Turns 1 and 2
As the huge siege tower trundled on, the cultists to its left marched more speedily, soon catching up with it.
In the centre of the field the generalis praepositus wasted no time in ordering his own regiment of cultists on, towards the gate and mob of stinking undead guards. As they moved their bell rang out, its sombre tone part and parcel of the practices they employed to bring on a furiously frenzied state of being.
The city guard in the centre of the line stayed put for now, but on the right the large crowd of Urbimans advanced, with their lord riding up behind them.
The crew on the cannone luminoso chose the regiment of skeletons to be their first target …
… hoping to scorch right through the foe to bring down a whole file. By turning two geared, iron wheels, they rotated the screw-like shaft running the engine’s length, finely adjusting the distances dividing the giant lenses better to suit the range of their intended flash. Then the engineer opened the shutter of a leaden lantern containing the eerily glowing gem responsible for initiating the process. The loosed light projected out to reflect via two concave mirrors onto the first of the several linearly-placed lenses. The glass of each lens was fashioned from a potent combination of molten, fine, white sand and pounded warpstone, subsequently ground precisely into shape to ensure the light penetrating through each of them was not only concentrated but incrementally fed by the winds of magic, transforming from a ray of bright, hot light laced with raw magic into a beam of such heat as could turn a man to ash at a distance of hundreds of yards, and of such potent magical power as could instantly dissolve even the otherworldly forms of ethereal creatures.
A light now appeared in the rear-most, largest lens – that which the maestro da Leoni had called the ‘bonaventure lens’ – tinged blood red but piercingly bright at its core.
The engine began to shake, its component parts clattering so much that the draught horses, selected specifically for their docility and ability to withstand the sounds of battle, began to buck and strain at their harnesses. The engineer, clutching the rattling railing which hemmed his platform, felt his stomach knot as he realised that this was going to be a more massive blast than any they had achieved in Remas during their practises. His rim of white hair suddenly stood on end, and he could hear a fizzing sort of sound accompanied by the distinctive smell of singed wool which presumably was coming from his own robes.
There was a sound akin to a giant intake of breath, and then a searing bolt was loosed through and from the machine which stretched right over to the skeletons, tearing apart an entire file of five into tiny fragments of scorched bone and dust. This was followed immediately by a loud cracking sound as the mizzen-lens (being the second last last) broke in two. All hint of the light instantly vanished, and for a moment the engine’s crew felt the breath sucked from their lungs.
(Game Note: Luminark works as a bound item – an irresistibly cast bolt from a bound item breaks said item and makes it unusable for the rest of the game!)
Once they had recovered, and quite literally regained their breath, the engineer scrutinised the cracked lens. His shoulders slumped as he realised that what had just happened would be the engine’s only contribution to the battle. He caught himself just in time before taking Morr’s name in vain and began a prayer of cleansing to wash away any taint of his sinful intention.
The cannons, however, had much more luck. The first sent a ball right through the zombies, spattering five of them, then continued straight into the city’s gate, shattering the wood so badly that the hole thus made was sufficient even for men to enter (if a little uncomfortably). The second sent a shot smashing into the wall upon which the duchess herself was stood, shaking it somewhat. The three companies of crossbows took down several handfuls of zombies, skeletons and ghouls.
Upon the southernmost tower, Lord Adolfo scowled at the approaching siege tower. It had been fashioned somewhat simply of large planks, its only decorations being a huge painted cloth upon the front and a flag atop. Both these sported variations of the same design, an emblem Adolfo had seen previously in both life and undeath. It was one of the more popular symbols of Morr, consisting of an hourglass containing the sands of time, flanked by two raven wings.
It was not trepidation he felt, nor anger, and certainly not fear, but rather impatience. He yearned to tear apart whoever lurked within the tower, to rend them limb from limb and bathe in their blood. And he wanted to do it now!
As the skeletons to the north of the city advanced, and the zombies shuffled a little forwards, the vampires and necromancer on the walls conjured what magic they could (Game note: magic dice 10:9 due to several dispel pool boosting artefacts in the Holiest Army) to resurrect several of the fallen zombies and skeletons. The duchess herself focused her hocus pocus on the Urbimans, conjuring Curse of Years upon them to kill nine immediately.
Carradalio’s followers, itching to fight after many weeks of self-scourging, now thought it was the time to charge, but the siege tower failed to reach the walls, and the cultists failed to reach either the zombies or the skeletons. The exertions of their rapid march had obviously had an effect upon them, yet their failure did not diminish their desire to attack one jot. The army’s priests prayed to Morr to lift the curse upon the Urbimans …
… which the god of death graciously granted, but otherwise the holy men could effect little else. Both cannons further shook the wall upon which the duchess stood (Game Note: now up to +3 on all future rolls on the damage chart) which at last made her wonder whether she ought to remain there, risking the ignominious fate of becoming buried in rubble.
The other vampire lord, Adolfo, was also (in his own way) in a thoughtful mood. So keen was his passion to slay the occupants of the approaching tower that he failed even register the large body of cultists advancing beside the tower, heading for the currently unguarded wall behind the tower.
Once again crossbow bolts were loosed by the dozen, this time with arrows from the horse soldiers too, but these volleys caused only a peppering of casualties, insufficient in number for the vampires or necromancer to even notice.
The spirit hosts, being the bound souls of Viadaza’s most ancient warriors, now issued through the stone of the northern walls. Their ethereal forms seemed woven of shadows, the upper reaches of which were (impossibly) imbued with a greenish glow.
The vampires employed a cursed book to wither the dedicants accompanying Carradalio and his admonitor, Brother Vincenzo, though to look at them you would barely have noticed the difference such was their fury and fervour for the fight.
Necromantic magic summoned a body of zombies to threaten the flank of the Urbimans …
.. then the vampires returned their attentions upon the weakened flagellants in the centre to lay low five of them with the Gaze of Nagash. Of course, none of this dampened the violent enthusiasm of the advancing army
End of turn 2
To continue asap.