perjantai 24. helmikuuta 2017

Local League: Final Judgement

Greetings everyone!

This is the last league report for this event, a 2000p special scenario which I attended with a fully painted army! It took a few late nights of hectic painting but I pulled through it with sheer force of will (and a handful of ignored essays...).

Here is the army I brought to the final battle in all its painted glory:

My Aelves couldn't hope to reach the point total without help, so the recently finished Scarlet Sentinels descended from the Azyr to lend some aid!

1x High Warden
1x Archmage
20x Spireguard
5x Reavers
10x Swordmasters
[Guardians of the Dawnspire] -warscroll battalion
1x Lord-Celestant on Dracoth
1x Lord-Castellant
1x Gryph-hound
1x Knight-Vexillor
5x Liberators
5x Liberators
3x Prosecutors
5x Decimators

With this mixed and varied list I faced my opponent, a Beastclaw Raiders player I hadn't yet played against in the league.

The scenario was quite simple: both sides had a tower in their deployment zone with 15 Wounds and a 3+ Save. Ranged attacks only wounded the tower on 6s and even mortal wounds only went through by rolling a 5+. The game would end as soon as either player's tower was completely demolished!

My opponent had a Frostlord on Thundertusk, two Stonehorns with Beastmasters, two Sabrecats and six Mournfang riders. He also had a battalion which I do not recall.

The Beastclaw Raiders got the first turn and advanced boldly to the midfield, his Thundertusk wiping out a unit of Liberators (3 slain by the breath, 2 fled) and one of his Stonehorns ramming into my Reavers and killing them to a man.

The pain was unbearable.

Having lost two full units before even touching my models after deployment, I considered my options. With a Thundertusk in the middle and two Stonehorns rushing towards my already obliterated lines I had little choice but to try and halt his advance.
The Spireguard poured a total of 40 arrows at the Thundertusk (20 with the battalion ability, 20 in the shooting phase) but only managed to inflict a single wound (which the monster regenerated as soon as it got a chance). Even my Prosecutors lobbed their javelins at the creature but their missiles merely bounced off its hide.

Depressed at my inability to harm the 14-Wound enemy general, I formed my remaining Liberators, Spireguard and Lord-Castellant around my tower and cast an Elemental Shield over them with my Archmage for some protection.
My High Warden used his speed to fly around the enemy flank in a desperate attempt to reach the enemy tower. Meanwhile my Lord-Celestant and the Knight-Vexillor hid behind a rocky spire to escape the Thundertusk's attentions.

At least my brave Swordmasters charged into the closest Mournfang unit and managed to kill off one and wound the other rider badly with minimal aelf casualties. Yay!

The Beastclaw Raiders were relentless, however, and slaughtered two of my Prosecutors, breathed 6 Swordmasters off the table (Thundertusk...) with the rest fleeing and grinding half of my Liberators to paste. His other Stonehorn even crushed my hapless Lord-Castellant under an enormous fist, causing the Gryph-hound to lose its mind and actually inflicting a wound on the rampaging monster!

My High Warden glided in to attack the enemy tower and the Lord-Celestant was also teleported there by Knight-Vexillor's once-per-game ability even as my remaining infantry formed up around my own tower to shield it with their bodies. My two heroes managed to beat the enemy building from 15 to 7 Wounds in one combat round and things started to look bright for the Order Alliance.

Alas, it was not to last. His Thundertusk breathed 6 wounds off my High Warden and charged in to skewer the poor soul, leaving only my Lord-Celestant in combat with the enemy building. His Stonehorns killed my Liberators to a man and started grinding away my Decimators and Spireguard that died away in handfuls.

My last Prosecutor inflicted 2 wounds on the enemy building with his javelins and charged in to aid the Lord-Celestant. Together they reduced the enemy tower down to a single wound!
Unfortunately one of his Stonehorns manage to edge close enough while piling in that it started taking chunks out of my building, completely impervious to the arrows and spears my desperate aelves were lobbing at it to fend it away.

