Chapter One: The Relics of Saint Malathric
Part Three: The Standoff at Tighrael
“The weak winter sun reached its zenith as the Errant phalanx moved into position behind the abandoned shell of the clocktower. They were the forerunners for the small exploratory force, sent to see how far the Cygnarans had taken control of the town, known as Tighrael in ages before. Now it was nothing, just a collection of ramshackle buildings that even the rats had abandoned. Grass grew waist-high in the streets, heavy with frost, and the Errants took full advantage. Their white armour and chainmail belied their ability to move in silence and blend in to their surroundings. They hunkered down against a collapsed wall and waited.
After a few minutes’ wait the forward scout of these forerunners returned to his brothers-in-arms. He emerged from a clump of grass running and bent almost double, keeping his head below any windows that might give him away. He stopped beside the phalanx leader, and whispered urgently into her ear. She risked a glance over a nearby window sill, off to the southwest. Sure enough, a faraway flash of blue confirmed the report, and soon the telltale clank-clank-hiss of a warjack carried on the afternoon air. The Cygnarans were on their way.
She swept her hand back towards the north, the way they had come, and the phalanx was on the move once more. Keeping the clocktower between them and any keen-eyed Cygnarans, they hit the tall grasses on a near rise and disappeared from sight.”
For the first game of the campaign Duggy and I would be playing a 15 point game. At this stage, neither of us were playing too often so we both made lists we would be comfortable with. When I drafted my list, it was with the scenario in mind, since the Templar can empty zones or bully itself into them, and the Errants are very hard to remove once they get in there, especially with Defender’s Ward up. I really like Severius with an arc node, since it keeps him safe, especially in a battlefield like the one we would be playing on, where he could hide behind a building or something. When it got to the day I had left my Revenger at home, so a plucky Bastion got upgraded to warjack status for the day!
Grand Scrutator Severius (*6pts)
* Revenger (6pts)
* Templar (8pts)
Choir of Menoth (Leader and 3 Grunts) (2pts)
Exemplar Errants (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)
Duggy meanwhile went quite infantry-heavy, with the intention of feeding his army to me during the feat turn and then retaliating with Constance herself, quite a formidable prospect in such a small game. The Hunter was there to snipe out my Choir and to take a few cheeky shots at Severius if possible.
Constance Blaize, Knight of the Prophet (*6pts)
* Hunter (6pts)
* Squire (2pts)
Precursor Knights (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)
* Precursor Knight Officer & Standard (2pts)
Sword Knights (Leader and 5 Grunts) (4pts)
Gun Mage Captain Adept (2pts)
The game took place in August 2012, so we were playing the Steamroller 2012 scenario packet. The scenario we played was Close Quarters, as you can tell from our wonderful perfectly-cut circles. The Cygnarans took the first turn, and the campaign was afoot! The photos are courtesy of Duggy.
“Grand Scrutator Alphonse Severius narrowed his eyes behind his mask as he regarded the overgrown town square up ahead of them. Two large holes dug in its centre, beside large piles of earth and cobblestones, showed where the heretics had unearthed the holy emblems of Saint Malathric. Perhaps even the martyr’s tomb. Such despicable behaviour was nothing more than he expected from those who had turned from the Lawgiver’s truth.
Beside him his warjacks stood waiting. The larger of the two, a Templar he had named Trampler of Heterodoxy, shifted its weight from foot to foot, eager to engage with the enemy. He had heard that the older the warjack, the more it inherited its controller’s loyalties and – more importantly – hatreds. He knew for a fact that this was true of his Revenger, the Punisher of Sin. The light warjack was notorious for its zeal in crushing the enemies of the Protectorate, and this ferocity was the reason he had brought it with him all the way to the frigid North.
On the other side of the town square, he saw the so-called knights ranking up, hoping to repel their righteous assault. They would be scythed down like wheat. Angry now at their hubris, he gestured with both arms and his small force surged forward. There was no battle cry, their silence showed their determination. The heretics would not prevail.”
Turn One: The game began in a standard fashion, with the Cygnarans running into position. The Hunter and the Gun Mage Captain took the left while the two units of knights moved up the centre, with Constance in the rear. Since the Errants had been deployed on the other side of the buildings, they didn’t have to worry about any flukey ranged attacks just yet.
The Menites moved more cautiously, the Errants ran up and divided themselves behind the two buildings, to avoid any charges from the knights. Severius had cast Defender’s Ward on them, and he took cover himself behind the corner of the clocktower. The Templar and Reckoner ran up into my zone, with the Choir moving up behind and singing Passage.
Turn Two: The two units of knights took a strong position in the zones and stood ready to receive any counterattack. The Sword Knights ran up again and stood in Defensive Line, while the Precursor Knights received the Shield Wall order at the edge of Duggy’s zone. The Hunter moved up into the zone and took a few potshots, killing off two Choir, since Duggy was centimetres out from being able to ping Severius himself. Constance Blaize took centre stage and feated, ready to gather any souls from the destruction of her troops.
Since the Hunter had made it clear he was gunning for my back ranks, the Templar had to take care of him. After the Choir had sung Battle, it charged and wiped out the Hunter. The Revenger charged the Sword Knights, taking out a disappointing one! The Errants moved in from the left and shot at the Precursor Knights, killing…one.
Meanwhile Severius was eyeing up the Gun Mage Captain Adept and the two focus he had left. Not trusting his chances, I moved him back a bit to the other corner of the building, trusting to the arc node to keep him in the game. It turns out I should have trusted my measuring tape, because the next question was “How close is Severius to the edge?”. And this was 2012, when Killbox wasn’t just 2 scenario points, it was game.
“Severius smiled with genuine pleasure as the Trampler smashed the Cygnaran jack into the soft earth, then stepped over its fallen foe to crush a knight even as the man vainly tried to block with his shield. The Punisher of Sin refused to be outdone, racing forward and impaling an enemy trooper on its halberd. It stabbed him again and again, until his body was wedged halfway up the weapon. That was the one drawback of its enthusiasm, occasionally it got carried away.
As he surveyed the battlefield, he sneered at the Morrowan witch who had led her men into certain doom. She returned his gaze, her face lit by a strange ethereal light. It seemed that even as her men died she was drawing in their energy. Trust the Morrowans to resort to such ghoulish practices!
A warning premonition drew his gaze to his right. A trenchcoated figure stood alone, drawing careful aim right at him. The Grand Scrutator hiked up his robes and dodged to the side, hugging the wall of the clocktower. All at once he felt the earth shift and roll away beneath his feet. As it gave way beneath him and he was swallowed up by the earth, his last thought was to commend his soul to Menoth: Look not on the sins I did not punish, but on all the heretics I have killed in your name!“
And thus the first game ended, with Severius killboxed and the Cygnarans triumphant. Constance and her warband take possession of the excavation site, and the Menites must retreat to lick their wounds. Since Severius died in this game, I would have to use High Exemplar Kreoss in Game 2.
All in all apart from Severius I just lost 2 Choir, while Duggy lost a Hunter and some Sword and Precursor Knights. It was a foolish mistake on my part to lose to Killbox (clearly I was ahead of my time and knew that one day Killboxing yourself would be a clever ploy a lá Eoin Brennan), since if I hadn’t done and either of my jacks had survived Constance’s feat, Duggy’s warcaster was in a poor position. Still, it was not time to dwell on mistakes, instead we both had to prepare for Game 2 at 25 points, where I would have a chance to recoup my losses and increase Duggy’s losses even further.
Game One Result: Duggy wins
Duggy’s Points: 1.5
Siskey’s Points: 0