out of its path. Unable to reach the Doomseeker, Skaarac vented its anger on the Liberators and Vulkite Berzerkers before him, slaying those closest with ease.
Knowing they would be hard to shift, the Bloodbound focussed on the Judicators and Liberators within the Overlord Bastion. Even though the Liberators had benefitted from the Lord-Castellant’s healing lantern, successive waves of Blood Warriors, Skullreapers and Wrathmongers took their toll, and Stormcasts began to fall.
Scyla, having first charged the Vulkite Berzerkers, leapt out of combat to join in the attack on the Overlord Bastion, instinctively knowing it had to fall.
On the other side of the shrinking circle of Stormcasts and Fyreslayers, the Juggernauts of the Skullcrushers and Bloodcrushers hit the line, smashing Liberators and Hearthguard into the ground.
The Hearthguard Berzerkers fought bravely, bringing one Bloodcrusher crashing down, but nothing could stop Juggernauts at full tilt. The Hearthguard Berzerkers were almost annihilated, only their Karl managing to avoid the daemons’ attacks, while the Auric Hearthguard and Skybolt-armed Judicators fared little better.
Behind them, Blood Warriors followed a Khorgorath into battle, and an intense battle with Vulkite Berzerkers outside a Skull Keep erupted.
Three Vulkite Berzerkers fell in the first few seconds of the charge, but their axes soon started hitting back, savaging the Khorgorath and slaying a Blood Warrior.
While a few scattered followers of Chaos fled the battlefield, dismayed at the resilience of the defenders they had trapped, in truth the opening stages of the battle favoured Khorne. Both Fyreslayer and Stormcast Eternal had suffered very heavy casualties already, and the Bloodbound were giving them no room to manoeuvre.
Feeling the power of the Blood God behind him, Skaarac bellowed his praise and felt the few wounds he had suffered seal and close.
Battle Round Two
Burning rays from Ignax lanced down onto the battlefield, seeking those the Godbeast judged to be unworthy. They settled upon the lone Judicator who had survived the charge of the Juggernauts, focussing on the Stormcast before disintegrating him – Ignax had judged him a coward for living while his comrades had fallen.
The Bloodbound held off the fury of the Pyroclasm with the sacrifice of a single Bloodreaver. Despite the meagre offering, the firestorm seemed satisfied and relented in its attack.
The leaders of the Bloodbound, having seen many of their peers killed in recent battles, were being more cautious but, now seeing Skaarac plough through Fyreslayer and Stormcast alike, they grew bold and followed.
Though he was still tied up by the tiny Vulkite Berzerkers at his feet, Skaarac paused in his slaughter just long enough to vomit burning blood at the Doomseeker once more and, this time, he predicted the Fyreslayer’s nimble dodge. The Doomseeker disappeared under a torrent of blood but then emerged, smoking, wounded… and very, very angry.
Further away, Bloodreavers finally reached the forces of Order, lending their weight to that of the Juggernauts who had almost completely smashed the Stormcasts and Fyreslayers before them.
The fighting at this position suddenly intensified as the thin line of Order struggled to hold,. The Karl of the Hearthguard Berzerkers bellowed an oath to revenge himself upon the Bloodcrushers for the deaths of his friends and he threw himself at the daemons, his axe hewing until a Juggernaut sank to the ground under the impacts, its rider long since beheaded.
Unfortunately, even the Karl’s skill and anger could not hold the line, and the other Bloodcrushers simply rode over him, even as the Skullcrushers finished off the Auric Hearthguard and most of the remaining Liberators.
The Aspiring Deathbringer plunged into a retinue of Vulkite Berzerkers alongside the Darkoath Chieftain and Blood Warriors, but they were frustrated in their gifts of skulls and blood to Khorne as Skaarac carved his way through the Fyreslayers before anyone else could reach them.
The Bloodstoker had taken a slightly different path and not followed the other two leaders into battle. Instead, he dived into a retinue of Liberators and started lashing out at them, taking no notice of the few wounds they caused in return.
