The Face-Who-Smiles

Best Fluff for a Scenario of the Spring 2021 Conquest Eternal Scenario Contest. Submitted by Llenard


 The metropolis of Bosphoria was located in the southeast of the Dominion, the cradle of humanity and the largest empire ever seen in history. 

Like the arteries of a giant, the crowded streets of the city led to a beating heart consisting of a market leaning against a port which was said to be the largest known to man. Together, the alleys cut the city into strata reproducing the social divisions existing between the inhabitants. In terms of size, the city positioned itself as the third largest in the empire and every day in its palaces and temples tortuous, deadly and cruel intrigues were played out between the patricians for a few crumbs of power. Since the campaign of the supreme god Hazlia in the Land of Ice, far to the north, which had seen a fifth of the imperial legions wiped out and almost all the military and civil fleets sunk, a terrible economic crisis took hold of the continent.

Despite its wealth and the power of its trade, Bosphoria was not spared. In the near lands hordes of mad bandits were rampant, in the streets rogues were getting bolder every day and epidemics were spreading everywhere. In the streets, refugees from the countryside were amassing, victims of the blackest misery. In these troubled times, behaviours varied: some people lost themselves in faith, others were growing cynical or even debauched.

But there was one that everyone loved, that everyone cheered. An angelic entity; a living bronze statue animated by flames. Two metres high, slender and slender, crowned with victorious laurels and with two large wings that spread out like banners over Bosphoria. This conscious sculpture saw itself as a humble mortal, a man who called himself Syagrius: The Virtue of Joy, protector of the city and its children. However, his name was rarely used without his presence, the priests preferred to speak of him as a personification: The Smiling Face, The Laughing One, The Protective Wings or The Burning Presence. 

Close to the people who prayed to him with all their heart, he was often seen passing over the houses and flats where a birth had just taken place to distribute bread and money; when a child was threatened with accident or aggression, he would split the heavens and with his metal body he would protect the victim from danger. Yes, he was loved by all, this magical being with a face that was immobile but so soft, with such frank features, with half-closed almond-shaped eyes and perpetually smiling lips. His cut hair gave him beautiful curls, like those of a cherub!

Today he was fighting, his wings broken by the weapon of a minotaur-slave driven mad by some evil spell. Blade in hand and accompanied by a troop of volunteers, Syagrius advanced through the burning streets of Bosphoria in search of innocents to save. A driving rain of meteors and fireballs rained down on the third city of the Dominion, while real armies of mad-eyed fanatics killed indiscriminately and criminals, zealous for profit and hungry for the world, let their baser instincts dominate them. The metallic voice of Virtue broke the din of the battle:

– Onward, Men of the East! There are still lives to be saved! 

– Hurrah! replied an echoing guard from the town. 

Syagrius turned towards the soldier on his right, a young woman in typical Dominion lamellar armour. At her side she fought like a lioness, cutting and repelling bandits driven mad by the vision of a woman. Although she was a spiritual and deeply magical creature, Syagrius could not help feeling a touch of pride. He had known this soldier, Livia, since his earliest childhood. At the time, he had ordered that she be housed and educated in his temple, like almost all the orphans of the city. This kindness earned him the nickname of Angel of the Children, a title that Syagrius greatly appreciated and encouraged. Here she is now, two decades after she was placed in a wicker basket in front of the sanctuary’s steps, harming the enemies of Man. As he took his eyes off her to refocus on his task, a voice came to him. Foreign and familiar at the same time, like an old relative whose tone would have changed with age

 “Return to Us, parts of Me. Destroy for I command it.”

The world seemed changed to him, black and white and only red with the blood of the dead. Time seemed to stand still for him as he lost himself in contemplating the blood arabesques that were being drawn in the gutters.

– Your Holiness? said Livia, whose anxiety could be read in her eyes. 

– It is nothing, my daughter. Come now, we must go to the temple. 

And so, they charged into the crowd of bandits who engaged in plunder, rape and massacre. A bloody skirmish ensued.

A strike to the right, a parry to the left, the knock to the centre, aimed at the throat. The iron blade pierced through the soft flesh without difficulty and was withdrawn in a sharp backward movement, leaving a dark sectarian collapsing in a panicked gurgling. Behind it Syagrius sliced a crossbowman in half with a pendulum-like movement of his flaming blade, his victim began his fall as a material body, finishing him off as a carpet of ashes scattering on the ground. From the corner of his eye the Protector of Bosphoria noticed that a troop of his loyal soldiers was coming from behind him but that in front of him enemy reinforcements coming out of the old covered market were approaching. They were much more numerous; a direct confrontation did not bode well. His beloved Livia came to him to seek his advice. Remarkably, his hair and face were covered with blood, but not his.

– Virtue, at this rate we will not hold out. It comes from all sides. 

The angel of flames calculated the difficulty and the time it would take to reach the temple overlooking the city as it fell like an overripe fruit, its foundations charred by human greed.

“Burn the earth to ashes, annihilate the cities, exterminate their inhabitants. 

I command it.”

– You’re right, Livia. Gather the men, we won’t stop until we get there.

