Mode: Call of Warhammer Chaos Storm Campaign
Faction: The League of Ostermark
Campaign Difficulty: Medium
Battle Difficulty: Medium
Unit Size: Small
After having a lot of fun playing Warhammer Online and the recent Call of Warhammer mod for Medieval II, I decided to read up on some lore and get a nice AAR going about my latest campaign. I'm not sure exactly how it'll pan out in comparison to other historical AAR's, but I guess that's what makes writing this so exciting! I hope you all enjoy!
Spoiler Alert, click show to read:
The winter cold was harsh, as per usual. Howling wind whipped through the snow-covered forests that dotted the land for miles on end in every direction. The sky loomed in perpetual gray and snow and sleet came down in sheets upon the hibernating land. Such were the winters that fell upon the gloomy northern expanse of the Empire.
Jutting out of the thick blankets of tree cover and snow were anomalies of stone, giant castles and towns that stubbornly withstood the elements of nature's way. From within one of these large stone edifices, a well-groomed man looked out at the storm that brewed around him. He was a man coming off the prime of his life, with a strong thick beard. His hair was beginning to gray, and wrinkles were beginning to form at the crease of his eyes. Yet his eyes blazed with ambition. His work was not yet done. He was Count Wolfram Hertwig. This land he looked over was his land. And as ruler of what was commonly known as the Ostermark, he knew that there was still much work to be completed.
The Elector Count of Ostermark was one of ten that made up the Council of Electors of the Empire he served. As part of the council responsible for the election of the Emperor, Wolfram was a very important figure in the realm of humanity. The Empire stood as the bastion of human strength, dwarfing all other human kingdoms of the known world. The Empire stood as a beacon of hope that humanity could prevail against all others that wished to sieze that power away from them. All manners of monstrosities - from greenskinnned orcs to barbaric savages from the north - lurked through the outer realms, waiting for the perfect time to strike out against the Empire: to crush and dismantle it, and humanity along with it.
Yet, for all the importance Wolfram held, he and his people were never regarded as such. The League of Ostermark happened to be one of the outlying border provinces of the Empire. It was a rural expanse of land with very fertile soil. This made the Ostermark a prime real estate for farming, thus providing much of the Empire's food reserves. But the League's focus on agriculture over urban development often leads the rest of the Empire to consider Ostermark as little more than a backwater full of simpleton farmers. Wolfram seethed at the thought. How wrong they all were. He would prove to them all that the Tertwig dynasty of Ostermark was one worthy of the history books!
For centuries, the armies of Ostermark had successfully warded off invasion from the Greenskin tribes of the World's Edge Mountains to the east, and the armies of Chaos that often led raiding attacks from the north. Ostermark's armies had time and again come to the aid of its fellow border provinces of Ostland and Nordland, and even provided aid to the stoic defenders of Kislev in the north, who served as the first line of defense against Chaos invasion. These successes had often come at a price for the Ostermark. Their armies were often ravaged from constant war against greenskin and Chaos alike. Their whole southern border was greatly depopulated by the rise of the Vampire Counts in Sylvania to the south. Their former capital Mordheim was absolutely devastated my a meteor of dark material known as warpstone.
Count Wolfram contemplated on these losses. The Ostermark had much to gain if the Count played his cards right. As the ever vigilant watch guards of the Empire's eastern borders, the League of Ostermark would rise to glory, overcoming the trials and tribulations that the enemies of the Empire throw against them to one day rival and surpass the might of the Emperor himself! Yes, there was much work to be done. But the Elector Count was not a fool. Wolfram knew he would need help to complete so much work. His mind drifted to his royal council of advisers and generals. The very thought further reaffirmed his vision for Ostermark's rise to glory.
The Royal Family and Council of Advisers
Count Wolfram Hertwig: A man of ambition, Wolfram is a thinker and a planner. He dreams of bringing greatness to his land, and for most of his life he did so as a veteran military commander. Now as Count of Ostermark, Wolfram puts his authority to use as a way to put his plans and dreams into motion. A pious believer of Morr, rather than Sigmar, he’s often seen as a severe ruler at times, especially when his plans don’t go according to plan. His very position as Count of Ostermark doesn’t do much to help his authority over a land often lauded as a backwater. These notions only further drive his ambition to make Ostermark a place of worthy notice throughout all the Empire.
Prince Gottfried Hertwig: Chivalrous, loyal and eager, Prince Gottfried is everything that a father could want out of a son. Young and vibrant, Gottfried has a talent for commanding the armies, just like his father did years before. As heir to the throne, Gottfried too shares his father’s visions for his land and toils day and night to be the hammer and voice to his father’s dreams and wishes. Unlike his father however, he favors neither Morr nor Sigmar, preferring to focus on the tangible variables in life rather than trying to grasp that which he places no faith in.
Nicholas Hertwig: The younger of Wolfram’s two sons, Nicholas is the less favored of the two, as can be noted by his general lack of title in comparison to his Prince brother. Because of this, Nicholas often holds much contempt for his brother’s eagerness to please a father that never bothered to pay much attention to him. Nicholas often vents out such contempt in battle, making him a dreaded warrior who is merciless to his enemies. He too places his faith in Morr, and leads a large unit of Knights dedicated to the god of death at his personal fortress south of Nagenhof.
General Otto Windeck: A loyal friend and old comrade in arms to the Elector Count, Otto Windeck is Wolfram’s prized general and governor of Nagenhof. Neither a figure of chivalry nor of dread, Otto represents the ideal model of a soldier of Ostermark: experienced, battle-hardened, grim and determined to defend the rural pastures of the province against any and all threats.
Marcos Salier: A man of no great standing, Marcos seeks to prove to his Count that diplomacy could offer a more peaceful alternative path to success than Wolfram’s own visions of conquest and glory.
Dieter Damark: A fine graduate member of the Merchant’s Guild of Bechafen, Dieter knows how to make a profit and where to make a profit. Asessing the dangers of the south, he’s an advocate of Count Wolfram’s plans for a southern campaign, firmly believing that rich resources lie in the lost city of Mordheim.
Wolfram snapped out of his trance as a chill wind blew in through the balcony and ran up his clothes. His eyes shot open in a moment of clarity. It was as if his plan was laid out before him. Immediately he assessed the current situation of his province. Ostermark was composed of countless small farms and villages, of which only two settlements were large enough to be of considerable notion to the rest of the Empire: the capital of Bechafen in the north, and the city of Nagenhof further south towards the River Brunwasser. Another town, Grenzburg, lay just north of Bechafen across the River Talabec, in control of rebel soldiers who refuse to accept the sovereignty of the Elector Count. He would have his son Gottfried show them personally the power the Tertwig dynasty wielded as sovereigns of Ostermark.
Looking on further into the long term, the Count continued to contemplate his plans for the League. For centuries, the southern lands of the Ostermark were devoid of life and prosperity, deprived of such after Mordheim fell into ruin. What better way to reinvigorate the provincial standing of Ostermark than to retake what so many others had failed to do in centuries past? With Mordheim and its adjacent settlements firmly in his hands, Wolfram would be well on his way to achieving his visions for the Ostermark. There was much work to be done.
So much work to be done.
Last edited by Thokran; February 10, 2010 at 08:40 AM.
As the snow came down on the fields of Bechafen, a young prince and his bodyguard made their way up the road towards the capital city. Prince Gottfried had ridden hard from Nagenhof the night before upon receiving the summons from his father. It was a very unusual summoning, one that would not have occurred during the cold winter chill unless it was of great urgency. Gottfried hopes for the best, but expected the worse as he and his men finally came to a halt at the city gates. His father was waiting for him.
“Father!” Gottfried called out as he dismounted from his steed and ran forward to embrace the Count. “How is everything in Bechafen? What urgent news have you summoned me for?” “Dire news, I’m afraid.” The Count replied. “Come with me, we have much to discuss.” And so they went, back into the city and up the sleepy streets to the Royal Palace. Within the palace halls, Count Wolfram went over the plans they held for Ostermark, reviewing them one last time before they would be put into action. At last, they reached the Count’s Royal Office. “Alas, this is not what I’ve summoned you here for. Before I tell you however, I’d like you to meet a colleague of mine.” With that, he opened the door to his office and welcomed the man waiting inside. He was young, but bald, a clear sign of a clergyman. He donned thick robes with leather padded armor, and heavy fur boots to notify that he too had been traveling for awhile in the north.