The Overlord Bastion had been central in the defensive plans of the Lord-Castellant, but he could see the sheer numbers of Khornate warriors that now almost ringed it were making the fortification all but impossible to hold. The Boltstorm-armed Judicators had already been wiped out, and only two Liberators were left to fight on.
With the Overlord Bastion about to fall, and the two main defensive lines quickly evaporating, the Lord-Castellant knew action had to be taken and fast – he ordered a counterattack, hoping to fend the forces of Khorne off long enough for the Extremis Chamber to reorganise and strike back at the Ironwarp Citadel.
As Ignax sent a raging heatwave over the battlefield, two Liberators volunteered to sacrifice themselves to appease the Pyroclasm – however the sentient firestorm rejected their offering as unworthy and it tore through the forces of Order with a fiery vengeance.
Despite the ravages of the Pyroclasm, the Lord-Castellant shouted at his forces to keep focus as he shone his lantern upon the Concussors, strengthening their armour. The two retinues of Liberators split, one heading towards the Skullcrushers, the others racing to support the last surviving Vulkite Berzerkers as they battled the Khorgorath and Blood Warriors.
Yelling a challenge, the Concussors wheeled their Dracoths about and ploughed into the Blood Warriors, unleashing a Storm Blast as they closed in. Lighting washed over the Darkoath Chieftain and Aspiring Deathbringer, but both held their ground as the massive beasts raced towards them.
They barely noticed the small Doomseeker running alongside them, but Skaarac did. The Doomseeker swore the Bloodborn’s lowly demise as he threw himself at the gigantic beast.
The Doomseeker buried his axe into Skaarac’s shin, angering the beast more than hurting him, and then tumbled to one side to avoid the Bloodborn’s giant hooves. Skaarac roared in fury as the Doomseeker continued to evade him, and took his anger out on a nearby Concussor, carving though both Stormcast and Dracoth in one mighty blow.
The charge of the Concussors rode over two Blood Warriors, but the rest of the Bloodbound arrested their momentum, bogging the Dracoths down in battle.
The Retributors then struck the Bloodbound. Those facing the Skullcrushers smashed in the metal skulls of two Juggernauts. The sight of their massive hammers unnerved one of the Chaos Warriors riding the daemonic beasts, and he whirled his Juggernaut around to gallop for safer areas of the Ironwarp Citadel.
Meanwhile, those sent to reinforce the Vulkite Berzerkers made short work of the Khorgorath and then started smashing apart the Blood Warriors. A single Blood Warrior managed to escape Sigmar’s fury, but the Fyreslayers were quick to react and he disappeared under the repeated blows of their axes.
When they looked up from their bloody work, they grinned at the Retributors who towered above them – together, they had broken the Bloodbound line about the Skull Keep, and there was now a way out of the trap!
However, behind them, they heard a great cheer erupt from the Bloodbound surrounding the Overlord Bastion. Scyla had torn apart the last of the Liberators holing the tower, and a massive Bloodbound force was now free to sweep through the centre of the forces of Order. If the Fyreslayers and Retributors were to escape, they had to act quickly.
Battle Round Three
Once again, Ignax blasted the battlefield with burning rays, this time settling on a Blood Warrior. Though the Godbeast judged him unworthy, the Blood Warrior was quick enough to dive to one side, avoiding the worst effects of the ray.
To appease the Pyroclasm, the Runesmiter donated a portion of the volcanic blood of his Magmadroth, and this seemed to satisfy the fury of the firestorm.
As the Lord-Castellant once again shone his lantern upon the Concussors to keep them in the fight as they held off both Blood Warriors and Skaarac, Retributors ran to the closest Skull Keep, intending to form another tough defensive point that would slow the Bloodbound as the brave Liberators had in the Overlord Bastion.
Meanwhile, the Vulkite Berzerkers ran for freedom, racing into the foothills in a bid to escape the forces of Chaos.
The Runesmiter had fought bravely and was succeeding in holding off the Bloodcrushers from charging weaker units, but Runeson Volgrov Borrson could see the daemons would eventually overwhelm him. As the Bloodcrushers became occupied with the Runesmiter, Borrson charged them from behind.
