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Thread: Heinrich Kemmler Mortal Empires Campaign

  1. #1

    Default Heinrich Kemmler Mortal Empires Campaign

    Decided to start my first mortal empires campaign. I've never done this due to turn timers taking so long but I love the bloodlines mechanic for vampire counts and its not present in the first Warhammer Total War. My turn times usually take around one to one and half minutes so I guess things could be worse. Although I heard they slow down in the later turns. Also I wont be doing screenshots for this AAR. I want to focus on storytelling and see how I can do. Given that this first part will not deal with battles or empire building but just introduce what I imagine Kemmlers story is so far.

    It had been months since Heimrich Kemmler had escaped the forced service of the Von Carsteins. During his time in Sylvania he had not been allowed to leave the walls of Castle Drakenhof. The time he spent there was not wasted though. He leanred how the Von Casteins bent the dead to their will, and how even in defeat the armies of the unread always grew stronger. Before he had been a mere apprentice of necromancy, and as punishment he was forced to serve the undead, instead of forcing the undead to serve him. As time passed and he gained the trust of the Von Carsteins, he began to learn their secrets. For years he studied, silently watching as his masters raised ever stronger armies to fight among themselves. Watched as the midnight aristocracy squabbled for land, power, and living subjects to bend to their will. And all the while the empire encroached. Slowly pushing back the Von Carsteins, using the petty infighting to retake lands that had been lost at the height of the Von Carsteins reign of blood. Until the kingdom of the dead was only a shadow of its old self. After his escape, on his journey west, Kemmler heard men whisper about the undead as if they were only a rumor, new generations having forgot about the terror that the undead had sewn among the empire only a century before. How quickly mortals forget. But Kemmler could not blame them, he himself was mortal. Much to his disdain. He had gained the power to raise countless undead to serve him, but he still aged. He would still wither and die if he did not find the secret to immortality. In Sylvania he learned of an old vampire post, having long since been abandoned by the red duke, who now ruled at mousillon. He learned that the library was still intact at Blackstone Post, and that many memoirs, written by a necromancer far more powerful than himself, were still inside. He also learned that this necromancer had lived to an unnaturally old age. What better place to learn how to live forever, than the place where another almost succeeded.

    So kemmler decided to leave his masters in Sylvania. He turned a small force of undead to his will and used them as a distraction while he fled Sylvania. He traveled west through the empire, from village to village, until at last he arrived at the slopes of the Grey mountains, and he began to climb. The air grew colder as he made his ascent, and he had to be careful to avoid being seen. Kemmler was not longer in the realms of men. The slopes of the mountains were patrolled by the mountain goblin tribes and the dwarf holds. The two races had been fighting over the territory for centuries, and neither participant in the conflict seemed to ever get the upper hand. A decades long stalemate had ensued and besides a small skirmish here or there, the two groups ignored each other. Kemmler wandered upon one such skirmish. He recalled the shining perfection of the dwarven weapons and armor contrasted the cruel utilitarianism of the goblin war gear. The difference became even more apparent when the two groups joined in battle. A single dwarf warrior was worth at least three of the goblin warriors. But what the goblins lacked in arms and armor they made up for in numbers and ferocity. The goblins charged at the dwarven lines with abandon, their shear numbers seeming to flood over the wall of dwarven shields. But then it became like a wave breaking on a rock and the mass of goblins was shattered as the dwarves stood fast, hacking at the goblins as they came, as if they would never lose hope or tire of swinging as the enemy came one after the other. By the end of the skirmish the goblins were broken and running while the dwarves stood resolute, armor and shields still shining. Kemmler noted that should he ever need to face the dwarves in combat with his undead legions, simple zombies and skeletons would be hacked to pieces unless they could overwhelm the dwarven infantry.

    Kemmler continued his climb and after a few weeks saw the broken spires and towers of Blackstone Post. The treeline had long since ended and the old outpost held no signs or sounds of life. Kemmler wandered through the rotted out gates and into the outpost, looking carefully for any signs of the old library tower. Even for someone who felt more comfortable among the dead than the living, Kemmler still could not help but be uneasy. Necromancers, even after they die, protect their secrets. Undead Guardians or cursed objects are common in old necromancer lairs, and the fact this place had been abandoned for so long hinted that something was still here. Ahead Kemmler heard a faint whisper, almost a warning. He did not hear words but more of a feeling being conveyed to him, meant to turn him away. But his scholarly side got the best of him. He made his way to an old tower, the top having eroded and toppled away long ago. Inside he could see the shelves, filled with old, dusty tomes. He could sense the knowledge those tomes held, the power they promised. It was almost too late when he realized that the whisper he heard earlier was now a howling, shrieking wind that threatened to overwhelm his senses. A fog began to form in the doorway. Tendrils coming as if from nowhere to collect in a single point. Growing until they became a shape, solidifying into the form of a great warrior, dressed in the garb of the northern warriors. Skulls adorning his clothes and a large double bladed axe held in one hand. The warrior had a horned Helm on his head and the axe glowed in an almost ethereal manner. It was apparent to Kemmler this being was of the dead, and as such he would be able to command it. He attempted to gain control of the undead warrior but to his surprise was greeted with a laugh that sounded almost drunken. This was new. Kemmler thought he knew enough about necromancy to know that basic undead could be bound to any master. He suddenly realized he had underestimated this creature. This was not just a basic undead warrior, sent to guard the lair of some long dead wizard. It was a bound guardian, an undead companion that in life swore to do the bidding of his master in exchange for great power in the afterlife.

    Kemmler had never encountered such a creature before and was intrigued to learn more. He asked the creature who his old master had been but was met only with silence. Besides the laugh the creature had not moved, it only stood in the doorway, axe head resting on the ground with its hands on the handle. The meaning of the warriors stance was obvious. Relaxed, but lethal in an instant. Kemmler stood opposite the creature, puzzling how to get it to let him pass. He was so close to his destination and was being thwarted by an undead norscan warrior who probably had more brains after death than it did in life. He knew that he was no match for the brute in armed combat, as Kemmler had never been a skilled swordsman or warrior. This was part of the reason he turned to necromancy. Men have a hard time following someone who can barely swing a sword into battle. Undead have no such reservations. Undead, for the most part, do as they are told. Being bound to serve in death is something most undead have little choice in. The being in front of Kemmler is the exception. One who chooses to serve while still living, is granted greater autonomy when it's life is over. This also means that this creature could choose to let Kemmler pass, Kemmler just had to make it worth it. Kemmler started by introducing himself and his purpose. He told of his intent to seek immortality and in doing so raising legions of undead to his banner. After all whats the point of immortality if not to rule over all things mortal. Kemmler could tell that the warrior was intrigued by this. The beings shoulders began to relax, it's ghostly hands loosened it's grip on the axe. It wanted to hear more. Kemmler's guess was right. The warrior and his old master never achieved their true goal, the warrior saw Kemmler as way to continue his former masters work. After all immortality is something all necromancers seek. And to a norscan warrior, even a dead one, conquest is second nature. The warrior finally got tired of Kemmlers constant rambling and uttered in a low, growling voice, "Fine, let's make a deal." Kemmler told the warrior what he had in mind. In exchange for passage into the library, the warrior would be the commander of all of Kemmlers undead legions, and Kemmlers top military advisor. The warrior would answer to no other, and Kemmler promised that as his knowledge grew, he would bestow even more power on the warrior, making him an unstoppable force in combat. The warrior grinned menacingly. "I will let you pass, but if your promises prove to be false know that I only serve you because I choose to. Call on me whenever you wish to speak, or if you wish me to slay your enemies. Say the name Krell, and I will answer." the warrior crumbled away slowly, the dust blowing into the breeze, but Kemmler could feel it's presence still, waiting to be called upon. He knew he would always feel Krell nearby, watching to make sure he would get what he was promised.

    Kemmler shuddered and moved forward into the library tower, and began to study. He had enough food to last a few days. He planned on studying as much as he could in that time. When he was ready he would descend the mountains to the plains of Brettonia. There he would begin to raise undead servants and call an army to him, he would rebuild Blackstone post and its defenses. His studies would eventually be noticed by the surrounding villages, and eventually other mortals would try and stop him from achieving his goal. When this happened he needed to have the ability to defend himself and his newly claimed lands. Ironically, the more mortals that died attempting to stop him, the stronger his undead legions would become.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Heinrich Kemmler Mortal Empires Campaign

    Part 1. Kemmler Raises his Legions

    Kemmler looked out across the grasslands to the south. From a few hundred feet up in the mountains he could see for miles. He had descended from Blackstone Post a few days before and was now crouched low in the thin treeline, searching for a target to begin raising a few servants for the Post. First he needed undead servants to fetch water and food for him, something he did not have time for given the nature of his studies. Then he would raise a small army to begin raiding the lands of Bretonnia. He wanted to lay low for longer but Krell had made a good point. How does one raise an army of undead, without a surplus of dead. The humor of the situation was not lost on him. He needed to defend himself from potential enemies. In order to do so he would have to make more enemies. Fortunately for him, mortals bury their dead, so that was where he would start. He made his way down the remainder of the slope and entered the Arden Forest. Once there he moved from village to village, quietly calling the dead from their rest. They came in ones or twos at first, but eventually entire graveyards responded to him. The living would discover entire cemeteries dug up in the mornings, and began to blame the Red Duke of Mousillon. The Brettonian lords began to call their banners to them, and began to march south towards the coast. The Red Duke had until now maintained an uneasy peace with the humans in the regions and denied being the one responsible for the recent grave robbing. His protest fell on deaf ears and he and his undead armies retreated to their fortress as the humans marched on his lands. With the Brettonians distracted Kemmler continued to raise the dead to his banners. He sent a small contingent to Blackstone Post to begin rebuilding the the walls, armory, and other structures. His army would need weapons and armor after all.

    After about a month of this activity Kemmler began to move his army toward the Brettonian town of Gisoreaux. Until now he had kept his army hidden, only moving through the forest and raising new warriors at night. The majority of dead he raised were the useless peasantry of Brettonia. Barely able to wield a weapon in life, much less able to do so in death. Hordes of zombie warriors equipped with nothing more than a club still made for an intimidating sight, even if they could be cut down without a second thought. But there sure was a lot of them. He was able to form a few companies of more experienced undead warriors. Most of these warriors had been hunters or squires in life. They had some experience with wielding a weapons, and a bit of this experience remained. They were equipped with either swords or spears and a light wooden shield, easily acquired and cheap to maintain. These more experienced warriors had stripped the flesh from their bones, to distinguish themselves from the inferior Zombie rank and file. Even the undead had a caste system. Kemmler had also been able to bind a pack of dire wolves to his will. He had stumbled upon them while traversing the forest and commanded his undead warriors to capture them. He was in need of cavalry should the Brettonians use archers against him. And since undead horses were hard to find, undead dogs would have to do. The army marched through the trees silently, avoiding attention and detection. The stench of rotting flesh would alert the enemy before noise or sight would anyway. The sounds of tearing flesh, and bone scraping against branches was quiet but ever present as the army moved through the trees towards Gisoreaux. It was a subtle symphony of the macabre that Kemmler learned to enjoy as the army moved further west toward the township.

    Nathaniel hated guard duty. It was boring, it was hot, and he didn't get paid enough for it. He had been conscripted into the militia while Gisoreaux's lord and it's knights had marched south towards Mousillon. The town was left undefended, except for a few companies of conscripted militia from the surrounding villages. A few poorly trained men at arms, spearmen, and archers. The lord didn't see much reason to leave a defending force. The Dwarves and Goblins to the north were to busy fighting among themselves. Relations with the empire were actually improving, and Mousillon was in the process of being surrounded by his countrymen. All the while he was stuck on a guard tower instead of enjoying his evening at home with his wife, Isabella. It didn't help that the air smelled foul an thick, made ever worse by the humidity so common to the lands of Brettonia, which bordered the sea. He knew what decay smelled like, but he didn't know where this smell was coming from. There was no plague, so the carts full of the dead were not being rolled through town as was common during those times. "No sense worrying about what one cant understand," he thought to himself. He scanned the treeline and for a second thought he had dozed off and was dreaming. He swore that he saw people in the trees. It was crazy of course. No one went into the forest this late in the day. Not with the rumors of people being risen from the dead, and mad man that ran into town a few weeks earlier saying that he saw beast men in the Arden Forest while he was on a hunting expedition. Everyone knew that the tales of half man half horse creatures, wielding bows and axes, were made up to keep children from straying to far from their parents and getting lost in the woods. But he saw the movement again. This time Nathaniel had to slap himself to be sure he was awake. And after he did he confirmed what he was seeing. A large group of people was marching out of the forest and towards the town. But something was off about them. They all seemed almost to be walking as if drunk. Stumbling and tripping over roots and vines as they exited the treeline. And they all held something in their hands. Sticks, clubs, cudgels, meat cleavers. It was only then that Nathaniel realized why the air smelled like death. He realized that what he thought had been torn clothing on the people coming from the treeline wasn't that at all. He realized with sickening horror that the strips of cloth and leather were actually strips of skins and muscle that had been torn by the branches of the trees. And behind these walking abominations was a well organized rank and file of armed and shielded skeletons. Stripped clean of any sort of flesh. And lastly Nathaniel realized that at the very rear of this horde was a man in grey robes carrying sword in one hand and a scythe in the other. And he had hunger in his eyes.

    Nathaniel and the Militia had barely had time to form up into ranks. The ultimate result had been to form up on a hill just outside of the town, with a treeline at the peak. Although the two forces were evenly matched, Nathaniel knew that the undead did not feel fear. While men always did, and none of these men had ever seen battle before. Much less a battle against the rotting and decaying reanimated corpses of their countrymen. He had no hope that the battle would be won, and honestly he wanted to run. The only thing that kept him, and most of the other men in position was the knowledge that their stand would allow their family's in Gisoreux and the surrounding area time to flee to the walls of Castle Artois. The men at arms were formed up in the front rank and the archers were hidden in the treeline to the rear. The undead began their slow advance up the hill and as the archers began to loose arrows at them Nathaniel began to hope, even against his best judgement. He could tell his comrades were beginning to feel the same. dozens of the undead fell under the volleys of arrows and the sheer number that fell began to blanket the ground. Had this been a mortal army their numbers would have been severely depleted by the time they closed with the men at arms for melee combat. But out of nowhere Nathaniel heard a great howling and felt the gust of wind at his back, as if something was being drawn towards the undead lines. He then began to see the fallen undead get back up. One after the other, and the wounds of some heal almost instantly. Nathaniel had never seen magic in person but had heard stories of wizards, able to harness the winds of magic to do their bidding. He guessed that the man in grey was such a wizard, and he had just harnessed the winds of magic to raise his fallen warriors. The warriors all around Nathaniel realized that against such a foe, victory was not possible. He reminded them that even though they will surely die, more will survive if they stand their ground. The Brettonian men grunted their agreement and lowered their spears, ready to meet the undead horde running up the hill towards them. Nathaniel noticed a large group break off from the main body of the enemy and move towards the right of the Brettonian line. He realized that these creatures were actually wolves. But not the ordinary kind he had seen from time to time attacking livestock. They were massive, at least 100 pound each, and running faster than he had ever seen. And then he realized what they were running towards. The archers were so focused on targeting the front line of the undead that they did not notice the large group of wolves running at them through the trees. They only heard the snapping of branches and the snarling of a predatory animal before their throats were ripped out. The wolves bounded from one victim to the next, tearing at the soft parts of the body. Ripping out throats, under armpits, at the groin, anything that would render an enemy combatant unable to fire a bow. Within seconds the entire line of archers was wounded, dead, or routing. The wolves then turned towards the rear line of men at arms and charged, just as the undead horde rammed into the wall of spears that made the front line of the Brettonian force. Nathaniel felt something hit his side, and he fell to the ground, hands gripping at the left side of his rib cage. It felt like he had been punched, and when he pulled his hands away he realized why. In his ribs was a large stab wound about four inches wide, his vision began to blur and he began to slip in and out of consciousness as the battle raged around him. He heard screams as more men fell, and then silence. For seconds he heard nothing. And then he heard a voice. It was cold, almost lifeless, but at the same time possessed an air of command. As if it expected to be obeyed simply by speaking. "I have no use for them alive, they were hardly soldiers in life, perhaps if we kill them they will win their next battle." Nathaniel realized that the voice was very close to him, and he looked up to see the man in the grey robes standing over him. "You showed promise though. Not a great warrior but a strong leader. These men respected you, and that is why they stood with you, even till death. What do you think Krell? We need another general to command all these new subjects." Another voice spoke from somewhere out of Nathaniel's vision. "I've done more with far less." "It's settled then." stated the robed man, and plunged his sword int Nathaniel's chest, the last thing he remembered was his wife, telling him to bring back stories of his "grand adventures" in the militia.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Heinrich Kemmler Mortal Empires Campaign

    Part 2. The fall of Artois, and the end of a nation.

