tiistai 18. lokakuuta 2016

The Power of Blankness


I sit here typing this post with a small puppy in my lap so I'll have to keep it short. I had some spare time today (the puppy was sleeping) so I erased all text from a couple of Warscrolls to make way for the innovations of the Age of Sigmar community.

Here they are: Units and Heroes

One with a Command Ability and one without. I chose a scroll that had quite many Melee Weapons as well as a Ranged Weapon. Feel free to add or remove any parts you don't need, for example if you want to make a melee unit of your own you can just erase the Ranged Weapon bar with a photo editing tool and get going.

Now take what is yours and get creative!

sunnuntai 9. lokakuuta 2016

Clash at the Blackblood Ruins


Here I am with a brand new Narrative Battle Report, just as promised. I was lucky to meet this one friendly mate at my local gaming store who agreed to play a game of AoS, and to top it off he gave me the permission to document the whole thing. Hurrah!

This pic was taken at the end of the first Battle Round when I finally remembered to ask my opponent if he was okay with it

Our scenario is a simple one from the Matched Play section of the General's Handbook, called Border War. We both had 1000p worth of models with us so that obviously was the size of the game. He brought in his Moonclan Grots while I had decided to field-test my Slaves to Darkness.

I do not usually play using GHB points system (feels too restrictive for my narrative style of play) but it's what my local gaming store uses to keep all the pick-up-games flowing between strangers. Nonetheless it's always refreshing to play a more structured game every now and then!

The scenario is, as I said, a simple one. There are four objectives on the field (marked by gray bits on round bases) with one on each player's deployment zone and two along the middle line of the board. At the end of each of their own turns the players score Victory Points for every objective they control by having more models within 6" of it than their opponent. The objectives generate Victory Points as follows:

1VP for the objective in the player's own zone
2VP for each of the objectives along the middle
4VP for the objective in the opponent's zone

After capturing an objective the players are free to move away from it with their models as it stays under their control until an enemy unit claims it. Simple, eh?

Onwards to the story!


This was a place of power. Terrible power. Lucrative power.
Izazel the Twisted gazed upon the ruined houses in the opening before him, sensing the sorcerous energies that flowed from the ominous place.
"What could we possibly find from a few rotten houses, m'lord? There is a rich Freeguild town not too far away..." Balfrik Steelshanks blurted out anxiously as he walked up to the Chaos Sorcerer, his heavy plate-armour rattling with every step.
"I do not need to explain my actions to you, mortal. Go and prepare your men, we shall enter the village when I give the command," Izazel replied with a hint of anger in his low, rasping voice. He needed Balfrik and his barbarian followers on his quest but the ignorant fools only cared for riches and bloodshed, making his life harrowing at times. They had the brute force and numbers to get things done, but sometimes he just wanted to absorb their souls and have a moment of peace.

The barbarian warlord stood there for a moment, his expressions hidden behind an all-enclosing steel helmet. Izazel could feel his irritation growing slowly. He turned his head slowly to look at the fur-clad warrior beside him. Once he was sure they had an eye contact he snapped his fingers, summoning a blue ball of flame to dance in his palm. Steelshanks took the hint and turned to walk away, muttering something under his breath.
Once the man was gone and Izazel had returned to his thoughts, an echoing voice came from behind him.
"We have found it."
"Yes indeed, my prince," Izazel replied respectfully. "The power that radiates from this place can be nothing else. Shall we begin?"

Behind the sorcerer now stood a towering Daemon Prince, staring at the ruined village with a hungry gleam in its eyes. Nearly two times as tall as Izazel, the creature was a gigantic mass of fangs and muscle with two leathery wings on its back.
"Let us move in to take a closer look. The Talisman of Protection shall soon belong to Prince Aphophas Silvertongue!" the Daemon chuckled, taking apparent pleasure in uttering its own name.
"I am your faithful servant in all things, master," Izazel flattered, bowing deep. "I shall order my followers to advance immediately."

The warband started towards the village, armoured Chaos Warriors marching alongside bare-chested Marauders while heavy footfalls and the clatter of armour filled the ruins. Izazel walked amidst his men, trying to catch a glimpse of anything that could give away the place of the hidden artifact. Prince Aphophas took flight upon his great wings, landing heavily on a grassy hill overlooking the village when suddenly something whistled by his horned head. It was a poorly crafted arrow.

