Tilea IC2401 (Campaign#8)


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Post Mon Feb 18, 2019 5:35 am

Re: Tilea IC2401 (Campaign#8)

The Campotrotta campaign was brilliant and I look forward to the next report eagerly. Splendidly written stuff and it sounds like tremendously fun games!
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Post Thu Feb 21, 2019 9:22 pm

Re: Tilea IC2401 (Campaign#8)

Thanks Symphonicpoet. Encouragement helps feed my madness!
....
Unholy of Unholies
Second Prequel to 'The Battle of the Valley of Death'

Trantio City, Early Autumn 2403

Moved by the malice coursing through his every vein, Biagino mounted the sanctuary and strode to the altar. Although the congregation’s whimpering could be heard throughout the building, he failed to perceive it – for him, the sound was buried beneath the much more powerful sensation of their fear and the delicious stench of so much warm blood. As he greedily guzzled great gulps of the despair emanating from every living soul gathered within the church, their pathetic sobbing was akin to being merely one of several subtle notes possessed by a fine wine. He had other things on his mind to distract him, not least the fact that an enormous army was camped to the west of the city, obviously intent upon doing battle.

Since late afternoon he had been mulling over what to do about the enemy. Should he meet them upon the walls of Trantio, forcing them to assault the city, or out in the field where he could bring his whole force to bear? Should he even be attempting to take on such a massive foe at all? Perhaps his mistress would prefer he retreat than risk losing the army he now commanded? He had left Viadaza with his own Church of Nagash, including his vampire thralls and the huge mob of resurrected cultists he named the Disciplinati di Nagash but referred to as his children, and a small but substantial army gifted to him by the Duchess Maria, containing powerful, arcane constructs and even a monstrous, undead dragon. Once he arrived at Trantio, this army had grown even stronger, as he, his step-get Captain Tusco and the necromancer Pascal della Cava, raised several regiments of ancient warriors, both foot soldiers and horse, from the ancient graves and burial pits of the necropolis valley of Norochia.

Yet the enemy army, no doubt a grand alliance of several states, made all this seem paltry in comparison. This was not to be an easy decision.

Once behind the altar he gave vent to an involuntary hiss and slammed his gold-topped crozier upon the stone floor, the sharp sound of which elicited a temporary silence.

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His red-robed acolytes, the vampire thralls known as La Fraternita di Morti Irrequieti, stood nearby on the sanctuary, while his newly raised, fleshless soldiers lined every wall of the church, but he paid them no attention. They gave him nothing, only took from him. It was his will that lent them purpose - without him they would neither be nor do. It was the wretched huddle of people in the nave that fascinated him, for he could feed on them, play with them, delight in their dread.

Tonight, however, he wanted something different. He wanted their worship. Raising his hands to command general attention, he began.

“Let us pray!”

There was some confusion amongst the gathered, and even that gave him joy. The living were a veritable cornucopia of feelings, every one improved by a seasoning of terror and despair. He leered at them, then raised his eyes to the great church’s ceiling, and began intoning.

“Nagashi, exaudi nos.
Domine, majestatis infinitae.
Domine, fornax ardens.
Domine, virtutum omnium abysse.
Domine, omni laude dignissime.”

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He fell silent and lowered his head to glare at the cowering flock before him.

“Well?” he demanded.

Someone began to sob – a woman by the sound of it.

“No,” he hissed angrily. “Say the words.”

The nearest acolyte, his face obscured by a hood, now sang in a voice as beautiful as it was terrible,

“Sanctificetur nomen tuum.”

This was followed by a stumbled attempt at repetition by the cowed congregation. Apart from the children, all the reluctant worshippers knew the words, being the same as those chanted by all Tileans during the most common service to Morr. The entire unholy mass was to be an inversion of the familiar; a profane mockery twisted to serve Nagash.

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“Better,” muttered Biagino. His satisfied smile revealed the crooked fangs sitting uncomfortably large in his mouth. Then he addressed the congregation with a short homily.

“It gives me great satisfaction to see you all gathered here today. You are the last of the living in the city, and in what days remain of that life, your prayers will serve as the perfect prelude to your imminent sacrifice. Let your every thought be fearful, and all your pain and suffering be a gift unto glorious Nagash, for soon you will be his entirely, for ever more, and then all your suffering will end.”

He crooked his finger at his acolyte, who now sang another prayer, pausing between each line to allow the congregation to give their faltering repetition.

