Content of the article: "Mannfred Von Carstein journeys to Nehekara"
In the lore, before he became the ruler of Sylvania, Mannfred went to Nehekara to uncover ancient knowledge of Nagash and in the process became extremely powerful before returning to Sylvania to start the Third Vampire Wars.
Having played Tomb Kings before I loved the desert settings, the flavour of it, with the lizardmen and the Brettonian Crusaders and the anciet awakened dead. I wanted to play as VC there as there even is a small VC faction there.
So for my latest campaign I decided I'll switch things up and basically migrate to Nehekara with Mannfred.
Within first 10 turns I had quickly consolidated East Sylvania and by signing the peace treaties with the remaining Templehof and Stirland I was ready for my journey.
My destination was the Black Pyramid of Nagash, right in the center of Nehekara, my goal: To surpass Nagash and learn his secrets.
Ten turns later my broken and battered army arrived in front of the Black Pyramid, Mannfred, my heroes and my Varghulf almost dead to attrition.
The bulk of my army, the faithful unquestioning skeleton infantry was replenished along the way by raising the corpses of the nations we passed by.
When I arrived I saw that full 3 stacks of Tomb Kings were guarding it, my heart sunk for a moment but I came way too far and sacrificed way too much to back down now.
Seeing as the Pyramid itself was impregnable to ground assault Mannfred began to scheme. He figured he had two advantages over the Tomb Kings, he had the mobility advantage in terms of flanking units and he had magic. He knew he would have to use both to the limit if he was to prevail.
To exploit his mobility he positioned his army somewhat away from the city in an attemt to lure the Tomb Kings out in the open desert, counting on their notorius hubris.
It worked, one stack of Tomb Kings took the bait and attacked.
The enemy had a mixed army of infatry and ranged with a few elite units sprinkled in, while Mannfred's army consisted of himself, a Wight King, 2 Necromancers, unit of Cairn Wraiths, 2 Black Knights, unit of Warhhounds, a Mortis Engine and the rest was skeletal infantry.
And while the skeletan infantry was replinshed enough, Mannfred, his officers, even his Varghulf and Mortis Engine were almost disintegrating due to the long journey across the entire world and he needed them all at full power. Fell Bats were sent to scout the surrounding the battle field and a plan was hatched.
He would use a nearby dune to conceal the bulk of his forces, while Black Knights would ride out and attemt to distract the advancing enemy while the main body was healed by the Mortis Engine and the Necromancer.
The plan worked and soon enough the cavalry soon after joined by a mounted Wight King and a Varghulf had drawn out their formation all around the desert and by utilizing their superior mobility they picked apart their exposed ranged units and when it was done Mannfred revelead my main battle line and sent them to intercept.
As the lines clashed, skeleton vs skeleton on both sides it was quickly revelead that their forces were heavily exhausted from chasing me the Black Knights around the desert and were no match for the Vampire's rested forces supported by a Mortis Engine and his Necromancers.
Soon after they crumbled to dust and Mannfred the Betrayer was victorious, his army coming out of the fight in better condition than they went into it.
Now it was Mannfred's turn to take the initiative and he promptly sieged the Black Pyramid which was still guarded by two full stacks and a third Lord with a few units.
Also the stack garrisoning the Pyramid itself was a pretty elite stack complete with artillery.
The balance of power was abysmally against Mannfred's army and it was obvious that storming the Pyramid and its defenses was impossible.
However, Mannfred also knew that the Tomb Kings, who vastly outnumbered the hated Vampire host would sally out of the city, in their pride and arrogance at the first chance they got.
And so they have, almost 3 stacks of Tomb Kings emerged from the city vs Mannfred and his undead host, to fight in the open desert under the schorching Nehekaran sun.
The Tomb King host was so large it almost covered half the battle field and in their characteristic pride and hubris, they charged eagerly, to expel the Vampiric filth from their land unaware that opposite them was the veritable Master of Deception and that they were about walk straight into his trap.
