Chapter One: The Relics of Saint Malathric
Part Seven: Following the Trail
“‘Stop! Here; this is the place.’
Grand Scrutator Alphonse Severius pointed a gloved finger at a nearby copse of trees. His troops watched while the workmen they had brought with them hefted shovels, picks and other tools and went to regard the situation. After a short while, their foreman returned. The morning sun glinted off his bald head as he rubbed his jaw.
‘My lord, how far down would you say these items are buried? We may need most of the day if we have to uproot a tree or two.’
Severius waved his hands to dismiss the man. ‘Then begin now! It will take as long as it takes, no service is too great or small in the service of the Lawgiver. This is the spot, mark my words!’
The foreman nodded his head – he was used to Severius’ management style by now – and went back to his men, who set to with gusto. Severius meanwhile stalked up and down between the ruins of buildings. Reflexively he set his warjacks, the Trampler of Heterodoxy and the Punisher of Sin to patrol the perimeter. He left the newly-reconsecrated Intolerator of Sloth to stand idle, in case any chance for battle came along and it was needed. Its flamethrower gleamed with fresh polish, and the banked fires of its eyes hid a thirst to burn heretic flesh, he was sure of it. He shared its desire.
As the sounds of chopping came from the forest, Severius regarded his troops. The gleaming white robes of the Flameguard he had brought with him were pleasing. The rabble who had followed when the High Exemplar asked for volunteers did not. Zealots were useful in their own way, but undependable and likely at a moment’s provocation to fling those nasty bombs all over the place. They could just as easily set themselves aflame as hurt any enemy. No, give him warjacks any day. Dependable, and sympathetic.
A surge from his connection with the Trampler propelled him into readiness. There was movement to the east. Spinning on his heel, he glared through the copse of trees, and indeed there was the flash of blue. The Cygnarans had found them once again, despite all his precautions. Was it fool luck? Or was there a traitor amongst his own ranks? He shot the cuffs of his robes, freeing his hands for the work ahead. Once he had dispensed with this rabble, he intended to find out!”
Game three, and there was still everything to play for! In the first and second games, Duggy had won, putting him ahead in the campaign by 4 points. In the ANNIHILATION system which we were running, the difference in points determines the margin of victory at the end. If things kept going the way they were going, Duggy would obtain the ultimate result: an Annihilation! In terms of the story of the campaign, this would mean the Menites were completely routed and the Cygnarans achieved everything they could hope for. Naturally I wanted to avoid this outcome, as well as winning a few games, which is always nice!
This time I was back playing Severius, who had recovered from his tumble in the first game. I decided to field his theme force, Legions of Faith, as it gave extra deployment for the Wracks and thus hopefully more focus to cast spells and keep Severius’ squishy old self alive. As far as I recall, I had intended to bring another unit of Flameguard and a Vanquisher, but the models that I had with me on the day determined this list as you see it now:
Grand Scrutator Severius (*6pts)
* Repenter (4pts)
* Revenger (6pts)
* Templar (8pts)
Choir of Menoth (Leader and 3 Grunts) (2pts)
Holy Zealots (Leader and 5 Grunts) (4pts)
* Holy Zealot Monolith Bearer (2pts)
Temple Flameguard (Leader and 5 Grunts) (4pts)
* Temple Flameguard Officer & Standard(2pts)
Knight Exemplar Seneschal (3pts)
Knight Exemplar Seneschal (3pts)
The Wrack (3 wracks) (1pts)
Vassal of Menoth (2pts)
Duggy had free choice of which warcaster he would bring, as he had successfully kept Constance safe in both of our games so far. Since he reckoned that Haley would be more useful at 50 points, and because it was thematic, he decided to bring Constance once again, with her trusty Gallant and unit of Precursors to do her dirty work. This time he brought along the Charger (really one of the best ‘jacks Cygnar has in my opinion, if you can keep it fuelled!) and a Hunter, to snipe out anything I might want to keep safe and generally muck about. As he had won the second game, he could pick one unit to benefit from Advance Deployment. He chose the Precursor Knights, thinking that they could grab the charge with the extra push.
Constance Blaize, Knight of the Prophet (*6pts)
* Hunter (6pts)
* Gallant (9pts)
* Squire (2pts)
Precursor Knights (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)
* Precursor Knight Officer & Standard (2pts)
Stormblade Infantry (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)
* Stormblade Infantry Officer & Standard (3pts)
Gun Mage Captain Adept (2pts)
Journeyman Warcaster (3pts)
* Charger (4pts)
We didn’t have a scenario packet with us for this one, so we decided to play a generic Killbox. I wouldn’t be forgetting it this time! Photos are once again courtesy of Duggy, and the game took place in September 2012.
