Fall of Anvilgard

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Fall of Anvilgard
Era Arcanum Optimar
Location Aqshy - Great Parch - Anvilgard
Outcome Decisive Khainite Victory
Anvilgard becomes Har Kuron
Loyalists within 100 leagues of Anvilgard purged
Combatants
Har Kuron

{{{3}}} Daughters of Khaine
{{{3}}} Blackscale Coil

{{{3}}} Darkling Coven Coils
{{{3}}} Order Serpentis Coils
{{{3}}} Scourge Privateer Coils
{{{3}}} Shadowblade Coils

{{{3}}} Ionrach Enclave
{{{3}}} Black Ark Agoniser

Anvilgard

{{{3}}} Hammers of Sigmar
{{{3}}} Free Peoples

{{{3}}} Freeguild Guard
{{{3}}} Charrwind Rangers
{{{3}}} Dispossessed
{{{3}}} Ironweld Arsenal
{{{3}}} Sacred Flail Chapel
{{{3}}} Wanderers
{{{3}}} Loyalist Scourge Privateers
Commanders
{{{3}}} Morathi-Khaine

{{{3}}} Drusa Kraeth (WIA)
{{{3}}} High King Volturnos
{{{3}}} Taras Nightscour

{{{3}}} Keiser Ven Brecht (POW)

{{{3}}} Ephrem Vanhelm (POW)
{{{3}}} Dignan Crant
{{{3}}} Matlo Loriksson
{{{3}}} Uldur Flamebeard (KIA)
{{{3}}} Yhuveth Trask

Losses/Survivors
very heavy very heavy


The Fall of Anvilgard was a battle between the defenders of Anvilgard led by Stormcast Eternals of Anvils of the Heldenhammer against the Daughters of Khaine and Aelven forces loyal to Morathi-Khaine including the Blackscale Coil that resulted in the city of Anvilgard being annexed into the Empire of Hagg Nar and renamed as Har Kuron. [1]

Background

The city of Anvilgard while not large or particularly populous by the standards of the Cities of Sigmar is one of the most prosperous trading ports in the Great Parch, and a staging ground for military expeditions into the Chaos-infested wilds of Aqshy. It is also notable for the size of its aelven population specially the beasthunters of the Order Serpentis and the criminal syndicate of Blackscale Coil led by aelven corsairs and renegades controls all illicit trade along the Charrwind Coast and has agents embedded throughout Anvilgard, even the high conclave itself although. However many Scourge Fleetmasters and Sorceresses of the Covens consider loyalty to the God-King as the best way to grow their power and would oppose open sedition forcing the Coil to act in secrecy.[1f][1g]

After Morathi revealed to Sigmar that large amounts of Varanite within the Varanthax's Maw is being used to corrupt the Arcway to Azyr in the Eightpoints a joint Khainite-Stormcast force was created to assault the Maw and Morathi requested a force from Anvils of the Heldenhammer to be included in the force citing previous experiences of fighting together with the stormhost. As most of the stormhost was involved in campaigns across the realms the forces were drawn from the Anvilgard garrison. However during the Battle of Varanthax’s Maw the Stormcasts took heavy casualties attacking the gates of Maw and worse many souls were lost to Chaos while Morathi succeeded in stealing the varanite from the maw and retreated to Ulgu where she began the ritual to ascend to godhood. While she succeeded despite the Battle of Hagg Nar due to the attack by Idoneth Deepkin and Hedonites of Slaanesh during the ritual she was shattered into Morathi-Khaine and Shadow Queen sharing the same soul.[1a][1b][1c][1d][1e]

Prelude

While many Stormcast Eternals were in the Eightpoints the Blackscale Coil under the orders of their mysterious faceless master, known only as the Sovereign launched a campaign of assassinations and abductions of prominent civic and military leaders including captains of the watch, admirals of the Charrwind fleet, merchant princes, priests and politicians with the latest being High Arbiter Concelius Gour who was murdered by poison in the chambers of his fortress-like estate under the nose of his personal guard. As a result paranoia spread across city mixing with rumours spread by the Coil's agents. The Black Ark Agoniser flagship of the notorious Fleetmaster Taras Nightscour was also sighted on the the Searing Sea, accompanied by a large flotilla of Scourge vessels.[1f][1g]

