Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Scorpius Tyrannus triumphant

The celebration of his victory over the Dawi had almost reached its end by the time Scorpius had returned to Aquila. Word of the success had come to Aquila by the fastest rider. Glavius and his Senators were quick to seize the opportunity to throw a grand festival in honour of his brother’s triumph. The fact that Scorpius hadn’t yet returned was overlooked.

Scorpius marched into the atrium of the Glavius' palatial home where he found the revellers already drunk. He had ridden non-stop back to the capital. He still wore his blood-stained armour and mud-spattered red cloak. Aquila’s elite were all assembled in their finery, Senators and nobles all, though to Scorpius they were a shameful sight. Some of the aristocrats were already comatose, while others staggered or swayed as they struggled to move. All appeared drunk to the point of lethargy. The air was heavy with incense, but it did little to disguise the stench of blood. All around the bodies of spent slaves littered every corner and alcove. The smell of it stirred the thirst in Scorpius and he frowned, inwardly suppressing his urges to join the feeding. He needed to maintain his focus.

Sitting upon the garlanded dais was Glavius himself, slumped in his chair and nodding gently. His purple robes were slick with the blood of the slave girl who lay cold and still at his feet, and the golden laurels of his office hung precariously from his brow. “How apt”, Scorpius chuckled to himself. As he approached, heads turned lazily to observe him through inebriated eyes. He halted abruptly before his brother, saluted, and announced himself.

“Hail, Glavius!” The Dictator stirred a little. More Senators began to awaken, roused by Scorpius’ voice ringing through the hall.

“HAIL, Glavius!” He announced more loudly. Glavius jerked up with a start, looking straight at his brother but taking a moment to recognise him. Scorpius pitched the captured standard of the Dawi at his brother’s feet. Its staff clattered against the marble mosaic that depicted the triumphs of their uncle Dominus. Now the whole audience chamber had become aware of his presence.

“Hail, Scorpius” Glavius looked up with surprise. “You do us great honour. You are Aquilus reborn! Hail the saviour of the Republic!” He raised his goblet, splashing its ruby contents across his lap. He slurred heavily as he spoke, grinning like a fool. Clearly he had taken more than his fill during the night’s excesses.

“No” Scorpius mused to himself. “I am not my grandfather”. Aquilus the Great would have been appalled at the excesses of the regime and the decline of his empire. He would have acted sooner. But there was time to make amends.

Scorpius glanced to his sister, Floriana. She met his gaze. There was nothing but sober cunning in her pale face and crimson eyes. He had trusted her to orchestrate the most lavish party conceivable and it appeared that she had excelled herself. The Senators were well and truly intoxicated.

“Brother!” Scorpius addressed Glavius again as he appeared to nod off once more. “I have not yet saved the Republic. But I mean to now.” Glavius barely comprehended him through clouded eyes. A confused murmur rose in the hall as the perplexed Senators and nobles looked to one another.

Scorpius simply stood and smiled. Behind him came a heavy, rhythmic clanking as a wordless command enacted his will. Into the atrium marched dozens Wight legionaries, the clatter of lobstered armour reverberating against the stone columns. Each had its sword drawn, illuminating the hall with a moonlight glow. Eyes widened in alarm as they saw the legionaries approach, but too late. As Scorpius stood motionless, his wolfish stare locked on Glavius, his soldiers went about their bloody business. The ghostly blades rose and fell. The screaming began. The Senators staggered and fought to escape, but they were too drunk. Some attempted to draw concealed blades but they acted clumsily and were quickly overcome. The hall erupted into chaos and confusion and terror.

Then, as quickly as it had begun, the deed was done. Silence once again settled on the hall. The Senate was completely extinguished. Scorpius surveyed the remaining nobles who cowered like lambs beneath the blades of the looming Wights. They had been the lackeys of Glavius, but they were his now.

“Scorpius!” Aghast, Glavius attempted to rise, but stumbled on his robes and tumbled down the steps. He landed heavily, the golden laurels toppled from his brow. He looked up with a piteous face, but Scorpius could not see a brother at his feet. All Scorpius could see was the feeble ruler who had squandered an Empire. In a single sword stroke, Scorpius ended two centuries of misrule.

“Hail Scorpius!” The voice was that of Floriana. She stood upon the dais, her hand held high in salute. “Scorpius Imperator!” They beamed at one another, both imagining the new age of glory for Aquila. This was the night where it would begin.

The cry went up from the remaining aristocrats. “Hail Scorpius! Scorpius Imperator!” They were powerless to say otherwise. One by one they acknowledged their new master, and their fate.

“HAIL SCORPIUS!” The hall rang with the sound like it was music. He stooped and snatched up the golden laurels. He placed them upon his head and raised his hand in triumphant salute to his new senators. “SCORPIUS IMPERATOR!”

Monday, 20 December 2010

Cloudy Mountain Orcs resurface

A forgotten threat rose again in early 235 as the orange-skinned orcs of the Cloudy Mountains re-emerged from their underground lairs and moved west into Arloth and towards the Cuitlaxaochitzin empire. After decades of infighting the orcs and goblins had finally been united under the banner of Warlord Vrak Nosecruncha.

As usual the lizardmen, with only a small standing army of their own, despatched their ogre mercenary forces to halt the orcs before they could spill from the mountains. Tyrant Rargag expressed only disappointment that his foe was not worthy and would not have much loot.

The ogre overconfidence was their undoing. Rargag personally lead his force into the heart of the orc lines, but did not reckon on the ferocity of Nosecruncha's elite orc troops. As ogres were hacked down around him by an endless orange sea Rargag' nerve broke and he fled only to be cut down as he ran. His army broke and scattered back to Cuitlaxaochitzin.

Their mercenaries having failed, and their scouts reporting the ferocity of Nosecruncha's force, the Slann looked elsewhere for help. The Pact of Tacapantzin was signed with the elves of Mellvellon, for mutual protection against 'the evils of Palurin'. The alliance seemed a little lopsided as it forced the Elves into battle within the year.

As the winter snow fell forces from House Wenohtar marched into the foothills, a final line of defence before Nosecruncha's army could spill into Cuitlaxaochitzin. The reduced visibility meant both armies almost blundered into each other with little time to form battle-lines.

This meant Nosecruncha ploughed his force forward, leaving behind his chief shaman Splatterer who was stuck with a group of goblins squabbling over some shiny coins. Still the warlord's elite warriors were strong enough to smash into the elven lines and decimate their spear-guard and archers.

Nosecruncha met his match however against the Wenohtar Maiden Guard. Though vastly outnumbered the maidens were protected by powerful magics that turned the blow of their foes aside again and again. Though their casualties were heavy the maidens wrestled the upper hand, whittling down the Orc numbers until Nosecruncha saw the writing on the wall. He attempted to flee, but was hacked down by the elite elven warriors.

The elves were victorious and Cuitlaxaochitzin safe. Would this be the start of a strong alliance between two of the scattered empires of Palurin?

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Wrath of Cuitlaxaochitzin awakened (200-235PC)



The expansion of the Dwarf realm continued apace under the triumvirate of the Dwarven Kings. The fleet of Karak-a-Varr became ever more confident with each successful naval engagement. Dwarf engineering increasingly proved the decisive winning factor in many sea battles and the ironclad vessels began to gain renown the world over.

Emboldened by their victories the Dwarves became ever more confident, venturing out into the wider seas. At each tavern and harbour they would lay anchor the captains heard rumours of cities to the west brimming with treasures, hidden deep in the dark jungles and jealously guarded by an ancient power. No explorer could resist the lure of adventure, nor the prospect of treasure. So it was that expeditionary forces set out in search of the mysterious cities to the west.

The first Dwarves to land in Cullinor came in force, for they had heard many dire warnings concerning the perils of this exotic realm. They were not to be disappointed. Within weeks of marching inland the treasure hunters were set upon from all sides. By day they had to contend with the overpowering heat, sweltering under their armour and beards. Biting insects plagued them, and daily they ran the gauntlet of the avoiding the grazing thunder lizards that crashed through the jungle, monsters that were utterly oblivious to anything unfortunate enough to be underfoot. By night they huddled by the camp fires, watched through the gloom by slinking predators.