A great high-pitched cry went up from the ruins ahead of them as a horde of Grots emerged, running at the newcomers with spears and bows swinging in the air.
"A thousand curses! These pests are all over the place," Izazel swore as he casually dodged a spear thrown at him. "Slaughter these useless screamers so we can proceed unharassed."
His barbarian followers howled with joy as they charged onward, eager to reach the foe. Using the sorcerous powers granted to him by his patron god Izazel wove complicated patterns in the air, projecting a shield of energy to protect the Chaos Knights that thundered past him.
Suddenly he felt his head swimming and his mind was filled with a vision of his warriors' terrible demise, with crushed bodies and slit throats covering a bloody grass field. Having experienced these oracular visions before, he knew to trust them and wove a minor enchantment on the Chaos Warriors ahead of him to shield the gaps in their armour.

The grots surged forth to meet the servants of the dark gods head-on, encouraged by the shouted threats of their Warboss and the hulking Gargant they had brought with them.

On the edge of the forest in the right flank the advance of the Marauder Horsemen came to a sudden halt as this monstrosity stormed out of the woods. In terror the barbarians threw their javelins at the creature, only managing to make the Gargant angrier as it picked the pitiful sticks out of its enormous soft belly.

Prince Aphophas stood on the edge of the hill, watching a mob of grots come running at him with crooked spears in hand.
"Hmph, pathetic..." the Daemon thought, knowing full well that the dark hill he was standing on housed malevolent spirits of those slain in battles past. These evil specters would happily converge upon any who disturbed their rest. His fanged mouth turning into a wide grin, Aphophas Silvertongue called out a challenge to the mortals below him:
"Come at me and witness the power of the Great Schemer, you'll be cut to pieces by my hand!" he bellowed with a voice that echoed throughout the battlefield as he raised his right hand in the air. In a blinding flash of orange light an enormous axe materialized in the Daemon's palm, its blade glowing with dark power.

Another mob of grots was following the Gargant's steady-footed advance. They were peeking at the approaching warriors from behind the gnarled trees, their red eyes glowing in the shadows. Then a volley of arrows burst from the woods, accompanied by grot laughter. Some of the missiles rained upon the Marauder Horsemen, mostly harmless due to the protection of their shields except for one lucky shot that caught a horseman in the shoulder. The rest of the volley was directed at Izazel the Twisted himself, with several arrows finding their marks in the gaps of his ornate armour.

Behind the shooting mob a Grot Shaman stood between the trees, waiting for the perfect moment to join the fighting. Seeing the confusion his underlings managed to cause with their arrowfire, the shaman reached into his belt pouch and pulled out a Madcap Mushroom. These unpredictable and extremely unhealthy mushrooms temporarily empowered the magical capabilities of any who dared to eat them, which was exactly why this peculiar spellcaster carried a whole bunch of them everywhere he went.
As soon as the shaman had taken the first bite, however, he was incapacitated by strong hallucinations from the mushroom's toxins. Falling to the grassy ground, the small grot embarked on a colourful journey amidst the clouds in his mind.

On the far left flank the Chaos Chariot was rumbling its way towards the enemy lines when the ranks of the grot spearmob opened, revealing four individuals chained to huge iron balls. These Fanatics were fed a fistful of mushrooms before being pushed towards the chariot, making them spin and scream wildly with their balls and chains.
The charioteers did not have the time to avert their course and evade these maniacs, so they whipped one of the grots to death while their armoured warhorses trampled two more under their steel-shod hooves. A single Fanatic managed to reach them, though, its crude weapon tearing through the wooden frames and crippling both of the horses in an explosion of timber and gore. The chariot fell over and came to a crashing halt, leaving the two charioteers picking themselves up from the dusty ground.

Unperturbed by the missiles raining upon them, Izazel's warriors kept marching on. Seeing that their bows could do little against these armoured humans, the grots in the forest drew their rusty knives and ran screaming into the Marauder Horsemen. Even the Gargant got excited about the charge of the diminutive greenskins and with a few giant leaps circled around the horsemen to cut off their escape.

Despite their apparent fear of the giant Daemon the grots in the spearmob were urged to continue their advance by threats and insults from their Warboss, who himself stood safely in the back lines. As they were clambering up the hill flashes of green light surrounded the little spearmen, materializing into howling specters that buried their ethereal claws into anything within their reach. Nearly one out of every eight grots got torn to pieces or carried away by these evil spirits, but this did little to slow their charge.
As one the grots surrounded Aphophas from every direction, creating a forest of rusty iron tips that forced the Daemon to constantly spin around trying to hold the attackers at bay with wide sweeps of his glowing axe.

All around the ruined village the servants of the dark gods were engaging the greenskin horde, battling for supremacy of the field. Whoever controlled the ruins in the end would have all the time he needed to search for the revered artifact...

