Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Battle of Finuval Plain: Turn 6 – Murderous Spite

This is a final turn of the account of the Battle of Finuval Plain. If you missed the previous turn, you can find it here. If you want to go to the Finuval Plain main page, click here.

High Elves Turn 6
High Elves Turn 6. To see a larger version, right-click and select "Open Link in New Tab"
The Witch King had fallen, but so too had the Everqueen's personal champion, Tyrion. It was a psychological blow for both sides, but the High Elves were gaining the upper hand, and dared to hope that this battle might indeed be the moment the invasion was halted and turned back.

The frustration of the Cold One Knights engaging Teclis' Archer bodyguard had reached fever pitch by the time they were surrounded and destroyed by the thundering charge of Silver Helms, Star Dragon and Frostheart Phoenix. It was a terrible assault, and the outcome of the combat was never really in question. The sole survivor of the charge was N'kari's battle standard bearer, who died trying to protect his banner as half the High Elf army closed in around him. Teclis had been rescued, and with him the left flank had been saved.
There's no kill like overkill. The High Elves apply excessive force in removing the Cold Ones from Teclis' flank.
The Cold One Knights are removed. Guess they took too long in their designated mission.
The Eagles had been watching the advancing Chaos Knights, and saw now the danger that they represented to Teclis and his rescuers. With a resigned squawk, they flew over and placed themselves in the Knights' path – they would buy their allies time with their own lives.
We don't get paid enough for this.
The Corsairs flanking the White Lions were rudely interrupted when they were themselves flanked by a regiment of Spearmen. They fought frantically and hacked down another half a dozen White Lions, but they were fighting on two fronts and their formation buckled under the strain. They turned to run, but didn't get far as their opponents leapt upon them and cut them down, surging onward with a cheer.
The Corsairs find themselves fighting on 2 fronts.
Toward the centre of the lines, the Chaos Warriors looking to rescue the battered Dreadspears from the attentions of the High Elf Nobles and their Eagles instead found themselves the target of charges from both the White Lions and the Sea Guard. The Sea Guard found the distance too far (travelling through a stand of trees as they were), but the White Lions crashed into the flank of the Warriors with axes raised. More than a dozen Chaos Warriors were cut down in their relentless assault, and though the Warriors fought back and steadfastly held their ground, the sound of the reinforcements proved too much for the much-depleted Dreadspears, who turned and fled. Their opponents were too busy fighting the Warriors to worry about pursuit, but the sight of the fleeing regiment was enough to panic some Darkshard crossbowmen nearby. It seemed the Dark Elves were withdrawing, and leaving their Chaos dupes to fight on without them.
The White Lions flank the Chaos Warriors, but the Sea Guard miss out on the fun.
You guys wait here. We will go and get help. Totally...
The Moon Dragon grew weary of the circling duel it was having with the Cold One Chariot, and suddenly launched itself forward with a roar. The Dark Elf crew tried to brace their spears to fend the beast off, but it proved and uneven struggle and the Chariot was soon a mass of splinters and dead Elves and Cold Ones.
A Dragon kills a Chariot for a change, rather than the other way around. How novel.
Fighting back her grief at the loss of Tyrion, the Everqueen spotted his destroyers through tear-filled eyes. The enemy crossbowmen were heading toward the flank of the handful of survivors of one of the Phoenix Guard regiments, and at the head of the Dark Elf regiment flew the hated Banner of Nagarythe itself. Seeing Malekith's personal banner helped give her focus, and her anguish gave way to something rather uncharacteristic for her – vengeful rage. With a cry she directed her massive entourage of White Lions to intercept the unit, and as she did so she unleashed a barrage of spells. Throne of Vines, Regrowth and Flesh to Stone were all cast in such a flurry that the Dark Elf Sorcerers could do little more than stare.