Having spent four long weeks dragging and heaving their winding baggage train through the dense jungle the doughty Dwarves found their prize; they came upon a sprawling city, a mighty gold-decorated pyramid rising from its heart. Overjoyed, the Dwarves gave up a mighty cheer. But their jubilation was to be short-lived. Across the clearing the jungle seemed to erupt as a veritable army of reptilian monsters surged from the undergrowth. Thundering tusked behemoths the size of a forge furnace careened into the column. Shrieking leathery-winged harridans plunged through the tree tops. Darting through the brush, vicious swamp lizards were goaded forward by chattering frog-folk, spitting fiery gobbets amongst the reeling Dwarves. Yet most unnerving of all came rank upon rank of implacable scaly warriors, hefting terrible spiked mauls and brutal stone axes, hewing and slashing at any and all who stood before them.

The Dwarves overcame their surprise and did their utmost to form together to meet this jungle army. The artillery contingent at the rear of the caravan unlimbered and they were quick to let loose shot and shell. But the dense surrounding jungle made it almost impossible for the engineers to find their mark, unable as they were to move the artillery through the undergrowth up to the thick of the fighting.

Meanwhile, the Dwarf companies at the head of the train had rallied around their bellowing Thane. War horns blazing, they threw themselves headlong into the ranks of the oncoming lizard warriors so as they might meet their foe with honour in a head-on charge. Sadly their bravery counted for little, as the resolute Dwarves could not stand against the savagery of their scaly foes, who tore at them with their barbed teeth and wicked claws.

The shrieking bird-lizards stooped down upon the artillery batteries, plucking the crewmen from the ground and carrying them off into the canopy. Almost surrounded and seeing his hopes of wealth and fame being dashed before him the Dwarf Lord ordered the retreat to be sounded before his kinsmen could be overwhelmed. The expeditionary force withdrew back down the jungle trail along which they had toiled. Stoic Thunderers covered the retreat, their volleys becoming a distant crackle as the army pulled back to the coast.

The jungle would not give up its treasure easily.

Plundering in Arnar


The Ogre Mercenaries of Graag continue to rove across Palurin whilst their Lizardmen allies defended the home kingdom of Cuitlaxaochitzin. With the onset of winter of in 220PC they began to head south in search of milder climes, after a number of successful raids upon the tribal lands at the periphery of the Kaalroen Empire. Their route passed close to the forests of Arnar. Travellers from across the globe knew this to be a forbidden forest, fiercely guarded by its inhabitants. Yet driving snow storms and the onset of hunger caused the Ogres to overcome their dread and so the army entered the dark woodlands in search of food and shelter. Their movements were tracked from the moment that the first Ogre stepped foot across the sacred way-lines. Word was sent to Calminaion and a host of incensed Wood Elves descended upon the mercenaries as they took refuge from the onset of the bitterly cold weather.

The Elves summoned the guardian spirits of the forest to their aid, and fey sprites, capricious dryads and the very trees themselves seemed to rise up in outrage against the Ogres’ presence. The Elves were rash in their assault and had not considered that these Ogres were hardened fighters, veterans of numerous campaigns across Palurin. Now they were cornered with no hope but to stand and defend themselves against the sylvan onslaught.

The Ogre general led his most veteran warriors into the midst of the enemy host, having spied the Elven leader across a forest glade. The Ogres crashed into the elite Eternal Guard of Arnar, the battle-scarred Tyrant seeking out his chosen foe amongst their ranks. The Elven lord proudly stepped forward to meet the challenger who dared to invade his sacred homeland. He darted and danced around his lumbering foe, yet for all his martial skill and grace the Elf was no match for the Tyrant’s brute strength. The Eternal Guard watched in horror as their general was knocked to the ground by a brutal swing of the Ogre’s axe. Before the Elf could struggle to his feet, an over-sized iron boot crashed down upon his head, savagely ending the duel and leaving the Tyrant the clear victor.

The forest spirits fought with violent abandon to expel the Ogres from their home. However, the shamanic magicks of the Ogre Butchers were magnified by the army’s hunger and desperate situation. The Elves could do little to stop a furious counter attack as the Gut Magic of the Ogres lent them extraordinary strength and resilience. The Elves and their allies melted back into the forest. As they Ogres surveyed the field of victory they realised an unexpected banquet now lay before them. The Ogres sat down to feast upon the slain... though all agreed that Dryad did not taste good.

Arnar suffered further misfortune when, barely a year later, the eastern settlements of the Wood Elves drew the attention of reaving Dark Elves of Lamentation . Many innocents were stolen away in the night and bundled upon the black-sailed ships. Dorshidhion unleashed the full fury of its best warriors but the cunning Druchii were prepared and had brought their own dark legion in escort, purposed with protecting the raiding vessels waiting on the beaches. Vicious Corsairs rained wicked barbed bolts down upon the Wood Elves as they burst from the forest to attack their dark kin. The assault of the Wood Elves stalled, and the Druchii unleashed their savage war hydras upon the woodland host. The defenders of the forest fell back in dismay, and the dark ships escaped with their plunder.

The Dark Elves continued to raid along the coasts of Arnar, and later extended their reach as far south as Melthu, their vessels prowling the swallow coastal waters. This continued piracy drew the attention of Grey Seer Typhus himself- he was outraged that the Elf-things dared to enter his domain, let alone steal his slaves! Yet even the forces of Typhus could not bring the Druchii to heel, and in 227PC the Skaven swarms unleashed from Boiling Peak were repulsed by the Dark Elf escort following the fleet. The marauding ships once again escaped into the wider ocean, replete with the spoils of months of plundering.

The Aquilan-Dwarf War begins

In 216PC the dwarfen armies gathered at the border to the Aquilan empire, there to plan and prepare for a swift and destructive campaign. Arrec saw these mere men as peasants and gluttons. It was his first and last mistake of the war. An army was sighted approaching the camps. Shocked, Arrec gathered his forces to repel the men. Upon witnessing the army to contain not men, but the undead, the dwarfs were struck dumb. Battle cries turned to lead in their collective throats and cold fear weaken their resolve. Arrec just managed to encourage his warriors on, but the Aquilan army threw surprise after surprise at the dawi. Locked in combat, the dwarves bettered their fear, but could not better their foe. The undead elite butchered the dwarf centre, and for every two skeletons cut down, one would rise again. Almost without understanding what was happening to them, the dwarfs were crushed and scattered. Arrec alone faired well against the undead lord, yet it was not enough and he was swamped by the vile parodies of living beings.


After the battle the armies prepared to flee, only to find the undead moving back into their realm. For some reason the dwarfs still had a chance to wipe this foul empire from the land. Grudges were recorded. The elves were gifted gold for information of how to fight the disgusting hordes. Lordship of Karak Grimnil was passed to Runelord Alarag Hammerhand. The war had started poorly for the dwarfs but it was far from over.

The Dwarf Kingdom in the early 2nd Century

In the early years of the second century, the Dwarf Domain, under it's new King Morgrim, changed fundamentally in character. Whereas the old King Undin had claimed lordship over the entire realm, his son quickly won over grey beards by claiming rule of Karak Brynaz alone. Karak Debaz and Kazad Varr were declared one city, a reality obvious to most. Renamed Karak-a-Varr, it's crown was handed to the High Admiral Thorgir. A hold was swiftly raised in the far north, in the land won in Undin's final conquests. Named Karak Grimnil, rule was given over to the old King's standard bearer Arrec Goldtooth.


With the old political opponents to the south appeased, and the north held by a true warrior, Morgrim began to encourage his own hold of Karak Brynaz to grow as a cultural and mercantile hub.


To the north Arrec, an old militaristic soul, looked about for enemies. The humans of the HSE made for interesting diplomatic opponents initially, until Orcs and goblins were found in greater and greater numbers. In a year long campaign Arrec personally led attack after attack, smashing villages, burning dung-monuments and slaughtering every greenskin that could be found. Eventually a horde of grobi coalesced under one war leader and the two armies clashed. In a bloody battle, both sides lost warriors of all calibres. The brutal orc elites smashed Dawi formations with apparent ease, yet the rest of the greenskin horde faired less well, and soon the blood slicked remnants of the black orcs found themselves alone on the field, surrounded by angry dwarfs. With many an angry curse spat over his shoulder, the orc warboss left the battlefield, promising to return with more "crumpier boys".