With his tower at 1 Wound and mine at 5, everything depended on who got the first turn of the fourth battle round...

As is my typical luck, I lost the roll and his models charged in. My tower was reduced to wreckage with a couple of heavy swings from a Stonehorn and the day was lost.

A major victory for the Beastclaw Raiders.

All I'd have needed was a single swing at his tower and the alliance of Order would've triumphed! But that was not to be, not this day, so I packed my belongings and sat down to see how the other players were faring.
The Skaven player that led the league (one point ahead of me) lost majorly to a Destruction player with a mixed army of Grots, Orruks and Ogors, the end of their battle ushering in the dreaded time of Final League Point Calculation that would determine the final scores of each player.

This league was quite heavily hobby-oriented so there were extra League Points available for painting Warscrolls, having a completely painted army and having all of your models on round bases. I scored the maximum 6 "hobby points" which brought me to a total of 13 League Points, exactly the same total as the Skaven player.

The league organizer brought us dice to break the stalemate; the one who rolled highest would be the winner of the whole league. I silently accepted my defeat already (I roll terribly whenever the stakes are high) and thought that second place isn't bad at all when the Skaven player suddenly turned away from the dice and asked the organizer:
"Which of us had the most hobby points?"
"The Aelf player," was the reply.

The Skaven player then turned to me and held out his hand.
"Congratulations on your league victory!"
I was stunned. I simply couldn't believe what was happening.
He explained that this league was a hobby-heavy one and it was only right that the victory should go to the one who had scored more in painting and modelling .

So it was that I walked out of the league holding the first place on the lists and some valuable loot in my backpack: the Quest for Ghal Maraz campaign book, Khorne Bloodbound Battletome and a 50€ gift-card to the local gaming store! Hooray!

The league was an absolute blast, we had a great group that shared tips and compliments on each other's progress throughout the league and the battles we played were executed in a fun and gentlemanly way. Many were the nights I spent painting my aelves while participating in long hobby discussions on our group chat. I have never finished an army that fast!

With my Aelves now battle-tested I'll be starting a new army which I'll fund with the loot I acquired: Bonesplitterz!
I'll also start looking for the next opportunity to produce a new Narrative Battle Report as those have been in a bit of a decline in the blog with me focused solely on the league. I'll also post a Finished Army -album of my Spire of Dawn Aelves, so lots of varied content to come now that the league is over!

Here are a few close-up shots from the game. Thank you for following my Aelves along their perilous journey!

Stonehorns closing in as the Spireguard brace themselves
My two brave Order heroes battering down the enemy tower
The ranks of the defenders thin at a perilous rate...
With the High Warden dead, the Ogors turn their gazes on the two Stormcast Eternals still assailing the tower...

torstai 16. helmikuuta 2017

Local League: Sneaky Stabbing

Hi folks!

Yesterday we had the fifth game of our local league, leaving only the special 2000p scenario to go before the league draws to an end.
The scenario was a 1000p Three Places of Power and I found myself facing an army of Grots.

I even managed to paint a unit and a half during the week, but more on those at the end of this post!

My opponent had a Grot Warboss, two Grot Shaman, two Rocklobbers, fifteen Wolf Riders, a Wolf Chariot and 40 Grots with bows. Quite a numerous foe for only 1000p, I must say!

My Aelf list was the same as last time as I'd built it specifically for this scenario:

1x High Warden
1x Archmage
1x Loremaster
5x Reavers
5x Reavers
10x Spireguard
1x Repeater Bolt Thrower

I got to pick the table edge and take the first turn, so let's see how this all played out!

I moved my forces boldly into the middle, hoping to cover my heroes' advance and pin-cushion his 4-Wound leaders as they rode in to claim the objectives. My opponent had measured my threat ranges carefully, however, and the only unit I could fire this turn was the Bolt Thrower which loosed a salvo of bolts at the archer Grots (the only unit in range).
12 shots and 10 kills, with 5 more running away in terror. Only 25 left to deal with...

