Clan Festerscar: The Hallowed River and other Tales

Hey all!

Happy to be back again to spin my tale of Malkk and Zulrot's quest for the World Sickness, and the Fall of the great city of Alpines to the machinations of the Mad King Opstrum Painad.

On the hobby front, unfortunately I failed to reach my goal of getting the Skyre faction (the Fire-Stokers) painted up in time for the bonus objective, but I have made hobby progress with a new Character to be introduced to the story of Clan Festerscar - one sent on a specific mission from the Plaguemaster Malkk into the depths of the Realm of Chaos.  At the same time, we will continue following the story of Zulrot and his retreat at the head of his remaining forces, through the territory of the Hallowed Knights and their sinister allies...


The soft pitter-patter of the Jiron Rill contrasted sharply with the loud thunderhead that loomed above the mobs of Skaven as they skittered through the freshly fallen snow.  It was unseasonable cold in the southern regions of the Deathworld Wood.  That hadn't stopped the forces of the infernal warriors of Sigmar from tracking them.  

Zulrot snarled and smelt the stench of fear musk that was all encompassing around his motley congregation.  Having found another patrol of Skaven under the command of some uppity Plague Priest, Zulrot's forces had doubled in size.  They had managed to defeat a large contingent of the Stormcasts a few days ago, but it was not enough.  Cold air tugged at what was left of Zulrot's rotten lungs, burning him with the purity in these parts of the woods.  

They had been following the river for weeks, attempting to find ice thick enough for the congregation to cross towards sanity in the north.

Two shrouded figures sprinted towards Zulrot as he surveyed the icy river before his congregation. As he watched, the two figures became one and were suddenly before him.  "My masssster."  The Deathrunner bowed low, scraping the ground with his snout.  "Squeak-speak quickly scout!  Have you found us a way-bridge?!"  The Deathrunner flickered into two as he barred his teeth.  "Most omnipotent and all seeing Zulrot, I have found you a way across.  But I have also found that the way forward is... barred-blocked."  Zulrot howled with rage and jabbed his staff towards the Deathrunner, only to lose his balance as the creature of mirage and shadow evaporated.  The real Deathrunner looked on impatiently.  "Massster.  The way is blocked not by the Sigmar-creature, but it is blocked by the most foul of enemies.  The dead walk before us, led on by a great vampiress.  It appears that a bargain  has been struck between what remains of the Sigmarites and the undead.  They await for us on the opposite side of the river."

Zulrot stood, thick blood boiling around his cadaverous chest.  "Prepare the Congregation with the appropriate litanies of filth.  We must get through!"

The two large units to the bottom left are attached to Warp Grinders tunneling through the ice.

The Celestant Prime is off the table charging his battery hammer. 
We played 100 Points of SCGT comp using the "On Thin Ice" scenario from one of the source books. Basic idea is the ice collapses as you go across and you can smack the ice to kill everyone that can't fly in a 2x2 square.  Needless to say, one of us didn't mind throwing bodies away to crash the ice quickly with as many bodies as possible... (There was a 40k tournament going on at the same time, so very busy at the store this past weekend). This was going to be a pretty quick game.  

The dead crack up through the ice, only destabilizing the top layer more for the Skaven.
The shambling hordes rose through the ice as Zulrot watched in horror.  The more bodies that were raised by the foul necrotic magicks of the Vampiress and her cohorts, the slimmer his chance of escape became.  He ushered his Plague Furnace and Warriors as far forward as they would march, hoping to get into the thick of the combat as quickly as possible.  Zombies and ghouls were no match for the ferocity of a cornered Skaven.

Learning to swim in a frozen river wasn't a great idea.
Zulrot watched in horror as the zombies and grave guard began to chip away at the ice, breaking it apart with their bare hands if necessary.  The sheer weight of attacks was beginning to crack the ice all across the center of the river.  It was with great horror that Zulrot watched the foolish Plague Priest on the Furnace charge forward on to the thinning ice.  His bloodlust must be truly unmatched.  He would have been an excellent second in command - if him and the entirety of his personal bodyguard hadn't crashed through the ice and blocked off Zulrots only escape path for miles in any direction.