Returning from his genocidal campaign, Arrec found not peace, but fear. In his absence, increasingly more and more dwarfs had disappeared from mines and farms in the west. Talk of ghost, and blood coated man-things intermingled with tales of the dead walking. Little proof was to be found and Arrec sent ambassadors to his westerly neighbours, Aquila. The dwarves had believed them to be harmless, under-developed men. When some returned with tales of widespread slavery and sickening hedonism he became worried. When others did not return at all, he became enraged. Armies were gathered, aid called for from the other holds, and preparations were made.


Meanwhile at sea, the expanded fleet of the new Admiral Snorri Saltbeard, was led out to successful defence of dwarf waters time and again. Led by the Flagship "Wrath of Grimnir", coupled with the battleship "Undin's Vengeance", the dwarf fleet moved against an elven privateer fleet attempting to cross dangerously close to the dwarf port city. Both sides were mauled, but the dwarfs emerged from the smoky waters as victors, their huge lead ships still floating. Later in the same year, a human force had the audacity to approach the dwarven port, in their midst nothing other than a ship clearly powered by stolen dwarf engineering! This insult could not go unpunished and all available ships (and dirigibles) were ordered into the open seas. Early in the battle the dwarfs were dealt a mortifying blow as their admiral boldly advanced ahead of the fleet, only to be boarded by marines of great skill and captured. Soon though, true dwarf technology prevailed. HSE ships fell one after another, until only the human flagship faced the tattered remains of the dwarf fleet, led by "Undin's Vengeance". With a deafening crash and fire ball that left all the dwarf mariners blind for hours, the flagship exploded to a lucky shot from the ironclad battleship. Tired and blinded, yet satisfied, the dwarfs returned to port. Luckily the admiral was found floating in the wreckage; soggy, disgruntled, yet safe. Human ambassadors would later claim no knowledge of the source of this fleet.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

The Dead Stir in Aquila


Since the Fall of Aranur and the founding of Aquila this once-great Empire’s power and influence on the world stage had waned. After the bitterly-fought civil war Aquila found itself beset by newcomers to Palurin. The Skaven infestation at the start of the first century brought the already-weakened city to the brink of collapse. With the death of the great Dominus Tyrannus, his delusional son Claudius the Vain embarked on a campaign in the north to expel the foreign invaders and win back lands that rightfully belonged to Aquila. He never returned from campaign and his armies were lost.

Claudius was presumed slain and, having died without an heir, dictatorship of Aquila and its few remaining provinces passed to his cousin Glavius Tyrannus. Where Claudius had burned with the ambition to gain glory and conquests to rival those of his forebears, Glavius had no such pretentions. He was content to allow the senate to manage the minutiae of day-to-day rule of the city and people. Rather, he would enjoy a luxurious existence of feasting and parties, theatre and games. Moreover, many of the vampires now ruling the senate valued this respite from war and unrest. Decadence and excess became the fashion and the ideals of the martial pursuits became, for many, nothing more than an inconvenient memory. Where once they had competed for power and political influence, now the noble houses contended to throw the most lavish gatherings, hold the greatest games, or build the most impressive and palatial residences. Aquila evolved into a hedonistic paradise for its ruling elite.

So it was that for two centuries Glavius and his kind ruled over a profligate nation, its excesses becoming more depraved year on year. The majority of Aquila’s subjects knew no such pleasures; the thousands of human slaves toiled the fields and mines to support the state. For their trouble the slave population would often have lots drawn, a few in every hundred being carried off to “entertain” their vampire overlords at the latest feast or debauched party. Some were thrown into the arena to battle one another, or worse, some fearsome monster or blood-thirsty master, a twisted voyeurism for the entertainment of the aristocrats. A few humans held privileged positions as Free Men; many were slave keepers, though a few were artisans, performers, architects and bureaucrats. Each hoped that their loyal service would one day win them the gift of eternal life, that they might ascend and take their place amongst the ruling vampiric nobility.

Aquila has become introspective, caring naught for the outside world. The undead legions silently patrol the borders and the roads, but never venture beyond the reach of the River Tiban. However not all in Aquila are content with this decadent existence. Quiet politicking returns to the shadowy corners, whispered meetings and letters exchanged in secret. There are some who still yearn for triumphs past such as those Aquilus the Great achieved all those centuries before.

House Tyrannus is itself divided. Glavius’ younger brother Scorpius remains an ardent advocate of militarism in Aquila. There are frequent reports of the intrusions of the stout ones that call themselves “Dawi”. Their own empire has expanded to the very source of the River Tiban and overlooks the plains of Aranur. Scorpius urges Glavius that they can no longer be content to simply throw such intruders into the arena- more and more come with each passing month. They pose a real threat to the sovereignty of Aquila should they continue to expand their domains. The time has come for action. The eagles must be raised, the legions must march once more.

But Scorpius and his supporters remain a struggling minority. After all, who would want to sacrifice the life of hedonism to return to war?

Battle of Morrfin Bay

The victory of the High Elves of Mellvellon against their foes in the north following the Battle of the Fortress of Dawn could not have been more at odds with their fortunes on the other side of the continent.

By the second century PC the Dragon Lord’s fleet was sufficiently large so as to be able to dominate much of the Great Rhun Sea. Ever eager to explore further the Elven captains used this advantage to make wider forays round the Cape of Melthu (giving Boiling Peak a wide birth) to venture out into the Pan Coron Ocean.

However, upon reaching Morrfin Bay the fleet of the Dragon Lords was brought to heel by the might of Cacauaxochitl. The Lizardmen had previously tolerated the odd Elven ship straying into their midst. However when the battleship Torfiel’s Ruin was sighted in the bay, accompanied by a full complement of cruisers and escorts, the Lizadmen interpreted this as a sign of aggression on the part of the Elves.

The Lizardmen quickly put their vessels to sea and were ruthless in their attack- they rained fire down on the dragon ships, sinking some at extreme range, before closing to ram and board every vessel that crossed their path. The Dragon Lords attempted to return fire but struggled to form a cohesive battle line as the Lizardmen ploughed into their ships with savage abandon. Torfiel’s Ruin was hammered mercilessly, though not before she had managed to set the Lizardmen’s leading battleship aflame.

Torfiel’s Ruin was prized by the Lizardmen after boarding parties slaughtered the Elven crew. Their own vessel then quickly succumbed to the numerous fires on board, and the great ship gently hissed and steamed as she gradually lapsed beneath the waves. In spite of the loss of their lead vessel the Lizardmen had demolished the Elven fleet. It would be some time before Elven captains would again dare to venture into Morrfin Bay.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Current Lists

Population
1 Kaalroen Empire 1,920,000
2 Holy Sigmarite Empire 1,290,000
3 Dark Elf Dominion 1,230,000
4 Dwarf Domain 1,150,000
5 Mellvellon 1,015,000
6 Cuitlaxaochitzin 990,000
7 Wood Elf Realm 850,000
8 Skaven 715,000
9 Cloudy Mountain Orcs 220,000
10 Aquilan Empire 210,000
Biggest Cities
1 Boiling Peak 435,000
2 Karak-a-varr 275,000
3 Lamentation 270,000
4 Sigmarheim 180,000
5 Sudhafen 175,000
6 Dragonspire 175,000
7 Phallucia 155,000
8 New Har Ganeth 120,000
9 Karak Brynaz 115,000
10 New Skraeland 115,000
Wonders of the World
1 Boiling peak Complex 13
2 Great temple of Cuitlaxaochitzin 9
3 Tower of Phallucia 8
4 Cathedral to Sigmar 5
5 Dragonspire 5
6 Spire of Lamentation 4
7 Tower of Skraeland 3
8 Temple of Mannan 3
9 Tower of Tragean 2
10 Karak Debaz 2
Biggest Armies
1 Kaalroen Empire 29
2 Cuitlaxaochitzin 19
3 Mellvellon 15
4 Dwarf Domain 12
5 Holy Sigmarite Empire 7
6 Typhonian Enclave 3
7 Dark Elf Dominion 2
Biggest Navies
1 Dark Elf Dominion 30
2 Mellvellon 18
3 Typhonian Enclave 16
4 Dwarf Domain 7
5 Holy Sigmarite Empire 7
6 Kaalroen Empire 5
7 Cuitlaxaochitzin 5

Battle for the Fortress of Dawn

The Fortress of Dawn had maintained vigil on the Cenebrae River delta for more than a century. The Lords of Mellvellon had been content to ignore the activities and rapid expansion of the Kaalroen Empire, still viewing them with contempt- to the Dragon Lords these people were little more than totem-worshipping savages. Yet the Kaalroen Empire took great umbrage at the presence of the Elven fortress. In particular the Skraelings considered the lowlands around the Cenebrae as their rightful claim and an important access to the Cullbain bay. Previously in 178PC the warriors of Novgorod had marched against the Fortress but the Elves had been quick to respond and the Archmage Althuvial had led the sally to disperse the northmen.