“Libera nos, Domine …
A peste et fame…
A morte perpetua ...”

“Indeed, you shall never fall sick again,” declared Biagino, recommencing his homily. “Nor feel the pang of hunger. You will be delivered from all these things. Death itself shall not come to thee, and you will forget all that you knew, even the name of the false god Morr, for you will walk this earth as a servant of great Nagash, wholly beholden to his will through the medium of myself, his true servant.”

His own words reminded him that there were still creatures in Norochia that he had yet to bend to his will – a mob of ghouls and a large pack of dire wolves. And there were without a doubt still many more ancient warriors lying there he had yet to summon to swell the ranks of his army.

This train of thought was suddenly disturbed by a commotion at the back of the nave. Peering with a power of sight his old, living body was pathetically incapable of, he spied a desperate fool clambering over a pew in an pathetic attempt to flee, only to come face to face with the rank of skeletal guards. Two thrusts of a rusty-tipped spear sent the potential escapee scrambling back to the other prisoners.

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Biagino tutted to show his disapproval, his subsequent sneering glare no more or less ugly than his face at rest.

“I will brook no such nonsense,” he warned. “Any foolishness will be punished most severely. There are worse ways to suffer than your present misery. Now, shall we continue with our prayers?”

Biagino himself took up the prayers once more.

“Nagash, domine et magister
Adveniat regnum tuum, Domine
Fiat voluntas tua”

Once again, the response was ingrained in the forced-worshippers’ minds, despite the unholy insertion of foul Nagash’s name in the preceding prayer.

“Nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum,” they sang with a tunelessness occasioned by fear.

Now, where was I? he asked himself. Ah yes, the valley

Suddenly, he knew exactly what to do. He would array his forces in the valley and meet the foe there, where the ground itself would provide him with reinforcements. He could wrest magical mastery of the wild inhabitants to make them his to command also.

The enemy would find themselves facing a foe from their nightmares in a place of their nightmares.

Where better?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Notes

Nagashi, exaudi nos (Nagash, graciously hear us.)

Domine, majestatis infinitae (Lord, of infinite majesty)
Domine, fornax ardens (lord, burning furnace)
Domine, virtutum omnium abysse, (Lord, bottomless pit of all virtues)
Domine, omni laude dignissime, (Lord, most worthy of all praise)

Sanctificetur nomen tuum (Hallowed be thy name)

Libera nos, Domine (Lord deliver us)
A peste et fame (From pestilence and famine)
A morte perpetua (From everlasting death)

Nagash, domine et magister (Nagash, lord and master)
Adveniat regnum tuum, Domine (Thy kingdom come.)
Fiat voluntas tua (Thy will be done)
Nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum (Now, always and forever)
Last edited by Padre on Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Post Sat Feb 23, 2019 8:26 am

Re: Tilea IC2401 (Campaign#8)

Well done Padre! You have earned your name with this dark story. Brilliant! The blend of familiar and twisted is utterly perfect.
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Post Sun Feb 24, 2019 12:38 am

Re: Tilea IC2401 (Campaign#8)

Impressive and highly atmospheric! I love the light coming through the windows!
Something in my aspect and speech seemed to excite vague fears and aversions in everyone I met, as if I were a being infinitely removed from all that is normal and healthful.

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Post Sat Mar 09, 2019 6:43 pm

Re: Tilea IC2401 (Campaign#8)

Keep up the good work Padre, i have read it through twice and (for your benefit) i am compiling a list of typos so that (if you wish) you shall be able to clean it up later. They are few, your writing/typing is good - this is why i wish to help you.

I hope that you are not abducted by aliens.
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Post Sat Mar 09, 2019 6:55 pm

Re: Tilea IC2401 (Campaign#8)

Thanks Grungni. I try to weed out the typos, but sometimes (late night etc) they evade my notice. Some I have noticed (later) but get distracted before I correct! There may be the tiniest bit of laziness creeps in occasionally. I shall re-double my efforts (if RL lets me).
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Post Sat Mar 09, 2019 10:12 pm

Re: Tilea IC2401 (Campaign#8)

When you say you have 'read it through twice' Grungni, you mean the last post (yes?) not the whole thread?

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Post Sun Mar 10, 2019 7:13 am

Re: Tilea IC2401 (Campaign#8)

I have read this thread through twice entirely, i love Warhammer Battle Reports (1st - 7th (i can handle 8th)) and i also love fantasy stories ... your creation is a delight.

I have said/typed it before and i shall again. Kudos Padre.