The White Lions that arrived to fight the Darkshard crossbowmen glowed with an eerie green aura that seemed to harden their flesh and deflect enemy blows, but there was nothing abnormal about the strength of their charge. If this were not enough, the Prince on his Star Dragon had also seen Alarielle's charge and swept into the flank of the enemy to assist. The fight was short, brutal and very one-sided. Every last one of the Darkshards was cut down by the ferocity of the White Lions, and though the Master carrying the Wicth King's banner avoided this initial onslaught, he turned to see a Star Dragon's enormous maw descending upon him as the Prince finished what the White Lions had started. He then flew onward without really slowing, ploughing into the front of the nearby Dreadspears who seemed more than a little concerned after what they had just witnessed.
The BSB and his Darkshard crossbowmen vanish in a red mist.
The Star Dragon goes in search of more victims.
The Corsairs nearby had been advancing toward the ranks of Archers and Sisters of Avelorn arranged around the hill at the back of the High Elf lines. If they thought they had the measure of the fire-power arrayed against them however, they were sadly mistaken. The sky was darkened by volley after volley of arrows, and shots like brightly glowing lances flew from the Sisters. The barrage was withering and when it was over, only one in every six Corsairs was still standing. The cries of the wounded and dying filled the air, and the remaining Dark Elves hunkered down and started to withdraw rather than risk another rain of death like that one.
That is called withering firepower. Or it would be, if either of those words was recognised by Blogger. Apparently I just make this stuff up as I go along. Fire-power, then. Withering is most certainly a word, Blogger.
The horror, the horror! Just a few Corsairs being shot.
The Executioners who had destroyed the White Lions fared little better as the High Elf Bolt Throwers set their sights on them and wiped them from the field in a similarly brutal display of fire-power.
Aha, Hellebron! We have you surrounded and outnumbered!
On the High Elf right, matters were not going so well. Hellebron's Witch Elves had made it into the silently waiting ranks of Phoenix Guard, and it was all the Spearmen and the newly risen Phoenix could do to charge into the flank and rear to try to offer support. If they hoped their presence would make any difference in the face of the Witches' murderous rage, they were sadly mistaken. The Phoenix was cut down as soon as it swooped in to strike, with a mere handful of Dark Elves spinning and hacking it apart in a whirl of blades. The High Elves were faster than the Phoenix, and struck in the same moment as their opponents. With the Anointed of Asuryan at the fore, the Phoenix Guard spun their halberds and stepped mutely forward to meet their shrieking foes. Spears stabbed and halberds rose and fell, but the presence of the blasphemous Cauldron of Blood seemed to give the Witch Elves an unnatural resilience, and only a rank of them fell. The carnage in return was terrible. Half a dozen Spearmen were felled to the flank, but the main focus of the Witches' fury was the Phoenix Guard to their front. Even Asuryan's blessing proved little defence against it as nearly a score of the silent High Elf elite warriors fell.

Stoic though the Phoenix Guard are, the slaughter was terribly one-sided and the sight of the crazed Dark Elves leaping, screaming and practically turning on each other in their haste to get to their victims was too much. Their composure failed and they turned and fled. The Spearmen were far more numerous however, and they had the advantage of flanking the Witch Elves, so they held their ground. Whatever confidence they may have had soon turned to ash however, as Hellebron shrieked a command and the Dark Elves spun in place and launched themselves en masse at their only remaining opposition.
By all that is holy, what just happened? The Phoenix Guard flee (well, the remaining half of the unit does) and leave the Spearmen to their fate.
Uh-oh... The Witch Elves reform.
Hard on the flank, the Corsairs continued to struggle to overcome the bitter resistance from the Shadow Warriors, but the Manticore was less inconvenienced. The Sea Guard finally had some satisfaction as they managed to spear the Beastmaster off the back of the beast, leaving it to fend for itself. This apparently delighted the Manticore, which set about dismantling the rest of the High Elves in grisly fashion. It proved too much for the Sea Guard and their formation broke, but they didn't get far as the Manticore rampaged through the fleeing Elves, killing with every step. The sight was too much for the Dragon Princes nearby, who decided the flank was lost, turned and fled the field in unseemly fashion.
The High Elf right flank at the end of their turn 6.
The centre of the field after High Elf turn 6.