Over the next three decades the Kaalroens focussed upon building the town of Storavattenstad on the southern reaches of the Cenebrae delta as a place from which they could operate their naval forces and, perhaps most importantly, supply their armies for another attack on the Fortress of Dawn. By 211PC the Skraelings had amassed a mighty force and secured its necessary supply routes. Now they were ready for war.

The Kaalroen host counted many Skraelings amongst its numbers, as well as savage horsemen of the Hjemland plains, tribal warriors of the Branmeren hills, and the dread knights of Hovestaden. In their thousands the Kaalroens answered the call to war. The armies made camp across the delta, supplied by the townsfolk of Storavattenstad and also by barges carrying grain from Novgorod up the river.

In answer Mellvellon sent reinforcements to the mainland and Prince Saravael himself rode to war, mounted on the ancient dragon Vhalkaur, the Crimson Flame. Once again the Elven host marched out onto the plains before the Fortress to meet their adversaries in the field rather than waiting for a direct assault against the defences.

The Kaalroens seized their chance to take the battle to the Elves and rushed across the plain to meet their hated foe, their march covered by devasting salvoes from their mighty Hellcannon batteries. Yet their attack was confounded by the Elves as war eagles harried the Kaalroens and interrupted the advance of the infamous Chosen Warriors of Hjemland, whilst Elven archers whittled down the Skraeling numbers. The Sorcerers of Chaos unleashed terrible magicks upon the Elves and for a time it looked as if the Elven left flank might disintegrate under this assault. But the Elves rallied and stood firm, grimly determined to defend their position. As the Skraelings horde surged forward Elven foot-soldiers marched to counter them in the centre of the field. Now battle was truly met.

As the armies clashed the Elven mages turned the winds of magic to their advantage. Althuvial bewitched the northmen in the van of the Kaalroen host to sap them of their strength. The tribesmen fell in their droves in a flurry of Elven blades. Seizing the moment, Saravael spurred Vhalkaur down upon the enemy host from on high, blanketing them in searing dragon-flame before crashing into their midst. Beset on all sides the Skraelings’ nerve finally broke and they fled in panic, even as their lords stood amongst them bellowing and raging at them to hold their ground.

As the Kaalroen centre collapsed Althuvial ordered the elite Phoenix Guard against the enemy’s right flank. Given other-worldly strength by Althuvial’s enchantments, the Phoenix Guard scythed into the warriors from Hovestaden. Once again the onslaught proved too much for the Kaalroens and to the ire of their lords they too fled the field. The Chaos Sorcerers looking on saw Saravael’s household guard emerge from the forest, ready to close on the Kaalroen reserves, and realised that their battle was lost. They withdrew the Kaalroen rearguard westward toward Novgorod in an attempt to re-group.

Satisfied that the battle had been won, Saravael turned Vhalkaur back to the Fortess of Dawn to enact the final stage of his plan. As he circled above the central keep, brandishing the banner of the fallen Skraelings, a great cheer went up from the garrison. The beacons on the battlements were lit to signal to the Elven fleet anchored in the Cullbain bay. From the waiting Eyrie carriers a dozen fire drakes took flight and soared across the bay towards the now undefended town of Storavattenstad. Led by Saravael and Vhalkaur, the drakes rained fire and ruin down upon the town until it became a raging inferno. The townsfolk tried to flee, some escaping west along the banks of the Cenebrae to take refuge in the Branmeren Hills. Many more were consumed in the blaze.

Young Prince Tinuvain watched the dancing fires as the town of the northmen burned in the evening’s failing light. Not yet come-of-age, Tinuvain had only been able to watch the conflict from battlements of the Fortress of Dawn as his father and elder brother Ruvien had led the counter-attack against the Skraeling horde. He could make out the distant shapes of the Elven soldiers silhouetted against the twilight horizon, returning from their pursuit westward.

"The barbarians must be made example of” his father said to him, gazing out across the delta to the great pyre. He gently placed his hand upon his son’s shoulder, though did not turn to him. He seemed transfixed by the fires.

Tinuvain thought for a moment. He looked up at Saravael. “But Father, they were just people. You beat their soldiers in battle. Why did they have to die?”

“Those who dare take up arms against Mellvellon must pay a heavy price. The ruin of Storavattenstad will stand as a warning to any who dare oppose us.” He struggled to pronounce the town's name in it's native tongue. The elves had not deigned to give the hovel a name. His words were heavy and solemn, yet as the firelight reflected in his eyes it seemed to make them glitter with triumph and pride.

“But they didn’t fight, Father.”

“They gave the warriors supplies, Tinuvain. Gave them food and shelter. Made their weapons...”

“But some were only children like me, Fath...”

“Tinuvain, enough!” His father snapped at him, and for a brief moment Tinuvain could see rage in his father’s face.

"Forgive me, Father, I..." Seeing his son's anguish, Saravael was composed once again. His face warmed and he smiled patiently. “One day those children would grow to become warriors, and they in their turn would fight against us”.

Tinuvain weighed his next question carefully beofre he spoke, “Why do they fight us, Father?” This time his tone was more timid. He did not wish to anger his father again.

“Because they are savages, my son. Such is their lot. They know only war and destruction.” Yet as Tinuvain looked back to the blazing ruin of the town, he saw homes and markets and farms burning. The anguished cries of the townsfolk echoing across the estuary had sounded pitiful to Tinuvain. He wondered what choice they had been given, if any, in becoming party to his father's 'war and destruction'.

"One day, my son, you will understand.”

The fires of Storavattenstad burned long into the night. A testament to the fury of the Dragon Lords.

War on the Ocean

Typhus glared at the miserable wretch cowering in front of his ornate throne. Many iron clads of the Boiling Peak defence fleet, jewel in his crown, had been destroyed and as captain of the last surviving frigate this idiot was thus in command and so fully responsible for what had happened.

The tiresome man-things had continued to infest the seas around Boiling Peak, hung up on some tiresome grievance from many years ago. Sometime about enslaving their population, Typhus wasn't sure. This inability to let the post go showed a frankly depressing level of emotional immaturity. Typhus absent mindedly caused the frigate commander's blood to boil in his veins, eliciting a brief high pitched squeal of pain before steaming gore erupted from his eyes, ears and nose and he fell limp. Such was the penalty for failing Typhus, demi-god of the Skaven race!

The mighty warpstone driven iron clads of Boiling Peak had been magnificent creations, works of art, the products of a master race. They had proven superior to the crude wooden ships of the humans in every way, destroying their fleets that plagued Boiling Peak and pursuing the few survivors right back to their own ports. However the commander had got greedy, strayed too close for too long. The humans had sailed frigates filled with black powder into the midst of the iron clads and destroyed them, the last desperate act of a beaten foe.

In truth Typhus was a little relieved. The iron clads had needed vast quantities of warpstone for their reactors, warpstone which still had to be obtained from the far north. They were ruinously expensive and Typhus was better rid of them. Typhus would order the building of a new fleet of ships, one more easily created and replaced that could be used in risky raids. The remaining iron clads would protect the port of Boiling Peak and serve as visible reminders to his awed populace of the power at his command.