    After the battle at Gisoreux, Kemmler uses the corpses that litter the field as fresh fodder for his army. Given the minimal combat experience these men have they join the legions of skeleton warriors and zombies. Its always amazes Kemmler to see a a field of corpses slowly rise, gather their weapons, and fall into the ranks of his army. Not a single complaint spoken, no breakdown in discipline, just pure obedience to Kemmler. Kemmler establishes a camp at Gisoreux and sends Krell back to Blackstone Post to begin training a new general. The young man they had found dying on the battlefield, who had held his countrymen together against the undead legions, would serve Kemmler well in death. Kemmler after all needed a new army if he was to capture Castle Artois, and that army would need a leader. The man was brought back as a ghoul king. This was an obvious choice to Kemmler. The man's old self would be forgotten, only a primal beast would remain. Cunning but also savage, easily able to fight on the front lines of battle, but also a skilled tactician and spellcaster. Able to raise new legions of undead after each battle, and able to keep the undead bound to him during battle. The man would also not look anything like his old self. He would now resemble a monster, massive and grotesque, with no hint of having ever been human. The sight of him would strike fear into any enemy, causing most men to route at the sight of him.

    Nathaniel awoke in a large room that was void of any pleasantry. He could not remember how he got there. In fact, he couldn't remember anything. He looked down at himself and realized he had been laying on the cold stone floor. But he did not feel cold, he didn't feel warm either. He just felt numb. Then he looked at his hands. His hand were huge, with long claws coming from each finger. His legs were monstrous, the muscles in them looking as if they would push out of his skin. Which he realized was now a stony gray color. He also realized he stood at least nine feet tall. He would tower over most men, and he felt as though he would be able to toss a man clean across the room. He did not know why he appeared this way, but it felt right to him. All he could remember was his name, and that he had a purpose. He felt something calling to him in his mind, and whatever it was he felt the need to answer the call and to please the caller. Then he realized he was not alone in the room. To his left stood a warrior roughly as tall as him. The clothing this warrior wore seemed odd though. He had on furs and leathers, with skulls hanging from his belt and neck. Across his back was strapped a large double bladed axe. Whatever kind of soldier this was, Nathaniel had never seen one like him before.

    The warrior opened his mouth and in a voice that was almost Jovial he said "Your'e dead, so am I. Well not really dead. You were dead. Now your back. And you are here to serve." Nathaniel strangely undertood what the warrior was saying. The calling in his mind told him as much. He wanted to serve...something? Someone? Nathaniel spoke and his voice was a low hiss, almost reptilian. "Who do I serve? You?" No, that couldn't be right. He knew the moment he asked that this soldier and he served the same master. But that the soldier was given command over him. "You are her to serve the Necromancer Heinrich Kemmler. He killed you, and then brought you back. He has instructed me to guide you until you are ready. You and I both are bound to him. Me because I choose to be. You do not have a choice." "I don't remember my own death." Nathaniel mumbled to himself. The warrior walked to the door and motioned for Nathaniel to follow. "I remember mine, and believe me when I tell you your way is better. Now we have work to do. Kemmler wants you at Artois by the end of the season."

    Nathaniel spent three months at Balckstone Post. The fortress resembled a castle more than an abandoned study of a long dead wizrad now. Bands of shuffling undead wandered the streets, transporting food, construction material, and other supplies needed to make war. Most of the denizens of course never had the need to eat. But every few days mortal visitors would come to do business with Krell. Who was Kemmler's representative while Kemmler made war in the Arden Forest. In exchange for protection from beast-men, wood elves, orcs, and dwarves, a few villages pledged allegiance to Kemmler. They would provide whatever Kemmler asked, so long as they were protected from his undead legions. Many villagers just thought of it as being on the winning side of history. It was not be the first time mortal men pledged themselves to undead masters or necromancers in exchange for safety. Nathaniel spent most of his time at Blackstone studying the Necromantic arts. To be a general to the undead legions he would need to learn how to keep his warriors bound to him. If he did not the legions would simply crumble to dust. He learned that as his connection to the winds of magic grew, he would be able to create stronger bindings with his undead soldiers, and even be able to raise undead monstrosities that most people could only dream of commanding. He also trained in combat with Krell. But he was not taught the almost dance like forms of the sword or axe that Krell knew. He was taught by Krell how to wield his own body as a weapon. How to cut a man in half using his claws. How to impale them with his hands and fling them away with wild abandon. How to sweep an armored man aside like one would swat a fly. His new body was barely able to feel pain, and as such he was able to move as fast as he desired. No armor to limit his movement or slow him down. He learned to become a whirlwind on the battlefield. Able to move from one enemy to the next in an instant, and almost impossible to strike if he saw the blow coming. He loved what he was now. It helped that he couldn't remember what he used to be, and he realized that he didn't want to. All he wanted was to serve Kemmler, and at last his oppurtunity came.

    The order came for him to gather his own undead army, and to march it as fast as possible to the plains just outside Gisoreaux. Here he would make camp and wait for further order. His army consisted mostly of skeletal warriors. They were equipped with swords, spear, and a shield. Simple weapons and equipment, but sheer numbers made them deadly. A single company of undead warriors consisted of 160 individual soldiers, all bound to serve their general. A single General could easily bind another 19 companies to them. Binding became problematic after this. An equal army of 19 companies of mortal infantry would be outnumbered by almost 1000. And Castle Artois was about to be attacked by not one, but two fully raised armies of undead. Kemmler had already begun the siege but he wanted Nathaniel to join him for the assault. He wanted to see how his new general performed in battle. Krell had told him that the young man, who he learned was called Nathaniel, showed great promise. Four months he had been besieging the castle and he was ready for it to end. His Siege towers were finally built and Nathaniel's army had arrived the month prior. He ordered the men to form up and began the attack.

    The Castle was defended by a garrison of about 1000 men and an army of another 1000 under the command of their lord. The castle was the last stronghold of men in the Arden region and the last city of the Brettonian kingdom or Artois. Its walls had stood for countless years against the goblins of the grey mountains and had withstood many sieges from them. But the walls, and it's defenders, had never faced the legions of the dead that approached them now. The lord of the castle looked out on the open field that led to the city, and what he saw made his blood freeze. The hairs on his neck stood up and his legs grew weak. He gripped the battlements to keep from collapsing out of fear. Thousands upon thousands of shuffling corpses and skeletal warriors approached the city. The ground shook as they moved and the stench of rot and decay grew stronger with every step. At the head of this army stood a grey robed figure, a scythe in one hand and a sword in the other. To each side of him were three large siege towers. Each one taller than the walls of the city, and inside each tower were countless skeletal soldiers, ready to storm the walls. The lord knew today would be the day he died, along with everyone in the city. He only wished that he stayed dead. The refugees that fled Gisoreaux had told him what they witnessed, and he learned from those stories that the dead don't take prisoners. They just save your corpse for later.

    Kemmler looked at Krell with a grin and advanced towards the city's wall. The warriors in the towers had done their job perfectly. The defenders on the walls were still fighting tooth and nail, but the towers that had been firing on his army were now silent. Fighting on the walls was still fierce but Kemmler intended for that to change. He and Krell began to climb one of the towers and jumped onto the ramparts surrounded by the din of battle. Krell swept at anyone who approached him, his massive axe cleaving heads from shoulders, seperating limbs, and hewing a path of destruction through the defenders. He left a trail of decapitated bodies and severed limbs in his wake. Kemmler used the vantage point on the walls to strengthen his binding with his warriors, and to raise more warriors to replace the ones he had lost. He could not do this indefinitely but he could do it long enough to keep soldiers whose bind to him had weakened in the fight for a while longer. Soon the walls would be his and he could move his legions into the city. They would travel through the streets like a flood, entering every structure, and killing all within them.

    Nathaniel had been given a simple task for his first battle. Breach the gates. At least it sounded simple. Until he realized he had no battering ram or monstrous undead who could do this. What he did have were twelve companies of shambling, useless corpses. Just a mass of flesh that was usually used as arrow fodder to protect the more valuable undead. And that mass is exactly what would save him. He ordered all of the corpses to charge the gate, hoping his plan worked. Like a giant hammer the mass of undead slammed into the gate. and the ones in the front were crushed by the ones behind. the weight of the dead was so much that the gate began to bend inwards. Wooden planks groaning under the strain. One by one he heard the planks and boards of the gate snap. Until finally they explodes inwards and the dead rushed through the breach. Nathaniel entered swiftly behind them. The zombies immediately set to the defenders that had been waiting on the other side of the gates, overwhelming them within minutes through shear numbers. By the time they finished there was not a single living defender left near the gate. The enemy had been routed and was fleeing through the city, trying helplessly to find a place to hide. None of them would succeed of course.

    Isabella crouched lower as she heard the doors to the cellar open. The sounds of fighting had stopped hours before but muffled screams could be heard every few seconds before being cut off suddenly. She heard something enter the cellar and begin to make it ways toward her. She could not see more that a few feet in front of her due to the darkness, and she had been trapped here for most of the day. Only her thoughts had been there to keep her company. She had thought of her husband frequently, who was dead by almost year at this time. It had been almost 8 months since the events at Gisoreaux. Her husband had been part of the militia garrison there and she was certain he had died in the battle while she made her escape to the Castle. At least she would be seeing him in the afterlife soon. The creature that had come into the cellar entered her vision. It was tall, taller than most men. Its face was grotesque. Lips curled back in a permanent snarl to reveal long rows of fangs. Huge ears and eyes stood out as it's most prominent facial features. Marking it as a predator in every sense of the word. It body was muscled, with huge arms and legs, with claws extending from its fingers and toes. The last thing she noticed was it's skin. It was grey and stone like, and appeared to bear many cuts and wounds, although the creature did not seem to be bothered by them. It approached her and she closed her eyes as it raised its hand to deliver her to the gods. But the strike never came. She looked up and learned the creature could show emotion, and what she saw surprised her. The creature showed recognition. But she didn't know why. She had never seen a being like this in her life. Suddenly the creature grabbed her arms and began to drag her out of the cellar. She fought back and tried to dig her heels into the floor, causing them to bleed from scraping on the rough stone. She felt a sharp pain on her head and her vision began to blur. The next thing she saw was darkness. She was finally going to see Nathaniel again. She was finally going to die.

    Kemmler stood on the battlements with Krell. He looked over the city as his legions flooded through it's streets. He listened to the countless screams that cried out for mercy before being silenced. He reveled in the victory. His power was growing and soon he would be able to say he ruled an empire. It was a good start. He still needed to secure the grey mountains but at least his human neighbors would not longer be able to reach him at Blackstone post without first passing through other undead territories. He wondered what had become of Nathaniel. The General had done well in breaching the gates and had proven himself as a skilled fighter as well. Kemmler could sense him somewhere down in the city and decided that the desires of flesh were not that uncommon for a ghoul king. Kemmler had lost the appetite for such things long ago. Women no longer pleased him the way they would most men, and he saw them only as a distraction. He turned to Krell and laughed. "Which nation dies next.?" he asked. He laughed and walked away, giggling maniacally as if he had made the funniest joke in the world.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Heinrich Kemmler Mortal Empires Campaign

    Part 3. Karak Ziflin falls.

    Kemmler, having dealt with the immediate threat to his growing power, moved his force back to Blackstone Post. The post had been left undefended during the majority of the Arden Forest campaign and would have easily fallen. By now the mortal nations knew that the old stronghold in the Grey Mountains was home to a dark power and they would be seeking to destroy it. The dwarves of Karak Ziflin were a small nation, not able to field large armies like their brethren to the east. But even a small contingent of dwarves would prove formidable if they decided to move on Blackstone Post, which is just a short distance west of the Karak. About a months march through the mountains. Kemmler decided to use his overwhelming numbers to capture the Karak in order to eliminate the threat. The red duke and his undead armies were keeping the Brettonian nation of Bastonne, which lay to the south of the Gay Mountains, occupied. This allowed Nathaniel to move his forces into the mountains and alongside Kemmler's army the siege began. Nathaniel had seemed reluctant to leave Artois after the battle there, but he would not speak on the matter. Kemmler attributed this to Nathaniel still not being used to his new place among the army of the dead. But still, he could sense something was off. The matter was not serious enough to press the issue though. Nathaniel was bound to obey Kemmler regardless of what he wanted for himself. Yes, he had been given the gift of autonomy in most matters, but if push came to shove, Nathaniel would be forced to fall in line. But kemmler had learned that even among the sentient undead, it was better to give the illusion of choice. Those who wanted to serve always served better than those who were forced to. Krell was a perfect example of this. The undead warrior had proven his Ferocity in battle at Artois.

    Nathaniel stood silently at the edge of the camp, his mind trying to make sense of what had happened at Artois after the battle. He had joined in the slaughter after the city had been taken and enter that cellar looking for prey. Trying to make another body that could be used to reinforce the army of the dead. Instead he found something else. The woman was beautiful. There was no denying that. But that was not what stopped him. He had killed other beautiful women that same day. But when he saw her he had felt something. He recognized her...somehow. Even though he couldn't say who she was or why he felt like he knew her, he knew that he did. He wondered if she had been important in his life. He still could not remember anything about who he used to be, but that doesn't mean someone else, maybe the women, did. Either way, he had been unable to kill her in that cellar. He had tried to take her with him, to bring her before Kemmler and demand who she was, who he had been. Even though Kemmler probably didn't even know the answers to those questions. He could at least tell Nathaniel why he felt like she was important. In the struggle that ensued after he grabbed her, she struck her head on the wall collapsed. She had still not woken up when he was called to Karak Ziflin to aid in the siege. On the march to the Karak he decided to wait before asking Kemmler about the woman. That he would need to earn Kemmler's trust completely if he was going to be given the answers to his question. Sighing deeply he turned back to the camp and walked to the command tent. His master was waiting.

