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Part I: The Contempt of Black Fire Pass

Francis van Hoss stood silently. The late winter sun was slowly setting on the horizon and its last rays illuminated the Warrior Priest. Francis was taller than most, and had the muscular build to match. His head was shaven in line with all Priests of Sigmar but his face sported thick stubble that gave away the length of his campaign. An age old scar ran diagonally from the centre of his forehead, through his left eye, down to his left cheek – a scar presented to him many years ago from a Champion of Chaos, and one that had left him half blind for many years until he was blessed by Sigmar. He wore a crude suit of heavy armor above his crimson robes, and by his side stood his trusted two-handed hammer, Thrandir.
A sudden shout broke Francis’ brief moment of meditation, and he raised Thrandir to strike out at a burley Orc that had charged towards him. One blow from the great weapon and the Orc’s head was separated from its body. Francis looked on with contempt. For several weeks now the Orcs had threatened Black Fire Pass, and for all the manpower the Greenskins had at their disposal, the small army from Talabheim had lost barely any men in defending the Empire. A mere nuisance, thought Francis. This is not our enemy.
The Warrior Priest broke into a run to redress the ranks of his unit. Shouting invocations of Sigmar to his men, the Swordsmen redoubled their efforts and pushed back the latest wave of Greenskins. There was to be no rest for the men of the Empire however, as a number of vile goblins, mounted on mutated wolves, twice the size of normal, crashed into the flank of the highly disciplined men. As one, they turned to face the frantic attacks of the Wolf Riders, beating off the majority of the flurry, as only a handful of men fell to the charge. Francis looked on proudly as he saw the much smaller detachment of Halberdiers moving towards the flank of the wolves. Such an unorganized mess could never hope to chase away the well trained State Troops of the Empire.
As the countercharge struck the Goblins the Warrior Priest also threw himself into the conflict, slaying two of the savages with a single swing of Thrandir. The Goblins were helplessly unprepared for such an assault, and as their casualties mounted, the survivors turned and fled for the hills, scattered thoroughly by the men of the Empire.
A sudden blow caught Francis off guard, and he glanced upwards at the ranks of shortbow armed Night Goblins camped just above them. He shouted to the nearby Handgunners of Nuln to open fire on the new enemy, and urged his own unit towards them. His glorious charge was, however, soon cut short by a new presence in front of him. The surefootedness of his men faltered as they looked upon the horror before them.
Francis had encountered River Trolls before, and was aware of the fear they invoked in his men. But Sigmar granted his Warrior Priests the bravery and strength to overcome such adversity, and he charged into the vile beast alone.
Thrandir struck home a sweet blow into the side of the creature, a strong enough strike to fell any mine three times over, and blood gushed from the Troll. But to Francis’ horror the wound healed, new flesh forming over the old. The angered foe struck back with ferocious strength, knocking Francis to the ground. A final frantic swing from his Great Hammer was again met by contempt by the mighty enemy, who bore down on the felled Priest. As soon as the smell of the Troll’s breath reached Francis he knew he could not be brought to an end by this terrible creature. Praying for Sigmar’s blessing a fire built up around the fallen warrior and threw the creature backwards. Now that it was injured, Francis had to push his advantage and slay the creature, but a great shout from his right distracted the Priest.
Alberch van Hoss was as different to his older brother as any siblings could be. A much shorter man, with a long mane of blond hair, shared only his brother’s ability to motivate the men of the Empire. This strength of character, as well as his natural fighting ability, led him to become a great Captain of the Empire, and he now led a unit of strong Spearmen in the battle against the Greenskin hordes.
The shout was given as Alberch himself struck into the River Troll with all his might, slaying the beast and finishing the work of his brother. That’s another one for me, shouted the Captain, And I managed without the use of your little magic tricks. With these words he turned from Francis and ordered his men back towards the centre of the battle, where the remains of the Orc and Goblin forces were beginning to turn from the field of battle.
Francis sighed. Alberch had not been blessed with the same faith in Sigmar as he had, and would never understand the true plight of the Empire. His younger sibling was brave and often reckless, and from a young age it had often been on Francis’ shoulders to get his brother out of various scrapes. Despite all this, Francis was proud of his brother’s raised station, and they had fought together many times, though it was ever made very apparent that a Captain would always outrank a Warrior Priest.
As Francis looked on the last of the Greenskins turned and fled from the field, pursued in all directions by the victorious warriors of the Empire. The lone Warrior Priest threw Thrandir to his back and trudged away from the site of battle, thanking Sigmar for another victorious day. The Greenskins would be back again, but for now the borders of Averland were safe.

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