I will PM a detailed list of typos at some point within a few turns of the moon...
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Post Fri Mar 29, 2019 5:24 pm

Re: Tilea IC2401 (Campaign#8)

Your kind words, Grungni, have re-energised my considerably. So, here goes the next one ....

The Battle of the Valley of Death
The Necropolis Valley of Norochia, west of Ebino, Early Autumn, IC 2403

Captain General Lord Alessio Falconi, despite everyone else’s surprise that the enemy had left the protection of the city walls to assemble in the nearby valley of Norochia, did not hesitate in issuing new battle orders. He knew that with a force as huge and unwieldy as this great alliance army, containing battalions from five different realms, any indecision on his behalf could escalate into a hazardous delay upon the field.

It was generally agreed the enemy must be expecting to gain some advantage from choosing to fight outside the city walls, and although some believed a relief force must be on its way to join the enemy host, most thought it was glaringly obvious why the undead would choose Ebino’s ancient necropolis as their battleground - the reinforcements were, in effect, already there. They just had to claw their way out of their graves to muster with the already animated corpses serving their vampire masters!

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Lord Alessio had incorporated both possibilities into his thinking. If there was a force on its way, then it would surely be intercepted by the mounted force he had ordered to skirt north of the city. The horse-soldiers’ manoeuvre had been intended to prevent any enemies escaping Ebino, thus (un)living to fight another day, but they were also very well placed to serve in this new, if unexpected, role. And if the vampires did intend to bolster their strength with warriors newly raised from the ancient graveyards and tombs, then speed was of the essence. Lord Alessio’s army must engage the enemy as soon as possible, to limit the time available for any necromantic machinations.

And so the allied army, consisting almost solely of foot soldiers and artillery (having been selected to besiege the city), marched boldly to array themselves upon the western ridge of the valley, despite the horrific sight of the enemy silently forming up on the eastern slopes. They performed the manoeuvre well, thanks to the drills Lord Alessio had required of them during their march. Three times he had ordered them to form from marching column into line of battle, their performance improving on each occasion, despite the fact that he specified a different disposition every time. Lord Alessio needed the allied contingents to act as a cohesive force in the field, and to know that they could and would follow his orders promptly. He had them march in a specific order each day, all the better to facilitate his orders for deployment. Unlike their practices, however, this time budge barrels were unloaded and powder distributed, their handguns made ready, matches lit, and the giant colossus-construct was conjured from its slumber (upon a covered pallet carried by three massive wains) to take its place on the far left of the line.

The captain general’s own army was mainly concentrated on the right of the line. He intended these, being the soldiers he most trusted, to secure that flank from any enemy attempt to outmanoeuvre the army. He also concentrated the army’s artillery on this flank, no less than six great cannons and four master engineers (four of the component contingents having brought their own engineers to tend their own pieces). There were a brace of Pavonan pieces, another two Portomaggioran, as well as Reman and Luccinan guns, all of which were also shielded by his own troops. He expected the guns to deliver several crucial and crippling blasts against the foe and was therefore keen to ensure they could not be interfered with by the enemy – another reason to have his most trusted soldiers upon that flank.

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On the furthest flank was Lord Ned’s hunting pack of demigryphs, the fastest troops Lord Alessio had with this army, commanded by his most ferocious commander. This was the only mounted company he had not sent away with the interceptor force heading to the north of the city. If anyone was to prove a match for whatever might attempt to break through, or ride around, the flank to attack the guns, then it was Lord Ned and his monstrous cavalry. Nevertheless, to assist them in this task was a company of handgunners, who might at least slow the enemy sufficiently to allow Lord Ned to bring his own company to bear upon them.

Next in line towards the army centre, was his large regiment of spears and his crossbow, and beyond these Portomaggiorans, upon the lower ground, were massed troops of the allied forces. The Cathayan mercenaries of the arch-lector’s Reman army stood centre-front, crossbowmen and halberdiers with banners showing the keys to Morr’s Garden, while the Verezzan’s large pike regiment and crossbowmen were to their right. Behind them was the smaller Luccinan pike regiment, bearing a royal banner of three fleur de lis (after all, they served a king) and to their left was the second company of Portomaggioran handgunners.

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Further left were young Lord Silvano’s Pavonans - archers, halberdiers, handgunners. Their original strength had been reduced by constant war, yet they were still a significant force. The two huge blocks of baggage were clustered behind them, with an unusual halfling war machine nestled in between.