Turn One: Duggy won the roll to go first, so I picked the side that would give me the most things to hide behind, hoping this time the cover they offered me would not also leave me in range of Killbox. The Precursor Knights having AD meant they were nearly at the halfway point by the end of Duggy’s first turn, leaving me to struggle to deal with them. The Gun Mage Captain Adept sprinted away to the left, giving me the feeling he meant to be troublesome very soon! I sent the Templar and the Repenter off around the forest, hoping they would get there in time to create some nasty havoc. Severius cast Defender’s Ward on the Flameguard and Eye of Menoth on himself, preparing to sit on his focus the next turn and create some havoc for the Cygnarans.
Turn Two: The second turn happened to be a complete slaughter! I had forgotten to Greater Destiny the Zealots (a mistake I don’t make anymore…not too often anyway!) and so Duggy was able to have his wicked way with them, cutting the front rank down with Stormblades and Precursor Knights, and the Flameguard didn’t hold up as well as I had hoped thanks to some lucky rolls on Duggy’s part. This was not the first time Duggy had seen the Knight Exemplar Seneschal, and so he knew to hit and kill him last in the turn, after all my regulars were dead so that he could not hop back up next turn.
What little I had left I was able to jam down the enemy’s throat, as the remnant of the Flameguard battled back heroically and the Zealots remembered what that big stone Menofix was for and threw bombs to their hearts’ content. At the end of turn two both of our main units were devastated. The Templar and the Repenter meanwhile still hadn’t made it around the forest. The Repenter got distracted roasting a Gun Mage Captain Adept to death! Severius measured Killbox and moved up out of it, feeling a bit exposed but sitting on a lot of focus. Constance hung back at the edge of the box, sitting on a big pile of focus thanks to her feat. Turn Three would probably decide it…
Turn Three: And indeed it did! Constance handed out her focus, and then in her own turn cast Transference and started handing it out to her lackeys like it was candy. Gallant charged and one-rounded the Revenger, who had been following Constance as she hopped around the table. Once that annoyance was gone, the Hunter first and then the Charger both winged Severius, but it was the charge of the Stormblade Officer with the focus from Constance that finished the old fella off. And the Templar never had a chance to get into combat!
“Severius covered his face as the boiler of the Punisher of Sin fractured and then exploded under the huge sword wielded by the Cygnaran ‘jack, showering fire and bits of metal everywhere. He growled and prepared a devastating spell to hurl at the glowering construct, but a shot rang out and then there was pain. The arm he had been holding out, ready to cast, was flung against his side and cracked back the wrong way. The Grand Scrutator gritted his teeth and glanced down, seeing bone sticking out. He clapped a hand against it and razor-wire pain burned through him. Cursed heretics!
‘Look out, my lord!’ someone called from behind him as a hulking brute wearing a grilled helmet charged towards him, wielding a crackling arcantrik blade. The Cygnaran was yelling something, but it was all going fuzzy. Was it ‘For Malathric!’? Surely not! Severius’ sight began to blur as the blade descended, and then it was all ozone and darkness and the smell of burning flesh.
As the scrutator stopped spasming and lay still, the Stormblade captain sneered and raised his blade to dispatch the Menite leader. There was rapid movement from the trees beside him, a loud clang, and then the Cygnaran officer was lying sprawled on the ground beside his intended victim. As the battle raged around them, the diggers that Severius had employed emerged from the forest one by one, following their foreman, whose spade was bent all out of shape. He shook his head ruefully, and flung the thing aside. ‘Right Gus, you grab his legs and let’s get the hell out of here! We’ll not get paid if this one buys it!’
Without further ado, the Grand Scrutator of the Protectorate of Menoth was hauled like so many bags of potatoes and dragged bodily away from what should have been his greatest triumph. Behind him, the Cygnarans completed the rout of their enemies, and went to investigate what had drawn the Menites to this exact spot…”
So I had suffered another defeat, and the only thing to determine now was how much of a victory Duggy’s Cygnarans would gain over my Menites. But I was not too disheartened. We had played a good game, and I had bloodied the Cygnaran’s nose considerably in this game, taking the guts out of two of his units.
All in all in this game I lost the Revenger, one Choir member, a unit of Zealots, most of a unit of Flameguard and a Knight Exemplar Seneschal. I would still have a full list going into the last game of the campaign, a “proper” 50 points. This would almost certainly be High Exemplar Kreoss versus Major Victoria Haley. Tune in next Friday to see how that goes. Meanwhile the story of Master Siskington will continue on Monday. We’ll soon see how the Grand Scrutator handles his defeat!
Game Result: Duggy wins
Duggy’s points: 7.5
Siskey’s points: 0