Mission Briefing:

Many had given their lives in the defense of the city, but the armed survivors gladly joined their protective angel and his armed protege. Together, with their blades out, they ventured into this labyrinth of streets and ruins.

The streets were paved with the corpses of the inhabitants. Cries of terror emerged from the houses, screams of pain or disgust followed by the fat and demented laughter of the human-faced monsters that invaded the city. Buildings that once housed large families burst into flames, market stalls were overturned, stone ruins littered the streets, blocking the way. At the entrance to a maze of devastated streets, a small group of warriors were preparing to cross this maze of violence.

– Keep your weapons close,” Syagrius warned. Get ready to fight.

The objective was simple: to reach the Temple of Hazlia where many lives were waiting to be saved. 

In formation, soldiers!” Livia said. We will prevail today!

The temple at last! After so much fighting, so many sacrifices, it appeared in full view. Long columns supported a one-piece pointed vaulted roof, entirely carved in different shades of white, green and pink marble. The place was to be a double sanctuary: to the glory of Hazlia, supreme god of Humanity and undisputed master of the flames, but also to Syagrius and all his angelic companions who had watched over Bosphoria since time immemorial. 

– Let’s go upstairs! There is no time to waste! shouted the archangel of the children as he raised his blade to the sky.

Battlefield: Scenario uses a 4’x4′ battlefield with the below map.

There can be no more than two miniatures side by side in a corridor. That is, two miniatures may be at the same height in a corridor, but not three or more.

The Objective Points are on the map in pale orange-coloured.

Syagrius comes in the battleground as any miniatures from the battalion of Hazlia’s Fanatics.

Army Composition:

The scenario “The One-Who-Smiles” opposes two opponents: The Livia’s battalion and the battalion of Hazlia’s Fanatics.

The Livia’s battalion deploys normally in the blue-coloured areas.

The Livia’s battalion deploys entirely by turn 1. 

Livia’s battalion 
Livia (Imperial Officer)
7 Men-at-Arms
4 Mercenary crossbowmen
50 points of your choice
Alternatively: replace the 7 Men-at-Arms and the 4 Mercenary crossbowmen with 100 points of your choice.

The battalion of Hazlia fanatics deploys in the orange-coloured areas.

Reinforcements stop automatically when objective 2 is accomplished by Livia’s Battalion.

Battalion of Hazlia Fanatics

Turn 1 and 2: 1d6 Militia (Bowmen or Spearmen)

Turn 3 and 4: 1d3 Militia (Bowmen or Spearmen) AND 1d3 Men-at-arms or Crossbowmen
Turn 5 +: 1d3 Militia AND 1d3 Men-at-arms or Crossbowmen AND 1d2 Gilded Legion

When objective 2 is reached or turn 8 is reached, Syagrius comes to lead his troops.

Name Type Class M V C A W R D E Rules
Syagrius Infantry Medium 8 1 4 7 5 5 3 1 Character, Decay 1, Fearless, Cleave 1, Terrifying, Death Cannot Die, One Angel Army

Unit Special Rules:

One Angel Army:

This Character does not need to be part of a regiment.

Death Cannot Die:

Syagrius is now the Virtue of Death, the embodiment of fear and the symbol of destruction for Humanity. No weapon can pierce his flesh and no man can kill him.

If Syagrius has 1 Wound left, he can only be wounded by Livia equipped with the Awaken Unearthed Spear.


Objective One:

It was a quick crossing of the steps, even if Livia, who was standing guard, had to get rid of two overly enterprising bandits whom she slashed with her sword without the slightest difficulty. What was left of the troop finally arrived on the covered temple square. There, Syagrius, with a last look at the child who had once been under her protection, said to her:

– Livia, I have another mission for you. In the temple there is a unique weapon, the Unearthed Spear, in the crypts. You must retrieve it and bring it to me. I will only be able to protect you at this price.

“We are One and I am All. I command the reign of Death.”

The soldier hesitated for a few moments. She had already seen this weapon in the sanctuary dedicated to Syagrius. Usually, the spear was enthroned on an altar adorned with a velvet carpet, forged in bronze, with a balance that was certainly perfect. But why not fetch it himself? She did not ask any more questions.

– Right, Holiness. I am going.

What she did not see, in her hurried race, was the face of Syagrius. Flamboyant tears slowly appearing on the cheeks of the One-Who Laughs.

And in a few strides in the midst of a temple far too quiet, he who was usually so full of life, she reached the stairs once forbidden to anyone but priests. The catacombs extended in an impassable maze. Livia, accompanied by several soldiers, made her way through the shadows with her torch. On the periphery of her field of vision, indistinct forms evolved, moving with malice and aggression. Slow and heavy footsteps echoed through the narrow corridors, forming a most disturbing cacophony. The young woman thought for a moment about the lives she had to save, about the many destinies that this weapon could rewrite. 

– Disperse! We must find the spear before the city falls.

The Livia’s battalion must find the Unearthed Spear. 

When a group has at least one member whose base is entirely in a pale orange-coloured zone, the Livia’s battalion player may declare “I look for the spear” and roll one die on the Excavations Table for each action so spent. 

