Once More at Pontremola
A Battle Report
As the Duchess Maria’s army progressed to the Bridge of Pontremola, Biagino rode upon his magnificent corpse-carroccio with plenty of time to think. When he was alive, he had fought at the very same bridge, during the somewhat unexpected victory of the Holy Army of Viadaza (known also as the ‘Peasant Army’), where he witnessed the vampire duke’s death at the hands of the hero, General Urbano D’Alessio.
Back then, Biagino had been fighting for the living, and while he waited nervously at the river, his future sire’s sire, the vampire Duke of Miragliano had presumably made this exact same journey, doubtlessly expecting victory in battle.
Here and now, Biagino was not so sure.
He remembered dreaming of that first battle, even before it, for the feeble god Morr had woven many a wretched vision into his slumbers. Those intangible, half-remembered riddles were all that Morr had gifted him, messages so nebulous he only ever seemed to recognise their prophetic nature in retrospect, and even then, without conviction. Now, however, he saw (felt, smelt, tasted and heard) the world much more clearly, and wielded real powers of consequence, even commanding an entire army of walking corpses – his unholy Church of Nagash. No more mumbling of prayers in the Classical tongue, hoping for some luck to come his way, or for the enemy to feel the slight rebuke of a somnolescent half-god. Now he could make his bambinos dance most sprightfully and spitefully, several hundres at a time. And should they fall to the foe’s blades, he could command them to rise again and fight on. He himself had become nimble, strong and resilient – quite the opposite of the sluggardly creature he had been in life, who ached in every march and winced at every scratch and scrape. Once prey, he was now predator. And most importantly, he had a purpose stronger than he had ever known before – to serve his mistress in every way possible.
Yet, despite all this, he was anxious. Pontremola was not at all an auspicious place for vampires. Worse still, he himself had already faced the enemy they were about to engage, in the Trantine necropolis valley of Norochia, when he had so swiftly recognised the certain defeat awaiting him that he was forced to abandon nearly his entire army and run for miles.
The enemy was commanded again by the Portomaggioran Lord Alessio D’Urbano, an experienced general capable of mustering grand alliances and renowned for his tactical prowess. They were upon the far side of a river in the full flow of spring, ensconced in a fortified camp from which they could spew cannon shot, bolts and bullets at their leisure …
(The fortified camp at Pontremola)
Their cannons had proved so numerous and powerful in Norochia that they had torn both his Mortis Engine and Terrorgheist to pieces with their balls of iron before they could even cross the valley floor. Here also they had a monstrous, magical construct, the same titan that had melted an entire company of hexwraiths at Norochia.
On approaching the duchess to reveal his trepidation, she laughed as soon as she saw the expression on his face, ordering him to put any and all concerns from his mind. Today, she said, they would break the back of the most powerful army in Tilea; and then tomorrow, so sated that they would surely cry sanguine tears of joy, they would raise that same army up into their own service and conquer the rest of the realm with it.
When his frown had lingered a moment longer, she caressed his cheek and said, “They sent an army of cultists to stop me, each and every one dedicated to Morr and entirely careless of their lives. I slaughtered all of them and made them into your toys. Now we can play together. Won’t that be so very nice?”
There was no arguing with his mistress.
And so, surrounded by his flock of followers, he now rode at the far right of the army’s line.
Maria was with her horse guard, flanked by the varghiests.
Her military lieutenant, the vampire Captain Bernhardt, commanded the second regiment of skeletal horse, out on the far left of the line.
At the heart of her army the Mortis Engine glided unnaturally forwards, the great weight of its ornate metal and bone carcass born aloft by a writhing mass of glowing, green ethereal spirits.
Beside the magical engine loped a large mob of dire wolves, then a body of brute-zombies.
And upon its other side, between it and the duchess, leapt the varghiests, their leathery wings flapping furiously.
Thus was the vanguard deployed. Behind this front line marched two further regiments, in the form of zombies and skeletons, between which a corpse cart, simple in comparison to Biagino’s majestic transport, trundled along.
This was the force that the Duchess Maria brought with her from Ebino.
The army of Portomaggiore and its Reman allies had marched many leagues to be here. Most felt relief that the enemy had chosen to attack them in their fortified and naturally moated camp rather than force them to attempt an assault of the formidable walls of Ebino. Some were just relieved that they would at last get to fight the enemy they had travelled so far to reach. Indeed, because so many had watched the ignominious defeat of the undead army at Norochia, they had less fear than mortals would usually feel upon facing such a foe.
