Well, the Carnage at the Confluence campaign has concluded. This post contains all the battle reports for the entire campaign, and the storyline that was followed. The grand crash between the allied Trollbloods and Khador versus Legion of Everblight ended in a daring raid by Thagrosh himself, allowing him to capture the lost Athanc of Vorspark. For the full details, read the story below. And for those who have been following regularly, note that I reversed the order so the most current week is now at the BOTTOM of the post rather than the lead (so it can serve as a history of what we accomplished in our last hurrah for Mark III event).
The breeding pens had been set, and the restless howl of the accumulated dragonspawn created a roar in the underground burrows. Thagrosh stalked between the pens, pleased at his plans. Rumors of the bones of a lost kin of Toruk named Vorspark, and the fragmented Athanc they might contain, were turned up by a group of long-ranging Strider Blightblades. They had captured and tortured a Greylord scholar who tended an ancient archive in the northern plains. He revealed a bit of lore that led to more: Vorspark’s Athanc was indeed most likely hidden near the confluence of the Irkel river in northern Khador.
Yet the location posed a problem. The armies of Khador were spread across nothern provinces retraining and staging for potential southerly pursuits. Even more complicated, the location of the Athanc was right where two large Kriels of Trollbloods had been permitted to resettle as a gesture of good faith by Khador after the Trolls were betrayed by Cygnar. The sheer number of potential foes meant it was time for the Legion of Everblight to strike in true force for the last time.
Thagrosh had summoned all of the commanders, even those he clashed with in the past. The potential of recovering and utilizing another Athanc was too great–especially one that Toruk seemed to have no knowledge about. He sent gangs of captured laborers and the Blighted Ogruns that owned them to hollow out a staging area for the armies of Everblight amidst the winding tributaries of the Tapping River which lay north of the Irkel river. With a huge supply of new beasts created, and tribes of Blighted Nyss creeping southward to support them, Thagrosh and the Legion of Everblight were poised to spread their Wargroups out and drive into the heart of the Irkel river. It would not be long before the ranging scouts of Khador and the Trollblood Kriels would notice them and summon a response in force. It was time to strike, and the howl of beasts in the tunnels would be unleashed in full.
Story After Week One:
Scouting parties of Blighted Nyss supported by Beast Mistresses started to appear all through the lands around the Tapping River. With two small Khadorite villages burning, and a small Trollblood kriel decimated, the larger forces of Khador and the united Trolls to the south sent forth their own scouting parties to answer the menace that the Legion’s Forces brought to the land.
The Trollbloods mobilized Madrak, Borka, and Jarl Skuld to lead their first forays north. Khador, having suffered less losses and not as in tune with the designs of the dragon Everblight as the troll rune-seers, initially only mobilized Forward Kommander Sorscha to investigate the raids.
Madrak made the initial contact with a sizeable Legion force. Sacrificing a large number of his pledged Fennblades to buy him time, he hoped to stall long enough to get a victory and force a retreat from the Legion. Yet he was forced to flee under the raw might of a Scythean commanded by the tricky assassin Rhyas.
Regrouping his strength with more beasts, Fennblades, and a Krielstone bearer, he returned to the area where Rhyas had last struck, and managed to force a retreat from her by securing the small village after a protracted battle. While it was safe for now, the lingering threat of Rhyas and her fast deadly force kept all of the trolls on edge.
Meanwhile, Forward Kommander Sorscha prepared a larger contingent of soldiers for war. Recognizing the fearsome beasts that might be present in a contingent of Legion, she consulted with the Graylords and recruited a contingent of Doom Reavers to bolster her forces. Prepared and ready, they began the trek northward. Just then, an injured watchman from the town they just left rode up on a winded horse–apparently a sortie of Cryx forces emerged from some hidden chamber the moment Sorscha and her contingent rode off. They had been waiting and used the confusion of the mobilization to strike.
