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To celebrate having completed the first unit of my Warriors of Chaos, and bloated on a surfeit of gothic imagery, I thought I would try writing fluff for each unit as it is finished; if I get some memorable games in I might post something for them as well. I hope this will build into an enjoyable saga in varying styles depending on what suits the unit and I feel like doing at the time.

So, a short piece of verse about my Marauders: a prose explanation follows for those who get confused, or just do not enjoy alliterative verse.



The Blessing of Olfa Jofhond

When young Olfa wolves rewarded
Wielded he his father’s glory
For a better goal did he bid it
Bided he not in safe holt.

Heard he of a blasphemous temple
Hissed on the wind a sterile god
Up raised his hand in ritual pledge then
Righteous did his humours surge

Gathered he firm battle brothers
Brought now south the ale handed
With the wielders of long gifting
Welded he a mighty band.

Our fate beside us flows
Forth against the invader
Our steel does sing this day
Solemnity the coward’s path

Soon the stealers of the land were met
Steel limbs and charging swords
Driven he back by devilish fortune
Drenched then the earth with gifts.

Then saw he the shining Ormhlut
Symbol that his path was true
And forward at the flank did he
Flowing at the half-men prey

Thrust he forth his father’s releaser
Forward lashed he the golden gift
Many foes spilled for gods mead
Mortal were the reaching men

Our fate beside us flows
Forth against the invader
Our steel does sing this day
Solemnity the coward’s path

One last foe field turned over
Olfa’s gift with steel he blocked
Braced his hand to hold real glory
Head for limb a better price

From this prize the god took pleasure
Pledge rewarded in the night
Brittleness of stiff bone replaced
Blocked not the sinuous would be

Mighty stone spears the forest
Sickly creatures dirging there
Their gold will comes to our grasp now
Gifted by a hand well favoured.

Our fate beside us flows
Forth against the invader
Our steel does sing this day
Solemnity the coward’s path



Olfa (I mistyped and decided to keep it) has fought since an early age against the other tribes of Norsca. Hearing tales of a monastery to the south he swears an oath to lay its treasure on an altar to Slaanesh. Gathering together other young men, (including a group of warriors favouring great weapons) he sets out South.

His path to the monastery is blocked by Empire troops who manage to drive Olfa back into the forest using superior tactics. however, before they can assure victory, the battle is joined by a larger war-band lead by a champion on a Steed of Slaanesh. The Empire line is forced to turn to meet the threat, exposing their flank to Olfa. Whilst the reach of Empire pole-arms protected them from the initial attack, the flank charge is much more successful, and most of the Empire troops are slain.

Olfa ends up in single combat with a skilled swordsman and is parried again and again until they finally end up weapons locked. Believing his vow is worth more than his wounds, Olfa turns his axe sharply, allowing his opponent's sword to sever his left hand but freeing his own axe to strike.

Slaanesh notices his commitment (this time) and his left arm mutates into a tentacle. The band see this as a sign the gods are pleased and set off in good heart to assault the monastery.
 

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Honouring the Dead

To celebrate my victory on Friday, I have written a little more fiction; this time in a more modern style.

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“Once there was a warrior called Skari, who was the son of Annar Shanks; the same Annar Shanks who married Audun Hariksdott, or so said a skald … but the true Gods value not a man by his father’s deeds, and his head hangs from my pommel now; if you are lucky yours will join it soon.

“Know that I am Skogu, twice blessed of Nurgle, and I have saved you from the blasphemy that lurked near your chapel. Hearken to the tale your salvation….”


Skogu rode forward. The blood drinkers had fled their lair in the chapel at his approach and were cowering among the graves, no doubt trying to steal rotting corpses from the earth’s embrace. In their cowardice they had delivered themselves to him; the silent wall of the Despoilers was even now trudging inexorably up the hill toward the graveyard the only sounds the squelch of their boots into torn earth and the crackle of their banner forming the centre of his line; to the bands of young warriors still callow enough to see battle as joy and not merely a step in the collapse of all things, led by Olfa Jofhund, Hannar Brede, and Ivar Harrier, he had given the task of closing off the sides so none would escape.

Ivar returned to the edge of the wood and mounted his horse.

“One of the blasphemers has left the graveyard; much glory for the man who brings him down. He faces off against Hannar but we will take the prize”

Swift as a spear, hard as an axe, the Harriers burst over the ridge towards the flank of the blood drinkers. A wave of danger rolled off the skeletons and the horsemen howled their joy at the sight of a worthy foe.

Loosing a hail of axes as they charged the Harriers were elated to see the blood-drinker desperately cowering behind a fence of yellowed bone.