“My son Gottfried, may I present you with Karl, Priest of Sigmar.” Gottfried grimaced internally. He was not a pious man. He felt no sense of hope from religion, yet he knew his father was a devout follower of Morr. Why then, would a Priest of Sigmar be here in Bechafen, holding an audience with the Elector Count of Ostermark? “A pleasure to have finally met you, my Prince.” Karl replied humbly. He was an advisor to the Great Theogonist of the Cult of Sigmar, and as such held a very important role in the affairs of religion. It seemed the Grand Theogonist appointed him to the service of Ostermark to investigate the threats posed against the border-province. Karl however, was often regarded as corrupt for his less than…pious ways of spreading the word of the Grand Theogonist around. “Karl here has a mission for us from the Great Theogonist himself!” The Count exclaimed in delight. “It seems he wants a chapel built.” Gottfried’s face sank inwardly. Against with the piety babble. “A chapel? That’s all?” the Prince began.
“A chapel…in Grenzburg.” Wolfram replied. At once Gottfried understood his father’s intentions. The Prince smiled to show his excitement. Finally, their plans were coming to action! “Of course, father. I will assemble the armies at once to take Grenzburg in the name of Ostermark, and establish this chapel for the Great Theogonist! Though I must ask…what is so dire about this news?” “What’s dire is that this mission be completed with all due haste.” The Count replied. “For the chill in the wind has grown anomalous, and my scouts have reported the worst. Bechafen is soon to be besieged by the locust swarms of Chaos, and the battlements must be manned and ready for such an attack. But we can’t afford to lose this opportunity either. Ostermark must reassert its hold over the Eastern border of the Empire.”
The Count’s words reverberated throughout the empty halls. Indeed, the taking of Grenzburg would be of great importance. If Chaos were coming from the north, and if they do manage to bypass Kislev, then Grenzburg would be Ostermark’s sole buffer zone between the hordes and the capital city. Ensuring a strong northern border would also do much to help in future efforts of re-consolidating the southern provinces of Ostermark. “Very well, my Count. It shall be done as fast as I can possibly muster. For the Empire.” “For Ostermark.” Wolfram corrected him. Prince Gottfried smirked. “For Ostermark!”
Indeed, the preparations were made with lightning speed. The armies mobilized out of Bechafen and within two days were upon the walls of Grenzburg. Prince Gottfried had his men toil day and night on the battering rams. He was planning for a quick siege.
Meanwhile, as the Prince of Ostermark prepared for battle, Count Wolfram busied himself in Bechafen, utilizing his agents in advancing his will upon the province. He sent the young Marcos Salier on a diplomatic mission east to broker aid from the Dwarves of Karak Kadrin. He also spent many of his days within the city’s merchant guild, brokering a deal with the guild to hire one of their best, Fernando Ehter, in managing the trade resources available in the south. A deal was reached and Fernando was promptly sent south of Nagenhof in search of ivory and other potential export goods to revitalize trade in the southern towns and villages of Ostermark.
January turned out to be a very busy month for the count. Shortly after his successful negotiations with the Merchant’s Guild, General Otto Windeck sent word from the south that the famous Tilean Mercenary Captain Bronzino, had taken up residence along with the rest of his regiment in Nagenhof.
Bronzino and his men were a famous veteran artillery battery, of which Ostermark was greatly lacking. Such cannons would make future sieges much easier and require fewer men than the hundreds that his son had taken with him to Grenzburg, thus lowering each town’s vulnerability to attack during an offensive. If Bronzino was looking for work, he had come to the right place. Sending Otto a healthy sum of the national treasury, he assured that Bronzino would serve in the ranks of Ostermark for years to come. One week and five thousand gold coins later, Bronzino’s service to the League of Ostermark was made official.
January soon gave way to February, by at which time Prince Gottfried was ready to take Grenzburg with the might of his army. The Rebels numbered in the hundreds and refused to come to terms with a peaceful surrender. They stood defiant and leaderless against the Prince. Gottfried would make an example out of them all that the League of Ostermark was not to be trifled with!
The sun rose for what seemed the first time in months. It shined weakly, signaling the beginnings of spring. Winter would end soon, and with it the resistance that the rebels within Grenzburg posed. Gottfried lined up his army in front of the main entrance and began the siege.
The ram moved forward at a steady pace, shrugging off any stray arrows that the rebels fired at it. The snow slowed the ram’s advance, but Gottfried’s infantry pulled through, pushing straight through to the main gate. Within minutes the ram was at the walls, battering down the gates to the city.
It didn’t take long for the gate to give way. The ram tore right through the gate, and Prince Gottfried wasted no time in ordering his infantry through the breach. The infantry regiments mobilized, and hundreds of Empire spearmen and halberdiers poured through the gate, clashing head first against the rebel mainline. The clash of steel rung throughout the town as spear met spear and bodies crumpled to the ground in bloodied heaps.
The fighting was fierce. The rebels posed a better fight than the Prince had expected. But they were ultimately pushed back to the town center. With the gateway breach secured, Gottfried moved in with his cavalry, all of them dreaded Black Riders of Morr. While Gottfried cared little for their devotion to a God that he believed didn’t exist, he did value their reputation in battle as dreaded warriors. The very sight of them riding through the streets of Grenzburg struck terror in the heart of the town’s denizens, making them easy prey for their wicked scythes and blades. Prince Gottfried reveled in the blood frenzy as he partook in the silent killers’ massacre.
Meanwhile, the rest of the infantry begin their forward march on the town plaza. Rows upon rows of steel spears and halberds make their way toward the rebels, stopping at nothing to reach their target. Those who got in their way were trampled and impaled. They were an unstoppable legion, hell-bent on crushing the rebel resistance under the hell of their boots.
Between the Riders of Morr laying waste through the side streets, and the main army marching up the main pass, the rebels’ chance of success grew increasingly hopeless. They tried to muster their courage but failed time and again. Slowly but steadily they were whittled down until their backs were pressed against each other, utterly surrounded and helpless to the fate that awaited them all: death. Prince Gottfried led the final charge, flanking an exposed side with a devastating charge that brought the rebels to their knees. Victory was absolute, and Grenzburg fell to the might of Ostermark!
As he had promised his father, the successful capture of Grenzburg was done with great swiftness. Gottfried wasted no time in clearing the dead out and beginning construction on the chapel that the Great Theogonist had requested. He left a sizeable garrison of his best captains within Grenzburg to help govern the town while he returned with the bulk of the army back to Bechafen. He had to report the news of success to his father personally. His father was pleased; greatly pleased. He did not fail in rewarding his son for his endeavors. Prince Gottfried returned to Bechafen, hailed as a hero. The people cheered and chanted his name as they celebrated the province’s first successful expansion in over a century. The Elector Count rewarded him well. He held a grand banquet for the young prince to congratulate his efforts, before announcing the big news to all who attended.
For years, the prince had pined over the lovely Lady Geylevif Kniss, daughter to one of Bechafen’s richest families. As a noble of high standing, she and the Prince often along well, but never had the opportunity to connect further due to the Count’s overbearing and severe attitude toward his son. The Elector Count always reminded Gottfried that he would have to earn his wife through service to his country. At last, Count Wolfram could proudly say that his son had done well for Ostermark, and that on such a grand day, he would bask in glory with a beautiful wife at hand. The arrangements were made and the wedding plans commenced with great jubilation! Ostermark was off to a good start in Wolfram’s eyes. Now to see if everything else would fall into place.
Thank you all, I'm glad you're all interested. Here's the latest update from Ostermark!
