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Heinrich Kemmler, Lichemaster and ever an unknowing pawn of the Chaos Gods, came to Athel Loren in the winter of VI, 488. Cloaking himself in dark enchantments, the Necromancer ghosted through the outer defences of the slumbering forest. At last, he came to Calmost, the final resting place of many a barbarian horde and began the sorceries necessary to raise a great army of the vengeful dead.[1a]

Glade Riders soon spied the Necromancer's ritual fires, and spurred to the attack. Alas, their intervention came too late. Kemmler's forces were already rising and the Elves were pulled from their saddles by the grasping fingers of the long-dead. Soon, Kemmler had a great horde of many thousands of skeletons and wights at his command. Goaded by a motivation he could not quite explain, the Lichemaster abandoned his initial intention to march west against Bretonnia and the upstart Duke of Parravon, and instead led his horde deeper into the forest. Athel Loren's shifting paths could not deceive one so knowledgeable as he, and soon the Lichemaster's feet were set upon a path to the Oak of Ages and the very heart of the Elven realm.[1a]

Kemmler's change of mind soon proved a mistake. Though the Lichemaster had timed his attack to take advantage of the forest's wintry slumbers, not all of Athel Loren was yet fully at rest. As the Undead advanced, their unwholesome presence roused Dryads from their fitful sleep. Suddenly, the shrieking forest spirits were amongst Kemmler's ranks, their talons tearing and slashing at the vile Undead. Like the Glade Riders before, these Dryads were soon overwhelmed, but their battle-cries had roused yet more of the forest.[1a]

Durthu, greatest of the Treemen, was one of those roused by the Dryads' cries. No sooner did his spirit flutter to wakefulness than he smelt the witch-scent of Undead upon the breeze. His torpor soon gave way to wakeful wrath, and scarcely had the last Dryad fallen when Durthu was loose amongst Kemmler's ranks, smashing and pulverising ancient bones with a vengeance. Seeing that his minions stood little chance of overcoming Durthu, the Lichemaster turned his dark magics upon the mighty Treeman. Durthu staggered under the assault, but kept coming. Had Kemmler more time, perhaps he could have brought down the Elder of the Forest. But such was not his fate.[1a]

Arrows now burst out of the trees, thudding into shields and shattering bones. Lord Arias and Lord Edrael, rulers of the glades nearest to Kemmler's intrusions, had roused their hosts to battle. As archers carved great holes in the skeletons' ranks, the Eternal Guard of these two great houses advanced into the gaps, spears flashing as they came. Glade Riders spurred around the flanks, raking the foe with volleys of pinpoint archery. Kemmler now grew desperate, and committed other forces. Giving a great cry, he called a dozen bat-winged Terrorgheists from storm-laden skies. As the loathsome monsters tore into the Eternal Guard, Kemmler worked to restore his crumbling ranks. At his dusty command, sundered bones re-knitted and hurled themselves into battle once more. Seeing their foes reborn from the brink of defeat, the Wood Elves faltered, and began to withdraw. Only Durthu stood firm — if anything he fought all the harder.[1a]

It now fell to Arias and Edrael to rally their forces. Knowing his actions would speak far louder than his words, Lord Edrael mounted his noble Dragon ally, Begeir Seun, and charged into the heart of the fray. Together, Elf and Dragon felled one of Kemmler's dread Terrorgheists, and that act of victory rekindled some spark of hope in the Wood Elves' ranks. It was then that Lord Arias reached out into the noblest of magics and fed this spark until it was a roaring flame.[1a]

Almost as one, the Wood Elves found their courage anew and descended into battle once more. The Undead ranks shuddered as Wood Elf arrows began to thud home once more. A Terrorgheist knocked Edrael sprawling from Begeir Seun's back, but Durthu wrestled the unliving beast to the ground and crushed its bones to powder. Rangers of the Wildwood carried their glaives forward, parrying the strikes of wight blades with contemptuous ease, then riposting to scatter bones and rusted armour across the clearing.[1a]

This time, even Kemmler's sorceries could not offer salvation from the Wood Elves' onslaught. The Winds of Magic were sputtering and he could barely find the power to reknit his own wounds, let alone those of his minions. Bitterly accepting his defeat, the Necromancer fled, sacrificing what was left of his once-great army to preserve his own miserable life. Summoning the last of the Terrorgheists to his side, the Lichemaster winged his way south into the mountains. It would be many long years before he dared set foot in Athel Loren again.[1a]

Source

  • 1: Warhammer Armies: Wood Elves (8th Edition)
    • 1a: pg. 32

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