If all the places have been searched without finding the Unearthed Spear, there is no roll on the last place, as this one automatically contains the spear.

When the Unearthed Spear is found, it becomes impossible to search the other places.

1It’s a trap!
2It’s an ally soldier!
3Nothing here.
4It’s an ally soldier!
5Nothing here.
6At last, the spear!
Excavations Table: Roll 1d6 and apply the result

It’s a trap: The seeker automatically receives a Cleave 1 key and can make a Defense roll normally.

It’s an ally soldier: A man-at-arms joins the Livia’s batallion.

At last, the spear! : Livia equipped automatically the Unearthed Spear.

The Unearthed Spear: Livia has +1 Clash et +1 Defence when she is equipped with the Unearthed Spear.

If Livia is killed, the battalion of Hazlia Fanatics wins.

Objective Two:

Even in total darkness the Unearthed Spear seemed to glow in the sunlight. Its name, however, was not totally usurped: despite polishing and blowing, a thin layer of earth seemed to cover it without ever being able to be removed. Livia admired it from all angles as we fought in the corridors. Numerous legends ran over this weapon, apparently forged by one of Hazlia’s highest servants and hidden because of its terrifying magic.

A shiver ran down the soldier’s spine as an indistinct whisper reached her from the blade. Blood, vital fluid. The weapon had been hidden there for centuries, hungry, and she felt the time had come to feed. Livia got up inhabited by a cold determination. If this weapon wanted blood, she knew where to find it.

The group to which Livia directly belongs or Livia herself must kill the equivalent of 40 points of enemy units.  When it is done, the Unearthed Spear become the Awakened Unearthed Spear and the Objective 2 ends.

If Livia is killed, the battalion of Hazlia Fanatics wins.

The Awakened Unearthed Spear: When Livia is equipped with the Awaken Unearthed Spear, she obtains + 1 Clash, + 1 Defence and the special rules Cleave 1, Flurry. When Livia inflicts 1 Wound to an enemy, she heals herself or her regiment for 1 Wound.

Objective Three:

Fed with the souls of men the Unearthed Spear now shone with a magical flamboyance. It was a magnificent weapon, with its curved iron in fleur-de-lis, its handle decorated with esoteric arabesques and now this light that shone like a sun! 

A heart-rending cry drew her out of her reverie. A real wave of curse and cruelty, sorrow and pain. All around her, men froze and everyone, from the most fanatical sectarian to the most faithful legionnaire, froze. A form penetrated the catacomb, haloed with dark majesty. Wings of darkness, flesh of dark flames, metal skin and a face frozen in indescribable grief. Two eternally glowing tears on a face that had once been that of the defender of the city. A single voice knocking in the spirits:

“The reign of Death. The reign of Death. The reign of Death.”

Livia couldn’t understand what she saw, what her eyes were describing to her. Syagrius had been a father and a protector, the friend of hundreds of men and women. Tears, human tears, came to her cheeks. 

She understood then why he had been so anxious for her to retrieve the Deterred Spear and prepare to do her duty.

Syagrius must be killed.

If Livia is killed, the battalion of Hazlia Fanatics wins.

Epilogue if Livia’s Battalion wins:

The Unearthed Spear passed through the bronze carcass, once revered by an entire people. Syagrius froze, forbidden, while the spear emptied him of his magical energy. In a gesture of fear and gratitude, he reached out his hand to Livia’s cheek, in vain. The energies that made up his body vanished, letting the metal fall to the ground in a series of metallic noises. His protégée cast a melancholy glance at the last soldiers still alive. They were all fed up with the fighting and the pain. 

Outside, Bosphoria was still burning. Livia, with the sacred spear in her hand, cast a last glance towards the temple and descended the steps, effortlessly destroying the few madmen who stood in her way. Down below, she gathered survivors and headed west, rapidly emerging from what was once the Dominion.

Her subsequent adventures have never been told by chroniclers or legends. However, some scholars claim that in the city-state of Destario, north of the Hundred Kingdoms, a statue of a woman wearing ancient armour and carrying a flaming spear overlooks the city. No one remembers her name, so she is simply called “The Victorious Maiden”.

Epilogue if the battalion of Hazila Fanatics wins:

“Put an end to life. Obey because I am All and you are One.”

And so, it was over. The noisy little girl and her annoying troupe were nothing but a memory, a few more corpses under the foundations of the world. Hazlia had ordered and despite his initial resistance, Syagrius had complied. From the vision of the Neverdead-God a new universe would be born, built on obedience to His will and at the end of all life on the surface of the globe.

Livia and her men? The first witnesses of this nascent age.

Slowly, the sight still troubled with painful tears, the fallen Virtue came out of the temple, observing the city that was burning as far as the eye could see. With rage he spread his now black wings and flew away to join his sinister master. Hazlia called out to him, but his powerful echo sounded different. Another voice, cacophonous, had been added to him. What did it matter! He would serve his master as he had always done! This time he would simply replace kindness with cruelty and generosity with destruction.

And as the culminated at the highest point in the sky Syagrius covered the city of Bosphoria beneath the shadow of his wings.