Nevertheless, my High Warden already started scoring me points thanks to his amazing movement value.

On my opponent's first turn he unleashed hell upon my pointy-ears. A unit of 10 Wolf Riders (buffed with +1 Attack, +1 to Wound, +1 to Hit, +1 Rend and +1 Save) crashed into my High Warden and a unit of 5 Reavers along with their wolf-mounted Warboss, dealing 9/10 Wounds to the Warden and wiping the Reavers off the face of the world in one go. Ouch!

As if that wasn't enough one of the Rocklobbers scored a hit on my Bolt Thrower Crew who miserably failed their saves (to be fair it was a 6+) and died away, rendering my artillery useless for the rest of the battle. Double ouch!

The Grot Shaman kept away from the fighting even in the second round, with only the Grot Warboss advancing with the buffed-up Wolf Riders. To preserve my Archmage in the middle and to get rid of his heroes I had my Spireguard fire into his Warboss before charging it, but they only managed to inflict 2/4 Wounds on the little warlord before getting trampled by the Wolves. My High Warden healed a Wound with the Phoenix Stone he carried around and flew away from combat to keep himself alive and in control of the objective. My Archmage and Loremaster both made it onto the objectives too and I now held all three places of power.

Then it all took a sudden turn for the worse. Again. My High Warden took a boulder to the head from a Rocklobber and plummeted to the ground. The Wolf Riders (on steroids) charged and ripped apart my Archmage but not before the defiant spellcaster slew one of the riders and sent three more running away in fear!
My last unit of Reavers got charged by the remaining 20-odd Grot archers and my Loremaster got surrounded by 5 Wolf Riders and 3 Nasty Skulkers. At this point my opponent had one of his Shaman run to the left objective, his Warboss was closing in on the middle one and the other Shaman stood on a hill on his deployment zone casting buffs on his units.

This is what the end of the third battleround looked like. My Reavers were slaughtered to a man and even my Loremaster with his Mystic Shield succumbed to the volume of attacks coming his way. My opponent merely moved his characters onto the objectives and we fast-forwarded to the end of the fifth battleround to count the final score as I had no models left on the table anymore.
Up until the third round the Aelves had been leading the game 7-0, but the last rounds the Grots got to hold all three objectives for a total of 15 points.

The game ended up as 15-7 major victory for the Grots and they barely lost more than ~26 models in total during the whole game. Ouch.

After thinking the game through over and over again in my head I have to say that the death of my Bolt Thrower crew seemed to be a major factor. With them alive for even a few rounds more I could have kept the enemy heroes at bay and severely weakened his Wolf Riders, or perhaps even sniped out his 4-Wound heroes pretty reliably had he rushed them into the fight too early.
I have no choice but to congratulate my opponent for playing admirably well and showing excellent tactical sense with how he handled my pretty effective shooting, movement and even long-range artillery. Of course some very lucky rolls were involved, but it's still a special skill to keep all your weedy Grot heroes alive and kickin' for the whole game while making your cheap, screaming simpletons true comets of destruction!

Next week we play the last scenario at 2000p and the overall winner will be revealed. For now I hold the second spot in the league and prepare my forces for the crucial battle. The Aelves will need some reinforcements to take on this final challenge...

I promised some painting at the end of this post, so here it is, along with a few close-ups from the game itself:

Swordmasters finally finished! Only took somewhere around 9-10 hours so I can call them "speed-painted"
Swordmasters back view. Freehand runes on the flag
During this league I've taken to comparing my High Warden's effectiveness to that of a bullfinch, so here we are
Aelves getting wrecked, a total of 19 wounds worth of hurt taken in one combat
My Archmage and his defiant last stand in which he killed off a wounded Rider and made 3 others flee. Ha!

torstai 9. helmikuuta 2017

Local League: Against the Legion


It is time for my weekly league report. Today we played the second 1000p game with the Gifts from the Heavens scenario (and not Three Places of Power as I had remembered, that's next week) and I got paired with Slaves to Darkness. Interesting!

