Monday, 3 September 2012

Woffboot VI - Orcs and Goblins vs Vampire Counts

"Dat's not even a real army," Grobbli said, shaking his head. His green hide had turned a paler shade than usual as he looked across the wooded valley to the shambling hoard approaching them. The majority seemed to be wearing similar uniforms to the human mercenaries who'd driven the orcs off the day before, which was hardly a promising omen.

"Dey've already beaten us when dey woz alive, boss!" whined Crotch, the Redclaw chief. "And ya can't bash wot's already been deddened!"

"Cobblas," Gnashbad said, smacking the offenders with the blunt end of his axe. He underlined his point with the sharp end. "All it means is dem humies is too stoopid to know they'z bin beat already. Come on, boyz!"

Nobody disagreed. The Redclaw spearpack skittered just ahead of the Big 'Uns, chanting their battle song as they went.

"We're Red!
We're Claw!
We'll stick ya 'til ya raw!"


Brod felt sad. People kept hitting him with stuff. Brod didn't like being hit with stuff. It make his skin prickle. Now everything smelt bad, like the cow he'd put in his sack last year. And the little green man who'd given him the nice sack that rattled wouldn't let him run along with the rest of his new friends. He had to go flanking.

Brod didn't like flanking, it made him feel naughty. He was pretty sure his mum had told him it would stunt his growth.

But the little green man said he should, because he'd get a cart to play with. Brod liked carts, they made a nice noise when you flicked the wheels. He shouldn't worry about being a flanker, because of the toy cart.

There it was! Brod chuckled to himself, and picked up his pace. It had fluffy purple bits that looked soft and tickly. The best kind!

"Hey! Hey-ya, carty! Carty come to Brod and play!" he lowed to it.

The black blanket-man on the front twitched the strappy bits, and the cart turned right and went racing by. Chase! Brod knew chase. The scaly horses played chase with him yesterday, right up until they exploded. Chase was fun! Flanking felt good to Brod!

Laughing happily, the giant fell into a loping pursuit.


The undead lines were closer. Before Gnashbad could get the boys charging in, a clump of earth directly in their fight path flopped open like a bad toupee, and a fresh clutch of moaning corpses clawed their way out of it. The big orc rolled his eyes - zombies. Nothing more than a smelly nuisance.

One of the zombies rolled its eyes back at him. They fell to the sod and bounced.

"RIGHT BOYZ! YOU KNOW DA DRILL!" shouted Gnashbad, and the orcs and goblins all around him screamed along as they broke into a headlong charge. "WAAAAAAAAA..."

Gnashbad loved charging. The world always seemed to slow down at such moments, allowing a clarity of detail that he seldom had time to take in otherwise.

To his right, he saw the Redclaws heave their first fanatic out ahead of them. The berserk goblin hit the ground and started spinning in place, nowhere near the rotting target. One of the cunning little sneaks redirected the second fanatic moments before launch so that it crashed into the first one. The two became lovingly and permanently entwined in a steely wrap of chains, shortly before the charging goblins ran them over. Flecks of greenish flesh blossomed into the air like a brief and gristly water feature.

To his left, he had time to observe his new shaman, Squisham, jet a red-brown streak of bubbling energy into the leader of the unit of flesh-hungry ghouls Gnashbad was aiming for. The white-cheeked Vampire's head was briefly wreathed with a corona of purple light, causing it to scream. The unearthly cry was echoed from the trees on the other side of the shaman - as though in sympathy with the Count's pain, the very woods seemed to writhe and howl in anguish, their branches whipping the air like switches. Then the whole wood uprooted itself and dragged itself away.

Now that was strange, right enough, Gnashbad thought. These border lands were full of weird sights, but that beat all. Giant walking lizards, useful shamans and now this.

He snapped out of it, realising he'd been abstractly butchering zombies. The hapless dead were already back in their shallow grave, the Redclaws were barrelling towards the skeletal ranks beyond them and he finally had a clear path to the ghouls. In fact, he'd overshot - they could crash straight into the side of the taloned horrors. Perfect!

"...AAAA..." he continued as he ran on towards them, his boyz screaming behind.

The front rank of ghouls cowered at his approach. He swept his paired choppas in a wide arc, decapitating three of them. The pale-faced vampire was stuck on the other side of his squealing pack of minions, fangs bared in a feral snarl as he tried to force a way through. Broken cannibal fiends were being hacked and crushed all around Gnashbad, he'd be through to that pasty-faced count in moments.

Then the orc on his right went down under the wheels of a spiky, bone encrusted cart. A heaving pile of zombie arms reached for him over its side, and a blood-smeared psychopath cracked a whip at him from the top. Behind him, an orc was spitted by a spear-armed skeleton.

What the Zog? Where were the Redclaws?

He picked them out - running for the hills, fast as their worthless legs could carry them.