Seeing the vampire ahead of him drawing up a battle line, Skogu realised his opponents might not be completely unworthy, and cast his arms wide gifting him greater knowledge of the decaying bodies he so sought; sores opened on the vampires face, weeping gratitude where their owner could not.

Ivar rose up in his saddle as the younger blood drinker finally succumbed to the inevitable and attempted to mount a resistance to the Harriers. Hannar had lost another prize through lack of speed., and Ivar would claim the hero’s portion this night!

Olfa was amused that, like many of the southerners, his opponent kept mangy curs as pets; having wrestled his father’s war hounds bare handed it would barely be worth killing these patchwork beasts.

Faced with the crushing truth of the chaos, the older of the two blasphemous wretches huddled behind the decaying walls of the graveyard, keeping the bulk of his forces around him of fear he might be hurt. Desperate and cowering the vampire hurled forth bolts of black force into the Despoilers. Joints long wracked by ague and lungs clogged with mucus Olik barely noticed the power twisting his body, and lead his men slowly over the crest of the hill.

The younger vampire attempted to rally his crumbling minions: twice he sought to steal power to strengthen his stolen bodies and twice Skogu choked him off. Unlike the trembling vampires true men fear not harm, and so Skogu’s battle line rolled forward toward the last refuge of the dead.

Ropes of lightning lashed from the Despoiler’s banner into the armoured skeletons ahead; the Gods marked their chosen sacrifice in sickly flames but left the killing to the strength of men.

Skogu gazed upon Olfa’s men racing to fight and rewarded them with fecund and virile flesh. Pleased with his choice the Dread One turned his eye on Skogu and gifted him power beyond mortal capabilities. Grinding the remains of his teeth together and clutching his fetishes in palsied hands, Skogu silently weathered this test of strength.

The Harriers smashed into the shambling dead. With courage born of desperation the blood drinker attempted to hurl himself through the Harriers, bringing down two horses before a chain wrapped around his neck and tore off his head.

Ivar watched in annoyance as his trophy decayed to nothing. Unafraid of the remnants of the dead but seeking to save good horses from further harm he broke from combat, holding his men together long enough to draw the skeletons far from battle before signalling the Harriers to scatter and reform at camp.

Olfa grinned as the enemy hid in the graveyard, sending their dogs out to face men. Even the bolts of magic they hurled were scared to hit, impacting the hill behind his men. Sending half of the curs to the grave or fleeing before the fight had properly started, Olfa’s men pressed their advantage.

A pall of silence fell over the centre of the field as the enemy sent their final wave of stolen bodies trudging towards the Despoilers, rusting heavy armour strangely familiar. For a moment Olik reeled: Was it his destiny to be called up from the grave? To be a slave to another…? Seeing their leader bowing his head the Despoilers paused a breath: was it a ploy, or had he permitted himself to weaken? Was this the moment one of them stepped forward on the path to glory, or would the Wights overwhelm anyone who tried…? Remembering that only glory earns a place in Evigstrid, Olik thrust his mace toward the leading revenant. For a moment his will was enough for both and the Wight fought and fell as a man again. Around him his men started to pick up a rhythm and the revenants fell again.

Denied his chosen target, Hannar wheeled his men to follow Skogu into the Wights; the Gods would lead their priest to the thick of battle, and he would reap the rewards at his side.

With their flank destroyed the revenants were smashed back to rest. Olik surveyed his men and was pleased to note the Wights had directed their dying blows into his men, ignoring the younglings as a lesser threat. The blasphemer agreed, for he had wrenched more pitiful dead from the ground to harry the Despoiler’s rear.

Cowards like their masters, the mangy dogs fled before Olfa’s men, leaving them free to advance. Filled with the joy of war they paid no heed to the sounds of tearing earth until it was too late. Formation blunted by enemies bursting up between them and blows dulled by flesh like wet mud, the marauders began to tire and stumble.

Hannar’s plan had been to follow glory, and it had worked better than even he had hoped. The second blood drinker and his few pitiful hunched followers had been draw into his path. If these pallid shambling half men were the descendants of Northmen who turned from the true Gods, then what weaklings Southmen must be.

The flickering of dark energies burned hot as fever to Skogu’s eyes. Twisting a length of dried gut he let lose a gassy chuckle. It was time the blasphemer learnt that ideas rotted away as easily as men; ideas like control and mastery. Taking on a sickly yellow tone the vampire’s spell oozed through his fingers and ravaged through ghoul and marauder alike withering some and gifting others cancerous growth. Fighting now to end the magic the vampire found that where it had slipped away like mucus it now clung to his limbs like a bog; still choking defiance his hold on reality crumbled and the Gods took him.