Following the battles with the skaven in 214, the HSE fleet was once again in action in 216PC following a disagreement with Mellvellon. The Holy Sigmarite Empire demanded free passage to trade with Aranur, but the new colony of Seil-Falas demanded tribute from passing trade vessels. After being turned back for refusing to pay the Sigmarites returned with a warfleet and sunk the opposing Elf ships, trading with Aranur and avoiding the tax.

Dominion resumes campaigns

After more than 60 years of quiescence, while internal rivalries, politicking and scheming defelected the attention of most Dark Elves away from world domination, the Dominion once again looked outside its own borders. After many decades of strife within the Empire a new leadership had emerged whose strength united the Dark Elf people behind one purpose, the domination and enslavement of the lesser races.

Dependent on constant warfare and victories to maintain their rule, the lords of Lamentation set out on a major campaign in 210PC, heading north into the cold and forbidding forests and tundra of northern Canabrin in search of appropriate enemies for their "sport". They roamed much of the frozen land, encountering large beastmen armies on many occasions, though two battles during the summer months stand out. The first occurred as the Dark Elves reached the Domain of Beasts in the Kaalroen Empire. A vast host of beastmen barred the way, but the Dark elves smashed them, allowing them to sack the northern settlements north of Hjemland and take many slaves for sport.

The second battle took place late in the campaign season, as the Dark Elves prepared to head south. The beastmen attempted to ambush the Dominion army and demonstrate the power of the Kaalroen Empire, but once again the beastmen were defeated and the Dark Elf warhost returned to Lamentation late in the year to the acclaim of the populous.

By 213PC Dark elf mariners had circumnavigated Palurin, the first Empire to do so, and landed expeditions on all continents. Their power was waxing once more and in 214PC a slaving mission down the west coast of Aranur met a large army from the Dwarf Kingdom. The dwarfs were defeated and the Dark Elves succeeded in taking many slaves and enriching the empire with the wealth of the land. In Sigmarheim the ambassadors of Cuitlaxaochitzin, Mellvellon and the Dwarf Kingdom began once more to talk of an alliance against the twin threats of the Kaalroen Empire and the Dominion.

Raid on Sein-Craban

Typhus looked down upon the thronging hive of verminous multitudes and was pleased. The first stage in his master plan for world domination was complete! Despite the petty interference of lesser races the Skaven had thrived and multiplied on Palurin. Under his divinely inspired leadership the complex of arcane laboratories, foundries and factories atop Boiling Peak were complete and the volcano's power tamed and harnessed to his will. The port of Boiling Peak itself was a colossal warren of sprawling tunnels, chambers and nests, home to a mass of competing clans. His power base was secure and he had all the tools he needed to begin undermining the other great powers inhabiting the planet. His mighty legions and fleets would go forth and conquer in his name, for the greater glory of Typhus and the Horned Rat himself!

A recent raid on a nearby and newly established Elven colony had provided a foretaste of the bloodshed and anarchy to come. The Elves were becoming too bold and impinging on territory that rightly belonged to Typhus, beloved of the Horned One himself. In time they would have to be dealt with but for now the brutal raid had served as a warning to the arrogant Elf-things that the Typhonian Enclave was not to be underestimated. It would be Skaven, not Elf kind that would come to rule the continents of Palurin!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Lists!

Population
1 Kaalroen Empire 1,880,000
2 Holy Sigmarite Empire 1,285,000
3 Dark Elf Dominion 1,060,000
4 Dwarf Domain 1,130,000
5 Mellvellon 1,015,000
6 Cuitlaxaochitzin 990,000
7 Wood Elf Realm 850,000
8 Skaven 450,000
9 Cloudy Mountain Orcs 220,000
10 Aquilan Empire 210,000
Biggest Cities
1 Karak-a-varr 275,000
2 Lamentation 220,000
3 Sigmarheim 180,000
4 Boiling Peak 185,000
5 Sudhafen 170,000
6 Dragonspire 175,000
7 Phallucia 155,000
8 New Har Ganeth 120,000
9 Karak Brynaz 115,000
10 New Skraeland 115,000
Wonders of the World
1 Boiling peak Complex 13
2 Great temple of Cuitlaxaochitzin 9
3 Tower of Phallucia 8
4 Cathedral to Sigmar 5
5 Dragonspire 5
6 Tower of Skraeland 3
7 Temple of Mannan 3
8 Tower of Tragean 2
9 Herdstones of Ug 2
10 Karak Debaz 2
Biggest Armies
1 Kaalroen Empire 37
2 Holy Sigmarite Empire 6
3 Cuitlaxaochitzin 19
4 Dark Elf Dominion 2
5 Mellvellon 9
6 Dwarf Domain 12
7 Typhonian Enclave 3
Biggest Navies
1 Dark Elf Dominion 24
2 Mellvellon 18
3 Typhonian Enclave 16
4 Dwarf Domain 7
5 Holy Sigmarite Empire 6
6 Kaalroen Empire 5
7 Cuitlaxaochitzin 5

Holy Sigmarite Empire 195-210PC

By the end of the 2nd century PC Emperor Heinrich II had reached 60 and his son, Heinrich had finally produced a male heir. Prince Karl was born in 199 to the great relief of the Alptraum dynasty, although Princess Magda died soon afterward from complications. Never-the-less the line had been assured and the realm strengthened as those who sought power for themselves slunk into the shadows.

The period was also known for the easy going nature of the church. the Grand Theogenist Wolfgang keeping well out of political affairs and tending to the spiritual well being of the nation. As the 3rd century began, with the Dark Elf Dominion seemingly no threat to the HSE, the Empire enjoyed a period of extended peace.

The peace came to an end at the battle of Crockett's peak in 204. The Dwarfs had by this time reached the north of their peninsular home and were expanding along the mountain chain, digging tunnels, mines and strongholds in the rock. In 203 the dwarfs reached Canaur, well east of the Dominion, but an area of land the Holy Sigmarite Empire laid claim to. While negotiations were carried out in Sigmarheim between the Imperial court and dwarf diplomats (whose tempers were growing ever shorter), Heinrich sent an army east. Marching to the the north of New Naggaroth the Empire army faced a dwarf force in the mountains near the high and craggy rock known as Crockett's peak.

Despite the fact that negotiations were continuing, the two armies engaged in battle anyway. Neither side thought a resolution between the two sides would ever appear peacefully, as the dwarfs, baffled by the Sigmarite obstinacy, were already expanding into the area. The fact the HSE claimed the land was null and void.

The battle itself was hard fought, with dwarven artillery winning the duel and devastating the Imperial infantry. By contrast the Imperial rocket batteries were woefully inaccurate, on two occasions landing their payload amidst their own troops. The battle was eventually settled by a grinding infantry slugging match between the Empire greatswords and the elite dwarf units. The greatswords, thinned out by artillery, were no match for the dwarf host and were eventually ground down and wiped out. With the elite infantry gone the centre of the Empire line broke and the battle was lost, though there was enough time for the army's death wizard to gain petty revenge with a well timed spell.

The Empire cavalry faired better, breaking much of the dwarf right flank, but the combined fire of crossbows, cannon, organ gun and grudge throwers took their toll, and barely any of the empire elite troops survived the battle. The dwarf ambassador in Sigmarheim received the news before the messenger for the Empire had managed to reach the city walls, and he took great pleasure in informing the Emperor in person. Initially angry, once the confirmation had been received Heinrich realised to argue the point was futile. Dreams of settling the entire Canaur basin had to be abandoned, and he needed the dwarfs as allies. With one stroke of a quill Heinrich gave up all claim to the region, recognising Dwarf suzerainty. In the same week a trade and alliance agreement was drawn up, though significantly the wording made no mention of events at sea...

Despite its relatively small size, the navy of the Holy Sigmar Empire saw more battles as Emperor Heinrich II increased funding to the ports of Sudhafen and Galamory. Shipwrights were working on new designs, but these would not be ready for years. In 208 an expeditionary fleet was dispatched to investigate the Cullass Isles to the east. The battleship Heinrich's Glory was sent as protection, which was needed as the area of seas was claimed by the Dwarven empire.

Hope that the Dwarfs would let the Imperial fleet pass following years of peace were dashed as the armoured ships moved to engage. Both fleets took a hard pounding and though Heinrich's Glory was lost with all hands, the Empire managed to capture a number of Dwarf cruisers and return them to Sudhafen. The Cullass Isles could wait, the shipwrights began deconstructing the Dwarven ships to see what technology they could use for themselves.