Of course, when the enemy hove into view, a surge of doubt washed through them, for such a grisly sight forces the living to think of death, and at the very moment when the prospect of battle meant the subject already weighed heavily in their thoughts. To die at the hands of the undead, knowing that might then be doomed to share their horrible fate, is never something that inspires confidence!
Lord Alessio Falconi commanded them, as well as personally leading his armoured foot regiment of men at arms known as the ‘Sea Wolves’. Presuming that the enemy must surely concentrate their attack at the bridge itself, rather that throw everything they had into the rushing waters, he and his guard defended the barricade erected at its southern end – perhaps the most important spot in the line.
He had a Reman priest of Morr with him, Father Dado Bendali, as well as his battle standard bearer. The rest of his field officers were far to his right in the line. Lord Ned Black, his second in command, rode a demigryph with fearsome ‘The Hunting Pack’…
… while out on the farthest right flank the Tilean nobleman Marcus Portelli commanded the Black Guard, a large company of mounted men at arms.
The Knights of the Lady, led by Brother Libero Grossi, a priest of Myrmidiea, were beside the Hunting Pack. Next to them at the heart of the battle line, stood the Colossus …
… which had once guarded the landward gate of the city of Portomaggiore. His guns, a brace of brass barrelled cannon, where mounted upon his earthwork bastion, supported by his two companies of handgunners.
The Reman brigade, commanded to man the rest of the defences, consisted of two large bodies of crossbowmen (one mercenary dwarfs) as well as a small company of skirmishing bravi and the remnant of a regiment of dwarfs. Alessio’s own crossbow were placed at the wall behind his mounted men at arms.
This was the army that awaited Maria.
The Fight, Part One
From the front rank of his regiment of Sea Wolves, Lord Alessio surveyed the enemy before him, and realised they obviously intended to swarm the bridge and overcome it with weight of numbers. Two huge mobs of zombies, wearing the ragged remains of Disciplinati di Morr robes (revealing what they once were in life) advanced either side of a huge carroccio, directly towards the bridge.
From Lord Black’s position, the enemy looked considerably different, taking the form of bony riders, demonic beasts and the Mortis Engine. He could just make out a woman amongst them, mounted upon a red-barded horse, and realised that she must be the duchess Maria herself.
“Good,” he thought. “Come to me my lady and I will help you complete your interrupted journey to death.”
Not a soldier moved from his allotted place amongst the living. The wizard Hakim, yet to worry about commanding his magnificent contrivance the Colossus, attempted to conjure a protective spell and was unsurprised to find the enemy had enough users of magic to sap the winds and prevent his success. Magical manipulations rarely stopped bolts and bullets, however, and just as Hakim accepted his spell was broken, the artillery began to boom.
The foremost cannon, at the very tip of the bastion, sent an enchanted roundshot deep into the Mortis Engine, but to no apparent effect! [i](Game Note: Miscast, re-roll, hits, but scores 1 to wound!)[/i] The second cannon, its gunner seeing the disappointing effect of the other’s efforts, chose instead to target the skeletal riders out upon the foe’s very far left flank. His shot also hit, but this time with some consequence, for one of the riders shattered into pieces. The gunnr did not know it, but the ball had also severely grazed the vampire captain Bernhardt on its passage.
Berhardt was caught entirely by surprise by this, only hearing the cannon’s report a moment later!
The mortar’s grenade landed very wide of its mark, but the Dwarfen and Reman crossbow regiments did manage to fell a handful of zombies.
This frail assault by the living, albeit only missile and magic, might have been a welcome surprise, perhaps even an encouragement, to many armies. Most of Maria’s soldiers, however, were not burdened with such awareness, nor very much in the way of thoughts at all! As one,and entirely regardless of their fortune so far, her army (and the army of the Church of Nagash) moved on, with the mounted and monstrous companies nearest to Maria quickly outstripping the rest, so much so that the vargheists almost reached the river!
The massed skeletons and zombies in the rear moved as best they could, while hidden amongst them the Necromancer Saffiro now speculated that the battle might well be over before he and the foot soldiers even reached the enemy!