Beating the wits back into his men, Hannar was disappointed to note that the few of the enemy who had survived the blast were fleeing in terror. However, Ofla’s men were running too; the bragging rights from defeating the foes that drove his rival off would be a reward in itself! Letting not thought take the place of deed he hurled himself through the enemy, great axe pulping flesh and breaking limbs. Already fecund growths were closing the wounds of those of his men still standing. The Gods blessed his plan!

Tying a third knot in the gut with blackened and twisted fingers Skogu mused that, had he known his master could twist the winds of power so well, he would have disembowelled him sooner.

Leaving a trail of bones and rusty metal the few remaining revenants stumbled slowly back toward the graveyard. Barely pausing to strike down the few decaying bodies in front of him, some not even able to stand, Olik turned and lead his men toward the skeletons. Maybe there was the remnant of a real warrior amongst them to make it worth fighting them; smashing them to dust Olik realised there was not.

“…And so the evil interruption of your sleep was destroyed, and our Father’s glorious gift of rot reclaimed,” said Skogu, laying the Zombie’s head gently back on its body, “Remember this tale… tell all who pass… so that others will know that blasphemy’s price is decay.”
 

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A Line of Bloddied Stones - Part 1

A prose piece based on last month's battle.

Where the Refusers of Blessings drink
Hiding from the looming truth
Where empty words are silent
Blessed by the Joyful Lord
Grasp the Spine of the blood drunk Forester….


Skogu read the muddied parchment through again. The lowlander had babbled about secret power hidden in an abandoned as the fever ate away his body. His words were graceless but the Worm laughed as He burrowed so this might be true prophecy. Unbuckling the tattered leather straps across his belly, and tearing away the scabs beneath he sought further signs of the path before him.

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Ivar gazed across the plain, his eyes as sharp as his name spirit. The ruins to the west bore one of the markings the shaman had described, and past them he could see slow stunted creatures desperately stacking barrels on to a wagon. Turning his horse he let out a shrill cry of pleasure and led his men off at the gallop: he had found what Skogu sought; with luck Olfa and Hannar would still be out searching when he returned and would miss the chance for glory.

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Ivar let out a high-pitched laugh at Skogu’s cunning. He had promised the half men the opportunity to defile their cousins’ hall after the battle in exchange for their aid, but had correctly seen that Ivar could get there before battle was even joined. The slack-legged smiths would have to take a Northman’s leavings again.

The doors and windows hung open and dark, and no whimpers answered his cries; apart from a few barrels the hall held no interest. His sharp senses detecting something beyond the ridge-line, Ivar signalled his men to continue forward.

Skogu followed the flickers of light from the ruins to the crude circle and then into the darkness of the forest; a line of stones, weak but not broken. It appeared Ivar was right and this was the base of the spine; if his claim that the inhabitants had fled proved as accurate, this would be easy.

Simultaneous cramps racked his arms and gut; the Worm was guiding him. Dismissing the cramp in his left side as his new allies preparing their creation he turned right toward the ruins. Moving off he noted that the mist beyond the plain was not moving with the breeze and the air had a sweet scent; trusting his gut he signalled his followers to stop their advance facing toward it.

Hannar ordered his band to form up behind a broken wall. Glancing at the rubble before him, Hannar recognised some of the carvings as the same as the symbol a Southman had thrust toward him before he was cut down; from the confusion on his face as it had rolled past Hannar wondered if it was one of the Southmen’s tribal gods. A foul taste flooded his mouth, and the scars on his body began to bubble and twist; through the clouds of flies swarming over the Despoilers he made out Skogu gesturing at him in blessing. His heart exulted; Ivar might have found the right place but when it came to fighting he was sent to guard the ale while the shaman relied on real men to do the killing.

A gout of purple flame soared across the sky and smashed into the rear of the ridge, startling a flock of crows. The Sky Rider was blessing his actions or the tunnellers had got their machine to work. As beasts like twisted horses galloped from the flames Ivar’s men smoothly released a hail of hand axes before reach for their flails. Wreathed in clouds of perfume the Horsemen began to lose their concept of distance and before the beasts had seemed even close they were amongst them, unseating Torgill before his weapon had cleared its straps. Recovering their wits the remaining Horsemen battered one creature to the ground; however, robbed of the chance to strike quickly and move on Ivar began to tire.

