Monday, 6 December 2010
Will Fortress Malefic Fall?
Tim (Nagash) vs Gill (Skaven)
A cornered rat will leap for the throat of its tormentor, tearing into the flesh and ripping out the jugular. In the Border Princes, life is no different.
With the claw of the undead forces tightening around Spikehole, the Skaven capital, it only made sense for every Skaven army to flee back to their home to defend it. But the Skaven were cornered and only one throat was bared and visible. With every other Skaven force retreating, the one army that had been lurking in the south eastern regions struck hard and fast at the capital of the Vampire Counts: Fortress Malefic!
This shocking reversal was almost perfectly timed. In an attempt to overwhelm both the rat men and the Tempestrians to the north, every vampire-led army was fully abroad, at the limits of their borders. No legions were in position to defend this most precious bastion.
The only thing standing between the Skaven and complete control of the Vampire capital was one man. A very powerful man. A man capable of potentially resurrecting hundreds or thousands of the dead to fight for him.
Nagash; the arch necromancer; the most powerful undead creature in the entire world and instigator of the war.
Hundreds of Skaven circled Fortress Malefic, carrying ladders and scaling ropes. They paused briefly to consider the ripe pickings to come and then charged forward, the swarm led by the great Skaven warlord, Frostclaw, riding high in a gigantic siege tower, pushed forward in a throng of Clanrats.
The moment he spied their approach, Nagash sent out tendrils of power into the rain-soaked autumn earth and shook the dirt as from a mighty quake. Suddenly, all around the fortress, clammy hands reached up from the muck, clawing for unlife and the devouring of flesh. But the Skaven sorcerers, a Grey Seer and a Plague Priest were prepared for this and immediately through up wards and hexes to keep the dead things down. Despite his power, Nagash was unprepared. He strained against the magical defence of the Skaven but could not raise a significantly large force of undead before the Skaven reached the walls.
Abandoning the strategy, Nagash turned his gaze to the innards of the castle. In preparation for assault, every internal wall of Fortress Malefic was covered in murdered dead. Every inch of wall held corpses held high in great rusty spikes. He could hear the Skaven at the walls, scratching to climb up, but Nagash concentrated fearlessly and black sockets flickered into life. Throughout the fortress, dead hands gripped iron spike and each cadaver lifted itself off and down to the ground.
Just as the Skaven reached the top of the walls!
Black-clad Gutter Runners wielding twin blades, hacked at the zombie defenders. Plague Monks clambored onto undefended parapets, charging into the closest tower to attack the slow-moving corpses shambling into position. Nagash himself drew his sword and slashed through half a dozen Clanrats at a stroke.
Frostclaw and Quickstab, his assassin, leapt down from their siege tower and pushed the intervening Clanrats out of the way off the battlements to their doom. Both charged at Nagash but though they were the pinnacle of their races warrior prowess, they were nothing compared to him. He scattered them both back, hurling Frostclaw back through the side of his siege tower and knocking Quickstab into the writhing undead arms below.
But it was not enough! Nagash was personally invincible but he could not hold the fortress alone and there were simply too many Skaven! He could not raise sufficient zombies from the dead quickly enough to hold the corridors and parapets. He took a long look around the fortress as he cleaved the head from a Rat Ogre’s shoulders, realised that his position was untenable, and made a decision.
All sound dampened within fifty feet. Every scrabbling rat paused in their devouring of dead flesh. And then there was an implosion on the battlements, accompanied by thick grey smoke and a poisonous stench.
When it cleared, Nagash was gone. And Fortress Malefic belonged to the Skaven.
Unless the forces of Nagash and the Vampire Counts were swift then they would lose everything!