Their own general had also fallen; cut down by the Asur prince’s blade. But Erathi was not yet finished. The wounded Death Hag had dragged herself up the steps of the altar, her blood leaving a trail behind her as it pumped from the mortal wound between her ribs. As the last of her strength left her, she hauled herself up to the rim of the bubbling cauldron of blood and with a final dedication to her bloody god, she toppled in. The cauldron attendants standing nearby brandished their ceremonial daggers overhead and gave ululating shrieks of triumph as they witnessed her final sacrifice. Her blood would be pleasing to Khaine.
It was into this scene that the Sorceress Moreki arrived, swooping down upon the wings of her Dark Pegasus. Shortly behind her came the shattered remnant of her army, trotting in from the darkness – a pitiful handful of Darkshards and Dreadspears, led by a slightly crestfallen-looking Assassin.
Dropping from the back of her mount, the Sorceress strode up to the foot of the altar. The attendants moved immediately to prevent her from ascending. She was not devoted to Khaine – the stairs were not hers to climb.
Moreki halted. “Where are your leaders?” she asked them with a sneer. Her fingers adjusted their grip upon her sorcerer’s staff – a reminder for them of her power. It was not really a threat. Not really.
“They have fallen.” There was no deference in the Witch Elf’s response, but nor was there any obvious hostility. “Their sacrifice is pleasing to Khaine.”
Moreki suppressed a sigh. These Khainite zealots were so tiresome. On the other hand, the power vacuum was convenient. “Then you are in need of new leadership,” she said this loudly so that others nearby would hear and take heed. “I will assume command of your army.”
The frenzied shrieking of the Witch Elves quieted and then died out completely. All of the assembled Druchii were now focused on what was taking place. Would anyone challenge her right to seize power?
One of the Witch Elf champions hissed and shoved her way past her comrades, then stopped and drew a poisoned blade with each hand. She glared at Moreki in a manner that the cauldron attendant had not. Perhaps she just didn’t like Sorcerers. She snarled as she spoke, “We are the brides of Khaine. We will not bow to some upstart conjurer!”
Her snarls turned quickly to shrieks as dark energies flayed the skin from her bones with a back-handed gesture from Moreki. Within moments she was nothing more than a pile of bones in a silly metal bikini. Some of the surrounding Witch Elves hissed and growled, but none of them made a move toward the Sorceress.
“Is there anyone else?” she asked in a mocking voice.
It was at this moment that the light of the fires around them seemed to dim. The quiet bubbling of the cauldron rose steadily until it was boiling violently, steaming blood sloshing over the sides and onto the altar around it. A deep red glow emanated from the liquid, and as all turned their focus upon it, a dark silhouette rose from its depths.
“What manner of coup is this, Moreki? Do you dare to try and steal control of my army?” The voice that spoke was that of Erathi, however it had another, underlying tone that seemed to give it a strength and menace that it had lacked previously.
Moreki smiled sourly at this new arrival. Perhaps this was not going to go as well as she had hoped. “Hello, my sister.”
Last weekend saw a first for our campaign: all 8 players were present, and everyone played a game on the same day. This means I have a lot of catching up to do in terms of writing up the battles. I have decided to start with the smallest and quickest game.
The battle was essentially Blood and Glory. The generals were trying to kill each other as my Supreme Sorceress (basically the sole survivor in my previous game) tried to "recruit" Tim's Dark Elves to her cause.
A game where I only used a Sorceress would have been a bit weird, so I included a couple of units that best represented what might have actually escaped the previous encounter. Even so, it would not have been a legal army under standard 8th edition rules - the Lord section was blown out by the only model that actually mattered.
We decided Tim's Death Hag was not dead from the previous battle after all, and the rest of the stuff is basically a cut-down version of his earlier army. The Harpies were an afterthought to try to counter the nonsense of a flying Sorceress scooting around against an army with no magic and no shooting. Tim's army was actually a few hundred points larger than mine, but this felt fitting given the circumstances. I had the "power character" in Moreki, anyway.
Game 6: Murder and MagicThe figure that stepped from the cauldron was indeed Erathi, however she had been somehow changed. The wound that had slain her was gone without a trace; wiped clean by the grace of Khaine. Her eyes glowed a deep red as she stared at her sister; she maintained that stare as she climbed effortlessly from the boiling cauldron and stood beside it. She may also have been taller than she was previously, or perhaps that was Moreki’s imagination in light of her apparent transformation.