    Kemmler stared across the map table at Nathaniel while Krell lounged away in an ornate chair off to the side. His leg was thrown over the armrest but all of his attention was on Kemmler. The table in front of them did not hold any figures depicting units, or symbols showing enemy towns or fortification. The Karak was not a walled city like Artois had been. But it was still a dwarven capital. Which meant it was still well protected, regardless of appearance. The Karak was defended by a garrison of about 1000 heavily armed and armored dwarves, with another army of 1000 dwarves camped just outside the city. Nathaniel and Kemmler's armies consisted of a force of about 3000 skeletal warriors and another 2000 zombies. The skeletal warriors sometimes wore armor, but most did not. They were all equipped with a light wooden shield and either a short sword or a spear. The zombies wore nothing but rags and wielded anything they could use as a weapon. Clubs, cudgels, cleavers, and other common items. Against dwarven steel they would be almost useless, only serving to distract the enemy. Nathaniel pointed out that the zombies could be used to wear the dwarves down and the skeletal warriors could be sent in after, against an exhausted foe. Even then it was still doubtful that the skeletal companies would fair much better. They would still be hard pressed to pierce the dwarven armor, while dwarven axes, not to mention crossbows, would make short work of the mass of bones. Kemmler stated that a victory in this manner was still possible, but an entirely new army would need to be raised after the battle, leaving Artois and Blackstone Post undefended for at least a few months.

    "The Post and Artois are already undefended while we are besieging the enemy here." Nathaniel said flatly. "The longer we wait for the stunties to starve, the stronger Bastonne and its armies become." "That's where your'e wrong" Kemmler said, sliding a letter across the table. The wax had already been broken but the seal was still distinguishable. It bore the winged spearhead of the Red Duke, the ruler of Mousillon and its undead. Once a Brettonian lord, but now a lord of the night, hellbent on the destruction of Brettonia. "The Red Duke has informed me that he has launched a campaign aimed at capturing that castle at Bastonne. His forces are committed to a siege of the castle as we speak. Meaning that for now, we have time to lay siege to the dwarves. There is no guarantee that his forces will be victorious though. And if they aren't, the armies of Bastonne will move against us while we are still rebuilding ours. That is why we will not attack, for now." Nathaniel stared at the letter. He knew that Kemmler had not yet been able to earn the Red Dukes trust, and no alliance had been signed between the two growing undead powers. Kemmler, as if reading his mind said "For now the only agreement I have with the vampire lord is that neither of us will interfere with the other. Although I do hope to bring him into my service eventually." Nathaniel nodded, understanding, and pushed the letter back to Kemmler. It is not his place to tell the Necromancer who he should seek as allies. The fact Kemmler sought them at all came as a surprise. "Is that all?" he asked roughly. The siege would last months still and he wanted to use the time study his new abilities further. "For now, you may go" Kemmler said, waving his hand toward the exit. Nathaniel strode out and into the cold mountain air.

    Half a year passes before the first signs of starvation are seen. Kemmler wakes to see smoke coming from the Karak, and the stench of burning flesh on the wind. The dwarves had enough dead to begin burning them, he thought. News had reached him earlier in the week the the Brettonians at Bastonne had succeeded in pushing back the Red Duke's armies, and he decided that today was as good a day as any to end the siege. His armies formed up in an open field outside the Karak and began to advance. The dwarves hastily formed a battle line but their number looked be about half of what it had been six months before. The battle lasted only a few minutes, the starved defenders being easily overrun by the thousands of undead that advanced upon them. The dwarves barely even slowed them down. The Karak was taken, and another nation had been destroyed, only to rise again under the power of Heinrich Kemmler.

    With the Karak gone, no threat in the Gray Mountains remained. There was still an orc stronghold to the west but they would need to pass through empire lands to reach Blackstone Post. Something Kemmler knew they would not risk. He now turned his attention south, toward Bastonne. The armies of this kingdom had been weakened by the Red Duke as well as constant raiding by the beast-men. With two full strength Army's under his command, he ordered the march south. Bastonne and it's wealth would be his.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Heinrich Kemmler Mortal Empires Campaign

    The Southern Advance

    The Journey south was uneventful, and offered plenty of opportunity for Nathaniel to learn new tactics to face a new enemy. Two tribes of beast-men had been raiding the region and Kemmler had tasked Nathaniel with tracking down and slaughtering them while Kemmler himself laid siege to Montefort. Upon his first encounter with the beast-men, Nathaniel didn't know what to expect. Their basic infantry soldier did not stand much taller than a man, and did not seem to be much stronger than your average imperial swordsmen. The he saw the Minotaur's. Towering beast, taller than he was in his ghoulish form, and not an ounce of fat on them. Each one wielding an axe as tall as a man, with thick plates of armor covering their bodies. And the general leading the raiding party was no different. The only saving grace he had was that his army numbered close to 3000, and the beast-men tribes only fielded two armies of about 800. If he was going to defeat them he would need to divide the tribes and engage them separately. He ordered his men to set up an ambush in the forest on the slopes of the grey mountains. The tribes had been slowly moving north and he thought that their next target would by the undead town of Gisoreaux. The beast men probably mistook it for a town inhabited by men. Either way Nathaniel did not plan to let them get to their destination.

    The first raiding party was intercepted as the walked the beast paths and was easily dispatched. Nathaniel's skeletal warriors overpowering the surprised enemy within minutes. After this victory Nathaniel moved his army against the second raiding party, which had been following behind the first. The beast were expecting him this time and had formed up in the trees, waiting for his army to advance on them. The zombie horde quickly overwhelmed the basic Ungor soldiers that made up the raiding party's front line. But then the Minotaur's emerged from the treeline. they fell upon the zombie horde, cleaving the undead in half with their massive axes two to three at a time. Nathaniel ordered his spear infantry to attack the Minotaur's and he advanced with them. He fell upon the enemy and found that the gifts given to him in death were more than enough to face off against a Minotaur. The first one he came toe to toe with let out a bestial roar and charged at him. He easily sidestepped the charging beast and slashed at the beast leg as it passed, causing it to collapse in a howling mass of muscled fur. Unable to get back up it was swarmed by the skeletal spear men who stabbed at the beast until its howling cries were silenced. Nathaniel had learned that what the beasts had in strength, they lacked in agility. They could move fast but their giant mass made them unable to dodge even the clumsiest of attacks, and this would be their doom. The Skeletons swarmed over the enemy, stabbing at any opening in the armor that the Minotaur's wore, until finally none of the beasts still stood.

    Having done as Kemmler asked, Nathaniel moved to join his master outside Montefort. The town was lightly defended as the bulk of the Bretonnian forces were still regrouping at Bastonne. Montefort was of significance to Kemmler for one reason only. It was home to one of the only iron mines in the region. If Kemmler was to build a truly unstoppable force of undead, he would need to equip them with more than just wooden Shields and scavenged weapons. Montefort was the closest place that had the facilities capable of supplying such weapons. Strategically, it was more important than Castle Bastonne, and it was almost entirely undefended. Kemmler called Nathaniel to his tent and told Nathaniel of the iron mines and why the town needed to be captured. "Do all undead lose their memories when they are brought back?" Nathaniel asked. Kemmler was confused by this line of questioning but decided to oblige the ghoul king. "Most do, those that don't are usually made undead through the gift of the blood kiss. Thus they never truly die. They are simply given immortality by becoming Vampire. Only the staunchest of living servants are given this gift though. As a Necromancer it is something I am not capable of doing. Although if I had a vampire under my command, I could ask him to give the gift to one of my own servants." Nathaniel thought about this answer. He understood the need for fresh corpses to raise more soldiers, but he also understood the need for skilled crafters and tradesmen if the iron was to be exploited. "When we capture the city, we should spare the inhabitants. In return they will provide our army's with weapons and armor. We will also promise them protection against any who wish to do harm to the town and it's inhabitants. This way valuable time is not wasted teaching the dead how to work the forges and mines." Kemmler was surprised by the Ghouls King's grasp of the situation. Kemmler had of course had the same thought, but he was glad he could trust Nathaniel to make the same decision had Kemmler been absent. "I agree, and it's actually why I called you here. Once the soldiers of the garrison begin to flee, do not follow or pursue them. Showing mercy this one time may help us to subdue the populace easier. After all, nowhere is it written that dead and living can't cooperate. The living just need to be reminded that the dead rule over them." Nathaniel left Kemmler to his thoughts, and grinned as he walked away. The dead would be the lucky ones in Kemmler's new empire. For they would be appointed to rule over all others.

    A day later Nathaniel stood at the center of Montefort, observing the living inhabitants doing their best to ignore him, continuing to work under the watchful eyes of their undead guards. Stares actually, as the guards eyes had rotted away long ago. They agreed to the deal that Kemmler offered of course. They just weren't used to it yet. Not everything was perfect though. A messenger from Mousillon had arrived earlier in the morning, telling Nathaniel and Kemmler that the Brettonian kingdom of Lyonesse had declared war against Mousillon. Normally this would not be a problem that either of them cared about, but Kemmler had recently entered into an alliance with the Red Duke, and was obliged to defend him. This meant the Lyonesse had also declared war on Kemmler's fledgling empire. Nathaniel was to be sent west, to Artois, and a new army was to be raised under the command of the Necrarch Lord Gunther. Nathaniel was tasked with defending the western borders of the empire while Gunther raised his legions. Nathaniel was skeptical of this new general, but Kemmler assured him that Gunther was more than capable of handling the crisis once his army was at full strength.

    "The Necrarch bloodline is one of the strongest vampire bloodlines when it comes to necromantic prowess." Kemmler had told him. "This particular lord approached me months ago at Blackstone, having left his service to the Von Carsteins in Sylvania. He recognized that I was on the verge of building an empire that rivaled the undead kingdoms of Sylvania, even though I was carving it out in the middle of Brettonia, one of the last bastions of light in the world of men. He agreed to serve me when the need came, in exchange for unlimited access to the old necromantic library at Blackstone. Naturally I agreed. Necrarchs are renowned for their skill in combat and death magic, as well as in binding the dead to their will. How could I say no to such a powerful ally?" After hearing this Nathaniel grew uneasy. He had constantly struggled to learn the art of Necromancy since his rebirth, and although he knew enough to bind his army to him, he did not know enough to cast the destructive spells that death magic entailed. His undead form was a warrior to the core, but he still desired to be able to bring death upon the enemy with just his minds will. "Do not be discouraged Nathaniel. You have served well so far, and you will always be my first general, chosen to serve from the beginning of my new empire." Nathaniel looked at Kemmler and surprisingly, believed what the Necromancer said. "I'll head to Artois in the morning at double time, the Brettonians will be at the city within weeks." He silently left the Necromancer, and for the first time felt pride in the trust that he had earned.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Heinrich Kemmler Mortal Empires Campaign

    Diplomatic success, and the capture of Bastonne

    Nathaniel received word from Gunther when he was about halfway to Artois. The army that Lyonesse had sent to capture that city had turned back. Apparently the Red Duke was raiding the kingdoms territory and the army was needed to force the Duke's forces back into Mousillon. Without orders from Kemmler, Nathaniel moved on Castle Bastonne. Although he was outnumbered, he knew that the castle was the end goal for Kemmler, and if he could capture it on his own, Kemmler would trust him completely. He still needed answers about the woman he had found at Artois. Last he heard, she still had not awakened. He began a siege of the castle and began to construct eight siege towers. He knew that their was a risk that the enemy would attempt to break the siege in open battle, after all, they did outnumber his forces by a few hundred men.

    While the siege was ongoing Nathaniel received word from Kemmler. A trade agreement with the Brettonian kingdom of paravon had been signed, non aggression pacts with Marienbug and the Empire were made official. This was huge. The entire northern border of the new undead empire had been secured with the whip of a pen. And the new income provided by trade with Paravon would allow the rapid repair and construction of training facilities and in the newly claimed territories. Something that until now, the countless wars had not allowed, as new army's and soldiers took priority. The trade agreement did come as a surprise though. The human kingdoms tended to avoid diplomacy with the undead, but apparently Kemmler and his army's had annihilated two of Paravon's enemies when they destroyed the dwarves at Karak Ziflin and the Brettonians of Artois. "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." Nathaniel mumbled to himself. An age old saying that proved true time and time again.

    A skeletal runner came towards Nathaniel as he was just finishing the letter from Kemmler. "The enemy have opened the gates" the minion hissed. Nathaniel rose from where he had been seated and let let out a guttural scream "form battle lines! If the men of Bettonia wish to join our ranks so soon, we shall oblige them!" The camp was thrown into chaos as the undead soldiers grabbed their weapons and moved to form battle line. Zombies no longer served in the army, and the majority of the force was now skeletal warriors wielding swords or spears. The spears formed up in the front line and the swords were behind them. Nathaniel stood at the forefront of his army. His plan was to single out, and kill that leader of the enemy army, causing them to route. Otherwise his fragile warriors would be broken by the enemy force and their bind to him would collapse. Leaving him alone on the battlefield.

    Singling out the enemy lord was easy enough. A brown haired man, wearing a golden crown, jeweled cape, and wielding a glowing sword of light, stood at the front of the Bretonnians. Nathaniel could tell his presence alone inspired his men. At his side was another Brettonian lord. Heavily armored and wielding a similar sword. Nathaniel had underestimated the enemy. They were led by not just one, but two lords, one of which appeared to be an experienced warrior. No matter. Nathaniel could kill a Minotaur on his own, why should two men almost half his size be any different. The Brettonians began to approach and their men began to charge the line of spears that made up the front line of Nathaniel's army. Nathaniel charged forward and crashed through the enemy ranks. He swept aside any man who dared stand in his way. His gaze was fixed on the two Brettonian lords that stood at the rear of their own army. "Cowards" he thought to himself. These men let others die for them while they stand in rear. Nathaniel would change that. Arrows flew overhead and crashed into his undead lines as Nathaniel continued to push through the enemy lines. Three companies of Brettonian archers were at the rear of their army, fairing over their own men and into the swarm of undead. Nathaniel let out a roar, filled with hate and rage, and ordered two companies of his swords to chase down and slaughter the bowmen. How they heard the order over the noise of battle he did not know. But two companies of his army separated from the main force and set upon the enemy archers, slaughtering any who were to slow to run away.

