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By the light of the full moon we gathered at the battlegrounds, seething masses of troops trampling over the yet green turf. It was a proving ground of nations, with ancient allegiances and desperate alliances of which our own most certainly was.
We checked our ranks. Limited by the narrow passes of the Mountains of Admin, it was but a fraction of our true army strength, a mere 700 points. That's not to say it was small however, indeed, only a far distant Skaven clan could match it for numbers. We were a massive horde of 49 marauders with great weapons, replete with champion, banners and musician and covered in dried blood as tribute to the mighty Khorne. Along the wing, an agile unit of 18 marauders with flails marched, frenzied for blood & battle. The entire force was lit not only by the moon, but by the flickering blue fires of our Warshrine, proof that Tzeentch himself approved of this battle. The general, Ozan, was a young acolyte of fire, but much favored by the gods and carried a blade that filled his foes with fear, and a shield that looked like it could block almost any blow. It was said that he had even brought a scroll that could shield both ourselves and our desperate ally from magic...
Then the ground began to tremble as our ally came into view. Although often implacable foes, even our mightiest nodded in grudging respect to the awe-inspiring sight of twenty Bretonnian knights resplendent in full armor came thundering across the plain. As they drew near it was clear that they the were young journeymen knights, split into two formations; one with flaming lances, the other moving with impossible swiftness. Behind them, a squad of men-at-arms stumped along, led by a young paladin and a wench who, on any other day, we would have gladly carried off north to keep us warm in the winter.
How we came to be allies, Khorne alone knows; we came for blood, they for glory - but the winds of magic raged in protest, and we knew we would never trust each other. Then as the sun began to rise, our first battle began...
As the first hard rays of the sun glinted off our weapons, we knew we were our of position, our knights were forced into the center, our horde to the east, and our shrine and flails to the west. Opposite we saw our opponents for the first time, a mangy combination of Dark Elves and Woodelves, who had waited in ambush before deploying. The Dark Elf stationed an elite crossbow unit in a ruined tower at their center, a battalion of spearmen opposite the horde, while his elite knights led by a powerful general anchored the space between. At the sight of this elite cavalry, we looked anxiously at our allies, who, mounted on their barded warhorses, replied simply by lowering their visors and raising their lances. The Woodelves, lacking favorable terrain, badly positioned their archers opposite our flails, only to block their wardancers and dryads from the front line.
We moved first. Although our allies wanted to pray, Khorne was calling for blood and we weren't going to hang around to see who could catch the most arrows in their teeth. Elves may be pansies, but they do have a certain reputation when it comes to archery. The horde swung to the center, as did the shrine which blessed the horde with an extra attack, the flails moved forward which gave room for the knights to maneuver. Our heavy cavalry came up at a disciplined trot, one ranging wide the the flails opposite the bowmen, the other moving midfield to support against the dryads and cold-one knights. His infantry brought up the rear, and the damsel cast Wildform on his flaming knights.
Then all hell broke lose, as our opponents did a quick reshuffle of lines. Bowmen advanced, dryads and knights were suddenly perfectly in position in the center, and the dark-elf spearmen advanced against the horde. Two eagles flew over, one to redirect charges, the other to shadow the knights flank. Then came the rain of arrows...At short range, with no penalty the Woodelves unleashed a barrage at the flanking knights, but incredibly failed to cause a single wound. The marauders with flails caught the worst from the crossbowmen, with 9 casualties, but rather than panic, the blood only drove them into a greater frenzy. Strangely, they had no magic.
Round two, the 11 remaining flail-marauders completely failed to restrain themselves and launched into a suicidal charge against the dark elves elite Cold-Ones unit. Thing were looking bad, but then came the miraculous noise of Bretonian cavalry crashing into the Cold-One's flank - the charge distance was incredible, but somehow they made it. Despite heavy marauder loses, the knights completely smashed the enemy, slaying the general, and over-running into the dryads flank. Meanwhile, the flaming knights smashed into the dryads front, again covering a huge distance, but somehow the dryads held. The horde charged a lone eagle and overran into the waiting dark-elf spearmen.
With time running short [the God of Time was quite stupid that day, not able to even stick to his own schedule], the elves launched a desperate charge of war-dancers against the flanks of flanking knights...yes it was very confusing, but then the horns of battlefield sounded, and all sorties ended - no-one had been able to finish a battle in the limited time [less than half an hour] and everyone was disappointed. Still the victory was ours, by 358 points, thanks solely to the Bretonnians.
Having rested, drunk too much mead, and tried several times to get the Bretonian damsel drunk enough to fight topless like our men [and failing miserably], we returned to battle. This time, our opponents were no delicate force at all, but the implacable armies of not one, but two Vampire Counts, one of whom had flagrantly disregarded the pact by bringing only two deployable units. After a good round of threatening an auto-forfeit, cat-calls, and overall derision at both him and the incompetent wardens at the passes of Admin, we grinned and told them it was fine, and play anyway [undead players are always so stiff].
