Lightning sundered the dark skies above, a rumbling roar of thunder burgeoning forth from its wake. From within this thunderclap, a wailing scream swept across the lands. The malign portents fortold great and terrible things that even Nagash couldn’t have imagined. Souls poured forth from his ancient prison, which had once housed his host of countless heroic souls. What his plans were for them mattered not now, they were freed from his grasps but not entirely out of his reach. As quick as their escape, the great necromancer sent out his legions to quickly reclaim them. He would not let these valuable souls be lost to him nor would he allow his enemies to steal away more from him.
Streaks of white and gold light shot across the skies. These souls flew as far as they could to escape their nightmarish prison. Yet despite their best efforts, their immaterial form could only carry them so far and soon they fell to the ground, exhausted from their flight. It would take time for these ancient heroes to recover their corporeal forms and they could only hope that the legions of the undead wouldn’t find them before then.
A wall of sigmarite clad warriors approached, their eyes set on this heroic soul. They were not alone though, as the rattle of skeleton warriors quickly deafened the fields. Cold lifeless eyes stared out at their quarry, rusty blades drawn and ready to seek out victims.
Two Necromancers worked their dark magics from the safety of some abandoned buildings. Their minions had spotted long-ranged snipers and they knew that their lives were in peril if they should catch the attention of these hawk-eyed marksmen. A Wight King and a Knight of Shrouds moved forwards, undaunted by the threat.
The Lord Celestant sat atop his Dracoth surveying the scene with the Errant Knight Questor faithfully waiting nearby. That lost soul had dropped near here and Nagash would torture it no more. The stormhost had positioned themselves defensively but needed to move quickly to secure the prize, for the enemy could be seen just a few paces away.
Another flash of lightning and boom of thunder let the stormcast get into position without letting the enemies notice. The Vanguard-Raptors set up their longstrike bows atop an ancient ruin, hopeful that the vantage point would allow them superior covering fire. Liberators appeared out from a set of ruins, looking to get the first strike at the enemies. A lone gryph hound pounced forwards, sniffing for prey.
Just as the stormcast seemed to have set up their advantage a pair of Morghasts crept up behind them, ghostly howls announcing their presence. The lord celestant looked over in horror as the raptors had become isolated atop their perched vantage point. The giant creatures flew forwards propelled by their ghost wreathed wings and their halberds sung as they slashed through the air, cutting down two of the vanguard raptors where they stood.
Elsewhere on the field, armour skeletal warriors erupted from the ground, the Grave Guard surged forth with unnatural speed and fell upon the roving liberators. Their blackened blades pierced through the sigmarite armour with ease, spurred on by the enchantments of the necromancer puppet-master. The liberators fell one by one until the entire unit was wiped out, thunder summoning them back to Azyr.
The lord celestant and errant knight charged furiously towards the morghasts, hoping to save the surviving raptor stranded on the ruins above. The morghasts met their charge but the tempestos hammer rung out solid blows, obliterating the skeletal monstrosity. The errant knight slammed his sword through the other one, sending their abominable spirits back to their undead master.
Amidst the chaos, the gryph hound took the opportunity to secure the soul. Crystallized in an amber husk, the soul glowed radiantly. The hound carefully took the gem in its beak and scampered back into the safety of the battlelines. The Lord Relictor and his following unit of Retributors quickly stepped into battle formations around the gryph hound; no harm would come to it while it carried such an important treasure.
Just as the vanguard raptor began to set about his work, a sudden chill pierced through him. The silent mask of the knight of shroud materialized, his blade already sundering the soul from his lifeless victim. There was no flash of thunder to save this soul.
A horde of skeletons now charged ahead, enraged by the gryph-hound soul thief. Relentlessly they threw themselves at the wall of retributors. Hammers smote them as they approached but with each skeleton destroyed, another would soon rise to take its place. A unit of liberators moved in to assist their brethren but they were soon surrounded by the grave guard, blades still stained with the blood of their first victims.
The wight king strode forth with an unnatural gait, his very deathly presence inspiring his warriors to an even more heightened frenzy. The shroud knight drifted down closer to the thick of the battle, hoping to glide in and take the life of the gryph hound and secure the prized soul in the process. Skeletal hooves thundered from far away, their speed as frightning as the Black Knights they carried. Yet their intimidating image was not enough to scare away the lord celestant..
The dracoth roared as it charged in to join the fray, halting the skeletal cavalry in their tracks. Hammer blows turned one of the riders into powder before it even had time to retaliate. The errant knight leapt in front of the shroud knight and issued his challenge; betting his soul on the strength of his sword. The shroud knight gave out a rasping chuckle, the souls in his thirsting blade ready to claim another.
The relictor tried tirelessly to keep his allies alive, yet the liberator and retributor line slowly but surely thinned against the onslaught of undying skeletal warriors. The grave guard pushed inwards, quickly overtaking the liberators and even forcing the relictor into combat. Seeing the battle edging into their favour, the necromancers rushed forwards using their powers to bolster their forces. Lightning snapped in quick succession as numerous souls were taken back into Sigmar’s waiting forge. Even the relictor had to utter one last prayer before he was reclaimed by a crash of thunder.
The gryph hound, soul tightly held in its beak, ran as fast as it could to safety. It turned momentarily to see the warriors fighting to ensure its safety. It felt cowardly to leave his allies, yet he knew that his mission was of great importance.
The shroud knight watched carefully as the gryph hound fled, hoping for an opening to give chase. But just as he thought he had a chance, the thick blade of the errant questor cleaved through his spectral form. He gave out one gasping cry before dissipating into the ether.
The graveguard clambered over the rocks and ruins where the liberators once defended, surrounding the last remaining retributors. The heavy-clad warriors did not tire from their work though. Each hammerfall laid waste to another skeleton or two. One last bludgeoning crack of the thunderhammer smote the last graveguard into dust, but only one paladin was left standing.
His breath was heavy and wounds deep, in the distance he could see the lord celestant singlehandedly decimating the enemy cavalry. It gave him hope that this battle could actually be won, until the baleful tomb blade of the wight king sank through his armour. He could feel his soul darken as the blade bit into him; he would not see Azyr again.
Enraged, the errant knight rushed into meet his foe but a loud deafening sound halted his advance. Horns bellowed for a retreat and bells tolled summoning the remaining followers of Nagash to return. The errant knight and celestant withdrew carefully as did the necromancers and wight king. The gryph hound and the prized heroic soul was no where to be seen, long since fled into the safety of his allies. The stormcast had claimed victory here and with that, a new hero into their ranks.