Cry of the Cockatrice

By the light of the flux-fires, the acolytes waited and murmured uneasily among themselves. In the hellish glow of the great bonfires, daemon-shapes murmured softly, eagerly, in a tongue that none save the adepts, in their feathered war-masks , could understand. 

Abruptly, the flux-fires blazed up, clawing at the stars above, as if to wrench them from the firmament. For a moment, the flames wavered and split, as if parted by monstrous hands, and beyond them, a howling void of endless colour and light spun in a lunatic pattern. 

A moment later, a tall, masked figure stepped forth from within the shimmering flux-flames, staff in hand. The acolytes stiffened attentively, as the newcomer began to speak. Perhaps it was time, at last, for the Cockatrice Conclave to go to war… 

Welcome to the initial instalment of my first expedition to the Mortal Realms.

Let’s start things off with a confession.

I haven’t played Warhammer of any flavour or variety in almost a decade. This was due to a combination of factors – lack of money, lack of space, and lack of interest being the main three. But recently, with the release of Age of Sigmar, I’ve found myself getting the itch to do something hobby-wise. I wanted an army, and I wanted to start playing again.

Luckily, I knew a few other people who did as well. So, to that end, I started socking money away in a hobby fund, waiting for the day an army would catch my interest. And recently, one did – the Disciples of Tzeentch. I was initially attracted to the faction’s aesthetics, more than the rules, but having played a few practice games with a friend’s models (mostly culled from Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower) I decided to take the plunge and order a few boxes.

First up were some Kairic Acolytes and a Magister. I figured that was as good a starting point as any. From my practice games, I learned that while the Acolytes have a ridiculous amount of potential firepower at their disposal, they’re fairly fragile when it comes to melee combat. Thus, I need something to stiffen their lines, and keep them from being ground under by more melee-orientated armies. While the Magister can offset this to some extent, adding a pack or two of Tzaangors, a few Skyfires,  or even some Enlightened, wouldn’t hurt.

All that said, I gave myself a small budget to work with, to ensure that I didn’t wind up with more stuff than I needed. The budget will also help me make sure that I don’t waste time buying things I won’t actually assemble and paint later, if and when I expand the army according to the theme I’m currently noodling with.

The goal of this little project is to take the army from assembly to tabletop ready, and play at least nine games with it. Why nine, you may ask? Well, given that nine is the sacred number of Tzeentch, it seemed only fitting.

Next time…pictures! Also, I’ll delve into the background I’ve been working on, to explain the who’s, the how’s and the why’s of what I’m calling the Cockatrice Conclave…

‘We live in a world of weavers, my friends…the enslaved and enslaver alike weave their plots and schemes, seeking to bend Fate to their will. But we know better, don’t we?’  The Unseen spoke with a man’s voice, this time. It was different, every meeting. Whether this was due to some quirk of sorcery, or because it was a different person beneath the golden, avian war-mask, none among the gathered acolytes could say, though suspicions as to the explanation were rife among the laity. 

This voice was not the barrel-chested rumble of two conclaves ago, or the feminine whisper of the last meeting, but instead an even, aristocratic tone. The voice of one used to command. A warrior’s voice. Excitement thrummed through the gathered acolytes. 

‘Yes, we know better, brothers and sisters. Fate is not a horse, to be broken to the bridle. It is a wild thing, vicious and unpredictable. One can but hold on, and hope for the best…’

The acolytes nodded, murmuring their assent. Wise words, whoever their speaker. 

‘Fate, my friends, is a cockatrice – a baleful beast, with a deadly, darting eye. Put yourself in its path, and your doom is assured. But if you can avoid its gaze…if you can but pluck a feather from its plumage, ah…then, anything is possible…’