Unfortunately, his Wyrmslayer Javelin proved less than effective against the Juggernauts. The Runesmiter’s Magmadroth accounted for a Bloodcrusher but reality blinked and, all of a sudden, the Fyreslayer found himself another three!
The Concussors finally got their rhythm going with their hammers, smashing in the skulls of both the Darkoath Chieftain and Aspiring Deathbringer, while the Doomseeker managed to plant solid wounds upon both Skaarac and the Bloodstoker who had moved to join the battle. However, the Bloodstoker managed to distract the Doomseeker just long enough for Skaarac to lift a colossal hoof and crush the Fyreslayer into the dirt.
Ignax then turned his attention to the Bloodbound and, once more, burning rays lanced down to seek the unworthy. This time they settled upon a Skullreaper and, perhaps because they had taken so long to capture the Overlord Bastion, the warrior was disintegrated in seconds, bawling out his fury as he disappeared.
The Pyroclasm then descended upon the Bloodbound, shipping through their ranks with a terrible fury that immolated any who did not take shelter quickly enough. The Bloodstoker was consumed in seconds, and he was quickly followed by a Bloodreaver and two Blood Warriors.
However, the Bloodbound forces elsewhere in the Ironwarp Citadel had begun to realise that the forces of Order were claiming their territory, and more flooded to the area, keen to take their share of blood and skulls. A full retinue of Mighty Skullcrushers arrived on the battlefield, cutting off the Retributors before they could take position within the Skull Keep.
On the other side of the battlefield, the other retinue of Retributors was now solely responsible for holding back the tide of Bloodbound that was now streaming away from the Overlord Bastion.
Skullreapers and Wrathmongers closed in as Retributors fell, until only the Retributor-Prime was left. The mighty warrior swung his hammer in huge arcs, felling Bloodreavers with every stroke, and causing the nerve of others to break.
As Bloodreavers raced for safety, it looked like the Retributor-Prime might defeat the odds and hold the tide. However, the arrival of the Wrathmongers signalled his defeat, the hammers at the end of their long chains snaking out in wide arcs to cave in his skull. In a bright flash of blue lightning, the Retributor-Prime was hurled back to Azyrheim to be feted a hero.
A short distance away, the Concussors were being surrounded by Blood Warriors, even as Skaarac continued to pound away at them. However, their armour, bolstered by the Lord-Castellant, proved strong and they continued to fight despite their wounds, slaying another three Blood Warriors.
A loud crash of metal-upon-metal resounded across the battlefield as the Skullcrushers smashed into the Retributors outside the Skull Keep, dragging the last Vulkite Berzerkers and the Lord-Castellant himself into the fray.
The Retributors suffered the worst of the charge, with three of them being sent back to Sigmar, while a lone Fyreslayer was ground into a muddy paste by the hooves of a Juggernaut.
Battle Round Four
A solar flare from Ignax blinded many on the battlefield, while the Pyroclasm descended upon the forces of Order once more, searing all among them. Then, the Lord-Castellant smiled, for he had heard a horn.
A short distance from the battlefield, a Knight-Heraldor stood atop a rocky outcropping and blew his horn. Behind him, the might of the Extremis Chamber, followed by the rest of the Stormcasts and more Fyreslayer reinforcements, appeared. If the Lord-Castellant could just lead the defence for a little longer, they would be saved and the Bloodbound would be forced back to their last line of defence in the citadel.
However, more Bloodbound were on their way too, and the battle for the Ironwarp Citadel stood balanced upon the edge of a knife…
Rapidly becoming cut off from the other Stormcasts, the Lord-Castellant turned his lantern upon himself then plunged into rampaging Skullcrushers. Swinging his halberd down hard, he destroyed one Juggernaut then effortlessly dispatched its rider.
Seeing reinforcements massing from both the Stormcast and Fyreslayer armies assaulting the Ironwarp Citadel, the Vulkite Berzerkers fled from battle, trying to put as much distance between themselves and the Skullcrushers as possible. They felt shame from leaving the Retributors to their fate, but vowed to return with vengeance once they had joined the new army.