The Army of the Church of Nagash …
… was led by Biagino and drew its magical nourishment from his vampiric will, so it they came on much quicker than Maria’s own footsoldiers, although the largest regiment was slowed by the need to reform its ranks and files all the better to cross the bridge.
(Game Note: The need to reform was entirely my own fault, for I was supposed to be in command of this NPC army, while David had volunteered to command Maria’s army, and I just plonked two hordes down in deployment without thinking through what they had to do next!)
The vampire duchess threw a magical missile at the demigryphs, but such was their armour that it had no effect upon them. Exasperated at her failure, she turned instead to heal her captain of his wound (and glad he was of it too). Biagino employed what few wisps of the etheric wind were left to conjure Vanhel’s Dance Macabre on his shambling bambinos, hoping to move them all much closer to the foe than any natural motion could achieve, but the spell collapsed as the enemy’s powerful wizard raised up contrary eddies to dissipate its power.
Now the crossbows were re-spanned, the handguns reloaded, the cannons re-shotted, and all just as the undead came within range of every weapon the living could bring to bear.
The Colossus had not moved for over an an hour, standing so still that the necromancer Saffiro had (for a moment at least) entertained the thought that it was indeed merely a statue. Until, that is, he sensed the immense power animating it. Now, however, it did move – turning its head to look directly at Maria.
It loomed over her, and yet she felt no fear.
She knew that compared to the demigryph hunting pack, such a thing would be easy to kill. She had the harder undertaking on her mind.
The wizard Hakim made his way to the other flank of the huge regiment of spearmen, all the better to see the most dangerous foes.
What drew his eyes most was the spectral forms of the Hexwraiths, riding beside Maria’s knights.
And so he conjured Shem’s Burning Gaze to throw at them. Maria must have been distracted, for her countermagics tumbled chaotically to nought, and four of the ghostly riders where removed from the mortal world entirely. This event was not missed by the marksman Lupo ‘the Wolf’ Lorenzo’s keen eyes, who, having kissed his magical arbalest for good luck, sent not less than three blessed bolts to finish off the last of the wraiths.
When the necromancer Saffiro felt his mistress’s momentary distress, he unrolled his dispel scroll and made sure to stop whatever magic the enemy’s powerful wizard would surely conjure on the back of Maria’s discomfort. (Game Note: Banishment on the vargheists, at 2D6 S4 hits, stopped with a scroll!) Hakim cursed as he felt the spell’s power die, while the Colossus turned its had again to look down upon his master’s intended target.
Saffiro had sensed that Hakim intended harm on the vargheists, but then both he and Hakim were surprised (although in somewhat different senses) to see that despite the spell’s failure, two of the winged creatures were felled by the storm of bolts and bullets issued from the handgunners and crossbowmen on the wall behind. Despite the much more massive mob of wolves loping towards them …
… they too had known where the real danger lay, and thus their shooting.
Out on the far right of the undead lines Biagino’s army of the Church of Nagash had been targeted too.
The gunners with the Portomaggorian mortar had high hopes their piece would tear great holes in the enemy’s lines, but these hopes were dashed – as indeed where they – when their engine shivered killing them all! The Reman crossbowmen upon the wall right beside the mortar, however, did not let its explosion distract them, and sent a flurry of bolts sufficiently accurately to slay four of the corpse carroccio’s draught horses. Then moments later the dwarfen crossbowmen took down another three.
Note: The picture shows two, but that’s because I am the fool who based the models in pairs for ‘convenience’!
Game Note: The carroccio’s move was now reduced to 1” due to the special rules we agreed on before the game. Because the model is so big – being 13” long – it’s four pairs of horses were to be classed as one unit and the carroccio itself as another. Any loss of the horses would result in a proportionate loss of its already small movement!
Meanwhile the cannoneers knew exactly what they wanted to hurt – the monstrously large Mortis Engine gliding at the very centre of the enemy force, as if it were its vile, beating heart.
This time the shots were both deep and damaging, plummeting through the entire length of the Mortis Engine with such power that the whole construct collapse in on its wake to be utterly destroyed.
(Game Note: Direct hit by magical, flaming and ignore all wards blessed cannonball, then a roll of 6 for the number of wounds!)