Meanwhile Lord-Veritant Keiser Ven Brecht had been remade upon the Anvil of Apotheosis after his death during the Battle of Varanthax's Maw and delivered the news of the disaster in the Eightpoints directly to Sigmar who immediately ordered reinforcements to relieve the survivors. Ven Brecht however was sent back to Anvilgard along the celestial Sky Bridges to the Stormkeep of the Black Nexus to root out the cause of the situation in Anvilgard. Ven Brecht acted swiftly sending his agents to drag the city’s most notorious criminals and public figures suspected of corruption to the dungeons of the Black Nexus for questioning. The Lord-Veritant’s Lantern of Abjuration scoured their minds for signs of corruption, causing many to go mad with pain but he found that some of those in positions of power showed signs of mental domination but when he began to unravel the full extent of the enchantments the prisoners were overcome by sudden, fatal seizures, their blood turning to black acid in their veins. However the Lord-Veritant managed to find the name of the Blackscale Coil being repeatedly mentioned. [1h]

However before Ven Brecht could begin the next step news came that Morathi, High Oracle of Khaine, had come to the city of Anvilgard, at the head of a retinue of Khainite warriors. Morathi entered Anvilgard by the Bleakscale docks, accompanied by Melusai attendants who were almost never seen on the streets of a free city. The procession took a noticeably circuitous route that gave the citizenry more time to gaze upon Morathi and her procession. Morathi was welcomed into audience chamber of Dauntless Hall by High Matriarch Tarvilla Etain and other dignitaries with relief but Ven Brecht was suspicious. He questioned her how she had escaped the disastrous expedition to the Eightpoints, and what brought her as far as Anvilgard. Morathi claimed her mission had been successful, but fled the Eightpoints alongside her Stormcast allies as they were pursued by Chaos forces and offered her sympathies to Ven Brecht for any trauma he may have suffered during his Reforging and hoped he would be free of its side-effects despite it being forbidden by the law of Azyr to speak about rumours about the effects of the reforging. She explained that the priestesses of the Khainite temple of Khelt Nar from Anvilgard's gladiatorial pit had informed her of the situation and she was there to root out the evil. While her words were met with rapturous applause Ven Brecht's experince in uncovering lies allowed him to feel the deception in Morathi's words. But without evidence he could not make any accusation and was forced to coldly welcome her to Anvilgard. [1h]

Initial Assault

First came a mist from the Searing Sea that caused the air to shimmer and caused breathing within feel like icy seawater flooding into the lungs. The mists spread swiftly to cover the entire city and soon came the sound of guns all across Anvilgard as companies of Freeguild Guard including the battle-hardened Charrwind Rangers, the city’s elite troops attempted to form up into defensible positions, isolated amidst the impenetrable mist as hails of missiles rained on them. The Freeguilds fell back in ‘shell-kraken’ formation, holding their shields high above their heads as Helblaster Volley Guns fired blindly into the murk in a vain attempt to provide cover fire. Then came aelven warriors marching out of the mists in perfect formation wearing the deep burgundy of the city’s aelven auxiliaries. However the reinforcements from the coven-temples suddenly fell upon the unsuspecting freeguilds as Sorceress Drusa Kraeth observed the slaughter from the back of her Black Dragon, Klarronaxes. Her mind-leashed warriors drove the broken formations of the Freeguilds all the way to the docks of Bleakscale Harbour. Here they waited for the enemy to sell their lives dearly but the end came from the sea. [1i]

At the Black Nexus, messengers were dispatched through the Stormkeep’s four realmgates to the nearest free cities, requesting immediate aid. The nature of the enemy was unclear as Kraeth’s spies had circulated as much disinformation as possible. The Command of the city’s Stormcast Eternal garrisons fell to Lord-Castellant Ephrem Vanhelm who directed Lord-Veritant Ven Brecht to take his retinue and secure the Dauntless Hall due to its importance. While rumours of an uprising of aelven warriors reached Ven Brecht who took them as confirmation of his suspicions the Lord-Castellant while trusted Ven Brecht’s instincts could not declare war against an ally without proof and the few hundred warriors remaining in the city could not be divided. Ven Brecht was ordered to find proof of Morathi’s duplicity alongside securing the Dauntless Hall. As Ven Brecht made for Dauntless Hall, Lord-Castellant Vanhelm dispatched units from the Angelos Conclaves to scout the city to form a more cohesive picture of the situation while shield-bearing Liberators were sent to secure the thoroughfares leading to First Circle – the heart of the city, where Anvilgard’s noble districts and halls of governance were located. [1i]

