The sandstorm howled in the night, blasting all before it with a barrage of whirling sand clouds. It was said that sandstorms were whipped up by Nunkarba to conceal her romantic escapades with chosen creatures, male gods, spirits and men from the prying eyes of mortals. A veil of love. It was said that all the demigods, heroes and monsters were conceived during sandstorms, and were born during flooding of the river plains, and that the blowing sand was gulped up and spat into the air by Daemonic spirits. A veil of secrecy. It was said that the godess Nunkarba hated mortals who dared a sandstorm so much that she sought to blind, choke and bury anyone seeking to steal a glimpse of her rutting adventures. A veil of death.
These myths rang ominously inside the head of Yarlagab the hillman as he adjusted the linen marching veil that failed to ward off the worst teeth of the ravenous blasts of airborne sand and dust. How many men had not died the sand death before him? How many bones from desert creatures and stray plain beasts did not litter the wasteland after these storms? Yet brave it they did, the strapping human youth of Namulki, the proud hill tribe of Orc-slayers and cattle rustlers, for it was known that no sane folks stayed outside during a sandstorm. Thus only men of great daring and hardy endurance could struggle through the spitting Daemons to fall upon weak city people during a time when all sentries were guaranteed to huddle inside their huts and towers, hiding from the nightmare winds.
And fall upon, they would! For the warriors of Namulki would burn the wagon camp of the devil Dwarfs and strangle the hated foe with their own intestines after force-feeding the runts their own coiled beards! The blood ran hot in Yarlagab's veins just from thinking of it, and so he gritted his teeth and pressed on, crawling up a stony hillside, just as dozens of fellow young men did all around the hillock. He could neither see, nor hear, nor smell anyone of them, for although they kept close by, the blowing sand obscured them from view and hearing. Yarlagab could as well have been left alone, yet he knew he was not abandoned, for he had many times trusted his poverty-stricken kinsmen with his life. They would make it through the hail of the sandspitters. They would slaughter the midgets in the dark of night. They would win, and they would carry off rich booty!
The ascent was arduously slow, yet Yarlagab persevered for a long time, clawing himself free from building sand dunes around his body and crawling on all four in the only clear direction: Upward. He clenched his eyelids together and ground his heels and elbows into the ground, scraping off hide and bleeding from stones and thorns. Occassionally he used his spear to help push himself forward. He could see nothing for all the sand and night, yet once, he could swear he glimpsed a scorpion dancing away from a sharp stone that his knees dislodged from the ground. He went through the warding gestures and spoke the enchanted words and trusted in the protection of the gods to keep him safe. All the gods, save from fair Namulki and the deities of deathly desolation. They were not to be trusted in this harsh place, in this veiling storm.
After a long while, Yarlagab discerned a broad shadow rising from the ground mere feet before his eyes. They had all scouted the Ashen Dwarf campsite before nightfall, shortly before the fortunate, yet oh so painful sandstorm had struck the desert wastes, so they all knew to huddle close to the makeshift barricades and silently search for other kinsmen nearby, circling the wagon fort. The bloody intruders knew the danger of raiders crawling beneath the wagons, so they had shut down hinged bronze plates from the underside of the vehicles, adorned with curse runes and spikes to keep attackers out, locked in place and unmoving. Yet for all this ingenuity, lithe men could easily climb inside the wagon fort. Such tricks would avail them nothing.
Yarlagab slowly crept alongside the barricade, deafened by the howling winds and assailed by a smattering of sand. It was not long before he discovered most of his fellow warriors and joined their gathering. Squinting and leaning in close, they were able to exchange hand motions, thereby passing on silent word from the raid leader, Toabekes the Scalped. He was obviously counting his followers, and soon he became content, for the signal to attack was passed down among the men. At last!
The sandstorm hit Yarlagab with full force as he straightened and rose up. He gripped his spear overhead and ran up close behind his friends and cousins, following their lead and darting around the corner of an iron wagon into the devil Dwarfs' camp. Darting...
...into a trap.
The flared muzzles of the arcane metal devices loomed in lines before him, much obscured by billowing sand. Yarlagab first froze in his tracks, then caught his senses and charged straight at the foe, lunging with his spear at thick helmets. But he knew it was too late. He had glimpsed the eyes of the devil Dwarf right in front of him. There was no remorse in those eyes, only cruel delight in the ambush.
As sparks ignited amid the sandstorm and nightly darkness, Yarlagab learnt in a din and in a hail of lead that there was something worse in those howling winds than spiteful desert Daemons. Something worse than even the wrath of an uncloaked goddess:
Sculpted by Jon Horsleben. This kit of 4 metal models at priced at only €8. Bases not included.