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My last entry to this saga made me realise just how complicated it was getting, so I've left out a few main characters and abridged the story to this version. Here we go...
Queen Morathi, always scheming more ways in which to give power to her son, the witch king, decided to stage a cunning attack upon their woodland kin of Athel Loren; the Asrai.
If she could capture children of the spellsingers and spellweavers she could bring them and their ability to bend nature into her service, and the dark lands of Naggaroth, blanketed by forest, would become all but impenetrable.
The forces of the Asrai, already beset with a great attack from the Beastmen to the far South were limited in number towards their Northern borders. Using a large diversion attack to the West, a small but elite force of Dark Elves was able to penetrate the Northern glade and kidnap several of the most powerfully gifted children.
Leading this attack was Toraeth, favorite of Slaneesh, a ruthless captain, followed by his personal cohort of Daemonettes.
With defenses stretched, the court of Ariel had no choice but to enlist the aid of the outcast clan ‘The House of Flames’ to pursue the slave caravan. A clan that was renowned for its stubbornness, but also for its greater prowess in close combat and ‘special operations’.
Taking with them what glade riders could be sparred from the other clans, the Eternals of the House of Flames rode out after their quarry, led by their champions, Korari their Chief and sole Wardancer and Azamai, the one eyed Eternal.
Knowing that time was of the essence, Azamai sent word out to the High Elf Lord Stillon and his band of Silver Helms to help with the chase. For the elves of Ulthuan would dread the day that the Druuchi could control the forests as well as the sea.
Stillon’s forces raided the coast and destroyed the fleet of Dark Elf ships that had brought the raiders to the mainland. Seeing the smoke of the burning ships, Toraeth was stranded and forced to make a detour through the Empire to join a Slaneesh warband currently pillaging the countryside.
From there he could go through aligned Chaos camps and find a way back to Naggaroth. However, the detour meant the pursuing Wood and High elves could catch him before he could make it to the border.
Seeing his plight, Toraeth split his forces in two, his Daemonettes with the caravan and the Dark elves to attack his pursuers and stall for time. However, time had already been wasted after a daring escape by the prisoners, and now he had only half the number he had captured.
Unable to retrieve the escaped children, Morathi would have to be content with what she could get, if the caravan should ever return at all…
“Eternals of Loren!” yelled Azamai, raising on her stirrups and drawing her sword. The gold lined and crested helmets of her army glistened in the sun like shining ears of corn. “TO ME!”
With a deafening roar, the hundred Eternal Knights shook their spears and shields and charged down the hill towards the line of black and purple before them. Furls of red, orange and brown leather flew by as they swept across the green valley, the crimson banners of their house flicking in the wind.
“Let us show them the meaning of pain!” Drawing his sword, the captain of the Dark Elves gave a hiss and his sword lit up in a blue flame. “Druuchi! For Naggaroth! Morathi! And our King! CHARGE!”
With an equal blood curdeling cry, the dark Elves surged forward on horse and cold-one. The purple and black wave of two hundred spread out in hopes of overwhelming and flanking their opponents, the cold ones making the solid center.
Azamai sheathed back her sword and drew her bow, latching her Hail of Doom Arrow she hailed to her musician “OPEN FIRE!”
With the blast of the horn the Eternal knights gave way to the Glade Riders hiding amongst them. A stream of arrows flew into the Dark Elf ranks, thinning their front lines and their forces struggled to reform at such high speed.
With cat like grace, Azamai put away her bow and re-drew her sword and picked her shield, getting ready for the inevitable impact.
Moving to the sides, the Glade Riders picked at the flanks while the Eternals ploughed into the thinned front line of the Dark Elves giving little resistance to the awesome ranks of red, cleaving the dark force in two.
Helmet, head and limbs flew away as the meticulously sharpened spears of the Eternals slashed and stabbed through the Druuchi. The Dark elf captain, already wounded and most of his unit wiped out by Azamai’s enchanted arrow, was swept apart under the overwhelming charge.
As crushing as the blow was, the still slightly superior numbers of the druuchi kept them from fleeing and the chaos within the skirmish could not be described. The skill and bravery of the Eternals against the terror and strength of the cold-ones was a horribly equal match, ensuing in a bloody bath of rider and steed.
Azamai had been dismounted, her horse ripped by a pack of cold ones, but she would not go so easily. Her sword flashed and blood sprayed like rain around her. Her standard bearer and musician stuck beside her, showing the stubborn worth of the Eternals in protecting their Lord. The weighted end of the lord’s banner broke sword, spear, bone and reptile’s serrated teeth.
Surrounding and circling the combat, the Glade riders wheeled on their fast steeds and pulled out their spears to join the fray…
Following the charge, Korari, the chief wardancer of the House of Flames made her appearance, finishing off a unit that had managed to escape the wrath of Azamai’s charge. Her skill and strength made little work of the four Dark Knights and she sped to join the melee.
With the flanking onslaught of the Glade riders, the Dark elf ranks finally crumbled, broke combat and fled.
Re-assembling her forces, Azamai mounted a rider-less horse and portioned a part of her force to pursue and eliminate while the rest of the army went after the caravan.
However, the pursuit was not needed as they heard the sound of new battle horns.
After a few short screams and clashes of steel, blue and white banners emerged from over the knoll as the High Elf reinforcements finally arrived to join the pursuit. Their hate for the Dark elves made certain that there were no survivors of those that fled over the hill.
Major victory against the Dark Elves
So Lord Azamai and Korari met with the High elf Lord Stillon, the Magician’s Bane. Talking as they rode, Stillon assured Azamai that his soldiers on foot some hours away would escort the dead and wounded back to Athel Loren while they kept on the chase.
The now two hundred strong cavalry continued on their way towards the Empire where the caravan had fled in an effort to shake off pursuit. The rescuers followed none the less.
But the Empire did not take visitors lightly…