The existing fleet was hastily pressed into service later in the year as Lizardmen ships were sighted near the coast. Admiral Otto Fischgeliebter believed, following previous form against the same opponent, that the lizards would be easily destroyed. He paid a harsh price for his overconfidence as the lizards, with the wind behind them, closed quickly and swarmed over the Imperial fleet. Fischgeliebter himself was hacked apart by boarding saurus warriors.

The Imperial fleet suffered its worse defeat for many years and Imperial tacticians were worried about the intention of the attackers, but the Lizardmen ships were reported to have turned around and returned to their territory. Scholars believe the raid no more than a petty revenge attack - raising worrying thoughts about the demeanor of the Lizardmen empire.

In 209PC Heinrich II celebrated 35 years on the throne and his 70th birthday. By 210 he was dead. His son, Heinrich III was crowned in the summer of the year.

Mellvellon expands influence

As the 2nd Century PC began, the High Elves of Mellvellon continued to expand their navy, and their influence on the northern continent of Palurin. In 199PC a new colony was founded in the far south, between Melthu and Aranur, on the Endwe river. Here a settlement began to grow, named Sein-Craban by the High Elves, and by 203 the new colony had attracted the attention of its neighbours, the dwarfs and skaven.

The dwarfs found out about the colony relatively quickly, but were content to let the elves settle in the lowlands. However the constant attention of rogue elven privateers on the high seas did leas to a naval battle in early 203. Neither the elves nor the dwarfs could claim victory, though the privateer raids did subside.

In the autumn of 203 Typhus turned his attention to the elven colony. Enraged by its existence so close to his realm, and angered that his minions had done nothing to stop its growth, Typhus sent an army to defeat the elves. The lords of Mellvellon got wind of this intention before the skaven arrived in their territory, and a battle occurred on the narrow isthmus joining the Typhonian enclave to the rest of the continent. The battle was bloody and decisive, with the elven warhost scattered before the might of the skaven overlord. However Typhus was unable to press home this victory and the colony of Sein Craban remained, for the time being at least. Typhus would wait, and plot. the colony was doomed in the long run anyway. The only question would be by land or sea...

Further north the eternal watch of the Fortress of Eternal Dawn was tested once again in 209PC. An army from Skraeland, determined to rid their sea port of this elven carbuncle attacked the fortress in the high summer, when the waters of the Cenebrae were low. Rather than stay in their keep, the lords of Mellvellon rode out to meet their attackers, and the leaders of the Skraeland army were surprised by the size of force which the elves were maintaining so close to their lands. The battle ended in a heavy defeat for the Kaalroen Empire, and the lords of Skraeland petitioned the other lords of the Empire to raise an even bigger force to wipe the fortress of Dawn off the map. Tragean and the overlords of Phallucia considered this in turn. Skraeland however did not invite the beastmen to join them...

Unrest in the Kaalroen Empire

The union of the Beastmen realm and the Kaalroen Empire in 167PC was met with different reactions across the chaos realm. The lords of Phallucia were indifferent, while Tragean and the rest of Hjemland were content to see how the alliance panned out. In the long term the immortal chaos lord no doubt planned to exploit the beastmen realm to his own benefit, and an alliance meant a cessation to the wars in the north.

The Skraelings however objected loudly to the union with the beastmen. To the king of Skraeland the beastmen of the north were far from natural allies to the men of the Empire, and represented the disorganised, violent and ugly side of chaos. Skraeland wanted nothing to do with the beastmen and by 200PC bad feeling between the beastmen and the tower of Skraeland had reached a critical point.

Punitive raids carried out by small warrior bands of Skraelings escalated and by 202 New Skraeland had raised a full size army which marched into the domain of beasts. the battle of the north saw the beastmen defeated, but the lords of Phallucia and Hovedstaden, the two other most influential lords of the Kaalroen Empire, remained apathetic, while the wandering nurgle tribes continued to promote the alliance. The net result was the maintenance of the status quo. The Skraelings made very little out of their victory, the beastmen having very little of any worth, while the defeat did not significantly dent the destructive power of the beastmen, which remained in the orbit of the Kaalroen Empire at the beginning of the 3rd century PC.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

The death of King Undin (198PC)

By the end of the second century, the Dwarfs of Palurin had prospered and grown after their hundred years of isolation. Karak Debaz had become a sprawling hold, equal in size to any hold of the old world. Having cleared the northern reaches of the Cicatrice peaks Karak Brynaz had grown to be a sizeable example of breathtaking dwarven craft and Piquet Pass now well guarded. By this time King Undin was 489 years old, thoroughly old by dwarf standards, but still he battled for the security of the realm.

Finally, In 198P.C, having swept through the mountain range to the north of Karak Brynaz, clearing it of threats, he came face to face with his end. A mighty war host had marched south from the Kaalroen empire. Erectus Dominus of the tower of Phallucia led countless barbarian warriors against the dwarfs. The battle was a bloody affair. Dawi war machines tore chunks in the massed ranks of the northmen, whilst chaos magic froze and incinerated the stout warriors of the mountains.

Finally Undin sighted the chaos lord, and led his elite hammerers into a huge horde of snarling barbarians. Armour and skill mattered little in the fray, blood flowed freely from both sides, slicking the ground. Suddenly a blinding purple light exploded from one of the chaos wizards. All eyes watched the giant orb blast through the elite dwarfs and into the bunched ranks of longbeards who manoeuvred behind them, decimating both units and sending the longbeards to flight. No one noticed the fate of the wizard and those stood closest to him, all ripped apart by uncontrolled energies. King Undin, blinking furiously, climbed back onto his shield and valiantly lurched back into the battle, decapitating the Chaos Lord Erectus, even though the last of his hammer wielding bodyguard was hacked to pieces. The final report brought back by the remnants of the army, was of King Undin being overwhelmed by barbarians on all sides, their axes rising and falling, stained red with his blood.

Prince Morgrim Undinsson is said to have received the news with his trademark stoic expression. His coronation speech was short and dour. “The first grudge is written in our own great book of grudges brothers. Vengeance must be ours. Changes, blood and war are coming.”

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

The Ancient Spyglass

The Dwarves of Karak Debaz had toiled beneath the Cicatrice Peaks for decades, carving great halls and vaults into the earth that could rival those legendary keeps of the World’s Edge Mountains. Great was their splendour, and King Undin was pleased. Yet deeper still the Dwarves delved through and beneath the mountains and their efforts did not go unrewarded. The Dwarf miners discovered a lost treasure vault beneath Mount Uvala. Who had left this hoard remained a mystery to the Dwarf miners- many suspected it to be the plunder of some long-departed Dragon. Whoever (or whatever) had left this fortune, it appeared they had vanished without any other trace save the wealth they left behind.

Amongst the hoard were untold rubies, diamonds, sapphires and other gems, and hundreds of golden coins marked one side with an eagle and the other with the portrait of a human king. Still there was more, ornate ceremonial weapons and armour, jewelled plates and goblets, and marble statues of ancient heroes of some long-dead civilisation. In amongst all this there was a spyglass; a delicate object no larger than a roll of parchment, exquisitely crafted in ebony and decorated with a lattice-work of gold filigree. At its end were eight sliding arms each circling a differently coloured lens, and each could be moved to overlap the others. When presented with the treasure, the Dwarf King was duly impressed with the craftsmanship of the spyglass but no Dwarf at court could fathom the purpose of such an ornate device. It was Elthruin, the ambassador from Mellvellon, who seemed most interested in the spyglass. He explained to Undin that this was a legendary artefact and assured the king that the Elves of Mellvellon would pay a handsome sum should he be prepared to part with it. Undin was at first hesistant, but distracted as he was by the other great treasures before him he soon forgot the spyglass and it was locked up with all the other trinkets for which the Dwarves could find little use. Meanwhile Elthruin sent word of the find to the court of Dragonspire.

