Saturday, 4 February 2012

Return to the Fields of Contagion

Lord Thorgrantis Kul surveyed the riverbanks of the Trebleca at the Fields of Contagion, the dread pox-ridden wasteland where one hundred years before, the plague dead of the doomed city of Fell Glen were buried until the undertakers could walk no more themselves. 

Beyond the river, the remnants of the Orc host yet fled that had been battled backward by the legions of undeath. He smiled grimly. With the undead hordes weakened from battle, even in victory, they would be able to offer little resistance. It was the perfect time to strike.

The perfect time to take this land as his own and add it to the realms of Dunkel Schloss.

He gave the order, and the army of Dunkel Schloss charged forward.

Up the rise, nestled between the river and one of the ancient chapels, the dark king Gorper hesitated, understanding the danger to his realm. With the Chittering Horde pressing hard against his capital of Barak Varr, a loss here could crumple the entire western arm of his realm. And as Lord Kul had surmised: his warriors were weary and battle worn, the magics animating them grown wan and dim.

Still, retreat wasn’t an option; nor surrender. In ancient times, while life and heat clung to his bones as flesh, as one of the greatest warriors of Nehekhara, he had fought himself and his men free from situations more fell than this. And more laden with doom.

He lifted his great curving blade; paused long enough for all empty sockets on the field to see it, the cleft it through the air toward their enemies.

The clash began immediately, as heavily armoured Warriors of Chaos marched silent and dreadful into combat, unhurried but lethal in every twist of their mighty sword arms, ignoring even the dread vortex summoned by the Liche Priests to drown them in smoke. They were outmanned by the wide sweep of skeletons but not outmatched, and their fiendish god-spawned power cracked skull from shoulder and hand from arm.

Through the shallow waters of the river there, skeleton horsemen ran down the mighty Hellcannon with its Chaos Dwarf crew, but the hammer blow they had hoped to deliver never fell. The daemonic war machine was far more powerful than expected and soon, dread horseman and dread horse alike were only scattered bones.

But from the chapel, concealed within, the casket of souls hurled forth the screaming dead, dragging the spirits of the warriors of Dunkel Schloss from their empty bodies. And in the midst of the battle line, Gorpor thrust and slashed with his mighty blade.

The skeletons fell and the warriors fell with them, the tide of battle turning first one way, then another. But as both Gorpor and Lord Kul were driven from the battlefield, it became clear, though barely, that the Tomb Kings had won the day. Such was their strength in battle that even after their defeat of the Orcs, they still possessed the strength of magic, bone and will to combat and defeat their enemies.

Lord Kul commanded the retreat but not before a wind captured his attention and turned it downriver. His routed men fled around him, but he paused long enough to gaze down the length of the Trebleca where, far off, distantly, the aging spires of the pestilential city of Fell Glen stood visible in the evening mists.

And a name came to his mind; a name from history; one who had wronged him as he had wronged that man. And though his heart was as stone and felt little in terms of fear; still, Kul experienced a twinge of what might be described as presentiment.

He knew not, why the name might spring to his mind now, but as he turned and spurred his fell steed on, away to his lands, he wished that he had not recalled it. For it unsettled him.

And the name was Simian Crease.

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