Olik began to make out shapes in the mists. The desire to fall on them and strip their flesh roiled beneath the surface but they seemed spindly and lightly armoured, and would die as easily when they arrived as if he sought them like a child on his first hunt. Sparkling shards of gem and metal lashed from the oncoming figures tearing through one of the Despoilers but the majesty of the True Gods rose up tarnishing and fracturing the cascade. Olik watched silently as the Worm, angered by their capering, opened his maw beneath the onrushing forces swallowing many of them.

Remembering Skogu’s plan to let the daemon machine demonstrate its worth, Olik used the enemy’s disarray to pull the line back, as screaming gouts of flame shattered more of the enemy.

Absent-mindedly renewing the blessing on Hannar’s band, Skogu traced the lines of power running through both the ruins and oncoming creatures. Twisting his bracelet of dried gut he drew threads of life from his master’s hall before wrapping them around the glowing knot in the centre of the rushing horde. Sickly green flames blasted from both ends of the thread turning the ground around his horse to foul slurry and rotting the flesh from the enemy sorcerer.

As the remnants of the enemy ran forward the mists thinned and Hannar saw that they were girls, clad in leather and silvered chain so fine it seemed to mould to their bodies. His eye was drawn to one who had paused to dance with sheer joy at the prospect of fighting him; a dance that reminded him of the dreams he enjoyed the night he killed his brother for leadership of the band. In moments his desire to be the reliable centre of Skogu’s plan was replaced with images of penetrating the enemy lines and of claiming the spoils of his heroism. Singing out tales of his prowess Hannar led his men forward, exuberance breaking their ranks and robbing their charge of its impact.

As more purple flame scorched the oncoming lines and his followers began to run into the killing field, Skogu judged the dwarves had served their purpose and signalled a general advance before vomiting maggot filled slime into the oncoming daemons.

Surrounded by choking clouds of biting insects and unmoved by slender limbs or smooth skin, the Despoilers smashed through enemy line with barely a pause, whilst the Harriers finally slew their enemy and wheeled to rejoin the main lines.

Hannar was filled with a fierce joy as he saw the finest of the enemy come running toward his men. As men and daemons twisted and fell around him he dreamed of the tales of this day; how he led the charge, and of how the enemy saw the greatest threat and hurled themselves upon him.

Skogu noticed that a splinter of the daemons had broken off and were trying to reach the daemon machine. Reigning in his horse he watched with a smile as the foetid ground they crossed started to suck them down. His smile became a liquid chuckle as, clawing themselves from the mud they were faced with a discordant howl as the daemon engine, trailing lengths of shattered chain, hurled itself forward sucking their bodies into its living metal. Pausing to tweak the threads of power lying across the plain, Skogu settled back to assess how the engine performed.

A brief moment of anger struck Hannar as the Harriers tried to interfere in his battle, quickly changing to joy as one of them fell from his horse giggling madly, followed by Ivar himself being pulled down. Distracted for a moment by his rival, Hannar was confused to see that the dancer was gone. Caught by his dreams he started to draw his men back to celebrate victory, before a slashing pain drew him back to reality. Pulling those who were still capable back into order, he finished the remaining daemons.

The field being clear, Skogu drew the prophecy from his jacket; the presence of daemons was a good sign; a sign that this was the path. But first he should allow his followers to rest and celebrate; rested men would fight the harder for him tomorrow.
 

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Nice Story/Bat-rep Dave...
Thank you

...I feel bad for the VC players, seems he got rocked. I play VC as well and it is dep a challenge against many of the other armies out there.
They do suffer from not having great options at low points values; and, even if you do go all Ghouls to maximise your core effectiveness, they cannot really stop the general being too vulnerable to early death without hiding like a coward.
 

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And (only slightly delayed) the second half of the story based on the second battle.

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Surveying the clearing Skogu gurgled happily to himself; each day Ivar had climbed a tree and each day he had reported that the forest was dense and unbroken, yet suddenly it had opened out revealing a ruin towering above the trees. An amber line of power gushed past his feet, spiralling the clearing before terminating in a cairn of blood spattered stones; dark flames leaped from a line of ancient posts set across the clearing; a clump of twisted yew burst though scattered slabs; even more telling were the capering daemons filtering in from the other side of the clearing; the goal was in sight.

Signalling Ivar to take his men past an offshoot of the forest to investigate further overgrown ruins, Skogu drew up his followers behind the posts. Assessing the field he let loose a racking chortle as his allies consulted even more complex brass mechanisms to find a site for their daemon machine; expecting a quest for power to lead across blasted plains they had boasted their machine was worth many warriors; how small they seemed now amongst the rotting trunks of ancient trees.