Chapter II: The Price of Ambition
Spoiler Alert, click show to read:
Spring came quick to the World’s Edge Mountains. Marcos Salier heaved and panted as he lifted himself up the steep slopes of Peak Pass that led to the famous dwarven stronghold of Karak Kadrin. Karak Kadrin was famous for its Slayers, fanatical dwarves who fought in search of glorious death in battle. It’s because of the near suicidal tactics of the Slayers that Karak Kadrin survived to be the Dwarven Kingdom’s northernmost outpost, having withstood centuries of attacks by Orcs and Goblins alike. They were born warriors, and Ostermark was lucky to haver them protecting the Empire’s eastern border. Thus, it was of great importance that Marcos parlay with the Slayer King to maintain healthy relations with their Dwarven allies. Dwarves weren’t the friendliest lot however, especially Slayers. So when Marcos learned of the success at Grenzburg and Prince Gottfried’s marriage celebrations, Marcos was none too happy. He grimaced inwardly, knowing that he would have to spend his days making nice with a host of disgruntled dwarves while the rest of the province celebrated Ostermark’s latest acquisition.
Most of March was dominated by the lavish wedding preparations. At first, the wedding was to take place in Bechafen, but upon the behest of the Elector Count and the Kniss family, it was relocated to Grenzburg to celebrate the inaugural opening of the town’s chapel. The chapel was built at lightning speed under Prince Gottfried’s superbision by the best masons the province had to offer. Gottfried couldn’t help but appreciate the religious fervor of the hardworking craftsmen. Perhaps there was some practical benefit to piety after all. Ostermark’s show of faith seemed to be more than enough to please the Great Theogonist, who sent his congratulations to the Prince for his efforts in taking Grenzburg in the name of Sigmar and the Empire.
The wedding took place on the eve of April. All the noble families were there to attend such a lavish occasion. Spring was in full effect, as was the prosperity of the year’s upcoming harvest. Many expected the Prince’s marriage to be a prosperous one as well. It was a time of jubilation for all, and the Count made sure that everyone who anyone was there to attend such a grand occasion. Even his youngest, Nicholas Tertwig had been summoned for the marriage. The young warrior made his way up Bechafen’s paved roads towards Grenzburg atop his carriage. He had spent many months holed up away in a fortress, and seeing the rich countryside of northern Ostermark was a sight for sore eyes.
Nicholas had never seen such a lavish spectacle. The wedding was fancy in every sense of the word, but the reception afterwards was downright excessive. The celebration seemed to redirect from Gottfried’s marriage to Wolfram’s personal banquet of victory for Ostermark. All sorts of frivolities were spent on the occasion, to the point that even his brother seemed bewildered with the excess pageantries. Wolfram in comparison seemed to bask in the revelry, chatting it up with the noble lords and his royal advisers. Gottfried made his way through the crowds toward his younger brother. Nicholas greeted his brother warmly. “It’s been awhile, my Prince.” Nicholas began as he shook his elder brother’s hand firmly. “Please, Nicholas. It’s Gottfried. Shall we see what our father is up to?” Nicholas sighed and tagged along. He did not look forward to having words with the Elector Count. Count Wolfram laughed jollily alongside his Minister of Finance, Dieter Damark. The wine was flowing freely through their veins now, as could be seen by their faces. Regardless, the brothers remained presentable. “Ah, my sons!’ The Count exclaimed. “Come, come! Drink some wine, for we have much to celebrate for!” He handed his kin two goblets of wine as he drank down his own in one gulp. “No thanks, father.” Nicholas respectfully declined. His father paid him no mind as he babbled onto Gottfried, which made the younger Tertwig twitch inwardly. His father was always the type to ignore him in favor of his brother, as was expected. But it irked him nonetheless that such a drunk fool could rule the province of Ostermark to such a degree of success. Surely it must have been Gottfried who held things together. Despite the jealousy he harbored toward his brother, he respected Gottfried for his attitude and was proud to have him as a brother. He snapped back into reality as his brother spoke. “Thank you.” He began, taking a small sip of the wine before continuing. “But we are already celebrating as is. What else is there to be so joyful about?” “Do ye not know yet, boy?” Dieter cut in. “My man down south Fernando has done it! He’s gone and made us all rich?” “Rich? What did he find?” Nicholas asked, intrigued at any news pertaining southern affairs.
“Warpstone, my boy!” Wolfram exclaimed. “Just out of sight of Mordheim. Those skaven rats will pay any price for those hunks of rock! And we’ll make a pretty penny off all of them, haha!” Both brothers hesitated at the news. The Skaven were vile enemies of the empire that lurked in the darkest of tunnels. They were obsessed with warpstone and would do just about anything for it. When Mordheim fell, the Skaven flocked to the city’s ruins to harvest the warpstone before the Empire armies cleared out the place. They had gone into seclusion ever since, at least in Ostermark. To make contact with them seemed like…a dubious business proposition. Nicholas voiced his opinion on the subject “Consorting with the Skaven doesn’t sound like the wisest idea to me. If the Empire officials found ou-“ “Who asked for your opinion?” Wolfram snapped. The Count was suddenly very aware and sober of his surroundings, and his tone deathly serious. His eyes bore into those of his youngest, and Nicholas couldn’t help but shrink before him. “No Empire official will know of our dealings. All is being taken care of as we speak. And the gold will be well worth the hassle.” Nicholas remained quiet, as did Gottfried. Despite the great festivities around them, both felt like they were children once again, having been caught sneaking into the armory after curfew, and receiving a stern lecture from their father. Wolfram’s words cut to the bone, his words laced with severity. “But lucky for you, BOY, you won’t have to be around to stomach such dealings. I have something else planned for you. The Council and I have decided that we must continue expanding our borders. Put that little castle of yours to use and muster me up and army. Take Nachtdorf and don’t speak with me until you bring the results of your labors.” Without another word, the Elector Count turned and left. His sons were left stunned. They knew of their father’s severity, but never did they expect it to come out so violently, especially during such a celebration. Truly, all they could see in their father’s eyes was ambition.
The months following the wedding were relatively uneventful. Prince Gottfried remained in Grenzburg to govern over the nascent town. Count Wolfram returned to Bechafen to brood and plot. Nicholas returned south with a small regiment from Bechafen to help bolster his initial military force. On the way south through Nagenhof, he established a series of watchtowers to look over the main trading routes. He was one too pleased with his father, but begrudgingly accepted the mission he was tasked with. Spring quickly came and went, and with the arrival of summer came Ostermark’s annual fairground, which greatly boosted the province’s trade.
The fairground also brought good news from the north. Traders from Kislev were happy to report that the suspected hordes of Chaos had suffered greatly from infighting, which stalled their warmarch south. Supposedly the followers of Nurgle had all but disintegrated while the armies of Tzeentch waged war against the followers of Khorne. Bechafen would be spared another season, which allowed a further reallocation of troops south to Nagenhof, where Nicholas was busy mustering up his siege force.
The extra troops saved Nicholas two months of levying troops. Perhaps now Nachtdorf would be taken before the winter cold arrived. His plan was to meet with Bronzino and his mercenaries south of his castle near the provincial border. From there, they would strike Nachtdorf and tear down its walls without need of a battering ram. Now all he needed to do was to mobilize the armies south.
However, on the march south to Nachtdorf, Nicholas seemed to have a change of heart. For months he mulled over his father’s words. He couldn’t get over the tone in which Wolfram had sent him off. Nicholas was young, abrasive, and full of contempt for his overbearing father. At last, on the eve of battle, he snapped. Wanting nothing to do with Wolfram, he and his bodyguard rode out of camp back to his castle. He was done taking orders from his father. He would revel in his self-exile and do as he pleased within his own walls. The army woke to find themselves leaderless. But already they had gone too far to return. They continued their march south and soon met with Bronzino. They hoped the Tilean would not abandon them as their general did the night before.
Nachtdorf was overrun with Orc remnants of a Waaagh! That had crossed the Ostermark fifteen years past. They were now rebels, having lost contact with their brethren over the years. Still, the greenskins posed a great threat to Bronzino’s men. They were feared warriors who lived and breathed to kill. The provincial army would have quite a fight on their hands. Bronzino wasted no time in laying siege to the walls. His cannons roared as he fired away at the main gates.
