Made a map using an awesome tool. Now first is to put the realms in general into context, this is a realm sphere of ashqy and the little circle is the map GW gave us for part of the realm.
Now here is the great parch.
So now we have context here is the map of Gathilee. (Which is in Chamon to clarify)
His eyes were drawn into the flames, the purple fires danced in the brazier and all he saw was better times. A time where he could feel the presence of his lost deity, it was so grand knowing that your god was there. The age of myth to him was a distant memory, one he kept revisiting. He stood on this very altar, his guards hefting him up high as he shouted praise to his glorious lost god. He became lost in that vision, his dulling mind burn alight with pleasure and sensation as he basked in the ancient adulation of the warriors who followed him to new heights of ecstasy. That grand time was slowly torn asunder as the hated god king brought order and stability to the realms. Yet in a sense that wasn’t so bad, they had new enemies to face, to fight.
The only true horror came upon the cusp of the age of chaos, where the followers of the other gods rejoiced there was only confusion for him and the warriors that fought at his side. All they had was emptiness, the love of their god vanished from their minds and hearts. To him it was a fell blow, one that made him fall into a stupor. The warband he fought with and lived with came apart. They floated away hoping to find something to fill the void left behind their missing god.
He sighed and withdrew himself from the vision. He turned and walked to the front of the altar, he looked down to his mutated guards. “Pain, Spite up you get.” Pain who stood at the front nodded. “Yes Master Amare…” Spite said nothing he merely grunted.
The two mutated giants stood up right hefting up the altar with ease, they began walking through the forest he calls home. The Gilded Thicket was west of Balehold, in the past it was a place where people would gather gildweed in the lands of Gathilee. But Amare took this place for himself, he needed a home that could make his mind burn, a place that could fill the void in his heart. He transmuted the grass and flowers with his rites to make them bellow with great fragrances, the gildweed in the forest enhanced this effect.
The very forest also keeps intruders away, those who wander in never leave. The fragrances have clawed into their souls turning them into gibbering fools. Normally if he comes across such people he would either multiate them and feed their carcesses to his braizer so he could relive his dreams or feed them to Pain and Spite. Amare sighed “maybe he will give me a sign one day?” He looked down to his pale body, it was replete with muscle. His very body looked to be wrought by a master craftsman, he knew someone must be sustaining him. To most mortals he would be ancient, he could not even remember how old he as.
He grimaced, if the dark prince was still sustaining him why hasn’t he spoken? Why do his minions not heed his call for answers? Pain and Spite stopped, Pain released a low whine. “Master are you okay?” Amare chuckled Pain was always worried about him, so was Spite but he never voiced such a thing out loud. He assumes that Pain speaks for the both of them. Amare found the both of them so long ago, being beaten and ridiculed by monks who prophesied the coming of the hated god king. He thought such people were fools back then, but now? He could not help but laugh in irony. “I am fine Pain.” he answered. “Both of you take me to the glade.” Both mutants said nothing they trudged onwards. He hoped visiting his favourite spot within the forest will free him from his melancholy, but it never did.
Arriving at the glade Amare was about to smile until he saw a group of horsemen standing in the middle of it. Their golden armour replete with runes of the lost god marked them as fellow followers, but this was his forest and it belonged to him alone. “Pain, Spite….Approach them but do nothing.” Both mutants could easily dispatch them but he could see the knights desired something.
When he was before them the leader came forward, he removed his plumed helm revealing an androgynous visage along with long flowing blonde hair. “Greetings. I am lord Cardoc of the Golden host. I herby of-” “Stow your offer.” Amare interrupted. “This is my forest, get out.” Cardoc didn’t seem offended by his words, but those who followed him where moving hands to blades. Going by his face Amare could tell he must of been nobility before falling to the delights of the lost god. Cardoc gestured to calm his brethren. “Now let’s not be hasty, my king heard of a powerful priest who dwells in this forest. He requires one for his crusade.” “Flattery won’t get you anywhere boy. So tell me...Which are you? Seeker or Invader?” Amare waited for Cardoc’s answer. The golden knight smiled at him “Seeker, but we are not searching for the tangible form of our god like the others.” Amare leaned on the front of his altar, he gave a long sigh. “Alright hurry up, sell me your Golden Host.” “Very well, King Zakai blessed be his name wishes to launch a crusade against these lands. He received a glorious vision of our lord returning once everyone in the realms bow to will of Slaanesh alone. We search for Slaanesh by bringing his word and deeds to the fools that deny him.”
