The Harrowmark's moon and her daughters hung low in the sky, a thin crescent and a scattering of shards following her - all of them glowing a soft and pale silver.
But another moon encroached on their sky - an ominous red moon casting a ruddy light over the forests. An ill omen at the best of times, but especially portentous now that Kalyustar had almost achieved his goal.
The Rotmoons knew this was it - their last chance. The Cursed Company had found the Twisted Oak first and they were going to enact a ritual to extract the magical energies from it. Without that magic the tree was just mundane timber: useless for repairing the rent hull of their skyship. The pirates had to stop the Soulchemist from completing his foul rite or they would be back to square-one; searching for more magical raw materials and still marooned in Wortbad.
“Aethermatic-disruption inducing, thaumaturgically infused metal has always proven effective in altering the flows and counter-flows of realm-defining energies” said El Doctoro as he handed out large rusted ship's nails to each of the crew.
Blank expressions met this explanation. Each crew member looked at the nail they had been given as if they were poisoned.
"If we can get as many of these into the Soulchemist's lodestone as possible, as quickly as possible, we may be able to save the Oak and harvest it for our own use!" he said, still rowing hard against the tide of understanding.
"We need to stop Kalyustar stealing the magical energies from the wood, or it is useless! We can make repairs to the Rotmoon with non-magical wood, you see?
"So... hammer-in the nails to break the rock, to get the wood?" said the Kapitan.
El Doctoro sighed and rubbed his temples. "Yes."
The Twisted Oak has been found. The ritual to shackle its power is underway and Lunaghast turns an ominous red. Untold power and riches can be gained, if the interlopers are kept at bay.
Terrain: The Twisted Oak in the centre of the southern half of the board.
Deployment: Defiant Stand. The winner of ‘Pierce the Veil’ uses the blue deployment points.
Victory: The Ritual. The winner of the ‘Pierce the Veil’ is the defender.
Twist: The Goremoon Rises.
Reward: the winner of this battle wins the campaign and receives an Escalation Artefact of Power (Tome of Champions 2020, page 103).
The Soulchemist had set up an altar near the Oak - his books and candles laid out upon it. The Rotmoons surrounded the position and closed in from three sides.
Kapitan da Leeva, Bortagno and El Doctoro from the north.
Dragante, Bold Rikk and Percy Percy from the east.
Kalyustar began his ritual.
He started to syphon off the magical energy from the Twisted Oak.
Kapitan da Leeva and El Doctoro did their best to get to the lodestone that had been driven into the roots of the Oak - they hoped to damage it enough to slow or halt the ritual.
The Deathrattle skeletons threw themselves at the orruk pirates to prevent them from interfering.
The orruks did their best to sidestep them and get to the lodestone.
The Rotmoons made their way through the trees.
The fallen Deathrattle reformed under the fell effects of Kalyustar's necromancy.
The rite was working - the Twisted Oak's power was coalescing into Kalyustar's control.
Percy Percy was brought down by a skeleton champion.
Bold Rikk roared with rage and tried to get his revenge.
The fighting intensified and the Rotmoons struggled to close-in on the lodestone.
El Doctoro and Kalyustar exchanged sorcerous blasts.
But the ritual continued, at a greater pace than before! El Doctoro could almost see the power slipping from the tree, through the lodestone and into Kalyustar's grasp.
The Lunaghast climbed slow into the sky overhead, it's leering red glow foretelling the doom of one below...
The Kapitan roared orders - the crew rushed to gather around the lodestone.
Dragante was attacked from behind and he span round to face his assailant - he and the skeleton hacked at each other.
The Rotmoons crowded round the lodestone, each trying to hammer their rusted ships' nail in faster than their crewmates! El Doctoro used his weird-powers to heal the crew around him - fortifying them against the harder fight to come.
Bortagno, far away from the lodestone, concentrated on the job he knew best. Then, when he had space to breath he took a moment to gather his strength again. As soon as he recovered he charged forward toward the Oak.
Kalyustar was becoming increasingly enraged that his ritual was being disrupted. Awkwardo took the brunt of his fury.
The Cursed Company's skeleton champions started to pick-off the pirate orruk stragglers.
The ritual continued, but the rate of the magical flow out of the Oak slowed down significantly. The gathered orruks around the poisoned stone were enough to interfere with the connection.
The Cursed Company closed in on the orruks at the lodestone. The needed to drive off enough of them to allow the magic of the Oak to flow unimpeded.
Bortagno finally made it to the Twisted Oak.
Kalyustar struggled against the rising tide of orruk Waaagh! energy, disrupting the ritual.
But it was too late. The energies draining from the tree destabilised - the ritual was stopped just in time and the magic of the tree coalesced back into the ground.
The orruks drove-off the Cursed Company. When Kalyustar, stunned by the sorcerous backlash of the collapsing ritual, fled into the dark forests.
Kapitan da Leeva ordered the pirate crew to sharpen their axes.
So, the Twisted Oak campaign draws to a close (and just in time! Animosity IV is right around the corner). We started this campaign way back in January 2020, but inn March 2020 it had to go on a two-year Corona Virus hiatus! We had no idea at that time how long it would be paused.
But then in March 2022 we were able to restart it (with a mechanical restructure based on all the great Warcry content that had been published during lockdown). And here we are, in May 2022, finally at the end of this particular tale.
There will be more action from both these warbands, and more Warcry campaigns set in the Harrowmark. But before that we look to travel to Chamon and Ghur for the summer, for the aforementioned Animosity Campaign.