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Borgnine's Log: Another liche and a zombie wedding present!

Borgnine

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@vg11k thanks! Glad you like them ;) This dragon is already plenty intimidating - if I had to paint those fiery belly plates on him, it would take so long, I will probably run out of zombie posts to show in the meantime! xD

-----------------------------------

Speaking of zombies being posted in the meantime... The dragon is taking quite a long time to do, especially if I messed up painting trees and had to fix them quite a bit... That's why this week I'll be posting some elves!

Part of the Zombie Legion. The link here is to my blog because it's the most organized way to see the whole legion.

I had some elf miniatures laying around, but I was never really fond of using them as zombies. They are all very clean, many of them with cloaks, robes - and the minis themselves, with their elves proportions, don't look very good if mixed with parts from the zombie kit. All of that makes it quite difficult to turn them into undead. Despite all that I added a small amount of them to the legion - even if it's only to have representatives of every race in the horde. Still, I think they turned out pretty ok - I especially like 'Lokhir Fellheart lite', the one with a standard crammed into his torso - and the wood elf with a bloody face. The High Elf one is from the old Cursed Company set, no converting needed.

Some backstory:
Elves don't show up in Varsavia very often but Constantin can still boast about having few members of the elder race in his rotten legion. Some of those were parts of the Druichii slave raids, some were scouts operating in the Old World and some even fell from the sky after one of their aerial battles. Unfortunately, after being raised they don't retain their legendary skill or agility, so those zombies are just weak and frail versions of the human ones - with them it's probably more about collector's value than anything else.

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And the second picture, an undead dark elf mistress whipping her zombie sub. The idea came to me when I was looking for usable bits in my Dark Elf Dragon box. There are two body options there, a male lord and a female sorceress. I wanted to place either one of them on a log and look silly, but I didn't know which one should I take - the sorceress won in the end because giving her a whip was an excuse to add someone being whipped in front of her, cheaply taking even more area using only 1 model more. That and the lord could be used for some vampire conversion later on, maybe. I added some trees to the bases, sculpted half a head for her, a new back for him, painted them - and a small BDSM action in the middle of the rotting horde was done.

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I love your version of Blood Knights, have not really been a fan of using the elvish knights that most people favor. Also love your greenstuff work. As for your more recent stuff, love the use of ghouls, really captures that strogi feel for me personally.
 

Borgnine

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@Citrov Thanks for taking the time to look at my older stuff, I really appreciate it! :D Even more if you think similarly about the elven knights ;) They seemed too dainty for me - that, and I got a pretty good deal on a box of chaos knights at that time! :)

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While I have been working on the dragon, I managed to fit a small WIP project to have something new to show this week.

For a long, long time I really disliked those old bedsheet spirit hosts of old. That's why I used LOTR minis for my own ghosts. But about a month ago, when I was looking through eBay I noticed three bases of them being sold cheaply and I realized that I actually like those goofy bastards and I totally want some.

Seeing as they are dressed in robes, have bald heads and use ropes as belts, I wanted to have them as some kind of monks - and mix them that way into my story. But their remaining hair is long, so that theme wasn't perfect. So next, I thought of the Russian ascetic hermits of old - I would only need to sculpt some beards and hats. The picture that inspired me is below the photos. This idea was also great to add some differentiation too - for all their oldschool charm, those ghosts come in only three variants and are rigid enough to make them unposeable. Besides that, this also instantly gave them some Slavic feel and made them fit better into my army and story.

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And here you can see the painting that inspired me the most on how to make them - "Hermit fathers and the immaculate women" by Mikhail Nestrov, 1932.

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BTW. I am posting resized, smaller images now (they still link to bigger pictures!) because CN started resizing really big pictures by itself and it can look pretty random now, like with the Bretonnians on the last page. This way I can keep things at least somehow consistent...
 
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Very thematic, @Borgnine! I like the hats very much. I think it's going to turn out really well. What colour(s) are you thinking? Are you going to match the painting?

It's cool that you found it. Where did you see the painting? I guess you look at period Slavic/Russian work to get a sense of the aesthetic while building this theme to your force?