Dark Elves Turn 6
Dark Elves Turn 6. To see a larger version, right-click and select "Open Link in New Tab"
The battle had been merciless and the toll on both sides had been severe, but the fight was almost over as the sun headed for the horizon and the shadows across the field lengthened. If the Druchii were going to seize this opportunity to break their bitter enemies forever, now was the time for action.

On the Dark Elf right flank, the Chaos Lord roared in frustration as the Eagles settled in front of his Knights, just as they were within reach of something worth fighting. He heeled his steed forward into the suicidal birds and hacked them apart as he gave vent to his anger.
Die, birdies! Die!
The Reaper Bolt Throwers and Darkshard crossbowmen turned their attention to the Swordmasters and White Lions who had approached dangerously close to their lines. Their aim was true and their wickedly barbed shots scythed down every last one of the Swordmaster regiment, though some few White Lions survived the barrage.

In a final spiteful act, the Supreme Sorceress on her Dark Pegasus flew from the cover of the Darkshards and landed within striking distance of Teclis' Archers. Force of arms had failed to dispose of the irritating Archmage, but there was more than one way to skin a High Elf (she was quite partial to several highly amusing methods). Her frustration at her earlier efforts to assist the Cold One Knights got the better of her and she lashed out at Teclis with far more power than was really necessary (or safe). Caress of Laniph seized her target, and in his weakened state, Teclis was easily overcome. His agonised scream was short and sweet, and then he seemed to simply give up and crumple on the spot. His loyal Archers rushed to aid him, but there was little they could do and they could find no pulse. The Sorceress was cackling maniacally on her Pegasus, even as the backlash from the spell struck and nearly knocked her from the saddle.
Cop that, Teclis! Can't hide behind the skirts of your Archers from everything!
The Sorceress upon her Black Dragon in the centre was similarly struck by the desire to lash out spitefully, however she was somewhat less successful. With unstoppable power, she once more unleashed the power of Final Transmutation upon the Everqueen and her regiment. Many White Lions were felled by the touch of the spell, however Alarielle herself and her banner bearer both managed to avoid its deadly effects once more. For her trouble, the Sorceress again lost control of the powerful magic she was wielding, and this time the Dimensional Cascade claimed her, leaving her riderless Dragon to glare about balefully.
The Metal Sorceress finally blows herself off the back of her Dragon.
Toward the back lines, the shattered remnant of the huge Witch Elf regiment finally fled the field. The Dreadspears and Darkshards continued their “withdrawal” as they kept fleeing from the White Lions and Eagle Nobles that had panicked them in the first place. The Chaos Warriors were rewarded for their courage in the face of the Dark Elves' betrayal by finally hacking down one of the Nobles, however they lost several of their number to the White Lions in return. Nevertheless they continued to hold their ground, determined to fight to the last.
Keep running, they can still see us!
After about 5 turns of running, the Kharibdyss actually rallied. Can you believe it? Probably figured it could afford to do so given the High Elves didn't have another turn coming. That meant it was free to stop and make faces at the Dragon. Actually, its faces just always look that ugly.
A Cold One Chariot sought to intercept the High Elf Star Dragon as it charged into the front of the waiting Dreadspears, however the impact of its arrival was not particularly telling and the Dragon happily laid about itself, wading into the Dark Elf spearmen, though they held their ground in the face of its assault, somewhat encouraged by the presence of the Chariot.
The Star Dragon fights on despite the arrival of the Chariot. This model is significant as it is the only Dragon that still had a rider by game's end. There were still 4 riderless ones flapping about.
The left flank continued to be the scene of the Dark Elves' greater successes, as the Corsairs finally managed to finish making hard work of the Shadow Warriors, cutting down the last of them where they stood. The Manticore excitedly swept into the fleeing Phoenix Guard, tearing into them with joyous abandon and letting none escape. The Archmage was knocked from the back of his Moon Dragon (and the beast itself was gravely wounded) as volleys of fire came from Bolt Throwers and Darkshards arrayed on that flank. The Dragon roared in anger and pain, but could do nothing to strike back against its distant tormentors.
Ow, stop it! The Moon Dragon ended the battle on 1 wound, with no rider. Close, but not quite.
As the light began to fail, the final act of the battle fell to Hellebron and her Witch Elves, who carved a bloody trail of destruction through the High Elf Spearmen that had dared oppose them. The screams of victims mingled with the crazed cries of the Witches, and the bloodbath soon turned into a rout as the Spearmen lost their nerve and fled. They managed to out-distance their pursuers who were naturally slowed by the presence of the Cauldron (and the need to paint themselves with the blood of the fallen – there was a lot of blood), and so they survived the battle with their lives, if not their pride, intact.
The Spearmen narrowly escape Hellebron's wrath (both units rolled terribly), and also manage not to panic half their allies off the table by failing to make the distance to pop through because they lost so many ranks of models. Convenient!
The Dark Elf right flank is basically gone by game's end.
The centre of the field after turn 6.
The invincible Star Dragon, lord of all he surveys. Oh, and Teclis. Who isn't feeling so well.
Dusk fell and it was finally over. Both sides wearily and warily started to withdraw, dragging their wounded away where possible, though no doubt not all would find assistance when they could just as easily be used for the Dark Elves' sacrificial rites. The screaming and dying would not stop just because the battle was over.