The Sorceress stepped back unconsciously as the risen Death Hag stepped forward, and as Erathi continued down the stairs she lost her nerve entirely and fled back to the relative safety of her Dark Pegasus, hauling herself gracelessly into the saddle and preparing to immediately take flight.
Erathi’s mocking voice chased her as she retreated, “It is not Khaine’s will that you should so lightly steal that which belongs to him.” The effortless power of her voice made it seem like she was right behind Moreki’s ear, and it was all she could do not to squeak and turn around in an unseemly manner. “If you wish to command this army, then you must earn it in a trial by blood.”
It was only once her Dark Pegasus was safely in the air overhead that Moreki recovered her wits enough to respond. “It is hardly my fault that you got yourself killed in a foolish challenge,” she retorted. “How is it that Khaine should see you as a worthy commander when you cannot even best a weak princeling of the Asur?”
If her jibe had any effect upon her sister, it did not show. “Khaine has shown me his plans,” she spoke the words adoringly, as though remembering something delightful. “Join me now and you may yet play a part in their inevitable fulfilment.”
Part of Moreki was tempted to throw her lot in with her god-touched sibling, but a far greater part of her was proud, and confident in her own power. She would never bow to one of these addled Khaine-worshippers, even if it was her own sister.
“I think not, Erathi. I am not victim to the same madness as you. If you must die again for me to take my place at the head of this army, then so be it.”
|My mighty army. There is an Assassin in the Dreadspears, but he is camera-shy.|
|Erathi slums it with the peasantry and walks into battle this time.|
|Erathi's Khainite forces advance. Note the use of particularly hideous movement trays for the tiny flocks of Harpies, in an effort to distract and/or offend me. Such deviousness.|
|The Crossbows open up on the Witch Elves and cull them quite effectively.|
|Moreki blasts half the Executioners with Doombolt, but miscasts and rolls a 10, losing 2 spells and 2 levels. That was not quite the plan.|
|So many enemies. So dark.|
|No, what are you all doing?? I chose to flee the charge, but only rolled 5 inches and the Witches rolled the 9 they needed to get me. Clearly my troops were working against me!|
|I didn't stand and shoot at the Harpies, as the Witch Elves were just waiting for me to do so. When I held my fire, they very sensibly decided to let the Harpies go it alone.|
Still dazed from her previous carelessness, Moreki struck out around her with the remaining magic she could still command. Repeatedly she leeched the lives from the enemy Witch Elves, however the departing souls slipped through her grasp and she was unable to harness them for her own ends.
|Witch Elves right in the faces (and flank) of the Crossbows.|
|OK so looking at the photos, it seems like it might have been the shooting of the Witch Elves that panicked the Executioners. It doesn't matter. What matters is what Erathi will do to them later for their cowardice.|
|This is not cool. On the bright side, there are not that many Witch Elves there. I think Moreki might have hit them pretty hard with magic the previous turn.|
|Things are not looking all that great for Moreki and her friends.|
|Oops, we didn't wipe them out. This might get nasty.|
|Indulging in a little stabby-stabby shank-shank as the enemy reinforcements close in.|
|Look, I never claimed it was a good plan.|
The final Crossbowman took advantage of the confusion to strike down the remaining Witch Elf he was facing, however he had not time to savour his victory. Having regained their nerve and being extremely keen to redeem themselves in the balefully glowing eyes of their mistress, the Executioners charged down the hill and into the poor Crossbowman. He stood his ground gamely and struck out at Erathi, however he was cut down in a flash.
|Erathi makes very, very short work of the Crossbowman. But then has to overrun because of her Frenzy, so it buys me another turn.|
|More Witch Elves eh? Bring it! I got 5+ ward saves for days! Actually I think I had passed 5 out of 6 by the time things came to a head. Mad skills.|
|Erathi arrives. Up until this point I was invincible. Then she landed 5 wounds with 5 attacks, and I passed... 0 saves. No more mojo for me.|
As Moreki lay on the ground and the light faded from her eyes, she dimly saw the silhouette of her sister standing over her. “It is a pity that you chose the Sorcerer’s path, sister. With spirit like that, Khaine may have had a use for you…”