The Scrutator Semper Chronicles X

Chapter One: The Relics of Saint Malathric

Part Ten: As A Dog To The Proverbial

In which Master Siskington is put in a position of responsibility against all better judgement.

The Bloodstone Marches sometimes possess a weird beauty, as the harsh spring recedes and the punishing summer starts to take hold. The wretched scrub takes on a vibrant hue, and the putrid corpses of animals and men that litter the plains often grow quite interesting plantlife. The jackals that roam in starving packs shed their winter coats and soon sport a charming shade of brown, allowing them to blend in with their surroundings and murder lone wayfarers. As our wagon wove its way across the wasteland, I sat up beside our driver and reflected on the changes that had come to the place since my last visit. Let it never be said I cannot appreciate something even if I hate very moment I spend with it.

“How much longer, squire?”

Continue reading

The Scrutator Semper Chronicles IX

Chapter One: The Relics of Saint Malathric

Part Nine: Endgame Showdown Faceoff

“”My tabard is red
Yours is blue
I’m a godsworn knight
And so are you.”

High Exemplar Gavram Kreoss crumpled up the latest attempt and threw it onto the debris in the corner of his tent. Words were so meaningless in the face of such feeling. Even now, when the battle would soon be joined, he was unable to think, unable to speak. His dreams were haunted by her face, even the look of scorn she had poured on him as he fell before her spear.

He had been captured by her after their skirmish, in more ways than one. Yes, there had been literal manacles on his hands and feet, but her coppery hair and haughty visage had chained his heart. Not since childhood had he felt such emotion. The Exemplinarium – that famed academy which drills all sympathy and humanity out of initiates to the strong arm order of the Protectorate – had had no room for weakness. Continue reading

The Scrutator Semper Chronicles VIII

Chapter One: The Relics of Saint Malathric

Part Eight: What Dreams May Come

In which Master Siskington receives an unexpected visit.

“Stand forth, brother.”

It was a voice that could not be ignored, well used to command and being obeyed. I stepped forward, and marvelled at what I saw. A city of towers, surrounded by a high wall, with fields spiralling from it as far as the eye could see. With another step I was within the walls. I saw the milling people, wearing clothes of ancient times. All around were the signs of prosperity and industry. A line of carts left one gate, loaded with bags of grain. There was joy here, a pleasure that focused around the huge temple in the centre of the city.

Continue reading

The Scrutator Semper Chronicles VII

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!’

Continue reading

The Scrutator Semper Chronicles VI

Chapter One: The Relics of Saint Malathric

Part Six: The Heavy Load

In which Master Siskington learns that religious fanatics are people too.

By the fifth day of the march I had become so used to being kicked awake that my master’s underlings had to drag me outside and dunk my head in the water barrel to wake me. Before this harrowing episode in my life I had never risen until I could be sure of getting a good lunch. Now as I trudged along with the column I glared with envy at the sun, which still hadn’t risen from its comfortable bed at the horizon. The bloody-minded cheer of those surrounding me only served to cement my sour mood.

Continue reading

The Scrutator Semper Chronicles V

Chapter One: The Relics of Saint Malathric

Part Five: It’s Strong, And It’s Sudden, And It’s Cruel Sometimes…

The field guns thundered, and the Menite camp was sundered by concussive blasts. The gun crews paused as their officer sighted down a telescope. There were still pavilions left standing, even as others were consumed in flames. He raised a hand, and the gun crews went about their work, priming the huge cannons and loading them, soon ready to fire again. He dropped his hand, and the volley roared forth. To the west of the artillery in the foothills that surrounded Tighrael there was a rustle of undergrowth and the sound of boots moving quickly. This strikeforce of Exemplars, led by High Exemplar Gavram Kreoss, had left their camp under cover of darkness, leaving most of the tents still standing but empty as a prime target for the enemy guns.

The Exemplars sally forth!

Continue reading

The Scrutator Semper Chronicles IV

Chapter One: The Relics of Saint Malathric

Part Four: An Angel Named Clarence

In which Master Siskington escapes his richly-deserved punishment in exchange for of a life of adventure.

The discerning reader will realise that I could not write this memoir if I had died that fateful evening garroted on the floor of my bedsit flat above a garlic shop, and this is of course this case. I did lose consciousness however, so what happened next I only have second-hand.

Continue reading

The Scrutator Semper Chronicles III

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.”

The Menites surge into Tighrael to find the sacred relics.

Continue reading

The Scrutator Semper Chronicles II

Chapter One: The Relics of Saint Malathric

Part Two: The Perils of Apostasy

In which the callow young Siskington learns the errors of his ways.

It was not difficult to infiltrate the Merwynnese sect of the Church of Morrow. Infiltrate is in fact too strong a word, as I joined and conducted myself in reasonably good faith. My parents were of mixed faiths, and this gave myself and my numerous siblings a relaxed attitude to religious practice. It all comes down to what days you eat the whole chicken and what days you have to offer half of it to the gods before eating the whole chicken in secret, really. Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, the Church of Morrow. The war had brought its own unique issues for the Church. Due to their feats of prowess and great sacrifices in the name of Morrow, members of the Merwynnese sect kept ascending. Not ascending with a capital A, but still departing this mortal coil at a rapid enough rate so that the upper echelons were almost empty.

Continue reading

The Scrutator Semper Chronicles – Chapter 1 Introduction

Welcome to the Scrutator Semper Chronicles, a bi-weekly series that will tell the story of campaigns I have played using the ANNIHILATION campaign system for Warmachine and Hordes devised by the very talented Owen Conlan. You’ve already seen the first installment, but I thought an introductory post was in order to show where the series came from. The idea of ANNIHILATION is to show how two armies that clash over a number of battles take casualties and may gain the upper hand on each other by successive victories. At the beginning of the campaign each player makes a list which comprises all of the models that can be taken by that player in the campaign. If you are playing a game of 15 points, followed by a 25, then a 35 point, and a 50 point game to finish, you make a list which comprises 80% of the total 125 points, for a 100 point list. All of your forces have to come out of this ever-diminishing reserve. If any of your troops die, they’re gone for good!

Continue reading