In the back of the Chaos warband stood Balfrik Steelshanks with his battle standard planted firmly in the soil, inspiring all the surrounding barbarians to ever greater deeds by claiming the ruins in the name of his lord.

Upon the cursed hill Prince Aphophas was getting overwhelmed by the grot numbers. Several weighted nets flew from the spearmob, tangling and pinning him to the ground before the whole mob piled on him to stab and thrust wildly with their long-shafted weapons, sending the howling Daemon back into the Realm of Chaos as the magics that bound it to this reality dissipated.

In the far left flank the charioteers had just managed to climb clear of their ruined warmachine when a group of three Troggoths lumbered before them. As the brave warriors drew their blades to take on these savage beasts the Troggoths released a stream of vomit each, covering both of the charioteers in bile and bits of their former victims. This extremely corrosive substance melted armour, flesh and bone, reducing the hapless men into bubbling piles of sludge beside their ruined wagon.

As the left flank of Izazel's warband seemed to crumble and fall apart, so did the right. The charging grots managed to take down a wounded Horseman by tripping his horse and stabbing the fallen rider with wild abandon until he stopped struggling, but it was the Gargant who determined the fight's final outcome.
With a wide swing from the trusty tree trunk in his hands the creature sent two riders flying into the air like ragdolls, leaving their panicked horses running amok in the field. One of the barbarians met his demise when the Gargant head-butted him from his horse, breaking the rider's skull and spine, while the last one got a mighty kick in the side, sending the horse and the rider both crashing against the nearest tree.

Without taking a single casualty the grots had slaughtered the Marauder Horsemen with some aid from their trusty pet.

Realizing that both of his flanks were soon exposed, Izazel urged his men to take action. The sorcerer himself followed the horde of Marauders that was pushing towards the ruined building, hoping to gain control of the field and split the enemy force in two.

His heavy Chaos Knights, driven mad with anger as they saw pesky grots take down a mighty Daemon Prince, charged up the hill and straight into the cheering ranks of the greenskins. The unstoppable advance of the knights shook the hill as a dozen hooves drummed its dark surface but surprisingly the spirits that resided there took no reaction to this tumult, supposedly content with the grot souls they had reaped earlier.

On the right flank the Chaos Warriors hefted their weapons and waded into the gnarled woods, eager to gut the frightened grots hiding within. As their tall, armoured forms descended upon their surprised adversaries, the patch of forest was filled with the soft splashes of steel on flesh.

Like an avalanche of fur and steel the Chaos Knights stormed into the spearmob ranks, accompanied by puffs of blood as several unlucky grots were trampled to the ground under the heavy armoured bulks of the chargers. The rearmost grots managed to form something resembling an ordered rank with their spears towards the enemy, while one of their number tangled the legs of one of the horses in its net. With a great effort five grots managed to pull the net and take a knight to the ground where he was piled upon and stabbed to death, which seemed to be a common and favoured tactic among these malevolent creatures.

In the forest the warriors pushed forward with grim determination, slashing left and right to decapitate and dismember anything they encountered. Grots fell like wheat before the scythe, sliced apart by blades or hammered to bloody pulp by maces and hammers. None of the Chaos Warriors got even a scratch in return as the grassy forest floor was filled with green-skinned corpses.

Before Izazel even had the time to smile upon this recent success, the enemy were quick to react. On the left Troggoths climbed the dark hill to surround the knights, while on the right the Gargant was looming over the triumphant warriors, angered by the death of its grot masters. It seemed that the day of fighting was still far from over...

The swords and maces of the knights smashed ribs and cleaved skulls with every swing, dotting the hillside with mutilated grot corpses. In return the grots were able to do very little besides scraping the armoured sides of the knights' mounts with their spears, as without sufficient numbers and proper weapons they had no hope of standing their ground against such adversaries.
Fortunately the grots were not alone as the trio of Troggoths lumbered into the thick of the fighting. Mighty swings from their clubs of wood and bone immediately unhorsed a knight, leaving the creatures fighting over the man's battered form by tearing it limb from limb.

Meanwhile the Marauders had reached the ruined building, forming a shieldwall inside to anchor their position in the field. Izazel did not follow them further as he saw the Troggoths engaging his knights, deciding to stay nearby to uphold his protective spells on these heavy cavalrymen for if they broke his left flank would be exposed.