Sorscha and her force rushed back, determined to protect the town first and foremost. There in the distance, the dead walked and the dead form of Wraith Witch Deneghra leading them all. Sorscha had no choice but to commit her Doom Reavers to defend the town. They managed to strike enough blows to cut through the Cryx line, and once they started landing their magical swords on Deneghra herself she was forced to quit the field. The town was only in partial ruins, as there was much damage done–particularly by a host of noxious Bile Thralls that left their corrosive acid on everything in sight.
With her Doom Reavers expended in repelling the Cryx menace, Forward Kommander Sorscha turned her attention northward again to march. Gathering what elements she could, including the deadly Behemoth, her forces churned northward. It was not long after that an initial probing raid of Legion of Everblight happened to find their column. Vayl, the Consul of Everblight, appeared leading a host of warbeasts to strike at the Khador exploratory force.
Forward Kommander Sorscha’s forces engaged at range, with her Winter Guard proving devastating against the lesser warbeasts that formed the vanguard of Vayl’s assault. When the Behemoth demolished her Scythean, Vayl had no option but to take a chance herself at stopping the Khador advance. She strode forward to the spot where Sorscha took cover, and unleashed two deadly bursts of obliterating energy at the opposing caster. While Sorscha had thought herself safe, the power drained from her such that she could not stay in the fight and had to retreat the field to stay alive. She gave commands to Behemoth to follow, but her retreat was so swift the metal monstrosity could not keep up and was captured by the forces of Everblight.
While Madrak and Sorscha had mixed successes, Trollbloods war leaders Borka and Jarl Skuld had success in eliminating the initial raids of Legion forces that they faced. Both raids were small and tentative explorations by the Legion forces, and while Trollbloods advanced their way forward, their commanders worried that these initial strikes were merely a prelude to further battles when the two forces met on the open field.
Week One Results:
The Story After Week Two:
The wreck of the massive Khador Behemoth was being dragged northward by a group of conscript Kroaks along a wooded valley. Thagrosh himself had moved to intercept the object from Vayl’s forces, and this road was a good a spot as any. A great Archangel flexed its wings and looked on as Thagrosh himself pried the armor open and extracted the sub-cortex from inside the great warjack. He handed it to one of his waiting attendants, as his cruel voice echoed in the valley.
“Take and bring this to the base we prepared at the confluence. Our forces there may find a use, if Vayl is correct.”
As the cloaked advisors scurried off, Thagrosh looked to two plumes of smoke rising from a nearby hill.
“It seems as if the humans in red have come to take their precious prize back. Let’s welcome them.” He mentally directed the Archangel to rest atop the remains of the Behemoth, while the rest of his forces hung back to counter-attack.
Forward marched a column of nervous warriors, though whether their nervousness was from the great dragonspawn ahead of them or the bloodthirsty man Kommander Orsus Zoktavir that followed. Their mission was clear: recover the Behemoth from the Legion forces.
However, as they fought their numbers failed to hold. More than a few Winter Guard were slain by the Butcher’s own frenzied swipes with his axe. While some managed to get close to the wreck of the Behemoth, the furious push back from the deadly beasts and the cruel toadmen that inexplicably served the cause of Everblight kept the Khador forces from moving the heavy object back to their lines.
It ended with the Butcher himself under assault from all sides. While he single-handedly killed the Archangel for a second time after Thagrosh recreated the blood-built monstrosity, the Butcher could not continue his assault and finally had to withdraw from the field.
Following standard Legion doctrine, Thagrosh split his force into small bands to move across the lands to regroup. It was one of these bands that caught the attention of Hoarluk Doomshaper, Rage of Dhunia. A small knot of Trolls decided that it was time to attack. While other Trollbloods warlocks may have done it to avenge the loss of their now-allied Khador friends, Doomshaper’s motives may have been a bit more simple: elimination of Thagrosh and the Legion menace, humans be damned to the Wurm.
Thagrosh himself led the band which Doomshaper’s force clashed against, and while the Dragonspawn definitely had the upper hand in the alpha strike when the group met, it was Mulg’s great club and surprising speed when backed with the Doomshaper’s power, that shattered the body of Thagrosh. With a last wave of his hand, he blasted a nearby Ogrun with power and shifted his entire consciousness and form through the writing and screaming Ogrun and out of harm’s way. His advances momentarily checked, no doubt both Troll and Khador leader alike were left wondering where Thagrosh may appear next.
