With the stage set for battle in part 1, the Grudgebringers dispersed into Bloodthorn Jungle, putting its flora to the torch.
The Grudgebringers took the initiative and marched into the jungle. Their fires spread quickly on their left flank, rousing three Dryads from the copse, two of them screaming as flames wracked their limbs. While Commander Bernhardt caught up to his scouts, Scar Treeflayer sprang his ambush. Clanrats and Stormvermin charged from both flanks, screeching as their halberds and swords bit flesh and bark. Stunned and disorientated from their rude awakening, the Sylvaneth could only flail ineffectively to defend against the sudden attack.
Unperturbed by resistance, the Grudgebringers pressed on. With bitter fighting on both flanks, Commander Bernhardt sighted the Branchwych Ashtiriel and put her very wood to the torch, incinerating one of her Dryad guards. A strange glow emanated from Scar Treeflayer as he scythed through the Grudgebringers’ right flank and, spotting the danger, Ashtiriel commanded her Dryads flee deeper into the jungle and rouse their kin.
With the nearby man-things dead at his feet, Scar Treeflayer charged for the beleaguered Branchwych but Dryads rose to block his route. A moment of silence descended before a high-pitched keening echoed through the trees. Sorcerous energy shot from Ashtiriel into the Skaven warlord, rousing the woods around her. The jungle itself went to Ashtiriel’s aid, bludgeoning the rat creatures that threatened her.
While Ashtiriel awoke all the Dryads she could, Commander Bernhardt cut off their escape, torching another cluster of trees as he hacked down yet another woodland spirit. Both Skaven and Grudgebringers saw the danger. If too many Dryads escaped, their exploits in Bloodthorn Jungle would be thwarted under the wrath of Sylvaneth, and so they charged after them. Only a handful of Dryads escaped such dogged pursuit.
Embittered by such heavy losses, when enough of her kin made it to safety, Ashtiriel turned her magical wrath upon Commander Bernhardt. A bolt of energy slammed into the Grudgebringer commander, causing him to retreat but not before he dealt her a grievous wound. All sides had taken massive casualties in the brutal conflict, yet the Skaven racked up the highest tally. Though injured to the brink of death, Scar Treeflayer scuttled back to his cave to recover and reinforce. He had bought them some time. Perhaps enough time for his operation to grow beyond even the combined wrath of Grudgebringers and Sylvaneth.
Victory went to the Skaven with a mighty 9 victory points, followed by the Grudgebringers with 6 and just 5 Dryads escaped the field to leave the Sylvaneth trailing. For the purposes of game mechanics, we used only one Sylvaneth Wildwood which was placed in the centre where Ashtiriel deployed. The other objectives were just clusters of trees.
The Skirmish mechanics made for an exciting, close game. None of us were prepared for the sheer ferocity of the Skaven ambush, or just how hard a Sylvaneth Wildwood can hit when angered. The Grudgebringers are sharpening their swords between battles due to utterly woeful wound rolls, while the Dryads aim to take a cold shower under a waterfall both to put out the flames and to wake them up as they failed to cause any damage whatsoever!
Before the next game, the challenge is to paint something more elite. Check back for progress on the armies and preparations for their next encounter.