Bleak Chewers, Ogors on ice

Without appearing to be disturbed since his change of status, Stiggaz was bellowing from his mount, shouting orders more than summary to the many gnoblars that made up the now famous Gnobknights unit.

Since the quolibets wiped out during their first act of arms a few days ago on the shores of Lake Bykaal and their victory over the numbered orruks (but overcome by uncontrollable spasms of laughter), these so-called knights had been provided with new mounts by their allies from the Stifling Procession. Some of the gnoblars had even managed to find a very silly way to reach the battle as quickly as possible: harnessing to a hellstorm. The tests of this mode of attack were of course not without collateral damage and failure, but without the support, patience and understanding of General Greyson’s forces such a unit could never have seen the light of day. One must also not forget to take into account the undeniable lack of common sense and chronic recklessness shown by the Bleak Chewers’ gnoblars to explain even the idea of such a method of locomotion. The Midnight City engineers are still wondering to this day how these creatures renowned for their inherent cowardice could have acquired such mastery and above all find a way to get to their destination without ending up as green purée.

So it was under the briefest of orders that a horde of junk warriors of far below average size took the lead and surprised a well-sized troggoth unit against all odds. Their horribly slow natural reflexes probably had a lot to do with it. And the cold did not help the speed of reaction of these big goofballs, Stiggaz thought to himself as he shot an arrow straight into the knee of a giant who had just missed him. A few short minutes were enough for the gnoblars, well supported by thundering iron blaster shots, to make a breakthrough in the ranks of the rockguts with relatively minimal losses.

« Olof, Alkeru, Frigs, that’s your cue! »

The words of Gorogark’s favorite former aide-de-camp brought the three weirdoes out of their half-sleep. They quickly checked their equipment, walked with an ungracious and unbalanced step to the nearest hole in the ice and plunged in without hesitation.

« Now we’re going to keep pushing those big, soup-filled mussels, » uttered Stiggaz with a raised fist, spurring his sewn-up gryph-charger as best he could. The plan was going smoothly for now and he still had to deploy a few more « divers » at strategic points, as Gorogark and Greyson had shown him.

To Greyson’s surprise, the deployment of the gnoblar units supported by the ogor artillery was bearing fruit. They had managed to create enough surprise to break cohesion in the orruk rankgs at key points and, more importantly, create diversions so that the rest of the Perpetual armies’ plan could be carried out. It wasn’t until he heard reports that two of the orruk flagships had almost simultaneously been hit by explosive submarine attacks that he knew he had made the right choice to trust the ogors and their unusual fighting methods. He even found himself praising the ingenuity of gnoblars.

Bleak Chewers, en route to The Wreckage

Since the numerous moons he was part of this warglutt, Gorogark never felt as tired as he was feeling now. The battle against the Chaos forces was a fierce and a good one he only experienced scarcely here in Shyish. He felt an ounce of envy when some of the older ogors were telling old epic battles from Ghyran and Guhr with great beasts over precipices and all the gluttony that followed. As always the only goal of reminiscing such tales tingled his appetite. He was tired of eating rotten flesh, ash, bones (being wary of not stepping on toes of bonereapers though), earth and rocks. Times were scarce for the likes of ogors and his gluttons started to be nervous. Some of them even ate a couple gnoblars. That for sure is a sign. He glanced nonchalantly at his favourite aide-de-camp who was coming towards him and wondered what crazy idea that little green thing had got into his head again.

« Your excellence, I must warn you some of us are thinking to start a strike. »

The tyrant bursted into a laugh that almost led him to tears.

« How funny of you Stiggaz, you silly diminutive jester. Tell you friends you are all safe for now as we will soon be marching towards the wreck of the Mariner. Or so our allies call this place. And a little bird told me our plate will be quite full. »

It will most probably be the case indeed as the scouts reports gave insights of greenskin presence. It bode more like a proper menu for the followers of the great gulper.

Ruins of the Cathedral of the Mariner

Stiggaz’s hands ran over the remains of the mount that lay lifeless in front of him. He had brought with him three of their great masters boldest servants. They were three faithful companions in whom he had complete confidence. He had chosen them to carry out this task they all chose to fulfil.

He had traded a significant amount of grave-sand with a few amulets from one of the Necromancers in the Stifling Procession. Each of his companions had one of these trinkets. They held them out over the lifeless carcasses and they chanted the words of power attached to each pendant one after the other. Sprays of purple and green magic spilled over the remains of the mounts and they slowly rose to their feet.

They now each had a faithful steed, or rather what was left of it.

This is how the first four Gnobknights set foot on Shyish soil.

Gorogark had nearly choked with laughter when he saw Stiggaz and his three thieves arrive on their patched and sewn-up mounts. He managed to finish swallowing his snack and let go a thunderous burp that smelled like gunpowder. A gnoblar who was testing his lighter a little further away was thrown a few meters up in the air when this foul cloud reached him.

« That’s enough grocery chores for you and your jokers now. Ask Kobatu, our hunter, to show you the way because as of now you’ve just earned your place as a scout. That is, if at least one of you comes back alive from scouting the lake. Get out of my sight before I change my mind. »

They were so proud and ecstatic on their new mounts that they couldn’t see the few orruks watching them from a few yards away in the thickets. Nor did they see that the mainland had been replaced by the smooth, slippery expanse of Bykaal Lake. This was probably due to their sight being obstructed by their new headgear or simply by the thick snow that had been falling in large flakes since they had left the camp.

Their slide was quite incredible and most memorable, as the orruks hidden on the shore of the lake were laughing loudly and noisily, revealing their position at the same time.