    Nathaniel continued to move forward, slashing and stabbing with his claws anytime a man was brave enough to try and stop him. Limbs were severed and entrails spilled out of the men he struck and coated the ground behind him. Finally he pushed his way through the enemy lines and came out into an opening, just feet away from the two Brettonian lords. They were stunned that he had made it this far and he saw the surprise on their faces when they realized that they would need to face him alone. Nathaniel wasted no time. He lunged at the fist lord, the one wearing the crown. The lord used his shield to block Nathaniel first three blows and then struck at Nathaniel with his sword. The sword cut through Nathaniel's skin with ease and caused a deep burning sensation that made him howl out in pain. Whatever this sword was made of, it could hurt him. Normal mortal steel was almost entirely ineffective against him. But these two men wielded weapons that could end him entirely, undead or not. For the first time since his rebirth, Nathaniel felt fear. He doubled down on his attack of the first lord before the second could join in the fight. Using his hand he yanked the shield away, breaking the lords arm in the process. He then dodged a swipe of the sword and plunged his claws into the stomach of the lord. He lifted the lord into the air and flung him aside. The lords entrails, having become tangled on Nathaniel's claws, still hung there when he turned to face the second lord. The lord looked cautiously at Nathaniel's claws, realizing what the beast in front of him was capable of. Mustering up his courage, the lord charged. Nathaniel realized this lord was a much more capable combatant than the previous lord. He used his shield as if it was a part of his own body, and swung his sword in a way that each swing flowed into the next, a never ending whirlwind of singing steel. Nathaniel backed up further and further trying to dodge the sword strikes. He realized that the man before him was fast due to his size. He was much shorter than Nathaniel and his sword was short and light, making it easy to wield. Nathaniel took a calculated risk and when the lord conducted a downward swipe with the sword Nathaniel made his move. He counted on the lord not seeing his next move coming. He also counted on the lord not being able to raise the sword fast enough to defend himself. Nathaniel lunged at the man, jumping across the space between them, and crashed into the armored man. They tumbled to the ground in a mass of flesh an steel. Nathaniel quickly gripped either side of the mans helmet and twisted with all of his strength. He felt bones snap and flesh tear as head was separated from body, and he let out a roar. He held the head up high and flung it into the mass of Brettonian troops. The men in the back of the formation turned and saw their two lords dead, one with it's head missing and the other with its insides spilled all over the ground around him, and they ran, Nathaniel had won.

    After the battle Nathaniel ordered his undead warriors to storm the city. Having been left undefended when the Brettonians attempted to break the siege, the city was easily captured. The Brettonian nation of Bastonne was utterly destroyed, and the undead empire now focused it's gaze on the coastal kingdom or Bordeleaux. Capturing this territory would open up trade with the high elves of Ulthuan, and the lizard men of Lustria. It would also secure the southern borders of the undead empire, leaving Kemmler and Nathaniel free to eradicate the Brettonians from the face of the world.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Heinrich Kemmler Mortal Empires Campaign

    Gunther and Nathaniel meet at Bastonne

    It had been two years since Gunther had been sent to Artois to secure the western territories. The army that Lyonesses had sent to retake the territory had turned back to defend it's homeland, and no other threats had presented themselves. During that two years Nathaniel had captured Bastonne, and Kemmler had secured the northern borders of the empire. What had Gunther done? Nothing. He had not seen a single enemy patrol enter the territories he had been tasked to defend, and as a result had spent two years, serving an empire at war, but had not seen a single battle. Luckily he had brought a large collection of tomes with him from the library at Blackstone Post. From these tomes he had been able to learn how to make his army stronger. Being a Necrarch, he was already well gifted in the study of raising undead warriors, but these tomes Kemmler allowed him to study promised him things he had never dreamed of.

    He had learned to raise giant undead horrors from the crypts. Abominations of flesh and bone, twice the height of a man and at least four times the weight. Along with them he also learned to call ancient vampires from the deepest parts of the forest. Having forgot their previous selves they now only served to satisfy their most primal instincts. They came from the forest, gliding on huge wings. Giant bat like creatures with fangs and claws at least a foot long. Capable of assaulting enemy fortifications with ease. And the time would soon come to test these new creatures in battle. Kemmler was sending him to rendezvous with Nathaniel at Castle Bastonne. Where they would plan on how best to capture to coastal lands for their master.

    Nathaniel and Gunther stood on top of the Battlements overlooking the gate to Bastonne. They watched as Gunthers army strode into the city, a mighty display of power that Gunther had intended for Nathaniel to see. In Sylvania, where Gunther hailed from, the undead lords constantly competed for power among themselves. Gunther had never agreed with this, but he also did not know Nathaniel, and a display of power might be what was need to earn his respect. Gunthers first impression of Nathaniel was mixed. It was obvious from his army that he had not yet learned the advanced techniques needed to raise the more powerful undead warriors that Gunther commanded. But he had also heard of Nathaniel's combat prowess, and seeing the ghoul king in person, it was easy to believe. The undead lord towered over Gunther, his claws razor sharp and his eyes emitting a piercing gaze. The muscles in the lords body rippled as he moved, emphasizing that he was the strongest of the two lords. At least if it came to physical combat. What need does one have of the strongest undead warriors in his army if he can face off against hundreds of Brettonians soldiers on his own, and then slay two Brettonian champions afterwards.

    "I must say, I'm impressed by your forces. Perhaps you could teach me, given the time, how to bind such creatures to myself." Nathaniel said this as he watched the giant crypt horrors pass through the gate, while the Vargheists glided over head, blotting out the sun for just an instant. "I would be pleased. It sounds like I could stand to learn a thing or two from you as well. Just promise not to rip off my head like you did that Brettonian lord. It's one of only a few ways to make us vampire permanently dead." Gunther wasn't sure Nathaniel heard him until he saw the beasts shoulders tremble. A sign that he was trying not to laugh. Nathaniel turned and headed down the stairs to the gatehouse. "Come, we have much to discuss, and I plan on one of being at Aquitaine by months end."

    Nathaniel and Gunther sat across from each other at the Banquet table in the castles great hall. Just a year before this table had probably hosted the Lords and Ladies of Brettonia at a feast. Now the discussion being made across it's surface was focused on how best to slaughter those same people. The castle had been relatively untouched during the capture of the city since most of the fighting had been done outside the city's walls. This pleased Nathaniel as he had learned he still enjoyed some of the finer things the world had to offer, a comfortable chair being one of them. "It's obvious you have the stronger army, better suited to capture walled cities. Since both cities along the coast are fortified, you should lead the invasion. Ill stay back her at Bastonne unless the Brettonians try to retake some lost territory." Gunther sat across the table, stunned at what he had just heard. He was so used to the political arguments and squabbling in Sylvania that he had trouble believing his own ears. "You do realize that you are highly favored by Kemmler, and if you were the one to deliver the coasts to him, you would be placed first among his generals?" Nathaniel leaned forward to emphasize what he was about to say. "If I try to capture the coasts on my own, I will fail. My army is not strong enough to take two walled cities in the amount of time we require. I would rather you succeed, then me fail. Besides, I plan on showing up at the last minute and saving the day." Gunther like the care free manner with which Nathaniel said this, as if he expected Gunther to let him do it, or else. "What makes you think i'll be ok with sharing any of the credit with you?" Nathaniel leaned back and crossed his arms. He smiled, a grimace, showing rows of wolf like teeth. "You did seem oftly fond of your head earlier." Gunther was take aback. He did not know if the beast was joking or serious. He thought best not to take the chance. "Fine. I'll dispatch my forces to Aquitaine by weeks end. When the city is captured i'll move on Bordeleaux and begin the siege. Word will be sent to you immediately. Just make sure to arrive in time for the assault. After all, I might actually need you." Gunther got up to leave. As he was walking out the door Nathaniel shouted after him. "Kemmler called you for a reason! Do not disappoint him!" The door
    slammed shut, and Nathaniel's words echoed through the hall.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Heinrich Kemmler Mortal Empires Campaign

    The siege of Aquitaine and Bordeleaux

    Within a months time Gunther was at the walls of the Brettonian town of Aquitaine. Although the town was not a major city, and did not hold any resources worth defending heavily, the kingdom of Bordeleaux had taken precautions and built walls around all of its regional settlements. Predicting that the undead threat would come for them next. Gunther needed to move swiftly against the town and had no time to starve the defenders out. He had to capture the city as quickly as possible. Unknown to Kemmler, the Kingdom of PAravon, one of the few trade partners that the undead empire had, was also a staunch ally of Bordeleaux. When Kemmler launched the invasion of Bordeleaux, Paravon ended trade with Kemmler's empire and declared war against him. Gunther needed to capture both Aquitaine and Castle Bordeleaux quickly to replace the income lost when Paravon ended trade. He also needed to free up Nathaniel's forces to move east to defend the iron mines at Montefort should Paravon launch an attack.

    He had his Crypt Horrors slit into four units of one dozen each. And had his Vargheists split into four groups of sixteen. He then ordered his remaining 8 skeletons companies to be held in reserve along with 3 packs of Dire Wolves. Once his forces were formed up he sounded the advance. The giant, lumbering forms of the Crypt Horrors charged the gate, while the Vargheists slammed into the archers on the walls from above. Men were thrown from the walls to the ground below, and ripped apart as the Vargheists threw the defenders on the walls into complete disarray. The Crypt Horrors crashed through the gate and began swinging giant clubs at the defenders on the other side. Everywhere Gunther looked, men were being thrown into the air or smashed to a pulp by the monstrosities that he had unleashed on them. He laughed with delight at the spectacle. Nothing he had ever seen brought him this much joy. Minutes after the gates had been breached, the defenders abandoned their posts, and the city was captured. Gunther's skeletal warriors and Dire Wolves never even entered into the battle. Gunther Occupied the city and took a month to rest before moving towards his next objective. Castle Bordeleaux was waiting.

    Upon arriving at Bordeleaux he discovered the city was much more heavily defended then expected. A large garrison and army were stationed inside the city, totaling some 3200 men. But Gunther's orders were clear. He needed to take the city without delay. He had sent word to Nathaniel but had received no reply. He could only hope that the Ghoul King honored his word and arrived to help. As it turns out, Gunther did need him after all. He drew up his forces for battle and began the attack.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Heinrich Kemmler Mortal Empires Campaign

    I decided to have some fun and take some screenshots of the Battle of Boredleaux. It is after all, the largest battle of the campaign, and I feel like pictures will really do it justice. I'll still keep the same narrative style but the added pictures I hope bring a bit more realism to it all. Due to the limit on pictures for post I actually had to create an Imgur account and will be posting the pictures there. The content is tagged as mature as well since I like to get a bit graphic with the descriptions, and there actually is a lot of pixellated severed limbs in the pictures. I was really surprised by how graphic the warhammer battles are once I slowed down and watched it. Below is the link to the screenshots and rough story. Let me know if yall want more screenshots or if yall want me to stick with the narrative storytelling i've been doing.
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  10. #10
    TurkafinwŰ's Avatar The Sick Baby Jester
    Civitate Content Emeritus

    Join Date
    Nov 2013

    Default Re: Heinrich Kemmler Mortal Empires Campaign

    Hi kghdodge and welcome to the Writers' Study!

    I'm a great fan of your narrative storytelling, it's what makes this tale so compelling. Characters like Nathaniel, who is my favourite, and their development and the interactions between the various characters is what really drew me to this story. I believe your writing is powerful enough without the need of screenshots to support them. I'm one all about storytelling, which does not mean I can't appreciate beautiful images, but my main focus lies with writing of which yours is very appealing. Beginning with the necromancer Kemmler wishing to find immortality to him getting his first ally in Krell whose motivations are still a bit vague but very interesting, to Nathaniel a ghoul king who wants to understand who he was. All excellently portrayed in the many chapters you have so rapidly produced.

    Great stuff and I can't wait to see more!

  11. #11

    Default Re: Heinrich Kemmler Mortal Empires Campaign

    The crazy thing is that i'm only 62 turns into the campaign, and I have written this much already. I just played another eight turns today and so much happened in just eight turns that I had to stop as my notes were getting to long. So this campaign will be ongoing for quite some time. Glad your'e enjoying it.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Heinrich Kemmler Mortal Empires Campaign

    The northmen and Louen Leoncouer enter the war.

    Nathaniel and Gunther stood at the gates to the city of Bordeleaux. A small garrison had been built up and work on a new fortification for the city had begun. The high elves had recently declared war on the fledgling undead empire, and the city was within easy sailing distance if the high elves wished to travel across the sea and attack. Both generals doubted that this would be case, and agreed that the declaration of war was a symbolic measure to warn the undead from advancing further south. Not that they would. The war with the Brettonian kingdoms had begun over five years ago, when Kemmler captured Gisoreaux, and it showed signs of escalating. Paravon had become a threat to the east, and Lyonessse to the west. Only Louen Leoncoeur's kingdom had yet to enter the war, but it was only a matter of time. "With Kemmler at Montfort, I will move to Aquitaine and begin construction of a second coastal fort. This will secure our eastern border from attack by sea or land." Nathahaniel had to admit Gunther had a good mind for overall strategy, which more than made up for his lack of combat prowess. He nodded his agreement. "I will head to Artois and secure our western borders from Lyonesse. I have business to attend to there as well. It's been delayed for far too long." Gunther raised his eyebrows in amusement, intrigued. "What business could a beastly ghoul king have in a fort full of undead. Your only business should be that of our master." Nathaniel didn't know what else to say. Five years the women had been sleeping and he had come no closer to finding out why she was important to him. He had decided that next time he saw Kemmler, he would reveal his secret, and try to find out what to do with her. He would kill her if ordered to, of course. But he hoped their was another way. "You'll find out soon enough. Good luck on the eastern front. Hopefully my time in Artois will be as quiet as yours was." With that the two undead parted ways. Their army's in tow.

    A year passed before anything of much importance occurred. The respite from eternal conflict was much needed. The fort at Aquitaine had been finished and Gunther stayed within it's walls, constantly studying. Nathaniel had done the same at Artois, and had stumbled upon something he found interesting. The women had still not awoken, and was constantly tended to by his undead servants. They ensured she was fed somehow, though he dare not ask for details about this. During his studies he learned that whatever the women was suffering from, it was likely she would not wake up. But he still needed answers, and he had learned there was still one way to bring her back. In one of the tomes borrowed from Blackstone Post, the blood kiss was mentioned as a way to heal ailments that would normally cause death. But the trick was getting a vampire lord to bestow that particular gift on the woman. He only knew one, and he was not sure he had earned Gunther's trust yet. At least not enough to ask him to create a knew vampire so Nathaniel could keep the girl as a pet. That's how Gunther would see it at least. No. Nathaniel would need Kemmler to sign off on this. If Kemmler approved it Gunther would have to do as he was told. As Nathaniel was musing over these thoughts, a knock came at his door. Shortly after a well dressed corpse shambled into the room, holding a letter out to him. It bore Kemmlers seal. Nathaniel couldn't help but laugh. This undead servant, with bits of flesh quite literally sliding off it's bones, had somehow manage to find a nobleman's servant quarters and donned the servants garb. The servant was sentient enough to know his duty at least, but not enough to see the futility of his efforts. Nathaniel took the letter and motioned the undead to leave. Upon reading it his face became grim.

    Kemmler had just barely been able to win when Paravon had attacked Montfort while he was stationed there. They had been attempting to retake the mines. He was in the process of rebuilding his forces from the dead of the battlefield but wanted to move on the Castle at Paravon while it was still undefended. With Paravon's forces utterly destroyed in the battle at Montfort, the time to attack and end the Brettonian threat in the east would never be more perfect. Kemmler was requesting that Nathaniel come east as fast as he could and aid in the campaign. He wanted Gunther and Nathaniel to meet at Aquitaine and capture the town of Quenelles. If they succeeded, no Brettonian forces would remain east of the undead empire. Nathaniel stopped and wondered what had become of the nation of Carcossonne, which lay to the southeast. Kemmler explained later in the letter that the rat men clan of Skyre had corrupted the cities of the once great nation and appeared from under the earth, murdering all of the inhabitants without warning. After doing so, they say saw the Kemmler was doing the same, and offered a a deal. They would allow trade between the under empire and Kemmlers own, in return for Kemmler assisting them in their wars against mankind. Kemmler wrote that he had agreed to this deal and that the rat men would be the buffer between the eastern borders of the undead empire, and any threat that would present itself. Nathaniel put down the letter and called the undead servant back into his quarters. "Signal the army. We march east immediately."

