Author Topic: A Tilean Campaign (Warhammer Fantasy Battle)  (Read 8005 times)

padre

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Re: A Tilean Campaign (Warhammer Fantasy Battle)
« Reply #105 on: February 11, 2017, 05:07:29 PM »
End of Season 8 General Report (Winter 2402-3) Part 4

Antonio Mugello’s Letter Continued

From Alcente I will plot a course northwards. You, my lord, are almost certainly aware of the following news, but I include it so you might know that which I have learned here in Pavona. Earlier this week an emissary from Luccini arrived, missing the duke by a matter of days, and today departed in the hope of catching up with the duke upon the road. The emissary carries an invitation to King Ferronso III’s confirmation ceremony. The regent, Ferronso’s uncle Duke Ercole Perrotto, has apparently grown ill over the last few months, which most likely explains why the ceremony is being done at the earliest possible opportunity, to officially recognise the 15 year-old monarch as ruler in practise as well as name.

King Ferronso III, the boy-king, son of the ‘Lion’ of Luccini, King Ferronso II, here seen in his family’s famous Palazzo di Luce
 



The ceremony will take place at the close of Spring, and it is presumed that all the neighbouring rulers will be invited, including the Reman Overlord Matuzzi, the arch-lector of Morr (whomsoever that is), Lord Alessio Falconi of Portomaggiori and various lesser nobles neighbouring Luccini, such as current Gonfalonieri of Ridraffa, perhaps even the commander of the VMC in Alcente. I cannot see how Duke Guidobaldo of Pavona can possibly attend considering the precarious and dire state of his realm, and it would seem a similar species of madness were Overlord Matuzzi to attend, what with the immediate threat presented by Razger Boulderguts’ double-army. I have heard it suggested, cruelly, that ‘old’ Matuzzi, along with other nobility, might use the invite as an excuse to escape danger during this time of troubles? He did, after all, previously divest himself of his proper authority simply to shirk the responsibility of rule.

King Ferronso’s sister, Princess Mariangella, two years younger than he and of an age to be betrothed, is likely to become the focus of a second political concern in Luccini. It occurs to me now that young Lord Silvano is unmarried, and might well be considered a very eligible candidate. Whether or not the proud Duke Guidobaldo would wish to promote alliance with a far away and relatively weak state such as Luccini, however, is another matter. Besides, Lord Silvano has yet to safely return from his perilous adventures.

Again, my lord, you are probably more informed concerning the following matter than myself, but I intend to be thorough in my report on Tilea, and so will proceed in the confidence that you will not take my words as worthless. Lord Alessio of Portomaggiore seems to have finally quelled the unrest infecting Raverno, by taking it under his military rule. As to why he should do so, I think it very likely that he harbours doubts concerning the VMC’s intentions. After all, it was the VMC who sent a force to raze Camponeffro to punish Raverno for its treatment of their ambassadors. Lord Alessio’s own realm apparently enjoys peaceful prosperity, the profits of which enabled him to send forces of various kinds to assist in both the war against Khurnag’s Waagh and the Vampires of the north. While all these mercenary expeditions failed, smashed and scattered against much greater foes, Portomaggiore has nevertheless extended its dominion, acquiring control of Raverno and thus gaining a dependent marche to hinder and absorb any landward attack. If Lord Alessio were similarly to gain lordship of Luccinni, Ridraffa and even (may all the gods shield you) your own Verezzo, he would possess a great and wealthy state indeed, with his beloved Portomaggiore effectively fortified by an outer ring of petty states. Considering his own forces have yet to be committed to any real conflict, it is no wild supposition to assume he commands an army of considerable strength, making him perhaps the most powerful, living Tilean lord in the realm, not including stranieri, vampiri or bruti. I tell you this not to conjure unnecessary fears, but rather to reveal what seems possible, perhaps likely, to such an observer as myself.

Although the story of it has no doubt travelled throughout Tilea, by your leave I shall tell you all that I have gleaned concerning the battle before Ebino. The battle was great indeed. Morr’s holy army, composed of Reman soldiers, mercenaries under long term contract to Remas, the mercenary army of Arabyans commanded by Gedik Mamidous (sent by Lord Alessio Falconi of Portomaggiore), and the Pavonan Lord Silvano (Duke Guidobaldo’s lone surviving son) had begun the construction of a huge fortified camp, at the heart of which stood a sanctified - if makeshift - shrine to Morr. The soldiers drilled and laboured, while the genius Angelo da Leoni attempted to convert his steam powered war-engine into a mobile ramp from which to assault the walls, and the throng of priests began chanting powerful prayers to weaken the necromantic magic holding the enemy forces in this world. But all was to no avail, for the vampire duchess’s army sallied forth unexpectedly, much larger than the Remans had believed it to be, containing truly monstrous and unnatural beasts and engines, and caught Morr’s army unprepared. Their camp incomplete, their mighty war machine weakened by the work being done upon it, and their army made up mostly of mercenary troops with little faith in Morr, all added together to cause disaster. The priests’ prayers, their suppliant rites barely begun, wrought little harm upon the foe, and the undead wreaked great slaughter.

