Over the centuries, countless warriors and battle kings have fallen before the Undead Legions of Mhorgoth the Faceless, but perhaps none has been lamented more than the famed Dwarf hero King Thorrick Rockfist of the Free Clans, who fell during the Battle of Ironhold Bridge. His death occurred at the climax of the decisive battle in a war that was waged for almost two hundred years, mostly fought deep underground, far beneath the Ice Peak mountains.
For almost two centuries King Thorrick Rockfist held back the relentless advance of the Mhorgoth’s Undead legions. He was an inspiration to his people, a tireless and brilliant strategist who fought always in the front line of battle. He slew two of Mhorgoth’s chief lieutenants in personal combat – Azaroth the Black and the Lamenter – and won the decisive battle of Deep Chasm after fighting without rest for three solid days.
Enraged by the doughty mountain-folk who bared his advance into the Eastern Reaches, Mhorgoth threw his Legions against Thorrick time and again, slowly wearing down the Dwarf armies over the passing centuries through attrition. The final, climactic battle took place at the very gates of the mountain king’s subterranean city, upon the titanic Ironhold Bridge.
Ten-thousand Undead marched across the bridge to meet the battle king’s royal guard, and Mhorgoth himself stalked forward in the centre of the legions, determined to see the mountain king fall. Thousands of the living dead were destroyed as war machines and missile fire tore through their ranks, but so great was Mhorgoth’s power, enhanced by the Blood Stones that he had uncovered in the Deepening Paths, that the Undead rose again as quickly as they were destroyed.
The two armies clashed in the centre of the bridge, while superheated lava flowed hundreds of feet below. The armoured Revenant elite of the Mhorgoth’s force – the Immortals – were at the forefront of the battle, and they hammered at the Dwarf shield wall, hatred burning coldly in their hollow chests. And while few Dwarfs fell in those first hours of battle, every Dwarf lost was a cause of great mourning. Fuelled by hatred and uncaring of the losses his army was suffering, the dread Necromaner drove his forces against the Dwarf king again and again, all the while weathering the storm of missile fire that pummelled his army from the Dwarf city’s great walls.
The day seemed to be turning for the Dwarfs, and it seemed that yet another great victory was to be won by King Thorrik Rockfist. However, Mhorgoth’s hatred was bottomless, and he summoned all his strength for one terrible spell.
Arms outstretched, the twisted Necromancer rose into the air, energy sparking from his eyes and his fingertips. Reaching out with all his power, he closed it around the Dwarf army like a cage. The great braziers astride the bridge darkened, and even the hellish light from the lava flow far below seemed to dim.
As the foul sorcery gripped every Dwarf fighter, the army of King Thorrik began to age, slowly at first, but then with alarming speed. Every one of the mountain folk upon the bridge aged hundreds of years in seconds, their flesh wrinkling, their hair and beards turning white, and their bones turning brittle. Their muscles weakened, and their eyes grew milky and blind. Only King Thorrik himself was immune, protected as he was by the enchanted Crown of Stone, and he bellowed his fury and outrage as his loyal warriors withered and aged all around him. Mhorgoth ordered his army forward
However, the Dwarf King, ever the strategist, had one final and desperate ploy to save his city. With a rumble of thunder, explosions ripped along the underside of the ancient Ironhold Bridge, sending it, and over five thousand Undead warriors, plunging into the lava flow below.
Mhorgoth himself, however, did not fall. Held aloft by the power of his sorcery, he remained hovering in mid-air. A thousand crossbow quarrels were fired towards him, but all caught fire and were reduced to ash mere feet before striking him, and with hatred in his corrupt heart, he summoned his power for one final spell.
Though he could not harm King Thorrik directly through his sorcery, Mhorgoth reached out and forced the king’s dead bodyguard to stumble to their feet and turn upon their lord and king. They closed in around Thorrik, and while he felled a dozen of them with his rune-encrusted hammer, he was eventually overpowered. With Mhorgoth’s laughter booming through the cavern, the king was lifted from his feet and hurled into the lava flow. Thus was the battle of Ironhold Bridge won, and the Dwarf race mourned the passing of a great king.
In the days that followed, Mhorgoth summoned a bridge of bone to span the gap where the Ironhold Bridge once stood, and his depleted Legions sacked the great Dwarf city, killing every last inhabitant. Hundreds of years later, its once proud halls remain empty and haunted, filled only with bones, fading memories of better times, and lingering spirits.
NEXT WEEK: The Undead rise to do battle with the Dwarfs…
Containing all new tales of wars, updated rules and eleven complete force lists, Kings of War Second Edition is available to pre-order from your friendly local gaming store and the Mantic Games website.