The Everwinter has come to the Realm of Life, spearheaded by a Jorlbad of Beastclaw Raiders. Will the Sylvaneth be able to halt their advance and stop them ravaging sacred ground?
The Story So Far
Hidden in the heart of the Balefens, the Sylvaneth had nurtured the Glydmir Enclave and coaxed life from lands reclaimed from the ravages of Nurgle. The Beastclaw Raiders ploughed into this territory, spearheading a billowing gale of ice and snow.
The first to feel their insatiable hunger were the Clawood Gargant tribe, who were picked off one by one until the Beastclaw Raiders were weighed down by joints of meat and bone. The surviving Gargants fled deeper into the swampy Balefen and the Beastclaw Raiders pursued, led by a Jorlbad.
They ran straight into the Sylvaneth who had dispassionately watched the destruction of the Clawood Gargants but were now forced to take action as the Ogors moved deeper into their land. Trees died from the supernatural cold of the Everwinter and the Forest Folk rallied to launch a series of ambushes on the invaders, to little avail. Eventually, the Jorlbad reached an enchanted orchard where they found themselves surrounded by hundreds of soulpods in the shape of ripened fruit – a feast for the taking.
Roused from a deep slumber, the Treelord Ancient Kurothos saw his kin fall beneath the advance of the Everwinter, and now moved to annihilate the Ogors.
We are starting to loosen the reigns on the Beastclaw Raiders, slowly building up the size of their forces as we get used to them in action.
Huskard on Stonehorn
Mournfangs x 4 (two units of 2)
We have a full Jorlbad here, with supporting Thundertusk, which means the Beastclaw Raiders will be extremely fast moving (they are also resilient to battleshock tests but, with the small units of Mournfangs involved, that will not be a factor in this battle).
Treelord Ancient (Kurothos)
Kurnoth Hunters (two units of 3)
Dryads x 30 (three units of 10)
Tree-Revenants x 20 (two units of 10)
The Sylvaneth have arrived in great number, but they have few of their really tough units and comprise mainly Forest Folk. Will they be able to stall the Beastclaw Raider advance?
This battle takes place in a clearing filled with shrines dedicated to the growing of soulpods. The Beastclaw Raiders will gain a major victory if they can wipe out the Sylvaneth in five battle rounds. If they fail, then victory will be determined by the number of soulpod shrines they have managed to munch their way through – if the Sylvaneth can stop them devouring the contents of less than four soulpod shrines, a major victory will be theirs.
With only five battle rounds and the entire length of the table to cross, the Beastclaw Raiders will have to be quick – but then again, that has never really been a problem with them, so it is up to the Sylvaneth to block their advance and not be destroyed as they do so.
Sylvaneth defending a shrine have a chance to ignore wounds, but Beastclaw Raider models that consume a shrine will be healed.
For this battle, we will be using the full set of Battle Traits for Beastclaw Raiders; both their Beastclaw Stampede rule, and the Everwinter’s Blessing. The latter allows the Beastclaw Raiders to roll a dice at the start of their turns to see what effect the Everwinter has on the battle. This can range from a Fortifying Hoarfrost that allows them to re-roll saves of 1, to a Raging Blizzard that dishes out mortal wounds to nearby enemy units.
Within the Balefens, everything seemed still but keen eyes could pick the slightest of movement from within the Wyldwoods. The Sylvaneth were stirring to action…
Battle Round One
The Jorlbad thundered into the grove at the head of a fortifying hoarfrost that coated the Stonehorns and Thundertusk with ice. The outer trees were undefended, and the Beastclaw Raiders quickly gorged themselves on soulpods the Sylvaneth had known they would have to sacrifice before the Ogors had even arrived.
A Blood Vulture flew high into the sky, only to plummet down upon an unsuspecting Dryad, but this was the only casualty the Sylvaneth suffered as the Ogor’s great bolts all went wide.
Deeper within the grove, Treelord Ancient Kurothos summoned the power of the Wyldwood to his bidding, and the vegetation reshaped itself into a Throne of Vines upon which he sat.
Meanwhile, the Branchwraith further fortified the Wyldwoods by throwing a Mystic Shield upon its Dryads, even as Kurnoth Hunters loosed massive arrows that scored several telling hits upon the approaching Thundertusk.
