Ulthuan

Ulthuan, Home of the Asur
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 Post subject: A tale of Ulthuan
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:30 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2019 3:26 am
Posts: 105
Location: UK
Hi all, I've started writing up some background for my army while I'm waiting to get painting. It's not much but its a start so I hope you guys enjoy!

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There is a noise on the wind, a low thumping and the hiss of oars hitting water. In the mists, the sound comes from all around, the sound deadened and confused. The sound seems to get closer, then further away, odd bestial cries echoing forlornly in between the sound of boats crashing into the sand. Now the sounds grow louder, the thud of boots hitting the ground and the roars become clearer. Still the mists cover the landscape, sending odd swirls of madness coursing and bizarre green tinged flashes striking across the sea edge. Now comes the sound of guttural chanting as the invaders work themselves into a frenzy. Drums beat loudly, adding to the sense of chaos and disorder. The chanting seems to reach a peak, the roars grow louder as the sound of hundreds of footsteps thudding up from the shoreline. Wild cries and hooting drop in and out of earshot as the mists twist and change and seem to conceal the oncoming horde. The mists stagger wildly across the horizon, mixing with the tall pine trees further inland and seeming to deaden the heat from the sun. A light breeze causes coils of mist to drift lazily, picking up speed as the wind seems to move unnaturally. Suddenly, several figures emerge from the mist, well-muscled, with huge axes in one hand and small circular shields clutched in massive hands. Over-sized tusks protrude from brutal looking jaws. With an almighty cry the figures rush towards the tree line “WAAAAAAAAAARRGHH!”.

They manage seven or eight steps before speckled fletched arrows flash out of the woods, impacting deep in vulnerable areas like eyes and throats. With loud gurgles and screeches, the twelve figures drop their weapons and clutch their wounds as their life forces give out and they fall dead in an unruly pile. All across the shoreline, a mirrored image occurs and the first fledgling invading greenskins are slaughtered by horrifyingly accurate arrow fire. Greenish black blood soaked into the sandy soil of Ulthuan as scores of orcs lay dead within moments. More drums reverberate through the fog as yet more creatures hit the beach. Again and again arrows flash into the gloom, causing screeches of panic and pain. The muffled thud of elvish steel points cutting deep into greenskin flesh barely heard over the sound of orcish terror. More and more orcs pour out of the ramshackle ships that have crashed haphazardly on the shoreline. Odd war machines begin firing wildly into the fog, hoping to cause some damage to the defenders. The steady crack of torsion and whoosh of air as the bolts and sent hurtling inland adds a bizarre sense of rhythm to the unruly monstrous hordes descending on the beach. A figure on the prow of a barely waterborne ship capers and gibbers on a mushroom fuelled whirlwind of noise and aggression. A bright incandescent green light floods the dark robed form, the cackling gets louder and higher pitched as the shamanic magic courses through its goblinoid form. With a final retching cry, the mists part and shudder as the bolts of lightning scatter into the gloom to be met with sickening cries as they find their marks and cause chaos in the ranks of the hidden defenders. Emboldened by its first success or perhaps too high on strange narcotics to care, the goblin on the prow begins to invoke Gork and Mork again. Hoping to deal more damage to its hated pointy eared foes, more dark energy starts to flicker in the skies. With the mists cleared, tall figures can be seen in the trees, arrows occasionally zipping out to impact deep in the heart of an orcish invader. Again the grows louder and more irate, insane dancing appears to cause flickering bolts to draw inside the shaman. Just before the goblin unleashes the spell, there is a sudden flash as a huge bolt rips through the air and spears the goblin mid-tirade. The chaotic movement ends abruptly in a stark contrast and the bolt grinds to a halt in the midriff of the shaman, piercing it through the chest. With an almost disappointed sigh, the goblin tips backwards and lies impaled on the deck. The brief microsecond of calmness is shattered as the rampant forces drawn from the heavens are released. The bizarre hulk of a ship erupts as massive bolts of green lightning blast across its surface. The shaman is briefly illuminated in a horrifying green glow before the impaled corpse is turned to ash. The whole ship shudders and begins to break apart, causing its motley crew to leap into the water in a bid to escape its doom.

“An exquisite shot”, shouts Olthannon from atop his steed, the two Eagle Claw crew members turn and salute their prince, before reloading more bolts. Little time for pleasantries as another group of greenskins disembark on the sand. From the left and right across the horizon, the flotilla of haphazard wooden vessels lay at anchor or had careened into the ground. At present, Olthannon was unsure how they had made it past the patrols, some of which he had personally led in the past. He suspected foul magics at the heart, the shaman so recently killed had obviously had real power. Kicking in his heels, his horse whinnied in response and gently turned and headed back inland towards the waiting elvish army. Citizen levies were taking the bulk of the fighting, young elvish archers kneeling in the forest mulch, their white and wine-red robes spattered with mud, firing shot after shot into the orcish horde. To the left flank, a group of dark figures were holding their own. Even from here, they looked unlike their compatriots further down the line. Their fighting style at odds with the shining lines of spears and bright robes. The contingent from Nagarythe wove in and out of the trees, a staggered line darting in and out of melee combat. A sharp rapid volley of arrows into an incoming group of orcs was followed swiftly by a vicious charge, with willowy swords slicing deep wounds in green flesh. Behind them, Chracian horsemen armed with long cavalry axes stood waiting, quietly tending to their horses and waiting for the signal to come to the aid of the skirmishing line.

