“Wut tha heck waz dat?” Kanbok picked himself up, his back battered and bruised from the shod hooves of the boney steeds that had trampled him into the dirt.
Those had not been the weedy humies the Split Tongue’s Shaman had told him about. These things were no humies at all, they were like demons. They didn’t bleed, they seemed to shrug off any blows and, most disturbingly, they didn’t make a sound as they charged and rammed their icy iron lances through rank after rank of his best fighters.
“Dat bloody shaman has got sum explainin’ to do when I get my fingaz round his throat!”
No battle plan survives contact with the enemy. Luckily, I didn’t have one to start with, but when I saw the Death Riders line up in front of my general’s unit of Orcs I couldn’t have hoped for a better clash to kick off the battle and put me on the path to victory. How wrong I was, as we shall see.
My army had filed its way down the treachery slopes of Legbreaker Ridge, setting up its arsenal of war machines on the heights overlooking the valley.
My infantry was split evenly into a left flank consisting of Orcs and right flank of Goblins, with Gobbo Stickaz holding high ground in the centre, Wolf Riders poised to make a long outflanking move round the forest to the left and a Snotling Pump Wagon heading right to circumnavigate a rocky outcrop and steamroll into the Undeads’ flank.
Things got off to a lively start as the Orc Arrer Boyz failed their Animosity test and fired their arrows into the backs of the fighters from the Greedy Maw tribe. Zogdrek the Shaman could be heard cursing under his breath. “Dammit, you wuz only supposed to shoot dem in tha back after tha scrap, once dey’ve got rid off dem walkin’ ded thingz for uz…”
The Shaman quickly scampered off into the woods and out of harms way to observe his perfidious plans unfolding. His mind reached out across the battlefield towards the leader of the Undead horde. Finally he had the might behind him to take on the otherwordly throng of this cursed Vampire. Zogdrek cackled maniacally as he overwhelmed the Vampire in a magical duel and channeled some of the beast’s power into his own body.
Meanwhile on the right flank the Goblins marched forward, coming under fire from the Skull Chukka. Its skull ammunition landed bang in the middle of the trailing regiment, but probably thanks to the eight casualties they took and the ensuing confusion the Goblins failed to realise the unnatural nature of the attack and didn’t yet panic.
The Leerin’ Moon Shaman shuffled ahead under cover of the Goblin regiments, when suddenly his left leg gave way under him. In disbelief he stared down at his shinbone protruding from his skin. Leaning heavily on his staff he scanned the enemy lines until he caught the gaze of his magical assailant, a Liche leading a unit of Skeletons, its skull face grinning spitefully back at him. “An eye for an eye, a leg for a leg”, thought the Shaman – and snapped the Vampire’s leg in retaliation instead.
The Goblins continued their advance and unleashed two crazed Fanatics in the direction of their shambling opponents. Unfortunately they came short and were spinning their massive metal balls dangerously close in front of the noses of their own companions.
Meanwhile the Lead Belcher had been primed and aimed to fire at the leading regiment of Skeletons. With an earth shattering roar all of its four barrels spat lead destruction and turned one short of a dozen of the Undead into bone splinters.
The skeletal archers and crossbowmen on the other side took aim at the Fanatic that was getting dangerously close to their lines and killed it in a hail of projectiles.
On the left flank the opponents had manoeuvred into position and the Death Riders were threatening to charge. Sneakily, Zogdrek fished a chicken bone from a pouch on his belt and aimed it at the Undead Hero leading the erstwhile proud lancers before snapping it in two. At the same moment the front right leg of the Undead’s warhorse snapped, slowing the entire regiment down to a trot.
Alas, for the second time the Shaman’s plans hit a snag as the Death Riders just managed to reach the Orc Boyz under leadership of Kanbok Goresmasher himself. With lances lowered they smashed into the orcish battle line. Kanbok’s first inkling that something wasn’t quite right came as he landed two mighty blows with his enchanted mace directly on the black armoured chest of the horsemen’s champion. Rather than seeing him topple from his saddle in a mist of red gore, as so many of his opponents had done before, Kanbok observed with horror that this creature didn’t even flinch and just kept on driving his horse deep into the ranks of his warriors, skewering them with its deadly lance.
When even his trusted second in command didn’t manage to fell a single of the hellish riders in a flurry of axe chops, Kanbok decided it was time to rethink his options. Ideally, several miles away back in his camp high up in the mountains, far away from these abominations who felt no pain and didn’t bleed.
The Orc archers of the Split Tongue tribe, who were right behind as instructed by their Shaman, immediately sounded the retreat. The Giant who had been lured into the battle by the promise of a good hot meal and a dozen barrels of mushroom brew turned around as well, shouting after his Orc paymaster. “Oi, where ya off to, I’m not going anywhere without ma barrels of booze, fight or no fight!”
Oblivious to the collapse of the left flank, the Goblin mobs continued towards the enemy. The spearmen had their gaze fixed on the large regiment of Skeletons ahead, when another unit of animated bones clawed itself out of the frozen ground right in front of the Goblins, followed by an Undead Hero. The Liche then raised its hand and conjured a fireball that burned the remaining Fanatic to a crisp.
Whether through bravery or ignorance the Goblins overcame any fear and charged the Skeletons ahead, scattering their bones, while their Shaman immolated the Champion with a fireball, never to be raised again.
Thus ended the third turn and we had to pack up. My Orcs & Goblins were defeated, though in a very different turn of events than I might have anticipated. The feeble Goblins stood firm against the horrors of the Undead, while their tough cousins were first beaten up and then sent packing by a pile of bones on rancid smelling horses.
Kanbok headed back to his lair in the mountains to gather his remaining forces and plot his revenge. Messengers shall be sent to the east to bring reinforcements. But where is that cursed Shaman, who hasn’t been seen again since slinking away into the woods. And for that matter, those Goblin Wolf Riders also never returned with news from the western flank. Better to bring in more warriors from the Greedy Maw tribe who advance when they are told to, flee when they are told to and die when they are told to!
To read Chico’s report of the battle, head over to The Disturbed Slumber.
Sir Boney the Black, your days are counted. You have been walking the earth for too long.