The undead began to shuffle away quietly, their task complete.  The remaining Stormcast Eternals shot up a signal flare from their command.  Most likely there was a pincer force coming from the rear, and all was truly lost.  

Zulrot sank to his knees in the cold snow.  This was truly the end of his tale.  He could see the silvered armor of the warriors coming for him now.  And then, a blinding flash of iridescent pink and blue light.  A creature stood before him, beautifully bright.  It held out a long, slender hand.  "My master has plans for you yet, little creature.  Come.  We will await the great plan within the protection of my domain."  The creatures multitude of eyes observed the ancient Plague Priest as he warily grabbed hold of the creatures hand.

"Where do we travel to Sorcerer?  Squeak-speak it to me!"

The Gaunt Summoner smiled a needle teeth filled grin and closed the portal around the unlikely pair.

"The Silver Tower awaits us Zulrot......"

Pretty quick game that was a pretty quick loss.  But Zulrot should have died like 4 times in the story at this point.  However, I am not quite done with him as a character, so he lives on - in some form or another - within the confines of the Silver Tower!

Festerscar Tunnels

Malkk sat upon his rotwood throne, regarding those assembled before him with contempt.  What were these creatures that claimed to be his "great-mighty champions".  The visions had been extremely clear of late.  A Skaven, banner of Festerscar displayed on high, charging through the depths of some infernal maze.  The warrior would slay a champion of the Trickster god, and along with him he would bring the head of his hated nemesis Zulrot to him.

With the death of the master of that infernal place, Malkk would receive untold secrets of the locations of the final Libers.  He could find the remaining plagues and create his World Sickness with ease.  But who to send into those depths?  Which of these foul creatures would be his envoy into that Realm?

There stood before him three champions.

First, the mighty Skreflem - leader of the Thirteenth Claw of Stormvermin.  He was a mighty brute, a cunning taskmaster, and entirely too ambitious for his own good.  For a task such as this, Malkk thought that it would be better to send forth a Skaven with more intelligence than brutal strength. However, the tales that were told of his killing blow against the Ogor Tribes to the north of the tunnels were renowned throughout all of Ghur.

Then stood Haskhakk, slayer of Moonkin.  A smaller clanrat than Skreflem, but much possessing much greater intelligence.  Having lost his eye to a Chieftan of the Moonclan Grots when cleansing the tunnels to the far East, Haskhakk was one of the few warriors that Malkk could trust to complete the task at hand - he'd proved this when he burned the entire tunnel system to not but ash in order to remove all traces of the Moonclan.

Finally there stood Skirssk the Red Butcher.  He was brooding, but calculating.  A truly cruel Skaven. He was known for leading the slaves under his command into the most horrifying situations, and then abandoning them to their typically gruesome fates.  He was bad for the moral of the Clan, which is why he'd been summoned for the possibility of going on this quest.  He was a cold blooded killer, even by the standards of Skaven.  

Malkk regarded them distastefully.  

"Creatures.  You will skitter forth into the darkest depths of the tunnels, armed only with your wit-smarts and a single dagger-blade.  Only one of you is to return.  That great-mighty Skaven will become my eyes and ears into the realms far beyond this place.  You will go to find and kill weak Zulrot and the fool-creature that has taken him into his nest-lair. Go fo-"

There was a flash of motion and the sickening sound of blade through flesh.  Crimson spilled throughout the chamber from the three dead Skaven that now lay at Malkk's feet.  Malkk smiled at his new Champion.  "Good-smart.  Never go to tunnels.  Especially to fight-kill."  

Vermost Seep, mighty messenger to the Rotbringers of the far East, stood before his master.  The rapidly coagulating lifeblood of his enemies matting his fur.  "I have a great task for you Seep creature.  Come, talk with me.  We will join the Beast Prince-ling Lagrax as we prepare your armor, Warlord Seep...."

The room was dimly lit as the Plaguemaster and newly forged Warlord Seep marched into the outer tunnel systems.  It was a walk that Malkk despised.  He had much more important tasks to be attending to than walking, and yet still Amushock had not provided him with a skitterleap device.  He would have to pay for that insubordination later.  Malkk was looking forward to ensuring that Seep made it through the process of entering the domain of the Trickster.  Here in the outer tunnels they had discovered the entrance when Seep and Lagrax returned from the Rot Tree.  

