The Blighted Isle
Long ago, during the catastrophic civil war known as the Sundering, terrible magical energies were unleashed upon the northern kingdoms of Ulthuan. The land was riven by cataclysmic earthquakes and swallowed by the raging waters of the ocean. All that now remains of these once-proud provinces are a number of broken, twisted islands. The most important of these is the Blighted Isle, and at the dawn of the Age of Reckoning it is here that the Dark Elves' invasion of Ulthuan begins.
Under cover of darkness, House Uthorin's mighty Black Ark, Nemesis, approaches the northern coast of Ulthuan. A towering fortress of obsidian atop an island of rock, the Ark is laden with soldiers, beasts and war machines of the powerful noble house. From the depths of the Ark, legions of Dark Elf warriors charge forth onto the high bluffs, eager to spill the blood of their mortal enemies. But the High Elves are not as surprised by the attack as Malekith has guessed.
With the clarion call of a silver horn, Swordmasters spring out from hiding and ambush the invaders. Shadow Warriors rain deadly arrows upon the Dark Elf soldiers from hidden crevasses in the cliffs. The battle for the Blighted Isle has begun, and far sooner that Lord Uthorin and the Witch King expected. In their eagerness for conquest, both have gravely underestimated the wisdom of their High Elf kin.
Before departing to join the war in the Old World, the Phoenix King appointed the mighty warrior Prince Tyrion and his brother Teclis as joint stewards of Ulthuan. Knowing that his kingdom was at great risk of attack by the opportunistic Dark Elves, King Finubar commanded Tyrion to raise an army of skilled warriors. This Shining Guard would be charged with the defense of Ulthuan while its armies were away in the west.
When the Guard was assembled, Prince Tyrion led his army north, for always the Dark Elves had attacked there first. Sure enough, his scouts soon brought word that a great fleet of Black Arks was fast approaching on the horizon.
Although Prince Tyrion's prescience has robbed the Dark Elves of the element of surprise, Lord Uthorin still has a considerable advantage. His forces outnumber the Shining Guard, and he has brought siege machines and creatures of war to overrun their defenses. Slowly, inexorably the Dark Elves push Prince Tyrion's noble warriors back. It is not long before the forces of House Uthorin have gained a foothold on the broken shores of the Blighted Isle.
Though the Isle is far from the High Elf capital of Lothern, it is greatly prized by the Dark Elves, for it here that the Altar of Khaine can be found. Atop this great ziggurat of black stone rests the Widowmaker, dread Sword of Khaine. It is an artifact of immeasurable power that has already changed the course of Elf history once, and would certainly do so again if it fell into the hands of the Witch King. The Sword of Khaine calls out to both Dark Elves and High, for it wishes to be drawn so that it might once more spill blood in the name of the Lord of Murder.
Prince Tyrion knows full well that there is a terrible price to be paid for the sword's awesome power; long ago, Aenarion the Defender, first of the Phoenix Kings, used the weapon to drive the hordes of Chaos out of Ulthuan. This selfless act saved his people, but the dark stain of the sword's power poisoned his bloodline forever. That curse was made manifest when Aenarion's son Malekith was born, for he is the Witch King of the Dark Elves.
Lord Uthorin lusts for the Sword of Khaine. Such a weapon might give him the power to usurp the Witch King and take his place as the ruler of the Dark Elves. If he were to succeed in claiming the Widowmaker, the results would be disastrous not only for the High Elves, but for the entire Alliance of Order.
The Lords of Ulthuan watched as the Old World was consumed by war, but for many the conflict seemed distant and of little concern. All of that has changed with the Dark Elves' invasion of Ulthuan, for now the threat has come to the shores of the High Elves' island home. It has become terribly clear that the unfolding war is not merely a chain of circumstances and unfortunate coincidences. Only now do the High Elves perceive the terrible and malicious cunning behind these events, and it will take all their skill and courage to keep their exiled brethren away from the Sword of Khaine and the Phoenix Throne.
Meanwhile, elsewhere on Ulthuan, other Black Arks continue to make landfall. Bloodthirsty Dark Elves march forth to begin their great campaign of conquest. From his throne room, the Witch King watches with hate-filled eyes as the last pieces of his grand scheme fall into place. The full might of his armies has been set loose upon the pristine lands of Ulthuan, and destruction and ruin will follow in their wake.
Throughout its history, Chrace has been a province scarred by war. Time and again, the Dark Elves have attacked the northern coast of Ulthuan and marched into Chrace seeking passage through the Annulii Mountains, into the Inner Kingdoms that are the heart of the High Elves' island home. These sacred lands have been successfully defended by the lords of Ulthuan for generations, and if the Dark Elves were to breach these kingdoms, it would strike a heavy blow to the hearts of their enemies.
Now, once again the Black Arks of Naggaroth have made landfall on the Blighted Isle and an invading army of Dark Elves marches southward across its bleak terrain. As in the past, the mountain passes of Chrace seem to be their objective.
A rugged region of green hills that rise to meet the piney slopes of the Annulii Mountains, Chrace provides its defenders with many advantages. As they draw nearer to the mountains, the Dark Elves will find the steep and rocky terrain increasingly difficult to navigate. The province is littered with forts and hidden redoubts from which the High Elves can launch harassing actions and stage ambushes.
Chrace is also home to many fierce creatures that will savagely attack the invaders on sight. The king of these beasts is the mighty White Lion, a strong and savage predator who has prowled the mountain slopes since before the Sundering. The White Lion is a proud symbol not only of the province, but also its most storied regiment, the White Lions of Chrace.
For generations, the White Lions of Chrace have defended Ulthuan and the Phoenix Throne. Only the strongest and most skillful warriors and hunters of the kingdom earn membership in the White Lions. To prove his worth, each initiate must defeat in single combat one of the fierce creatures for whom the unit is named. Sometimes a bond forms between the lion and his master, and they accept one another as equals. For any who stand against these noble warriors of Chrace, it is a deadly combination.
As the Dark Elves press their attack inland from the coast, the High Elves take up defensive positions at the city of Tor Achare, and at the fort on Blackwood Hill. The Dark Elves waste no time in laying siege to these positions, but it appears that their true purpose for enter Chrace lies elsewhere.
As the bulk of his forces engage the High Elves across Chrace, small regiments of Dark Elves are dispatched to two remote corners of Chrace, where they quickly seize control of two ancient menhir stones. These stones are part of the ancient network that anchors the Vortex, a powerful magical construct created in an age long past to siphon the turbulent energies of Chaos and prevent them from overrunning the world.
When word reaches Prince Tyrion of the threat to the menhirs, he moves quickly to defend them. His warriors arrive to find a ring of Sorcerers encircling the standing stone, chanting arcane passages. The High Elves attack, but the enemy is not so easily driven off. Now, the two sides wrestle for control of the menhirs. Prince Tyrion does not know what nefarious plot Malekith is hatching, but he has no intention of allowing it to succeed.
All throughout the mountainous land of Chrace, ancient enemies clash in bitter battles. The ferocity of their blows is fueled by a hatred that has festered for millennia, and no mercy is shown by either side. With each passing day, it becomes increasingly clear that even the combined arms of the Shining Guard and White Lions will not be enough to hold back the encroaching legions of the Witch King. With each defeat, the High Elves' hope erodes a little further.
Just when the hour seems darkest and the evil Dark Elves have nearly reached the coveted mountain passes, news arrives from Lothern. The Phoenix King has returned, and he has brought reinforcements from the Old World.
But will they join the battle for Chrace before it is lost?