Here is the army I fielded this time:

1x High Warden
1x Archmage
1x Loremaster
5x Reavers
5x Reavers
10x Spireguard
1x Repeater Bolt Thrower

As you can see from the massive amount of heroes this list was designed to be used in the Three Places of Power scenario, the date of which I unfortunately recalled wrong to begin with. Oh well, one can never be prepared for everything they might face on the field of battle. Such is the nature of war.

The opposing army consisted of a Chaos Lord, a Chaos Sorcerer Lord, three units of ten Chaos Warriors and three Dragon Ogres. Both sides deployed rather widely, preparing for the objective-comets to come crashing down from the heavens on battleround 2. My opponent deployed his Lord and Warriors in one go as a Warcroll Battalion and so got to take the first turn.

The first round saw Chaos moving towards the Aelves under a heavy rain of arrows, the shooting inflicting one wound here and another there across the board. A total of 7 Reavers (from two different units) aimed at the Chaos Sorcerer with their 21 shafts, dealing exactly five wounds and killing off the troublesome spellcaster, while most of the other shooting focusing on the approaching Dragon Ogres to soften them up.
My High Warden and a unit of Reavers charged the Dragon Ogres and managed to kill one, routing a second, to leave only one standing.
On the right flank my other unit of Reavers got charged by a unit of Warriors. Despite having two of their mates slain the unit held their ground thanks to Inspiring Presence, just far enough from the objective to keep it under my control.

My Bolt Thrower brought his Chaos Lord down to 2 wounds with a salvo of shots, and the angry hero charged my High Warden in order to murder his face off with a Deamon-possessed Reaperblade. Luckily that one mighty attack (2D6 Damage) hit but did not wound, after which I had my Warden pour 12 attacks into the Chaos Lord to take off those 2 remaining wounds and slay his last leader.
The lonely Dragon Ogre then got mobbed and the Reavers positioned themselves to charge into the Warriors wading towards my objective, while my High Warden glided straight into the Warrior unit guarding the enemy objective.

In a mad panic I had all my shooting units (except Spireguard) lob their shots at that single unit of Warriors held in place by my Reavers. I just couldn't afford losing the objective on rounds 3 and 4!
The Spireguard spent the whole game loosing their missiles at that one Warrior unit on the left flank as they strode casually through the damned landscape killing two of them over the course of the battle.

The High Warden merrily slaughtered the Warriors guarding the Chaos objective, still leaving one alive to contest it so I received no points from it that turn. My two Reavers units managed to finish off the enemies crawling towards my objective by excessive use of arrow volleys and horse hooves, although taking some serious casualties in return. But my objective was now safe and the enemy's contested so things started to look brighter for the Aelves.

The final turns of the game saw the last unit of Warriors charging into my Warden and trying to wrest back control of the Chaos objective. The griffon weathered all the hits until my Reavers arrived to his aid, and together they slew the Slaves to Darkness to a man in the last combat phase of the 5th battleround.

The final score was 14-5 in favour of the Aelves, a major victory!

Now my army holds the second place in the league, still one point behind the leading Skaven. The next scenario will now actually be that Three Places of Power at 1000p, after which it is time for the final game and the special scenario. Only two weeks left in the league and I have lots and lots of models to paint until the Aelves are finally ready for their final confrontation!

Here are some additional close-up pics from the game:
A unit of five Reavers defending the Aelven objective. Those are Bolt Thrower kills.
The High Warden single-handedly plowing his way through the Warriors guarding the Chaos objective
The Aelven Bunker Hill, deadly, secure and worth hundreds of points
My brave Archmage stood the entire game inside these Sinister ruins
The final confrontation as the remaining Reavers charge in to help their liege

tiistai 7. helmikuuta 2017

Scarlet Sentinels Stride Forth


After a last few evenings of frantic base-painting, I finally present you the Scarlet Sentinels Warrior Chamber in all its glory!

