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The Slaughter at Bleak Meadow was a major battle in XI, 90, (VI, 245)[2a] within which the High Elves came to the aid of the Wood Elves against the Beastmen hordes.[1a]

Overview

In VI 245, the Beastman warherds within Athel Loren swelled to unprecedented size and laid siege to all its chief strongholds. In the east, Naestra and Arahan led the defence of Pine Crags. In the west, Naieth the Prophetess marshalled her household to defend the Glade of Eternal Moonlight. Even the Wildwood came under attack, and the savage-minded spirits of that twisted place found much battle as the Beastmen descended. Yet it was in the glades around the Oak of Ages that the Wood Elves were most sorely beset; there were running battles amidst the trees as Glade Guard and Wild Riders sought to drive the Cloven Ones away from this most sacred of sites. Great victories there were, but great tragedies also. On Carthad Knoll, Araloth, champion of the Mage Queen led Glade Guard against Ghorros Warhoof's kinherd; those Centigor the Wood Elves did not kill were soon set to flight. Gruarth the Beastmaster fought and died in the dell that was his home, his dead hands locked about the throat of the Wargor who had slain his beloved sabre-toothed tigers. Beastmen descended upon the Torgovann, roaring with joy at the carnage they would wreak, only to be stopped dead by a single warrior clad in golden armour. Daith the mastersmith had sworn never to let the vile creatures loose in his armouries; in this cause he had come forth armed with weapons he would allow no other to sully with war. In the eternal warmth of the Summerstrand, Amadri Ironbark led his fellow Tree Kin against monsters so foul that countless Elves had succumbed to madness with but a glance at their horrific features.[2a]

Few slept during these dark days, for there were always other battles to fight. None slept well, for the howling and chanting of the Beastmen echoed on the breeze. The only respite offered by these bleak times was that Morghur, Master of Skulls, was not the driving force behind this particular incursion - had indeed he been there, the situation would have been far more dire. Little by little, and at the cost of countless lives, the Beastmen were driven out of all Athel Loren's regions, save one. A great warherd, many thousands strong still rampaged across the tainted glades around the Tree of Woe, and there gathered under the tattered banners of Mograk, the Lord of Crows.[2a]

Weary, and burdened with grief for their lost kin, the Wood Elves mustered to fight one last battle that would drive the Children of Chaos from Athel Loren. All knew it would be the bloodiest fight of a long and terrible year, but there was no time to heal the harms of the battles that had preceded it. Winter was drawing in and, if the Beastmen were not defeated before the first frost, Orion would be lost to them and the forest spirits would fade; without them, there could be no hope of victory. So it was that those Elves still capable of battle bound their wounds and hurled themselves into the fray one last time.[2a]

It was in this darkest hour that help arrived from a most unexpected quarter. Finubar, now Phoenix King of Ulthuan, had long dwelt on how to repair relations between the two great Elven nations. On learning that Athel Loren was beset, he bade Prince Eldyr gather a great army and march to the Wood Elves' aid. Though they had been delayed by storms, the High Elves now added their strength to their cousins'.[2a]

Even combined, the Elven armies were greatly outnumbered by the Beastmen, but determination and renewed hope swiftly compensated for the paucity of numbers. Ulthuani Mages called down storms of lightning and blunted the spells of Bray-Shamans, leaving the Spellsingers of Athel Loren free to rouse and invigorate the living forest. Cothiquan spearmen fought shoulder-to-shoulder with Eternal Guard, White Lions of Chrace alongside Wildwood Rangers. Dragon Princes and Wild Riders tipped their lances and spears as one, each brotherhood of Elf knights determined to prove their superiority. Scarloc fought back to back with Ystranna of the Maiden Guard; Araloth the Brave at Prince Eldyr's side.[2a]

Mograk knew that a great victory had been cheated from him, but he refused to yield. At the shaman's command, unclean warriors hurled themselves forwards under storm-blackened skies. The ground shook as Minotaurs slammed into the Elven ranks. Left and right the brutes hacked, each blow cutting down two or three Elves. Mograk howled into the darkness, drawing twisted monsters from the depths of the forest. The dead grasses of the Witherhold writhed in revulsion as these creatures made themselves known upon the field, once-noble creatures reshaped by the dark will of the Chaos Gods. Mograk had hoped to break the Elves' spirit, but the children of Isha remained undismayed. Arrows hissed forth to fell Ghorgons and Cygors. Wardancers pirouetted into the heart of battle, blades flashing to cut throats and sever spines. Outnumbered, but far from outmatched, the Elves began to turn the battle's tide. By the time sun fell on that fateful day, the better part of the warherd was destroyed, and those Beastmen who remained were in retreat. Mograk had fled before the end, preserving his foul hide by abandoning his minions whilst battle still raged. This one act of desertion cost the Beastmen greatly, for without Mograk's leadership the retreat soon became a rout, and the rout a massacre.[2a]

As victory dawned, the reserve between the two Elven races returned. The High Elves had suffered greatly in the battle, and many now blamed the Wood Elves for the losses. As for the Wood Elves, they quickly took against their allies' arrogance. Each party had earned the other's respect, but friendship was still a long way off. Though kind words were exchanged by individuals, the bonds between the great nations of Athel Loren and Ulthuan were little closer than they had been before.[2a]

Source

  • 1: Warhammer Armies: High Elves (8th Edition)
    • 1a: pg. 28
  • 2: Warhammer Armies: Wood Elves (8th Edition)
    • 2a: pg. 30

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