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Warhammer Tomb Kings Screaming Skull Catapult

A Skeleton Crew manning a Catapult

The Screaming Skull Catapults of a Tomb King's eternal army are akin to the stone throwers of other races, but instead of flinging rocks at the foe, they throw volleys of flaming skulls. The Liche Priests cast terrible curses upon every one of these skulls, enchanting them so that they scream hideously as they are hurled through the air, rising to a deafening crescendo just before they strike their target. These are the very death screams of the skulls' former owners, the wailing shrieks of those slaughtered on the field of battle and the agonised cries of prisoners captured at the moment of their execution. Many battle-hardened warriors are driven to the edge of insanity by the blood-curdling sound. This horrific ammunition bursts into hellish, ethereal flames when it is launched, and as the skulls arc through the air, they blaze an eerie trail of green-fire behind them. Most of these skulls explode on impact, sending fragments of splintered bone in all directions and engulfing those nearby in a wash of balefire. Others smash into their target with horrifying force, infernal flames spilling out of empty eye sockets as the skulls chew through armour and warm flesh alike.[1a]

Every Screaming Skull Catapult is crewed by a trio of Skeleton Warriors. They load and fire their war machines with silent efficiency, unperturbed by the dreadful sound of their ammunition. The artisans of ancient Nehekhara wrought Screaming Skull Catapults into the very image of destruction. The catapults' arms were shaped to resemble twisted bones, and their cradles were fashioned into vast skeletal claws - the so-called hands of death. The chassis of the catapults were carved to resemble the skeletal remains of a vicious desert predator, and sprouting from their spines are great towers of skulls. These are the remains of enemy champions, nailed to the mast of the catapult as grisly trophies. There they wail in perpetual torment until plucked from their fastenings and fired at the enemy. Even the stoutest heart trembles with fear knowing that such a fate awaits them should they fall against the Tomb Kings.[1a]

King Behedesh of Zandri was the inventor of the Screaming Skull Catapult and he ordered many to be built during his reign. He used these extensively in many wars, and most famously to defeat the rulers of Araby who rebelled against him. These treacherous kings refused to submit to Behedesh's will, but when their armies were bombarded by the skulls of their own comrades, they fled and their cities burned. At every battle's end, the catapult crews scoured the battlefield for the bodies of slain foes, decapitating any they found and carrying the severed heads back to be cursed by Zandri's Liche Priests. However, such was not the fate of the rebel kings. Behedesh decreed these traitors were to be mummified alive and strapped atop his catapults so that they could wathc the destruction of their cities first hand. Even now, many centuries later, some catapults still have withered corpses bound to their timbers. Whether these are the same renegades that opposed Behedesh, or the remains of other tormented souls, has long been forgotten. Occasionally, a muffled sound, as faint as the rustling of dried parchment, ushers from their cadaverous lips, begging for mercy. However, the skeleton crews are oblivious to their pleas, and even if they were not, they could not be heard over the banshee wailing of their ensorcelled ammunition.[1a]

Gallery

Miniatures

  • 6th Edition.
  • 5th Edition.
  • Warmaster.

Source

  • 1 Warhammer Armies: Tomb Kings (8th Edition)
    • 1a: pg. 41

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