They are the very models from the Starter Set (plus two easy-to-build Retributors) but quite heavily modified to look less celestial and more bestial or outright savage. I also wanted to capitalize their humanity, that despite all their skill, power and the ability to be Reforged they're still mortals who bleed, feel and need (well, at least until they get Reforged too many times anyway), which is why I painted faces for them under their helmets and replaced some of their heads with Space Wolf ones.
I haven't played the army in more than a couple of test skirmishes yet, but now that they're all painted up I think I'll start writing them a storyline of narrative battle reports as they seek to purge all evil from the Realm of Beasts!

Before we delve any further into the units and models, here's the background story of the army:

Scarlet Sentinels, the Lost Host of Boremund

A stormhost of Stormcast Eternals that God-King Sigmar cast into Ghur, the Realm of Beasts, to reclaim lost Realmgates and to establish a foothold for later invasion. Lord-Celestant Boremund led his Scarlet Sentinels on a victorious campaign across the Blackfeet Plateau, reconquering many Realmgate sites and driving hordes of savage beasts and Chaos worshippers out of the region.He personally laid the first stone in the construction of an imposing fortress that was carved into one of the majestic Frostmist Mountains to uphold and enforce all he had achieved, until such time that his Lord and Maker would send more Stormhosts to aid in properly reclaiming the Realm.
Time flew past without any sign of reinforcements. The war raging in the Realms of Fire and Life had the full attention of Sigmar and his allies.From the safety of their impregnable Frostmist Citadel the Scarlet Sentinels guarded their achievements and defended the retaken Realmgates against savage invasions from orruks, brayherds and forces of Chaos time and again, but little by little they lost ground as their numbers dwindled too fast to be replaced in time by the time-consuming Reforgings in the Realm of Azyr.The last reports from Boremund and his legions were received just before their fortress was besieged by a massive Chaos warhost intent on leveling it to the ground. No word has since been received from the Scarlet Sentinels...
...until this day. Now the Lost Host of Boremund has appeared once more, battered but determined. Their mission is still as clear as the Twin-Tailed Comet of Sigmar in the vastness of the skies: to take and hold key locations in the Realm of Beasts until their Maker sees fit to release them from their duty!

First up is the bulk of the whole force, Scarlet Legionnaires!
Led by two Primes, Rorik and Erlendur, these brave Liberators are ready to take on any who would seek to undo their master's achievements. Their hammers were cut off and replaced with Ogor blades, Bullgor maces, Freeguild halberds and Beastmen axes for some more savage weaponry. In game terms they're armed with Warblades, a Grandblade and a Grandhammer. Lion heads from Highborn chariots and capes from Chaos Marauders were attached to shields and shoulderpads for some fur.

Then the Prosecutors!
Their hammers were replaced with Bullgor shields and Ungor spears to represent Stormcall Javelins and Sigmarite Shields, and their wings were magnetized for ease of transportation.

Clipped off the hammers of the Retributors to transform them into brutal-looking team of grisly axemen with some Bullgor weapons.

Knight-Vexillor Mance.
The Lord-Relictor model quickly changed into a howling bare-headed banner bearer. The flag is from an Orruk kit while the axe I believe came from Bestigors.

Lord-Castellant Davos and his loyal Gryph-hound Nymeria.
This model looks so absolutely beautiful that I dare not touch it with my conversion tools. I settled merely to paint him a face instead of a grim face-plate. Really like this model and his ability mechanics on the battlefield!

Last but not least the warlord of the Stormhost, Lord-Celestant Boremund and his faithful Dracoth mount Wyllis.
With a Sigmarite Thundershield from a Bullgor kit and a powerful Thunderaxe (from I-don't-recall-where, but the comet on top is from the Greatswords set), this model is ready to wreak havoc among the enemies of the God-King and restore order to Ghur.