    Two months later Nathaniel arrives at Aquitaine only to learn that the Vampire Pirate lord, Count Noctilus, had captured the city only days before. Frustrated at having wasted time, Nathaniel decides to move his army to the heart of the empire. Bastonne had been dedicated to being solely focused on arming and supplying the armies of the undead due to the presence of the iron mine at Montfort. Nathaniel was going to spend a few months in the region to better equip his army, but the world had other plans. Louen Leoncouer had finally entered the war, and was preparing to invade the undead empire from the north, through the pass overlooked by fort Bergbres, which was garrisoned by Brettonian forces at the moment. To make matters worse, a northmen invasion led by Leif Gulbrandsen was approaching through the same pass, and the Brettonians allowed him to pass unhindered. All three enemy army's were headed straight towards, Gisoreaux, and if they succeeded in capturing it, would have an open path to the heart of the undead empire. Blackstone Post, where the necromantic library was held, the source of the entire empires power, would be completely exposed. Nathaniel was at least a two months march away, and knew he would not make it in time to help defend Gisoreaux, but he hoped that the garrison in the city could kill enough of the fleshy bastards to allow him to retake the city without heavy casualties. Because after retaking the city he would need to defend it from a second assault. With three army's bearing down on the undead empire, it fell to Nathaniel to slow them down long enough for help to arrive.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Heinrich Kemmler Mortal Empires Campaign

    The Battle of Blackstone Post, and the defense of Gisoreaux.

    Kemmler sat in his makeshift command post, located in the old tavern at Paravon. The building was small, with wood paneled walls and and few windows, but he enjoyed how simple it was. The large collection of ale and wine in the cellar was an added bonus. He was sipping a wine that he guessed had been forgotten about by the tavern's previous owner ages ago, as the bottle had been covered in dust and was lying undisturbed in a secluded corner of the cellar, when he heard the sound of hoof beats halt abruptly on the road outside. A messenger entered and Kemmler learned that the situation in the west was declining rapidly. Apparently an army of north men had been allowed to pass through Brettonian lands unhindered and was now rapidly approaching Blackstone Pass. Why the northerners were so focused on the old fortress he could not understand, but as the capital of the new empire, and the site of the largest collection of necromancer tomes and records in the known world, it could not be allowed to fall. Nathaniel understood this and without needing to be told, moved to intercept the northerners on the slopes of the mountain, just within site of the old fortress. The messenger warned Kemmler that two more Brettonian armies had advanced south from Fort Bergbres. Nathaniel would be unable to defend Gisoreaux and Possibly Castle Artois if the defenders at Gisoreaux did not slow the enemy. Nathaniel was requesting any sort of military aid to march west and meet him at Gisoreaux to help him repel the Brettonian armies. Kemmler dispatched the messenger to Aquitaine immediately, with instructions to inform Gunther he is to move west with all possible speed. The march would still take two or three months. Kemmler needed to remain where he was at Paravon until the new defenses were completed, as the wood elves had become a constant threat to the eastern borders. After the messenger left Kemmler sat back, wine in hand. Whatever the outcome of the coming battles, whichever side lost would be hard pressed to recover and defend a larg part of their lands. If the undead were defeated, all of the western empire, from Artois to Montfort would be defenseless. If the Brettonians were routed from the field instead, the Fort at Bergebres, and the castle at Lyonesse would be vulnerable. These next few months would decide the fate of the entire Brettonian region, and who would rule it.

    Nathaniel stood at the front of his army, looking down at the northerners assembles before him. They all looked strangely similar to Krell. If they all fight like Krell we're in trouble, he thought to himself. His army was a ragtag band of mostly skeleton spearmen, in the front rank, with a few companies of swordsmen behind them. The four Dire Wolf packs made up the right flank. Nathaniel had one advantage. Gunther had taught Nathaniel how to bind powerful wights to him, and Nathaniel had been able to equip them with upgraded weapons and armor, fresh from the forges at Montfort before he moved west. The general had begun calling them grave guards, and Gunther and Kemmler had begun equipping their forces similarly. These elite infantry made up two companies on the left flank, to prevent the northerners from breaking through there and flanking the swordsmen that waited behind the spears. The north men army was for the most part, just as basic. Lightly armored axe and javeline infantry formed the center, with two packs of wolves on right. Behind the wolves was a large group of what Nathaniel at first thought were wolves, but later realized that they sometimes walked on their back two legs. But were able to keep up with the wolf packs when the northerners began to advance. On the enemy left was what Nathaniel was most worried about. Two large, furred beast, with huge tusks coming from their heads, were advancing towards Nathaniels lines. The animals stood at least as tall as three men, and looked to weigh as much as a hundred, if not more. How such beast had ever been tamed was unfathomable, and now he had to face them in battle. The only tactical advantage he has was where he had chosen to fight the battle. The enemy had to advance uphill as Nathaniels forces held the peak. The fortress of Blackstone Post could be seen in the distance, and here in it's shadow, the fate of the empire it overlooked would be decided.

    Nathaniel ordered six companies of spears to break of and pin down the tusked animals. He then ordered his six companies of skeletal swords and two companies of grave guards to form the center line. Seeing the the enemy wolves, including the strange two legged ones were charging his right flank, he ordered his own wolf packs to counter charge. With the enemy cavalry and the tusked beasts pinned down for the moment, Nathaniel order his infantry to charge the enemy infantry line as it advanced uphill. The downhill momentum would aid in the initial shock the charge caused, and he needed to end the battle before the tusked beast broke through his spears. Nathaniel led the charge and with a loud crash the two line collided. The front line of the north men infantry was utterly overwhelmed by the ferocity of the charge, and within seconds at least a quarter of their number was dead or wounded. Nathaniel's infantry were finally slowed but continued to advance at a steady pace. They stepped over the bodies of the slain northerners, and one by one the northern infantry began to route. But they had been to slow. Before they had begun to run the majority of the infantry were slain, their companies never to be reformed. Nathaniel's wolves had won the cavalry skirmish as well, and the enemy wolf packs could be seen running off into the forest, ignoring the commands of their human masters. On the left flank the tusked beasts swung their heads side to side, flinging the skeletal soldiers around them into the air. Sometimes they would rear up on their hind legs and crush a skeleton with their front feet, grinding the bones into dust. But eventually sheer numbers and exhaustion won the fight. With spears sticking out of their legs and bellies, the animals began to look less like a war beast and more like a fleshy pincushion. Both beast eventually fell to the ground, unable to get up. The northern army had been defeated, and Nathaniel now set his gaze on Gisoreaux. He became optimistic, perhaps he might be able to get there in time, the garrison just needed to hold out a while longer.

    Odo read the reports from his scouts, grimly accepting his fate. A Brettonian force of 1400 men was advancing on the town of Gisoreaux. As lord of the town, chosen by Kemmler to rule the undead occupying it, it's defense fell to her. As undead vampires were immortal, but they could still be killed if one uses the right methods. The holier than thou knights of Brettonia knew these methods. Odo knew she would die this day....again, and permanently. Her meager force of 600 was outnumbered 2 to 1. Her one chance at showing Kemmler she did't die a failure was in making the Brettonians pay dearly for every inch of ground. She ordered her troops to form up and prepare for battle. Under her command were two colonies of bats that she had learned to bend to her commands. Other than that she had just a rag tag force of skeletons and dire wolves. She hoped it was enough. Her scouts reported that the Brettonians had fielded at least six cavalry companies and another three of archers. This did not include the peasant infantry that served in every Brettonian force. Brettonian Cavalry was renowned across the world as some of the finest, and even against the spears of the undead, they posed a dangerous threat. As such pinning them down became a priority. Doing this would allow the swordsmen and dire wolves to unleash hell on the Brettoninan infantry, weakening their army in the best way Odo knew how. She had her swordsmen wait out in the open while the spear men and dire wolves waited in the woodline on the left flank. She knew the Brettonians would try to use their cavalry first, and when they did, she planned on using the spears to pin them down in the woods.

    Odo had been right. The Brettoninan knights, upon seeing the vulnerable swordsmen in the open, flanked to the left and attempted to hit the left flank of the line. By the time they saw the glint of spear tips in the sunlight through the trees, it was too late. they slammed into the spears at full speed, and almost broke through, but were swarmed by the other spear men, who came rushing through the trees and surrounded them. The whinnying of the horses filled the air as man and beast both looked for an escape. None was to be found. The Brettonian knights quickly realized they would need to fight their way out of the woods, or be overwhelmed. They ditched their lances, drew swords, and set to hacking at any skeletal figure that came to close. Many of the knights were pulled from their saddle and screamed as they were stabbed repeatedly by the spears of the enemy, until their cries stopped. Many horses met the same fate. The battle in the woods had begun. Six companies of Brettonian knights were trapped, surrounded, and help wasn't coming.

    Odo stood with her soldiers in the open and heard the commotion coming from the forest. That signaled that it was her time. She ordered the charge and led her soldiers into the mass of enemy infantry. Her swordsmen were outnumbered and knew she could not win the infantry battle. But she didn't need to. All she needed was to kill as many of the bastards as she could. That way, when Kemmler and the other Generals arrived, they could use the dead from the battle to reinforce their armies. With her sacrifice, her allies would be made stronger. She had ordered the dire wolves to go around the enemy infantry line and attack the archers, and she could see them set to work tearing the archers apart with tooth and claw as she charged. She wondered how any of these Brettonians had ever faced a vampire in battle, and then she wondered how many would die before one of them was able to say they killed one. Instantly her forces were surround, as the Brettonian lines far extended beyond her own. They circled in and enveloped her forces as they began to swing at the enemy with abandon. She was death incarnate on the field, dodging spear thrusts and sword swings, only to appear in another place striking out at her next victim. Using magic taught to her by Kemmler himself, she kept raising her dead forces until she could not longer draw power from the winds of magic. Her forces one by one began to crumble, turning to dust as her binding to them failed, until only she remained. Her wolves had been defeated by a group of enemy spear men who broke off to save the archers, but the damage they inflicted had been enough to route them. She continued to fight, slaying countless more men as she did. Every time she was wounded she would strike down another man, and that mans death gave her strength. Her wounds would heal, and she would be unfazed by the injury. But even this would not be enough for victory. Eventually an enemy spear man was able to strike Odo through the center of her back, the spear exiting her body in the center of her chest. Two more spears struck her in her ribs on both sides. The men who had struck her had dropped the spears in terror after realizing what they did, but she found herself unable to move. Weak, she began to fall back, but the spears propped her up, and she was stood up like a rag doll, arms dangling at her sides and her face staring towards the sun. She heard someone unsheathe a sword. "These spears will become her bonfire, and her head will be placed on the highest point." She knew her final death was coming. She could hear the air whistle as the sword swung through it, swift but precise. A sharp pain, and then nothing.

    The Brettonian knights let out a cheer as the skeletal warriors around them crumbled to dust. They rode out of the trees and in the distance saw a figure, impaled on three spears. Next to it was their general, in his shining armor, holding aloft the head of what they guessed to be the enemy commander. That's when they noticed the bodies surrounding him. Hundreds of their countrymen lay dead in the field. Their blood soaking into the ground. Groans from the wounded could be heard from across the field. The knights looked around and noticed their situation was no different. The knights of Brettonia had almost been defeated by a measly horde of untrained, ill equipped, skeletal spear men. As they rode back to meet with the rest of their forces the victory left a stale taste in their mouth. The had retaken Gisoreaux, the first town to have been lost when Kemmler launched his war against them. But now they would have to hold it with a broken army. The only thing that might save them was King Louen Leoncoeur, marching south with an army of his own.

  14. #14
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
    Content Director Patrician Citizen

    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    United Kingdom

    Default Re: Heinrich Kemmler Mortal Empires Campaign

    I agree with TurkafinwŰ, your storytelling is done well. While pictures may add to the story, they're not needed. You've got me interested in your apprentice necromancer, fleeing the forced service of his former masters. The detail that he was forced to serve the undead as punishment is nicely done, I wonder what he was being punished for. I'm also wondering whether his former masters will be coming after him. (I've only read the first chapter so far, you might have answered this on one of the later chapters).

  15. #15

    Default Re: Heinrich Kemmler Mortal Empires Campaign

    Gisoreux recaptured

    Nathaniel and Gunther stood on the hilltop, looking down on the now occupied town of Gisoreaux. The living defiled the place with their presence, and had been busy while Nathaniel and Gunther rushed to retake it. They had hastily constructed fortifications around the town and were hiding behind the walls, believing themselves safe from the undead advance until Louen could arrive to rescue them. Nathaniel and Gunther had other plans. The defending Brettonian force had been weakened substantially by the heroic defense led under lord Odo, whose smoldering remains Nathaniel had come across only days before. The Brettonians had not had the time to clean the battlefield of their dead, and many of them had been reanimated to replace the losses Nathaniel's army suffered against the Northern invaders. "Louen approaches swiftly, and it would benefit us both to face only one Brettonian force." Gunther stated with sneer. The offensive launched by the human armies against the undead empire bothered him. Mankind no longer felt fear when facing the undead, not as they did just a hundred years before. The Von Carsteins constant squabbling had weakened the undead to the point of irrelevance. Gunther was proud to serve Kemmler, knowing that the Necromancer intended to change this. The Von Carteins had imprisoned Kemmler for daring to learn how they controlled the armies of the dead. They feared that he would become more powerful then them. Yet here he was, on the other side of the world, sowing fear back into the heart of mankind. As if to make his thoughts a reality, the crypt horrors that served him emerged on the crest of the hill, and upon seeing the forces of man in the town, let out a cry that could be heard for miles.

    All activity within the occupied town stopped as the Brettonians turned to see the source of the noise. Pierre the Devoted looked out from the gatehouse. At first all he saw was the hill outside town, motionless. And then it began to move. The crest of the hill became a giant mass of bodies, flowing down the hill towards the town like a never ending stream. Thousands upon thousands of undead, charging the walls with ladders. "They never even started a siege" Pierre thought. He then saw the dozens of flying, bat like beasts descending on the walls, and the shambling, troll like creatures approaching the gate. Masses of flesh, bones protruding from their bodies at unsettling angles. "Of course they didn't, they don't need to." Pierre donned his armor and rushed out of the gate. He mounted his flying Pegasus, and rushed to lead his men. No sooner had he taken flight when he saw them. At least a dozen of the large, bat like creatures were heading towards him, mouths agape and claws outstretched. He didn't even have time to scream. One of the creatures slammed into his mount, gouging it open with it's claws. Blood rained from the sky and onto Pierres troops below. They saw their lord get torn into pieces above them, his blood and limbs falling back down to the earth. Then the beast descended on them, and they died. Like vermin they died, without glory. No noble defense at the walls, no heroic deeds. Just slaughter, to the last man. The undead had come to exact revenge, and they did so in brutal fashion. After the battle, the remains of Pierre were gathered, and piece by piece mounted on the gate. When Louen arrived he would see each piece, and understand. Gisoreaux is the land of the dead, and the living are not welcome.