The strength of the Legion has been increasing considerably, with the various war commands joining the fray and bringing deadly dragonspawn into conflicts. At the same time, other factions used the chaos to strike.
Another Cryxian foray was launched along the riverways, just as a command was set to press out to challenge the Legion of Everblight. This time, they struck against Borka Kegslayer. While the deadly Bane Thralls did their work, the Cryx forces were too clumped together, leaving the Trolls able to take more ground quickly. Eventually Skarre recognized the depth of Troll control of the area, and escaped with her life. The Cryxian menace seemed to be building toward something big. They had designs on the southern river–is it just strike during instability as normal, or adding up to a larger scheme? Especially given that activity of the faithful of Everblight was up in the area, there has to be some method to the madness.
Also, in the wilds at the center of the disputed territory, the forests were seemingly suffering. Between Trollbloods logging for structures and supports, Khador cutting trees for fire to keep their men warm, and Legion preying on the fauna as victim and food, it was no surprise that the Circle Orboros dispatched one of their number to look into what was happening. Kaya the Wildborne emerged from the woods with a small force, challenging both Lylyth and her Legion hordes to the north of the central woods and Grissel and her Kriel to the south. While Legion forces were forced to flee, the Trolls proved to be much tougher. Literally. Grissel seemed to be in dire trouble, with both the Feral Warpwolf and Kaya herself assaulting her. Yet even as she fell, she resisted the mortal blow–and rose to finish Kaya with a mighty blow from her own savage maul.
While Legion was victorious against Khador, the remaining battles swung in favor of the Trollbloods. The alliance advanced across the land at better pace. It is time for the Legion to strike back, and in true Legion fashion, that means a covert mission to accomplish in small force what a grand army sometimes cannot.
Week 2 Results:
Here is the Downed Behemoth special mission that we used for Week Two of the campaign (referenced by the battle between Thagrosh and the Butcher above):
Story After Week Three:
Licking his wounds from his run-in with Mulg, Thagrosh retreated back to the confluence where he had set up his base for the assault. An unexpected development (the sub-cortex of the Behemoth), had given him an idea. Now it was time to get information to support that idea, and coordinate the strikes of his forces to get a definitive lead on where the bones of his dragonkin Vorspark may be interred.
That meant sending forth agents on his behalf. He tasked the twins, Saeryn and Rhyas, to press forward on one side and Vayl to take the battle to the other side to build a strategic envelopment of the enemy forces.
The first task of Saeryn and Rhyas was to try and root out the Circle Orboros force that was striking from the central woods on the battlefield. The sisters took to their task with ease, and quickly set up a trap for Kaya to reveal her forces. When she finally did, the Legion army encircled the Circle force–stealing a definitive tactical advantage and forcing Kaya to quit the field lest her entire force be eliminated.
Meanwhile, Vayl continued her trajectory toward the Trollbloods commanded by Borka Kegslayer. They clashed yet again on the field, and again Borka was triumphant. This time, he slipped away from a screeching Carnivean that stood before him, buying his trolls time to bring down the beast with multiple smaller strikes from axe and hammer. Vayl tried to bring all of her spellcasting power to bear against the drunken lout, but to no avail–once he closed the gap to her and threatened her in melee, Vayl fled. She vowed to regroup, and knew that perhaps her agents could accomplish in secret what she was unable to do on the battlefield.
Later, a hand-picked group of Legion of Everblight warriors assembled around a campfire. These were seasoned warriors whose wargroup leaders had picked them for a special mission. While the battlefield was fresh, it was time to strike at the regrouping Trollbloods and Khador forces. Thagrosh himself oversaw the mission, and his booming voice spoke to the group as if directly from their blood.