With a roar, a ship smashed through two others, an unnatural speed sent it drifting rapidly towards the shore. With huge thuds, the crew disembarked, massive orcs in heavy armour carrying immense shields formed themselves into a ragged line. A gigantic bellowing figure stood behind them, gesturing wildly with a pair of cleavers. Others began following suite, letting the black orcs take the brunt of the incoming elven arrow fire on their armour and pavises. With so few of their enemies now falling, what had seemed like a trickle had become a flood. As more and more orcs and goblins landed, they fell in behind their larger brethren. The orcish warlord beckoned and roared, a mixture of orders and orcish curses which echoed over the battlefield. More and more greenskins came ashore behind the shield wall and the casualties stopped. The flying wedge thundered up the light dunes, the sandy soil of the beach becoming sturdier, allowing orcish boots better purchase and the line picked up speed. The incoming fire slackened as the citizen archers began quietly falling back several paces to higher ground. Rank upon rank of spears filled the gaps, a shining phalanx formed up with several hard thumps. The dappled forest light twinkled on gleaming armour, the dark red robes seem to flow like liquid in the shade. Another few steps and the spearmen braced outside the tree line, the first elves to do so this day. The Ulthuan sun, finally free of the cloying mists, seemed to brighten and shine in the crisp morning. Drums beat and war cries sounded as the orcish horde thundered towards them. Elvish trumpets spoke twice, long blasts to reinforce their positions. Elvish runes flickered and glowed on regimental banners as spear points lowered towards the orcs. Olthannon took one last look at the advancing tide before nodding to himself, as if accepting the coming conflict. Unclipping the gleaming helm at his hip, he carefully placed it on his head and obscuring his faintly frowning features. Thick brown hair obscured by golds and silvers and jewels. Again, his steed responded to his movements and took him further down the left flank towards the waiting Silver Helms. As he cantered lightly down the line, he motioned to the waiting White Lions, gesturing towards the heavily armoured vanguard. “Do not let them take charge of this battlefield, if the spears fall, take the lead and crush them, is that understood? We shall cross the right side and smash their flanks. They must not get through until we hit them!” Their leader nodded once, he had fought alongside his Prince for over a century. Flowery speeches were not required, he understood what needed to be done. Motioning to his unit, he shouldered his massive axe and set off towards the battle.
Picking up speed, Olthannon made his way to the Silver Helms far to the right-hand side, here there was calmness. The sound of the oncoming tide was muted and faint twittering of birds could be heard, at extreme odds to the bestial roaring of approaching thunder. There they waited, silent, watching for the right moment to strike. Back in the centre, an almighty “WAAAAAAAARRRGHHHH!” rings out again.

The elvish line stands silent, waiting as the orcs steadily get closer. The seconds seem to last an eternity, closer and closer, huge tusked monsters bellowing and growling for breath under rusted helmets. And then without any seeming change, the battle erupts and all time is lost as the orc vanguard smashes into the tightly packed elven lines. The weight of the press of bodies immediately impales the first line before the axes and choppaz come crashing into the tall helms of the elves. The huge muscled orcs immediately took their toll, and the elvish line sagged as they were pushed backwards or cut down. The warboss shoved his bodyguards out of the way and lay about him with his cleavers sending limbs scattering. Elvish mail rent asunder by the sheer power of the blows. Emboldened by their leader the black orcs fought harder, taking wounds that would have dropped them in another battle made them growl and hit about them.


Closely watching in the trees, Berethon sucks his teeth as his brethren fall before his eyes. Waiting not a second longer, he motioned to the trumpeter who delivers three clear blasts. The elite of Chrace needed no other signal and as one, charged out of the undergrowth and into the melee. The once close packed line of spears had disintegrated under the brutal onslaught and so it was easy for the white lions to bolster their ranks. Massive woodsman axes flashed with clean, diagonal cuts and with each blow an orc fell. Again the horn sounded and now the elves took heart. As the White Lions began their devasting work, the spear militia had a chance to reform. Shields soaked in blood and deeply gouged by orcish weaponry thudded together to form a new barrier. Another horn sounded and the spearmen began to harry the orcs, jabbing their sides and throats to distract them momentarily as axes smashed into their sides and cut through their flesh. Around the warboss, a butcher’s shop of blood and gore soaked the soil. Screams of the wounded and gurgles of the dying mixed with the crashes of weapon on weapon. Berethon wove left and right, ducking blows and letting weaker ones bounce off his mail cuirass. Getting closer and closer to the giant orc, each one he killed brought more into his reach. In the back of his mind, a steady count ticked steadily upward. He briefly glanced off to the right, an idiotic, youthful mistake. Instead of trusting his prince he let his attention wander and a massive sword cut deep into his side. He snarled in reply and his axe whipped horizontally through the orc who had the audacity to wound him, it shrieked in startled amazement as its two halves flopped awkwardly to the ground. Foolish, he berated himself. Mistakes like that shouldn’t happen to him, a veteran in the defence of his land. Perhaps the ferocity of the orcish onslaught had disturbed him more than he fully appreciated. He paused in his push towards the lead orc, his wound meaning his chances of defeating his brutal opponent weakened. Within moments he realised, there would be no other option, the tide of the battle was bringing the two inexorably closer. As he raised his axe again, a horn sounded again, further away this time. A staccato uplifting tune repeated again and again, somehow louder than the howling mass of greenskins directly in his face. Heartened by the sound his axe sliced downwards again, slicing the arm off a burly orc, his shield dropped and left him open to the finishing blow. As he twisted his axe free, Berethon again heard the trill of the horns, accompanied by the growing thunder of hooves.


