The Command Tent of Tsyiak the Crow-Father, somewhere on the eastern plains
Tsyiak, known as the Crow-Father, looked down upon his general in disgust. Lord Maelok had returned earlier that morning in defeat, his right arm heavily bandaged. The entire Chaos horde had been routed, and by the unworthy progeny of the Great Maw no less. Tsyiak was in a foul mood.
As Maelok began to recount the details of the battle, Tsyiak absent-mindedly recalled the last time he had fought the warriors of the Ogre Kingdoms. Vile corpulent creatures, not the beautifully grotesque spawn of the Father of Plagues, dressed in ill-fitting armour and with simple wooden planks for weapons. He allowed himself a smile as he recalled their feeble attempts at magic – all moaning and chanting and coarse blood-rites. They were as children next to the glory of Tzeentch.
Maelok had started talking about his arm again. Tsyiak glanced back to the one known as the Dreadbound, and his ears pricked up as the warrior began describing the strange war machine employed by the Ogres. This was an utterly unexpected discovery. Not only was it unerringly accurate – it had taken out the Chaos Dwarfs’ own artillery in a single shot, and was the cause of Lord Maelok’s broken arm – it was also able to move with amazing fluidity. It appeared that Maelok had underestimated its firing trajectory, and almost paid for it with his life.
The report continued, and Tsyiak became increasingly more frustrated. Legions of the ones called Maneaters – in formation! – not the lone stalkers of the past. Generals and Standard Bearers that led not from the front, but from the second row, but who would march forward to fight in the front-rank when in combat. This sort of discipline did not fit his own memories of the Ogre forces he had so mercilessly crushed no more than a handful of years ago.
No, this was a different enemy altogether. And the more Tsyiak listened, the more he began to realise that his own army, now camped out on the eastern plains, would have been much better equipped to deal with the threat. Instead, he had lost one Hellcannon, a vital supply route back to the lands of the Chaos Dwarfs, and nearly lost his general in the process.
Had he really got it so wrong? Had the Lord of Change kept this knowledge from him? Was he being tested? Tsyiak dismissed Maelok mid-sentence and turned to his divining mirror. He opened a small golden box on the pedestal next to it and inhaled deeply the acrid, smoky vapours. He closed the lid and turned back to the portal. Yes, I have had my feathers ruffled, he thought, but these claws will taste the blood of the unclean soon.