Signalling the line to hold he rode forward to consider less obvious facets of the clearing. Suppressing annoyance as the daemon machine, neglected by its handlers, shot forward, he hurled a ball of pus into the face of the brightest daemon, blinding one eye and leaving dribbles of rot to mar its clothes. Noting the lack of resistance he cast wide his arms and foul vapours gouted from the earth; however as the wall of air expanded toward the daemons a perfumed breeze rippled from the injured daemon thickening the air with myriad scents and scattering his power.

Ivar swept past the ruins; they seemed lost to the forest too long to be worth looting and bejewelled daemonic cavalry lay beyond. Screaming forward, his men loosed a wave of axes into the enemy beasts, jeering as they fled before the fury of Northmen. As they swung back toward the main battle Ivar’s sharp eyes noted a young girl breaking for the ruins like a rabbit before the hawk. His charge wavered as he weighed running down the cavalry against more tender prey. Deciding that anticipation would add spice he spurred his horse onward.

Learning from the daemons’ response to his blessing, Skogu easily turned aside the cloud of glittering fragments they launched ahead of their advance, and returned to the lines. Ignoring for a moment the majority of his foes, Skogu peered hard at the rotting cloth on the lead daemon; infused with his whole focus the mildew ate through fabric and flesh without distinction, melting the daemons’ curves, leaving only black slime behind. Spinning his staff Skogu sent another gout of air blasting out; however the enemy caster’s death had not removed all traces of its presence and lingering perfumes distracted him at the crucial moment robbing the air of the Worm’s blessings.

Dropping their scopes and tables the dwarves managed to haul their charge to a standstill and loose a ball of flame at the oncoming daemons; however, lacking proper preparation it sailed over their onrushing heads before fizzling on the damp ground. The Daemonettes in the Forest charged the Hellcannon. The daemons were not giving second chances and glided over the intervening space. Unfortunately for them the struggle with its handlers had left the machine hungering and several of the oncoming daemons were sucked into its maw.

Ivar laughed as the enemy cavalry continued their flight from his men and then saw with glee their main lines desperately turning to face his passage. Noticing movement from the ruins he saw the young girl again; with the enemy in disarray there was time to bring her down before she ran straight into the arms of Hannar. Screaming with joy he lead his men after her, thrown axes making her dance from side to side until she gained the shelter of trees.

Watching stoically as the daemons raced over an invisible line Olik’s men started forward, inexorably gaining momentum before smashing the closest daemons to slurry.

Freed of the need to hold the line Hannar raced his band forward into the side of oncoming daemons overcoming their pitiful attempt to sneak through the trees.

Spinning his staff faster still Skogu cleared the last vestiges of perfume from the air before dark power blasted leaf mould outward in a choking cloud, muting colours and hurling daemons across the ground.

Feeding on the waves of power, the yews tore from the ground, roots and boughs crushing Northmen and daemons indiscriminately and hurling the trees across the clearing before shuddering to a halt closer to the edge of the clearing. Falling on the reeling daemons, Hannar’s men tore through them leaving only fading tatters of colour.

With Ivar distracted the remaining daemons started to move back into the main battle, the beasts crashing into Hannar’s band. Minds still focussed on light dappled limbs and lashing roots the band bowed before the onslaught but turned to face the new foe.

Mired in ichor, the dwarves were unable to restrain their engine as it roared forward. In contrast Olik turned in good order to face the tatters of the daemon army.

Unwilling to face the still writhing yews, or Skogu’s wrath if he was seen ignoring his orders for a single girl, Ivar brought his men galloping back onto the daemons’ flank.

With eyes too filled with rheum to be fooled by grace and colour, Skogu saw the girl for the daemonic champion it was and loosed a gobbet of bile into the trees. While failing to befoul the daemon it was sufficient to awaken the trees, leaving only fragments of lace hanging from twitching briars.

The remaining daemons reached Hannar’s band. Still reforming from their previous struggle the Northmen valiantly brought down the last daemonic beast but were finally overwhelmed and scattered back toward the forest pursued by writhing figures.

Musing on the need for youth to shun endurance for immediate rewards, and riding the gales of plague spewing forth from Skogu’s staff, Olik lead his men into the rear of the oblivious daemons. Caught almost unaware the capering creatures were driven beneath cold iron leaving Olik to face their leader. Cursed by ague Olik could not fend off the flickering claw that punched through his stomach; blessed by deadened nerves he did not notice until the daemons head was falling into the muck.

Skogu turned his horse toward the tower. Thinking back on the challenges set for him in reaching this place he was sure the tower would contain a wondrous gift.
 
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