Hallowed Knights Staging Area, Shyish
‘The Black?’ asked the Lord Celestant. ‘What manner of fool would apprentice himself to Arkhan the Black?’
The Prosecutor shifted uneasily, blue glow from his twitching wings reflected from his war plate. ‘Whoever he is, he has Lord Castellant Argyl tied prone to an altar. The air above the village is thick with magic.’
‘As you’d expect from the Black. This village, is it too much to hope for survivors?’
‘Likely,’ the Prosecutor said. ‘Skeletons clatter against the cobbled streets. Even livestock has been risen as fell mounts. They left none alive, none but the Lord Castellant and -‘ he hesitated.
‘Out with it, Stormcast.’
‘There is a second altar.’
The Lord Celestant narrowed his eyes and moved closer to his scout. ‘For whom?’
‘Some bulky creature. While the Lord Castellant remains stoic and motionless on his altar, the greenskin thrashes and howls. Magic discharges from his eyes and mouth but it’s quickly unbound by the Black who waves it away with barely an effort. Monsters of bone and spirit patrol the skies,’ the Prosecutor continued. ‘They thwarted our attempt at a quick rescue. We managed to wound one of them but as it dropped down towards the altars, some kind of shield stopped our hammers and javelins.’
‘Orruks,’ the Lord Celestant mused.
The Prosecutor nodded. ‘We sighted a band of them approaching from the northeast, driving some of the Moonclan from their caves ahead of them. I don’t know if it’s any help, but there are a couple of relics that flashed with the same light as this shield when our hammers struck it. Perhaps they are linked. One is a couple of leagues from here, but the other is on the opposite side of the village. The northeast side.’
‘Then we’re in for more of a fight than we anticipated. Muster the Retributors, rouse the Liberators and gather the Judicators. Nothing shall bar us from our own. Who will be victorious, Stormcast?’
‘Only the faithful!’ The Prosecutor slammed his gauntlet to his chest plate.
‘Only the faithful,’ the Lord Celestant repeated.
Orruk War Party, Outskirts of Pritzock Village, Shyish
The massive Orruk slammed his forehead into his warchanter’s nose and threw him to the ground. ‘I says you’re wrong. I says I hit dat boney wizard with an axe and he’ll stop flingin’ magic about.’
One of the robed Moonclan clustered around the Orruks backed away and shrunk into his dark cowl.
‘Where you going?’ the Orruk roared.
Though the Moonclan tried to duck between his kin, a doze of their branch-like green arms grabbed him and shoved him forward between them and the Orruk before shying away themselves. The Grot stammered in the face of such overbearing muscle and aggression, but self-preservation took many forms and many of those came easily to the Moonclan.
His eyes shone crimson in the pre-dawn gloom while his gaze darted around for escape routes. He glanced to the net at his side, then to the size of the Orruk before abandoning that course of action. He would have to talk his way out. ‘Scouting,’ the Grot said, his mind working rapidly.
‘We’ve already seen them shiny gits.’ He looked over the diminutive Grot. ‘Think my scouts are blind, eh?’
‘No, no, not blind’ the Grot squeaked. ‘Stupid, maybe. Not crafty like the Moonclan. It’s the mushrooms, see? Gives us smarts.’ Emboldened by not having his limbs torn off by the Orruk, the Moonclan Grot lifted a finger. ‘The sky people flash about on sky bolts – just a distraction, see? Their lizard beasties are going around. They’re talking them through the north valley, hiding them behind the rocks, see? No you don’t see. That’s the point, I’m thinking.’
The Orruk bunched his fists and knuckles like rocks on his gnarled hands cracked. ‘Wrong as well!’
Before the Orruk could pulverise the Grot, his megaboss strode forwards and slugged Gordrakk in the face.
The huge Orruk touched his split lip and inspected the blood on his finger. ‘Dat’s a good point. What’s a lizard anyway?’
‘See? See?’ the Grot chirped from behind the megaboss’ legs. He gestured with his hands as though exaggerating about the size of a fish. ‘Big lizards! Like…like a Maw Krusha, only skinny. And blue.’
‘Sneaking up on Gordrakk are they?’ the Orruk said. ‘Not having that! I’m not having some shiny git sneaking up on me! Right. Get yer choppas and get moving. We’re gonna bash them tin cans till they learn how to fight proper!’
‘What about the shaman?’ the megaboss asked.
‘Right,’ Gordrakk said looking momentarily confused. ‘You lost him, you get him back. Take some of the lads.’ He frowned again. ‘And make sure this pointy-nosed mushroom eater is at the front.’
Hallowed Knights Battle Line, Pritzock Village, Shyish
The Lord Celestant wandered through the misty graveyard, surveying the quiet, watching for sign of the dead. For hours, he had inspected the stone statue of a robed and cowled figure holding a sword that towered over him but learned little. The winds of Death magic whispered around it, shilling him through his armour. It was important, he knew that. Hadn’t his scout reported a second relic? Perhaps they were linked. A key to the shield around the necromancers, perhaps.
‘Lord Celestant Agrippa,’ one of his Prosecutors said, breaking from the bulk of the army, wings furled behind his back. ‘Most of the Orruks are breaking off. They’re heading to the valley in the north.’
‘Flanking manoeuvre,’ the Lord Celestant mused. ‘So they’re onto us.’
What are our orders, my lord?’
‘We cannot abandon our Lord Castellant to the rites of the Black. Nor can we afford a band of Orruks charging our flank while we cut our way through the dead.’ The Lord Celestant surveyed the terrain, the soulless houses that could hide any number of horrors, the Morghasts circling above the distant ritual. ‘Send the Drakesworn to head off the Orruks. Position them atop the valley sides and wait. When they commit to the valley, cut off their retreat and fall on them like an avalanche. I will lead a small force, retrieve our Lord Castellant, and rejoin the Stormhost.’
The Prosecutor saluted. ‘They say the Black is a master of the winds of Death. Should we not gather support?’
‘Hardy though the Lord Castellant is, I fear his time is limited. No. I have crossed the path of the Black before – my blades met his magic on the Verdigris Plains – and I came away unscathed.’ One of the gravestones caught his eye, a large slab beneath a robed angel statue with broken wings. It read, LORD CELESTANT AGRIPPA SANCTIUS. ‘Though something tells me that we are expected.’
Orruk and Stormcast players: you have 6 turns to rescue your hero.
Army restrictions: aim for around 900 points. No monsters. Your theme is a hero and a small band of troops on a rescue mission.
Objectives: It’s as though Arkhan the Black knows you’re coming. The relic to remove the shield over your hero lies in the other army’s deployment zone. Deploy length-ways on a 6×4 table. Activate the relic by finishing a turn with one model in base contact with the relic. The shield then drops and your captured hero can be rescued. The necromancers are invincible until this point. The games master will play the army of Death that starts in control of the town – this player functions as a facilitator and storyteller. Depending on the flow of the game, the Death player may summon more units at no additional cost. The first player to escape the board with their captured hero wins.