“We need more intelligence, and the officers of these feeble races have it. Your mission is to follow the regrouping elements from the most recent battles, isolate them, and slaughter all save their commanding officer. Bring the commander back to our forces, and we will insert a shard into them that will allow us full information of the enemy. Go now, without delay.”
The group–two Ogrun Warspears, two Nyss Legionnaires, a Blightblade, a Stalker, and a Sorceress–packed up their things and marched to the site of the battlefield. Finding the remnants of both Khador and Trollbloods, the group debated which path they would take. Deciding that the Khador officer may have more information than some illiterate Troll, they followed the tracks of an organized (thus likely to have an officer present) withdrawal from the battlefield.
Their pursuit took them into a forest that was aflame with a forest fire, but their keen Nyssian tracking skills kept them on the path correctly with little more than some coughing from the smoke here and there. Continuing their trail, the tracks led to a small ruins just past the forest that was clearly the spot chosen by the Khador as a fall-back rally point.
Because there were two Winter Guard soldiers guarding the entrance to the ruins, the group endeavored to be stealthy in their approach. All was going fine, except for Ch’aaad, one of the Warspears. As they approached, he felt a sudden rumbling in his stomach–and made a great commotion as he withdrew a snack from his satchel. With the guards alerted, the Legion task force had no choice but to spring their assault. With one being killed right away, the other sounded an alarm and dashed down into the hallway beneath the ruins.
Giving little thought to their own safety, the group charged after the soldier. Underground the landing led to a long hallway, with strange crenelations lining it. As the faster runners moved up, the purpose of the crenelations became clear: an ambush by the Winter Guard for any who pursued them.
The hallways of the chamber rang with gunshot and scream as the two forces clashed. However, the Winter Guard could not hold up to the sheer fury of assault brought by the Legion force. As their numbers dwindled, the Kovnik Officer continued to fight desperately. He was finally slowed by freezing magical ice from the sorceress and a knock-out knee from the Strider.
The force tied up their quarry, and lugged him back northward toward Thagrosh. Each of them may have served different masters, but the victory in that abandoned ruin advanced the entire cause of the Legion.
Oblivious to the machinations of the Legion and the loss of one of their officers, Forward Kommander Sorscha continued to deal with the occasional risings of Cryx forces along the southern waterways. While she wanted nothing more than to stop the advance of the Legion army in the north, Skarre the Pirate Queen was still moving along the waterways with a slippery little raiding force, causing havoc while the troops of Khador marched northward. Hoping to break Skarre’s force once and for all, Sorscha managed to score a victory, but failed to capture Skarre who slipped away yet again in the chaos. Kommander Sorscha sighed yet again. If only the might of Khador could be simply directed at one foe, they would truly crush that foe under their might. It was the multitude of foes that they faced on all sides that continued to keep the Motherland from victory.
Week Three Results:
This week we had Ryan run a special Iron Kingdoms Role Playing Game mission for everyone in the campaign to participate in. The portion about the Legion of Everblight Strike force was our RPG element. Afterward, when the mission was proven successful, every player wrote down the caster they were “working for” as part of the mission. All those that got more than one vote were granted an additional hex for their wargroup on the campaign board space.
Story After Week Four:
The time had come. Thanks to cooperation with agents from Vayl and Kallus, Thagrosh had the information he needed about the enemy defenses. It was time to hit the weak spots, and press onward to the confluence. The bones of the ancient Vorspark, and the athanc they housed, were at the center of the confluence and his for the taking if he could break through the enemy lines. It was time for an intense push. Khador field engineers had been constructing fortified bunkers along much of the frontier, while Trollbloods labored to dig trenches throughout to prepare for the larger attack. By striking at the weak points that they had uncovered, he hoped for a breakthrough.
Thagrosh personally led the point of the spear, driving directly at a bunker to the northwest of the confluence. That bunker was held by Kommander Orsus Zoktavir and various Khador military assets. However, the rapidity of Thagrosh’s strike left the bunker empty and undefended. While the Butcher dealt out massive casualties among Thagrosh’s warbeasts, his force couldn’t survive on the fury of the Butcher’s attacks alone. Eventually the Butcher was surrounded by Thagrosh and his surviving warbeasts, and forced to retreat from the field. With the bunker lost, the Legion forces pushed closer to their target.
