Basilean forces were marching through the forest towards the Edge of the Abyss. Grim, determined faces proved their resolve and acceptance of the inevitable. They knew they had at least to try to stem the tide of the Abyss to buy time for other forces to muster.
Suddenly they all halted and looked into the sky. In the distance they saw strange objects bursting from the ground high in the sky in a lob. All looked only semi corporeal, as if composed of an array of different colours of light, without any physical form yet. However, crackling sound of their birth into physical world was real enough. Objects split in mid air, their landing points scattered all over the place.
Without second thought, Rainhard ordered Abess take part of their troops and scout one estimated location of the arrival while remaining army was to march at the double to the nearest location. He knew this objects were somehow important for the Abyssals and they naturally had to prevent them from securing them.
- They only problem I see is quite tough one. Abyssals die by our blades, that's true, but what will we do if these objects only respond to magical users?
Unexpected voice interrupted heavy silence. - I believe that won't a problem at all.
A man dressed like typical court troubadour emerged from the woods.
- Who are you and what do you mean by that stranger?
- My name is Ronald. Yes, The Famous Ronald the Bard. - After these words, Ronald reached to his bag and took out gleit of the Mage Guild. - But I am also quite skilled magician and since our goals are the same, I will gladly help you with these shards of power.
- Shards of power? These objects that burst from the ground? What can you say about them?
- Oh yes, Shards of power. Very powerful, but unstable sources of abyssal power. With enough energy, skilled demon can use them to establish new and stable portal to the Abyss. They want it to spread and as you can see they have means to establish forward bases. We have to either destroy or secure the Shards.
- Very well. Every man counts. Let's...
- No, no, no. I've never said I was alone. - In this moment forest bursted with activity all around them. Your typical trees opened eyes, shaped their boughs into arms, picked up huge rocks and thus creating huge maces or simply shaping them in wooden, but sharp claws. Earth trembled when huge rock formation in the distance started to move and straightened up - greater earth elemental presenting its full height.
They arrived at the valley where four Shards have landed in vicinity. They closed to one of the Shards which landed inside a small coppice.
- What trickery is this? - Asked Rainhard. - I see beautiful, naked woman, shining with shifting colours.
- Oh really? And what do you see Lenar?
- Same as Rainhard. Are you suggesting you see something else? Is it connected to the fact that you're magic user?
- Well I see a chest full of gold and a jug of ale. And no, it's not connected to the fact, that I'm a wizard.
- What does it mean then?
- It means your order should reconsider some of the its commandments...
Soon the Abyssals arrived at the scene. Skies darkened with the flapping wings of the Gargoyle flocks and even hulking form of the Arch Fiend was spotted on the left flank. It was going to be a tough fight.
Before urging his troops forward, Rainhard took out his pendant and again used its powers to call for Celestians help. Answering his call, block of Angels and flaming Phoenix supported the left flank where creatures of the forest took position.
This time mighty Ur Elohi was not summoned. Instead part of amulets power was utilized in different way - exceptional martial prowess of the angles was further enhanced, turning them into unstoppable killing machines. Similar power surged through Rainhard himself, granting him some Elite skills too. Rest of the pendant's power was granted to the Men-At-Arms, lighting their weapons ablaze - now their weapons will be devastating to the creatures of the Abyss and will prevent their unholy regeneration. They wanted them dead for sure.
Basileans and their allies moved forward, quickly securing the first Shard. Shamblers secured the old stud and took cover behind its fences, while Rainhard and Sisterhood circled the small hill on the right flank. Gargoyles in the air spotted them before they could in the hill's shadow and repositioned themselves for interception. Other demonic troops marched slowly forward, hurling flaming bolts at the incoming enemy.
One of the shards were quickly snatched by the demons which formed a defensive perimeter around it.
On the other hand, towering Arch Fiend took part of its force and went out to meet the incoming creatures of nature. His body always covered in dark flames light even more as he anticipated pleasure of incineration of the moving trees the Green Lady loved so much.
Finally the silence was broken. Elohi shoot into the air and crashed into the reckless Flamebeares at the front, trampling over them, leaving trails of broken bodies and without losing momentum, they started hacking horde of the Lower Abyssals. Phoenix exchanged fire with Efreet on the left flank. Temperature quickly rose as flame bolts and fireballs flew through the air in both directions. However, Efreet's mystical shield, supported by the dark energies of the nearby Arch Friend proved to much for the holy flames of the Phoenix. On the other hand, the bird-like creature of fire lost its material form, changed into swirling ball of white-hot and dark flames. For a moment energies were in perfect balance but finally the dark forces won the duel and the all of it simply vanished in a silent implosion.