In the forest the Gargant picked up the flag-bearer of the Chaos Warriors, biting his helmeted head off before throwing the rest of the carcass away. Bringing his tree trunk down in an overhead blow the creature flattened another warrior into a bloody mess of twisted steel, then stepping on a third to hear the satisfying crack of breaking ribs.

Having seen enough of this wanton destruction enacted upon his tribesmen, Balfrik Steelshanks picked up his banner from the soil he had planted it in and started towards the forest and the Gargant. He picked up speed along the way, eventually running at the monster with his banner held before him like a lance. Putting all his strength behind this one single charge, Balfrik shoved the spiked tip of his battle standard up the giant creature's hairy arse, resulting in a howl of pain that shook the battlefield.

With the Chaos Knights busy fighting Troggoths, the grots in the spearmob saw their chance to escape. Darting between swinging swords and thumping hooves the small creatures ran down the hill, towards the lonely sorcerer standing in the nearby ruins. Distracted by the grots running by, a knight failed to see the bone club coming his way in a vertical swing and fell off his mount with a broken body.

The numbers of the greenskins had greatly diminished throughout the course of the battle, with Izazel's warband controlling vast areas of the battlefield. Yet there still were enemies left, including a Gargant that had barely taken a scratch thus far...

In the gnarled forest the last of the grots were put out of their misery as fur-clad warriors strolled the corpse-strewn woods, smashing the life from any that still moved or moaned. The Gargant, angered by the humongous pole in its arse, swung his club to send yet another warrior flying rag-doll through the air before turning its murderous attention to the barbarian holding the pole.

Suddenly the giant monster seemed to come up with something brilliant, its ugly face slowly stretching into a wide grin. The Gargant sat down upon its assailant with a thud that shook the ground, crushing the hapless barbarian warlord under the immense weight of its hairy backside. Once the creature slowly picked itself up from the ground a gory mound of crushed steel emerged, marking the not-so-glorious end of Balfrik Steelshanks.

Realizing the danger their sorcerous master was facing all alone, the Marauders abandoned their defensive position to rush to Izazel's aid. Howling like wolves on the hunt, the bare-chested barbarians fell upon the frightened grots, hacking away with their axes of dark-forged steel.

Upon the hill the Troggoths once again unleashed their secret weapon, projecting streams of vomit on the two remaining Chaos Knights. Even as their armour and flesh melted away the knights were pounded to the bloody ground by mighty fists and clubs, a brutal and unpleasant end even by barbarian measures.

Izazel took a few more steps back towards the ruins behind him as he saw his cavalry slaughtered to the last. He still had the majority of his warriors left on the field but an awful fear started gnawing at the edges of his twisted consciousness, caused by the loss of his most valuable fighters...

Having disposed of the nuisance in its back, the Gargant then finished off the remaining Chaos Warriors, sweeping two of them from the woods with his tree trunk. The last warrior it picked up, grasping the man with both hands to tear him in twain.

The Marauders were engaging the spearmob in a whirling melee, axes cutting down those who were too slow to dodge the strikes. Crooked spears darted out from the grot ranks, catching careless barbarians in throats and chests, while the Troggoths reached down from the hill and managed to cave in a couple of blond heads with their clubs.

Izazel saw the peril of his followers and joined the fray, chanting strange words to send a bolt of blue fire from his outstretched hand even as the walked towards the fighting. The crackling bolt crashed into the grots' flank, incinerating two of the little creatures immediately. Izazel leaped into the midst of brutal combat, smashing enemies aside with his staff and slashing at them with his runesword.
Despite all his efforts the tide of battle was turning against his warband, with Marauders dying in swathes to the brutal advance of the Troggoths and the jabbing spears of the greenskins. There was little Izazel could do but send a silent prayer to Tzeentch that he would yet prevail and find the hidden artifact that lay hidden within these ruins.

Behind the gnarled forest the Grot Shaman finally returned from his voyage in the clouds. Blinking his dry eyes the green spellcaster tried to make sense of the blurry battlefield. As soon as it realized that the fight was still hanging in the balance, the shaman pulled out yet another mushroom from his belt. This time it received a sudden surge of magical energy instead of toxic hallucinations, beginning to dance and chant in a high-pitched voice.

The skies cracked and split as the shaman worked its spell, and a spectral leering moon appeared in the clouds above the battlefield. Izazel realized what was going on and immediately begun to mutter a counter-spell, but it was too late. The grinning moon in the sky begun to glow bright and green, sucking the life-force of the remaining Marauders from their bodies. Izazel managed to partially protect himself from the enemy magic but he could still feel his mortal form weakening rapidly. As the lifeless corpses of the last of his followers hit the ground in puffs of dust, the sorcerer too fell to his knees.
"I have been bested by a dirty group of these lowly creatures, what an embarrassment..."  he muttered to himself as two grots approached behind their flimsy shields, both intrigued and terrified by the beaten mutant.