"...AAAAAAAAAAA..." Gnashbad howled, venting his frustration at such unreliable soldiers. He span sideways, sheathing his choppas and drawling the obsidian-tipped club he'd taken from the lizards the day before. He swept it through the ribs of the cart, but before he could smash its wheels, something stabbed him from behind.

The Vampire! The lean dead lord had vaulted through the ghoul pack, and was now slashing at his back with inhuman speed. Red fury burned in its black eyes like a ruby in a furnace.

"...AAAA get 'im boys AAAAA..." Gnashbad commanded, barely breaking stride.

He put the entire weight of his thickly-muscled body behind the club as he swung it. The vampire sprang away easily, landing in a crouch and grinning evilly.

But Gnashbad hadn't aimed at it - the flinty edges of the enormous cudgel broke the cart into spinning flinders instead. Before it had time to flit away, the vampire and its grin vanished under an enraged pack of Big 'Uns.

Gnashbad didn't even bother checking which of the lads would off it. It was the one the shaman had hit earlier and he wasn't going to waste time finishing an already wounded foe, not when he could see the fresh one leading the skeletons. That might be a proper fight!

Behind him, Ghouls leapt like clawed cats onto the backs of the orcs, no doubt directed to their doom by their cruel master. Green limbs, both orc and undead, flew into the air.

Gnashbad spun onwards, heedless. "...AAAAAAA..." he continued, twisting through the skeletons like a bladed tornado.

The second vampire sprang at him, quick as a fly, sharp-nailed hands clutching an antique blade and a highly-burnished shield. Gnashbad didn't feel the scratches it inflicted on him. He merely backhanded it with the warclub and kicked it to the floor. The vampire tried to defend itself with the polished buckler, but merely succeeded in getting a crumpled sheet of metal embedded in its torso at the end of Gnashbad's overhead swing. He vaulted round the club's handle, kicking a skeleton apart and smashing a second with a flying headbutt at the end of his vault.

"...AAAAAAAAAAARGH!" he finished at last, landing.

Looking around and pausing to take a second breath, he found Golbig standing in the epicentre of a blasted pile of bodies.

There was nothing else standing.

Dying orcs paralysed by ghoul claws, fragments of skeleton, the broken wreckage of the cart - all lay in an untidy pile, as though dropped from a great height and then blasted by a terrible wind. Not unlikely, come to think of it, some of the Big 'Uns' eating habits were less than sanitary.

Somewhat too late for the party, the Spider Riders finally emerged from the still-moving wood, looking shaken. Three of them were missing, and several of the others looked a bit battered - the mobile wood clearly wasn't fond of goblins.

"About face!" Gnashbad yelled, and Golbig smartly did just that. The bloody giant hadn't done its job again, it was tarting about in the animated forest, plucking at branches and laughing. "Oi! Brod!"

"Ha ha ha clappy trees!" said the giant, a wide grin on its slow face.

"Get da cart! GET DA CART!" Gnashbad yelled with all his might. He could see the deadly carriage racing along behind them all, careening in a long curve towards the night goblin archers at the rear.

 "Huh?" Brod said, looking round. "Oh! Carty! Brod want that now," and he plodded through the woods to intercept.

Too slow - the clumsy oaf only arrived in time to have the cart scythe straight into his shins, toppling him forward before he could get any momentum of his own. His forehead bounced heavily off the coach's roof; stunned, the huge figure was knocked under the coach's spiked wheels. Even Gnashbad winced.

The night goblins scattered like the chaff they were, leaving it spinning straight for the Warboss.

"Right, Golbig me boy," he said, clapping his solitary standard bearer on the shoulder. "We smash dis up, den we break for lunch."

Golbig gulped, planted the banner in front of him like a spear and shut his eyes.

But the coach changed direction abruptly again, screaming off to the right. As it passed over the cloven figure of the vampire general, the shadowy spectre at the reins reached down, scooping its master up and tossing it into the back. Gnashbad saw the bloodied count flip the hinged lid of the coffin there open before leaping inside. Bloody undead - you could never quite tell if they were faking it or not. He'd have to have words with whatever orc did that slapdash job.

With a crack of the whip, the coach picked up speed and then raced away along the valley. Nothing was left but scattered corpses and the hanging dust of its passage.

"Dat's not sportin'!" Gnashbad yelled after it. "Get back 'ere and take wot's coming to ya!"

"Don't fink ee can 'ear ya, boss," Golbig said. "Not from da inside of dat big woodin box."

"Bah," the Warboss snorted. Typical of the pansy vamps. It was like he'd always said, no mere Carstein could resist a proper Orky Killa.

1 comment:

  1. Aargh! I've just realised I must have looked on the wrong page of the army book for my spells when I rolled. Brain Bursta is a spell of Da Big Waargh, and thus not a possible result for a Night Goblin Shaman. Epic fail.

    Would that extra wound have helped the Vampire against the pack of furious orcs? Hard to know. But I'd cry foul anyway.