Drusa Kraeth and the Coven of the Serpent’s Blood was concealed by the swirling mists. Under her command was the full might of the Blackscale Coil alongside reinforcements from the Black Ark Agoniser. The Sovereign had ordered that not a single Stormcast was to be slain and allowed to make the journey to Azyr. Kraeth called upon some of the greatest beast-hunters in the Mortal Realms from the Scourge to the knights of the Order Serpentis. Toxins developed to bring down the immense draconids of the Charrwind jungles including with paralytic venoms of shadowstealers and spitter-mantids that are too strong for even the Stormcasts to resist were used to coat their weapons. Prosecutors were taken down by steel nets or with hails of crossbow bolts laced with toxins while Liberators were charged by packs of Drakespawn Knights whose lances were similarly dripping with debilitating poisons. However each Stormcast Eternal reaped a grievous toll before they succumbing to the numbing poisons but Lord-Castellant Vanhelm realised that the traitors’ vastly outnumbered them, and possessed an intimate knowledge of the city. Thus he ordered his remaining warriors to fall back to the safety of the Black Nexus.[1i]

However Lord-Veritant Ven Brecht secured Dauntless Hall and managed to regroup with the scattered elements of the Charrwind Rangers commanded by the aging Freeguild General Dignan ‘Ironwhiskers’ Crant, whose troops consisted of mostly recruits and grey-haired veterans from the reserve formations,Warden King Matlo Loriksson brought a company of duardin Longbeards, Cogsmith Uldur Flamebeard who managed to escape with a number of steamhand acolytes and from the Chapel of the Sacred Flail came thousands of wailing flagellants.[1j]

Tunnels of Death

Then Ven Brecht received news that an aelven army had surrounded the walls of the Black Nexus, trapping Lord-Castellant Vanhelm and the most of the Anvils’ garrison. The traitor army consisting of corsairs of the Black Arks, dragon-riding lords of the Order Draconis and silent, blank-eyed warriors of the Darkling Covens marched beneath banners depicting the traditional kraken’s head of Anvilgard defaced with an angular aelven rune. They claimed that the annexed city a subject of the empire of Morathi-Khaine, and to be known as Har Kuron. The traitors that came in the open vastly outnumbered the loyalists and many possibly hidden beneath the mists. However Cogsmith Flamebeard cliamed that while the Freeguild cogfort Old Firesnout had been captured and it had not been destroyed and assured the Lord-Veritant that he and his small crew of acolytes could operate the cogfort. Warden King Matlo Loriksson also assured that the duardin-built catacombs beneath Anvilgard would get them to the cogfort.[1j]

Underground the temperatures rose to almost unbearable levels forcing them to march long miles in their armour. Traitors lacked the duardin’s sense for subterranean distances, and instead sealed off the tunnels while the beastmasters of the Order Serpentis in thrall to Kraeth had driven their monsters underground. War Hydras and Kharibdysses caught the scent of prey and crashed into Loriksson and his Ironbreakers crushing and roasting the Duardin. The Dispossessed hewed at the monster’s legs with Loriksson personally shattering a beast's hindlimbs with his rune hammer while his warriors finished it off. Ven Brecht and his Judicators launched volleys of crackling arrows that blasted the hides of monsters while packs of Gryph-hounds attacked their softer underbellies. While scores of duardin were killed in the end the beasts were slain alongside their handlers and then incinerated by Irondrakes with their flame-spewing drakeguns. Then they divided with Warden King directing Ven Brecht towards a tunnel that leading to location of the Black Nexus.[1j]

Siege of the Black Nexus

The Stormkeep was surrounded by thousands of aelven warriors under banners of the Coven of the Serpent’s Blood and Har Kuron, as well as heraldries of several Scourge Fleetmasters and Order Serpentis Dreadlords. No reinforcements have arrived to liberate the city while the walls of the Stormkeep were being hammered by a rain of projectiles hurled by bolt throwers. Booming defiantly from the walls of the Black Nexus came a sonorous chanting as Anvils recited oaths of battle that predated the formation of Sigmar’s first empire which was then joined by the voices of Ven Brecht’s contingent and the eerie battle-dirge caused wisps of violet light to circle above the marching Stormcast Eternals, spirits to witnesses their doomed march. Kraeth's spies had seen the Stormcasts coming but could not locate any hidden force and the Sovereign had assured her that no reinforcements would be coming through the realmgates of the Black Nexus. Kraeth ordered the army of Har Kuron to abandon their siege to repel this new host with orders to take the Stormcast Eternals alive while others loyal to the God-King should be killed.[1j][1k]

Dreadspears followed the mental commands of their sorceresses to form phalanxes while chariots funnelled through gaps in the battleline. Ven Brecht’s Judicators loosed a volley of lightning arrows that blasted enemies from their feet but most were focused at the enemy’s leaders to eliminate sorceresses that bound the armies of the Darkling Covens while Liberators formed a circle of shields to defend the archers. Kraeth sent her troops rushing with Drakespawn Chariots harassing the shield wall with volleys of javelins while Scourge Corsairs hurled glass orbs filled with choking gases and Scourgerunner Chariots shot barbed nets laced with tentaclid venom. Soon gaps began to form in the shield wall.[1k]

