The autumn rain hammered down on the armoured column as it wound its way northwards through a narrow defile in the Apuccini Mountains. They were nearing their goal now, and the troops were fighting off the weariness of six days' forced. march. At the-head of the column, the unit's lieutenant pushed his helmet up and mopped the water from his face.
'I'll be glad when this job's over,' he commented.
'You're not alone there, Renzo,' replied his chief, 'Once we've finished here, 1 think we'll go to Araby. I've heard there's a new prophet sprung up there.' Renzo nodded. 'Just what we need,' he said, 'Lots of sunshine and a nice, simple little holy war. You know where you are with that sort of job - better than all this political messingabout. What a business, eh? All because of an apple, a piece of string and three initiate priestesses.'
'And the use to which the Duke of Organza's son and heir was putting said items,' his leader reminded him, 'And the fact that one of the initiate priestesses was none other than the youngest daughter of our noble patron. Anyway, it's all money.'
They turned a sharp bend in the gulley to find their way blocked by a solid wall of pikemen. Suddenly, archers appeared on either side of the sheer gulley sides, and a carefully-prepared landslide blocked the way behind them.
'Form up!' bellowed their leader, 'Hollow square - move!' It was obvious that they had walked into a trap, and one from which they had little chance of walking away. Professionals to the last, the mercenaries readied their weapons and prepared to sell their lives dearly.
'Mordini!' came a shout from the opposing ranks. The mercenary captain squinted through the rain.
'Sardo?' he shouted back, 'I thought we were on the same side! Have you sold Lambrusco out?'
'Not quite.' came the reply. 'Duke Fabriano sold you out. The whole war with Organza is a set-up - your death was one of the alliance conditions. You're too effective for your own good, Mordini - he began to worry about what would happen if you turned against him.' Renzo spat loudly.
'Politics!' he grunted. 'What did I tell you?'
'Mordini!' Sardo continued, 'I don't need to tell you that this is not of my choosing.'
'Understood!' Mordini answered, 'Just don't expect it to be easy. And if you do me tell Duke Fabriano this - he hasn't heard the last of Mordini. Someday, somehow, accounts will be settled for this day!'
Ennio Mordini was one of the most powerful mercenary captains ever to serve among the Tilean City States. For most of his career, he and his men served Duke Fabriano of Lambrusco, expanding that state's fortunes considerably. Their success began to worry their patron, especially since it was not unknown for Tilean mercenary units to seize control of the states which they were supposed to be serving. When the neighbouring state of Organza offered a lucrative alliance on condition that Mordini's troops were disposed of, Fabriano seized the opportunity and sent them into an ambush which none survived. Mordini swore just before he died that he would be avenged on his treacherous employer.
Barely five years later, an army of undead skeletons poured out of the Apuccini Mountains, under the tattered banner of Mordini. Fuelled by their hatred, the dead soldiers cut the armies of Lambrusco to ribbons, and razed the city to the ground. It is said that Duke Fabriano spent seven days and seven nights dying. Now the Doomed Legion has turned against Organza and the other City States, destroy everything in their path as they aver themselves upon the double-dealing princes who connived at their murder.
PROFILES - 2nd edition
Ennio Mordini - Skeleton Major Hero
Renzo Avanti - Skeleton Champion
Immune to all psychology tests. Cannot be routed. Cause fear in living creatures. Subject to instability. Subject to stupidity when not controlled by Mordini or Renzo