Thursday, 16 June 2011

Massacre at Fortress Malefic

Tim (Vampire Counts) vs Mike (Skaven) 

It was simply the end for the Vampire Counts.

Fortress Malefic - the ancient castle in the World's Edge Mountains, flanking the entrance to the Devil's Pathway, most direct route from the Land of the Dead and the Empire - had fallen to the Skaven weeks earlier. Now, the entire realm of the Undead Nation was under threat as the lands previously captured lay perilously unguarded as, in desperation, the remnants of what had once seemed an unstoppable horde returned to their former home... to take it back!

 The Skaven scrambled into position on the battlements. They had fought hard at Still Water to stop the Vampire armies from reaching their walls but had failed. Still, their recent string of victories had left them smug. Perhaps even... complacent?

They squealed, baiting the silent undead horde slowly encircling their walls to come and do their worst.

At the centre of the undying ranks, Spheric, the Vampire's most deadly general, smiled grimly. He was more than happy to meet their request and gave the order.In a broad circle, the footsoldiers of the Undead Nation started to close the noose.

The order of attack had been meticulously preplanned by Spheric and his Vampire officers. Leading the attack were the most powerful and invulnerable elements of the force. Spheric knew that the Skaven, by their nature, were tactically crippled by having to fight within the confines of a castle, unable to bring their ranks and numbers to bear. He was confident that a hammer blow would not just crack this nut, but pulverise it.

His one concern was that powerful Skaven Warlords would be manning the walls. He chuckled to see only Warlock Engineers in place. This was going to be easier than he thought.

But the Skaven weren't going to go down easily and hidden behind the parapets were devastatingly powerful weapon teams. As Fell Bats swept in toward the closest tower, the disguising covers were thrown back and the cackling Skaven revealed the grinding barrels of a Ratling Gun.

They fired it up and the barrels started spinning, burning heat sizzling the air. Greedy for destruction they ratcheted up the pace, preparing to unleash an even more powerful salvo, and then let rip.

There was a brief explosion on the tower top and the weapon team vanished in a puff of blood and metal.

First to the wall was a powerful Vargulf. Spiking its claws into the mortar, it bounded up the wall and tore into the Stormvermin standing guard, brushing off the rocks they poured down the wall onto its mighty shoulders.

The Stormvermin were the Skaven elite. Of all the horde, they alone were perfectly placed to stand firm against any onslaught.

Their weapons failed to draw blood and the Vargulf ripped the heads off rat after rat as they floundered in terror. It roared and the Stormvermin fled under the mighty upthrust of its wings.

It was at this point that the Skaven commander started to realise that this might not end well.

Unable to rely on their strength of numbers on the narrow battlements, the ratmen lacked the confidence to hold firm. All the forces of the vampires had to do was hit hard and their units would flee. And as the Warlock Engineer looked out across the opposing forces his blood grew cold he saw the genius of his opponent. Half of the enemy battalions were powerful enough to destroy all enemies and the other half were simply impossible to wound.

Deep in his brain, he feverishly tired to work out who was to blame for this.

And then the Fell Bats hit; swooping past his crazed Warplock Pistol shot and smacking hard into him. He fought back desperately but they were too big, the mass of each one more than double his own. With their claws raking his back he fled through the trapdoor and down into the courtyard, past the Clanrats and Plague Monks eager for battle.

Down in the courtyard, he sighed in relief, glad to be away from the battle. This was all going so wrong. They had been in such a powerful position: two capitals under their control; and now it was all teetering on the brink of dissolution. What could have all gone wrong?!?

Then he heard a low growl and from the shadows beneath the parapet he saw the glowing eyes of the Vargulf.

And then he saw no more.

At the front of the fortress a massive horde of skeleton warriors approached the gate with Spheric at its centre. The dark lord was in no hurry. He wanted to relish this slaughter. And that was what it was. The Fortress was like a wooden crate filled with rats. Nowhere for them to go as he reached in casually with a hammer and pummelled them to death one by one.

A poisoned wind mortar blast fell into the skeleton ranks, obliterating almost a dozen fleshless warriors but the rest of them didn't pause, striding forward and a with a flick of his wrist, Spheric activated the incantation to bring them back to life.

Undeterred, the surviving Warlock Engineer conjured a scorching shower of fire in the approaching ranks of Crypt Guard, cackling madly as the rear ranks were stripped from the battalion.

But still they came, soulless and uncaring at the death of their brothers.

Cairn Wraiths and Spirit Hosts glided soundlessly over the walls and where the Wraiths found the battlements empty, the ghostly spirits ignored the panicked attacks of the clanrat defenders before hacking them apart with their fell blades, setting them to rout. Cornered and surrounded in the courtyard, the clanrats were cut down.

The rats were still trapped in their box and the hammer was falling again and again. At each hammer strike a unit was being crushed and the ratmen were running out of troops.

"It isn't fair," stammered their remaining Warlock Engineer, casting the powerful Death Frenzy on the Plague Monks guarding the front of the fortress in the hopes of at least maintaining the defence there.But he couldn't take this anymore.He fled from the walls, dropping down to the ground and trying to get away from this terrible trap, but he was hacked down by the waiting Crypt Guard that he had used his magic on and his bones were shattered.

The Plague Monks on the walls slavered and foamed as the Death Frenzy took over, making them more than powerful enough to take on any enemy, but rather than attacking, Spheric called his skeleton warriors to halt. He looked up at the gatway and the frenzied Plague Monks and he actually laughed out loud.

Conjuring a Curse of Years, he unleashed one his most powerful magics, causing the Plague Monks to drop from old age, one by one. The Death frenzy was too draining. It was burning out their hearts, making them drop and die, even as they waited for battle.

Spheric laughed and laughed. He didn't even need to attack. Their own magic was going to wipe out the last defenders. Already overunning most of the castle, the forces of the Vampire Counts grew still, all of them watching as the last of the Skaven fell.

This hadn't been a battle. It had been a massacre.

Fortress Malefic belonged once more to the vampires!

1 comment:

  1. Man, those pictures are amazing! They really capture the drama of the battle! And, boy, what a comeback for Nagash and his minions!