A mere fraction of the arch-lector’s army survived to flee the field in disarray. Gedik Mamidous is rumoured to have escaped, along with perhaps half of his arabyans, as did Lord Silvano and the genius Master Angelo. The vampire duchess must surely have gained great strength from her enemy’s corpses, magically luring them from death to undeath and so into her service. It is said she is now establishing a mockery of the church of Morr, with lesser vampires masquerading as priests and mobs of shambling zombies gurgling foul hymns, claiming Nagash to be the god of gods.



Yet she has halted, and does not seem to have advanced any further south than Ebino. None (alive) can know what has delayed her, whether it is merely her own inclination and desires, or whether she has other obstacles to overcome before advancing further.

What few folk have been brave (or foolish) enough to remain in Viadaza now live in fear of what could come at any moment. Having only recently completed the horrible work of cleansing the city of corruption, they now face the prospect of Viadaza once more falling under the abominable rule of the unliving. The people of Urbimo are only a little less worried, having gained some reassurance from Viadaza being closer to the evil, thus acting as a buffer against the duchess’s reach, and that (as I have already mentioned) the soldiers of the Estalian Compagnia del Sole are currently quartered in the vicinity providing an accidental garrison of considerable strength. Needless to say, Capitano Bruno Mazallini’s soldiers have been warmly welcomed and generously provisioned, even to the hardship of the populace, who are happy to suffer hunger and even the usual ignominies that invariably accompany the presence of condottiere, in return for the presence of seasoned soldiers. The prospect of aching bellies, pilfered trinkets and a gaggle of disgraced damsels fades into insignificance compared to the horrors of conquest by the living dead!

As I explained earlier, there is no certainty regarding why the soldiers of the second Compagnia del Sole have returned to Tilea, only conflicting reports. Some say it is merely the fact that their Estalian contract has ended, and that they have returned either by order of their Estalian employers or because they want new employment in Tilea, where there is doubtless need for their aid. Whether or not they already have a new contract is uncertain, for it may be that they have several offers, or perhaps one offer yet to be signed and sealed. Some say that the arch-lector Calictus II invited them, and if so Captain Mazallini must now be wondering what to do. Perhaps the Reman Overlord Matuzzi, or whoever succeeds to the arch-lector’s throne, will re-affirm the offer of contract? Other suggestions concerning their new employer include Lord Alessio Falconi of Portomaggiore (who, after all, has previously employed such large mercenary companies, and who’s own state has remained relatively untouched, and consequently prosperous, by the wars recently ravaging the peninsula)? Or perhaps they are to serve Duke Guidobaldo, brought so low by the brutes of Campogrotta, and no doubt eager for revenge and to regain what he has lost? Still others believe that they are in the employ of whichever Bretonnian lord believes himself to be the heir of Ravola, where what little remains habitable is garrisoned by ogres; or the mountain dwarfs of Karak Borgo, whose rich trade with Tilea has ceased completely; or the VMC, perhaps the only employer with the resources to actually pay the no-doubt massive sums offered to gain the Compagnia’s service? All, however, is speculation, which is possibly just what Captain Mazallini and/or his employer want.

It is reliably reported that there is turmoil in the great city of Remas, for as so often during the election of a new arch lector, a variety of factions are clashing over the decision. Even in times of peace there can be much upset, and all the moreso when the whole of Tilea is threatened with ruin. In theory, Overlord Domenico Matuzzi governs the state with signorial authority, and could not only influence the choice but could also rule the city with a strong hand whilst the election occurred, but as he voluntarily handed over the reins of power to the arch-lector he has made himself a weak candidate for de facto ruler even now that Calictus is dead. It is commonly expected that the new arch lector will continue to rule both church and state. The Reman Captain-General Scaringella leads a force in the field, presumably in an attempt to prevent the tyrant Boulderguts’ double army troubling the city state, which limits his own ability to influence the government of the city or the election of the new arch-lector, and means the chances of him establishing martial rule are low.

