The penultimate short story in Black Library’s Call of Archaon miniseries, and David Annandale’s second contribution, Blood and Plague brings the main story arc to a close, focusing on Ushkar Mir and Copsys Bule as they move inexorably towards a climactic final battle under Archaon’s watchful gaze. Each champion believing himself to be the worthiest, they lead their remaining forces into a brutal clash of arms and ideologies, the followers of two very different gods fighting for their patron’s supremacy as much as their own survival. Can one champion emerge triumphant and claim his place by Archaon’s side?
Essentially a single huge battle, there’s just about enough here to keep the interest up beyond the essential ‘war’ component of a Warhammer story. At this point in the overall Call of Archaon arc it’s become almost entirely about forward motion, so there’s not a lot in the way of character development…but there’s a great, simple pleasure to be taken from watching two very different champions duking it out in their contrasting styles, almost all subtlety abandoned in favour of sheer bloody-mindedness. Overall Annandale does a good job of depicting the climactic finale, in a typically bleak and unrelentingly brutal story.