From Imperial Historian Gustav Priscus’ A History of the Storm Legion, Volume II “The Border Princes”
“…and the occupation of Malko by the…odious…illiterate…beasts, known as the Ogres, must not be allowed to stand. They must surrender the city to our forces or be put to the sword one and all.” The halfling was sweating profusely as he read the text of the letter that Garshasp had forwarded to the Storm Legion’s central camp. Every ogre that could be present was jostling for position. Only one ogre was seated – Akhvan Giantbreaker sat atop a ramshackle throne that had been elevated above the muddy earth by a massive pile of skulls. His one good eye glowered at the diminuitive messenger. Even in the Empire, few such couriers could hope to escape bringing such a missive without some sort of undeserved punishment. As the halfling’s voice died away, silence drifted through the camp – it was positively bewitching, not the least of which because I do not believe it had ever been silent in the camp prior to this moment.
BOOM! went the ear-splitting sound that broke the silence. Div’e Sefid has slammed his meaty fist into the several yard-long table that served as the site for both feasts and meetings of the council of war. The sound echoed over the hills and the wild-eyed culinary psychopath looked to his chieftain with a defiant glare. BOOM! went his hand again and murmurs began to rumble through the collected ogres. BOOM! now the Slaughtermaster’s fist was joined by the thud of iron-shod boots into the earth. BOOM! I felt the impact upon the earth send a shockwave through my feet and make my bones ache. BOOM! the terrible percussion became more rapid. BOOM! now most of the ogres were slamming the table or stamping the ground. BOOM! The Tyrant, who had been silent up to now, slowly stood up. I swear upon Holy Sigmar that I saw the hint of a smile at the corners of his mouth.
“Fothin,” the Tyrant called the halfling by name. Again, I was surprised by the details that this seemingly brutish creature held in his head. “You may return to Malko now. Thank you for delivering the letter.” He looked at the Gutlord, who led the Tyrant’s favored troops. “Bring me my arms and armor. This wizard wants a reply. I shall bring him one.”
I had to cover my ears for the noise when the monsters roared in bloody-minded approval.
I had ensconced myself in one of the old watchtowers near the town of Malko that overlooked the Silk Road. Both armies had brought mighty hosts and the battle lines were thick with troops. Elven steel glinted in the morning light and their elegant banners seemed altogether fragile before the crude constructions of their opponents. My view of the battle soon became dimmed as the sky between the two armies darkened with wave after wave of arrows. The ogres rampaged forward, even as some began to stumble under the constant hail of shafts. The horrific Mournfang cavalry was reduced to a single rider and a group of elves with mighty axes seemed almost to flicker-flash into combat against the massive Stornhorn, dragging the bellowing beast down. The ogre army seemed to grow smaller and smaller, and then the arrows began to slow. Akhvan’s pet giant, who has never responded to any name but Ed, began jumping up and down, his voice a deep-throated chortle. I looked down in horror at the giant’s feet, where elves were being reduced to something altogether unrecognizable. The axe-wielding elves met the Tyrant and his cohort in combat. I could not see the battle for the size of the ogres, but the monsters pressed on and there was no sign of the noble elves. I could see arrows bristling from the Tyrant and his personal standard bearer as they hurtled themselves into a band of elves I had never seen before. I felt a deep sorrow as I saw those elves surrounded by the Tyrant, his banner bearer, and the giant, for I could tell that they made not a sound, but fought the monsters that fate had brought their way without hesitation. On the other side of the field, Hushang, the tribe’s strange fire priest, roared as he breathed fire upon a large regiment of elven spearmen, then roared in frustration as an elven wizard stood in his path and seemed invulnerable to the priest’s attacks.
It was, however, simply a matter of time. Even when the spearmen drove back the fire priest and his retinue, the elven battle line was evaporating. The single remaining Mournfang rider, the captain of that terrible cavalry, led a joint charge with Div’e Sefid and a band of roaring ogres that obliterated the center of the elven line and poured forward into the delicate war machines of the elven host. A thrum of magical power echoed across the field and the elves were suddenly gone.
I approached the field of battle with a cloth over my nose. If it did anything to mitigate the smell of death and offal, I faint to think what it must have really smelled like. Garshasp had arrived at the watchtower and “invited” me to accompany him to receive the Tyrant’s instructions. The Ironguts and Div’e Sefid told me of the moments of the battle: how some of the Mournfangs had been impaled straight through by massive arrow bolts, how the elven spearmen had realized a moment too late that the ogres were going to assail them with fire and grapeshot, rather than a charge into their pike hedge, and how the Tyrant had met the captain of those silent elves in single combat and had cleft him in twain.
Garshasp approached the Tyrant, who stared at the elven army battle standard, which had been captured when the silent elves broke and quit the field. “My Lord…”
Akhvan reached out and grabbed the foppish ogre by his shirt, pointing with his other hand to the banner. “The creatures who bore that banner had more honor and more courage than their spineless spell-worm commander has ever known. You will take them their banner and offer them truce. You will also make clear that, should that sniveling dandelion-eating lickspittle of a lord ever show his face at the head of an army in my vicinity again, I will hunt him down and no magical trickery will save him. Am I clear?”
Garshasp, despite being dragged onto his tiptoes, remained unflappable as ever. “Clear as polished glass, my lord. They shall know your displeasure, even as they thank their heathen gods for your mercy. Those warriors you did battle with, incidentally, are known as the Phoenix Guard, and are normally the personal bodyguard of the Phoenix King of Ulthuan. I believe this Arnoth’s situation may be more politically complicated than his ambassadors are letting on.”
Akhvan looked at his diplomat with a thoughtful glance. “See what you can discover, Garshasp. For now, we make peace. But this craven shall not survive me.” Akhvan looked to the trumpeter of his cavalry. “Sound formation. We march for Malko.”