End of Turn 6
High Elves: 16476 VPs
Dark Elves: 14645 VPs

A very marginal victory for the High Elves!
How the table looked at game's end. One of those Ameaglos should be dead, though. Survived on the map due to a clerical error...
The Dark Elves were right on the brink of folding the High Elf right flank. So close!
Looking across the table.
People start trying to tally up the casualties.
The centre, complete with the Eagle Noble who should have been removed. Didn't want to leave, obviously.
The table was a lot clearer at the end than it had been at the start of proceedings.

Epilogue
The battle was over and the Asur had won a hard-fought victory. With the Witch King having abandoned them, the Druchii had pulled back to lick their wounds, and appeared to be preparing to withdraw from Ulthuan. There were still skirmishes popping up regularly, but by and large the High Elves were no shape to do anything more than let them leave, and then focus on rebuilding.

The Everqueen had not been seen much since the main battle ended. Most of her time had been spent inside a physician's tent, hovering over the bedside of her fallen consort and champion, Prince Tyrion. He had been grievously wounded in a dozen places by the poisoned blades of the Dark Elf Assassins, but still somehow he clung to life by a thread. It seemed that the Heart of Avelorn, broken though it was, still contained enough power to keep the fallen prince alive, even in the face of such mortal injuries. It could no longer heal him, but it had kept him from dying. Alarielle was thankful for that, though she found that even her own powers were doing little to help a body so terribly damaged. Perhaps when the Druchii had departed and the land healed somewhat, she would have the power to bring him back. Or perhaps his own fearless spirit would win out and he would recover on his own.

On the bed next to Tyrion's lay his brother, the Archmage Teclis. He had been carried in by a team of Archers, apparently dead. It had taken all of the Everqueen's to delve into his lifeless form to discover that he had not in fact died, but rather his spirit seemed to have withdrawn and lay dormant. No doubt this was some means the powerful mage had found to protect himself, but had she not been present, Alarielle suspected he would have been given up for dead and incinerated in a funeral pyre. If he ever awoke from his self-induced coma, she would have to mention this potential flaw in his plan.

The Everqueen sighed and went back to studying the pale, beautiful face of her champion. She knew that she would have to get back to the more practical aspects of the army's recovery soon; she had dallied by his bedside long enough. As much as her personal loss grieved her, the army (and Ulthuan as a whole) had not been so lucky as the twin descendants of Aenarion.