All that stood between them and their goal was a thin line of earthworks dug by the Trollbloods forces. Jarl Skuld commanded the side closest to the river, while Hoarluck Doomshaper, the Rage of Dhunia, held the more western advance. Jarl paced in his trench, steeling his forces for the inevitable attack of Thagrosh as his forces turned toward their target.
Many Trollkin sold their lives dearly in the attack, but they managed to hold the trench through the fighting. As his forces thinned, Thagrosh felt the momentum flagging. He sent couriers to Lylyth and Kallus, his two reserve forces, that they should launch their attacks against the beleaguered Trollbloods and break the line for good.
Lylyth, the patient hunter, was already carefully in place and awaiting the word to strike. She unleashed her beasts at the Trollblood contingent led by the Doomshaper. The forward trenches were already empty, the Pyg Burrowers tasked with digging them silently slain by Strider arrows. Her onrushing force had but one more trench to clear and they would breakthrough and force the Trollbloods to turn… which would let Thagrosh’s assault continue.
However, the indomitable will of the Rage of Dhunia was not going to be over-run that day. A surge of howling Trollbloods warbeasts and foot soldiers from the Kriels rushed forward out of the trenches. Instead of hunkering down and awaiting their fate patiently, they took the battle to Lylyth’s forces instead. Two huge Dire Troll Blitzers led the way, propelled deep across the battle lines into the midst of the Legion troops. Under the sudden assault, Lylyth found herself exposed to the hungry Trolls and her two heavy beasts too far away (frenzied and chasing down a troll whelp no less) and too mired in the enemy to save her. She had to quit the field, allowing the Trollbloods a scant moment of breathing room.
If only Kallus’ forces had made it to the Trollbloods lines, they surely would have been shattered as well. Yet his strike on the strung-out defenders never came, as his assault was slowed before it even started thanks to an unexpected enemy. Without Legion’s second reserve making it to the fray, the Trollbloods’ line held long enough that Thagrosh and Lylyth had to withdraw their forces, for now.
The puzzle of why Kallus was delayed only reached Thagrosh’s ears later. After many assaults on the southern front, Legion intelligence suggested that Cryx was making their move against the Khadorians and Trollbloods in the confusion of the Legion attacks–it seemed like the Dragonfather’s minions were helping them for once. Yet suddenly, a new assault was launched, this time against them. Again striking from the waterways Skarre, the Pirate Queen, targeted Legion forces. Kallus was newly promoted to reserve commander after supplying agents for the small raiding party that captured the Khador officer. Donning a steel plate armored helm to signify his station, Kallus was marshaling his troops to join the attack on the Trollbloods–and that’s when Skarre’s band struck.
The rapid assault of the undead forces caught the Legion elements unaware. The sheer brutality of the attack quickly decimated their reserves, with warbeasts falling to the deadly steamfists of a swarm of Mechanithralls.
Things looked extremely grim for Kallus and his forces, as the push enveloped his army. However, he was determined to keep the field. He surveyed the last of his beleaguered force: a handful of Croak Raiders and a Shredder. With a shout of command, he urged the vile frogmen that served him to finish off the leader: “Cut off the head of the snake and we live!” his voice boomed. With cruel rumblings in their larynxes of acknowledgement, they rushed forward and loosed a last volley of oil and flaming dart. First targeting the weaker support staff surrounding Skarre, they managed to get her doused in the highly flammable oil. Then a lucky shot from a flaming dart managed to strike her cloak. The Pirate Queen was lit ablaze by the attack, accelerated by the viscous oil. With a screech she was damaged, and it took all of her energy to run back toward the river and keep her magical field intact to protect her. Her fleeing the field was enough that the command of the various thralls on the board was lessened, and the remaining Legion troops managed to just barely stop the assault. They had won, but at tremendous cost of life and resources–not to mention loss of time.
