Raven Hax looked out over the terrain in disgust. Large formations of rocks created narrow passages and twisting ravines among the rocky lowlands. His adversary had chosen were to make his stand well. The young lich looked back to his large hordes of zombies and skeletons, knowing maneuvering them in this fight would be difficult. But he kept them in large throngs to better overwhelm his doughty opponents. He had learned before that dwarfs could outlast even the relentless dead through skill and stubbornness. He saw that the dwarven king had countered him by mustering his warriors into great units of his own. Raven Hax would have to use all his tactical acumen to defeat his foes today. He would grind his hordes into the dwarfs, weaken them, and then move in with his knights and revenants to crush them. He shifted his elite forces of vampires, werewolves, and other greater dead behind his weaker forces to better to protect them from the cannons he saw being hauled into position onto the high ground. Only two things gave the undead lord pause. One was the mass of Salamander mercenaries the dwarfs had somehow enticed to their side. Never before had he encountered the lizard people, and he was wary of the flames that danced off their strange weapons. Second, was the stumbling masses of rock that marched alongside the mountain dwellers. The dwarfs had awoken the stone of the earth to fight him, and he knew his dark children would struggle against their silent fury. Raven Hax would have to ensure his commanders paid close attention to their charges facing these foes. A clamor interrupted his thoughts. He saw the dwarfs had finished forming their lines and the battle-hungry soldiers had begun to beat their shields and chant in a deep droning melody. His undead, for the most part, remained silent. His acolytes all looked to him, ready for his orders. He raised two fingers above his head and brought them down in a chopping motion. The dead began their march forward. Today, he thought, he’d leave nothing alive before him.
Gunfire shattered old bones. Cannon shot pulverized rotting flesh. Dark lighting flew and where it hit, metal melted and skin ran like water. Shambling hordes were pushed forward with foul magic. The mountain folk stood their ground. Content to let their ranged forces batter the oncoming tide. That is except for the screaming berserkers, riding frothing badgers. He wasn’t worried as he saw his wraiths prepare to flank them. Smirking, Raven Hax summoned his will and then threw out his hands. A black mist shot forth overtaking, the horde before him. Broken bodies drank in the darkness and rose again. His foes would find very little damage to his children when they reached their lines if he could help it. He didn’t have to wait long as he heard the clash of steel and booming shouts. The lich wasn’t sure if either his army had charged first, of if some impetuous dwarf units had moved out to meet them. It didn’t really matter he thought, there could be only one outcome in this battle. The dead never tired and he would raise their fallen against them. He would win this grinding conflict, headstrong foes or not.
The attack had stalled. The dwarfs held their lines still. Raven Hax snarled as he took in the carnage. The left flank had devolved into small groups fighting desperately to annihilate each other. While the center and right continued to smash into one another without much effect. Shattered units on both sides were easily replaced by reinforcements nearby. Dwarven fury and the endless undead were unable to overcome the other. The cadavers of both sides began to impede the battle. Gore made the footing treacherous and more than one blow was foiled as the assailant slipped on spilled entrails. Soon both sides were fighting uphill on mounds of the dead. It was like the dwarven king and he were laying down a macabre foundation. One which they would build their warring kingdoms upon. Raven Hax liked the thought. Still, the necromancer hadn’t given up on winning. He pushed his forces harder. His apprentices and he worked dark spells, lending his children fell strength to smash down the enemy. He summoned shadowed mist, raising the dead on both sides to engulf the living. Yet he gained little ground. The dwarven war engines stuck down any units that broke through. Their leaders rallied tired regiments and countered his charging children, stopping them cold. Time seemed to slow as weapons slashed and tore. Spears and swords punched armor and the air was painted red. The struggle went on, neither side giving in.
The undead began to fall back as the dwarfs withdrew. The passes were choked with the fallen, walls that denied the battle from going any further. It was as if death itself had put a stop to the blood shed. The dwarfs had run out of ammo and stamina. While he and his had grown weak from channeling so much magic. He stared at the grim barriers he had helped make. His hands twitched in irritation as a red river flowed from them. It wasn’t a foundation of a dark kingdom he was making with the dead. It was walls to saved save the dwarven crossing and the places beyond. It seemed his opponent was as skilled war mason as he was. Still, the battle had cost the mountain folk dearly. Victory had eluded both armies this day. Raven Hax locked eyes with the dwarf king as he climbed a hill opposite him. Both sets of eyes narrowed dangerously. The armored dwarf raised his weapon in the challenge. The lich huffed as he turned away. One day, he thought to himself, he would rip the soul out of that arrogant noble. There would be a next time but for now, he would march his children to another battlefield. The war was far from over…