Friday, 8 January 2016

X Marks the Spot

With his domain expanded after the border skirmish, the Vampire Lord sent his eyes and ears out on leather wings to survey his new lands. The foul magics that linked the fell bats to the Vampire returned images of plains and forests, hills and valleys. Fairly standard terrain spread across an unassuming expanse. Bored with the view, he sent the psychic command to call his minions back to his ancient keep.

As they wheeled in flight at the edges of his realm, they caught one last glimpse over the border. There, some low walls lead towards an archway, ruins of an ancient highway. The image tugged at the edges of the Vampire's memories. Hundreds of years of experience coiled in webs within his skull made specific recollections difficult at times, yet this was familiar. Not in person, but in a writing. A scroll or tome, perhaps? He stood up from his chair in the chamber atop his scrying tower, and descended the stairwell towards the main building. His feet, clad in finest leather boots, slipped lithely over the stone steps as they'd done thousands of times before, their touch further polishing the already gleaming stone, carving the well worn groove in the centre of those steps imperceptibly deeper.

Across the castle he reached the library, it's doors recognising their master and opening for him as he approached. Within, one of his necromancers was still poring over the spells used to raise the mummy; further secrets within were waiting to be unlocked. His living eyes, one of the few sets in the castle, glanced up from his work to the Vampire. No words were needed. The necromancer's gaze dropped back down, returning to his study, as the Vampire ignored him to peruse the many shelves stuffed to overflowing with books, scrolls, and other less wholesome vessels for writings.

The Vampire had read every piece in there over the years, a vague spidery index trapped in his undead mind helping him to sort them conceptually. After a few minutes of part searching, part meditation, the Vampire recalled the volume he was looking for and pulled it's scroll-case from a shelf filled with annotated maps. His desk, opposite the necromancer's, was immaculately organised, with no clutter to mar it's surface. Opening the tube, he pulled forth the scroll and spread it across the table. Neither ancient nor new, the scroll was a fairly simple affair. It showed a map of the main roads and carriageways of ancient Primovantor, criss-crossing the page, as reproduced by a scribe of the early new age of Basilea. Around the edges a later author had seemed to be having some fun, scrawling a bawdy barroom tale of a merchant caravan that got attacked on the roads, and how the merchant's five fine daughters each buried a portion of the valuable cargo in the woods around the arched intersection known as Stoic's Gate. The tale went in to somewhat excessive detail about how the daughters used their plentiful gifts to trick the raiders and escape with their father, causing the Vampire some mild amusement at the follies of the living. However it was the sketch of the arch, and the arrangement of the walls around it, that drew his attention. They bore a striking resemblance to the ruins the fell bats had spotted. Could the tale be true? Might there be treasure out there waiting to be dug up? With no imminent threats on his doorstep the Vampire felt inclined to find out.

He summoned his necromancers who summoned the dead. He gathered his mightiest wights and took counsel with his Mummy lieutenant. With his force arrayed behind him in rank and file he set out to reclaim the treasures of old.

In a tower in a not too distant land, a priestess stood. Seeing through the eyes of hawk and falcon she knew the undead stirred once more. She descended from her scrying tower, feet steady on the newly hewn stone steps. Across the castle she strode, the smell of fresh cut lumber and newly dyed pennants wafting around her. She entered the council chamber, and spoke of what she knew. The council's decision was unanimous. Once more, the Brotherhood would ride forth to face the undead. Once more, whatever foul plans the Vampire had would be thwarted. Once more, honour would win over fear and terror. Once more.

2000pts of my Undead against Matt's Brotherhood again. Pillage scenario, 5 objectives. Massive blood bath. Objectives were a 1-1 draw, and came down to the wire on the last turn.  Matt's final turn he destroyed my Skull Chucker which was holding two objectives on my edge, my final turn I destroyed his infantry with my wights to knock him off an objective and me on to it. His zealots had stayed back on another objective back on his edge, and the centre objective was left unclaimed.

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