For the briefest moment there was silence, then a radiating wave of lighted energy burst out from the collapsing engine’s core, damaging the Colossus, killing a Myrmidian Knight of the Lady, and amongst Maria’s force, bringing down three dire wolves, one black knight, one skeleton and three zombies. The last of the Vargheists was entirely obliterated by the shockwave!
Perhaps the scale of the first cannon’s success distracted the second cannon’s crew, because they now fumbled their powder and shot, and found themselves having to worm out and reload the piece, which would take considerable time, cursing at their bad luck whilst at the same time, elated to know the Mortis Engine was gone.
As they prepared to deliver their charges, Maria’s army looked a lot less threatening than it had only moments before!
The Fight, Part Two
… she herself led the armoured horsemen in a charge across the river into the Demigryphs commanded by Ned Black. Two of her bone and ancient steel companions succumbed to the fast-flowing waters, but neither she nor the other riders noticed.
(Picture taken before the removal of the dangerous terrain casualties.)
Perhaps Captain Bernhardt was not quite as filled with fury as the duchess, possibly as a consequence of his recent close shave with an iron shot? Whatever the reason, his own company of riders failed to charge against the foe, instead milling somewhat confusedly upon the far side of the rushing river.
Biagino, atop his now slow-moving carroccio, commanded his bambinos to advance as best and fast they can, and of course they obliged, drawing very close to the river and the still-intact bridge of Pontremola itself.
Despite the blood-fury that gripped her, Maria realised that if the demigryphs managed to keep her busy for more than a few moments, then the knights to her right could charge into her flank, most likely overwhelming her guards and bringing about her final demise, and so she summoned up a little company of zombies – resurrected from the corpses still lying in the mud of the river from the last battle – and willed them to place themselves in such a way as to distract the knights (at least for a little while).
(Game Note: The old trick of getting in the way, while angled in such a manner to make an overrunning enemy unable to charge Maria)
Nevertheless, the vampire duchess wanted to defeat the monstrous foe as soon as possible, and so chose to use magic to make her attacks even more deadly, conjuring Dance Macabre. As the spell flowed through her she knew its success was certain, but then, half a moment later, she also knew that she had brought far too much power to bear upon its conjuration. Several strands of the winds of magic now crashed like waves against each other, then burst outwards calamitously. One of the enemy demigryphs was caught fully by the etheric surge and perished immediately, as did four of Maria’s own riders. Maria scowled, for even she felt its burn and was weakened considerably by her mistake.
What few wisps of etheric wind remained were gathered by Biagino, hoping to drive his servants dancing en-masse over the bridge and river, but the enemy Wizard Hakim found it easy to unwind the spell, having little else to distract him.
And so it was, just as Maria’s blade was able to begin it’s work proper, she found herself with only a handful of companions. Still, her lust for battle remained so strong that she made straight for Lord Black, knowing he was a commander and intending to make him pay dearly for the damage already done to her servants (and her pride).
(Game Note: Here began the most complicated combat I have ever attempted to run. Normally I GM whilst the players play, and so they recall, mention and apply all the relevant rules. As this was play by email, the players were indeed commanding and deciding on all movement, magic, shooting etc, but when it came to combat it was me on my lonesome armed with the army lists, rules and dice and trying to apply everything. The Vampiress Maria alone had +1 to hit (Sword of Striking), Red Fury (unsaved wounds generate extra attacks), Beguile (base to base models need to pass an Ld-3 test or be forced to re-roll successful to hits), Nightshroud (+1 AS, those in base contact lose Str bonuses and gain Always Strike Last), re-roll failed to hits (Dance Macabre), and she was on a nightmare. That’s just her – not Ned, or the Black Knights, or the demigryphs! I am certain I must, no matter how hard I tried, have forgotten something.)
Catching Lord Black’s eye, Maria knew she had befuddled him momentarily with her mesmeric glare, and in the first flush of the struggle her sword twice bit deep into his ferocious mount. As she drew the blade back in satisfaction, and made ready for another bout of sword play, she realised that she herself had been cut by Lord Black. Around her, two more of her riders fell, whilst the demigryphs were only grazed in return!
As Lord Black shouted, “Deos imperate omnes”, and the demigryphs reared and roared, Maria felt uncertainty for the first time in a long time. It was a foul but familiar feeling, for she remembered it from life. Until this moment it had had no place in her undeath!
(Game note, the Undead had won the combat by a measly 1, but Lord Black’s unit is stubborn and passed their Ld test.)