A gentle gust of wind blew through the now-silent ruins, raising clouds of dust from the ground where it was not soaked in blood. As the Troggoths were slowly lumbering towards him, Izazel knew what would be his fate. He could hear the growl in the beats' stomachs. Soon three streams of bile covered the sorcerer's kneeling form, melting him away in an instant.

On the dark hill stood a small form observing the last moments of its adversary. He was Azrod Gitdoom, Warboss of the "Grinnin' Gits" moonclan. Seathing his rusted blade which he had not actually used even once during the whole battle, the grot general reached into the depths of his black robe. Azrod pulled out a golden amulet with delicate inscriptions on its glowing surface and kissed it fondly.
"Ye'll be me new lucky bit, I's so happy I founds ya dis mornin'. I's just wonderin' if yer wot da creepy 'umies were after, too..." he muttered before putting the Amulet of Protection carefully back into the folds of his shabby cloak.


A truly enjoyable game, that one!

It all ended up in a victory for the Moonclan Grots despite everyone's expectations, and quite a clear victory at that. The greenskins scored a total of 28 Victory Points from the objectives as opposed to 19 of mine. Even though I managed to snatch the objective in their deployment zone for the last two turns the Moonclan player had accumulated too many points for me to catch up with him anymore. This was much due to the Destruction Allegiance abilities my opponent had access to, as well as the fact that he got the first turn in the first battleround.
With so many movement bonuses he managed to immediately claim three objectives which I had to fight several rounds for to start accumulating any points myself! I also didn't expect the immense killing power of buffed-up Grots as his spearmob mowed through my Daemon Prince and damaged my Knights severely, then rushed to claim the high-value objective on my zone just before the game's end.

It was a close game for the most part, as no clear victor emerged until the two final rounds. In the middle of the game it seemed my Slaves to Darkness would surely wipe out his remaining forces but this time fate (and the Dice Gods) decided otherwise!

I hope you enjoyed reading my 13th Narrative Battle Report as much as I enjoyed playing and writing it!

maanantai 3. lokakuuta 2016

Campaign: Beginner's Path to Glory v1.2 Update


Back here once again with a short post to deliver you the second update of my Beginner's Path to Glory -campaign, adding two new factions and applying some minor changes in the wording. Nothing major!

This time around it was turn for Ironjaws and Sylvaneth to get the treatment of being added to this campaign format. As always, both factions have scaled-down Follower charts as well as tables for Naming Your Heroes.

The minor changes I mentioned were the following:
- In the Stormcast Eternals Follower-table the option of 3 Decimators was changed to 3 Paladins instead, offering greater variety in the armament of the models
- The Greenskinz Naming Your Heroes -chart went through some changes, mostly to make some of the name combinations a bit more "orky"

Here's the link: Beginner's Path to Glory v1.2


lauantai 1. lokakuuta 2016

The Tale of Carnaghinians

Hi folks!

My recent posts have been all about the new campaign I created but this time I'll present you with something else. Worry not, though, as I'll still keep updating the campaign with more factions just as I promised!

I personally long to write up a Narrative Battle Report once again but thus far I've failed to get in a decent game of Age of Sigmar that I could turn into such... I truly hope this will change soon.

So, to let the Beginner's Path to Glory rest for just one moment I wrote up a short story about some of the newer models on my painting table, just to give you something to read while... well, doing whatever you're doing right now. Enjoy!


The Tale of Carnaghinians

Dusk was slowly settling over the small village of Carnaghan, painting the sky as orange as the savannah that surrounded the cluster of clay huts and houses which made up the village centre. A column of two dozen mounted men was snaking its way through cracked hills and twisted trees, heading for the village. Warm light glittered off breastplates and shields, bathing the men and making some remove their helmets to better catch the last rays of the twin suns that were descending behind the mountains.

“Ghur can be beautiful at times, but let us remember it also poses many dangers to the unwary,” Lieutenant Hansen called out to his subordinate riding next to him. Nothing but the clatter of their horses’ hooves on the hard-packed road could be heard in the warm evening air.
“Aye, it looks nice and peaceful to the eye but something about this tranquillity always makes my guts turn rounds…” the man replied, eyeing the dusty orange landscape while grasping the leathery handle of his sword tightly.
“This is the last village today, Karl,” the Lieutenant said, frowning at his mate. “You just can’t enjoy a peaceful patrol, can you?”
The sergeant turned away from his superior, gazing at the two setting suns in the distance.
“No, sir, it appears I don’t.”