It was not until some years later, when Prince Saravael of Mellvellon landed his fleet at Kazad Varr, that the spyglass once again came to King Undin’s attention. The Prince arrived with all the pomp and circumstance that the Dwarves had come to expect of Elven kind. He hailed the noble King Undin and showered him with accolades and tributes. He sought the eternal friendship of Udin and his kin. Saravael presented his offering to King Undin; his retainers brought forth seven golden statues, each the size of an ogre, all crafted in the likenesses of one the ancient dragons of legend. All he asked in return was that King Undin seal their friendship by making a gift of the ancient spyglass. Undin was a wise king and saw the value of making allies of the Elves of Mellvellon (not to mention the value of their gold!). Ever the Dwarf, he could not resist a good haggle. Undin declared that a gift of seven golden dragons was somewhat miserly but that twelve such statues would be a sufficiently kingly gift to prove the friendship of the Elves. Negotiations quickly began to ruffle the various egos, and the talks degenerated into argument and insult. With pride dented, there could only be one outcome.

So it was that, ten days later, the army of King Undin marched out onto the foothills of Karak Debaz to meet the host of the Dragon Lords on the field of battle, that honour might be restored in the greatest and most elaborate duel ever staged on Palurin. Spectators gathered on the ramparts of the fortress, and the two great lords themselves watched from the balcony of the King Undin’s chamber. Each had named his champion to lead the respective armies. Gil-Falain the Fair commanded the Elven warhost, and Algrim Stonebreaker stood as defender of Dwarven pride.

The duel raged fiercely for the whole afternoon, with neither side prepared to give quarter for fear of losing favour as their liege-lords looked on. So it came to a swirling melee at the centre of the battlefield with both armies seemingly in deadlock. It fell to personal combat between Algrim, borne above throng on Undin’s own shield, against Gil-Falain, who sat astride the fiery-tempered drake Taurvellon. The fight was fierce but brief. Though Algrim landed many grievous blows he was unceremoniously squashed beneath Taurvellon’s scaly claw. King Undin’s guard, outraged by the defeat of their champion, promptly hewed down the great wyrm where it stood.

But it was too little too late. The Red Dragon’s, Saravael’s household guard, swept in to the fray to cut down the remaining Dwarf warriors and thus carry the day for the Elves. The matter had been decided, and Undin was forced to concede victory to Saravael. His pride forced him to choke back his grievance that Saravael had sent a dragon into the duel (after he had boasted that a Dwarf champion of such renown could best any foe).

Saravael left Karak Debaz with the ancient spyglass. He had been hugely impressed by the martial prowess of the Dwarf warriors (and secretly he had feared at one point that he had lost the contest). As a mark of deference to such skill in battle, he gifted King Undin with nine golden statues. Seven were the dragons he had brought from Mellvellon. The final two were newly-crafted, one in the likeness of King Undin and the other that of Prince Saravael. He suggested that they might stand side by side in Undin’s hall as a mark of friendship between the two rulers. Even the flinty Undin could not help but be moved by the gesture and the respect shown to the Dwarf warriors. Oaths of comradeship were sealed that day and thus was formed the alliance between Karak Debaz and Dragonspire.

Back on Mellvellon, Saravael had the arch-mages of Dragonspire demonstrate the secret of the spyglass to the Dragon Lords assembled at court. Each of the different lenses could allow the user to observe the ebb and flow of one of the eight winds of magic. With newly-built ships flying enchanted sails the fleet captains would be freed from relying on the four winds to steer their vessels. Now they would be able to harness the winds of magic to power the Elven fleet to victory.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Holy Sigmarite Empire 185-195PC

In the latter years of the 2nd century PC the Holy SIgmarite Empire suffered a setback. Under the rule of Heinrich III the skaven came to the Empire, defeating the King's army in the field at Hardor before raiding Ravensgart. Over a thousand men were taken as slaves to the Typhonian Enclave, and Heinrich's realm had suffered an embarrassing defeat on its own territory. The Emperor's reign began to look shaky.

Heinrich's problems were somwehat eased in 190 and 193PC with two glorious victories by the Navy. Privateers sailing west were twice engaged in battle by the fleets of Cuitlaxaochitzin, and twice the Empire was victorious, allowing prospectors to exploit much of the coast of Armaethor unhindered. This was helped by the inactivity of the Dark Elves during this period.

Meanwhile the situation at court was becoming tense. Heinrich desperately wanted a male heir to carry on his line and protect the Alptraum dynasty and name. The arrival of a girl, princess Isabella in 188 was of no concern, but the birth of a second daughter, Maria in 193PC began to worry the Emperor and his hold over the Empire looked ever more insecure as his rivals plotted behind his back...

Dwarf Expansion 185-195PC

The Pan Coron Ocean continued to be fought over, during this period, as it’s value in trade and transportation became apparent to more races on Palurin. The dwarfs continued their attempts to secure their coastal regions, with the Battleship ‘Undin’s Pride’ leading a series of engagements against any fleet nearing what they saw as their own waters. When a fleet from Mellvellon strayed too close to Kazad Varr a day long battle saw both fleets reduced to crewless hulks or cinders at the waterline.

Later the same year, refitted and re-crewed, the dwarfs struck at a foreign fleet of unknown origin. These ships did not turn to bring about broadsides, but struck straight for the iron clad fleet, guns and rams bristling from their prows. Many of these strange vessels, crewed by walking lizards, were blown to smithereens by cannon but enough got through the bombardment to smash into the dwarf fleet, sinking most with ease. ‘Undin’s Pride’ was lost with all hands.

Whilst the Elves and Dwarfs settled the details of their new alliance on land, at sea no peace was to be found. Admiral Thorgir Seabeard had ‘The Hammer of Grungi’ on patrol whilst more ships could be built.

“Bloody dragons!” He spat, hobbling to port side as more small dragons few overhead, spitting fire at any dwarf ship they passed by. The dwarf didn’t know whether to put out fires, man their stations against the enemy fleet or return fire against the dragons as they swooped overhead.

“All ships, fire on the fleet! Leave these scaly bastards to me!”

The fleet jumped to action, as much as dwarfs can jump, and set about sinking the magical elven ships that seemed to leap and glide around the cumbersome Dawi ironclads. Soon, their guns saw the enemy destroyed or fleeing.

Still, the dwarf admiral strode around the brige of the Hammer like a man possessed, firing his pistol into the sky, trying to kill the drakes of the elves in vain.

“BLOODY DRAGONS!” He screamed.

Noticing his second in command at his side he spat, “Bring about all guns.”

“Sir, we will be firing just over our own cruisers.”

“Do it! I’ll kill these fiends or sink my own fleet doing it!”

His second strode off, knowing that a long and dangerous afternoon lay ahead. He made a mental note to check how much ale was left in the Admiral’s cabin.

Mellvellon mixed fortunes

The High Elves of Mellvellon had mixed fortunes in the closing years of the 2nd century in Palurin. In 187 the Ogres of Cuitlaxaochitzin, on their regular campaigns against chaos in the frozen north, found themselves with little to eat. Wandering east the Ogres happened on an elf caravan carrying goods back to Drakes Landing, and raided it. This led to the Dragon Lords sending out an elf warhost to track down the Ogres, which they duly did, defeating them in southern Canabrin. The Elf army was attacked on its return journey by the Beastmen of the Kaalroen Empire, meaning that an expedition to resore pride ended up being far costlier than the high elves would have wanted.

In 195PC good relations between the realms of Dwarfs and Elves were put on hold as Elven ships were spotted landing close to Kazad Varr. Dwarven messengers sent were simply butchered, and Elthruin, elven ambassador to Karak Debaz was at a loss to explain why his kin were undertaking such a force of aggression.

The king was quick to send a force from Kazad Varr, lead by commander Frongol Silverthrone. They reached the invaders as the Elves were investigating two ancient stone edifices. Frongol's plan was to hold off, using the firepower of his war-machines to destroy the weakly armoured Elves. Unfortunately for the commander the usually potent force of cannon and stone-throwers failed to find their marks and the Elves were swiftly upon them.

From above swooped the Elven general riding a fearsome Griffon, whilst Swordmasters and Sea Guard closed the lines. In the centre was a formation of halberd-wielding female warriors whose strong blows and magical protection allowed them to overcome the doughty Dwarven Longbeards. Frongol and his bodyguard were swiftly dealt with by the Griffon-rider and elite Swordmasters. The Dwarven commander was run down and killed, the army shattered by the force of the Elven attack.