    Kemmler looked behind him at Paravon as he led his army west towards the war. The fortifications were finished and should be substantial enough to hold off the wood elves, should they attack. He had heard news of the events at Gisoreaux and was confident that Nathaniel and Gunther could defeat Louens army. But he wanted to use the opportunity created by such a decisive defeat to seize more territory. To do so his army would be needed. His soldiers were well armed, well supplied, and his companies at full strength. They would be needed if Kemmler was to go on the offensive. The town at L'anguille lay on the road between Lyonesse and and Couronne, and if captured, would cut off the Brettonian forces at Lyonesse. Also, the fort at Bergbres would be lightly defended after Louen's defeat, allowing it to be captured and preventing further incursions from the north into undead territory. "The empire will grow. You need not worry. Nathaniel and Gunther have proven themselves time and again. They will not fail you. Your power will continue to grow" Krell walked alongside Kemmler, watching the Necromancers face grow more serious as he thought of his empires future. "Is that why you stay with me? Because I promised you more power even as my own grows." Kemmler trusted the spectral warrior, but was still unsure of why he followed Kemmler instead of forging his own path. "I can fight and kill anything I face, true. But I could never be capable of what you do. I can't raise my own armies. I'm no wizard. But at least I can command yours. Without you, I command nothing." Kemmler smirked at this response. Krell was far more intelligent than he appeared. He needed Kemmler, just as much as Kemmler needed him. Kemmler was no great warrior. His mind was his most effective weapon. Krell was the one who commanded respect on the battlefield. They were two sides of the same coin, it appeared. Neither could exist without the other. An undead empire without a general to lead it's army's, or a wizard to raise the dead, may as well be dust.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Heinrich Kemmler Mortal Empires Campaign

    The battle of Arden Forest.

    Louen was frustrated. He had hoped the northmen would be able to slow down the undead reinforcements that had come from the east. He reminded himself to lower his expectations for the northern savages next time. To make matters worse, the incompetent, and now dismembered Pierre, had lost half his men recapturing Gisoreaux. Even though he outnumbered the enemy two to one, the enemy force had almost defeated him. Now he was staring at the fools dismembered body as it decomposed over the walls of the town. But he had to admit not even Pierre deserved such a fate. The undead had sallied out of the walls of the town when his army arrived. and were staring at him across an open field. instead of fighting the battle on their terms, he retreated back to the forest. He hoped to fight a drawn out guerrilla battle against the enemy, as they outnumbered him substantially, but as of yet he had been unable to force an ambush. His men were becoming tired, and being so long in the land of the dead was exacting a price on his army. The land was withering and dying around them. Natural sources of food were not to be found, and clean water was nonexistent. His men began to slowly die of disease and starvation. His hand was forced. He needed to fight the enemy now, or retreat back to Brettonia. He decided on the former. Retreat was not an option. He had already come so far and marching back through the undead lands would only cause more of his men to die. If he retreated he already admitted defeat, and he would return to Brettonia with a half dead force anyway. If he fought and won, he could at least retake Gisoreaux and use the old food stores there to sustain his army. He called his advisers to him, two wizards and a paladin champion. They agreed with the plan and began to prepare for battle. The Brettonian strength would be the cavalry. Louen had brought along eight companies of knights, and planned on using them to flank the undead army, causing their binding to fail and they would crumble to dust. This would leave the undead lords open to attack, and he and his paladin would slay them as the wizards rained fire on them from above. Undead hated to burn, Louen knew this. His wizards could imbue the weapons of his infantry with the power of the holy flame, and with these weapons they would slice through the undead infantry with little effort. Outnumbered or not, Brettonia would win the day. There was no other option.

    Nathaniel and Gunther had been stumbling upon small groups of dead Brettonians for three days now. The land of the dead was exacting a toll on the Bretonians, as it would any mortal army. Louen would either attack soon, or retreat back to his own lands. They told their men to be ready for battle, and made camp in the forest. The enemy would come to them if they wanted battle. No point in risking getting caught in an ambush when the evidence showed the enemy was growing weaker by the day. That night Gunther and Nathaniel met in the command tent. "A message from Kemmler arrived today. When we defeat Louen, he wants us to be ready to go on the offensive. The fort at Bergres must be captured to secure the northern border from further invasion. He also wants the town of L'anguille captured cut off the enemy castle of Lyonesse." Nathaniel liked Gunther, but sometimes his arrogance could be a bit much. "Why are you so sure we will win. The Brettonian cavalry is more than capable of running down our soldiers with little effort. Louen is leading this army as well. His reputation as a warrior is well known." Nathaniel preferred not let his hubris blind him. It had been the end of more than one great undead lord. "Oh please. With your strength as a warrior, and my grasp of necromancy, any mortal army would be hard pressed to defeat us both. How many battles have we fought together by now? How many cities have burned under our gaze." Nathaniel thought back on the first battle he had fought alongside Gunther at Bastonne. Both of them had grown stronger since then, and both had achieved many more victories. "We still need some kind of battle plan," he said. Gunther admitted that Nathaniel was probably right. The Brettonian cavalry was dangerous, and if they could not be bogged down early in the battle, legions of undead would fall underneath their hooves and lances. "How many packs of dire wolves do you have?" he asked Nathaniel. "Between you and me, we have six. Not near enough to fight of the entire cavalry force for long." Nathaniel replied. Gunther sighed heavily. "What if we are able to bait the cavalry into dividing. My crypt horrors, backed up by a few hundred spear men, should be able to bog down at least three or four of the cavalry companies. Leaving the wolves to deal with the others. At least until the enemy lords can be slain." Nathaniel nodded at this in agreement. With the cavalry engaged by wolves and crypt horrors, the vargheists would be free to attack the enemy archers. Once the archers were dealt with they could kill the wizards that Louen had embedded in the army. He and Gunther would have to fight Louen and his paladin face to face. He feared Gunther was not ready to face such powerful warriors in single combat. "Will you be able to fight on the front lines? I know you are capable of wielding your sword, but against a king and his personal guard? They may be far stronger than we suspect." Gunther's expression grew serious, worry showing on his face. Then he spoke. His voice had lost all hint of it's former overconfidence. "If you are right about me underestimating the enemy, we might not have any other choice."

    The sun rose over Nathaniel and Gunther's encampment the next morning, and a scout rode into the center of the camp. The enemy was marching towards them. Nathaniel and Gunther quickly got their forces in line. Two companies of spears and the crypt horrors on the left flank. On the right the six packs of wolves lay in wait in the treeline. Two more companies of spears were behind them, prepared to reinforce them once the wolves engage the cavalry. The rest of the army, including fours companies of grave guards, formed the center line. Side by side Nathaniel and Gunther stood at the front of their forces. Across a small clearing the Brettonian's own line were formed. The two armies stood less than 500 feet apart. Nathaniel had decided that Louen would have to make the first move. He had nothing to lose if Louen decided not to attack, and was content to let him run back to his home for now if he chose too. But the Brettonian king's pride would not allow him to do this. He ordered his cavalry to split up and perform a pincer movement against the undead infantry gathered in front of the treeline. He then ordered his archers forward to engage the flying beasts that were circling over the undead forces. Within hours the fate of his kingdom would be sealed.

    Louen smiled as he saw his cavalry draw closer to the undead lines. They would be crushed on both sides and he would then order his infantry to advance. But something didnt feel right. The enemy infantry was not turning to face his advancing cavalry. Instead they began to advance towards his infantry, the two undead lords leading them forward. Not at a run but a walking pace. They seemed content to ignore the thunderous charge of his knights, whose lances were lowered, ready to slam through the enemy line. Then he saw why. A loud crashing could be heard coming from the undeads left flank, and then at least forty giant, club wielding horrors, similar to the trolls that the Greenskins fielded in their armies, emerged from deep withing the forest. With hundreds of spear men behind them. The beasts blood lust could be heard in the wail that all forty let out upon seeing the cavalry. Then they charged. The cavalry, upon seeing this, had no choice but to counter charge, and the two forces collided violently. Lances pierced flesh and clubs swept knights from their saddles. The two forces were evenly matched. And the cavalry were forced to draw their swords and engage in a sustained melee. Louen then heard the sound of hundreds of howling wolves come from the right flank. He saw hundreds of them charging at his second cavalry force, undead spear men following close behind them. He he didn't need to keep watching to know what he had to do. He drew his sword, and he and his paladin raised their weapons. "For Brettonia!" they shouted, and began to sprint towards the approaching undead infantry. The battle would be decided by common infantry. He knew that the two sides clashing in the cavalry battle would destroy each other.

    Nathaniel and Gunther spotted the king and his bodyguard charging across the clearing towards them. Until now he had been advancing at a walk but now signaled for their men to pick up speed. They ordered the vargheists circling above to engage the Brettonian archers. The infantry of both sides were on their own. No supporting monsters, cavalry, or archers would help either side. Nathaniel and Gunther charged ahead, heading straight for the king. Their forces following close behind. Within seconds the distance was closed, and Nathaniel and Gunther were engaged with the king. Gunther, sword drawn, fought the kings paladin guard while Nathaniel lunged at the king, claws outstretched towards him. The battle raged around them. The grave guards, which formed the center of the undead infantry line hacked through the brettonian peasants with ease. Swords easily slicing through the lightly armored troops they faced. But they were quickly beginning to be overwhelmed as the weaker undead infantry on the left and right began to fall. Finally the grave guards were surrounded, their weaker undead allies crumbled to dust around them. Their lords fighting at the forefront against the Brettonian king.

    Gunther immediately realized he was outmatched. The paladin, although not as swift as Gunther in battle, was heavily armored and well trained in the use of sword and shield. He blocked every strike that Gunther attempted to make. Then the paladin began to counter. Using sword and shield as if he had been born with them in hand, he bashed Gunther in his stomach, causing him to double over. Gunther rolled away just in time to avoid having his head severed from his body. Then he felt the shield crashing down on his back as he was recovering. He fell to the ground, stunned from the blow. Then he felt a sharp pain through his shoulder. He couldn't get up. The paladin had pinned him to the ground with a spear he had found on the battlefield. Having used all of his magical energy to heal his troops, Gunther was unable to save himself. His shoulder was a mangled mass of muscle, useless, his arm unable to even lift his sword. His end was coming and he had no way to prevent it.

    Nathaniel danced around the king. Leaping in to slash at him with his claws before jumping back out of range of the glowing sword he wielded. The king had managed to strike Nathaniel more than once, and each strike caused a searing pain, like his flesh itself was burning. But he was not the only one wounded. The kings armor had been rent asunder by Nathaniel's claws, and blood flowed down his leg from a wound in his hip. The king was limping, and was getting weaker as he lost more blood. They circled around each other and Nathaniel prepared to finish the king for good. Then he saw Gunther behind the king. The vampire lord was face down on the ground, a spear protruding from his back. His sword lay on the ground beside him, just out of reach. The paladin was raising his sword, preparing for the killing blow. Not thinking Nathaniel lunged forward, pushing the king aside. The paladins sword was falling, Gunther's eyes were closed, ready to accept death. Nathaniel grabbed the paladin sword arm, stopping the killing blow form being struck. The Paladin looked at him, shocked, and then his face turned to fear. Nathaniel roared, a sound so thunderous that men all around him paused, and his own grave guards bones vibrated in their armor. Then with all his strength he twisted the paladins arm, ripping it away from the body completely. The paladin cried out in pain, sinking to his kneews, looking at the place where his arm used to be, now spewing bright, arterial blood. The paladins hand was still gripping the sword when Nathaniel placed his hand around it's hilt. Wielding the sword with the paladins arm still gripping it, he swung. The paladins head rolled to the side as his body collapsed in a pool of blood. It came to stop at Louen's feet. The king had just recovered from his fall where Nathaniel had pushed him aside. He looked at the head of his closest friend, and most trusted warrior, and he ran.

    Nathaniel did not follow Louen to finish the job. The Brettonian army was broken, and he needed to heal Gunther. Using the small amount of magic he did know he closed Gunther's wound and allowed him to rest. It would be months before he could command again. A vampire needs blood in order to use their power, and Gunther had lost much of his own. Vampires bodies were unable to make their own blood and he would need the blood of the living to recover himself, and Nathaniel luckily had more than a few living Brettonians come into his possession. He ordered the survivors of the battle to be held in the dungeon at Gisoreux and drained of their blood as needed by Gunther. Nathaniel then camped his army at Gisoreaux until Kemmler arrived to start the offensive. With Louen's army defeated Brettonia was now vulnerable. Brettonia's time has passed, and the time of the dead was quick approaching.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Heinrich Kemmler Mortal Empires Campaign

    Brettonia begins to fall. Nathaniel asks for a favor.

    Louen and the remains of his broken army limped back to Fort Bergres, pursued by Kemmler and Nathaniel's forces. He knew that he had failed his people, and now they would pay with their blood. The garrison at the fort was strong, and the walls were high. If he was to stop the undead advance anywhere, the fort was his best chance. The events of the past few days kept replaying in his head. He couldn't get the images out of his head. The head of his most trusted warrior resting at his feet, severed by his own sword, with his amputated arm still gripping it, being wielded by one of the most terrifying creatures Louen had ever faced. For almost six years, the men of Brettonia had stood as the bulwark between this growing undead threat, and the rest of mankind. He had hoped that his offensive, launched just over four months ago, would have been able to retake lands lost and open the way for his forces to capture the Necromancer. Instead his armies were a shadow of their former selves. Thousands of his men had been left to rot in the land of the dead, or were now serving in the very armies marching against him. He was losing hope, but had no choice but to keep on fighting. He sent a messenger to the emperor of man, Karl Franz. He had held off on telling his ally of the growing threat in Brettonia, but now he was asking for help. But Franz was fighting wars of his own, and there was no guarantee he would send his armies south when he was fighting his own wars, far to the north.

    Gunther awoke to the sunlight flowing into his chamber through an open window. He wondered how long he had been recovering, and then remembered who it was that saved him. He would never hear the end of it. Nathaniel had been right, he had not been ready to face the paladin one on one. But he was still here, and that was more than he could say for the paladin. He called for a status report of his forces, and was pleased with what he heard. Kemmler had arrived from the east with his army, and he and Nathaniel headed north in pursuit of Louen. His forces had used the time he had been recovering to build back up to full strength. Although Nathaniel and Kemmler should be able to take the fort themselves, he knew they would need to lay siege to the fort for some time in order to capture it. Gunther decided that if his army aided in the battle, the fort could be captured without the need to construct siege equipment. All three armies would then be free to advance to the Brettonian territories further west of the Arden Forest. Gunther strapped on his armor, grabbed his sword, and marched north.

    Nathaniel and Kemmler stared up at the walls of fort Bergres. The massive fort had originally been built by the Dwarves, before the mountain passes had been taken over by the nations of mankind. Now the time had come for the dead to take them. Behind them Gunther was arriving with his army. Over 7000 undead soldiers filled the mountain pass, ready to storm the fort and gain control. Louen's army had passed through the fort only hours before and continued north. He left his army behind under the command of a fresh general he had just recruited from the forts garrison. Louen understood he should be with his men, but he also needed to raise more men to his banner. So he continued on to the port city of Marienburg, where he would conscript every man in Brettonia able to serve. Brettonia would not go quietly, and the last stand of it's brave soldiers would be told of through the empires of man long after he died.