The gate came down with ease. But the orcs were quick to fill in the gap. They poured out of the town in droves, charging straight for the cannons. Bronzino ordered his men to fire at will, and his artillery took out a sizeable portion of the horde. But they were coming in too fast. Franticly, he called out for the infantry. At once, the main line charged forth and met the Orcs in battle. A hellish bloodbath ensued as the Ostermark Greatswords rushed into the fray against the Orcish heavy infantry.
The Knights of Morr began mobilizing. On the open field, they were at their best. With momentum, even the Orcs would cringe at the dreadful might of their charge. Their flank devastated, the Orcs begin to crumble.
The battle outside the gates seemed to rage on for hours. Each step forward was like an eternal agonizing forceful inch that was rightfully earned through blood and sweat. At the head of the Empire main line were the infamous Death’s Heads, pikemen veterans from the Vampire Wars against Sylvania. They more than anyone else knew the lay of the land in the southern Ostermark. They thrust forth in tandem, cutting down their foe with unrelenting force. With their help, the infantry line pushed toward the main gates.
The Orcs were a formidable foe. Time and again they would rout, only to charge fearlessly back into the fray. They hacked and slashed like ravenous dogs, cutting down those who were not wary. As the battle progressed through the main gates, Bronzino and his men decided to join the battle personally. The cannons would be useless in such a clustered battle, and any extra sword would help push the Greenskins back.
“Charge!!” Bronzino cried out. “Cut these mongrels down!” The Tilean mercenaries joined the battle at the flanks and began utilizing their swordplay against the Orcs. Bronzino was known for his namesake, and it was his bronze armor that allowed him to brush off a sideswipe from one of the Orcs as little more than a graze. The veteran captain countered swiftly, driving his blade into the heart of the beastly warrior.
Bronzino was a tenacious leader. He kept up with the rest of the infantry, cutting down his own fair share of greenskin scum. The Tilean went toe to toe with the biggest and baddest the Orcs had to throw against the Empire. The Orc General soon entered the fray as well, his intentions clear: to kill Bronzino. “Git’ ova here, littl’un! I’m gunna crush you!” Wodenlega barked, swinging a massive runed blade at the Tilean captaIn’s neck. Bronzino ducked the blow and countered with his own attack. He was impressed with the Orc’s prowess in battle. Hard-pressed to counter, Bronzino put all of his skill and experience to use against the massive foe. At last, after what seemed like an eternity, Wodenlega exposed his flank. Bronzino roared with primal fury as he drove his blade deep into the orc’s side, pushing it up into his chest cavity and effectively ending the general’s life. Unable to pull out his blade, Bronzino took the general’s blade as his own and rallied his troops forth. The gateway was secure. Victory was at their fingertips.
The Orcs slowly fall apart. They collapse into the town center, harassed on all sides by the Knights of Morr. All the while, the Ostermark halberdiers push forward, driving back the Orcs with their spear wall. With their general dead, the orcs make a last stand against the army of Ostermark, fighting to the last orc. Led by the Death’s Heads pike men, the Ostermark infantry tear the orcs apart, sparing none of them in the ensuing slaughter.
By sundown, not a single orc was left alive. The mission was a complete success.The rebels were absolutely crushed, and Nachtdorf fell into Ostermark territory. Within six months, the province had nearly done. The Count would be happy to hear the news, even if it didn’t come directly from his insubordinate son.
Bronzino took residence within the town hall and began the proper governance of the town. Nachtdorf would need a new citizenry, as the Orcs had driven out all the humans when they first occupied the town. It would take time to build Nachtdorf to the same level of cities like Nagenhof and Bechafen. But the blade that Bronzino now possessed seemed to grant the Tilean general some sort of authority. The blade was later recognized as the famous Wyrmslayer Sword of Ulfdar the Berserker, a comrade in arms of SIgmar himself. How such an ancient weapon fell into Orcish hands no one knew. What they did know though, was that Bronzino had led them to victory, and that he earned the blade for himself. Ostermark could trust the Tilean to lead them to victory. They trusted him now to lead Nachtdorf to prosperity.
The capture of Nachtdorf came in the middle of summer, on the eve of Ostermark’s yearly harvest. The harvest was neither plentiful nor scarce, and it provided a sense of economic stability throughout the province. The harvest also brought the great circulation of news amongst the Imperial Provinces. So it came to no surprise that when news reached Altdorf of Ostermark’s latest acquisition, the Great Theogonist made a solid effort to continue spreading the faith throughout the border regions. Karl the Corrupt traveled to Nachtdorf to deliver the message.
“Lord Nicholas Hertwig!” Karl called out at the town gates. “I am here bearing an important message for Lord Nicholas Hertwig!” “I’m afraid you’ll not find him here, acolyte.” A gruff voice emerged from across the gateway. Donned in his armor, Bronzino walked up to Karl and saluted the servant of Sigmar. “I am Bronzino, the commanding officer in control of Nachtdorf. Is there anything I can do for you?” Karl seemed perturbed. What happened to Nicholas? Why was he speaking with some Tilean merc dog from the military dredges? Had the noble lord fallen in battle? “May I ask where Lord Hertwig is?” “The army has reported that he’s holed up in his castle in the north, across the River Blut.” Bronzino replied bluntly. Clearly he was none too happy with the Lord’s decision to abandon him in the siege of Nachtdorf. “He took no part in the siege. Instead, he chose to abandon us in battle in favor of marrying his mistress.”
Karl was left speechless. Could he possibly believe the words of a mercenary? A son of a lord was not allowed to marry without specific consent of the Elector Count, at least under Wolfram’s rule. If the news was true, then the Elector Count would surely see it as a sign of rebellion from his son. He decided to verify it himself. “I see…I am here merely to pass on the Great Theogonist’s message. He mandates the construction of a chapel within this settlement to help continue spreading the word of Sigmar across the border provinces, especially one so close to the dark hills of Sylvania. I’ll be off now to verify your claim, and I fully expect the chapel to be constructed in all due haste, yes?” Bronzino smirked. “Yeah, sure thing. We’re actually trying to rebuild the roads and infrastructure right now, so we can get supplies and reinforcements down here faster, but we’ll consider building your pretty house somewhere along the line too.” The mercenaries chuckled aloud, and even the rest of the provincial army under Bronzino’s command couldn’t help but smile. “You have a good day, now!” Karl turned and left without another word, grumbling in discontent. He was not fond of Tileans, nor of being made fun of. “Damn mercs."
The harvest was going well for Ostermark. The fairground was coming to a close and the province and reaped in a solid profit. Count Wolfram chose to expand his military arm further with the profits, training a regiment of pistoliers into his service. They were young and daring soldiers, eager to fulfill the wishes of their lord, just like Wolfram wanted them to be. As he watched them march around the streets of Bechafen with admiration, another man came up to him from behind, interrupting his perpetual plotting. “Milord.” The servant began. “The acolyte of Sigmar has arrived with important news from the south.” “Good. Let him in, then.” The Count was shortly reunited with Karl the Corrupt, who looked worse for the wear after a haggard trip up and down the province. “So what news do you bring me?” “Dire ones, I regret to admit.” At this the Count became concerned. Had his southern efforts failed him? “It seems…” Karl continued. “that your son Nicholas Hertwig abandoned his duties to the province in order to marry within his castle without your consent.” Karl could see the Elector Count’s eyes seethe with fury at the knowledge that his plans had not gone perfectly according to plan. He continued his report, in hopes that it would raise the Count’s spirits. “But despite this setback, the siege of Nachtdorf was successful. The Tilean Bronzino and his mercenaries command the troops down there, having led the army to victory.” “I see…” Wolfram began. “Dismissed. Call in Dieter.” Karl watched warily as the Count paced. Clearly he was mixed over the news. His son’s betrayal of duty surely vexed him, but he seemed pleased enough that Nachtdorf was captured. Following the Count’s demands, Karl left the room, only to be replaced by Dieter. The Elector Count made it a quick meeting. “I need you to find me Michel der Bar for me. Tell him to rally his Free Company and that I have a healthy sum of coin waiting for him. This summer’s fairground has paid off in dividends, and if my son can’t follow direct orders, then I’ll show him that a sack of gold surely can in his stead. Maybe that’ll put things into perspective that he too is expendable.” The Count’s words were laced with venom, to the point that even his minister of finance seemed perturbed by it. Dieter warily nodded and saluted his lord. “As you will, milord. It shall be done.”
