Findecáno Amandil mage of the 2nd house shook uncontrollably wondering for the 20th time why he had volunteered to serve in Prince Aerandir Narmolanya's army in the Old World. The campaign was not at all what he had expected. The trip across the Great Ocean to the fortress of Elandarana had been a frightning experience, storms had battered the Ulthuan fleet and a score of ships had been attacked and consumed by fearsome Nautican dragons Findecáno had never heard of let alone seen. The fortress itself, its high walls built on cliffs overlooking the Black Gulf, was a frightningly dark home to an Elf more used to the light airy buildings of the noble houses of Ulthuan.
The soldiers based at the Fortress to were not the keen eyed fresh faced citizens militia that had sailed with Findecáno to reinforce the Ulthuan war effort against the Dwarfs of the Worlds Edge Mountains. These elves were hard and fearsome, their armour still shined but behind the gleam could be seen countless marks from axe, hammer and stone. The veterans of a decade of endless campaigning against the Dwarfs these elves had suffered greatly, victories had been hard won but bloody defeats had left an indelilable stain on the army. No greater evidence of this was needed then the rotting corpse of a great Dragon and the gibbeted remains of high-born elf Lord. It along with its owner Prince Ratheon had been executed by his vassal Lord Hethronus [click here for this story] after the Prince had led his army to defeat and then abandoned them to a wintery grave. Despite Hethronus's bravery in securing one of the few major victories in the campaign his fate had been sealed the moment he drew his sword as the Prince. The new army commander Prince Aerandir Narmolanya had ordered the corpse of the Dragon (Kisath) and Lord Hethronus be left to rot in the fortress courtyard as a reminder to all of the price of failure and treachery.
All of these sights were at the forefront of Findecáno's mind as he waited among the ranks of one of the newly arrived citizen spear units. After months of endless guerilla fighting and small skirmishes a Dwarven army had finally drawn itself up for a pitched battle against the Elven forces. Prince Aerandir had remained at the Fortress, and the army this time was led by one of the armies Archmages, Elerossë Tinehtelë Archmage of the 7th house servant of the Shadow. The citizen militia regiments dominated the left flank of the Elven army while Elerossë positioned himself on the right with the elite units of Caledor, Hoeth and the Phoenix Guard. Only a small detachment of Swordmasters of Hoeth gave Findecáno reason to doubt that his flank was to be the sacrificial lamb against which the Dwarves would spend themselves.
The battle opened with the advance of the Elven infantry, full of confidence the arrival of a new commander and new troops had brought, they gave little heed to the terrain toward which they marched. Findecáno soon felt the unmistakable buzz of magical energy as Elerossë summoned the forces bound up in the Lore of Shadow. To his far right the guttural sounds of Dwarven screams were heard as a demonic Pit of Shades opened up beneath one of their regiments. Findecáno was about to cheer when a huge magical explosion rocked the battlefield. Elerossë had failed to control the energy's in the Shadow Lore and the Pit had rebounded on him. The resulting explosion tore through the ranks of his accompanying Phoenix Guard and the nearby Swordmasters. In a matter of seconds hundreds of Elves lay dead, the surviving Phoenix Guard fleeing in terror from the pile of ash that was all that remained of the now dead Archmage.
The Phoenix Guard flee after the death of the Archmage.
The Swordmasters would be wiped out the next turn.
The Swordmasters would be wiped out the next turn.
Findecáno could not believe what he had just seen, his mind full of confusion he too attempted to harness the energy of Elven High Magic seeking to build a protective shield over his spears. Too late he realised his mistake his confused mind was incapable of properly casting the spell and its energy coursed through him and the Spear Elves. Collapsing in agony blood pouring from multiple wounds Findecáno saw scores of militia die as magical fire burned through armour, flesh and bone. A great cheer arose from the Dwarven armies ranks, accompanied by the horrifying sound of Dwarven warmachines and crossbows loosing their missiles at the Elven army. Bullets, stones and bolts tore through armour, flesh and bone killing scores of elven troops. The Swordmasters of Hoeth and Dragon Princes of Caledor were worst hit, already weakened by the magical death of the Archmage, their confused ranks suffered heavily. In a matter of minutes nearly a third of the Elven army lay dead or dying... and Findecáno suddenly found himself in charge of what was left.
Continuing the advance the Elven army was assailed by more Dwarve missile fire made worse as a rock formation in the middle of the battlefield revealed itself to be a Sorcerous Stone. Its magical energies crackled across the battlefield weakening armour, killing Dwarf and Elf alike, but also strenghtening bone and sinnew. On the right the Phoenix Guard rallied only to become locked into melee combat with a huge regiment of Dwarven Longbeards. Around Findecáno Elven militia charged home against Dwarven Quarrellers and Warmachines accompanied by the few remaining Swordmasters. Determined to gain some form of victory from the debacle Findecáno charged with them only to be cut down in the ensuing battle.
But the fate of the Elven army was being decided on the right flank were the Phoenix Guard battled tooth and nail with the Dwarven General and his Longbeard bodyguard. Outnumbered, and weakened, the Phoenix Guard fought with fierce energy halberds tearing through Dwarven armour - the magical Razor Standard above their ranks giving their weapons a terrifying potency. Scores of Dwarfs fell and the battle dragged on allowing the tattered remnants of the Dragon Princes to approach the rear of the battle.
But their charge, that would have sealed the Dwarven Generals fate, was thwarted as a Thane bearing the Dwarven battlestandard charged them single handedly. His great axe rose and fell slaughtering Elf and horse alike. The surviving Dragon Princes fled the battlefield and the Longbeards seeing hope in their flight fought with renewed energy. The Dwarven General, already wounded, cut down the Phoenix Guard champion and dozens of his companions. The Phoenix Guard broke, fled and were cut down as they ran by the victorous Dwarfs.
The victorous Dwarven Battle Standard Bearer who single handedly chased off the Dragon Princes of Caledor
On the far left of the battlefield those few Elves left alive formed ranks and adopted a defensive position hoping that darkness would allow them some respite from the Dwarven assault. It seemed the disaster and death continued to plague the Elven army in the Old World... the War of the Beard was not going well.