Sunday, July 03, 2005

The Cold March North

With the passing of the Chaos invasion, the Empire has been left shattered, barely able to hold herself together. The tattered Imperial Army struggles to bring back order to the disparate lands.

It is truly an unenviable time to be a soldier of the Empire, especially for combat hardened soldiers like Captain Wincor Dinishere. Having successfully defeated the Hordes of Chaos, he returns to his beloved Empire as an outcast.

No one trusts the soldier and Dinishere admits that they are not at fault. Faced with the grim prospect of yet meeting another full-fledged invasion with greatly reduced ranks, many soldiers have turned away from the cause of the Emperor. Some have bowed down to the despicable Chaos gods, while the avaricious plundered the wealth of others.

The upper brass turns a deaf ear to the deterioration, as they rush to fortify their own defenses and such news is unpleasant to the wealthy and unscarred South. Dinishere finds it a great test to uphold his loyalty for the ever-distant Emperor, who seems to be getting more distant with each passing day...

Lost in deep thought, the Captain gazes into the freezing air of a wind-swept tundra. His body rocks with the stride of the horse, incessantly producing the clanking of his overlapping armor plates. His nostrils bellow out clouds of mist under his heavy helm as he heaves on under the weight of his platemail.

His men, the Grimmigkopf, wearily follow their leader in disciplined rows behind him, on the way towards Schaeffer's Point. Despite of having a garrison short on men, it is one of the few settlements known to have some semblance of order. The Grimmigkopf have been tasked to join the garrison to bolster the numbers for a period of time before the next batch of fresh conscripts arrive.

Grimly he sets his sights to the front, leading his men on to their destination. He continues on with the slushing of snow and the clashing of metal rumbling into his ears...

Suddenly a distant shout woke the Captain out of his thoughts. Awakened, he called his soldiers to a halt, shielded his eyes with his hand and squinted into the distance. He could barely make out the silhouette of 3 mounted knights, standing in a straight row, with the standard bearer in the middle, set against a backdrop of a swirling gust of piercing tundra wind.

"Hail the Empire and her greatness!", shouted one of the knights again, with his voice muffled by the strong winds.

"And long live the Emperor!", the Captain responded back with a stentorian voice.

Upon hearing the Captain's reply, the 2 knights took up their reigns and galloped towards the Captain. The Captain and 2 of his trusted knights rode out to meet their compatriots...


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