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Expanding Tide ~ Erengrad

To the men and women of the Empire, north of the Imperial border is the unknown. Few venture beyond their towns in their lives, let alone beyond their provincial borders. All things remotely foreign are completely exotic. To most denizens of the Empire, only one thing comes from the north – Chaos. But this world-view is not entirely true. While Chaos does have its roots in the north, and indeed everywhere around us, between the realm of Chaos and the Empire there still is civilization. That civilization is Kislev.

While Kislevites play a small role in the affairs of the Empire, their very existence is deeply connected to the state of the Empire. Before any Chaos onslaught reaches the borders of the Empire, it must first pass through the lands of the Tsardom of Kislev. One would not be off by much to say that the Kislevites suffer ten-fold at the hands of Chaos in comparison to the trials of the Empire.

North of Ostland and Ostermark lays the Tsardom of Kislev, which stretches from the Upper Talabec and the Forest of Shadows to the mountains of Norsca. The land of Kislev is a rugged and unforgiving land, comprised of vast rolling steppes, bleak forests, and misty bogs. Before the time of Sigmar the lands were populated by the Norse, but when the provinces of the Empire began to solidify their rule, they pushed out the Ungols who in turn displaced the Norse, forcing the Norse to flee north. Thus in the time of Sigmar, much of the land was populated by the semi-nomadic Ungols, but even their reign would come to an end when a large migration from the east brought in the Gospodars who kept pushing the Ungols further west against the Sea of Claws. Over time the Ungols were slowly pushed towards the city of Erengrad and gradually accepted Gospodar rule. And so the nomadic life-style of the Ungols was replaced by the urbanization of the Gospodars, and in the wake of the Gospodars three urban centers became dominant in Kislevite life – the capital of Kislev, Praag to the north, and Erengrad in the west.

Erengrad was in many ways the last bastion of the Ungols, but due to the strategic importance of the port town sitting on the mouth of the Lynsk, even the Ungols were displaced from the central urban environment and pushed into the surrounding steppes. While the city of Kislev was the governmental and religious center of the Tsardom, and Praag was in many ways the military bulwark of Kislev, Erengrad was the economic hub. Erengrad quickly grew and prospered as the chief port of Kislev, but due to its location on the Sea of Claws, peace would not last for ever.

Located along the Sea of Claws, Erengrad was always subject to Norse raid, though the large town proved capable of repelling small Norse raids. However, the Norse were not the only enemy’s to see the importance of Erengrad, for the gods of Chaos also saw the role Erengrad played in the defense of the Empire. The town of Erengrad is situated just on the border with the Empire, along the coastal road, and thus any invasion of the Empire from the north cannot proceed south without bypassing Erengrad or conquering it. The Kislevites are no strangers to the perils of Chaos, having witnessed the horrors of the twisted gods many times in Praag.

Now with Kislev playing a more active role at the side of the Empire in the war against Chaos, Kislev’s cities and peoples are more than ever living in the shadow of Chaos. The proud city of Erengrad has stood on the warpath for far too long, and Tzeentch demands its eradication. If the town cannot be conquered, it must be razed to the ground. Tchar’zanek’s plan is simple – overwhelm the defenders of Erengrad with sheer numbers and destroy the city, and in doing so Kislev’s resolve will be shattered and it shall fade as a competent ally of the Empire. If Erengrad can fall, then all of Kislev will shrink back in horror, of this Tchar’zanek is certain.

The Raven Host, always quick to address the will of The Changer, has descended upon the city from their positions in Norsca, Troll Country, and High Pass. Arriving from the north through the decimated Grovod Woods, the Raven Host has set up its siege camp at Soshmeth’s Advance warcamp overlooking the north shore of the town. On two high ridges jutting above the Grovod Woods, the hosts of Chaos have assembled all manners of dreadful siege weapons who rain constant fire upon the defenders, hoping to shatter their will to fight – in the west the Raven Host fires from Hellfire Ridge, and from the east from Brimstone Ridge. Under the cover of fire the Raven Host has sent in a massive horror of a siege tower against the wall of Erengrad hoping for a breach, and they have met success reaching the wall, though entering the town has been another story.

