Monday, April 13, 2015

WFB Campaign - The Gathering Storm: Part 1

Ghosts at the Walls

(read the Prologue here)

Albericht van Korden strode angrily through the rain and gloom. The Celestial Wizard was hiding something, and he intended to find out what. Documents in the young mage's possession indicated a particular interest in an artifact stored in the Temple of Sigmar. A far cry from 'weather research'. 

The Temple was a solitary building on the banks of the Teufal, just outside the city walls. It seems the Arch-Lector was already here, attempting to talk Lector Gottshcalk into supporting him on his bid for head of the faith.

"Additionally", intoned Kaslain, "all the outlying temples would receive a generous..."

"DOOM!", roared Gottshalk, his eyes rolling to the back of his head as lightning unnervingly cracked overhead. "The Storm rises and the Empire will drown 'neath the waters of the Dark Realm!"

Kaslain moved to calm Gottschalk, but the Lector was crazed, and instead lunged and swung his hammer as he screamed; "Sigmar will come again, and..."

Lead shot sprayed the Lector's brains over the Temple door. Van Korden slid the smoking pistol back into his holster. Before Kaslain could say another word, another deafening peal of thunder shook the ground, and a blinding flash of lightning struck the temple. 

Van Korden regained his senses with enough time to see the peculiar weather-vane attached to the roof of the Temple, loosened by the storm, blow off into the river. In the few seconds he had to observe, he noticed that it looked suspiciously like the wizard's drawings. As the Arch Lector made his way back to the city gates, the Witch Hunter gathered a posse and began to search the banks of the river.

Across the river, another group of searchers emerged from the treeline. The Handmaiden Ysvena and 'The Ghosts of Avelorn' padded towards the river with deadly purpose. Their arrows fell like the very rain that covered the land before the city, and several of the Empire soldiers died before before they even knew they were under attack.

Several of the Halberdiers lost their nerve in that moment and fled for the gates of Stromdorf. The Nuln Ironsides tried in vain to find a target in the rain and dark. The Knights Griffon used the fords in the river to advance on the shadows in the trees, their heavy armour allowing them a certain amount of protection from the barrage of arrows that found their mark.

It was the elves who managed to track down the artifact first - the Reaver covering the Shadow Warrior as he waded into the river.

The Shadow Warrior attempted to escape with the artifact, but Van Korden was well used to evasive quarry, and his time in Sylvania had left him prepared for any eventuality. He closed in on the fleeing elf, preparing his many weapons for the kill.

The elves did not have things all their own way. While clearly superior by stealth, by bow and skill-at-arms, when out numbered those advantages mattered little. A lone Reaver was hooked from the saddle and butchered in the damp soil. 

The banks were littered with dozens of arrow-filled corpses of Empire troops. However, once the knights reached the elven positions, carnage ensued. With the screams of men and elves, and the roars of demigryphon drifting up to him through the storm, Van Korden finally caught a bead on the Shadow Warrior fleeing with the artifact. Hit with pistol shots and vials of Alchemic Fire, the elf was incinerated, and the artifact claimed. The Empire forces withdrew to the city walls, and the elves melted into the night.

The bloody skirmish at the walls of Stromdorf would not be the last time the two forces would meet. After some mild interrogation, the Celestial Wizard Niklaus von Schulmann revealed more information about the artifact - the fact that it was paired with another, said to lie somewhere in the Obserslecht. The Arch-Lector was convinced of some greater importance of these artifacts, and so within the week the army was on the march.

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