Although well trained in warfare over the centuries, Olthannon still preferred fighting on the ground. And yet he heartily enjoyed the feeling of the horse moving beneath him, the power of the animal as it flexed its muscles and what had started as a light trot became a full charge towards the flanks and rear of the orc lines. His lance was held aloft and he briefly considered how he must appear to his enemy, a shining beacon to wash the greenskin menace from his domain. Banners fluttered behind him as the company of Silver Helms picked up speed. A rapid pace had been set to prevent the orc lines reforming to face the new threat and at the last second Olthannon lowered his lance and the trumpets sounded. Again and again came their brazen cry and with a final shout of triumph, his arm shuddered as the lance smashed into the back of orc ranks. All was chaos and movement as the cavalry charge decimated the back lines filled with unarmoured goblins and rather surprised orc archers. Again his lance slammed into foes as his horse kicked and threaded its way through the battle, to his left and right the others followed suit, leaving carnage in their wake.


Breathing heavily now, with blood still leaking down the wound in his side, Berethon starts to weaken. His axe flickers down again, but with far less power and although still a fatal blow, takes long impossible seconds to rise again. The battle has taken its toll and although many greenskins lie dead in piles, pierced by spears or cloven by axe, the elves had lost a fair number of their own. Still the warboss commanded his troops, the thinning ranks still held. We are foolish, thought Berethon, when he had a moment to think. Should we not have killed this creature at the beginning? Long ragged breaths seemed to take an age to escape his lungs as at last, the warboss sundered a young spear elf with pale red hair and stood before Berethon. With a cry of anguish, the spear elf fell to her knees, clutching at her chest as blood bubbled out of her broken ribcage. His face turned to stone as a massive steel boot put her out of her misery. The warboss laughed and called out in its tongue, strange guttural words that sounded obscene and boisterous. Berethon gasped in pain as the fatigue gripped his aching body, his axe drooped in his hands. Another step and another body is crushed under the weight of the warboss’s mighty tread, a small goblin head flattened. As Berethon stumbles forwards, a song drifting across the field in a sharp elvish voice fluttering around his hearing. A hand grips his shoulder as he tips forward and darkness envelops him.

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Last edited by Olthannon on Thu Feb 07, 2019 4:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: A tale of Ulthuan
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 7:12 am 
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Pendragon
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I'm going to read this a bit later when I have a better moment, but I'd recommend a few fewer asterisks as the separator, currently the stroy is very difficult to read on a phone. Also, I'd make the half-section breaks into full ones to improve readability. Just a few technical pointers, great to see people investing in stories and their armies' fluff, I find that it makes the hobby and the world we all share feel much more alive :)

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Luna, try not to beat them too hard. They are proud about their pseudo-glorious past and their present nothingness, you know.
-Elmoth, about Caledorians


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 Post subject: Re: A tale of Ulthuan
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 4:32 pm 
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Should be fixed, double checked on my phone and seems okay. Was direct from word to the forum so was unsure of formatting but hope that helps.

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 Post subject: Re: A tale of Ulthuan
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 6:17 pm 
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Pendragon
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Very pleasant read, thanks for sharing! I always find that I struggle with writing fight scenes, so seeing it done so well is an inspiring thing :)

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Prince Deral Lionbane, head of the House of Lionbane, Lord of Lionstone and Warden of Tor Charta

Luna, try not to beat them too hard. They are proud about their pseudo-glorious past and their present nothingness, you know.
-Elmoth, about Caledorians


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 Post subject: Re: A tale of Ulthuan
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 9:25 pm 
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Hey thanks, glad you liked it. I wasn't sure if it was actually worthwhile but I fancied writing up some background to the army because I used to love doing that as a kid. I'll update more as I go!

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 Post subject: Re: A tale of Ulthuan
PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 11:40 pm 
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Nice start! I think the pacing was really good, conveying the tension of the engagement very well, while having enough description to let the reader visualize what is happening :D
Awaiting the second part!

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"Sounds like a clever man," said Jenkins. '
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