Her progeny, Biagino and Captain Berhnardt, sensed her discomfort. What with Biagino stranded upon his almost wrecked carroccio whilst failing in his conjurations, and Berhnardt floundering with his warriors at the river bank having failed to join his mistress’s charge, they both, in their own particular ways, shared Maria’s feeling of doubt.
Along the defences near the bridge it was becoming clear that whatever missiles were thrown at the shambling hordes, and however many of the lesser mob the river carried away, many zombies would remain to assault the defences. Yet, at the same time, ever man and dwarf there reckoned his chances against such clumsy and awkward foes.
Lord Alessio’s Myrmidian warrior-priest, Libero Grossi, led the Knights of the Lady in the short charge against the newly summoned zombies …
… while nearby the wizard Lord Hakim cast Shem’s Burning Gaze between his Colossus’s legs, felling five of Captain Bernhardt’s bony riders, then, with not a moment’s rest, he cast Banishment too (before the Colossus moved and perhaps blocked his view) bringing down yet another rider. Moment’s later another two riders were killed by crossbow quarrels, leaving vampire Captain Bernhardt with only two companions. His confused frustration was now transforming into burning fury at the course the battle was taking.
The cannon at the very tip of the bastion sent an enchanted round-shot to wound one of the horrors, and consequently, now afflicted by a weakening magic, the horrors lost one of their number to the handgun bullets and crossbow bolts hurled subsequently.
The vampire duchess had become blind to all other considerations but the killing of Lord Black …
… and despite her diminutive size compared to the demigryph and rider, she did indeed cut him down.
Lord Black was dead.
Overcome with the gleeful thrill of her successful slaughter she let loose a blood-curdling scream. But then, as the last of her companions was fatally cut and crumpled into the mud of the river bank, her scream transformed to become a most dreadful and desperate cry. The necromantic magic that coursed through her, feeding her every thought and action, sustaining her continued existence in the mortal realm, was ebbing away. Her cry faltered, then suddenly ceased as she fell entirely lifeless from her collapsing mount.
The vampire duchess was dead!
(Game Note: End of First Player’s turn 3.)
The death of his beloved duchess hit Biagino like a crashing wave, so much so that he staggered back from the shock of it.
His cause of being, his purpose, his every goal was taken from him in that moment. There was nothing now but himself and no point in continuing. After allowing himself to let loose a shrill shriek of despair, he commanded his bambini to turn away from the enemy, which they did to a one.
The surviving draft horses did what they could to haul the great carroccio around, but Biagino knew that to stay upon the wagon now would only draw the enemy’s attention and so he leapt down to the ground and strode over towards the great mob of once-cultists now approaching. His only wish was to get away from this place where his mistress had perished.
The death of his beloved duchess hit Captain Berhardt like a crashing wave, so much so that he was almost unhorsed by the shock of it.
His cause of being, his purpose, his every goal was taken from him in that moment. There was nothing now but himself and no point in continuing. After allowing himself to let loose a shrill shriek of fury, he commanded his last two companions to charge the foe.
Splashing through the river he made directly for the Demigryphs.
His only wish was to slay those who had killed his mistress.
The necromancer Saffiro had not obeyed the duchess out of anything akin to fierce love, but rather a fearful respect, and saw no reason to avenge her death as did the vampire captain. Besides, he could see Biagino’s Church of Nagash was departing the field of battle. Apart from the dire wolves, who were commanded by Bernhardt to join him in the charge, Saffiro was able to command every other body of undead to turn about and begin moving away from the river. As they did so, several skeletons and zombies collapsed, for Saffiro’s will, being to the duchess’s will as a dusty law book would be to a long and barbed whip, was insufficient to hold all of them in this world, and much less commanding in its magical tone.
Even some of the dire wolves fell to the sudden diminishment of magic, and another was washed away by the river.
Game Note: The following pic gives an idea of the scale of the flight – although this was taken just before Biagino was moved over to the red and grey robed zombie cultists.
As he drew near to his bambini, Biagino’s grief lifted just enough for him to notice that they were moving away in a manner not one iota different to that which they had entered the field. The duchess’s death, victory, defeat, advance or retreat – all was the same to them. There was a clarity to this, and for the briefest moment Biagino realised that he had, in his terrible loss, been released. His bambini were his, as they were before, but now he belonged to himself too!
