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Blightwar (2017), p18 — Baiting the Trap

From the Bone Heights, Horticulous looked down upon the battle. His sour expression showed little surprise at the carnage taking place. Mulch gave a contemptuous snort as, far below, the Stormcast Rangers tore through the daemonic rearguard and moved swiftly up the old road.

The Emberwash Realmgate stood upon a flat, stony hilltop dotted with old ruins and towers of bone. Horticulous' sowing was already well advanced.

He had ploughed the soil and spat his foulness into every furrow; he had spoken the tiller's lament and enunciated seven times the bubonic beseeching to Nurgle. He had daubed the Realmgate's lintel with filth, inscribing the runes of plentiful growth. Feeding upon the Realmgate's magical power, the first fronds of the Garden of Nurgle were already pushing through, and the gate's energies were turning a sickly green.

Yet his crop needed to ripen, and now these pests had come to spoil it. Horticulous meant to stop them, and, as with any other pest, the best way was to set a trap...

A short while later, Neave and her warriors crested a steep rise in the road and found themselves in an area of scrubby trees and rocky outcroppings that shivered with magical residue. Looming above them was the last, steep climb that led up to the summit, from where could be seen the sickly glow of the corrupted Realmgate. Closer to hand, Neave saw Horticulous himself. The Grand Cultivator shot a panicked glance over his shoulder at her, urging his snail-like steed to flee for the hilltop high above. Seeing their chance, the Rangers lunged forward into the ragged copse - into the jaws of the trap. Horticulous' daemons poured onto the plateau from all sides. The thrum of membranous wings filled the air as Plague Drones buzzed down from above, and whistling death's heads burst foully amidst the trees to spray diseased slime. Nurglings spilled from the undergrowth, and Plaguebearers trudged in to cut off the Rangers' route to Horticulous. The trap was sprung, and now the Stormcasts would have to fight for their lives.