Suddenly a fiery glow came with a sound that became increasingly louder. The vast, smoke-belching shape of the Old Firesnout was thundering across the city on piston-driven limbs, pulverising all in its path. It bristled with gun towers, mortar batteries and incinerator turrets. Flames erupted from its muzzle, its culverin arrays fired unleashing volleys of cannonshot, Helstorm rocket batteries launched volleys of missiles that detonatd amongst Kraeth’s troops in fireballs while the cogfort crushed the enemy beneath its huge, piston-driven limbs and spat great gouts of flame. It stopped before the gates of the Black Nexus and lowered its belly to unleash hundreds of duardin and Freeguild warriors. Warden King Loriksson and his Longbeards crashed into the rear of the traitors while Handgunners loosed salvoes of lead shot and packs of Scourge corsairs loyal to the city showered the traitors with poisoned bolts.[1k][2]

Ven Brecht saw Drusa Kraeth upon her black dragon and ordered his warriors to drive a path towards her. He cut through ranks of Bleakswords while his Judicators redirected their fire at the dragon. As the dragon attempted to rise up Ven Brecht’s Lantern of Abjuration blazed and Kraeth screamed in agony as her eyes were seared by the punishing radiance causing her to fall from the sragon as it died, its heart pierced by multiple arrows. Just as Ven Brecht came close to the fallen sorceress for the killing blow the Shadow Queen crashed down upon Old Firesnout and peeled away the leaden roof of the fore cabin before stabbing at it multiple times with the Heartrender, butchering Cogsmith Flamebeard and his crew. The cogfort veered to the left and fell as high-pitched cries of Khainites came. Flocks of khinerai attacked from above while Melusai archers launched arrows from rooftops aiming at their unprotected flanks and finding weak spots in armour with incredible accuracy.[1k]

Ven Brecht himself was pierced by a poisoned arrow his vision blurring as he saw the last remnants of his forces beig cut down and Warden King Loriksson surrounded by the last of his loyal Longbeard bodyguards spitting oaths of vengeance as the enemy surrounded them. Then Morathi herself appeared and Stormcast Eternals charged at her with only to be snatched up by tendrils of darkness and strength robbed from their limbs by enervating magic. She proclaimed that the city now belonged to the goddess Morathi-Khaine, and to the empire of Hagg Nar. Ven Brecht striked her with his blade taking her in surprise but managed to block it with her staff inches from her face as Ven Brecht’s eyes bored into hers blazing with purple flame. The Shadow Queen descended and smashed into Ven Brecht to snatch him up in her coils. Ven Brecht looked into the creature’s yellow eyes, filled with bitter hatred as he lost consciousness. [1k]

Aftermath

Anvilgard fell to the traitors and was renamed Har Kuron with loyalist forces defeated and Stormcasts captured. However some managed to retreat through the sweltering jungles of the Charrwind Coast while being hunted down by the forces of Har Kuron. With the help of loyalist Scourge Privateers remaining loyalists including Freeguilds and Wanderers have joined to resist Morathi and have adopted the warcry ‘Anvilgard endures!’. [1k]

Ven Brecht was stripped of his armour and weapons, imprisoned within a vessel of Scourge. He was taunted by one of corsairs but was interrupted by a high-pitched scream in the distance followed by a rushing, roaring sound, like a fierce wind howling through a tunnel. More sounds of battle and screams came and a frantic hammering on the door of the cell. The corsair eased the hatch open only for a aelf eith his guts spilling out fall into the cell coughing blood. As the corsair tried to slam the door shut again a gleaming, blood-slick claw caught him by the throat and dragged him to the dark hall which was followed by a series of horrified screams ending in a tearing sound. Ven Brecht peered out into the dark hall. With another pained shriek blood splashed upon Ven Brecht and the tendrils holding him slackened, dropping him several feet to the floor. The corridor was smeared with gore and littered with brutally mutilated corpses with the aelf corsair that taunted him still alive but missing his lower jaw and one arm. The Lord-Veritant broke the aelf ’s neck and ascended up as more shrieks were heard from a distance. He saw corpses of both the corsairs and their prisoners and noted his saviour was not leaving any witnesses while the path was cleared for his escape. He came to the ramparts of a great iron wall and suddenly saw, clinging to the spar of a bladed tower a figure wreathed in shadow with eyes pinpricks of crimson light, boring into him. He only got the impression of a pair of bat-like wings unfurling and a sudden rush of air before the creature suddenly disappeared, leaving him alone in the empty vessel.[1k]

Sources