Gargoyles, losing temper urged forward to intercept both Shard and the incoming Men-At-Arms. Similarly, always calm Forest Shamblers loosed their temper in the presence of hated enemy and dashed forward to meet them. However, Shard of Power was not left unguarded. Hulking Earth Elemental secured the position left by the Shamblers and prepared to hold the fort there.
Elohi continued their fight with crumbling horde, Men-At-Arms charged one of the flocks which landed nearby, reading themselves to charge the angels, while Rainhard and Lancers decimated Flame Bearers and Efreet with unexpected rear charge.
Second flock of Gargoyles shoot into the air and moved to intercept the Shard in the woods. They were met by the fireball onslaught Ronald executed. However, small but dense coppice provided enough cover for them to survive the barrage.
Finally Shamblers burned to the crisp when the Arch Demon joined the battle. Without a second of rest he roared a challenge to the stone behemoth and readied himself to charge. However, Elemental did not leave him wanting - earth was trembling again. Fences exploded with showers of splinters when hulking beast charged headlong into the Arch Fiend. They clashed into a battle of epic proportions. Each hit echoing in the valley, showering earth with dark sparks and rocks when two titans pummeled each other. Neither mortal, nor demon dared to interrupt this duel.
At the other side of the field Basileans cheered. They decimated center and right flank of the enemy. Lenar clashed with Basusu in a duel of significantly lesser proportions. However they only managed to exchange few blows when the Half Breed fled to join his brethren in the forest, breaking his flight only to pick up Ronald the Bard from the ground and hurl him to the ground from the height.
Basileans took the positions to charge the surviving Abyssals and Gargoyles, but then air again filled with roaring fireballs. Surprised Elohi were caught in mid air. Their still flaming feathers dropped slowly to the ground while their mortal bodies were incinerated, leaving only dust to roam the battlefield.
Mourning their loss, Rainhard charged the surviving Abyssals and finished their nearly extinct regiment. Men-At-Arms moved to secure the Shard at the hill, while the Sisterhood ran to the coppice to intercept Gargoyles. However something unexpected happened. Flock jumped in the air and flew by them, landing near the Basilean infantry. Only Basusu remained. He walked to the Shard, grasped it with his claws, squeezed and ripped it apart. Showering it with colorful sparks, the Shard ceased to exist. Without pause Basusu took flight and joined his kin.
With their goal gone, Lancers turned around and went to secure the third Shard, near the swamp in the centre of the battlefield.
Elemental crumbled into dust after a series of Fiend's punches. Spitting flames at the a pile of boulders at his feet, demon turned around and moved to intercept Rainhard and Sisters.
At the other side of the field, it was a story of entities rather than regiments. Lenar charged the occupied Gargoyles from behind, swinging his halberd left and right, severing heads, cutting off limbs and wings. Surviving demons were too terrified to retaliate - they flew, ran and crawled for their lives. Seeing this, enraged Basusu crashed into the already butchered ranks of the Men-At-Arms. His claws, horns and teeth taking lives of too many. Soon he was standing alone, blood and viscera dripping from his claws and mouth. He turned slowly towards Lenar and bared his fangs in the demonic version of smile.
Mighty roar filled the air when the abyssal monstrosity trampled over the unprepared Lancers. Swamp water started to boil under the ablaze hooves of the Fiend. He stopped his charged, irresistible call of the Shard summoning him. This became an opportunity for Rainhard who urged his mount to flew over the other Shard. While in mid air the time felt like stopped for him when he sag from the saddle and reached for the artifact. His eyes widened when he felt the heat and electricity behind him. Pendant on his chest became hot as living fire, doing everything it could to shield him from the dark flames and lightning bolts thrown at him by the demons. His mount however was not having such unearthly defenses at his disposal. With final screech griffin died in mid air and his flight turned into descent. Finally, Rainhard hit the ground, rolled over few times and ran for cover.
Lenar was sure he'll either die by the claws of the Half Breed or will take his head with him. However, lord of Gargoyles suddenly leapt into the air and dashed towards the bellowing Arch Fiend.
With Basilen forces butchered, Arch Fiend wanted to finally harness the powers of the Shard and open a portal for more if his kin. However, without cheap lives of his minions, operating the artifact will be very difficult and he wanted his surviving lieutenants nearby to aid him with this task.
Abyss will grow. Its march was delayed but not stopped yet.
Oh boy it was really fun and stressful game. We played 1600 point of Scour!
In case you wonder why there are only 4 objectives - apparently if you roll 1 and add 4, it's still 4 in my private universe... let's pretend it never happened :]
My forces were outmaneuvering and decimating their enemies until 5th turn. From this point Abyss grew some teeth and bit back... It would be a draw with 1-1 objectives held if not for the lucky roll for seventh turn and really effective spells barrage from Efreet and Arch Fiend... Only Lenar managed to survive, locked in eternal combat with Basusu :)