The Church of Morr has yet to decide upon Calictus’ successor, a decision made difficult not only by the number of candidates (the foremost being the lectors of Verezzo and Viadaza, Luigi Grasica and Bernado Ugolini respectively) but also by the radicalisation of the church in response to the growing threat from the north. Powerful cults have formed, the populace swelling the number of their dedicati, with Sagranalian tendencies and more than a smattering of the Pavonan heresy of Morr Supreme, and their leaders, particularly Father Carradalio and his Disciplinati di Morr, are also jostling for the arch-lectorship.

I shall return at the last to matters of which I am more reliably informed. Razger Boulderguts, his ravenous army swollen in size by Mangler’s band of brutes, is hauling a massive train of loot, plundered from Trantio, Astiano and the villages of Pavona. Until now all that Duke Guidobaldo’s soldiers have been able to do is slow his progress a little and (by razing some of their own lands) deny him some of the spoils he would otherwise have taken. Pavona now lies bruised and battered, which may well be the future fate of Remas if Boulderguts cannot be stopped. The duke commands a large army, which I myself saw mustered and marching from the city, as well as other forces like those sent away from Viadaza by the arch-lector as a gesture of solidarity concerning the ogre threat. But is his army sufficiently strong to defeat the brute double army? If only Prince Girenzo of Trantio were still alive, and commanding his armies. If only Remas had not lost the bulk of its forces in the war to the north. Then a grand alliance indeed could have been formed. As things stand, it may well be that all these once great powers can do is scrape together sufficient forces to defend their walls, and give thanks to the gods that they can do so. Again and again I have heard it said that the brutes and the vampires must be in league, the first growing rich upon all that they can steal, and sated on all the flesh they can eat, so that the latter can then take possession of the wasted land left in the brutes’ wake, turning the rotting remnants of the ogres’ victims into servants. And so, evil is piled upon evil as one hell begets another.

Your humble servant, Antonio Mugello

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Re: A Tilean Campaign (Warhammer Fantasy Battle)
« Reply #106 on: March 05, 2017, 11:18:24 AM »
Media Vita in Morte Sumus
(In the midst of Death we are in Life)

Biagino grinned as he scrutinised the two prisoners before him, an expression of joy somewhat marred by the sharp fangs revealed in doing so, and the malignant gleam of his narrowed eyes.



They were the only two living people within a mile, yet this did not mean the graveyard was otherwise quiet, what with the fluttering of Biagino’s robes in the breeze and the clinking clatter of bone meeting iron armour – the undead were unquiet. 

“I have to say, this is a most pleasant surprise,” Biagino declared, his voice a croaking whisper, yet audible nevertheless. “You are exactly what I was hoping for. More than that,” he added, his dry hiss transforming into something more akin to a growl, “I like you. It will be a pleasure to have your service for a long, long time.”

The men before him were a disparate pair. Both exhibited deep fear, but each in their own, particular way. One, a dedicant of the Disciplinati di Morr, stood in desperate, rigid defiance, determined to die on his feet and so conjure the illusion of courage to the end. Open mouthed, he gulped at the air, like one who had only moments before been drowning. Both his robes and flesh were torn and bloodied, the delicious sight and scent of which stirred up with the smell of his hot, exhaled breath to arouse the ancient hunger in Biagino.



The other was a lesser priest. He knelt, his tonsured head bowed, wringing his hands tightly together as he stumbled over a prayer, his strained voice nothing more than a suppressed whine. A mortal man would have struggled to discern the words, but Biagino had the acute senses possessed by most vampires and could hear every syllable. Not that he needed to, for he knew the prayer intimately, having spoken if often enough when alive. It was a prayer for protection against evil.

“Júdica Morre nocéntes me,” the priest intoned, forcing the words – along with spittle and blood - through clenched teeth, “expúgna impugnántes me … me … Confundántur et revereántur quaeréntes ánimam meam.”



Biagino was surprised to feel the prayer’s potency working upon him. There was a sting to the words, a sharpness, as if their very sound was barbed, and the intent they carried scratched against some weakness hidden deep within him. Rather than recoil at the sensation, however, he gave himself up to it, like someone lowering themselves into bath waters a little too hot for comfort, and so turned the feeble curse into a source of stimulation. Quite contrary to its purpose, he was enlivened by it, pricked into an even more present awareness than his ordinary state of being.