The delay proved costly, as Kallus’ reserve force failed to make contact with the Trollbloods lines in time. The defense held, and a tense standoff between the two advancing forces was beginning throughout the woods that separated the two confluences that formed the base of operations for each group. Who would break the impasse? Only time would tell.
Week Four Results:
This week’s missions were both variants of missions from the Company of Iron campaign that Privateer Press ran. The Trollbloods were defending a trench, using the Chain of Command mission, while Khador forces protected their initial defensive earthworks via the Bunker Raid mission.
Story After Week Five:
The ravages of war continued, as the battles became almost daily across the frontier between the two rivers and their tributaries. A major battle unfolded between Borka Keglsayer and the twins, Saeryn and Rhyas. Borka had seen victories against Vayl, and so the Legion strategists sent a differing force to try and break his battlegroup’s progress.
The valiant trolls of Borka’s retinue hit hard and worried both Saeryn and Rhyas, but they did not have the numbers to handle the massive number of ambushing troops that came from the two sides to envelop them. Finally, the Blightblades cut their way through the troops and reached Borka himself. With their attacks, and his Keg Carrier slain, Borka was forced to retreat from the field–leaving the flanks of a neighboring Khador force exposed.
Karchev led that force. It was sent to retrieve the missing Khador officer through sheer decimation of enemy assets, but quickly got into difficulties as the column was attacked on two fronts. Kharchev was surrounded by two armies: one led by Saeryn and Rhyas–rushing forward after defeating Borka–and one led by Thagrosh himself. It was then that Kaya, striking with Circle Orboros forces, charged from the woods to help balance the battle. The twins were deadly in their fighting, and just as they seemed to die they revived again to strike in different spots. Rhyas managed to strike down Kaya, and then the combined might of the two armies drove Karchev from the field with their control of the strategic high ground.
Given that the direct approach seemed to be failing, the leaders of Khador and the Trollbloods convened a special group to try a more stealthy approach. They hastily assembled a unit dubbed Combined Assault Team 9 (CAT9), which reported directly to Kommander Strakov, the warcaster serving as the chief Khador/Trollkin coalition intelligence officer. CAT9 consisted of a Man-o-War, a Pyg Burrower, a Field Mechanik Officer, and an apprentice Trollkin Warlock.Having spoken to the lone Winter Guard survivor from the ambush at the Orgoth ruins, CAT9 was tasking with retrieving Kovnik Officer Kerensky, who had been captured by Thagrosh’s Legion forces. The team grabbed their gear and tagged along with Forward Kommander Sorscha’s battlegroup as it returned to its defensive position in the north. Breaking off from the battlegroup, CAT9 headed east to the Orgoth ruins in the hopes of picking up the trail of Kerensky’s captors.
CAT9 located clues under melted snow, and followed the path of the captors back past where the great Behemoth was lost to their foes as well. Finding fresher tracks at that point, they picked up the pace eventually reaching the banks of the Tapping river. Searching the banks they found the body of a dead Nyss Sorceress who had drowned in her attempt to cross the river. Thanks to some strong swimmers and creative use of ropes, they managed to get the whole team across the flooded river including the Man-o-War armor and the Mechanick’s light jack. Picking the trail back up the realized they were deep in enemy territory when they could see numerous enemy patrols in the distance. For reasons unknown to the Khador troops, the Trollkin Warlock on their team decided to fire a burning arrow into the sky which attracted the attention of a nearby Blighted Nyss Strider patrol.
The members of CAT9 attempted to flee pursuit but realized they were quickly leaving the Man-o-War behind–they turned to make a stand against their pursuer. The Striders engaged the team in a shallow valley. The Trollkin Warlock and his bonded beast caught a majority of the arrows with their bodies, but the rest of the group managed to slay all of the Blighted Nyss harriers. With their presence discovered, the team was forced to slow down their search. By nightfall the team had located the enemy encampment where Kovnik Officer Kerensky had been taken, but the strength of the camp had been doubled by the cautious Legion commanders. Out-numbered and out-gunned, CAT9 returned south to the coalition headquarters to report the encampments location and to gain further reinforcements.
