[Chapter 1: The Voyage of the Sorcerer]
The war between the Imperium and the allied Vyrgothian Kingdoms had raged
years. Beginning as minor disputes over border territories, the conflict
had swiftly escalated into a full-scale bloody war, a
vast series of epic
campaigns, fervently perpetua ted by the Emperor Koord and the Over-King of
Vyrgothia, both eager to
smite their traditional ancestral foes and to win
great glory and the adulation of their people by seizing victory in
Recent months had seen the forces of the Imperium display a staggering degree
of tactical mastery and battle prowess,
contemptuously crushing the Vyrgothian
armies in a series of great battles, 'til at last, following the slaughterous
Rout of the
Fields of Kai-Vorg, The Empire's finest fighting force, the fame
d and far-feared Legion of the Ebon Tiger, stood unopposed not
march from mighty Gul-Kothoth, the greatest and most ancient fortress-city in
all the Vyrgothian kingdoms. The
Legion of the Ebon Tiger could not easily
count their numerous and r esounding victories, and their commander, the
warlord Baalthus Vane, made it clear to the Emperor that he was
eager to press on deep into the enemy's lands and seize the
awaited him; the siege and capture of ancient Gul-Kothoth! And yet the Emperor
Koord did not order the Legion to
march, for disturbing information had of
late been relayed to him by his spies in the Vyrgothian Royal Court... Dire
abounded that the Vyrgothian mages had at last discovered the ancient
arcane r ites which would unlock the aeons-fettered power
of the dread
Obsidian Crown, a fearsome mystical artefact countless thousands of years old,
a black-jewelled circlet believed
once to have been borne upon the immortal
brow of the legendary Shadow-King him self! And it was written in legend,
should the ancient spells of might entwining the artefact be reawakened,
then incredible near limitless ruinous power would thus be
bestowed upon any
army carrying the Crown into battle... Had the mages of Vyrgoth ia truly
ascertained the time-lost
conjurations required to empower the Obsidian Crown,
hidden for centuries deep within the marble vaults of its ebon citadel?
to know the truth, the Emperor dispatched his most powerful sorcerer across
the great In land Sea to the Court of the
Over-King, under the pretence of
offering the terms for the Vyrgothian surrender. He was bade use all his
to discover the truth... a truth soon made clear by the
disdainful refusal of the Imperium's terms, an d the grimly fearsome
given the sorcerer by Vyrgothia's Master Wizard, with which to return to the
Emperor: "And lo, when the Imperium
marches against Gul-Kothoth, then dark
sorceries shall enshroud the Citadel of the Obsidian Crown..."
[The Wizards of
Darkly bejewelled circlet of night,
Crown of the Elder King,
Unfettered at last the Trinity of Might,
the sword, and the ring.
I stand upon the oaken planks of this great ship, (the splendid flagship of
Gazing at moon-gleam dancing on the vast, dark sea...
(And in my mind I behold) black crystals gleaming...
I am enthralled by this nighted spell...
For I know that the slumbering sorceries
Of the Shadow-King's crown shall
soon be reawakened...
And as I return to my emperor (shackled to such woefully grim tidings),
My spirit is borne upon the leathern
wings of a great sorrow...
[Chapter 2: The March of the Imperium]
Call forth the Ogre-Mage of the Black
And the Swordmaster of Kyrman'ku,
Let them speak the Words Which Unfetter...
Enshrined for countless centuries, within its
Five score and ten against the Tiger, (curse) the black crown of the
By all the dark gods, I swear
I'll not be dethroned!
A seething forest of blackened blades,
A churning sea of ebon war-chariots,
A searing storm of flaming
All this havoc and more shall I unleash against my foe...
Into battle! The Legion shall march... the fall of Gul-Kothoth is
The Legion of the Ebon Tiger... six thousand elite warriors of the
Imperium, the pride of the Emperor's forces...
Bolstered by heavy cavalry, and
a squadron of deadly scythed chariots... further reinforced by the Imperial
Frontier Army of one
hundred tho usand highly trained spearmen and archers...
and never has this force met its match in battle or siege...
Our banner flies ever glorious, undefeated we stand, steeped in victory.
The Iron Phalanx, six thousand strong, our
ever-honed blades, the Tiger's
Pride of the Empire, Scourge of the Vraii,
Masters at Turonium, and
Smiters of the Southern Host, Routers of the Horde, Bane of the Over-King, we
march to war!
And so, the Emperor
himself rides to rendezvous with Baalthus Vane,
accompanied by his sorcerous aide. The Legion of the Ebon Tiger
Gul-Kothoth at dusk on the fifth day of their march from the fields of
Kai-Vorg, halting upon the great arid plan
which stretches before the city,
the huge dust cloud sent up by their massed arrival obscuring the dying embers
of the setting
sun. As the vast army begins to make camp, arraying their
splendid tents and banners, and assembling their gargantuan siege-wag
the Emperor stands gazing at the huge brooding walls and colossal cyclopean
gates of the city-fortress before him, vowing
that a torrent of red slaughter
shall befall Gul-Kothoth, regardless of any sorcerous trinkets the Vyrgothians
may possess, and
that the Over-King shall pay dearly for his sublime
arrogance. And twelve leagues distant, an army of five score and ten,
the Obsidian Crown, approaches the city...
[To be continued in Chaper 3: The Wizards Do Battle]
[Music: Jonny and Chris Maudling]