Michel der Bar was a local captain native to Ostermark. Having lived in the rural farmlands of the province most of his life, he made it his task to defend the rural farmsteads that the provincial armies often neglected, preferring to defend the cities and main causeways of trade. This mustering of defenders, who often were native to Ostermark as well but varied from all over the Empire, came to be known as the Free Company. While many Free Companies existed throughout the Empire, this particular one served as pseudo-mercenaries, always willing to defend their homes from invasion, but also selling their services to the highest bidder. Dieter made it clear to Michel that Count Wolfram was the highest bidder, and the Free Company was assembled. They prepared to march south on Nicholas’ castle. But it seemed other events would soon take priority…
The waning of summer brought horrific news from the north. An entire Imperial Province had been wiped out by Chaos hordes! Ostermark’s neighboring province was heavily forested, and its defenders well armed and prepared against northern assault. Count Wolfram could scarcely believe that Ostland had fallen. And yet it had. The Count had no time to question how the hordes had managed to slip by Kislev, albeit the Sea of Claws seemed as a viable explanation. He had more pressing concerns to contend with. The Hordes were heading his way, marching on Bechafen.
The Count of Talabecland was quick to respond, however. Where the had failed in Ostland, they planned to make up for in Ostermark by providing a relief army, led by Andreas Steffen. His men marched towards Bechafen from the west, hoping to meet up with Wolfram’s provincial army and intercept the Chaos marauders together.
Wolfram wasn’t prepared to risk his whole army on one battle, however. He swallowed his pride, knowing that the time of reckoning for his wayward son could wait. He ordered Michel de Bar’s Free Company to march west of Bechafen and convene with the armies of Talabec. The heartland had to be defended. The Chaos armies that marched through Ostermark were followers of Khorne, the blood god. Wolfram was sure that if allowed to, the savages would paint the walls of Bechafen red with blood in tribute to Khorne. Their path towards the capital went straight through Grenzburg, where his son resided. He couldn’t afford to lose his one true heir. He ordered Prince Gottfried to return to Bechafen, where they would prepare the defenses and hope that the Free Company could hold off the barbarian swarm of the Khorne general Nasu Unbreakable.
The skies billowed in the darkness as Michel’s men prepare for battle in the thick forests west of Bechafen. Their Talabec allies lie several miles off, but the Free Company is unable to reconvene with them as planned. Nasu’s army had come in full force, marching straight for Michel’s mercenaries. Not wasting anytime, the Free Company fires at will, raining death upon the enemy.
The armies of Khorne seem to delight in the bloodshed of their comrades, watching them fall as Michel leads a charge against the unarmored marauders, cutting down a great slew of them. But the blood only drives the army forth with further determination. Michel is horrified to see Nasu’s men pick up speed rather than slow down against the torrential rain of arrows. He orders a withdrawal of his archers as he and his infantry prepare to hold the line.
They are overrun almost immediately. The Free Company warriors, padded with heavy leather and light chainmail, stand no chance against the bulk mass of the Chaos Chosen, clad in full plate armoring. Nasu’s heavy infantry smash into Michel’s light infantry with deadly force, trampling down many and cutting down many more with all sorts of hatchets and blades. One of Michel’s archer regiments were too late in falling back and were swarmed by Chaos Knight Riders, breaking into a complete rout within seconds.
Michel’s men are rocked by the momentum of Nasu’s shock infantry charge, but recover quickly. Michel himself leads the infantry back into the melees, which begin to slash wildly at their foe, fighting with a fury that even the dauntless Chosen infantry flinch at temporarily.
Michel and his men fight a desperate fight, their line slowly imploding in on itself as the Khorne infantry begin to close in on them. Michel himself found himself alone in an ocean of savages, fighting desperately to regroup with his men. But the marauders envelop him and refuse him escape. They tear him from his steed and rip him to pieces, flinging blood and gore all over their fellow warriors in the chaos. Seeing their leader fall, the infantry collapses and disintegrates under the might of Khorne.
The Free Company continues to fall apart as the Chaos drive at them like madmen possessed. Only the archer regiments remain, guarded by a few stragglers who were wise enough to escape the melee while there was still time. Together they ran through the woods, dodging and weaving barbarians left and right, holding back the inevitable.
All hope seemed lost. There were just too many. They were too fast, too strong, too well-armored. Nothing could hold back such a tide of bloodshed. And then the horn blew. The survivors of the Free Company looked west as if they had reached salvation and were ready to be delivered from the hell in which they found themselves in. The armies of Talabec had arrived in full force.
Fighting with renewed hope, the Free Company rallied up against their foe under the command of a man who went by the faux name of Hernan Hernandez. The mysterious captain fought like a frenzied wolf, retaliating against the marauding brutes with vicious lethality. Nasu Unbreakable soon realized that he was trapped between two armies. His men were caught in a vice, unable to escape. The Ostermark mercenaries cried out in joy as Talabec spearmen flanked the enemy infantry from behind, skewering them without mercy.
General Nasu saw the futility of the battle and decided to retreat with his select Chosen bodyguard. His army was but the vanguard for the true might of Khorne that followed. And he intended to live long enough to see Bechafen bathed in blood. General Andreas Steffen of Talabecland had other ideas. His cavalry quickly isolated Nasu from his bodyguard. Nasu was cornered like a hapless rabbit, and squealed as such when Andreas drove the killing blow into the Khorne general, watching him fall to the ground in a bloody heap before him.
The battle was over, and it was a resounding, if not costly victory for the Empire. The Free Company had lost over half their men and as such fell back to the woods surrounding the capital city. Andreas Steffen and his army reveled in victory. Having provided proper aid to their neighbors, they set up camp several miles away from the battlefield to recover their losses. For now it seemed they had no intention to march their beleaguered armies to Bechafen, where the true danger was yet to come. After all, if the Chaos hordes had managed to get this deep into Empire territory, then they would be well on their way back to their capital of Talabecheim to prepare for an attack there. Let Ostermark fend for itself now.
Count Wolfram was glad to have called his son in. Prince Gottfried had arrived just in time, for the day after he arrived, so too did the armies of Khorne under the command of Segimer Vardek and Vandred of Kvellig. The Free Company mercenaries had done their job well in halting the advance of the horde. The capital’s garrison was completely full and rested, prepared for the siege that was to come. The whole might of the provincial army waited within the city walls, ready to die for their Count. The Chaos Horde’s arrival at Bechafen was inevitable. But at least now, father and son were united and prepared to defend their capital to the last man if need be.
Last edited by Thokran; February 14, 2010 at 03:49 PM.
The sun rose high into the clear blue skies over Bechafen. The sun’s rays shone down upon the verdant fields of grass that surrounded the capital’s walls. Even the typically dank forests nearby seemed to radiate with light. All the signs of another beautifully ordinary September day were present. But it was anything but an ordinary day, and the projected serenity of the capital city was soon to be shattered by the drums of war. No two men knew that grim fact better than Count Wolfram and Prince Gottfried.