"The cleaved head no longer plots, the severed arm cannot fight back. So shall my thunderaxe make peace, one stroke at a time."
- Decimator-Prime Thetaleas, Astral Templars

torstai 2. helmikuuta 2017

Local League: Fitful Fate


The league has now reached the halfway mark and we played the first 1000p game with the Border War scenario. I assembled the rest of my Aelves and resolved to give the Guardians of the Dawnspire -battalion a try by fielding all the models from the Spire of Dawn plus some extra footmen. Let us take a look at the army!

 Here they stand in all their glory. I boosted the numbers of the Spireguard by another 10 models to bring my points total up to 980p with the following list:

1x High Warden
1x Archmage
5x Reavers
20x Spireguard
10x Swordmasters
[Guardians of the Dawnspire]

The battalion gives my Archmage and his Swordmasters the Swifthawk Agents keyword and enables one unit within 16" of the High Warden to move or shoot in each hero phase. It's not bad for its cost and that keyword-buff really helps out as the Spireguard only count as Battleline if my army has the Swifthawk Agents allegiance (which I'd obviously lack if there were Eldritch Council units hopping about!).

The game I played was against the brand new Disciples of Tzeentch but luckily I bought the Battletome last week and I've been studying them thoroughly since then, making me aware of their various tricks and twists. Here's what the board looked like as we started out:

The opposing army had 20 Kairic Acolytes, 20 Pink Horrors, a Lord of Change and 3 Screamers of Tzeentch. The match-up seemed interesting from the start and I prayed through the entire aelven pantheon asking deliverance from the magical fires that would soon engulf my ranks!

So it was that the minions of the Great Schemer took the first turn of the first round and set about capturing the objectives. Buffs and Command Abilities flew this way and that as the foe ran to the centre of the field. I spent my own turn advancing with everything I had, the High Warden charging his Screamers on the right-hand objective and my Reavers thundering into the Kairic Acolytes while loosing volleys of arrows. The now-famous champion of the Spireguard, Imladrik Beastbane, was promoted to lead a whole legion of warriors who peppered the enemy Horrors as they strode towards the centre.

My Reavers got pulverized in the following turns by a fusillade of arcane fire that the Lord of Change summoned forth, although luckily they gave the Acolytes a battering before getting turned to ash. The arrows of the Spireguard (20 in the hero phase, 20 in the shooting phase) and the fact that both of the terrain pieces in the middle were Mystical (rerolling wound rolls if things go right) weakened the Pink Horrors enough for my High Warden to plough through the Screamers and right into them, using his 6" pile-in to capture the objective on the enemy zone before tearing the remaining Horrors apart!

As one might expect, this didn't please the Lord of Change who promptly obliterated the poor griffon rider in a cascade of multicoloured fire that sucked my poor Warden's soul into the Realm of Chaos...
But the damage had been already done. My Swordmasters rushed in to chop at the bird-daemon and capture the other mid-field objective while my excessively sweating Archmage did his best to turn aside enemy sorceries and blows with his Elemental Shield.

The Kairic Acolytes charged in to remove the discomfort my Swordmasters were causing the Lord of Change but got swiftly put down by the lightning-fast aelven greatblades, leaving the enemy general alone with only four ragged cultists to accompany him.

The Swordmasters held firm under the spells and blows of the creature despite losing four of their number to the daemon's wrath. Had it not been for my over-employed Archmage and a few lucky 6s the unit would've been gone in short order!

Imladrik's Spireguard fired off one last volley that cut down the remaining Acolytes before charging in to take down the final enemy. The Swordmasters swung first and, as they had already dealt 7 wounds in the last combat phase, they now took the Lord of Change down to his final wound. After failing to kill any of the Spireguard around him the badly wounded enemy general was finally brought low by a thicket of aelven spears.