But if the Dwarfs feared further invasion it was not to come. The Elves were seemingly satisfied with what they had found and returned to their ships. Demanding explanation Ekthurin assured the king that the attackers were not representatives of The Dragon Lords of Mellvelon. Indeed he recognised reports of the Elven banners as belonging to house Wenohtar, a family ruled by their matriarch Atara.

Off the coast of Boiling Peak (193PC)

Typhus stared into the the grimy lense of the farsqueaker in puzzlement. A puny fleet of human ships approached, heading directly for Boiling Peak and seemingly intent on making a landing. He assumed they wished to rescue the slaves he had appropriated. Typhus felt a black fury descend on him. The fleet was tiny! Did they not understand his minions were legion? Did they not appreciate the magnitude of his armies, the might of his fleets and the superiority of his technology? It was disrespectful, that was what it was!

He would show them the true power of the master race! He watched with satisfaction of the steaming ironclads of the Boiling Peak defence fleet came into the farsqueakers field of view. Powered by warpstone reactors, armed with banks of lightning cannons and with flanks off inch think metal they were far superior to the pathetic human ships

Sure enough the battle was brief and brutal and soon the human fleet lay at the bottom of the ocean, blasted apart by the unstoppable techno-magic of the Skaven! Surely the humans would not be so stupid as to try such a thing again after such a demonstration of Skaven superiority? Typhus frowned. Actually they probably would. Typhus ordered the fleet enlarged just in case.

Battle of Hardor Ruins (187PC)

As the Skaven's arcane workshops and factories continued to expand more slaves were needed to man them. Without other skaven factions to force into bondage Typhus was forced to look elsewhere. The race of men were ideal candidates, being capable workers and their spirits easily broken. Despite his “understanding” with the lords of Lamentation Typhus did not trust them, so rather than sail directly into Galamor Bay and run the gauntlet of both the Dark Elf and Holy Sigmarite fleet Typhus landed his forces on the south coast of the Armaethor peninsula and marched them overland to Ravensgart.

Typhus sneered at the pathetic army of soldiers that had sallied forth to meet him. Their brightly coloured uniforms and pretty flags looked very impressive, but their technology could never match the advanced science of the Skaven master race! Typhus smirked as the enemies right flank broke apart and men began streaming back towards Ravensgart. His Eshin agents were already at work sabotaging their clumsy war machines.

The winds of magic seemed unusually weak and his conjurations fizzled and died. He tried again with similar results. Some accursed force protected the humans from his arcane might! He pretended to be just gesticulating to encourage his minions and hoped no-one had noticed his temporary impotence.

Things seemed to be going well despite this so Typhus settled down to watch the entertainment, cackling with evil glee as he watched humans running around screaming as they burned to death or collapse vomiting their dissolving innards amid clouds of toxic chemicals.

Just as victory seemed assured a desperate push broke through the centre of the Skaven lines and Typhus let slip the musk of fear. A small party of armoured warriors lead by a chanting priest with eyes of holy fire were headed straight for him! Desperation and a strong desire for self preservation lent him strength and he vanished in a puff of smoke, abandoning his slave retainers to certain death.

His conjuration had been mighty but hasty and he felt the aether slipping from his control. When he re-appeared it was in a mighty explosion rather than the usual pop and smell of burnt liquorice. As he blinked and regained his vision he was pleased to see the bodies of enemy cavalry lying about him, annihilated by the titanic energies. This pleasure swiftly evaporated when he realised no-one else had noticed.

Still, the enemy were defeated and all that remained was to mop up. A tiresome enemy wizard leapt out of a forest and tried to duel with Typhus, but his abilities were beneath the all-powerful Grey Seers prodigious talents so he once again snapped his fingers and teleported away, content to let his army dispatch the troublesome mage and not because he in any way felt threatened by the feeble and inferior magics the human commanded.

Typhus returned to Boiling Peak with the holds of his fleet crammed with slaves. The roiling ash clouds and brilliant flashes of larva above Boiling Peak were clearly visible from Kazad Varr as the complex went into full operation.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Top Ten Lists!

Population
1 Kaalroen Empire 1,840,000
2 Holy Sigmarite Empire 1,180,000
3 Dark Elf Dominion 1,060,000
4 Cuitlaxaochitzin 970,000
5 Karak Debaz 850,000
6 Wood Elf Realm 850,000
7 Mellvellon 820,000
8 Skaven 430,000
9 Cloudy Mountain Orcs 220,000
10 Aquilan Empire 210,000
Biggest Cities
1 Lamentation 220,000
2 Boiling Peak 185,000
3 Sigmarheim 180,000
4 Sudhafen 165,000
5 Dragonspire 165,000
6 Karak Debaz 160,000
7 New Har Ganeth 120,000
8 Karak Brynaz 115,000
9 New Skraeland 115,000
10 Phallucia 115,000
Wonders of the World
1 Boiling peak Complex 13
2 Great temple of Cuitlaxaochitzin 9
3 Cathedral to Sigmar 5
4 Tower of Phallucia 4
5 Tower of Skraeland 3
6 Temple of Mannan 3
7 Dragonspire 2
8 Tower of Tragean 2
9 Herdstones of Ug 2
10 Karak Debaz 2

Thursday, 25 November 2010

A Diplomatic Exchange (186PC)

An ambassador from the Typhonian Enclave delivers this message to the Lords of Lamentation:

Greetings Elf-things, message I bring you from his awesomeness Grey Seer Typhus, most terrible and all-powerful ruler of the Skaven of Palurin and rightful despot of the entire Skaven race!!!

A proposition he has, yes yes! Your fleet is mighty, yes yes?, but Skaven also have mighty fleet! Squeak! Slaves we desire, obtain them from the race of man we would like. If you will permit mighty Skaven fleet to pass Lamentation and raid the cities of men, Skaven will not interefere with your ships passing our shores. Reach your southern colonies in safety this would allow, yes yes!, and attack nasty snooty elf-things in the east you could!

Just first in long and profitable relationship this could be? For the glory of both our races!!! Squeak.

***

*the arrogant lords of Lamentation despatch a Black Ark, a towering floating citadel that sails to Boiling Peak bearing a message*

Grey Seer Typhus.

The fleet of Lamentation goes where it desires and can reach its southern colonies with or without your permission.

However, we find it entertaining to watch the lesser races battle amongst themselves, and will allow your fleet passage to raid for slaves. We are sure that we can agree that blood is an entertainment that never grows old?

Entertain us well and we may even formalise the agreement.

A tale of Typhus (171PC)

Grey Seer Typhus stood proudly at the head of his mighty army, gazing at the shield wall of chaos warriors arrayed against him. The Skaven enclave required ever greater quantities of warpstone and, tiresome though it was to keep making the long journey, the best source of the substance was still to be found in the frozen north, defended by the mortal minions of chaos. Still, at least the new airships meant that the journey could be undertaken in weeks rather spending months of risky sea voyages and lengthy overland marches through hostile empires.

Typhus puffed up his chest and cracked his hands together. He'd make short work of these meddlesome chaos lackies so they could lay their paws on the warpstone and get back home to the comforting lava fed fires of Boiling Peak. He took a snuff of warpstone powder and with an imperious wave of his hands blew up.

When the dust settled a score of slaves lay dead around the enraged Grey Seer. Someone had spiked his warpstone snuff! It was a plot to assassinate him, of that Typhus was sure. Come to think of it, his personal slave Squawl had seemed more than usually nervous and in awe of his august personage than usual before the battle. Waves of red hot rage beat through Typhus' skull like a hammer blow, the Grey Seer's already volatile temper not helped by a bad warpstone trip. Screaming threats and obscenities Typhus stormed back towards the Skaven encampment with the intention of finding that treacherous Squawl and ending his pathetic existence. His gaggle of slaves scattered before him as he flounced off oblivious to the uncertain glances of the rest of his army.

Abandoned by their supreme overlord and fearing they had been set up as sacrificial pawns in some nefarious scheme the rest of the army took the first available opportunity to run away, with their battlefield commander leading by example in best Skaven tradition.