He now joined his flock eagerly, glad to have the great bulk of them between himself and whatever else the enemy would throw.
As he arrived amongst the cavorting corpse-cultists he attempted once again to cast Dance Macabre and this time, much to his surprise, his spell was successful. Was this how things would be, he thought, now that he was his own master? As both his flocks of bambini began their magically induced dash, he found himself carried along with them, and with every step he took his sense of liberation grew, marred only by a new and growing resentment of his past enthrallment to the duchess.
As Bernhardt and the demigryphs fought, at first evenly matched, the colossus strode across the river, unaccompanied by any of those nearby, for to a man they did not fancy their chances in crossing the river. The Wizard Hakim was keen to do what harm he could to the retreating enemy and decided that his servile construct might better his chances of doing do.
Lord Alessio, as yet unaware that the duchess was dead, was astonished by the enemy’s sudden reversal. He watched from behind the bridge defences and thought back to the necropolis valley of Norochia. It dawned on him that they must have received a deadly blow, for that was what had sent them running that last time.
“They run!” he cried, throwing his hand up in surprise. “Yet again, they run!”
When he caught sight of the colossus stomping out to the right he knew that most of the rest of them must also be retreating. How many times would he have to fight them? How much further north would he be forced to march? Whatever the truth, he intended to see them off today, and if any thought to make a stand or try some last counter-attack, then good – he would finish them.
“Sea Wolves! March on!” he boomed, and those in the front rank began to push over the barricade.
The Wizard Lord Hakim, seeing that several of the enemy’s monstrous warriors were attempting to escape, angrily summoned up Shem’s Burning Gaze to fell one of the blue-skinned brutes and badly burn another. As he grinned in satisfaction he realised that his anger had got the better of him, for there were still etheric energies coiled around him, uncontrolled and uncontrollable. These now dissipated, and as they drew away across the seam between the mortal realm and the etheric, they took a part of Hakim with them too. His anger vanished, as did his knowledge of the spell, and for a moment he stood, stunned, wide eyed and strangely empty. (Game Note: Miscast, reduced to magic level 3. As GM I will have to come up with a recovery chart of some kind for him to roll on later!)
An iron round-shot now shattered the last of the carroccio’s draft horses, ensuring it would not leave the field. Several of the more devout amongst that flank of the army, especially those who prayed especially to Morr, were pleased by this, for now the wagon could be recaptured and either purified or burned – it mattered not which, only that it would no longer be defiled.
Several skeletons fell to the hail of shot from over the river, as indeed did another of the brutes.
When the mounted men at arms of the Black Guard and the Knights of the Lady both turned to face enemy engaged with the demigryphs they discovered that their assistance was not needed!
The last of the skeletal riders, all but one of the wolves and the vampire Captain Bernhardt had all fallen to the monstrous talons and sharp blades of the hunting pack. The undead Bernhardt was undone. Now he was merely dead.
The skeletal regiment had reformed to face the Colossus, while Saffiro made his own way off the field. Smelling a trap, the Colossus lurched off to one, remaining close enough to cast magic but not so close as to allow the warriors to swarm him. Then it saw its chance and strode between the two mobs, the better to see the fleeing necromancer. Both cannons fired at the undead brutes but their gunners over-compensated for the range and sent their shots overhead.
As the Church of Nagash and its master, the arch-priest Biagino left the field, Saffiro suddenly stopped, thinking to resurrect some of the fallen brutes.
His spell however was not strong enough and was easily dispelled by Hakim, despite the living wizard’s addled state of mind. When the ground shook, Saffiro suddenly realised how close he was to the colossus …
.. and turned to run after the Church of Nagash. Moments later he sensed magic being directed at him by the giant construct, and despite his growing panic, managed to dispel it. His relief was cut short however, when the colossus followed by casting its own burning gaze. The etheric heat that now engulfed Saffiro was so strong that for a moment his very bones could be seen as his threadbare robes disintegrated and his blotched flesh burned away. And then even the bones were gone.
As the now lordless skeletons floundered, their ranks starting to splinter and scatter, and as the zombies staggered and stumbled over each other in their confusion, the corpse cart and the last of crypt horrors (having lost another of their number to a cannon shot) fled from the field, to join in the wake of the Church of Nagash.