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In VI, 239 of the Asrai, Morghur was once more revealed within the Forest of Arden, and Araloth of the Hooked Blade begged leave to lead the hunt. At first, Ariel refused the plea, for she knew full well how revenge could wound the seeker. In this she was opposed by Orion, who argued Araloth's case and, at the last, convinced his queen to agree.[1a]

When Araloth set out to hunt Morghur for the second time, he did so at the head of a mighty host. They passed overland through Bretonnia, concealing themselves from the curious eyes of peasants and knights alike by means of a sorcerous mist. They arrived at the Forest of Arden to find it heavy with corruption, and the scent of debased magic on the air — truly had this now become the lair of the Corruptor.[1a]

The Wood Elves advanced through groves of blood-red grass and trees that wept black tears. Waywatchers advanced before and behind the main host — Araloth had learnt the lessons of his previous hunt. For days, there was no sign of the beasts they sought, but other challenges there were aplenty. Many Dryads and Tree Kin had accompanied Araloth's host, and they seethed with rage at the fate of what had once been a verdant paradise. The forest was hungry for flesh, and many Elves were devoured by gaping boles or torn limb from limb by vines. Here and there, they found the skeletal bodies of Bretonnian knights who had ended their Grail quests as mulch for the corruption. Mutated forest creatures scuttled through the undergrowth, mad eyes shining horribly in the darkness and their razorsharp teeth glistening with poison.[1a]

At last, the host of Athel Loren came upon a blasted glade, in which Morghur and his warherd were gathered. A colossal herdstone had been raised in the very centre of the clearing the rubble of its core the remains of a once-proud Grail chapel, and it was upon this summit that the Corruptor capered and yowled. Catching sight of his prey at last, Araloth nocked an arrow to his mighty longbow and let fly. The shot sped true; it struck Morghur from the herdstone, wounded, but alive. The signal for battle given, the Elves let out their war cries, and charged into the glade.[1a]

Desperate was the battle in that glade, for the Wood Elves and forest spirits did battle not only with the Beastmen, but also the twisted creatures of Arden that came at Morghur's call. Yet the warriors of Athel Loren pressed on, ignoring the gobbets of flesh tom from their limbs by frenzied mouths and the poison loosed in their veins by envenomed claws.[1a]

Dryads formed the vanguard of the attack, their blows lent greater strength by kindled rage. With a mighty roar, a colossal Ghorgon rose up out of the warherd and scattered the Dryads, but was soon overwhelmed and tom apart by the relentless Tree Kin who surged forward in the Dryads' wake. Waywatchers hung back under the shadow of the trees, their shots always seeking those whose bellowed commands directed the warherds. Doombulls and Beastlords fell dead upon the scorched glade, arrows protruding from eyes and open mouths.[1a]

In the centre of the glade, Bestigors clashed with Araloth's Eternal Guard, and fared the poorer for the exchange. Spears flashed like sunlight in the dark, and slew many of the foul creatures before their crude axes could be hefted. The Bestigors fought to the last brutish warrior, and many an Elf was hewed before the last Beastman fled. Araloth hardly noticed—he had eyes only for Morghur, and with the Bestigors eliminated, the Lord of Talsyn now had the chance to strike directly at his foe.[1a]

Before Araloth had left Athel Loren, Ariel had gifted him a gourd of sap harvested from the Oak of Ages, and he now unstoppered that container and flung the enchanted contents into Morghur's face. No purer liquid existed in all the world, and where it touched Morghur's flesh, white flames rose up. Soon the Corruptor was all ablaze, his strange mewling cries provoking both pity and joy. Soon the creature was naught but ash, his threat ended for as long as it took him to be reborn.[1a]

With Morghur's death, the rest of the Beastmen were soon scattered. Araloth bade the herdstone be toppled, and a great pyre be lit in the centre of the glade, so that the corrupted bodies of the foe could be cleansed. This work done, the Wood Elves left the forest, but they did so slowly. Not all the sap had been used to destroy Morghur, and Araloth now placed a drop of what remained at the base of each corrupted tree that he passed. Each time, the enchanted sap wrought its magic, and a purifying fire sprang up. Yet the flames did not consume the trees as they had Morghur, but merely burnt away his corruption.[1a]

Thus did the Lord of Talsyn bring new life to the Forest of Arden. Ever after, it was accounted amongst the hallowed places in Bretonnia, though there was never a damsel or knight of that upstart realm who ever truly learned the reason why.[1a]

Source

  • 1: Warhammer Armies: Wood Elves (8th Edition)
    • 1a: pg. 29

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