Father and son rode side by side through the emptied city streets, the townsfolk having taken shelter within their homes. They discussed preparations for the oncoming assault. Bechafen was under siege, and somewhere within the surrounding forests, Segimer Vardek prepared his siege weaponry to take the city by storm. “The enemy will most likely try to take the city by two angles. Their numbers allow them to outnumber us even when split in half. Segimer and Vandred will surely find a way to assault the city from both sides simultaneously. What do you suggest we do, father?” Gottfried’s report was grim, and one that the Elector Count considered upon heavily. How was he to man the defenses of the city? His mind wracked back and forth between two possible solutions before he finally replied. “It may be a gamble, but we simply can’t afford to split our forces. Divert the bulk of our forces to the southern gate. Leave only a single regiment of crossbowmen to man the northern walls. It is Vandred of Kvellig we face first, for my scouts report that he is the first to have completed his siege engines.” “Are you sure about this, father?” “No, Gottfried. I’m not.” The Count snapped back bitterly. He did not enjoy being at a disadvantageous position. “But it’s a risk we have to take. Let us hope that Segimer Vardek’s men are not yet ready to assault our northern wall. It may yet give us time to muster a defense at the city square with the remnants of our army, should we survive Vandred’s forces. If not…” “Then Sigmar help us all.” Gottfried finished. Both father and son knew well the stakes at hand. The consequences of defeat would be dire. Their options were either glorious victory or shameless slaughter at the hands of the blood god. “Rally the troops to the southern gate, my son. I’ll take our cavalry to the east gate.” “As you wish, milord. Let us pray that we both make it through this hellish trial. For Ostermark!” Gottfried replied, surprised at his own words. He never expected to hear himself utter the words ‘pray’, and yet he just had. Desperate times called for desperate measures, the prince guessed, and prayer was as desperate as it got. His father seemed pleased with his words however, and nodded with approval. “Aye, my son. May Sigmar and Morr guide our hand to victory! For the glory of Ostermark!” They would need it, and all the help they could find. The locusts were already marching upon their walls. Chaos was at their doorstep.
Vandred’s army was out in full force, sporting two massive siege towers which flanked a single battering ram. Each siege tower was at the head of a massive column of infantry, and behind the battering ram were heavy cavalry Chaos Knights that numbered in the hundreds. If they were allowed into the city proper, no amount of spearmen would stop the path of devastation they would leave in their wake. They musn’t enter the city, at any cost. And so with the full force of the provincial army stationed upon the southern walls, the League of Ostermark made the first move, firing at will upon the besieging horde. The oil began pouring freely over the battering ram at the gates, and the sky itself went black by the hailstorm of arrows unleashed by the Empire garrison. The Battle for Bechafen had begun in earnest.
“Steady, men!” cried out the captain of the spear regiments upon the ramparts. The siege tower had successfully reached the wall and it was up to the infantry upon the walls to protect the archers and allow them to fire freely upon the enemy undisturbed. “Let none pass! We will hold them here at whatever cost!” And that they did. The spearmen surged upon their target as they emerged from the boarding plank. The Khorne marauders jumped off the siege tower into an ocean of jagged spears, ready to skewer them all from every angle imaginable. Blood spilled freely and the bodies began to pile as the Empire Spearmen did their job, successfully defending the ramparts from the first wave of attack.
The captain and his men cheered as the last of the marauders were put down. Their victory was short-lived however. What they held off was but the beginning of the true battle for the walls. At the gates, the burning oil poured down its deadly payload on the infantry manning the ram. It seared and boiled the skin of the enemy. So much of it came down that the wooden ram couldn’t take any more punishment. The siege engine burst into flames and quickly burnt out into a charred husk, demolished before the gates.
The crumbling of the ram served as a double-edged sword. While the gateway’s security ensured that no enemy cavalry would run rampant through Bechafen’s streets, at least for awhile, it also funneled the hundreds of heavy infantry outside into the siege towers and onto the ramparts. The true battle for the southern gate would be fought at the walls, it would seem. Imperial troops at the walls would have their work cut out for them, and they would need all the help they can get from the gate defense forces. Their hearts raced and their palms sweated profusely. The anticipation of battle was beginning to get to them, for the sight before them was truly a horrific one. Legions of savage warriors ran forth toward the towers, disregarding anything that tried to stop them. The very ground trembled before them and some of the spearmen began to lose footing. Still, they had to remain stalwart. They had to be the first line of defense against the behemoth before them.
From the east gate, Gottfried and Wolfram shuddered as the terrible clash of steel rang in their ears. They hoped the infantry would last long enough for them to execute their plan. Wolfram and Gottfried would lead the cavalry out of the eastern gate to flank the enemy cavalry. They were not aware of the ram’s failure to break through the gates and took it upon themselves to neutralize the cavalry at any cost. Theirs was the finest across the province. The Count’s formidable bodyguard supplanted by the infamous Black Guards of Morr under Gottfried’s command made for an imposing force. Rounding off the regiment were the wily pistoliers, who were more than eager to fire hot lead into their targets. “Charge!!” Wolfram shouted. Under the Elector Count’s lead, the cavalry rounded about the southern edge of the capital and charged forth into the fray. The pistoliers broke off to fire at the enemy flanks while Wolfram and Gottfried led the main force straight at the heart of the Chaos Knights.
The clash that ensued could simply be described as brutal. The dread knights of Chaos went toe to toe with Ostermark’s finest, the Black Guards of Morr. Both imposing figures faced off in a test of strength, will, and skill in mounted combat. Neither side went down quickly, nor did they back off. Their refusal to retreat led to a ferocious brawl between each army’s best men, and it made the bloodletting that much more difficult for either side to achieve. Parry after parry, charge after counter-chartge, neither side flinched as the battle raged on.
The Chaos Chosen Knights reveled in death and bloodshed. But the Black Guards of Morr feared no death. They embraced it. Their god counteracted the fear that the worshippers of Khorne used so often to instill fear in the hearts of their enemies. The Black Guards of Morr, despite being outnumbered, proved to be very hard targets to kill and posed a true challenge to the Chosen Knights. Looking for easier prey, the ravenous Chosen Knights broke off. They held enough in their ranks to keep the Ostermark cavalry occupied while one of their regiments made a mad dash toward the light-armored pistoliers. Some fell to the deadly hail of bullets, but many others shrugged off the pain and finished ther charge strong, wreaking absolute havoc on the young horsemen.
Back on the walls, the savages began to gain the upper hand. The spearmen were slowly losing ground, taking down 3 men for every one they lost. They were pushed back by sheer mass, leaving no breathing room, much less room to fight. The ramparts were cramped and overcrowded, and the floor became slick with blood, thus making the threat of falling off the wall to one’s death that much more of a present reality. Many unfortunate souls from both sides lost their balance and fell to their deaths below. Many others stood firm however, and continued holding back the tide of butchery.
The spear captain, known as Theodoric Gehrden, fought on into exhaustion as never-ending droves of Khorne savages emerged through the siege towers. All around him, his men fell. But he stood resolute, roaring a savage battle cry as he drove his pike through a marauder’s guts, spilling his entrails over the corpses they fought atop. Unable to retrieve his pike, he picked up the great sword of a fallen comrade and swung wildly at the foe, holding them back. The famous Death’s Heads soon surrounded him, replacing his fallen regiment and continuing the fight in their stead. “Kill them all!” he cried out. “If they wish for blood, then we’ll give them blood. Let us appease their god for them with their corpses!!” Theodoric’s words redoubled the infantry’s efforts, who piled forth and continued to box in the savage hordes from overwhelming them.
Back on the field, the balance of power tipped back and forth. Wolfram and Gottfried fought hard and frantically against the enemy cavalry. They swung and parried back and forth, searching for a weakness in a deadly dance of swordsmanship. At last, Ostermark seemed to be getting the upperhand over the brutality of the enemy’s swings. The pistoliers managed to slink away from the Chosen Knights and resume their barrage on the foe. Gottfried and Wolfram led another charge on the enemy with moderate success. Still, the battle was a desperate fight for survival. Time and again both Count and Prince received nasty wounds from the blunt maces and jagged battle axes the Riders of Khorne brought to battle. Each swing taken was another chance for the enemy to take their life in one fell swoop. But somehow, both survived. The perseverant dread Knights of Morr were determined to let neither fall in battle. Wolfram could only spare a few words in the heat of battle to rally his troops. “KILL! Let none survive!”
