Battle Report: Skirmish Weekend Part 4 – Mourning Wood

Game 5 sees the Orruks stage a daring and desperate assassination attempt on their hated adversary, the Knight Venator. But will the rest of the Order party become collateral damage?

Read Part 1 (game 1 and 2) here
Read Part 2 (game 3) here
Read Part 3 (game 4) here

Game 5: Assassinate

Warbands

Forces of Order – Mark and Ross – 67 Renown
Artemisia – Knight Venator – General
2 Aetherwings
Arthos – Beasthunter (as a Vulkite Berserker Karl)
Kraia – Dryad
Amadriel – Branchwych
Kirannon – Kurnoth Hunter

Forces of Destruction – Aaron and Colin – 60 Renown
Weirdnob Shaman – General
2 Orruk Ardboys
4(!) Orruk Brutes

Artemisia had told them of the location of another Azyrite Realmgate, this one far from the old city, so they had set off immediately and had been travelling for a week now. They had passed close to the Grey Marches the day previous, and had been joined by the warden of that cold realm, one of the avatars of the hunter-god Kurnoth. Such sights would once have had Arthos prostrate in awe and fear, but he was quickly becoming accustomed to the company of these fell creatures of myth.

The party had made camp in the shadowed remains of some fallen colossus. The tell-tale cacophony of the Orruk warband trailing them had ceased several days past, and they assumed the impulsive creatures had grown bored of their pursuit or found some other poor target to harass. Preparing to break camp at dawn, they were suddenly aware of something amiss. Birds were no longer singing, and the early morning mist had an almost greenish tint to it. Hulking shapes appeared in the fog on all sides, and then the crooked silhouette of the shaman emerged from the haze. He threw his head back and roared to the sky. “Waaaaaaaaaagh!”

***

The Orruks are on them almost before they can draw their weapons. They seem almost frenzied in their rush to close with the small band of warriors. Artemesia jumps into the air, unleashing a quick volley from her bow, although the Orruks are now wise to the celestial arrows and get their weapons and armoured arms above their heads to shield themselves from the onslaught.

The shaman levels his staff towards the Knight and shouts a few syllables in his crude tongue, a bubble of swirling energy growing around him. It suddenly pops, magical feedback shooting back down his staff. He yelps in surprise and swings the staff, the magic cascading wildly into the back of the brute in front of him, scorching its skin and armour. The beast howls with pain and turns to roar curses at the warlock.

A brute on the other side of the clearing bellows a challenge at the Kurnoth hunter and charges. The ground shakes with it’s pounding footfalls, but the hunter, easily twice the Orruk’s size, calmly steps forward and with a single mighty swing cuts down the brute and tosses it aside, motes of light dancing in the wake of his ethereal blade.

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The Orruk in dark green armour has evidently discovered a taste for aetheric game, swatting down one of the azure hawks with a meaty fist and chomping off its head. Artemesia begins to find her mark, wounding the unarmoured shaman and bringing down the Orruk in the tattered purple cape. Seeing bird-chewer distracted with its meal, Arthos and the dryads seize the initiative and charge the monstrous brute.

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The Orruk recognises the threat of the sylvaneth wizard and turns all his ire on her. Arthos has to quickly dodge a swing from the brute’s jagged cleaver, and though the dryad attempts to get in between her master and the Orruk, the beast bats aside the Branchwych’s scythe and catches her with a heavy backhand swing of his axe, smashing the tree witch aside and cutting a deep rent in her abdomen. She screams, half anger and half agony, and goes down, thick orange sap leaking between her fingers as she clutches her wound.

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The brute that had taken the brunt of the shaman’s backfiring enchantment finishes his tirade of profanities and turns back towards the melee, but seeing all the good fights taken and the Venator hovering too far out of reach, decides to find his sport elsewhere and stomps off towards the woods. The purple-robed Orruk, pawing at a glowing arrow stuck just out of reach between his shoulders, concludes that he had better get that seen too, and similarly makes a break for it.

A second brute steps up to challenge Kurnoth’s champion, this one more wary of its foe. They circle each other, the hunter adjusting his pose as the Orruk clashes his weapons together. They lunge and parry, dodge and thrust, sparks glancing off weapons and thick Orruk plate. Each manages to land a few blows, but neither can find a fatal strike.

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Enraged at seeing his boyz quitting before the job’s done, the Orruk shaman channels his fury into a bolt of arcane energy. The prone Branchwych makes an easy target and he aims his staff in her direction. Spotting the danger to her lady, the dryad throws herself in front of the bolt as it arcs from the shaman’s staff. Splinters of wood fly as the magic missile connects. The dryad is transfixed in agony as the sorcerous energy grounds itself through her, then falls to the ground and lies still, the leaves on her branches smouldering.

Now alone against the Orruk, Arthos franticly dodges an overhead cut that would chop an oak in half. On the back foot, he knows he has no hope of taking this brute in a straight fight. The Orruk’s blood was up now, and its speed and brutal ferocity were primally terrifying. Desparately trying to think of a plan, he ducks under a high swing, but too late sees the armoured knee hurtling towards his face. It smashes into his jaw with teeth-crunching force, and the world spins as he crashes to the floor. Everything goes black…

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On the other side of the field, Kurnoth’s hunter had bested his opponent, the Orruk sliding off the hissing enchanted blade to crash heavily into the mud. Sparing no time for trophy-taking, the hunter turns and bounds to the defence of the Knight of Sigmar. The Orruk shaman stands at the base of the fallen statue, chanting to his violent gods for the power to smite the Venator. She replies with a arrow of yellow lightning, stunning the shaman and setting his robes alight. A moment later the Kurnoth hunter barrels into him, bright sword flashing across the warlock’s chest, and the beast falls.

The Orruk in dark green plate roars with joy at yet another opponent to fight, and charges headlong into the hunter. Smashing him into the statue, the Orruk’s brutal onslaught of fists, headbutts and spiked kneecaps leave the treekin stunned and defenceless. As the brute raises his axe to deliver the final blow, the Knight’s star eagle lets out a loud cry and dives at the Orruk, razor-sharp talons clawing at the beast’s eyes and throat. The bird-chewer’s shouts of glee turn to howls of pain, and it turns and runs.

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This game was a bloodbath! The only model left standing at the end was the Knight Venator. Right at the start of the game, she had hopped up on top of the statue in a move that would probably be described by Captain Hook as ‘bad form’, safely out of reach of the Orruks, but they still managed to get a few charges in on her towards the end of the game. That did have us playing a very dodgy game of Jenga though, trying to balance a bunch of models up on top of all those curves and spikes. Still, another win for the forces of Order, but the closest one yet. Come back on Friday to see how the final battle goes, or pop in tomorrow to get Col’s destruction perspective. Will the Ironjaws be able to pull it out of the bag at the last moment, or have the forces of Order got too much of a head start?

Be sure to check out Col’s blow-by-blow account of games 4 and 5 here!

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