From deployment however, it was clear they meant serious business. 3 crypt horrors sat center, flanked by a mass of skeletons led by a level 3 vampire who knew 4 spells and the wing with another large mass of crypt gouls. His ally, he of the cheating two units, had a mass of gouls to the left of center, and another mass of grave guard behind. Our own lines were clearly divided, with the Bretonnians one one flank opposite the gouls & horrors, and marauders lining up against the skeles, lord, and flanking gouls.
Turn one, their entire army sat still as stone. The winds of magic blew strong as they rolled double 6's and proceeded to pummel us with their unholy vampiric magic - I lost 9 marauders to one spell. Luckily a miscast quickly ended their magic phase and cost both their casters a wound. In response, we marched forward carefully, dispelling a nasty remains in play spell, and buffing his knights. The horde gained Unholy Resilience, making them very tough indeed.
Turn two, their entire army sat still as stone. The winds of magic blew strong as they rolled double 5's and proceeded to pummel us with their unholy vampiric magic. Deja vu...This time we were able to use a dispell scroll to counter the worst, before they again miscast, and got the worst possible explosion as a result and zombies parts littered the field. Khorne was most pleased! Although by this time, marauders were frothing at the mouth to get into battle, we managed to restrain them and march into point blank charging range. The Bretonians however, felt no such need for restraint, the flaming knights hit the horrors like a bolt of lightning, smashed them with lances to heart, and overran into the grave guard behind. The second block of knights hit the gouls full on [flanking was not possible due to buildings], inflicting heavy casualties, and losing a single man. We starting to feel rather glad, that we had joined forces with Bretonnia after all.
Turn three, the skeles and gouls charged point-blank into our marauders, but even the most blood-curdling screams cannot affect the mighty northmen when we are in our battle frenzy. Khorne was is our blood, and he stretched out his mighty hand to sway the battle, out of 41 attacks, half of which were poisonous, only three marauders died. Raising our great weapons we wrecked utter destruction against both units absolutely crushing them in combat, but unable to destroy them completely. Meanwhile the grave guard set to the flaming knights with mighty weapons and killing blows, but the power of the lady was with them, and even the strongest weapons seemed to bounce off, likewise the gouls poison was able to score many wounds, but unable to overcome the heavily armored warhorses who, aided by the warshrine's attacks, completely obliterated the gouls.
As the horns sounded the end of battle [again too soon], it was clear that we had won the day by a clear margin of 469 points, despite the odds. This time we had each proven ourselves on the field, but again the true victory had come from the Bretonnian charge.
Exhausted but exhilarated, we waited to see who our final opponent for the evening would be - and what a foe! Our last battle would be against two veteran generals, both wardens from the Mountains of Admin. In their two previous games they had scored crushing victories against formidable Skaven/Warrior and Lizardmen/Dwarf armies. Of all the forces on the field, theirs was the one to beat...Their army was a melding of Ogres and Vampire Counts, but very light on magic. The Ogres had 12 bulls in horde formation with a fire-belly as general, 3 leadbelchers, and two individual prowling lions of some sort. The vampires had a large horde of skeles, some gouls, a vargheist, two fell bats, and some dire wolves.
Having chosen the battleground, they deployed first but the skeleton horde was held in reserve. The ogres held left, with the leadbelchers alongside. Behind them were the fellbats, vargeist, wolves. The right flank they put the gouls. We lined up the knights facing the Ogres, the flails in the mid with the warshrine, but the horde was held in reserve, and never made it to battle.
The battle itself was more complicated than a maiden's braid, with baiting, march blocking, flanking, rallying, but very little magic overall - as mighty northmen we pride ourselves on our battle prowess, but we learned many things about fighting a professional general that day. Recounting it in words is almost impossible, but a few key moments stood out.
The Last Charge of Bretonnia
Having proven time and time again masters of the impossible charge, the Bretonnians finally failed with the swift knights falling just short, and the knights of the flaming standard charging in alone against 13 very hungry ogres. This unit of Ogres had single-handedly lain waste to entire armies, but, with a little help from Wildform, the knights not only survived, but broke and ran down the entire horde! It was probably the single greatest moment on the field that day and Bretonnia proved once and for all that knights are always a force to be reckoned with.
With some well-placed fireballs we were able to panic the leadbelchers off the field, and destroy the remainder of the Ogre army, but since the marauders were unable to get into battle fast enough, the Bretonnians died to a man against the Vampire Counts, who had a terrible banner than caused crippling results against fear, and a horrible vargheist who consistently thunderstomped on 5's and 6's slaying both the damsel and paladin.
The final result was a draw, with the Vampires and Marauders still at full strength, when time was called.
The overall winner of the event was the Ogre/VC army we faced, but we left with a feeling of accomplishment overall, having held them to a draw, and almost defeating them outright at one point. The honor of the day went to the Bretonnians, who shocked everyone at the event with their prowess and sheer guts in battle, we northmen would fight again alongside them any time, desperate allies or not.
Last edited by Antithesis; April 7th, 2012 at 14:43.
“If you’re in the penalty area and don’t know what to do with the ball, put it in the net and we’ll discuss the options later.” – Bob Paisley
Good stuff, well written and very entertaining.
I will drink your milk shake! I will drink it up!
I just bought my wife a mini-van, the gods of Chaos have nothing on reality.