The Battle Concluded
Perette squinted as she scoured the cloud of dust caused by the tower’s collapse, looking for a sign that Baron Garoy was alive. Relief suffused her when she caught a glimpse of him. It would be such a shame for a young man so recently reformed to perish. A moment later, he was gone, having moved towards the wall the brutish rats had taken, perhaps intending to prevent their further progress into the city?
Her attention was drawn to a sudden flurry of movement in amongst the ruins – a large swarm of rats was beginning to flow almost like gushing water over the stone rubble. Realising it might cause considerable trouble for the knights nearby, she conjured up a fireball to hurl at the vermin, but before she could fully hone its corporeal manifestation its ethereal form was dissipated by the enemy wizard’s counter magic. She could sense he was still with the large yellow regiment, and so, hoping he was momentarily exhausted by his efforts, she immediately conjured up a flurry of burning bolts which she sent raining down onto that very same regiment, killing eight of them.
While another load of rocks from the Trebuchet missed its mark, the light gun in the tall tower did not, sending a burst of grapeshot into the robed ratmen as they readied themselves for their next attempt to scale the wall. Six of them perished. Only one of the Brabanzon riders’ arrow stuck the brutes on the wall, but the longbowmen did manage to kill the ratling gun team who had been shooting at them!
These deaths were insufficient to prevent the skaven advance. Both the yellow regiment and the pitiful remnant of the red regiment at last reached the walls, placed their ladders and began ascending.
The yellow regiment climbed easily, for the wall was unoccupied. As soon as the rat ogres had spotted the armoured men approaching below them …
… their bloodthirsty battle lust caused them to leap down to attack. That frantic, claustrophobic combat was the sight that greeted the yellow regiment as they topped the wall behind.
More and more of the regiment’s clan rats, still numerous despite their mauling by magical fire, were climbing the ladders. Further outside the jezzailers agreed amongst themselves that it would be a terrible shame for them to miss out on the richest pickings in the city, so both companies began lugging their long guns towards the walls.
Seer Lord Urlak decided again to cast skitterleap, as it had worked so well before (despite his subsequent collapsing of the tower) but this time the magic was unraveled by the red-haired enchantress’s interference.
The few Plague Monks left unblasted, burned or flattened, now re-ascended the ladder to kill five of the peasants and send the rest running from the wall. They lost three more of their own in so doing, but what few remained were momentarily satisfied. Warlord Gurthrak has also charged the wall occupied by the longbowmen, and so rejoined his bonebreaker and the red regiment in their fight. Four longbowmen perished in the struggle, while the skaven were barely scratched. Thus it was that they too took a wall, as the Brabanzon archers ran pell-mell into the street behind. Baron Garoy’s petty-noble companions lost four of their number to the rat ogres’ fury, their armour failing to prevent the brutes’ brute strength snapping their bones. Despite the direness of his situation, the young baron refused to look to his own safety, and the last of his brave companions chose to stand with him.
Someone on the tower top shouted, “They’re coming! Please, my lady, get out!” and Perette realised that either the red regiment or the monkish ratmen (or both) must be moving along the walls upon either side of the tower. If she did not go now, they could trap her at the top. Leaping across to the stairs she almost threw herself down them, perilously taking the steep, stone steps two or three at a time, bouncing and sliding along the wall in equal measure. When she burst out into the street behind she saw that the Barabanzon longbowmen had rallied in the street and were forming themselves into a line, and that the company’s riders had moved over near to the tower, as if they had known she was coming.
She could see the situation was growing desperate, especially as the walls elsewhere had been taken too. For now, she decided she could only deal with the most immediate threat, which was without a doubt the ratmen on the wall above her!
The winds of magic were weak, but she wound enough etheric essence into her conjuring to send a fireball of some size blazing at the foe. The bonebreaker’s platform, upon which Gurthrak had ridden before he was skitterleaped away, burst into flames, as did several patches of its fur, while two clanrats tumbled, writhing and screeching from the wall. The survivors, Gurthrak included, scrabbled over the wall and down the ladders, having entirely lost the will to take any more of the cruel punishment they had thus far endured.
They would not stop running for some time!
As the last few red regiment warriors frantically stumbled, smoking, from the base of the wall, picking up their pace as they found their breath, a shadow moved past them. Another load of rocks barreled through the air and smashed right into the yellow regiment, killing thirteen! Perhaps because they were divided by the wall, the survivors did not flee; but the ones outside did redouble their efforts to get up the ladder and onto what they hoped was the safety of the wall!
Lord Urlak took a brief moment to look from the wall …
… from where he could see the riders, Baron Garoy’s final struggle against the rat ogres, Gurthrak’s departure, the enemy horse and foot soldiers made ready for the fight in the street below and the red haired wizardess. On sight of her, fierce anger threatened to overwhelm him, but at that very moment he noticed the trebuchet was being dragged about to face him and the yellow regiment, even now they were on the walls! Hissing in frustration, he snarled a command, and he and the warriors with him made their way in to the corner tower which they hoped would protect them.
The brutes fighting the knights suddenly realised there was no-one left for them to kill. Baring their teeth and growling, they looked around them hungrily for someone or something else to pull apart. Below them, beneath their drooling blood and spit, with a taloned foot pressing down hard on its crumpled breastplate, lay the mangled corpse of Baron Garoy.
Lord Urlak, busy squeezing into what he hoped was the safety of the tower, did not know it, but the trebuchet would not have the chance to shoot again. The last of the frenzied Plague Monks had rushed out onto the main tower top, furiously tearing into the brigands and the crewmen, killing some with their blades, while two more fell to the curse of their magical banner. They then easily cut down the last of the Brabanzon attempting to flee by way of the stairs Perette had used.
Down in the street, Perette could hear the screams and commotion. When she looked up she saw the crazed ratmen and their ugly banner peering over the crenulations.
Rats were swarming across the rubble of the gate tower, while ratmen and brutes had already gained access to one of the city’s quarters. The jezzailers were about to begin their ascent over the walls, and somewhere lurked a skaven wizard powerful enough to collapse fortified towers with his magic. The city was lost, surely, and the veteran soldiers of the Brabanzon knew it.
Perette was bruised, battered and bewildered, and suddenly found herself in a moment of calm. Just as she entertained, in her confusion, the mad notion that she could sit and rest a while, there came a commanding voice.
“My lady, mount, if you please. Make haste, I beg of you, for we must leave immediately!”
5 turns played out of 7 or 8 possible in an assault scenario. The skaven had definitely won in terms of victory conditions (i.e. controlling wall, tower and internal sections). Of course, Perette and the last of the Brabanzon could have stayed to fight to the end. But, she is an NPC in the campaign, so I talked with the player running her in the battle, discussing what she and her company might do, then I diced on the final decision. She would escape to fight another day! This I think is a good story, and even the Skaven player was happy because he enjoys the campaign story too and likes Perette’s character very much! I am now working on new figures for the band she will become a part of, and have even acquired a figure for a mounted version of her. She might just become an heroic ‘outlaw’ type, and have a few adventures left in her yet. Then again, considering the fate of young Baron Garoy in this game, she might just die in her next encounter! The campaign is driven by events in the form of choices, actions, cause and effect, and chance. I am not an ‘author’ with god-like control of the NPCs. I just dice for their decisions and responses, based on what options they might consider, then write what happens to them, as I did above!
If you have any questions about the game, please do ask. If I can answer without revealing something the players in the campaign should not know, I will!