“Your faith is palpable,” he said. “I am impressed by the power of it. Such spirit, such strength. I want you to keep these things, only I would have them serve the great Nagash and not your pathetic, sleeping excuse for a god. Morr is not worthy of such passion. It is wasted upon him. I will put your fervour to much better use.”



Biagino turned his attention to the two robed and hooded thralls standing behind the prisoners. They were the first of his newly made clergy, La Fraternita di Morti Irrequieti. They too were vampires, but begotten in such a way that they were wholly beholden to his will. Their service was so complete that their very thoughts consisted almost entirely of echoes of his own; their minds were almost solely concerned with serving him, with just enough of their own, personal cruelty to revel in their deeds.



It took only the tiniest of nods to convey his command, and the two thralls began chanting.

“Anima Nagashi, sanctifica me. Corpus Nagashi, salve me. Sanguis Nagashi, inebria me.”

“Yes, we are blessed by him,” said Biagino, and for a moment was tempted to join them in the chant. Instead he looked down at the Morrite priest, who was rocking gently as he continued his own prayer. Biagino chose instead to listen to the priest’s words, having completely forgotten that when alive the confused jumble of sound – rasping breaths, chanting thralls and mumbling priest – would have left him struggling to comprehend any individual part. Now no effort was needed, especially as the words were laced with delicate shards which prickled at his mind.

“Avertántur retrórsum … et  ... et … confundántur, co … cogitántes míhi mála.”

“I am not going to wrong thee,” complained Biagino, “but rather make thee right in the eyes of a true god. And I am afraid it is too late to overthrow us, for your battle was fought and lost.” He chuckled. “I am surprised you did not notice. It didn’t escape my notice, as you can see. Why don’t you turn your thoughts to what is to happen now? It is foolishness to dwell on that which has passed, that which cannot be changed. You would do well to accept that which is happening now, and to embrace that which is to come.”

The priest whimpered pathetically …



… then recommenced his weakening attempt at prayer, “Fíant táamquam pul … táamquam púlvis ante fáciem vénti …. et  … et Daemonus Morre coárctans eos.”

“Tut tut, good priest. You can see that I am not dust, and you know your prayer cannot make me so. As for the languid demons who serve your god, they are no more able to wake than he. Your prayer is wasted, your power is waned, your god is wanting.”

Biagino brought his staff down to point at the priest, mere inches from his bald pate. “Enough,” he hissed, for the first time allowing anger to brace his words. The priest fell silent, his hands suddenly limp, his shoulders sagging. Biagino had wrapped him in his own curse, unspoken as it was but much more powerful than anything the priest had conjured.
 

“Forget all the prayers you have learned. They are ash. Forget all whom you loved. They are lost. Forget all whom you knew. They are doomed. You are to be remade, your flesh refashioned to serve us despite its worldly corruption, and your mind will no more be your own. Oh, and you must learn some new prayers.”

The thralls’ chanting, delivered as if one voice, grew louder. “Aqua lateris Nagashi, lava me. Nagashi, conforta me. O Nagashi, exaudi me.”

“Listen, learn and know. He will wash the flesh from you, and give you strength like you have never known. And your prayers will allow almighty Nagash to drink deep of your soul.”

Biagino smiled, his eyelids part closing as malevolent satisfaction coursed through him. Then he turned his attention to the dedicant. This one would be easier, for not only was the man of a more malleable nature, his raw anger and fear already almost perfectly formed, but he had already made the mistake of looking into Biagino’s eyes. As soon as he did so, Biagino refused to let go, and within moments the man was so entranced that he lost the power to blink, or do anything else for that matter.   

Now Biagino joined the thralls’ droning intonation. “Intra tua vulnera absconde me. Ne permittas me separari a te. In hora mortis meae voca me, et custodierit me in aeternum, ut cum servos tuis laudem te in saecula saeculorum.”

There was a moment’s silence. Then Biagino said, “Now, let us all pray together.”

The prayer was repeated, once, twice, thrice. By the fourth repetition both priest and dedicant also intoned. Biagino himself fell quiet, to watch and listen for a little while. When the prayer came to an end, there was silence.



Then Biagino made the tiniest of gestures with his forefinger. Quicker than any mortal man could manage, the thralls lurched suddenly forwards, arms outstretched, as if they might embrace the two prisoners as old friends.



Needless to say, that was not their intent.

damo_b

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Re: A Tilean Campaign (Warhammer Fantasy Battle)
« Reply #107 on: March 05, 2017, 06:41:05 PM »
great work as always.
just looking forward to what happens next.
Might even get some miniatures painted.