At the walls, Theodoric fought on with valor and might. His face and armor were smattered in blood, as was his blade. But he did not falter at this. The corpses continued to pile on from both sides, and bodies began to spill over the ramparts. But he did not falter. Blood clouded his view and everything was covered in red and black. If the followers of Khorne had come to bathe the walls of Bechafen red, they had surely succeeded. The blood ran freely down the walls, cascading and pooling around the floor. But still he did not falter. He now faced the mighty Champions of Khorne, who reveled in the gore and death around them. They swing like madmen possessed, hacking and slashing at anything in sight, friend or foe. Their blood frenzy was truly a sight to behold. But Theodoric had grown numb to the horrors he faced today. He focused solely on one thing: to swing his blade and kill as many of the enemy as he could before he too would succumb to his wounds like so many of his comrades had.
On the field, Prince Gottfried found himself a temporary moment of respite as his soldiers pressed on against the seeming innumerably amount of Chaos. He assessed the situation around him. The ram lay destroyed at the gates, hence explaining the number of Knights they faced on the field. Moreover, the walls around the siege towers were littered with corpses and matted in red. The fighting there still continued, but t became clear that the Khorne infantry were fighting a losing battle. Their point of entry was a chokehold, and the imperial infantry refused to give them an inch without first losing a score of men. Furthermore, the cavalry battle that raged before them seemed to begin drawing to a close as more of the dread knights of Khorne continued to fall under the persistent might of the Black Guards of Morr. Vandred himself now led his personal bodyguard into the fray in an attempt to push back the imperial cavalry. Gottfried now surged with hope that victory was still attainable. Raising his blade high into the air, he signaled his men to charge and led them back into the melee. “Fight on, brothers! For your Prince! For your count! FOR OSTERMARK!!!”
Gottfried’s words struck a chord with Wolfram’s men, who rallied behind their Count and joined the Prince in their offensive. No longer were they dancing with the foe. No, now they swung with all their strength, hacking their way towards Vandred of Kvellig. All that stood in their way would be trampled and cut to pieces. The pistoliers too continued their deadly assault on the Riders of Khorne, until their ammunition was spent. They too charged fearlessly into battle, bringing their sabers hard into the enemy rear.
Vandred and his men were boxed in. It was only then that they realized how many they had lost. Scores of their fellow cavalry lay strewn across the battlefield. Many more lay piled up by the siege towers. They were losing the battle. Vandred couldn’t help but wonder where Segimer Vardek was. His siege engine must surely have gone well on the northern wall, given that the bulk of the provincial army fought tooth and nail against them at the southern wall. But Vandred had no more time to think. One powerful thrust from the enemy prince sealed his fate. The imperial blade drove deep into the Khorne general’s neck, through the gap in the armor there. He gurgled out a guttural cry of pain as he tried to reach for the blade in futility. The life in his eyes left him, and he was dead before he hit the ground. The remaining Chaos cavalry, seeing their general fall, break ranks and flee. Count Wolfram and Prince Gottfried give chase. They take pleasure in cutting down the ominous looking dread knights who now fled from them in cowardice.
The death of General Vandred marked the end of the battle at the southern ramparts. The Imperial infantry had lost scores of men, including two whole regiments of spearmen. The cavalry too had suffered many losses, effectively having been halved by Vandred’s horsemen. Wolfram grimaced at his wounds as he looked upon the few survivors of his bodyguard and back toward the southern walls. He knew the battle was far from over.
But yet, when they returned through the southern gates into the town square, they found no enemy to fight. They rendezvoused with the infantry at the city plaza and met with the bloodied mess known as Captain Theodoric. He was battered and bruised and worse for the wear, but he remained alive and battle-ready. Under his leadership, the infantry rallied in the defense of the walls, and he was greatly commended for his efforts by both the Elector Count and the Warrior Prince. They looked back towards the ramparts and grimaced. The casrnage and devastation was beyond measure. Imperial bodies intermixed with those of the savages smattered in gore made for a gruesome sight to behold.
Together they waited in dreaded anticipation for the moment of reckoning. They were spent and exhausted; their strength having left them long ago. Yet they stood resolute to defend the city to the last man. Yet hours passed and still there was no sign of Segimer Vardek’s men. At last, a courier arrived from the northern wall. It was several men of the skeleton crew of crossbowmen left to defend the northern wall. They were still fresh and ready for combat. Beside them was a haggard warrior who had recently seen battle. Wolfram immediately recognized him as one of the Free Company mercenaries. “You there!” Wolfram called out. “How goes the battle? Is your Company still standing? Have you location of Segimer Vardek’s forces?” The mercenary was slow to respond, his wounds having taken a toll on his health. “We’ve held… them off for hours. But…they’ve…” “They’ve what!? Speak, damn you!” “…they’ve begun to retreat, milord. We’ve successfully sabotaged their siege equipment.” With that, the mercenary forced a weak smile before collapsing in exhaustion. “Get this man some treatment!” The Prince cried out. Already he was smiling. “And verify this information!” Father and son looked at each other hopefully. Indeed, confirmation by the crossbow regiment assured them all that Segimer was marching north and away from the capital. Everyone rejoiced and cheered out in victory. It was a costly victory. One that was hard-fought and hard won. But it was won nonetheless. The Battle for Bechafen was won!
There was no immediate celebration to be had for the capital city. There was much grief for the heavy losses suffered by the Provinicial Imperial Army of Ostermark. Both Count Wolfram and Prince Gottfried spent many days in repose, tending to their wounds. Many others mourned for their lost ones: brothers, sons, and fathers all lost to the Chaos Horde. They were all given a proper burial, while the savages were burned in a pyre north of the city, where the winds would pick the smell away. No one wished to smell the reeking stank of the barbarians who had tried so dearly to kill them all. Theodoric was given a special commendation by the Elector Count, and was dutifully promoted to the rank of general. He showed lots of promise as a commander and would serve well for the future of Ostermark. But he too, like everyone else, was simply glad to have survived the onslaught. Together, they had survived the butchery that meant to take Bechafen from their grasp. Bechafen was theirs, and with it, victory.
Last edited by Thokran; February 16, 2010 at 04:37 PM.
The Battle of Bechafen had been a taxing one. As much as Count Wolfram wished to seek out and destroy Segimer Vardek and his Khorne followers, he simply did not have the manpower ready and able to perform such a task. The first month after the battle was a trying one. Corpses in the hundreds had to be cleaned up and trade had to be re-established. Ever since the arrival of the Chaos Hordes, trade from the north had screeched to a halt. Wolfram worried that it would remain that way unless he had anything to say about it. At least the news in the south was promising. The Great Theogonist yet again sent his thanks for the successful construction of a chapel in Nachtdorf.
The coming of winter brought a reversal of fortune for Ostermark. It was now the north that lay in peril, with the Chaos hordes having established a beachhead somewhere off to the north, having successfully wedged themselves within the borders of Kislev and the Empire. At least in the south, the looming threat of Sylvania has remained dormant, which left the window of opportunity to expand southward a viable option for the Elector Count. Wolfram would have to think wisely on his next plans. The coming winter would mark the end of his profits for the year, thus making each financial and military move to matter that much more. Ultimately after much deliberation with his son and fellow advisers, he came to a decision. Apparently, Bechafen’s newest champion, Theodoric Ewhren, was a good friend of the late Michel der Bar, having come from the same lands, and thus owing much respect in the Free Company community. The Free Company mercenaries hailed him as a strong leader that they would willingly serve under. Wolfram did not miss up on the opportunity, appointing the young General as governor of Grenzburg and Commander of the Free Company mercenaries, which he would use accordingly to set up a proper garrison in the province’s northernmost town, and establish a new provincial army out of.
Before that however, Theodoric would be taken for a test drive in his command abilities. News surfaced from the west that General Andreas Steffen of Talabecland has come in contact with a Khorne army blocking their path back into the province. They had been skirmishing with the enemies and were in dire need of reinforcements. The Elector Count assigned his newest general to be said reinforcements. It’s the least the Elector Count could do for Talabec’s assistance in slowing down the initial Chaos drive south. Theodoric would not be alone however. With some semblance of the provincial army restored over the month of October, Prince Gottfried would march with the imperial troops of Bechafen to assist Theodoric in his mission.
