Viktor fought to keep the smile off his face. Here he was, Viktor Shelley, out in the wilderness of the north and with barely more than a couple of months since his first reanimation. And he was going to be the one to kill the famed Arcanist, the supposedly-great Marcus!
Viktor had heard rumors of a beastmaster out near Bedlam quarry and decided that this was the ideal way to make a name for himself. He hadn’t expected it to be The Beastmaster himself, and certainly hadn’t expected him to be such an easy target. The man hadn’t even had a bodyguard with him! This would propel him into the same league as Seamus, he was sure.
Marcus stood his ground defiantly, bare-chested and broad-shouldered, his muscular arms crossed over his powerful torso. Viktor’s hounds were circling him, silent except for the buzzing of flies around their decaying bodies. Leave the head, he willed them. We need some proof that I killed The Beastmaster. His grin growing wider, Viktor urged his dogs to attack.
And suddenly they stopped. His smile fading, Viktor exerted his will again, but the canine remains simply stood there. Viktor was dimly aware of a far greater mental presence eclipsing his own.
As one, the dog’s heads turned to look at him. Slowly, they began to pad towards him with a murderous glint in their long-dead eyes. Marcus was still just stood there, arms crossed, his face impassive.
One of the dogs suddenly leapt towards Viktor, its jaws open. But before it hit him it was smashed sideways in mid-air, its ribs audibly snapping with a sharp crack. Undeath had made the creature resilient, however, and it struggled to rise for a moment before its assailant pounced on it, three heads darting down to tear the canine limb from limb. Dripping blood from teeth, beak and claws, Viktor’s Rogue Necromancy reared up to its full height, towering over Marcus and his undead hounds.
Viktor grinned, exerting his power as he’d taught himself, willing the monstrosity forward. The creature obliged, barreling into the second canine remains and sending the creature flying backwards through the air. Ignoring the third dog, the Necromancy strode towards Marcus. The man made no effort to move, simply staring the thing down as it advanced. Just as the Necromancy was in striking range, it stopped, all six of its eyes fixed on Marcus. This time, Viktor felt the full strength of the man’s will against his, a crushing tide that swept away his hold over the creature as the waves sweep away a child’s sandcastle.
Its whole body shook for a moment, convulsing and flexing, before it stood stock still. Then, with an agonizing slowness, the Rogue Necromancy turned away from Marcus and towards Viktor.
No. No. Nononono. This isn’t how it’s supposed to be. He tried desperately to regain control, but what was left of the creature’s mind was completely under the dominance of the alpha. Viktor saw the hierarchy, felt his creation’s submissiveness to a willpower far greater than its own could ever be. He stumbled backwards, his base instincts screaming at him to run even as his conscious mind still rebelled against the fact that his finest creation had been snatched away. A tree root snagged one foot and he fell to the ground. The Necromancy’s foetid breath washed over him, and the last thing he saw was three heads bending down towards him before everything went mercifully black.
* * *
I’ve picked up a Rogue Necromancy to run with Marcus recently and, background-lover that I am, started thinking about how Marcus got a Rogue Necromancy. Sure, it could be one of McMourning’s creations that escaped Sebastian’s saw and made its way out to the wilderness. Then I got to thinking about how Marcus is the alpha in Malifaux, and his mastery over beasts – and the idea of an aspiring necromancer having his prize creation torn out of his mental grasp really appealed to me.
Since I don’t play Resurrectionists, the model will only be used with Marcus, and so I wanted to try a slightly different approach when painting it. I was inspired by both the box art, and the Tangling The Threads Of Fate story in Twisting Fates which describes Marcus using his powers to mend a Rogue Necromancy and bring it under his control.
To achieve this, I chose a very similar colour across the whole model, despite the hodgepodge-patchwork nature of the creature. I worked a basecoat of P3’s Battlefield Brown to Games Workshop’s Baneblade Brown and then Dheneb Stone for a light, neutral colour. This was then coated in various green, blue and purple washes until I was happy with the shade. I used more of the blue and purple washes on the fur and feathers to lend a subtle contrast, and used more of the green washes on the tail.
The spines, claws and teeth were picked out in a light coat of Baneblade Brown followed by Dheneb Stone to not completely obscure the base colour, and the eyes were picked out in pure white without pupils – it is still dead, after all, even if Marcus has infused it with his power!
I’ve used it in a couple of games alongside Marcus, and it’s done pretty well in each one, generally mincing whatever it got into combat with (so far its kill count includes two masters!). I’ve been keeping Myranda nearby to heal it so it keeps the benefit of the Three-Headed ability, and her Hunting Call has been helpful on the odd occasion where it needs just one more attack to kill its target. I haven’t really explored the possibilities of running it in a willpower-focused Marcus crew, alongside the The Hunger Cry and Pack Leader upgrades – definitely on my to-do list.