Achulus and the Men of the Black Mountains
The Rieklanders manned the barricades as the first of the beastmen broke the tree line leaving the shadows entering the morning light and braying insanely. “Well Hause, looks like this is it” said a spearman to his comrade shaking his grime covered hand. This morning would be the third straight day the beastmen had laid siege to the village and more than half of the local forces had been slain in the initial fighting, Count Varod had sent out riders asking for aid after the second attack but he was beginning to think noone would come. “Defend your homes men of the Riek!” yelled the Count as he hefted his lance and grouping his knights around him as his warhorse pawed the ground nervously. The men had decided that they would sell their lives dearly if it gave the women and children a chance to escape toward Nuln.
The hoarde was now a seething tide of hatred and primal fury. From amoung the hoarde horns began to sound their tones shrill and harsh chilling the the defenders to the bone. Suddenly they were drown out by a new sound louder, clearer horns whose pitch and sound renewed the resolve. “Who sounded those?” demanded the Count as he and his knights hastily scanned the field for the source of the noise. “It wasn’t the beastmen my lord” answered the Count indicating the now stunned hoarde that were also searching for the new comers. “There my lord a new host has arrived” the captain of the spearmen called out indicating a point to the right flank of the hoarde. The new host was human but the heraldry matched nothing that Varod knew, the warriors bore large round the shileds carried spears and wore helmets with large horse plumes upon them. The host drew up in close ranks and began to chant beating their spears on their shields in time with the chant. “Achulus, Achulus, Achulus!” roared the host as a lithe figure emerged from the mass off shields and spears. The count could make out the new warrior from amoung his comrades and thought by comparison he was somewhat dwarfed by the others, yet he seemed to embody strenght and nobility. The warrior had similar armour and weapons as his comrades but he wore bronze greives and his shield was more elaborate. The figure levelled his spear at the beastmen and a hail of arrows left the back ranks of his host filling the air with barbs. The beastmen hoarde turned to face the new host thrown off balance by their appearance, before the hoarde could order themselves the arrows cut a swathe of them down. The figure then began to walk toward the hoarde his host instep with him then the walk broke into a trot and then a full charge, all the time the figure was ahead of his host. “Forward men of the Riek those men need our aid!” Barked the Count spirring his mount forward as the men sprang over the barricades.
The Count’s charge had been halted by the vicious counter attack of the beastmen his knights and footmen were holding their ground but were out numbered and were slowly being pushed back. The Count struck down another of the creatures with a solid swing of his sword he looked toward the right flank to view the efforts of the strange host. The beastmen could not break the ranks of the host and were merely beating upon the wall of shields occassionally felling a warrior, if this happened another would take his place and the wall would keep pushing on. Then Varod saw the mysterious figure fighting along side his comrades, fighting with spear and shield using each as a weapon with ease. The figure lunged forward piercing the side of one beastman similtaneously swinging his shield into thw maw of a second with such speed as though he could see the future. Varod was brought back to reality as a axe hammered into his chest plate the armour held but he was flung from the saddle and winding him on impact. The count looked up to see the creaturing raising his weapon for the killer blow the count froze and uttered a prayer to Sigmar. Suddenly a bronze spearhead burst from it’s chest and the creature toppled over the count peered beyond the body to see the mysterious figure reaching for a new spear. The figure nodded to the count his eyes glinting from behind the shadow that covered his face and then disspeared back into the melee. A knight grabbed the count pulling him to his feet then ran another beastman through before the count went off in search of the figure.
The battle was beginning to turn to the favour of the beastmen as the age old tale of numbers began to shine true once again, much of this was due to the beastmen’s chieftain who had carpeted the ground with victims from both hosts. The count ended up arriving to find the figure approaching the chieftain as he did so he planted his spear into the ground drawing his sword from a scarbard on his back. The chieftain wasted no time in attacking this new foe running headlong at the figure swinging his axe at neck hieght. ‘Surely he does not think he can win’ thought the count as the figure deftly parried the blow, he was stunned at what followed. The figure as if stealing the very strength of the chieftain struck out and cut the chieftain’s throat spinning to thrust the sword into it’s chest. With the death of the chieftian the hoarde’s will broke and they fled back into the shadows of the woods.
As noon began the remain Rieklanders returned to their camp to regroup and attend to the wounded. “My lord we were fortuneate that the other host arrived” commented a knight as a page helped him out of his blood stained armour. “Indeed Krenz” replied the count as he spied a group approaching the camp. The mysterious figure at the head of the group no longer in armour now wearing a simple blue tunic but still carrying his sword. The men that accompanied him were large and grim each carried their shields which had been polished, the count noticed that each shield carried it’s own icon mostly a monsterous visage. “who are you warrior?” asked the count as the group reached him. “I am Achulus son of Archestor and these are my Men of the Mountains” Achulus replied gesturing the men that accompanied him and the mountains the distance. “B..But nobody lives in the Black Mountains” stammered the count unable to imagine how anyone could live in such a desolate place. “Well we MEN do” laughed a burely man in the front rank who was joined by his comrades in laughter. “For aiding us today you can have what you wish” said the count sweeping into a bow. “Two chests of gold, our choice of war spoils and a memorial erected where the creature’s leader fell with ‘Achulus son of Archestor’ carved in it” Achulus replied in one breath his tone implying that this price was to be expected. “that is a large reward my lord but I do not think this town can afford it” the count was sure not to offend the man. “So be it one chest of gold and the memorial” Achulus conceded. “Why so quick to give up riches?” asked the count surprised ny the man’s request. “wealth can be spent and traded but a great name lasts forever” Achulus said with a wise, sombre tone. “Also make sure your men don’t touch our dead my men are not as polite as my about such things” added Achulus with a sly grin.
Today if you pass that place there stands a statue of a man holding a spear and round shield with a crested helm. On the base of the statue an inscription reads ‘Achulus son of Archestor rich in name’.