Thursday 25 July 2019

Return to Grimdal's Tomb part 2

A horn blast startled the rangers into readiness. They took up positions on the edge of the Oakenwood, peering across the dark glade. Slowly, their enemy hobbled into view. Zombies fell to the ground as crossbow bolts thudded into them. More zombies trailed alongside them, a wall of rotting flesh. Skeletons creaked forward, and wights seemingly floated across the ground, heading straight for the tomb. Behind them, the dark robed necromancer urged them on.

A cheer went up on the dwarf left flank, as slayers charged down from the foothills and made straight for the tomb. The dwarfs cheered even louder as a gyrocopter swept over the treetops. It flew straight over the zombie wall then a brief flash and an explosion rocked the night. Bones shattered and the necromancer stumbled to his knees, the whole Undead army faltered.

The dark robed figure gripped his staff and pulled himself up. Despite his wound, he was able to conjure a chill wind, the blast directed up into the sky at the hovering dwarf contraption. There was an audible crackling noise as the whole machine was covered in freezing ice crystals. The rotor stuttered, the pilot cried out and it careered to the ground. The foul undead creatures shambled forward once more.

Zombies were continually pierced by bolts and fell to the ground, but then rose again under the influence of foul magic. The slayers found their route to the tomb blocked by shambling corpse soldiers. Skeletons swarmed over the downed gyrocopter. Wights silently floated toward the tomb, just as the door creaked open. From that ancient portal, a hulking figure lumbered out, wading into the spectral warriors. The ogre hacked and slashed at the eerie robed figures, one dissipated to nothing as his cleaver struck, but their chill weapons pierced his flabby bulk. The ogre retreated back into the tomb, bellowing in rage. The wights hovered by the tomb door, awaiting a command.

The downed gyrocopter pilot furiously tapped on dials and hammered on levers with one hand, swinging his axe at the skeletons with his other. Somehow he had survived the short descent of his machine to the ground. Even more miraculously, with a juddering wheeze, it suddenly started back into life, the rotor spinning once more. The dwarf gyrocopter swayed back into the air again, skeletons scattered beneath it. With steely determination, the pilot aimed once more at the dark robed figure and tossed a bomb straight at him. The bomb rolled right up to the feet of the figure, then lay there. There was no flash, no explosion this time. The icy blast must have rendered the bomb useless!

Dwarf rangers finally threw down their crossbows and hefted their huge axes. They charged toward the zombies, determined to sweep them away and carve a route through to the dark robed necromancer. Slayers joined them. At the tomb door, there was a frightful noise, as a pack of gibbering, howling gobghouls emerged from the darkness and threw themselves at the wights. This attack was surprisingly vicious, the wights fell back under the onslaught of rusty blades and scabrous claws.

As the zombie lines thinned, the dwarfs crept ever closer to the necromancer and his depleted bodyguard. For the first time, he stepped back, hesitating. A glance over to the tomb told him that his wight servants had failed. A faint glow in the east heralded the new dawn. The darkness would soon be gone. The grating sound of a huge rock door closing signalled the end of the battle.

The robed figure took one last, wistful look at Grimdal's Tomb, then melted away once more. The foul undead plodded after him. As the pink tinge of dawn intensified, dazed dwarfs stumbled over corpses, discovering fallen comrades among the rotted dead. Many had given their lives to protect the ancient tomb, and yet had it all been for nothing? The sacred site had long ago been defiled and infested by other dark creatures. The survivors solemnly began the grim task of gathering their dead for the long trek back home.


Springinsfeld said...

Gripping stuff... and nice paintwork, well done.

Matt Crump said...

No picture of the downed gyrocopter !

Nord said...

It was night time, the artist struggles with low light!

Phil Curran said...

A well written battle report.

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