The Fists of Winter

Abitter chill cut through the streets of Gladefell. The climate of Ghyran usually remained uncomfortably humid, whether the middle of the day or late into the evening. Visiting these lands more often than not required a period of acclimatisation for any travelling from the much more temperate Realm of Azyr.

In fact, the atmosphere carried with it so much moisture that it was commonplace for wooden structures to warp and age at an astonishing rate. This, in turn, had led to a Hammerhal Ghyra’s more approachable and rustic feel, when compared to the hard stone walls of Hammerhal Aqsha, just on the other side of the Stormrift Realmgate.

In the last few days, the usually cool westerly wind that ran down from the Nevergreen Peaks had grown harsher and harsher; the clammy moisture that once settled on every surface within the protective border of Hammerhal Ghyra, was suddenly transformed into a slick skin of ice.

Gazing over the sharp edge of Father’s Crest a pair of stoic warriors stood as still as statues. Ever watching and ever composed. Now however, their attention was fixed on something far in the distance, beyond the western ridge.

Patrol of the city walls was a chore which few volunteered for. However, with the endless growth of the city, the local militia had been left horribly ill-equipped, and so it had fallen to the battle-hardened Hammers of Sigmar to expand their numbers. This day however the keen eyesight of the Stormcast Eternals had spotted something amiss.

Beyond the twisted peaks, broaching the edge of the horizon, the haze of an enraged storm was already visible. Great trees, dating back to the very creation of the realm stood frozen in place; their hefty branches once embellished with magnificent leaves, now held bare, like spikes poised to pierce the sky.

“Two days, perhaps three, if they stop to feed.” The authoritative bark of Retributor Galicus echoed from behind the flat unforgiving gaze of his armour’s helm.

“If they stop to feed!” chortled Knight-Heraldor Axius, a jarring contrast to his brother’s dulled tone. “You know these beasts Galicus, they will always stop to feed.”

“Word must be sent to the Magister, such brutes cannot be allowed to stumble upon our walls.” The imposing Retributor continued.

“Do you not feel it, brother? This is no random hunt. They come to take the city.”

Until a day previously the snow had fallen lightly, with only the finest snowflakes able to find their way through gaps in the forested canopy that covered much of the lands of Ghyran. Now, however, the Everwinter drew close. The Ogors of the Sovanheng Alfrostun were on the move once more, vast swaths of the realm’s delicate plant life had been torn from its very roots. In its place, a growing mound of white powder covered the earth as skin biting sleet pounded the earth.

For several weeks now the Ogors had made their way across the Realm of Life, gorging themselves on all that they found. Human, Sylvaneth, even a patrol of plague-ridden Daemon worshippers, looking to spread their dark god’s influence; all had proven to be little more than a snack for the Beastclaw Raiders.

With a grunt, Vorgrun Loshar found himself stirred from his slumber, dreams of delicious feasts and glorious battles once again lost from thought as he shook off the heavy coat of snow that covered his mammoth frame. Though the cold did little to disturb the rest of such hardy beasts, the Frostlord still grew tired of waking in such a manner.

The closer the Alfrostun moved to their prize the greater Vorgrun felt its draw. Now with only a few days ride ahead of them, the Frostlord shook with anticipation as drool gathered at the edges of his mouth. In the moments before he woke his dreams were at their most vivid, he could taste the flesh of his prey and hear the screams of those that would become his next meal, screams that echoed through his dreams and carried into the waking world.

Somewhere on the horizon lay a city ripe for the taking, a city filled to the very brim with the foolish followers of the weakling Sigmar. Cowardly morsels believing their high walls of fire and stone would keep them safe.

“Pah.” The Frostlord spat out a fat ball of mucus, which buried itself in the snow at the thought of such a ridiculous notion. All would fall when presented with the power of the Sovanheng. Walls would crumble, and fire would be extinguished; then they would find themselves within the heart of the city, where the banquet could finally begin.

Grabbing ahold of his Stonehorn’s reins, the hulking Ogor pulled himself easily atop the beast, great leather straps bit deeply into the agitated creature’s raw flesh. Letting out a blood-curdling roar, the animal bucked as the Ogor’s immovable bulk sunk into a throne adorned with a dozen different pelts, collected from a dozen different hunts.

Turning his attention now to his fellow Ogors the Frostlord let out a cry of his own, one so explosive that for a moment it was as if the Everwinter spoke through him itself. In turn, blades rose towards the heavens from around the camp as each warrior returned the Frostlords call.

“Onwards,” Vorgrun demanded, his attention fixed firmly on the shining city that stood far in the distance. “My stomach grows empty.”

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