As the soldiers turned the last slight bend of the dirt road they could finally see the village. A dry trotted path lead straight into the village market, surrounded by huts and houses of clay, leather, wood and turf. Small groups of people emerged on the roadside, their curious dark faces marked with white dots and lines, the traditional skin paint of the Carnaghinians. A lone figure dressed in a green tunic approached the patrol with his hands spread wide.
“The warmest of welcomes to you, good freeguilders!” the man smiled, revealing a line of white teeth. “How may I be of service?”
“Evening, Chimeka. How are things here in Carnaghan?” the Lieutenant said while pulling his horse to a stop and then carefully dismounting, aware of the many curious eyes that followed his every move.
“Oh, things are well here! Our hunters have been most successful in the last weeks, carrying home bigger prey each day, thank Sigmar,” the man called Chimeka replied happily, signalling the soldiers to follow him. “Come with me and I’ll show you!”

The freeguilders dismounted and left their horses to the villagers to be taken to the stables for food and water before following their leader into the streets of the village. On the market square there was a huge canvas drawn over a nine-foot object standing in the middle of the clearing, surrounded by makeshift wooden frames and ladders. As Chimeka and the soldiers passed the market, the Lieutenant’s eyes were drawn to this peculiarity.
“Why is it that your village totem is all covered up like that? Are you adding an ancestor to it or what…?” Hansen asked casually while adjusting the leather strips of his left hand’s bracer on the go.
“There was a storm not too long ago and a lightning struck our beloved totem, shattering the topmost ancestor. The whole thing is now under repairs, but the progress is slow as the men are always busy these days,” their dark-skinned guide replied while leading the freeguilders through yet another small path between houses.
“Busy doing what? I thought you lived a peaceful life here now that you finally reached peace with the raiding Berhanu-tribe last month,” sergeant Karl put in from behind them.
“Erm… we didn’t actually manage peace with them. We destroyed them,” Chimeka confessed without looking at the soldiers. “We destroyed them in a war, razed their village and slew their warriors to the last.”

The freeguilders fell silent. Even the relaxed chatter in the back of the patrol died away. Only wind blew through the narrow streets as they trotted towards the warehouse on the edge of the village.
“I see…” Hansen began. “I believe you had no other choice then. Congratulations on your victory.”
It was not unusual to the region’s human tribes waging war against one another, but the destruction of such a large tribe as the Berhanus in the hands of the much smaller Carnaghinians seemed odd at the very least. The lieutenant cast a sideways look at his sergeant, who returned the concerned gaze.

Finally the men arrived at the warehouse. A low but wide clay hut with a sturdy roof of dried wooden planks stood right next to the palisade wall that marked the edge of the village. Two Carnaghinian warriors stood at the canvas door, leaning on their spears.
“Take a look inside, you’ll be amazed!” Chimeka urged the Lieutenant with a proud smile on his face. Without a word Hansen ducked slowly and entered the hut, grasping the scabbard of his sword to keep it from hitting the ground. It took a moment for his eyes to adjust to the darkness, but what he saw left him speechless.

Rows upon rows of fresh meat hanging from the roof, packs of recently skinned fur and leather against the back wall, assortments of animal bones on the floor and baskets of gold and trinkets right in front of him, nearest to the door. It seemed the Carnaghinians had accumulated considerable wealth since Hansen’s last visit only a couple of weeks ago. Shaking his head in disbelief, the lieutenant stepped out back into the warming rays of the twin suns.
“That’s… admirable, to say the least!” he managed, making Chimeka’s smile even wider than it was before.
“I know, I know! Our tribe’s been finally blessed after the years of hardship and suffering we’ve gone through,” the guide laughed. “We thank Sigmar for answering to our fervent prayers!”

Hansen tried to smile himself. The happiness of the man seemed so touching, so genuine. As they walked back to the village market listening to Chimeka’s stories about the recent successful hunts, a sudden thought crossed the Lieutenant’s mind.
“Chimeka, I’m sorry to interrupt your story-telling but I’ve got a question for you.” The dark-skinned man fell silent and nodded.
“You never answered my good sergeant’s question earlier. Why are your men too busy to finish your totem’s repairs? I thought the icons of your ancestors were of great importance to your people,” Hansen asked. The relieved look on Karl’s face as the question was presented revealed that the matter had been pressing the sergeant’s mind the whole evening. The other soldiers seemed curious, too, forming a loose circle around Chimeka to hear the answer themselves. The guide looked nervous.
“I… urrr… We’ve got a lot of hunting and skinning to do, and counting the trophies from the war certainly takes time…” Chimeka stuttered, unsettled by the attention of so many armed freeguilders.
“But why do you have to hunt so bloody much? Your tribe isn’t that populous and the meat in your warehouse will sustain you all for weeks if salted properly,” Hansen demanded.