"My Master does not understand the need for such trivialities rat-man."  The Bull snorted in discontent.  

"Master Chorothrax does not need to know what his... underlings.... are up to at all times.  You are the High Prince of the Western Reaches now, are you not?  Rot come East, bodies come from the West.  That is deal-plan."  

"Little rat-creature, you will remember your place in this arrangement.  You are the servant of the mighty Chorothrax, not the other way round."

Malkk bristled at the creatures obvious disdain for his kind.  Skaven were by far the superior race of all races.  The Bulls and the Nurgle Warriors were weak and brittle gardeners, but they served their purpose.  Already the Rot that was spread throughout the vast cauldrons of World Sickness was beginning to ferment into the mixture.  It was only a matter of time before the true master of the Plague was in this part of the Realm.  In all parts of the Realm!"

A sickly blue glow began to emit from around the nearest moss covered corner.  The small party reached the corner and turned.  There stood the portal - glittering shades of blue, impossible pinks, and warm hues of golden light spun and congealed, only to shatter apart again.  One instant the portal was liquid and flowing, the next static like a painting.  It was sickening to look at for too long.  

"Here-here, most honorable Warlord Seep.  Here, my great-mighty champion, is where you enter into the realm of the Trickster.  You must find me the head of the traitor Zulrot, and the great book-tome that the master of the place you go keeps.  A mighty book-scroll of secrets, secrets that Malkk desires."  Casting a sideways glance at the Doombull, he continues in hushed tones.  "Secrets that will make us have power over the beast-things.  Great Seep, you are the one that has been deemed worthy for this task.  YOU are the creature that will begin the end of the Realm of Beasts.  Go now!"

With a flash of light, Seep was gone.  Lagrax turned expectantly to Malkk.

"Now you creature!"  With a great sweep of his hobbled staff, Malkk threw the Doombull through the portal and into the Realm of Chaos.  His most trusted champion sent forth, and the spy of his allies dispatched, Malkk turned and began to snicker as he marched back to complete the preparations for his masterpiece to begin....


Veep awoke in a haze to the sound of heavy fighting.  Up ahead of him, he could see flashes of brilliant light.  The very floors seemed to twist and change, always in constant motion.  He sat up, his armor scraping along the turquoise floor.  Footfalls, moving rapidly towards him - and shouting!  

Rounding the corner through another brilliant flash of light, a trio of warriors came upon him.  First to round the corner was one of the Fyreslayers, obviously wounded but the runes on his flesh growing red hot.  His hair burned pink in several places and his face was permanently etched into a look of rabid fury.  Next came a great Warpriest of Sigmar, Gryph hound in tow at his heels.  And finally, from the shadows, one of the fabled Aelf Assassins landed directly on Seeps armor, tossing him to the ground.

"Speak quickly or die, Skaven scum."

"I-aghck-scurry-run to find the ma-ghsk-ster of this place.  I seek to bring his heaaad to mine.  I have no fi-fi-fight with you aelf-thing."  The blade slowly traced its way down Seep's face, etching a long cut into him.  Warm crimson flooded from the wound, but the Assassin leaped up and began to run forward as her companions passed.

"Come Caeda, there is no time for that rat!  Let the beast have him!"  The warpriest yelled over his shoulder as they flew past.  "Slit his throat and be done with it!"  The Fyreslayer spat as he passed.

The assassin, Caeda, sprinted after the group.  It wasn't long before Seep saw why.  

"Ahhh, little rat.  I have been waiting a loooooong time for this.  You disappeared for centuries.  It gave me time to learn.  And I have learned much..."  

The mutated and weathered form of Lagrax loomed in the distance, a bestial staff in hand, eyes glowing with magical power.  "Now?  You die!"

Seep skittered out of the way just as a crash of purple flame cascaded down the whirling hall.  With every ounce of strength he chased after the warriors that had just passed him by.  No matter what, they had just become his best option for escaping this place with his mission complete....  

Deep within the Silver Tower, a maniacal laugh echoed for an eternity........


Thats all for me folks!  Hope you enjoyed a more narrative than not update.  I will have the tales of the four heroes in the Silver Tower for you before too long, as well as the continuing battles of the Forces of the Plaguemaster, plus actual real life painting!


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