The town of Erengrad is bisected into two portions, the north shore largely given to the merchants and the dead, and the south shore where life is said to blossom. Located on the north bank beyond the walls of the town, is the Temple of Manaan, perhaps the most important religious center of this maritime town, as Manaan is the god of the sea and mariners. Within the walls of the town along the north shore is the vast Merchant Quarter. Hugging the bank of the Lynsk is the great Erengrad Harbor, one of the chief international ports of the Old World, and within its confines is perhaps one of the most important bureaucratic offices of the town – the Harbormaster. Overlooking the north gate of Erengrad is the lofty White Wolf Hill, a garrison of militant believers of Ursun who vow to protect the city at all costs. East of White Wolf Hill is the Temple of Morr, and between is Morr’s Garden, a blooming garden of headstones. The curtain wall which use to shelter the cemetery was destroyed in a past incursion, and the danger of rebuilding the wall were too high, so a new wall was simply built south of the cemetery between White Wolf Hill and the Temple of Morr.

The River Lynsk flows through the town, but centrally located in the town is an island that juts out of the river. Atop this island is what was once the capital of the Ungols, a small fort, but with the Gospodars assuming rule, the islands administrative role was shifted further south. Now the Red Isle stands as a secondary line of defense against the northern invasions. Should the outer gates be breached and White Wolf Hill fall, the Red Isle stands with its cannons aiming in all directions, ever vigilant for attacks from the north or the west.

On the southern bank of the Lynsk Erengrad is populated by a more noble class of citizens, largely Gospodars. Directly south of the Red Isle is Erengrad’s third line of defense, the keep known as the Ursun Gate. In ages past the Ursun Gate served as the outer gate of the city, but as the city grew it became a more central feature of the town and its role shifted from protecting access into the town, to serving as a refuge for the inhabitants in times of crisis. East of the Ursun Gate is the Gospodar Square, a booming market for all the foreign goods which sail in daily. East of the Gospodar Square is the Ursun Conservatory, a garden in the busy streets of Erengrad where massive Ursun bears roam; in all its wilderness, the Ursun Conservatory is the closest thing to a temple to Ursun that one may ever see. South-west of the Ursun Gate are two grand structures which mark Erengrad as a center of civilization, the Library of Erengrad, and the Museum of Erengrad. Not only exotic foods, beverages, and furs make their ways into the markets of Erengrad, but also rare tomes of literature and works of art from the corners of the globe. No other city can boast such a museum of art. East of the Library alone the outer wall is a massive structure which defies nature – a twisting tower of glistening ice that resists the warmth of the sun. This is Frosthome, the seat of the Ice Witches of Kislev. What the Bright Wizard College is to Altdorf, Frosthome is to Erengrad.

This is Erengrad in times of peace, but war has come to its walls. The Merchant quarter lays in smoking ruins from the constant fire of the Chaos Hellcannons, its inhabitants fleeing south across the Lynsk. Outside the city walls of the southern bank, the merchants and their families have set up a refugee camp in the Burning Steppe – a tent city for the Gospodars more akin to the lifestyles of the Ungols they expelled in ages past. Within the refugee camp the Sisters of Shallya have arrived from the Empire to tend to the wounded, but the first token of aid from Kislev’s ally to the south. After news arrived that the Raven Host was marching on Erengrad, Karl Franz quickly sent word to Tsarina Katarina as to what aid he could send her way. Formed in this alliance between the kingdoms of men was a new regiment of Kislevites and Imperial soldiers – the Tsarina’s Commission, which is found within the walls of the Tsarina’s summer residence, Autumn’s Rest. However, war knocks on the gates of Erengrad, and the former palatial residence of the Tsarina has quickly been transformed into one of Kislev’s most imposing fortresses, acting as the last line of defense of Erengrad.

The forces of Chaos march south against Erengrad. If they can take the town, not only will they shatter Kislev’s will to resist The Changer, but they will have a clear path from the north into the Empire. Preparing to meet the tide of destruction is a joint host of men of the Empire and of Kislev. Erengrad must not fall, the fate of both kingdoms depends on it.

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