Stiggaz wondered how to stop before another surprise stood in front of him and his companions…

Bleak Chewers, Supply Run

Always, always, always like that with those big ogors. Always. Stiggaz knew better but to say this in front of his master, the almighty Gorogark. He was lucky enough to serve him as it gave him a high enough status among the other gnoblars: he didn’t have to do some stupid tricks to make the ogors laugh or to complete menial and annoying chores. But not today as it was not a lucky day. Not really. It started with the most preposterous plan an ogor ever planned: eating a tunnel below the earth to surprise the enemy behind their lines. It all went kind of well until some stupid dim-witted ogor, a butcher they call him, said they needed more flavouring ingredients to « dig » faster. As they used all what was available they fell back to their leader. A great idea leading into another, he asked his favorite gnoblar Stiggaz, surprise, to go fetch his stashed rum barrels he hid not far from where they starting digging the galerie.

He knew how much he had to carry so he enrolled a handful of fellow gnobs snappy enough to complete the task and headed backwards to the entrance of the earth tube. He and his little comrades walked as fast as possible in the dim purple light and as a nimble worm swarm they avoided unstable rocks and debris along their way. Soon they reached the end of the way. This is when all went wrong.

In his blind confidence Stiggaz emerged out of the metal grate and took a casual glance of the surroundings to locate the master’s hidden stash. To his great surprise he saw a lance arriving straight at him and only his reflexes saved him. He mentally praised the heritage of his race and centuries in the service of ogors. One of his aide didn’t get that lucky. In such an unsatisfactory situation the best solution was always the same: panick and try to stay alive. The common approach would have been to duck, dodge and flee, all at the same time to maximise his chances to get out of this mess. It was usually working. But for whatever reason he saw himself try to negociate with the tzaangors standing in front of him. How odd. What did he thought? Was he suicidal?

He was still in awe of what he had achieved. Right, everything came at a cost as he had to act as their servant and little plaything for a few days. It was really painful and uncomfortable most of the time but he did experience worse in the past. As a reward he got to see where one of the camp of the chaos was established. He silently listed his achievements: avoiding to fight with the tzaangors, gathering valuable intel and keeping some of his grot friends alive. Anyway they were alive when he snuck out. On his way down back in the pipe he even grabbed one of the huge barrel of the rum well hidden behind dead trees and under putrescent corpses. It was his initial mission after all. He only hoped his master was not to give him another cold wrath he was so famous for. He managed to cross his fingers without letting his load fall.

Bleak Chewers, The Cathedral of the Mariner

It was now or never for Gorogark to prove his might and cunning to his new allies. All or nothing. His soul and those of his tribe were in the balance. Literally.

He presented his plan to Valdyr earlier but it was only acknowledged with the usual murmur and throat noises those nighthaunts give. At least his plan was accepted.

He left several ironblaster batteries with a boat load of chainrasps and all sorts of other ghosts the host was fielding. The orders he gave were simple: destroy all you can, make as much noise as possible and blast everything apart. It was simple enough plan for the gnoblar crews to remember and possibly to execute successfully.

A colourful diversion for him and his leadbelcher commandos to approach the target undetected. « Digging » subterranean tunnels was a neat and sneaky way to achieve this goal. Even if it would only whet his posse appetite in the process, as they will basically eat their way through the earth. He was only hoping not to fall into any Shyish nasty surprise as it happened a couple month ago with the giant ice slugs. He was quite confident with Valdyr’s glaivewraith scouts reports: little to no activity except the massing Chaos forces above ground.

After doublechecking the dozen blast kegs his fellow gnobs prepared were safe and secured, he gave the order to munch forward to his detachment. Those little packages will for sure give him and his force a nice blast for an entry directly in the Cathedral.

Bleak Chewers, prologue

He tried to remember what Gorogark said a few minutes ago. But it was hard. Very hard to think with an empty stomach. More hard with the fresh elven loot he was carrying. He stopped for a momemt trying to remember what he needed to say to the ghosts emissaries. He remembered after a long gulping noise his belly emitted. He mumbled a curse towards his tyrant for sending him instead of some more resourceful gnoblars but he knew they were not as good as he was in the art of « negotiating ».

So the plan was simple: tell the master cunning plan devised by his leader to those bloody nighthaunts. But what was the plan already? Ah yes, tell them we help you fight those pesky fleshy guys – you get the souls for you to keep, we munch the rest. Dead simple. He smiled to his stupid joke and noted it was not the best way to talk to ghosts.

His tribe was stranded in Shyish for so long now they suffered huge alterations to their metabolism and appearance. This he didn’t mind at all. Being sure the pantry was always full was all sorts of another problem. And it indeed was getting harder to find some food. Enough food that said. But the hunter Hipokrat noticed a few weeks ago a portal in their new hunting ground around the big an scary lake Bykaal. That was always sign of activity, so the chief said. That mostly meant more occasions to find nice and tasty preys in this bloody miserable part of the realm. That’s what triggered the plan in Gorogark’s skull. Or at least that’s what he said. He was a great tyrant so there was no point having any doubt about that. But still, being sent alone as a ambassador felt weird.

Lost within his thoughts Fjarik didn’t notice he was now surrounded by a couple eerie floating spectres. He presented the offer he was dragging on his side and asked as best as he could to speak to their leader. He still wondered why the followers of Nagash didn’t attack him but he believed the remnants of the idoneths he was carrying were nice enough to please the other party. All the three corpses on his side had strange little boxes that were glowing. The big chief said they were Soultrenders or something like that. Too complicated for Fjarik for sure. But it was for sure very hard not to munch on them on the way here but at least his mission was on track.

He handed-throwed the three pale water elves and explained the tyrant’s proposition to the nighthaunt emissary. He then hoped for the best…