@Citrov All his work is pretty sick, eh? I'm going to have to go back and admire it some more myself~
 

Borgnine

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@Eternal Salvation Thanks! Glad you like them! :) I am going to paint them exactly the same way as I did with my ghost sisters lately. Putting them in those black/brown robes would be interesting, but I'd rather have them fit with other spectres ;) And I found the painting then I was doing some research on the topic, as I knew such hermits were a thing in russia, but I wasn't 100% sure how they looked like. I managed to create quite a collection of inspiring arts to help me paint and sculpt over those years, both digital and in normal books. And yes, quite a lot of it are russian painters ;)

And if you want to check back the archive, then that makes me happy xD You can check the index on the first page of this thread (I finally updated it) or just click in my signature and visit my blog, it's much easier to browse and the pictures, especially of old things, are much better ;)
 
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Borgnine

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More zombies while I am meticulously painting all the individual scales on the dragon...

Now, these were fun! Ever since the very beginning I have been trying to assign one command group to every zombie unit. Champion included, even if zombies cannot have champions in 8th edition WFB. Not only those groups made them look more organized, which I like, but they were also very good from the hobby standpoint - lots of converting, freehands, creating more interesting dudes than just your usual wound markers.

Some backstory:
Constantin likes his horde somehow organized, at least slightly resembling real military units. He achieves this by giving each section a command group, with his family banner, a musician and a single zombie dressed like an officer. Surprisingly, this somehow improves their performance on the battlefield. It is unknown, if it’s because of the residual memories in each walking corpse are making them fight better under one command, or because it makes vampires and necromancers easier to focus their magic better when they can recognize each unit on the battlefield. No matter what it is, Constantin keeps the command groups gladly, replacing them after each battle as soon as possible.

First, the champions and the musicians. For this purpose, a champion was basically any zombie that is sticking its weapon into the air - and I actually ended with more of them than 8, so I had to choose some favorites. Musicians were also fun to build - I have so many leftover instruments laying around, I could co twice the amount needed - and every one was a cool modeling opportunity. Like that half of a zombie sitting on a carriage - I was really running out of legs so I got creative with some balsawood.

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And the standard bearers - with their height, I couldn't fit them on one picture with the rest. As with the musicians, I could use a lot of my spare banners thanks to them - and they were also a freehand opportunity too! I tried painting my usual von Greifen coat of arms in many different colors and styles. It would be good to mention here that the ghoul with a bretonnian helmet, holding an axe, that's something I copied from one creative take on the Flesh-Eater Courts, done by the user Dez in the Dark Age of Sigmar thread on TGA community HERE.

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Borgnine

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@Unas the slayer Thanks! Glad you like them :)

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This batch was brought together rather accidentally, it was only after building the whole horde when I noticed that they kinda fit a common theme. The first one was the ogre, I had a lot of ogre bits laying around after assembling my Crypt Horrors and I wanted to use them somehow. With a head and two hands it was relatively easy to sculpt just the torso with some guts spilling out. The spine was taken from a skeletal horse model.

The parts of a giant was my attempt at using all the extra parts from the Giant box. There are so many additional body parts there, it would be a waste to not use them somehow. It was just a matter of sculpting some additional flesh to show that the part in question was indeed torn or cut off. Even though there are giant hands in the kit, the hand crawling here comes from the Beastmen Ghorgon kit - I bought the spare bits from someone on ebay mostly just to get that limb and make it crawl together with my zombies. Its position was perfect for my needs, I just needed to sculpt the torn stump and insert a toothpick and a bone from the Crypt Horrors kit there. You can find the unpainted versions of the head and the hand in the WIP post HERE.

Some backstory:
It’s no difference for a necromancer whether the raises whole bodies or only parts of them - even a single hand can crawl if it’s instilled with dark magic - it just isn’t worth it most of the times. Unless one finds a giant or an ogre - that’s something else. Of course it would be ideal to raise such behemoths whole, but Constantin doesn’t complain when he happens upon just some torn pieces. A crawling giant’s hand can still crush a grown man and an ogre ripped in two will still messily devour anything unlucky to be caught by it.


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Borgnine

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A small conversion work. Miniature from the Avatars of War range, one called the 'Necromancer Lord'. He was sculpted by Gary Morley, the author of the infamous oldschool Nagash model - and seeing how this model looks, it's safe to say that this one is a much subtler reimagining of that old clown. I bought the miniature because I found it really cool, even if I didn't have absolutely any use for him on the battlefield - there are no necromancers or wights in WFB or AoS that big! Still, he'll be a good excuse in my background to greatly expand on the wights and the rest of the 'Ancients' subfaction.

As cool as this model is, I needed him to fit the aesthetics of my other wights, make him more Slavic and get rid of the 'mysterious eye' symbols that were all over him. To achieve that, I gave him a pointy crown/helmet and added much more Slavic iconography. I also scratchbuilt a new sword scabbard for him, as the original one was way too weird and fantastic for me.