    The undead lords watched as the swarm of undead raised ladders against the fort walls and began to climb. They stormed over the battlements and through shear numbers they began to overwhelm the enemy. Kemmler saw no reason for them to participate directly in the battle, and ordered his generals to stay back. The fort was captured within hours, the undead infantry slowly moving through the fort, killing any defender in their path. The streets became rivers of blood as the defenders fell by the hundreds. At the end of the night, there was nothing but silence inside the fort. The sound of the wind whistling through the mountain pass grew louder as the night went on, and the undead generals talked deep into the night. For the first time in months, they were all gathered in the same location.

    Nathaniel sat silently in the corner of the room, staring into the flames that Kemmler had lit in the fireplace to keep himself warm. He was still human after all. Nathaniel had not contributed much to the conversation, as his mind kept wandering back to what he wanted to asks Kemmler. He needed to know why the woman, still sleeping at Artois, was so important. Why he couldn't bring himself to be rid of her. Why he wished she was awake, so he could ask her questions. Kemmler looked at Nathaniel from his chair by the fireplace. "What troubles you Nathaniel. You remain undefeated in battle, and now have three Brettonian lords who will never breathe again thanks to you. You have slain more Brettonians than any of us in this room. Yet you do not celebrate your victory." Nathaniel looked at Kemmler and decided he needed to ask, otherwise he would never get answers. "In my first battle serving you, at Artois. I was searching for survivors to kill, and entered the cellar of one of the houses within the city. I found a woman there. But i was unable to kill her. When I tried to end her life I couldn't. Something in my mind told me she was important, but I couldn't say why. I still cant remember anything from before, but I know she has something to do with my old life. When I attempted to drag her from the cellar she was knocked unconscious in the struggle, and now she has not woken up in the six years since the battle. I need answers, my lord. I think only she can provide them." When Nathaniel said all of this Krell looked up from a book he had been reading. "Are you sure you want to remember your past. Being undead is easier with no ties to the living. I never accepted my existence until all those I had known in life were dust and bones." The concern was evident in Krell's voice. He had grown fond of the young ghoul king he had trained. One of the greatest warriors under his command, and a brilliant tactician, he could not afford Nathaniel to be distracted. Nathaniel thought carefully about how he should reply. The wrong words here could end in the woman being killed, by order of Kemmler or Krell. "I think...No. I know that as long as she still breathes, I will always have questions about my past. I've done some research on her condition, and it's likely she will never wake up. Yes we could end her life, and I would follow such a command. But I know of another way. A way that will allow me to get the answers I want. But I need Gunther's help." Gunther was startled to hear his name brought into the conversation. Then he understood what was being asked of him. "You want me to make her like me don't you?" Nathaniel nodded. "You understand that if I do so, her life is forfeit, that she will forever serve Lord Kemmler." Nathaniel nodded again and replied in a somber tone "If we kill her, her life is ended anyway." Gunther looked to Kemmler, asking for his input. Kemmler shrugged, and then spoke. "The way I see it, you owe Nathaniel a favor for keeping your head on your shoulders. He has served me loyally for six years, never asking for anything. Why not allow him to rediscover his past." Gunther looked back at Nathaniel, and smiled warmly. "You better be ready to explain a lot to this woman when she awakens. Unlike you, she will remember her past, and she has missed a lot in six years. You aren't the only one who will have questions to ask."

  18. #18

    Default Re: Heinrich Kemmler Mortal Empires Campaign

    Isabella rises. Brettonia divided.

    A month later, Nathaniel stood outside the room that the woman slept in at Artois. Days before Gunther had come and given Isabella the blood kiss before going back to Fort Bergres. Nathaniel expected her to awaken soon, and he needed to be present to explain her new existence to her. He heard the creaking of the bed, and the sound of breathing on the other side of the door. He decided now would be a good time to enter. He opened the door, stepped in, and was greeted by a blood curdling scream. The women ran and cowered in a corner of the room, holding a stool to keep him away. He had forgotten about his appearance, and cursed himself for being so stupid. So much for first impressions. He yelled at her, much harder than he meant to. "Calm down woman. I mean you no harm. Look in the mirror and tell me what you see." The woman stayed where she was, analyzing him for a few minutes before deciding he did not intend to harm her. She got up and approached the mirror and gasped. "I don't see anything. It's like i'm not even here." She stammered. Nathaniel, fortunately, could see her. Her form was slender, almost appearing fragile, her long red hair falling down her back, almost to the top of her hips. Her red lips were accentuated by her skin, which had taken on a deathly white tone. Likely a side effect of being made vampire. She turned around and saw him staring, she looked down and realized she was not clothed. Nathaniel recognized her shock and he pointed to a pile of clothes on the foot of the bed. He had found them in the castle and thought they may have belonged to the former countess who had ruled the castle before he had captured it. He turned around while she dressed and she coughed to get his attention when she finished. He turned around and was surprised. The clothes fit her form perfectly, still leaving little to his imagination. The long black skirt she wore made her pale skin and crimson lips look even more beautiful. He bowed as best he could and introduced himself. "Nathaniel Von Buchner. Youv'e been asleep six years, and I'm here to answer any questions you have. But I have many questions of my own for you." The newly risen vampire simply stared at him, her mouth hanging open. Visible disbelief on her face. She backed away from Nathaniel, horrified, and then she began to cry.

    "It's not possible." She stuttered as she grabbed the bed post for support. "You are dead. You have to be dead. I can't believe you would allow yourself to become this...this monster." She motioned at him with her hands, emphasizing her last point. "As if I had a choice." He grumbled. He leaned against the wall, crossing his arms as he watched the woman. Then the realization hit him. She recognized his name. "How do you know my name? What am I to you?" He asked her. She laughed hysterically. "You are nothing to me. Whatever you are, you aren't the man I loved. He would rather die than become what you are." Nathaniel's anger got the better of him. He rushed at the woman and grabbed her by the throat. Lifting her into the air. He shouted into her face. "I did die. I led the defense of Gisoreaux against the rotting undead. I alone kept my men from fleeing at the sight of death itself coming for them. I fell on the battlefield, blood pouring from my body. My last thoughts before Lord Kemmler plunged his sword into my body were of you, hoping you had made it to safety. Hoping I bought enough time with my blood for you to escape. Knowing I would never see you again, or hold you in my arms. Never have children. You have no idea what I sacrificed. Then I had my choice taken from me. Forced into the service of Lord Kemmler against my will. But he has allowed me this chance to see you again. For that I owe him everything." Isabella gagged, clawing at his hands, gasping for breath as her feet dangled above the floor. "Isabella?" he asked. He remembered everything. His home outside of town, his wedding, his conscription into the militia. He remembered his death, his blood spilling out onto the ground. He released Isabella and she fell to the floor, gasping for air. He backed away, stunned by what had just happened, and then he looked back. Isabella was staring up at him, tears in her eyes. "What are you.?...What am I?" Nathaniel took a deep breath, getting ready to explain everything to her. "We're both dead. But now, we are so much more." He took a seat on the ground across from her, and began.

    He told her of everything he had done the past six years. Holding nothing back. He explained who Kemmler was, and that they both served him. He told her about the war that had been raging for six years while she slept. He told her about his brother in arms, Gunther, and how he saved him from permanent death. How this led to Gunther giving Isabella the blood kiss. He even told her how thousands of Brettonians had died by his command, the genocide he had committed against mankind. Isabella listened to all of this silently, never speaking a word. For hours he spoke, until finally he was done. She stared at him, deep in thought. Nathaniel had been made a monster, and had done monstrous things if everything in his story was true. But the path he had taken had led to this moment. She had been on the verge of death for six years, and before that she thought Nathaniel to be dead. Now they were both together again, and according to Nathaniel, more powerful than ever. His new appearance was unsettling, but even in life he was never the most attractive. She smiled at Nathaniel from across the room. She got up and approached him, reaching out with both her hands. His monstrous hands enveloped hers and he stood, staring into
    her eyes. She leaned in on her tiptoes and spoke softly into his ear, at least as close as she could get to them. She was still her human height. "As long as we are together, I will serve Kemmler as you do. Not many people get seconds chances at life. It's even more satisfying that our second chance is for eternity."

    Gunther arrived at Artois with his army a month later. The woman he had turned vampire just weeks ago greeted him at the front entrance to the castle. Isabella was her name he learned. He introduced himself as her creator and she thanked him, kissing him on the cheek. "I owe you so much, as you probably guessed." She was much more lively than the female vampires he had grown used to being around. Most of them had existed for so long that they no longer found joy in anything. Isabella on the other hand, was eager to begin her new path. She almost danced down the hall, humming as she went, leading him to the great hall where Nathaniel waited to speak with him. She opened the large wooden door, engraved with the seal of Brettonia, and bowed as he entered. The door closed behind him and he could hear her humming fade as she left the two of them alone. "I have so many questions." he said, confusion visible on his face. Nathaniel laughed and beckoned Gunther to sit next to him. "Consider us even, Gunther. You gave me my former life back. Unbeknownst to both of as at the time you agreed to turn her." Gunther was still perplexed. "I'm assuming you knew each other?" He raised his eyebrows in question. "Oh very well my friend. We were apparently married. I now remember everything from before, and she had agreed to join me in service to Kemmler. After all, hes the main reason we've been brought back together." Gunther nodded his approval. But he had news that he believed Nathaniel might find upsetting. "Well as much as I hate to interrupt your second honeymoon, Lord Kemmler had orders for us both. As well as your bride. Beautiful as she may be, everyone here must serve a purpose. That includes her." Nathaniel visibly became tense. He and Isabella had just been reunited. He would not lose her again. "What does the lord Necromancer asks?" He growled. "Lord Kemmler wishes us to capture L'anguille to divide the Brettonian lands. This would cut off the army stationed at Lyonesse from further supply. Allowing on of us to focus on defeating them while the other defends L'angulle from any forces attempting to break through to the cut off forces," replied Gunther. Nathaniel nodded, approving of the plan so far. "So where does Isabella factor into this plan." Gunther sat up and folded his hands. "Hear me out. The Brettonians have many lords and champions in their lands that are capable of raising more armies, and they are well trained in combat. I, for one, don't look forward to facing another paladin in single combat. Isabella is a beautiful lass, i'll be the first to admit, and your'e a lucky man, or beast or whatever. Isabella with have little trouble in infiltrating the Brettonian court, as even the most noble of men have...urges." Gunther winked at Nathaniel, grinning like a schoolboy before he continued. "I propose we send her west to infiltrate the court, and to kill the Brettonian lords and warriors she deems most dangerous. With each kill her powers will grow. Faster than they would here. When she becomes strong enough, she will be ready to fight alongside you in battle. Eventually her combat prowess will match yours. But first she needs this experience to become familiar with her new form." Nathaniel didn't want to admit it, but Gunther had a compelling point. Isabella needed to learn how to wield her new power, and what better way than to send her into the crucible head first.

    Isabella was ecstatic about her assignment. She had spent a few weeks being trained by Gunther and was now preparing to depart the castle, headed west to test her power against her former kinsmen. She was not proud of what she was about to do, but the thought of learning her knew abilities overshadowed any doubt. And if her and Nathaniel were to remain together, she would do anything that was asked of her. Nathaniel stood at the head of his army, preparing to march west with Gunther to capture L'anguille. She looked at the soldiers arrayed behind him and suppressed a shudder. She still was not used to the appearance of the undead in such numbers, and still felt uneasy staring at so many of them. She was growing accustomed to Nathaniel's appearance as time went by, but she still could not bring herself to kiss him just yet. She took his hand in both of hers and squeezed before turning and walking away. She would go ahead of the army, weakening the Brettonians before the undead forces arrived. Nathaniel, although disappointed, understood her animosity towards him. She was adjusting much faster than he expected, but he knew that his appearance was far from handsome. With time, she would grow used to him. Nodding to Gunther he signaled for the march to begin. The dead were on the offensive now. All of Brettonia waited to be conquered.

    Nathaniel and Gunther arrived at L'anguille two months later, and were greeted by a welcome surprise. The walls of the town had two large, gaping holes in them. They wouldn't even need to siege the damned place. They ordered their troops to form battle lines and prepared to charge the gaps. As they were doing so, a figure rode out on a horse to greet them. They watched warily as the figure approached, careful to ensure it was not a trick. The figure jumped off the horse in front of Nathaniel and landed lightly on the ground. It was Isabella, and she was smiling as wide as her lips allowed. "Some pyrotechnic was a bit to weak for a pretty face, and this was the outcome." she said, sweeping her hand outwards towards the gaping holes in the walls. Gunther laughed "Looks like sending you ahead worked out even better than I had hoped." She turned around and bowed to Gunther. "Proud to be of service." she said Sarcastically. She walked up next to Nathaniel and drew a sword from it's scabbard on her waist. "The blacksmith didn't want to make a sword for a woman. His family convinced him otherwise when he heard their cries." She laughed hysterically, and Nathaniel looked at her stunned. She turned to him. "It's no worse than the things you've done. I have come to accept what I am, just as you have." She jumped up, wrapping her legs around his body, and kissed him before jumping back to the ground. "Now then, lets get started." Gunther and Nathaniel both stared at her, and then looked at each other. They shrugged and then sounded the charge. The undead army poured through the gaps in the wall, and the people of L'anguille were put to the sword.

    Louen had arrived in Lyonesse by sea just as the refugees from L'anguille began to pour into the city. He could not believe that undead had moved so quickly. Brettonia was split in two. Lyonesse was cut off. Only Louen and his newly recruited army were left to defend it. The Capital of Couronne, to the north of L'anguille, though well garrisoned, was open to attack. The undead would come for him first, and then the rest of the nation would follow. He asked the refugees as much as he could about the undead forces that attacked L'anguille, and what he heard had him trembling in fear. They undead monster that had almost killed him months before had led the attack. But this time a woman was at his side. As beautiful as any Brettonian bride, but as lethal as a viper. They said she relished in the slaughter, that her and the beast fought side by side, inseparable, and untouchable. Louen shook with anger. The beast and his bloody bride. That's what they began to call them. The very name inspired fear. Louen already faced one of them and barely survived. Eventually he would have to face them both. He didn't think he would survive the next encounter.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Heinrich Kemmler Mortal Empires Campaign

    Lyonesse Captured. Marienburg Besieged.

    After the capture of L'anguille, Gunther moves his forces back to Artois to prepare for the attack on Lyonesse. Nathaniel remains at L'anguille with Isabella, supervising the construction of new fortification to prevent reinforcements from rescuing the Brettonians trapped at Lyonesse. Once Gunther's forces are ready he moves out and begins to advance on Lyonesse. He send scouts ahead of his main force and they return within a few days. They tell him that Louen is no longer stationed on Lyonesse, but that his army is lying in ambush just south of Artois. Upon hearing this, Gunther retreats back to Artois to wait out the Brettonian forces. He was in no rush to engage them, and did not wish to fight on the enemy's terms. The war had for now entered a stalemate. Neither side wishing to make a move that could result in a major defeat. Gunther sent word to Kemmler, informing him of the situation, and asking for guidance.