The game ended on battleround 3 with a 17-10 scoreboard, meaning a major victory for the Aelves!

With a current total of 4 League Points my Aelf army is in the top-three on the lists, tied with the Greenskins and one point short of the leading Skaven.
The next game will be a 1000p Three Places of Power, followed by the third 1000p match and then the final 2000p special scenario.

I absolutely failed to paint any aelves this week so now I'll have to pick up the pace if I'm ever going to finish this project in time. 
Thanks for reading, keep the thumbs up for these brave plastic souls!

keskiviikko 1. helmikuuta 2017


"I say we muster our might and strike now, the beasts must be taught a lesson!"
"Direct assault is a senseless tactical maneuver, imagine the losses we'd suffer!"
"We must spend more time thinking on this, if we..."
"Oh shut yer mouth Thorlek, ye've always been such a beardling anyway!"

There was a great commotion around the wooden table over which Ungrim had laid the maps of the surrounding region as his thanes argued over strategy. He was content to let them go through with it, to vent their frustration and rage before ultimately falling in line to obey the Lord Commander of the Iron Company. There was much grumbling, insults, beating of the table and pulling of beards but that was just the way of the duardin. When Thane Balik tried to climb on the table with a foaming mouth, however, Ungrim saw it best to put an end to this wrangling.

The debates died away quickly as the Lord Commander's voice boomed in the room, with only a couple of grumbled words still mumbled silently into beards.
"Had enough of your chatter? Good. Come forth, Morek, and tell us what are your thoughts on this. You were there, after all," Ungrim called out, softening his voice as he addressed the thane across the map-strewn table.
Thane Morek Furrowbrow took a step towards his liege, the lamp that hung from the roof illuminating the scarred skin on his bare arms where troggoth vomit had once struck.
"The greenskins are dug-in good in the ruins of Bochenfels, m'lord. The horde suffered significant casualties during the siege but they can still fend off armies twice their size thanks to the formidable defenses of the city," Morek reported, bowing his head.
"I say there's no sense in running headlong at the fortifications like the greenskins did. Just a terrible waste of duardin lives."
"Don't be such a rinn, Furrowbrow. As soon as we march to the gates that mindless monster will run out head-first to meet us on open ground!" Thane Balik laughed, slamming his palm onto the table and toppling one of the stone figures standing on the map, the one that resembled Morek's now-gone warrior band.

Morek reached out and picked up the figure, squeezing it in his fist and opening his mouth to send a salvo of insults but Ungrim spoke up to stop the situation from escalating again.
"You can call the warboss a monster if you wan't Balik, but a mindless one he is not. The plan he used to cover his intentions about the city until the very last was something a regular orruk shouldn't posses the wisdom to do. There's something special about this Urgokh the Chopper, as he's taken to calling himself..."
"So now that thing is a 'he', too? Isn't it enough that our commander praises the tactics of such pests but now speaks of them as if they were his old comrades!" Balik shouted out, gazing around him and trying to seek support from the others. None looked back at the raging thane.
" 'Tis not treason but wisdom to recognize the strengths and weaknesses in one's enemy. Stand down Balik, I've heard enough of your talk. Anyone else?"

"The Ironhold is well fortified and manned by a venerable garrison of greybeards and hearthguard. None could threaten it even if we marched out to seek a chance to break this horde once and for all," stated Thane Thorlek, a general usually known for his passive tactics and love for defensive warfare.
"Aye, we can even spare an artillery column with us. The engineers have been busy in creating the machines of war," agreed Thungni Thundertoe, a relatively young thane clad in the red of the Bronzebeards clan.
"Should the current might of the Iron Company be gathered to any one location there would be very few forces in this realm to halt our advance. My warriors will fight and perish by your side no matter the path we choose to trod in the end," Malakai Smensson joined in, a powerful Slayer Lord that had whole throngs of infamous and respected slayers under his command.
"My rangers have been doing nothing but scout duty for too long now. They desire the glory of a real battle and I'd be more than happy to give them just that. Our crossbows and axes are yours, Lord Ironhelm," Brewmaster Burlok Dorinsson declared and bowed his head.
"And I will call in my champions and their clansmen to join me and my hearthguard in seeking revenge for those who bled and died in the defense of a lesser race." The last oath came from Morek Furrowbrow, his scarred hands still wrapped white-knuckled around the stone figure he had picked up.