Also, only on the photos, I noticed that the needle in his helmet is showing - I need to fix it up! His dagger is also missing here, but I still need to consider if I need it at all.

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Farmer7574

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It's been a while since I've checked out your work mate. Really nice stuff you're working on lately - I've never really been a fan of the classic spirit host minis but your conversions have made them quite appealing. Great showcase of your zombies and Necro Lord conversion too, they're excellent!
 

Borgnine

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@Farmer7574 Thanks! I never liked those old ghosts too, but it changed for me somehow ;)

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Finally, after starting this project in November 2016, I managed to finish it!

It started with me buying an old model of High Elf Imrik - I loved that model ever since I saw it as a child! Then I wanted to incorporate it in my undead army - but I also wanted to avoid butchering the model turning it into a zombie. I decided to make it look scarier and more evil - a dragon befitting a vampire. To achieve that, I covered him almost completely with new, pointy scales out of greenstuff. It was a tedious task, but I managed to change the details while keeping the original form still there. Then I mounted on it a vampire that was leftover from the Terrorgheist set. The whole conversion process is documented in THIS post, while the base with the falling trees is documented HERE.

THIS photo and THIS artwork were the main inspirations, both for the sculpting phase and the painting one.

The painting proved no less tedious than the sculpting! I didn't consider the fact, that with those new scales, its surface area increased significantly. Other than that, it was really difficult to hold this spiny beast. I have been holding it by the wings the whole time and painted them only after I glued it to the base. One of them even broke off after all the turning and rotating. Then there was the fact that red is quite a difficult color to work with - I had to go several times with basecoat, shades, wetblended layers, glazes, hightlights - all that through every scale. Thankfully, after that was done, the rest was much easier and more enjoyable. In the end, it turned out pretty good.

The base itself was quite a challenge too, but a welcome one - it was the first opportunity to use dirt mix on such a big base instead of the usual drybrushed sand. Besides, I bought a lot of basing materials specifically for this occasion after paying extra attention when I was biking through forests this summer. I even used my Johann (he would be probably more like Jan in my story) model to make it extra special.

Some background text:
One of the main reasons why Lady Ecaterina wasn’t replaced by another upstart pretender during all the years is Vaclav, known in Varsavia as Vaclav the Red. He’s unconditionally loyal to his mistress, ready to do anything for her - yet nobody, perhaps besides himself and Ecaterina, knows why is that so. If the fact that he’s one of the true Blood Dragons and has the skill to prove it isn’t enough to deter enemies, his giant red dragon - his loyal companion and mount - usually is. Together they impaled, incinerated and torn into pieces countless foes. Still, even they weren’t able to overcome the numbers and wit von Greifens brought with them - and Lady Ecaterina was forced to parley. But if not for him, she probably would be forced into unconditional surrender or killed outright. Their current cooperation with von Greifens is questionable at best, but Constantin is willing to improve it if only to get the dragon knight on his side.

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And the second picture, because I couldn't fit all the views I wanted to show in a single one.

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And a little bonus picture!

Such is the life in Varsavia - if the dead are not rising from their graves, if the witches are not kidnapping your children to make soup out of them, if the mythical beasts are not slaughtering your livestock, then it's the dragons that are dropping trees on your head!

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Theerteen

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Dude I can't even... I consider myself kind of eloquent, and an ok painter. But seeing your stuff in general and those peaks of art which you pop out in regular phases...it's turning me speechless and pushing me to the edge of frustration. In a good, motivating way ;) Is there any chance of a way we can meet one day so I can see how you do this stuff? Successful that time? :D

Just awesome my friend, I have to share this beast where ever I have friends in the hobby. Unbelievable.
 

Farmer7574

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@Borgnine I've been looking forward to seeing this one since you first posted WIP pics of it a while back.

Absolutely stunning work mate, the colours are perfect and will serve as inspiration for my black orc on wyvern when I finally get around to working on him... one day xD The fleeing peasant and cracking tree trunks are all nice touches that make not just the mini itself excellent but the base too.

Be proud, very very proud mate - you've created a piece of art once again :thumbsup:
 

Irisado

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Outstanding work all round. My favourite element of this model is, however, undoutedly the use of colour. You have the shades of red spot on, from the fiery orangy red to the darker shades. This is a superb centrepiece for your army.
 

Borgnine

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@Unas the slayer I saw Golden Demon stuff from yesterday, so I know this is definitely not that level yet, but thanks still! xD

@Theerteen Well then, I hope it will stay motivating ;) Cheers!

@Shadespyre Thanks!

