+ inload: The Sleep of Reason – first Night Lords Claw

+ The Sleep of Reason +


Commissioned as another Shadow War: Armageddon team, I had a lot of freedom in design and layout, which I always appreciate. A very enjoyable challenge, this mini-project had me diving into the Night Lords, a Legion that I've never really looked at in much detail. I've aimed to give each of the models a sense of individuality but keep a sense of ochesion – the VIIIth might owe as much to gang culture as modern military concepts, but I wanted to be sure they all remained immediately identifiable as Night Lords, with the individual character coming out through a closer look. 

To do this, then, I scribbled down a few key concepts that made me think of Night Lords – judgement, horror, and so forth – and then built models using those concepts as touchstones. I wanted to nod to the classic bat-helms and similar terror markings, but to rein them in and make them a little more practical. You'll spot that one of the group has some budding wing/horns on his helm, picked out in a muted red. Another has a trophy rack that gives him a bat-winged silhouette, but leaves his helm free. Similarly, the terror markings appear on all of them, but vary. Rather than painted masks, the markings are either sculpted armour – ribs on Fidanza, a custom helm on Avellon – and lots and lots of severed body parts, from ears to feet, strewn over the figures.

Aaron Dembski-Bowden's influence is, predictably, not far from the surface. I enjoyed the adventures of Talos and First Claw so much, but I I felt it would be a better homage – and more personal to the commission – if I used the concepts behind his characters as a springboard to develop a group of my own. The concept of the red hands of censure was a real temptation, for example, but I decided to riff on the idea of gang status it suggests and instead run with honorific skinning knives, which appear on every figure. Thanks for the inspiration, A D-B! Hope you approve.

I hope the owner is very happy with them; I certainly am.

+ 'Kivigilitha Ve Zah Jass.' +


+ With few of the trappings and advanced equipment of their loyalist brethren, experience and a willingness to use scavenged armour and weaponry makes this group of Night Lords – a warband styling itself The Sleep of Reason – as versatile and deadly at the end of a long campaign as at the beginning. +

+ The four collected here operate as a squad or 'Claw'; and are unified by shared aims – symbolised by the poison daggers they wear as a crude gang-sign – and, perhaps, by fragmented recollections of a lost dream that they bitterly wish to spoil for those 'still sleeping'. +

+ Their battlecry – or perhaps more accurately, the last phrase whispered to their victims – is Kivigilitha Ve Zah Jass – which loosely translates to 'We bring A Rude Awakening'. +



+ Shullat Avellon (judgement) +


 + Representing what remains of the VIIIth Legion's original aims, Avellon acts as the unifying figure of the group. Through dominance and tactical ability, he is begrudgingly regarded as – if not the leader, for the warband bristles as such terms for all save their warlord – at least first-amongst-equals. Perhaps more importantly to the Claw, he is a neutral party, whose decisions ensure the others can indulge their predilictions. +

Gaining the lion's share of the spoils of war, his armour is good quality, largely (thought not wholly) unmarked by the taint of chaos. He bears echos of the trappings of rank – a trophy rack in place of a banner, a defiled tilt shield from a defeated enemy (or rival), and an artificer-modified terror helm. Despite his status, the collar of his breastplate is raised – all the better to ward off a blade at the neck. +


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+ Creo Fidanza (arrogance)+


+ Such is Fidanza's belief in the inherent superiority of the Astartes that his fighting style is swaggering and ostentatious; deliberately alerting the enemy once there is no escape for them. After all, the prey should spend their last moments in fear, not ignorance. +


His armour, a well-maintained hybrid of mark IV and scavenged mark VII plates, is thus embellished and decorated with ritual terror markings; not least of which are his flamboyant trophy racks, which cast an inhumanly long, bat-eared silhouette. +



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Isimud Vologda (horror)


 + Colossal, debilitating, overwhelming horror is the Night Lords' modus operandi. For some, it was less a strategy and more an art to be savoured. For Vologda, it became an obsession. +

 + Tactical expediency and teamwork simply does not factor into his crystally straightforward mind; merely the act of spreading individual terror. Draped in skins and pelts, covered with chains and trophies, Vologda's method of waging war is plain and simple; and always, always, secondary to his true aim – sadistic, systematic and excruciating murder. +

With a talent for infiltration and stealth, he usually operates at the forefront of the team – all the better to scatter and unnerve the defenders for the others to terrorise; and all the less likely that his individualism will compromise the team. +


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+ Basmu Seachild (dishonourable conduct) +


+ The only non-Nostraman of the group, face-to-face conflict is anathema to Basmu Seachild, recruited to the Claw many centuries after the Legion Wars. Why confront the enemy head-on when you can finish them before they know there's a threat? A creeping, lurking and knife-strewn monster in the dark is how Seachild prefers to operate; his movements sinuous, coiling, and silent. +

Barring a Mark IV helm; only now beginning to warp under the influence of his incipient voidcraft, he wears a relatively crude suit of Mark V armour – the best he can hope for as the junior member of the team. +




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