Some months later, the Druchii army had completed its withdrawal from Ulthuan and returned to Nagaroth, though the Dark Elves retained control of the Blighted Isle and the Shrine of Khaine that resided upon it. Morathi lounged upon the Witch King's black throne, largely ignoring her seemingly endless lines of sycophants and supplicants, although she did focus long enough to mete out dire punishments to random victims when a particularly capricious mood took her (which was alarmingly often, in the eyes of her court). She had taken up the mantle of rulership in her son's absence, and though initially she enjoyed abusing the absolute power that position gave her, she had quickly grown bored of it.

Hellebron and her Witch Elves had been a thorn in Morathi's side ever since they returned from the campaign. Of all the Dark Elves, they had benefited most from the invasion, and their relative success during its final battle. They claimed it was a sign of Khaine's favour, and had taken to ever-greater displays of sacrifice and debauchery in celebration. Their strength was growing, and Morathi knew that it was only a matter of time before Hellebron made a move for the throne that she was currently draped across. It would be a problem, though if the Hag Queen thought slitting a few throats and bathing in her victims' blood would help her in a power struggle against one as ancient and powerful as herself, she would soon learn the error of her ways. Perhaps it was time that the Cult of Khaine finally had some new leadership.

Her reverie was disturbed by raised voices outside the throne room, and then a collective gasp within as the great iron doors were shoved open with tremendous, sorcerous force and crashed against the walls like enormous, dolorous bells. A dark figure stood in the now-open doorway, looking about at the gathered, cowering mass of Morathi's court. After a moment it seemed to dismiss them all and began the long walk down the centre of the room, with the crowds parting wordlessly before it.

The black-armoured figure strode to a halt at the base of the steps before Morathi, and she gave it a wicked, devastatingly bewitching smile.

Hello my son. Have you come to claim back my throne?”

The End

17 comments:

  1. This was an amazing battle report! :D wonderfully written

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  2. Truly a Herculean effort. Thank you very much for all of your work in putting this together! It was greatly appreciated. And well done to the High Elves for holding of the druchii scum!

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  3. Replies
    1. What's next? The plan is to finally get around to recreating the Battle at the Gates of Kislev...

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    2. God, that would be amazing :) the daemons, beastmen, marauders and chaos warriors as well as the horrible beasts... :D

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  4. 1 of the best battle reports I read in a long time. You should submit to white Dwarf for a print. Have done big battles like that and we never are able to keep a detailed account of moves, banner, spell etc. So again fair play and well done.

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    1. Cheers, although I don't think White Dwarf works that way. Especially when there is a non-Citadel Dragon looming over the table like the personal avatar of non-GW manufacturers...

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  5. Really amazing work!
    Best battle report I've read in forever. You somehow managed to get the perfect level of detail combined with a great narrative. Impressive armies you have floating around there too. I'll have to read your hell-fen report now.
    Thanks

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    1. Thanks mate. As much effort as it is to write a report like this, it does feel worthwhile for the number of people that seem to enjoy reading them.

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  6. Everything I wanted it to be and more. Thank you so much for putting forth all the effort and making this happen as well as recording it here.

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  7. Superb read! Very well written and battles like this are the stuff of legend and something that - I think - many of us gamers aspire to but rarely get to realize! And everything is painted well too! That alone must have been an immense effort!

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  8. Very well written indeed, thanks for the entertaining read!

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  9. Awesome spectacle, well written reporting, wonderfully painted armies, and thoroughly enjoyable to live vicariously through this bloodbath with the aid of the excellent maps and photographs! Thank you for all your hard work! Great fun!

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  10. I have now read all the historic battle reports you have made. I am now bored. Here is a suggestion, you could do a storm of chaos campaign. But that aside it was an incredible battle report and kept me gripped for hours!!!

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