@The Gunslinger Thanks, I'm glad you appreciate it :)

@Farmer7574 Yeah, thankfully it's finally done, it has been forever since those early WIP pictures. At least that, bringing myself to finish it, makes me proud enough ;) Good to know you have a Wyvern planned, I will be looking forward to it ;)

@Irisado Thanks! I'm glad you noticed it, I really had hard time to make things at least a bit different when my driving idea was 'make this thing REALLY RED' ;)

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And now we're back to the mundane things. I have many new projects started on the desk right now, but none of them were ready for this week, so I will be showing some more zombies today - zombie cavalry, to be precise!

I really love cavalry miniatures and of course I couldn't skip on them in the Zombie Legion. The problem was that they usually go on 25x50mm bases and I had to stick them on 20x40mm ones - they have some difficulties fitting in, but with right neighbours they manage all right. You can see the unpainted versions of most of them HERE.

Most zombies walk by themselves, because it is usually tricky to make both the rider and the beast move in unison - but sometimes, an exception is made - even if such zombies can barely stay on their mounts, not to mention fighting. Still, Constantin loves to mock his defeated enemies, so if his forces manage to slay a high-ranking officer, a noble, or a member of an elite unit, he raises his corpse and puts it on a horse as a vile parody. Bretonnians - his most hated enemy - make this especially difficult. Knights will never suffer anyone of them be raised in such a manner, so they always bring their fallen comrades back with them or - should he really be raised - he’s hunted down with extreme prejudice. To express their disdain properly, vampires had to ‘build’ their own knight - out of random bodies, wooden scrap and farm tools. After some time Constantin decided that this solution was even better than having a real undead knight.

First is the Empire officer with his untypical vertical orientation. He is converted slightly - I took away his head, put an eye in the crow's beak, sculpted some guts hanging out from the horse's belly and added a gash in its eye socket. When it came to painting, I had an idea to make him really nice and glossy, using black and gold (inspired by Nilfgard colors from the Witcher franchise) and then cover him rather thickly with dust and mud and see how it'll turn out. In the end, I think I overdid the mud a bit, the glossy parts are really subtle - but at least he still fits with his colleagues.


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And the the rest - a winged hussar, a rusted knight, bretonnian knight mockup and an acrobat. The first one is a greenstuffed kitbash mounted on a metal horse with some rather straightforward painting.

The second one is quite a veteran of the legion, built and painted for the first expansion to the unit - but he didn't have any cavalry friends back then. I always wanted to have a limp corpse being carried on a horse in my army and a really, really rusted knight too - so he counts here for both. The rust is different than most of the legion, I painted him before I started using pigments for rust.

The third one started as am attempt to kitbash an undead Bretonnian knight. While doing that, I noticed that I either don't have good bits to do it, or making them out of greenstuff would take too much time. That's why I started using much more 'rural' accesories, to create some sort of a mockup my Vampires could build up. Then came the backstory explanation for it and it all worked out fine in the end. To bring the idea further, I painted him in washed-out, natural colors, something a peasant would use, not like those colorful nobles.

And the last one came to be when I was trying to mount a ghoul model on a skeleton horse. I couldn't fit it there nicely, no matter how I tried but I noticed I could make it simply stand on its spine, like an acrobat. Seeing how zombies can be made more humorous than your usual undead, I just ran with it.


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Borgnine

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My bedsheet ghosts are back, only this time they are painted! I used the same scheme that I used on my banshee sisters recently - only this time I wasn't sweating as much about detail. Well, they aren't as much detailed as the banshees too.

I wetblended them first - dark green on the bottom parts and light green on the top parts. When that was dry I highlighted the top with a white paint and added several layers of black shade on the bottom parts, especially in the recesses. Then I added some Coelia Greenshade, mixed with Vallejo Glaze Medium on the middle parts to blend two extremes together. Then it was just a matter of some refining touches, like on the hands or on their faces. In the end, it was pretty quick to do, I remember that banshees were more labor-intensive.

Faith in the harsh land of Kislev values frugality and abstinence - and while common people remember about it only a few times a year, some people take it much, much more seriously. Those ascetic hermits can be found all over Kislev, but they are especially common in dangerous Varsavian forests, where they can really test their bodies and faith. Here they preach spirituality and peace, sometimes acting as quite effective neutral mediators between warring chieftains. The problem was, Constantin wanted the Varsavian chieftains to wage endless wars between themselves, to make them easier to control and contain - and to have a steady supply of dead to be raised in the vampires’ armies. Because of that, he had Sorin and Ioana hunt down every single hermit hiding in the forests. Violently murdered despite their innocence, their disturbed spirits were easy to shackle down, to serve their killers even after death. Vampires find them useful both on the battlefield and to haunt the countryside, ruining the hermits’ reputation for years to come.