The lieutenant’s tight voice unnerved one of the younger soldiers who loosened his sword in its scabbard. The rasp of metal on metal made Chimeka twitch suddenly, startled by the sound. Hansen signalled slowly with his left hand, telling the youngblood to stand down.
“What are you jumping about, Chimey? We’re all friends here,” he said while looking the guide deep into the eye. He put his thumbs under his belt and moved his weight on his left leg in order to look relaxed and confident. He only managed the latter.
“Come on, matey, cough it up!”
“We’ve got a guest here in Carnaghan… ehm… a stranger who arrived last week,” Chimeka said, picking his words with care. “He eats rather lot.”

“Is that so…?” Hansen cast a quick look at his sergeant before letting his gaze wander around the empty marketplace. It was almost dark already and the freeguilders were shifting nervously. “And where might this guest be at the moment? Why are you keeping him here if he eats as much as the rest of the village put together?”
“We… errrmmm… he came here wounded, looking for aid… we offered him shelter and let our healer tend to his wounds. He promised to reward us as soon as he was in good condition again,” Chimeka explained, rubbing his sweating hands together. “He promised us good fortune in both hunting and war, just what our people needed the most. The strength to survive.”

Sergeant Karl stepped closer, holding his finger mere inches away from the man’s face.
“A man promising luck in return for saving his life? What in Sigmar’s name made you trust a stranger making such empty promises?!”
“The promises were not empty, good sir!” Chimeka cried out with tears in his eyes. “You saw it yourself, we defeated the Berhanus and we have more food than we can eat! Come, I’ll introduce you to him if you wish…” the guide continued, pushing through the press of soldiers to approach a large hut at the furthest corner of the market clearing. The freeguilders gazed at each other with grim expressions before following their officers and the nervous guide. As they approached the hut, villagers began to show up from the twisting streets, first in ones and twos but soon in groups of dozen.

Chimeka stopped at the ramshackle plank door of the wooden hut.
“He seems to be asleep. Shall I wake him?” the guide asked, seemingly encouraged by the presence of the stranger.
“Oh many thanks for the offer, Chimey, but I think I’ll handle this,” the Lieutenant said, over-emphasising the politeness of his tone. “Dietrich, a rifle if you please.”
A soldier behind him snapped to attention and placed a thick-barrelled handcannon in the Lieutenant’s outstretched hand.
“Step aside, friend,” Hansen commanded Chimeka while walking up to the door. The guide took three small steps away from the hut, never averting his gaze from the freeguild officer.

With the eyes of almost a hundred villagers and two dozen of his own men on him, the Lieutenant drew back the wheellock of the rifle with a soft click, took a deep breath and slowly opened the door to the hut.
There was dark inside, except for a lone fireplace in the middle that cast a weak yellow light on its surroundings. Bones and half-eaten meat lay on the floor, with splatters of blood here and there.
Hansen quickly swept the walls of the hut, gazing around along the barrel of his gun, but saw nothing of note. He took another step in and let the door close behind him. Outside he could hear the nervous chatter of his men. The hut seemed empty except for the bed of rushes in the furthest corner. He could feel his heart pick up pace, his breaths became shallow and sharp, almost like there was something stuck in his throat.
Something moved in the corner. Straining his eyes in the dark and ignoring the pumping he felt up in his temples, he could make out a figure laying on the bed. It was huge.

Hansen took a deep breath and lifted his rifle up to his eye-level.
“Morning, beautiful!” he called out with a determined voice, making the figure jump upright into a sitting pose. That was when the light of the fireplace hit the stranger’s face and the Lieutenant could see. A bald, scarred head with a vicious grin and gleaming red eyes, topping a huge body of a giant man rippled with muscles and scars. On the stranger’s forehead a blood-red mark could be made out in the dim light, a mark that Hansen knew all too well. The mark of Khorne.

