More Crusade games these weeks, and some more painting progress as well. Got three games in, setting me up decently for the first expansion phase on the Planetary Empires side of the battle (that we’re pairing with the Crusade-style rules).
Archon Vÿr was keen on pursuing more easy prey across the surface of Scylla Prime, and that posed a problem. Succubus Maril’eth, the harridan who he suffered in his presence only because of her command of the Wych Cult forces he needed, exceeded in the face of the more backwards and simple of prey. The running of his raid was a carefully balanced endeavor, ensuring that neither Maril’eth nor his Haeomonculus advisor–Oribraq–got too much power or glory from any fight. He had set his sights on some mon-keigh forces that had high numbers of infantry soldiers–from their designations a large number of whom were indentured criminals forced to fight.
His forces prepared an ambush of sorts, using Archon Vÿr’s own presence as the bait for the mon-keigh. They hid in wait amid some ruined buildings as the legions of conscripts approached to try and capture the leader of the raiding force that was so obviously shown to their sensors. It was too easy, herding the prey like this, tricking them into hunting him down while his forces waited to pounce.
He set Succubus Maril’eth and her Wyches upon the regimental troopers, the ones who herded their own convict squads ahead of them. As expected, they had a fair amount more fight in them, and the Wyches took heavy losses–losing almost as many as they killed of the mon-keigh due to massed firepower. Meanwhile, Archon Vÿr strode confidently into the fray, his blade carving through the conscript forces.
It was then when Vÿr’s arrogant miscalculations came home to roost, as the conscript prisoners were not the meek sheep of those indentured to Drukhari forces, but possessed the menacing threat of thirty-some hardened criminals who knew how to shoot and to fight. He slew them time and again, but yet the waves of them were able to continue to attack. Soon enough, the sheer press of las-rifle fire managed to finally short out Archon Vÿr’s shadow field. He hoped that no panicked tone was present in his voice when he called his Raider for extraction. He had taken a number of hits that bored thru his armor and left smoking holes punched thru his limbs when he finally was able to leap over the press of assailants onto the deck of one of his Raiders. As he hauled himself up he heard the clucking tone of Haemonculus Oribraq: “I suppose I’ll need to start growing you a new right arm and leg… who would have known that their chattel soldiers could fight quite so well…”
Archon Vÿr steamed and nursed his wounds, knowing that nursing his pride would need an action of much more immensity–and perhaps Oribraq’s tragic demise.
Archon Vÿr desperately needed easy pickings to satiate the rapacious tendencies of his forces, so he struck out to try and make a raid on a distracted foe. Noting a spot where the last remnants of the Genestealer Cult remained (must be a strain that did not share the same blood transfusions as the others he eliminated), he waited for them to strike at a rampaging Ork force that was in the area. His plan was to strike both sides suddenly when they were engaged, and make off with captives.
At first, it worked well–the Talos pain engine pulped enough Ork boyz that the few remaining could be subdued, and loaded onto the waiting Venom as captives. These would give Haemonculus Oribraq something to investigate, and tide him over for a while. The more distracted Oribraq got, the more stable Archon Vÿr’s raiding force would remain.
Meanwhile Archon Vÿr’s forces attempted to distract the Genecult forces. His Voidraven Bomber screamed overhead, killing the leader of the Genecult who stood exposed. They were of far less interest to his forces than the Orks, as getting some good arena beasts seemed to be a popular aim with his Kabalites as well.
The Kabalites managed to decimate the Orks, luring them to attack them in cover and then striking hard with the bayonets of their splinter rifles and their curved Kabal blades. Four or five of the beasts were subdued by them, and bundled to be carried off.
Just when Archon Vÿr felt things were going his way, the Genecult struck. They had been holding back some horrific warriors, four-armed creatures that came rushing out of crevices in the broken earth, no doubt concealed by mining tunnels on their approach. The creatures tore into the center of his force, while their Genecult outriders’ demolition charges blew up a Raider and a Ravager both. With the sudden reversal, there was nothing to do but flee again–even leaving all but the Coven-gathered Orks behind. Archon Vÿr faced an even more unhappy Kabal, and having to again draw from his households reserves to replenish the fighting forces he lost.
With Archon Vÿr’s support in flux, Haemonculus Oribraq had a chance to assert a bit of control. He knew that Archon Vÿr was haughty and proud, and giving him a gambit to exploit that would pay off. Oribraq nudged that they work to destabilize nearby mon-keigh elites, as a force of the augmented armored mon-keigh was holding some nearby terrain. What brought them was unclear, but they served as a good way to get Vÿr to perhaps die at one of their hands.
Oribraq’s own forces fought admirably, his Wracks managing to hold off one of the crude mon-keigh jetbikes while Oribraq set up for the kill himself. His ichor injector proved deadly, and his scissorhand more than enough to cleave thru the armor and slice the leg off the passing biker. Oribraq scoffed, thinking what a pity the mon-keigh were so… limited… in their imaginations of what could be done with genetic engineering, cellular growth cultivation, and organ improvement.
The armored mon-keigh however proved to be more than a match for the remaining wyches that accompanied Archon Vÿr’s raid. A group of them were fighting atop an industrial structure, and the limited space for mobility made the lightly-armored fighters easy prey for one of the mon-keigh’s deadly swordsmen.
Much to Haemonculus Oribraq’s dismay, Archon Vÿr and his Kabalites managed to hold on to a victory through shrewd crowding of the foe. Only a single teleporting mon-keigh in golden armor remained at the heart of the battle near the end, his blows falling fruitlessly on Vÿr’s Shadowfield. With a laugh, he managed to intrude upon the space enough to disrupt the mon-keigh’s plans. The raid always had to strike then fade, and this time was no different. The mon-keigh were bested, and the Drukhari escaped with spoils from the community left un-protected by the golden warriors and their arrogance.
“I’ll have to try harder next time to get him killed,” thought Haemonculus Oribraq, as Archon Vÿr strolled back to his command seat of the retreating skimmer.
Added two big things that have both been on my painting table for a while: 10 more Kabalite Warriors to round out a full squad of 20 as a firebase, and the Voidraven Bomber I’ve been mucking with for ages.
As my list is forming up to a more clear “this is how I’ll be structuring the Crusade” feeling, I’ve got to get rolling on more painting ahead: definitely more Kabalites and Venoms in my future.
Painting Challenge 2022 Progress
Warhammer 40k Aeldari 2022 Power Level Painted: 48/365
Warhammer 40k Genestealer Cult Total Power Level Painted: 64 / 365