Ungrim quickly scanned through the map with his eyes. He had many battalions on the road around the surrounding regions, fulfilling contracts or tracking down greenskin tribes that tried to take root in forests and caves, but the vast majority of Iron Company's strength resided currently at their fortified underground city of Ironhold. They would all return in a matter of weeks if he sent out the message now. Yet he was still reluctant to give in to his thanes' requests to march out with all his might, at least until his long-cultivated plans first came to fruition.
Along with the dwarf statues there were other stone figures standing on the map, sightings of enemy forces and estimates of their numbers. It'd been months since the fall of Bochenfels and Ungrim had kept his scouts watching the city at all times, reporting back to him on a weekly basis. The city was far away although located in the same Realm and required its own map beside the one representing the lands around Ironhold. What concerned Ungrim was the fact that many greenskin tribes around the invaded city seemed to be shifting towards it every week, the orruk figures drawn towards the city's name on the parchment like moths to a flame. No doubt they scented the violent power radiating from Urgokh the Chopper and instinctively moved in to bolster the Waaagh!'s diminished ranks.

Suddenly the wooden door of the war chamber opened and a heartguard sentry announced the newcomer.
"Runelord Agrin Fireheart of the Bronzebeards!"
Ungrim lifted his gaze from the maps. Even his thanes had fallen silent, their endless debates extinguished by the sight of a master of rhun. It was not uncommon for Runelords and their apprentices to be absent for months or even years at a time, searching for ancient knowledge or creating runic artefacts in the lowest, darkest deeps of the hold. For such a respected individual to attend a war council was rare and unexpected... Except for Ungrim Ironhelm.

"Tromm, lord Fireheart," he greeted the ancient one. "What news from your labours?"
The runelord walked up to the table and the thanes moved aside from sheer respect, allowing him to place a fist-sized stone tablet on the map.
"We've done it," Agrin stated. "By the ancestor gods, we have finally succeeded."
A strange fire lit up in the Lord Commander's eyes as he rose from his granite throne, his deep blue cape falling heavily on the floor from his broad, muscled shoulders. On the stone tablet a single rune had been chiseled out, a complicated angular pattern that none of the thanes around them recognized. If one stared at the rune for long enough it seemed to pulse slowly with a golden inner light.
"You have done well, Agrin Fireheart. You and your runesmiths have accomplished something we thought lost to our kind ages ago. You have unraveled the secrets of the ancients and recreated the rune that does the impossible."

All the thanes slowly turned their amazed gazes at the runelord standing before them. The weight of centuries could be seen upon those broad shoulders and in the wrinkles of that weathered face. A pale grey beard flowed magnificently all the way to the floor despite the many clasps and braids that were supposed to gather it up from getting underfoot.
"Gronti-Duraz," the runelord uttered, making even the wazzok thanes understand the enormity of his accomplishment as the words echoed in the room.

Lord Commander Ungrim Ironhelm picked up his runic hammer from where it had rested against his throne and thrust it up in the air to cast a bright radiance over those standing in the gloomy chamber.
"Sound thrice the great horns atop the peak of Ironhold. Send out a call to arms for all our kith and kin and bid them to return to their rightful liege, for the time has come when the Iron Company marches out and strikes down its enemies for good. Khazuk!"
The thanes drew their own hammers and axes as one, raising them high and shouting with such unbarred joy and zeal that their booming warcries were heard even in the lowest deeps where the weary runesmiths stood admiring the result of their work.

"Khazuk! Khazuk! Khazuk!"