Battle Round Two
The Mystic Shield was maintained on the Dryads, and now Treelord Ancient Kurothos lent his magical weight to the defence, adding his own shield to the defenders. As the Thundertusk approached, the Kurnoth Hunters loosed another volley, this time causing the beast to stumble as it bled from several deep wounds.
The Everwinter had by now entered the grove proper, and a freezing tailwind seemed to drive the Beastclaw Raiders even further forward. Once more, a Blood Vulture took to the sky, but its attacks upon Dryads were thwarted by the trees of the Wyldwoods themselves, sweeping their branches to drive it back.
By now, the Beastclaw Raiders were in position to attack, and Stonehorns and Mournfangs thundered forward to assault the Dryads in the outermost Wyldwoods.
The trees proved no obstacle to these massive monsters, and half a dozen Dryads were crushed under the weight of their hooves before they could react. A fierce, but very brief, battle ensued but while the Dryads managed to score light wounds on the Ogors, they were completely outmatched. The few Dryads who survived this assault quickly ran, using the spiritways to flee the battlefield.
The Thundertusk had been too injured to launch its own charge, but it summoned enough strength to loose a chill breath upon the Branchwraith, who screeched in pain as the ice started to freeze her limbs.
Yet more soulpods were consumed by the Ogors, this time the Mournfang Riders eating their fill.
Battle Round Three
The Sylvaneth had known the Beastclaw Raiders would be unstoppable at first but now they had consumed half of the soulpods of the grove, they had to be halted before they moved deeper into the woods.
Shaking the ice from her limbs, the Branchwraith hurled an Arcane Bolt at the Thundertusk, causing the beats to shy away from the brilliant sorcerous light, before she turned and ran for the safety of another Wyldwood.
Meanwhile, a deep bass voice rolled over the grove, invigorating every Sylvaneth who heard it – Treelord Ancient Kurothos had begun his Spirit Song.
The Kurnoth Hunters sustained their withering fire, with one group finishing off the wounded Thundertusk, while a second group joined the Kurothos and his Doom Tendril Staff in striking at the approaching Huskard and his Stonehorn.
The Everwinter infused the Beatsclaw Raiders with a chilling effect and a deadly frostbite radiated from their advance, but fortunately for the Sylvaneth, no one was close enough to suffer from it.
With another Wyldwood about to fall into the hands of the Huskard, the others urged their mounts forward to strike at the last two bastions of the Sylvaneth that still stood.
Others saw the Branchwraith fleeing the Wyldwoods, and gave pursuit. Two massive bolts flew past her head, followed by the shot of a pistol, but the Ogor’s aim was very poor, and the Branchwraith very swift.
The soaring Blood Vulture fared no better, as it was again beaten back away from the last Dryads by the branches of the Wyldwood their hid within.
The Huskard bellowed as his Stonehorn crashed through trees to reach the Kurnoth Hunters who had slain the Thundertusk. One was crushed instantly underfoot, while the other two were gouged by the Stonehorn. The Mournfang Riders who had been following the Huskard took advantage of this sudden opening in the Sylvaneth defence to throw themselves straight at Treelord Ancient Kurothos. Caught offguard, Kurothos was wounded in their rush, but recovered quickly to flatten one Ogor with a single sweep of his staff.
Close by, another Stonehorn was making an impact, this time against the Tree-Revenants supporting Kurothos.
Nimbly dodging the worst of the Stonehorn’s lumbering attacks, they darted out of the woods to defend their leader against both the Stonehorn and Mournfang Rider.
Another Wyldwood had now fallen into the hands of the Beastclaw Raiders, and now it was the turn of the Huskard to enjoy the sweet taste of Sylvaneth soulpods.
Battle Round Four
By now, only two Wyldwoods remained in Sylvaneth hands, but each resolved to keep the Ogors back.
As Kurothos threw a Mystic Shield over himself, the Branchwraith hurled an Arcane Bolt at the Huskard, and then retreated deeper into the Wyldwood.
The fighting now intensified, and the Huskard was further wounded by Kurothos’ Doom Tendril Staff, even as the Tree-Revenants scored a series of deep cuts against the Stonehorn on the other side of the Wyldwood. However, they could not halt its advance and the last of the Kurnoth Hunters were smashed into the trees by its great horns.
