A Flintloque Scenario by Tony Harwood
As the long March out of the Witchlands continues, Margahrah and his surviving troop start experiencing strange dreams which lead them to a drastic course of action in this years Halloween Flintloque adventure.
After nearly six months, Margahrah contemplated his last adventure in the barren Witchlands, looking around at his surviving platoon he realised that there wasn’t a soldier who served with him who wouldn’t lay down his life for him or for that matter a soldier for whom Margahrah would not do the same. These last months in the hellhole that marked the huge expanse - the furthest outreach of the Star Wraith - had hardened the retreating Armee du Nord (or at least what remained of it) into a well-honed fighting force.
Margahrah found himself pondering his horrific past. Those days and nights searching for the fabled Headless Zombies and battling against the ever-present bone numbing cold. All he wanted now was to return to his beloved Lyonesse and feel the warm sun on his face. To forever forget the nightmares that dogged every hour of his restless sleep. With each dreary tread he and his Ferach Mon Ami’s were one step closer to home.
Margahrah could see his troops, huddled under torn capes, ragged blankets and pieces of rotten cloth, marching one dreary step after dreary step forward and homeward bound. As each step formed, the ever present greyness coupled with the cold and the fatigue, started to play tricks on his mind. He had long ago stopped searching the dull horizon for any sign of those In-Elf Cossacks. However, trusting his instincts, a nagging doubt was enough for him to stumble to a halt, turn and survey the grey, grey expanse that rippled between grey snow and grey skies. The blustering snow further dulled his sight and everything turned even greyer, everything looked so dull and depressing.
There was nothing for as far as he could see, which he realised was not actually that far.
Margahrah slowly turned back and was surprised to see that a number of other soldiers had also stopped and were now looking to one another silently questioning the strange foreboding feeling. As they turned to face Margahrah he could hear their unspoken doubts.
As the day - if you could call it that - night, day, night, each blended in to one another, with nothing but the soft trump of foot steps to show any passing of time. The tired group moved closer together and started to regularly scan the horizon. Making sure their Flintloques were both loaded and well wrapped against the cold and damp of the accursed Witchlands. Margahrah was aware the unease he had felt growing; his head was full of thoughts of sleep, rest and tiredness. No matter what he did his subconscious brain was telling him Rest, Sleep, Stop.
Time passed, Margahrah did not know if it was minutes, hours or seconds as all he seemed to be able to think was Rest, Sleep, Stop. With steely resolve he continued forward, but others were slowing, a few had stumbled, to be picked up and harried by others to continue on.
More time passed and each and every soldier thought that they heard Sleep, Rest, Stop. Sleep, Rest, Stop. Come to Me. The words were spoken by a lady, a lady with a thick accent and a lilt that promised sweet warmth and a soft bed. Margahrah turned suddenly, surveyed the grey expanse and when he could see nothing but the blistering snow continued forward, but others were not as strong and one by one the soldiers slowed, stumbled and in many cases stopped.
Margahrah woke. He was not aware of how long he had slept, or even why he had stopped. He was very aware of the lingering spider’s web of a dream that clung to his sleepy head. The dream had included a pale, eerie lady, enticing him to stop. With outstretched arms she had promised much - Come to Me. Come to Me. Her hooded shape spoke of respite from the cold, fatigue and exhaustion.
Margahrah shook his head; there was a lingering aroma, a sweet sickly and pungent aroma that reminded him of lilies long past their best. In his dreams Margahrah had not given in but had pleaded for the woman to leave him alone. In the dream he had run for his very life and then, suddenly, had woken. With a dire sense of dread he rose and called out. Soon others responded and it became apparent that they too had also exsperienced the same dream. Margahrah’s blood ran cold - his almost preternatural sixth sense could feel the danger and he ordered a muster of the remaining soldiers.
Given the conditions and slightly dazed nature of his troops this took some time, but after counting, re-counting and re-counting again he realised that Pierre, the youngest surviving Elf was missing. Each of this troop of war weary soldiers had become attached to Pierre. He had been a young farm worker who had joined as a bugler but after experiencing the horror of war in the Witchlands had swapped his bugle for a musket and fought alongside others - some more than twice his age - against the Undead hoard of the Star Wraith Aleksander.
With a resolve that can only come from a deep, deep hatred within a war-weary soldier, Margahrah stooped to pick up his sword, pistol and backpack, turned East and began marching back towards the horrors of the Dark Tsar. As if commanded by telepathy, the remaining soldiers followed, each one knowing that the actions they took today would no doubt end in their death.
As the group moved back towards Moskova, two things happened - firstly the fatigue that had for so long dogged them was replaced with a single-minded resolve that they would recover Pierre and reap revenge on those who had taken him. Either that or die trying.
As Margahrah and the troop moved Eastward they oft encountered retreating Ferach many of whom, seeing the total lack of fear in his troops, joined them on their journey. Then, whenever they encountered Zombies, Cossacks or other Undead, they methodically slaughtered them. To the last Elf showing no mercy, no elvenity and no quarter believing that they were in fact (or at least in part) putting their shuffling forms to eternal rest.