At first all they saw was a solitary Wight King charging right at them. The Tomb King lord immediately ordered the artillery barrage and skeleton bows to attack while the Wight King started cycle charging all around their formation creating mayhem while their own artillery was starting to decimate their forces in an attempt to destroy him.
Now, the Wight Kings are notoriously tanky, especially to ranged fire and he was essentially tying up the majority of their ranged while almost completely impervious to their arrows.
It was time to spring the trap. With the bulk of their ranged falling behind, Mannfred revealed his forces to get their infantry to charge ahead and it worked.
Their infantry, covering the entire battle field along with their numerous Lords and heroes advanced towards the vampires while Mannfreds skeletons quickly reformed into a very small densly packed square.
The plan was to minimize the the damage taken by any particular unit and distribute the casualties among the whole army while at the center of Mannfred's formation was a Necromancer, passively healing the whole army and imbuing them with dark magic making them stronger in combat. The Mortis Engine was also passively healing the entire army this way while affecting as many enemies as possible when they completely surround our formation.
As predicted the enormous Tomb King army completely surrounded Mannfred lines and some supporting archers started raining fire on the densly packed skeletons. Mannfred infantry all carrying shields, boosted by the dark energies of the Mortis Engine and the Necromancer held on but if it this continued it was obvious the vampires would be wiped out all the same.
What the Tomb Kings didn't know was that Mannfred had a secret. Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, the air around the Nehekaran Elite exploded with a deep blood curdling sound of some ancient Vampiric curse and a storm of red mist formed and started to furiously rage down the Nehekaran line, disintegrating everything in its path.
At the same moment, a huge undead creature emerged behind a dune and slammed violently into the rear flank of Tomb Kings infantry, crushing some of them in a flurry of claws and jaws, while tearing apart others.
On the other side of the map, Vampire cavalry was charging at any exposed ranged units and artillery while taking heavy casualties of their own. The Wight King was tying up any elite infantry around the ranged units, enabling the cavalry to charge them. As the cavalry and the Wight King were moping up the remaining archers, a second explosion similar but still different from the first one tore through the desert, painting the distant horizon into a shade sickening red.
That was the signal to return and aid the main body of the army. When the ancient Wight returned he saw his master and his army completely enveloped. It looked like they were fighting in mud or ash, for the sand had been completely covered by corpses of friend and foe alike.
Mannfred host had been cut in half and it looked they would drown under the sea of their enemies. There was no time to waste. Black Knights and the remaining cavalry charged the archers joined by the enormous Varghulf tearing through hundreds of the skeletons to reach them and they started to eliminate them one by one.
Despite all his guile and cunning and despite all the losses the Tomb Kings have suffered it was still clear to Mannfred that while he savaged the enemy he would still get ground down by their sheer numbers and the fact that the enemy, much like his own forces, would stay and fight to the last man.
There was only one choice to be made, to go after the Tomb Kings themselves and kill all their lords and heroes. As another arcane explosion went off around the enemy lords Vampire's skeletons seemed to be fighting with a previously unseen strength while at the same time thier bones seemd to be mending.
This caused the Tomb King lords to become more expose as their Guards were being felled all around them.
The Wight King and Mannfred wasted no time on capitalizing the advantage, and they both along with this towering behemoth of a monster started to eliminate the Tomb King lords one by one.
As the enemy lost their leaders, any force that had been keeping their army together fizzled out and the remaining army quickly fell apart on the battle field.
Vampires suffered close to 800 dead, while the Tomb Kings had nearly 4.500 casualties. The Black Pyramid looming in the horizon was Mannfred's to take and soon all its dark secrets would he his and with them all of Nehekara.
And what of the noble, dead Nehekaran Lords and warriors? Did they finally find eternal rest stolen from them by Nagash ages ago? Nay, the proud Tomb Kings were raised once again, only this time as mindless thralls of the new Master of the Black Pyramid as he went to conquer their ancestral homeland.
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