    Kemmler sat in the great hall at Bastonne, enjoying the few months of rest he had been able to get while Nathaniel and Gunther secured the western Brettonian territories. But Krell had been growing restless. He wanted to hear the chaos of battle around him again, and had been trying to convince Kemmler to move north and attack Brettonia at Marienburg. The city had a small garrison, but with the bulk of Brettonia's forces concentrated at Lyonesse, that chance of being attacked while besieging the city was minimal. Kemmler, meanwhile, saw no reason to rush things. The news that had just been delivered to Krell may be just enough to force Kemmler's hand. Krell entered the great hall and kneeled before the Nrecromancer, holding out a message from Gunther. Kemmler took it and Krell stood, waiting for the Necromancer to finish reading the new. "Well, this is unfortunate. Gunther's forces are not strong enough to take Lyonesse on their own, and Nathaniel can not leave L'anguille to assist in the siege until the fort is completed." He handed the letter back to Krell and stared into the flames, deep in thought. Krell spoke up "the great port of Marienburg is still undefended, and it's doubtful that the Brettonians can muster enough men to break through a siege there." Kemmler sighed and rolled his eyes. "Again with this ridiculous plan. Why is the port so important. Why not march my army to Lyonesse and assist in the siege there instead." Krell slammed his fist on the table "You asked me to command your armies did you not? Now let me command them!. The port at Marienburg is a major trade route into the empire and if we capture it, anyone wishing to trade with the empire first has to pay us. It would provide powerful leverage in forcing potential enemies to remain at peace with us. Otherwise they would be cut off from one of the largest trade markets in the world. Louen and his army at Lyonesse would have no way to sail back to mainland Brettonia if we captured the port. We can wait till then to finish them off." Krell breathed heavily after his outburst, and began to apologize, but Kemmler cut him off. "Don't. You are right. As a leader I need to realize i'm not always right. We will do it your way. Prepare the army to march north. Even if we don't capture the damn place, we will at least force Louen into action." Krell bowed before taking his leave. The door slamming shut behind him. Kemmler sat in the chair closest to the fireplace. He grew tired of this war with Brettonia. Why could they not just admit defeat. Louen was forever a thorn in his foot. Annoying him with every step. In time though, even the largest of thorns falls out. Louen's time would come.

    Gunther, having seen no signs of attack from Louen's forces at Lyonesse, moved his army to Bastonne. The forges at Montfort had been busy and Gunther began to equip his soldiers with better weapons and armor. By this time Kemmler had begun the siege at Marienburg, and this forced Louen to action. Having heard of the siege at Marienburg, Louen decided to head north with his army, only moving at night. He hope to be able to sneak past the undead forces and arrive at Marienburg in time to trap Kemmler's forces between his own and the walls of the city. He had made it halfway there when scouts from Gunther's army discovered the Brettonian force just outside Gisoreux. Immediately recognizing the threat posed by the Brettonian forces, Gunther marched toward Gisoreux, and forced Louen into battle at a small bridge crossing. The Brettonina force was made up entirely of infantry, as the large companies of knight had been destroyed in the early battles of the war, and Louen had never been able to replace them. Gunther had been able to raise undead cavalry of his own, but the river prevented their use as the only way across was a small bridge, about forty feet wide. The enemy had formed up their spear men on the opposite side of the bridge, and a cavalry charge would be utterly ineffective. Gunther had his mainline grave guards from the center of his infantry line, and positioned the crypt horrors behind them. Once the bulk of the Brettonian defenders were engaged, he would order the crypt horrors to punch a gap through the main line and head straight for Louen. If he could slay the king, the Brettonians would break and run. His grave guards charged the enemy line and began to cut a swathe through the ill trained spear men. Louen, recognizing the situation, ordered the rest of his army into the fray, trying desperately to plug the gap that was rapidly forming as the heavily armored undead infantry advanced. Now that the entire Bretonian force was committed to battle, Gunther ordered the crypt horrors to charge the center of the enemy line. They slammed into the Brettonian forces and forced their way through, leaving a wake of smashed and broken corpses in their wake. Louen took one look at the horrendous beast charging at him and fled, having never even engaged in the battle. Twice now the undead had defeated him, and twice he fled like a craven fool.

    Louen walked through the gates of Couronne, head down, hoping he was not recognized. His clothes were rags. His frame was thin, and he had trouble walking. For weeks he had trekked back to Brettonian lands, and now he was home. In the capital. He showed his ring, bearing the royal seal to the castle guards, and was escorted in. They looked at him cautiously. What type of force could bring such a mighty king so low. Why did their lord look more like a common beggar than the great warrior he once was. Louen washed himself, donned new clothes, and entered the throne room. He sat on the throne and looked at the guards assembled before him. "I want you to ride out to all corners of the kingdom. Gather any person who was once a knight, any squire in training, any peasant able to wield a spear or sword. Those who refuse will be executed. The undead are coming, and the men of Brettonia will meet them on the field of battle. Their king commands it." The guards left in haste, leaving the king alone with his thoughts. They grew darker by the day. For the corruption of the undead was seeping into the land and it's people. Disease began to spread, and the crops began to die. The nation was dying, and their was nothing Louen could do to stop it.

    Nathaniel was in good spirits as he sat on the edge of the newly constructed walls at L'anguille. Isabella sat on his lap, reading the letter that had just been delivered to him out loud. When she was done she sprang up and looked at Nathaniel. "Well? Your'e the grand general here." She like to tease him about his responsibility to the undead empire. In life he was never a great warrior or tactician, just a simple farmer. Nathaniel stood up as well, turning to look out across the open field beyond the walls. "Southeast of here is the last remaining southern territory of Brettonia. If what Gunther says is true, and Louen's army is defeated by his hand, then Lyonesse is vulnerable. It's up to us to take it. Gunther needs to give his forces time to re equip, and Kemmler is besieging Marienburg." Isabella came to stand beside him, looking in the direction he was staring. She placed her hand on top of his. "Once more to battle?" she asked. He nodded his head. She immediately let go of his hand and ran off, out of sight down the stairs to the courtyard below. Shouting commands at the troops to form up as she went.

    The small garrison at Lyonesse was no match for the two of them. The defenders were overwhelmed and surrendered in the hope that they might be spared. They had been abandoned by their king and countrymen, and offered service to Nathaniel and Isabella. Nathaniel had learned upon talking to a few of the defenders, that he and Isabella had somewhat of a reputation. "The beast and his bloody bride. Thats what they have started to call us." Nathaniel whispered to Isabella as she observed the captives. She was walking along the ranks of captured soldier, drinking the blood of one of the fallen from a lead crystal goblet. Blood dripped down her chin and neck, forming a streak of crimson that disappeared down the front of her dress, which drew attention to how low cut the garment actually was. Seeing her now, he decided she more than lived up to the name. In just a few short months she had adjusted to her new life extremely well. Now they reveled in the bloodshed together. She approached one of the captives and leaned down in front of him. She ran a fingernail along the mans jawline, and in a gentle, almost soothing voice, she asked him. "Do you wish to serve me and my lord husband." He trembled at her touch, but answered firmly nonetheless. "I do." She stood and looked at the rest of the captured Brettonians and asked them. "What about the rest of you? Do all of you wish to serve." Many of the men answered, swearing allegiance, a few did not. Isabella nodded to the undead guards, and the sound of dozens of swords slicing through flesh was followed by sickening thuds as heads, and the torsos that once held them, fell to the ground. The men still alive avoided looking at the bodies of their fallen comrades, shame filling their hearts. She walked back to Nathaniel and asked him what should be done with the remaining captives. He told her that he had heard the vampire counts of the Von Carsteins, at the peak of their empire, sometimes employed human soldiers into their armies. These human soldiers usually supported the melee heavy undead infantry from afar using crossbows and handguns. Why not bring this old tradition back. The imperial ships still docked in the port at Lyonesse were filled with imperial crossbows and handguns. More than enough to outfit these men with them, and enough ammunition to train them in their use. Isabella turned and looked at the men still kneeling on the ground, awaiting there fate. The one closest to her looked up. He bore the rank insignia of an officer. "You overheard my husband did you not?" Not knowing if he should have been listening, he refused to answer. She drew closer to him, sipping from the chalice of blood. "What do you think of his offer?" He began to nod vigorously and stammered out his reply. "W..www...We. We Acc..accept." She smiled at her new human commander, her teeth stained red from the blood. "Very wise." She stood up and Her and Nathaniel left the captives to the supervision of their undead guards.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Heinrich Kemmler Mortal Empires Campaign

    The battle of Couronne.

    Louen sat in his throne room, surrounded by his most trusted advisers. The armies of the undead had captured Lyonesse and were moving towards Couronne with haste. Marienburg was also under siege. Louen had no choice but to split his forces. He
    had already sent a small force to go north and break the siege at Marienburg. He decided he would remain at Couronne and lead its defense. It was his capital after all, and he was king. He had failed twice now. He did not wish to do so for a third time. The men of Brettonia had answered his call, and he began to think that he city would be able to hold. Many old knights had answered his call, and even a few Pegasus riders had arrived in the city. He was in the process of planning the defense of the city with his advisers when he heard it. A loud thunderous roar, and seconds later the shock wave hit. The grand chandelier in the council chamber fell from where it hung as the ceiling cracked, and with a crash and showering of glass it landed on the large oak table that the king and his advisers were seated at. They all stared at it, silent as the grave. Without a word they sprang from there seats and ran to the front steps of the palace. From the top of the hill that the palace stood on they could see smoke rising from the city walls. When it cleared the gasped in horror. Their were four breaches in the walls of the city. Two on the north side and two on the west. The undead must have found a way to infiltrate the city, and used the opportunity to sabotage its defenses. Louen looked at his general, a paladin he had not even grown familiar enough with to learn his name. "Gather the army and alert the garrison, the undead will be here by night fall." He looked at the damage to the walls, and the hope he had built up over the past few weeks began to fade away. These undead never played by the rules. He should have seen this coming, and now his people would bleed for his failure.

    Kemmler hated retreating. Technically he wasn't defeated, he was just biding time until Nathaniel and Gunther captured Couronne. Once the city fell they could all move on Marienburg together, but he had hoped he could take it alone. He almost ordered the attacked when word came of the small Brettonian force that was coming to relieve the city. Krell had convinced him otherwise. He warned Kemmler that the army could probably capture the city, but would be hard pressed to hold it for long against the fast approaching Brettonian relief force. So Kemmler ordered his army to pack up and move back to fort Bergres. The enemy would not dare assault the fort, and they didn't have time to move back south to aid in Couronne's defense, so they took up garrison in Marienburg. At fort Bergres, Kemmler waited. He could see the wars end nearing, so close now. Once Marienburg was taken, Brettonia would have no more territory south of the Reik River. They would still hold a few lands north of the river, but nothing large enough to ever pose a threat to the undead again. Kemmler would then be free to focus building up his empire, and recruiting more forces. In a few years, he would be ready to unleash his legions upon the rest of the mortal world.

    Nathaniel and Isabella approached the the city from the north, Gunther's army following behind them. The weaker skeletons of both armies were ordered to storm the western wall using ladders, and to ignore the gap that had been blown in wall, courtesy of Isabella. The undead cavalry would from up outside the gap and charge in when they saw an opportunity. Gunther, Isabella, and Nathaniel would charge the northern gap with the remaining grave guards. The crypt horrors would attack the northern gate and the vargheists would assault the archers on the walls. The newly conscripted crossbowmen in Nathaniel's army would then climb the undefended walls using ladders, and fire down on the enemy in the courtyard from the top of the battlements. Nathaniel did not think they dare betray him and Isabella. They had made very clear what would happen to each mans family in Lyonesse should a single bolt strike an undead soldier.

    Louen surveyed the battle from his position at the center of the city. From the top of the hill he could see the entirety of the city defenses, and everywhere he looked, the defenses were failing. To the west the undead had stormed over the walls and slaughtered the archers that had been stationed on them. Even now the undead soldiers were pouring from the stairwells that led from the ramparts, and engaging the Brettonian infantry. To the north the undead generals had charged through the gaps in the walls, leading the heavily armored undead infantry that until today had been a rare sight. Now the undead army contained hundreds of them. He could see the beast like general leading the charge, his female companion next to him. The Vampire lord that was almost slain in his first battle with the undead was also present. The undead poured through the gap and spread out as they saw what waited for them. Heavy Brettonian cavalry charged into the gap, plugging the breach and forcing the undead to begin to fight tooth and nail for each inch of ground. He looked to the northern gate and the situation there was also desperate. The large, club wielding undead had breached the gate and were crushing the Brettonian infantry beneath them. Explosions of blood could be seen with each swing of their clubs. A geyser of crimson rising into the air only to rain back down on those lucky enough to still be alive. At least for now. On the walls above the gates the Brettonian archers had been routed, and the bat like creatures were now engaged with the Pegasus nights in an aerial battle over the city. Crashes could be heard as men, horses, and undead bats fell from the sky and landed in the streets below. Louen unsheathed his swords. Surrounded by his remaining cavalry, he prepared to make his last stand.

    Gunther, surrounded by his heavily armored grave guard, continued to use his magic to bring more of his fallen soldiers back into the battle. The Brettonian cavalry charge had been very effective against the infantry, but with him supporting the battle from behind the main line, he was able to keep the infantry from crumbling. As one soldier fell another rose to take it's place, and Gunther continued to do this until he could no longer. With his magic depleted he drew his sword and rushed into the fray. The exhausted Brettonian knights fell to his sword, one by one. He hamstrung one horse and it collapsed, it's rider with it. Another Knight charged at him, sword raised, but Gunther was too fast. He sidestepped and parried the blow. As the horse passed he used his strength to severe the horses back leg. It fell to the ground and the rider was swallowed up by a mass of undead. Gunther continued to fight, little by little, the cavalry began lose ground.

    Nathaniel and Isabella were Inseparable on the battlefield. Scores of Brettonian knights died by their hands. Isabella having become a master of the sword, was an almost mesmerizing sight in combat. Still wearing her dress and riding boots, she relied solely on her skill with the blade, and her unnatural agility to protect herself. She wore no armor as Gunther did, and it seemed that not a thing could touch her. She dodged and parried blow after blow, striking back the instant she saw an opening. Beside her, Nathaniel was her polar opposite. Using brute strength to tear men out of the saddle or to rip open their mounts. Together they advanced ahead of the main infantry line, leaving a path of blod and bodies behind them.

    Louen looked around him. He and his last few companies of cavalry were all that remained of the army. The defenders on the walls and in the courtyard had long since been broken. And he waited for the undead horde to descend on him. What could be taking them so long. Why had they not come. Them he heard a whistling in the air. It grew louder and then he saw the knights all around him falling to the ground. Crossbow bolts seeming to grow out of their armor. Until now he had never encountered the undead using ranged weaponry. It was one of the few advantages that mankind had. He looked down the stone street in panic, wondering where the attack was coming from. There, in the street, staring back at him was a man. But the man wore a uniform of all black, bearing the seal of Kemmler on his breast plate. At least a hundred more men like him were in the street as well, all armed with crossbows. So this is how it ends, he thought. Not with some glorious final stand. But cowering like an insect, waiting for the bolt with his name on it to find him. Betrayed by his own countrymen. No. That's not
    how he would die. He would live to avenge Brettonia. This time he wasn't running out of cowardice, but for revenge. He climbed atop one of the Pegasus that had survived the battle in the air and with a final look back, flew north. Not to Marienburg but to the Brettonian lands north of the Reik river. There he would rebuild his armies slowly, and when he was ready, he would exact his vengeance.
    Last edited by kghdodge; November 11, 2019 at 12:28 AM.

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