Margahrah’s dreams ove rthese chaotic days changed and were now filled with two dominant sequences. The first saw the pale hooded female figure continue pleading with him. pleading for him to Sleep, Rest, Stop and Come to Me. Come to Me and Come to your Death. But, unlike the previous days, he was now far from being worried. Margahrah saw this as a further call to arms which strengthened his resolve. As time moved on Margahrah realised that he and his troop had been, actually still were, the target of a Vampiric attack, a dream spell which had obviously been sanctioned by the Star Wraith. However where the sub-elven leader of the great Undead had hoped to weaken his Ferach enemy, the exact opposite had happened. Margrahrah now lead a regiment of battle hardened and single-minded soldiers hell-bent on the destruction of The Great Army of the Star Wraith.
His other dream, was of Pierre, who he desperately hoped he could save. Either by rescuing him from the Vampiric attack or, and the mere thought of this sickened him, by cutting off his head and allowing his soul to attain eternal rest.
Far to the East in the heart of the Witchlands, evil forces plotted.
The She-Vampire Ludmilla Scorce continued to cast her dream spells, enticing the Ferach Elves to both sleep and open their minds to her thoughts. But things were not going to plan - these simple Ferach were not as easy to control as she had thought they would be and it was obvious that a great mind was leading them.
The KGB's Liche assigned to follow this errant troop of Ferach was also becoming concerned as reports had reached him of a Ferach force that was no longer retreating but taking terrible revenge of the pursuing troops. Surely this could not be true - for six months the Undead of the Witchlands under the command of the Star Wraith had crushed all resistance before them. The under-nourished Ferach had not be able to stand against the titanic forces of the shambling dead. Not even the cancellation of the Headless Zombie project, that he had been instrumental in implementing had stopped the avalanche of Elves that continued fleeing back to the South.
The Liche continued to march South and counted the days before all Ferach would have left the soil of the Motherland. His current force numbered in the thousands, and although the latest recruits were not quite up to the previous standard, he had no doubt that the forces under him would be victorious long before the Zombies decayed and crumbled to dust. Now if only this She-Devil Ludmilla could fulfil her promises and remove the last vestiges of fighting spirit from the retreating Ferach he could demand victory and return to the Star Wraith for his reward.
As the time moved on, the enforced extra powerful Winter that had been so much of a part of the Star Wraith's plan to conquer the retreating Ferach was coming to an end, the Zombies were being affected and new constructs were nothing short of useless.
For this scenario, Margahrah and his Ferach against the might of the Witchlands. I suggest a simple white gaming table with very little in the way of terrain, maybe just a small coppice or damaged hut to decorate the table.
From the South we have the fortified Ferach led by Margahrah. Field your whole Ferach force, add Ostarian Dog soldiers and Dwarves, maybe even a few Ogres and mass the troops in one (maybe two) lines. Just infantry remember, no cavalry or artillery remain (these have long gone at this time in the Witchlands campaign).
In the North we have the Undead. If you have any un-painted troops spray paint them white and treat them as ghosts. Split the troops into large regiments each one led by Vampires and Liches. These troops should be very low grade - but numerous, literally 'undreds of em.
Keep the Undead Cossacks to the flanks and even then, just the odd group. Similarly, if you have any Undead artillery, then these should be limited. And don’t forget that Ludmilla herself should be present after all her reputation rests on her attempts at demoralising the war-weary Ferach. In fact you should place her in control of one of the central regiments, somewhere where Margahrah can clearly see her!
Ammunition for the Ferach is still okay, but the Zombies should be limited to a handful of cartridges (the Soviets sent untrained solders into the front line with just a couple of rounds and in some cases just one gun between two or three troops when fighting against the Nazi’s in WW2 – this is the effect I am looking for).
One additional rule; Ferach killed in action can be raised by the Liche’s to fight again - while the models representing Zombies killed in action should be removed and reused in new regiments to the rear.
Margahrah wins if he can kill Ludmilla as the moral of the Witchlands force is based on her black magic and should she die, the whole Undead force will rout and the Ferach will win.
The Witchlands force wins if they can reduce the Ferach force to half strength. Remember there will be no falling back by the Ferach, they are in this to the bitter end. Death or Glory!
We’re in for a real bloodbath with this battle. Have fun.
The animosity between Margahrah and Ludmilla should prove a great story thread for future actions and even different game genres. This is truly a family feud to end all Blood Feuds and for anyone contemplating gaming an Elf vs. Undead battle, just swap out the main characters for Margahrah and Ludmilla Scorce for a no quarter asked and no quarter given blood battle royale.
This article was written exclusively for Orcs in the Webbe and was first published on Halloween, the 31st October, 2014.
You can read all Tony's previous Margahrah articles by clicking on the maroon tag just below and to the left.