The Battle of the Isean Hills – Final Part

The great mob of ghouls, who now equalled the enemy’s regiment in size thanks to the brute Horrors’ attacks and the cultists own murderous flagellations to maintain their state of crazed frenzy, charged headlong into the defences.

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Maria cantered without undue haste to the side of the hex-wraiths and watched as Captain Bernhardt and his knights turned to threaten the Reman soldiery within the camp.

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Whilst the winds of magic proved little more than a gentle breeze, so that not one spell could be successfully conjured, the fight between the ghouls and the dedicants proved very bloody indeed. Seventeen dedicants dies in the initial assault, and eighteen ghouls! (Game Note: The ‘End is Nigh’ roll meant the dedicants could re-roll to hits and to wounds for their 38 (yup!) attacks. In light of this, perhaps 18 seems like a bad result!) Two more ghouls collapsed from the weakening of the magics that kept them whole.

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Captain Vogel knew he had to act decisively, before the enemy riders could launch themselves at him and his men. But when he ordered a charge, his so-called professionals proved wanting, and the hesitant lurch that resulted meant that the initiative was lost. The vampire Bernhardt and his knights were already spurring their fleshless horses into action. Standing with the Remans, Father Lorenzo quickly realised that something had gone awry, and so prayed for Morr’s Holy Protection to be gifted upon the men with him. He sensed its power as it enfolded them.

Upon the bastion-battery on the Disciplinati’s right, the cannoneers had shoved packets of grape shot down their pieces’ muzzles, and now both guns blasted the skeletons below them, shattering seven. (Game Note: 10 + 10 shots, but with 8th ed rules, you have to roll to hit as well as wound.) The bony warriors barely noticed, which in truth was the case most of the time!

The broken machine trundled about behind the defences, it’s crew’s shame exacerbated by the knowledge it was highly unlikely they would ever to get the chance to prove themselves or their machine in future battles, due to the fact that they were almost certainly going to die in this one.

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The Morrite dedicants fighting the ghouls, however, were so gripped with bloodlust that no such defeatist thoughts impinged upon their minds. They now slaughtered the last of the ghouls before them, to the loss of only one of their own to the foe’s vicious claws, but at a cost of two of their own to flagellation. The hexwraiths to their left, however, had cut down another four dedicants amongst their brother regiment, who despite their manic efforts could cause absolutely no harm in return. Meanwhil, Maria rode very close by as if nothing of consequence were occurring!

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(Game Note: I was still amazed at what the hex-wraiths were doing, and could only imagine how frustrated I would have been about it if I had commanded the other side! BTW, we had toyed with the idea that the campaign player helping out by commanding an NPC army should command the undead, but as his player character, Lord Alessio Falconi, was currently engaged in a war against Maria’s servants in the south, it seemed only right that he should command here enemies in this game too!)

Maria was smiling, but there was not a soul alive who could see. She blew a kiss to Captain Bernhardt as he glanced at her upon the threshold of his charge, and then she joined him in hurtling headlong into Vogel’s hesitant Remans.

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The Necromancer Saffiro had watched the slaughter of both the brute Horrors and the ghouls with interest and was now satisfied to see that only a few dedicants remained upon the defences. “My turn!” he thought to himself, then raised his hands to command his skeletons to charge.

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In they went, scrabbling over the piles of corpses strewn before the barricade without a care in the world, to stab a veritable forest of spears at the poor, tired souls on the walls!

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Before long there was but one cultist remaining. He stumbled back, his pointed hood so obscuring his sight that he had no idea he was the last. Whatever idea he did have, however, was his last.

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While the Hexwraiths’ scythes continued their bounteous harvesting of souls …

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… Maria fatally cursed four of the Remans, then momentarily lost control of her magic while resurrected the missing knight. She was only saved from injury by her magical wards. Several more Remans died to the vampires’ and knights’ blades, and two of the knights were cut down in return. Somehow, the Remans had survived the initial impact, but the situation did not look good.

As Maria’s fight went on, cannon balls were fired to little effect, more dedicants were hewn by the wraiths, and crossbow bolts clattered ineffectually against the corpse cart. Barone Pietro and his company rode to the rear of the undead and watched, aghast, as the slaughter went on. The riders dreaded the thought of charging in. Luckily for them, the barone gave no such command.

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Maria now allowed a fury to course through her and she personally cut down six of the Remans. This, added to the bloody work done by Bernhardt and the knights, was too much for the Remans, and they turned to flee. Father Lorenzo was one of the first of them to be cut down in that flight, then Captain Vogel’s head was removed deftly by Bernhardt, while the remainder joined them in death soon enough.

As the crossbowmen on the hill wished they had run away when they had the chance, and the gunners abandoned their pieces to tumble pell-mell down the far slope, Barone Pietro suddenly realised that he and his men might be the only ones to escape the slaughter!

If, that is, they fled now.

Which is what they did.

End of turn 6

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