And so they marched. The cold winter bit down hard into the spirit of the armies, who grudgingly trudged forth through fresh-fallen snow. November was coming fast, and the troops all hoped to make the upcoming battle a quick one. Campaigning in the winter could spell doom for any Empire. Unfortunately for them, the northern savages were well-accustomed to the cold, giving them the advantage in battle. Soon enough, they came upon Andreas’ beleaguered men, who pooled their forces around an abandoned estate, where they planned to make their last stand. The sight of the armies of Ostermark was truly a welcome sight.
“We fight for glory, men!” Theodoric shouted out to his men. “Drag these mongrels out of the forest!” Not wasting any time, the young general put his men to work. In the cold winter dawn, he ordered his archer regiments to mobilize and engage the enemy. Said archers ran into the forests with a specific mission in mind. Theodoric and Gottfried had gone over the plans the night before and had consented that it was the best plan of action to relieve Steffen’s men. The Free Company archers, masters of guerilla warfare, did what they did best. They fired at will upon the enemy, ambushing them and calling their attention in a general direction. And then without falter, they began retreating east as planned.
The armies of Khorne fell for the bait. Much to the dismay of Gottfried and Theodoric, the savages were not led by Segimer Vardek, but another massive brute known as Arminius Telgberg. A capable commander in his own right, he did not seem to show much foresight in the thick of battle. Eager for blood, he ordered his marauders to give chase after Theodoric’s men. The barbarians were all too eager to comply, rushing forth after their enemy.
This is exactly what Theodoric and Gottfried wanted. The archers fell back to the large estate where Andreas Steffen and his army were stationed. Theodoric too had joined Andreas in battle. Together, their forces would meet the enemy mass head on while Prince Gottfried would come in hard from the back and crush them within their vice. As the archer regiments fell back, their position was replaced by the Talabec Halberdiers, who marched forth to engage the enemy!
Arminius was not as foolish as he initially made himself out to be, however. He craved battle. And he too had a trick up his sleeve. The marauders he sent were but fodder to keep the Imperial forces busy while he came in hard from their flank. Andreas Steffen was too late to realize that Arminius was flanking his men. He called his archer flanks to ball back to the center, but it was too late. Arminius and his heavy cavalry were quickly upon the Tabalec archers, ready to make mincemeat out of them.
“The blood of innocents! How I revel in their anguish!” His words struck chills down Theodoric’s spine as he witnessed the massacre. Arminius tore through the archers like hot knife through butter, swinging his heavy steel mace into soft Empire flesh. He reveled in the cracking of bones and the splash of blood upon his armor. His cavalry took pleasure in cutting down these vulnerable men. Their joy was cut short however as the blood soon became their own. Theodoric’s archers had reorganized and begun firing deadly volleys of arrows upon the Khorne general.
Joining them in the assault were Steffen’s pistoliers, who made no hesitation in firing freely upon their enemy. They lamented over the loss of the archers, but it only spurred them further to exact vengeance. Handcannons roared through the early morning air, rocketing forth toward Arminius and his bodyguard. One bullet got lucky and penetrated through Arminius’ thick armor, lodging deep inside the Khorne general’s chest. Arminius fell off his mount, where he spent the rest of battle dying a slow and painful death.
Upon seeing their general fall, the marauders hesitated and the Empire capitalized on their moment of weakness. The Free Company warriors charged forth to join the Talabec infantry in battle, quickly overwhelming the Chaos savages. The adrenaline kicked in, rushing otherwise chilled blood quickly through their body and through their blade to drive deep into the enemy, shedding their blood upon the fresh snow in turn.
Theodoric led the charge himself, dismounting to join his mercs in battle. Together, they hacked and slashed their way through waves of enemies. Even the mighty champions of Khorne, Arminius’ heaviest infantry, could not hold long against the fury with which Theodoric fought. The Chaos line was slowly pushed back, and the Imperial troops pressed on, leaving a bloody trail of devastation in their wake.
Hours seemed to pass. Theodoric had to admit, the Khorne savages were resilient. Even when faced with certain defeat, they fought with a fanatical fervor for death and destruction. Still, their fzall would be inevitable. Before Theodoric’s men even realized, they had pushed the enemy back in on themselves, meeting up with Gottfried’s forces who held the enemy rear at bay.
Boxed in, the enemy stood no chance. The marauders fought to the last man but were ultimately cut down like the dogs they were. None were spared. All were slain. All that remained of the chaos was death and blood, just like the followers of Khorne had wanted. Little did they know it would be their own blood being shed. Theodoric yet again found himself covered in gore; he raised his sword high in the air to signal victory to his troops. Together they had routed the enemy into submission!
Andreas Steffen was very thankful for Ostermark’s help, offering a number of blessings to Prince Gottfried and General Theodoric. With winter fast on their heels, they parted quickly and returned to their homes. Theodoric wasted no time in finding shelter in Grenzburg, where he would begin his administerial duties over the winter months. Prince Gottfried returned to his father in Bechafen. “So how did the battle go, my son?” “Better than expected. The Khorne fanatics were cut down to the last man. My only regret was that I couldn’t slay Segimer Vardek myself. He was too cowardly to show himself in battle. So he is still lurking about in the woods…” “I’m sure we’ll all have our chance at him, my son. Something tells me we’re far from done with these zealots.” “Do you think more of these armies are prowling about? Our armies have destroyed three of them already! Both Theodoric and I stand ready to cut down any more that dare come our way! The General proved himself in our last battle, fighting side by side with his men to achieve victory. I’m sure he is ready to face any more of these abominations of humanity as much as I am!” Wolfram took a moment to reply. He was pleased with his general’s courage in battle, albeit fighting among the infantry was very reckless on his part and foolish from a tactical standpoint. Still, he would be needed for the coming years. He held recently acquired knowledge that his son desperately needed to know. “I’m afraid we’ve only seen the beginning of these monsters. Dieter has informed me from one of his merchants that all of Ostland, including the provincial capital of Wolfenberg, is occupied by the armies of Khorne. They use Ostland as a beachhead for future assaults. Still, we have dealt them a stinging blow and have bought outrselves time against their next assault.” Indeed, Ostland would soon become a warzone with the provinces of Nordland and Hochland sending their own troops to recapture Wolfenburg and Ferlangen. Kislev too would be in the province, as news had it that they too lost land to the Khorne savages. Wolfram deeply considered sending his own troops in a bid for new land, but thought against it…for now. His borders would have to be consolidated before making a dash for Ostland. Ostermark would come into play only once Nordland, Hochland and Kislev have wasted their armies upon weakening the Khorne beachhead.
“Alas,” Wolfram continued. “We must not fret with our northern border for now. We have many issues to attend to in the south. We must consolidate our provincial borders before we can plan future expansion. Thus I ask you, my son Gottfried, to taking the army to regroup in Nagenhof and continue building up your forces for a new southern campaign in the spring.” “As you wish, father.” Gottfried bowed his head in respect. “For Ostermark!” Much to the dismay of the provincial army, they only had a week of rest and respite in Bechafen before they were mobilized south towards Nagenhof. Under Prince Gottfried’s command, the provincial army had been bolstered by fresh recruits to augment his infantry line and supplement the skill of his veteran troops. They arrived in Nagenhof in short order and took shelter from the winter storms of December. They would need to be ready for the spring. But upon arrival at Nagenhof, Gottfried realized that all was not well. The city was overflowing with dwarves. It was not until he met his father’s old friend Otto Windeck that he realized that the dwarves were refugees. Marcos Salier was at Nagenhof to recount the horrific details of his journey. The Slayers were called off to fight a war against the Greenskins in the south, leaving the Kadrin pass vulnerable. The Night Goblins seized the opportunity, storming the keep and slaughtering all who stood in their way. Marcos was quick to flee the keep with as many refugee civilians as possible, leaving behind the onslaught that the Night Goblins brought upon them. Prince Gottfried could barely believe it. The Slayer Keep of Karak Kadrin, for the first time in centuries, had fallen to the Night Goblins.