Week Five Results:
This week was the second of the Iron Kingdoms RPG games that we included in the campaign. Ryan did a great job yet again, and it sounds like players had a lot of fun (I had to miss this one). This time the Trollbloods and Khador team rallied up, and they were mostly successful–at least in discovering the prisoner location before time ran out–so they earned a board space for the wargroups of Sorscha and Strakov.
Story After the Two-Week Campaign Finale:
Things were growing to a head in the confluence, as each faction received their final marching orders. The information from Kovnik Kerensky had led Legion to their goal, but the Khador forces and Trollbloods were racing to try and rescue him. Would they find out in time if they saved him? Would the Athanc be placed in a more secure location?
Khador’s first mission aimed at enabling their columns to reach their chosen destinations. That meant eliminating the presence of the Circle Orboros agent Kaya from the woods at the center of the battlefield. Luring Kaya to engagement thanks to clear-cutting forests, they proved successful thanks to Forward Kommander Sorscha’s deadly assault, and the frozen destruction of Beast 09.
Meanwhile, Legion was experiencing supply-line problems of their own. Saeryn found her forces ambushed by the crafty Pirate Queen Skarre, who continued to strike from waterways. Did she know that they were getting close to finding the lost Athanc of Vorspark, or was it merely Cryx’s interest to seed chaos among both sides so that they had to expend additional military might in these battles?
Skarre’s force triumphed, dealing a blow to Saeryn and causing her force to turn back for reinforcements. She would miss out on her chance to try and capture the Athanc, and it left only Vayl, Consul of Everblight and Thagrosh, Prophet of Everblight, with effective positions on the battlefield.
Thagrosh’s force began in possession of the captured Kovnik Officer Kerensky, hiding him in an abandoned farmhouse while extracting information from him. With the Circle interference taken care of by Sorscha, Karchev the Terrible marched his engines of war straight into the foe.
While his steam-powered offensive grabbed a side of the shack, Karchev did not realize just how fast the massive Archangel was, and its shadow soon fell over the Khador forces. Its massive jaw clamped around Karchev, shattering the metal machinery that kept him alive and functioning. It was all Karchev could do to have on of his warjacks grab his inert metal form and drag him away from the scene.
Alerted that a rescue attempt of Kovnik Officer Kerensky was underway, Thagrosh quickly transferred the target to a different safe house–this one guarded by Vayl, Consul of Everblight. However, an enterprising gang of Trollkin Scouts watched the transfer and gave their force an extra chance to try and save the lost Khador officer. Grissel was tasked with this action, and rushed a fast-moving wargroup forward into the face of the enemy.
Grissel had counted on her Fell Calls and the magical field produced by Mulg to limit Vayl’s effectiveness as a commander, and in that she was absolutely successful. Vayl found herself unable to concentrate and manifest spells. However, that meant she turned to other methods. Using her strange Oraculus, she struck multiple Trollkin and killed them, leaving a path for her Carnivean to throw a warrior directly at Grissel. In the confusion, Grissel dropped her defenses for just a moment–and sustained a horrible attack from the Scythean. Wounded, Grissel was forced to withdraw, despite the fact that she was standing just outside the safehouse where the captured Kovnik Officer was restrained.
With Kovnik Officer Kerensky safely held, Vayl marched her forces south to assist with recovering the Athanc. Yet again, Pirate Queen Skarre struck the Legion as they were moving their forces. The deadly Banes and their leader Tartarus struck down both beast and Blighted Ogrun, and managed to force Vayl to quit the field with only her own self intact.
Vayl managed to reach Thagrosh and reunite with him, but her force was considerably smaller thanks to the Cryx attack. He gave her command of some forces, and allowed her to make the first attempt at recovering the Athanc from the ruin at the heart of the confluence. Whether it was a legitimate attempt, or Thagrosh’s cagey intention to wear down the Troll defenders before committing his own forces, remains unclear.