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Similarly (suspiciously) close to the baggage, Barone Iacopo and his Verezzan halfling archers had formed up further to the left, and out on the far-left flank – again because Lord Alessio trusted them – marched the plate-clad Portomaggioran veterans known as the Sea Wolves. Finally, upon the army’s extreme flank, strode the Portomaggioran Colossus, as tall as the tallest of giants (if not taller) and fashioned of enchanted bronze and silvered steel, containing massively intricate iron gears and clockwork mechanisms.

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(Game Note: The colossus has the stats, abilities and points-cost of the Tomb Kings’ Heirotitan, but he assists the Portomaggioran army’s spellcasters. This is an example of a player’s own inventive ideas in the campaign. Damo wanted a ‘colossus of Rhodes’ type statue to defend his city, so as a GM I told him the points cost and the time it would take to construct. Later he wanted it to move with his army, which I allowed, but warned him as a consequence of hauling such a massive thing upon wagons his army would march somewhat slower than otherwise it would have done. I try to keep everything balanced. As the undead player had such monstrosities as the terrorgheist and the mortis engine, it seemed fair that with effort, spending and consequences, a 'standard' Tilean army might have a suitable monstrous element.)



Upon the eastern side of the valley, the vampire high-priest Biagino watched as the living army assembled. Standing with his Disciplinati di Nagash (the resurrected corpses of the same Morrite dedicants he had marched with when he too had been alive) it crossed his mind that perhaps he should have begun the advance against the enemy earlier, despite the fact his own force had yet to fully assemble. This thought, however, was a fleeting notion, and was soon lost as he scrutinised the enemy army, assessing where the dangers lay, and the weaknesses.

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Worryingly, it seemed to him very clear that there were plenty of the former and very few, if any, of the latter. Never before had he seen an army so large. The Viadazan and Reman armies he had marched with when alive had been considerably smaller, and they had nowhere near as many guns. It also occurred to him that he could see not see any horse soldiers, which probably meant that what he could now see was only a portion of the enemy’s true strength. Their army must have been truly massive on the march!

Where are the horsemen? he wondered. Are they out on the flanks, concealed by the lie of the land? If so, then the situation was worse than he had previously thought. What chance did his army have if surrounded entirely? Or are the horse elsewhere? Whatever the truth, he had played his hand and now had to see it through. If he routed the foe before him, he could deal with any mounted soldiers later. And if his enemies were attempting to outflank him, then delay would only give them more time to do so. This was his moment – his chance to prove himself to his mistress and defeat the greatest army sent against her yet.

Biagino, his three thralls and his mob of rotting cultists stood on the right of the army’s centre. Further right was a large regiment of skeletons, the corpse cart, his skeleton riders and a slavering pack of dire wolves.

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To his immediate left were two more large regiments of skeletons, one of which obscured from the enemy’s sight by the large church occupying the middle of this stretch of the valley.

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Out on the right flank proper, his vargheists lurked behind a large mob of zombies created from those poor souls who had foolishly returned to scratch a living in the ruins of the city of Trantio after the Pavonans abandoned it and the ogres then ransacked it. Beyond them slunk the huge terrogheist, and beside that the mortis engine drifted ethereally. This had a body of undead ogres before it, and a regiment of grave guard beside it. Outermost on the right rode a company of wraiths.

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With the merest flick of his wrists, his army beholden to his necromantic will, Biagino commanded his dire wolves and hexwraiths to advance, all the better to get a feel for how the enemy intended to proceed, and how they might respond to the sight of such creatures of the night moving towards them. While the wolves loped between the ancient tombs towards the Portomaggiorans massed on the opposite slope …

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… the wraiths moved boldly on the far right towards the colossal construct.

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Due to the nature of the deployment, nearly every living soldier could see these two bodies advancing, but instead presenting a threatening countenance, the act of moving ahead of their own lines merely made them seem weak and lonely. The crossbowmen before the wolves calmly hefted their now spanned weapons to fit their bolts, while the gunners upon the higher slope blew upon their coals and prepared for their first volley.

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(Deployment and vanguard moves completed.)
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Post Sat Mar 30, 2019 6:48 am

Re: Tilea IC2401 (Campaign#8)

War and pieces! I await the outcome of this battle of barrow-draino with breath . . . wait . . . I'm not dead yet. My breath is not bated. But I am eager to see the hot iron meet the cold bones and find out how it all comes out. Splendid sir! Just splendid!
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