Outside the soldiers waited anxiously as their officer disappeared into the hut. The villagers around them shuffled closer and closer as moments passed, gaining confidence with every passing heartbeat. The youngest of the freeguilders had slowly bunched up together, eyeing the approaching villagers suspiciously, while the veterans were chatting amongst themselves in low tones.
Sergeant Karl strained to pick up any sounds from the hut indicating that he should rush in to aid his superior, while at the same time keeping an eye on the villagers. Why where they so timid? He had participated in patrols into this village for several years now and he knew almost every person who lived here. He had learned to know the Carnaghinians as an open and lively people with rich traditions, but this time they all seemed to be frightened by the presence of armed Freeguild men. What was going on?

That was when he heard shouted words from the hut, followed by the loudest of gunshots. The patrol immediately bared steel, drawing their swords and priming their handcannons with drilled efficiency. The sergeant drew his longsword in one fluid motion and sprinted up to the hut door, only to be cut off by grinning Chimeka.
“Move aside, Chimey, or I swear I’ll put a blade in your belly!” Karl roared at the guide while slamming the cross-guard of his sword into the man’s face. Chimeka fell to the dusty ground with a bloody nose, but rose up quickly with a rusty dagger clenched in his palm. The sergeant had already kicked in the plank door and was stepping inside when the guide grasped his helmet, drew his head back and opened his throat from ear to ear.

In an eyeblink shivs of bone, flint and iron appeared in the hand of every man, woman and child on the market square as they descended upon the surrounded freeguilders, stabbing and screaming ferociously. For a moment loud booms of blackpowder weapons echoed in the darkening market alongside the metallic clash of weapons, only to be drowned by the silence of the night. Warm wind blew in the streets, raising up clouds of dust that blended into the darkness that settled once the suns were both slumbering behind the mountains in the distance.

Chimeka was breathing heavily. His gaze was locked onto the prone form of the sergeant that lay before him on the ground, lifeless. What he had done, he had done for his tribe, but somehow the slaughter of the soldiers that had kept his people safe for decades made him feel sick. He came aware of the warm streams of blood that flowed in between his fingers holding the rusty dagger, making Chimeka shudder and drop the ugly weapon to the dusty ground.
Then a shadowy form came out of the hut, stepping over the lifeless body in the doorway to stand before the confused guide.
“Well done, all of you. Khorne will be pleased…” the Stranger’s voice rang in the night, loud and low.
“Fetch your warriors from hiding and assemble at the totem, the time has come.”

As the Stranger started towards the centre of the market square, Chimeka signalled a villager fulfil the commands.
“My lord… are you injured?” he asked, horrified, as he saw a gaping red hole in the side of the giant man’s neck.
“Khorne has shown me favour as I still live despite the power of the weakling’s cowardly weapon. It is a sign that the time has come for my ascension,” the Stranger replied, speaking slowly with his powerful voice.
Soon they reached the covered-up village totem where dozens of people were taking apart the wooden frames and ladders to pile up bonfires around the market.

The night was pitch black as the bonfires were finally lit and the ritual could begin. The Stranger tore away his rugged tunic, baring the scarred upper half of his heavily muscled body and stepping in between two of the largest bonfires just at the foot of the totem.
“Khorne, all the blood here today was spilled in your name, the slaughter carried out by your devoted servants to gain your favour!” he roared at the skies while slowly drawing a red, jagged blade from his belt.
“Behold this sign of devotion!”

The villagers around the totem tore away the canvas, revealing not the faces of their ancestors but a giant brazen sign of Khorne on top of a pillar of skulls. The whole population of the village was there to witness the event, including the tribe’s warriors that had formed a circle around the Stranger. These men had grown unnaturally in strength and size over the last weeks, making them at least a head taller than any Carnaghinian had ever been, which was why they had been ordered to stay away from the village for the duration of the Freeguild patrol.

The warriors began chanting in a monotone voice, waving axes and knives in the air in a wild dance. The Stranger lifted his cruel blade in the air before grasping it with both hands and burying it into his own chest. The intensity of the warriors’ chanting rapidly increased as the body of the giant man fell face-first to the ground. In an eyeblink, the corpse transformed into a bubbling mound of dark blood that started to grow in size. As soon as gory mound reached a size five times the original one it exploded outwards and the night was filled with a blood-curling howl. In the place of the Stranger now stood a hulking creature of horrible aspect.

Its arms ended up in gaping mouths, from its shoulders sprouted snapping tentacles of bone. Its skin seemed like flowing liquid with bleached skulls popping up here and there, and the creatures head was the grinning skull of the Stranger.

None of the pics used in this post are mine, they're all either from Games Workshop galleries/books or made by various web users such as cynic_pavel, kashivan or wolf_nakomis. The pics are used purely for decoration and I do not claim ownership of any of them.