However, Treelord Ancient Kurothos held firm, with the powerful blows of the Mournfang Rider he faced simply bouncing off his Mystic Shield as he fought from within the Wyldwood.
Once more, the Everwinter blew a freezing tailwind as the Beastclaw Raiders closed in for one final attack. The Huskard dove into the Wyldwood, searching for the Branchwraith even as he struck at the Treelord Ancient. The Branchwraith successfully evaded his wild blows, but Kurothos was hit badly, staggering under the sheer weight of the Stonehorn. However, even as rivers of sap ran down his trunk, Kurothos refused to budge from the Throne of Vines he had created.
The second Wyldwood still held by the Sylvaneth was assaulted by two brave Mournfang Riders.
The Dryads started to retreat deeper into the Wyldwood, and the Mournfang Riders followed, cutting three of the Forest Folk down. It took them a few moments to realise the trap the Dryads had led them into. Spurred on by the plight of the Forest Folk, Tree-Revenants swarmed forward, leaving the protection of the Wyldwood to surround the Mournfang Riders. Very quickly, the Mournfang Riders realised they had a real fight on their hands as they strove to defend themselves from Sylvaneth mystic blades.
Battle Round Five
The Mournfang Skalg, desperately trying to find a chink in the defences of the Treelord Ancient, caught a glimpse of the Branchwraith between Kurothos’ legs, and he hastily raised his pistol to snapfire at her. The shot was true, and the Branchwraith’s head exploded in a shower of sap and leaves.
A freezing tailwind from the Everwinter helped the Stonehorn Beastriders turn their mount around to aid the Mournfang Riders who had been ambushed by the Tree-Revenants, even as their Blood Vulture dove down to savage a Dryad.
The battle for the Wyldwood was short, as the Dryads were mercilessly ridden down by the Stonehorn, before it plunged into the Tree-Revenants. They managed to bring down one of the Mournfangs before they too were crushed. Though the battle still raged close by, this Wyldwood had now been claimed by the Beastclaw Raiders and the Beastriders gorged themselves on soulpods.
Kurothos was now battling the Mournfang Skalg and his Huskard alone, for all other Sylvaneth had either been slain or had fled the grove. Knowing he could not flee, the Treelord Ancient used all his skill and deep knowledge of the Wyldwoods to fight, blocking every attack thrown at him.
The Huskard raged at his own impotence for, despite being very badly wounded, the Treelord Ancient was not only surviving, he managed to deal some very strong blows upon the Stonehorn.
Maintaining both his Mystic Shield and Spirit-Song, Kurothos felt the power of Alarielle flow through him as he continued to fight. Once again, he battled the Stonehorn and this time forced it backwards, out of the Wyldwood.
Cursing the Treelord Ancient, the Huskard declined to charge back into the woods, and signalled the retreat. The Beastclaw Raiders had ravaged the grove and while they had not claimed it completely, their stomachs were full enough for them to be satisfied with a draw.
It is not often we see a draw – and it was all down to the Treelord Ancient, who had been reduced to a single wound! The combination of a Mystic Shield with cover was enough to bring his save down to 1+ but while that served him well against the Mournfang, it is not so comforting against a Stonehorn who has multiple Rend -2, Damage 3 attacks. However, the Huskard could just not land that last telling blow!
The Sylvaneth fought purely defensively but while the Beastclaw Raiders were certainly formidable, the Sylvaneth were still able to prove they were not invulnerable. The Thundertusk went down pretty quickly and while the Beastclaw Raiders were only to lose two Mournfang Riders on top of that, they also dealt significant damage to the Stonehorns, who were not only halving all incoming damage, but healing as they consumed soulpods!
The Huskard had been reduced to enough wounds that a single blow from the Treelord Ancient’s staff, followed by a good impale attack, could have finished him off – alas, the Treelord Ancient was no luckier in that than the Huskard was in attacking him.
A good, solid battle overall, and we are looking forward to the next one involving the Beastclaw Raiders!
The Story Continues…
We are going to carry on following the path of the Beastclaw Raiders a little while yet, and next time they will be travelling to the Realm of Death, bringing the Everwinter with them.