Thanks to the deadly rampage of the Dire Trolls, Hoarluk Doomshaper, Rage of Dhunia, managed to stand firm and defend the secret tunnels of the ruins. Vayl herself was beaten to near death by an Earthborn Dire Troll and left for dead.
It was then that Thagrosh struck, his own forces seeking to penetrate the ruins that Doomshaper held so savagely. His troops fought a strange battle–trying to defeat the Trolls that opposed them, but also search the various potential entrances to the tunnel system beneath the ruins where his information showed that the Athanc of Vorspark was held.
Finally, one of Thagrosh’s Scytheans pried open a sealed catacomb door. As it dropped down into the underground chamber, Thagrosh magically watched through its eyes. At the end of the short chamber, a strange stone floated under magic power. He could make out the familiar runework of Hoarluk Doomshaper, and knew that this must be a protective stone cover that was designed to contain the Athanc.
Thagrosh commanded the beast to rush and obtain the Athanc, which it did with ease. Despite sending an Earthborn Dire Troll down to try and stop the Scythean, as well as his own self (and magical might) Doomshaper was unable to prevent the Scythean from fighting its way to freedom. Only the Scythean crawled out of the catacomb, and it went directly to Thagrosh to deliver the stone case. With a quick swipe of his weapon, Thagrosh shattered the protective runes and the stone crumbled before his eyes. He had recovered another Athanc, and would return it back far north for its immense power to be incorporated into Everblight’s plans.
The field of battle was scarred from the weeks of fighting, with both sides having suffered losses and managing victories. With their prize in hand, however, the Legion forces fled the field as quickly as they could. Their path led north, toward a spot where they could experiment on the Athanc in relative protected safety. Already, word was spreading in Khador and among the Troll Kriels that the Athanc was lost. Soon no doubt spies for other factions would carry the same words.
Alone, wandering through the mudded fields, walked Kovnik Officer Kerensky. He finally reached a picket line of Winter Guard, and gave the correct call sign. They embraced him, and questioned how he got free. He related a tale of heroism and daring-do of his own accord, managing to free himself amidst the chaos of the retreat to the north. He was taken back to his command bunker at the rear, and rewarded for his bravery in the face of capture the enemy and ability to free himself. He provided detailed plans of the Legion’s operations, and the Khador war machine was grateful: offering him a promotion to Lieutenant Kommander, which he accepted right away.
That night, when all the meetings were finished and the pomp of his promotion subsided, Kerensky finally found himself alone in a bedroom. He walked into the bathroom, and stood before the mirror. Taking off his shirt, he carefully tugged on the strange flap of skin that the Succubus skin-grafters had grown for him. It came free, and he could see the shard implanted deep into his heart. He smiled at himself in the mirror as he covered it back up, and carefully obscured the cuts where it was placed. His eyes flickered with only the smallest hint of blight. He didn’t have long, but he would turn the operations of the Khador war machine toward the goals of his new master: Everblight.
Final Campaign Results:
The final two weeks featured two missions. The first one represents the chance for Khador and/or Trollbloods to recover the captured Kovnik Kerensky: “Road to Recovery”.
The second special mission represents Legion of Everblight finally reaching the Confluence and plumbing the hidden catacombs they’ve been seeking the whole time: “Extraction Protocol”.
Finally, a big thanks to all of the various players who joined in for the event. Thanks to Dan and Colton for fighting on behalf of Khador, and setting up a great storyline for when we return to this story for the next phase of the campaign (the “Manchurian Candidate” Kerensky). Thanks to Tony for joining me in the cause of Trollbloods protecting their settled homes and the Athanc. Thanks to Roger and Terry for running Circle and Cryx as spoilers throughout the campaign. And a huge thanks to all the players who started brand new Legion armies for the event and offered such great diversity of foes for everyone to face: Andy, Ryan, Enrico, Kevin, and Brandon. Congrats to the Legion of Everblight side of things for triumphing in their battles and ultimately winning the Campaign for the forces of the dragon. It was a hell of a great send-off for our final games of Mark II.