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Borgnine

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@Sharkbelly Thanks! Glad you like him :)

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When I was at the end of my zombie-building process, when I was completely out of suitable models and cool ideas, I filled the missing places with those statues. I planned it like that since the beginning - seeing as those are scratchbuilt, I needed only milliput, greenstuff and a free base - I could easily make them exactly as much as needed. They would also help to bring this chaotic mass of corpses a little bit closer to the Slavic theme of this force.

I thought I would make them stand alone on those 40mm bases, but they would become either way too thick or the base seemed empty. That's why the three ones seen on the top of the picture got a single zombie each to make them a little bit crowdier. Two below are kinda opposite - I wanted both the spider and the whipper to stand on something that would elevate them and those wooden idols were a much better idea than using a simple, boring stone. The minis were there first, statues came later.

I will make a tutorial in the future about building and painting those.

Giant sculptures depicting old gods, heroes and ancestors, carved out of whole tree trunks are a common sight in the Varsavian wilderness - it’s difficult to move through the land without stumbling upon at least one of them. Despite their true meaning becoming mostly forgotten today, the villagers still care for those idols - not wanting to anger the old spirits and being somehow proud of their old cultural heritage, something that makes them different from other people of Kislev. Boyars tend to ignore this sentiment because the villagers still pay their taxes and it's much better than worshipping Chaos.

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Borgnine

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@Menkeroth thanks! Glad you like them :)

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Sorry for such a delay! I will post two things at once now ;)

First one, a conversion of a GW cockatrice! I bought him kinda like I did with my Boyar earlier - not because I intended to use it somehow on the tabletop, but because it would fit in my Slavic-themed collection. While a cockatrice isn't a particularly Slavic beast, a basilisk certainly is! It was probably the second mythical monster I heard about as a child - after the dragon from Krakow of course.

While it's a good base, I didn't find the GW Cockatrice to be 'basilisk enough', the rooster aspect of it wasn't as pronounced as I would like - and the most important feature of the beast, its eyes, were also way too small. So I made new eyes out of greenstuff and built all the fleshy parts around them to make it resemble a rooster a little bit more. I also didn't like the weird claw the original sculpt had on the end of the tail, so I just cut it off and sculpted a normal, scaly tail. I bent the wings a bit too, they were unnaturally straight and flat - thankfully it's very easy to do such changes in resin with just some warm water.

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Borgnine

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And a nostalgic trip into my patina-covered past ;)

Here you can see a "Necromancer Lord" miniature from Avatars of War range, one sculpted by Gary Morley - the same one who sculpted the old clown-style Nagash for GW - so this model can be seen as his another take on the topic, even if for another company and under a different name. I liked this mini the moment I saw it, but I still had to convert it a bit to make it fit my Slavic wights better.

And speaking of those wights, man it was good to be back to this patinated color scheme! It was more than two years since I painted anything like that and I had to remind myself of how to do it, but once I did (thankfully the tutorial is helpful to me too!) I had a real blast, kinda nostalgic! I took out two liches and a bunch of Grave Guards too - and I did the whole process on the all at once. Then I did the usual bone, blacks with freehands and reds, only this time concentrating on the giant liche here. I will be posting the rest during upcoming weeks. Daremnych was especially interesting because he had this ground with bones rising up from the base - I never painted something like this before. Well, that and flames too, even if I hate painting those!

This guy opens a new 'season' in my upcoming projects too, expect much more from this subfaction in the near future!

Some background text:
Alexander Hautfell and his necromancers were crucial to raising, sustaining and supporting the wight armies that were the most effective fighting force available to the undead. That gave them much independence and influence in the local politics. That lasted until King Zlyshko managed to find another well-hidden wight barrow. Necromancers, not knowing into what they were getting into, helped to raise another ancient wight. He introduced himself as Daremnych, the Grand Priest of the Death God and the Hierophant of Bones. Towering over everyone else, he was one of the rare Varsavian Giants, a powerful necromancer and a very old, experienced schemer. Centuries spent in the barrow rusted his precision of handling the wings of magic and he didn’t know the new, refined invocations of the modern sorcerers, but his incredibly powerful, if somewhat wild and unpredictable magic skills were enough for the wights to finally stop relying on the feeble, human necromancers. They could go forth really expanding their armies. Still, even if discarded and without protection, Hautfell wasn’t ready to give up yet.

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