Runeson Borrson had a similar idea, knowing that he carried the vital Father Rune of Binding and could not be captured.
However, elsewhere, the forces of Khorne were breaking the last resistance they faced. Skaarac carved through the last Concussors as though they were no more than lowly Greenskinz, while the Runesmiter and his Magmadroth finally succumbed to the blades of the Bloodcrushers.
As an ash storm descended upon the battlefield, the Bloodbound were hungry for more enemies. Skaarac the Bloodborn led the charge as they swept across the battlefield to smash the last pockets of Order still holding out.
The Vulkite Berzerkers had thought themselves safe as they picked their way through the low hills between the defensive lines of the Ironwarp Citadel, but steeled themselves as a retinue of Blood Warriors appeared in front of them.
Runeson Borrson thought he too had escaped, but the thundering metal hooves of the Bloodcrushers behind him told a different tale. Screeching, the Bloodletters urged their mounts on, frenzied in their lust for the Fyreslayer’s blood.
It soon became clear to Borrson that he could not outrun the Juggernauts and, as they closed in, he threw himself onto the ground, hoping to hide within the dust and the ash storm, praying they would not crush him as they rode past.
By now, Skaarac had reached the battle taking place outside the Skull Keep, the Lord-Castellant only becoming aware of his peril as a massive shadow fell over him.
Swinging his halberd, the Lord-Castellant took the head of another Chaos Warrior upon a Juggernaut before he whirled round to face Skaarac. He was immediately forced backwards under a flurry of powerful blows from the beast before Skaarac picked him u and dashed the Stormcast against the hard walls of the Skull Keep.
In the low hills, the Vulkite Berzerkers were in similar peril as the Blood Warriors ran into their midst, axes lashing out. The Fyreslayers fought back hard, knowing this was the last chance for life they would have. Two of their number fell to Khorne axes, but the same number of Blood Warriors also fell dead to the rocky ground.
Scyla had been following Skaarac but, as the Bloodborn rushed forward to end the life of the Lord-Castellant, Scyla went the other way round the Skull Keep to confront the few surviving Retributors.
One Retributor fell to the axes of the Skullcrushers, but the Retributor-Prime fought on, swinging his hammer to force Scyla back, despite his heavy wounds.
Them as the ash storm began to clear, the horn of the Knight-Heraldor blew once more, a cold, clear note that filled the Bloodbound with dread and the few surviving Stormcasts and Fyreslayers with hope – for it signalled the charge of the Extremis Chamber who now thundered onto the battlefield, driving the Bloodbound before them, and crushing any underfoot who did not flee.
It had been a brutal battle for the forces of Order, with so very few surviving to its end – but they had managed to hold the Bloodbound just long enough for reinforcements to arrive.
Now they could prepare for the final assault upon the Ironwarp Citadel…
Well, wouldn’t you know it – another very, very close battle!
We really did not know who was going to claim victory, right up until the end of the final turn. The forces of Order had been all but shattered and their only hope lay in moving away from the central field and weathering the attentions of whatever reinforcements the Bloodbound brought on.
As it happened, they were very lucky. At the end, only three Vulkite Berzerkers and a single Retributor with one wound left remained! If the battle had gone on for one more turn (and there was a 50% chance that it would do so), then it would surely have been curtains for them – the Retributor-Prime could not have stood up to another round of battle against the Skullcrushers, never mind Skaarac and Scyla, and the Blood Warriors could have easily taken care of the three Vulkite Berzerkers.
However, in the nest traditions of heroic fantasy, the forces of Order managed to just hold out long enough for their reinforcements to arrive!
This was a really fun Battleplan though I warn you, if you are the force in the centre of the battlefield, things are going to look vert bleak for you in the first two turns! Just stick with it, and try to bust out of the trap.
The Story Continues…
Next time, things come to a head in the Ironwarp Citadel in the penultimate battle of this phase of the Godbeasts campaign. The war stands on a knife edge as Archaon himself arrives, bringing with him massive reinforcements to throw the Stormcasts back once and for all.