He digested his reasoning it was different compared to most but in the end he assumed Zakai was another upstart lord who was using visions to build an army. He doubted that he was a Seeker as well, he was most likely an Invader using prophecy to build a host. Amare stood up right “tell me Cardoc, do you feel an emptiness in your heart?” The question surprised the knight “I know of what you speak. That awful sensation has evaporated in the face of serving the Golden Lord.” “Liar.” Amare hissed.
He watched the knight frown, his facade of politeness vanished. “I wish to tell you if you refuse King Zakai he has ordered that I should kill you.” The knight’s words caused a great laugh to erupt from Amare’s throat. “So tell me how am I a threat to you the one you serve?” “You aren’t a threat, if you refuse me you are a heretic. It’s that simple.” answered Cardoc.
Being called a heretic was amusing he was about to say something but the brazier behind him began to roar. He turned to see the flames were enlarging, he could hear Cardoc shouting something but he didn’t care. He approached the brazier and stared into the flames.
Instead of old visions of the past he saw the back of a warrior who radiated the majesty of his missing prince, he could feel the hole in his heart being filled. The light of hysh blocked his face, it obscured his form leaving his vision a blur. Amare wanted to reach out he staggered towards the warrior. As he touched the shoulder of the warrior he turned his head slightly to him, he saw only a hint of his face. But the blue eyes captured him completely, the vision then crumbled. He screamed in fury “No! Come back!” he found himself looking down to his hands. The fury gave way to sadness the emptiness came rushing back.
He wondered if this was a message from his lost god? Perhaps it was a sign? He turned and returned to the front of his altar. He looked down upon the knight who was oddly staring at him concern. Amare sighed “maybe you are involved?” “What do you mean?” The knight answered his questions with another question. He creased his brow, the vision only happened soon as this one came to disturb him. He grumbled while lowering his hand from his face. “Very well lord Cardoc, lead me to your king.” The knight seemed jubilant with his answer, but he wasn’t joining his host to serve but to look for someone. The mysterious warrior might be the one who will purge the void that has claimed his heart.
She strode into the war room, the minions of chaos were hammering at the gates of her city. Her husband was already dead by the second battle. The mutated throngs of the dark gods would not find cowards once the walls fall she wanted to ensure that. Looking around the table she hoped to see the generals of Dasivar to be with her on that front but she was wrong. All she saw were men and women cowering at the end. She ignored them and looked down to the map of the city. “We need to set traps, fire bombs at least to bleed them while they make their way to the palace.” She said firmly.
One of her generals spoke up “we used them up when the first wave hit our walls Lady Catherine.” At the mention of the loss of the firebombs she cursed. “Then we face them directly, we fight and we die. But will curse their masters as we go.” Her words simply caused nervous glances, another general coughed. It was Lady Abigail, her armour was dirty and worn from battle but her gaze was still defiant. “There is another option my queen.” “Oh? What other option is there?” “We could parley, the barbarian who leads them he said if we sta-” “No! How dare you! My husband gave his life, our sons and daughters are giving up their lives and you wish us to surrender!?” The general tried to speak up, but she would not let her. “Enough! Remove your cape, you are no general of mine!” Abigail stared her down and that was when she felt a sharp pain in her side. She looked down to see a dagger has been lodged into her waist, through the gap of her armour.
Catherine staggered back from the table, she looked back slightly to see one of her general’s baring a panicked looked on his face. “I-I am sorry my queen. We’ve all agreed…” “Just hurry up and end it!” Abigail shouted. She strode around the table dagger in hand, the rest of the generals fell upon her. Knives dove in and out puncturing her body again and again. Catherine tried to avoid screaming, she wanted to look defiant but all she could do was spit venom. She called them traitors, oathbreakers and slaves to the dark powers.
That was when a spear of lightning crashed through the ceiling, her eyes were enveloped by a blue light and around her she could hear the screams of the traitors as their skin was burnt away. Catherine smiled in satisfaction.
Her eyes fluttered open, sweat creased her brow. Caterine sat up from the bed and cursed. “I hate that dream.” She groaned in annoyance as she left her bed. She walked to the small shrine of Sigmar that was placed in the corner of her room. She knelt and muttered her morning prayers. Once she was done she looked up and stared at the small rendition of Ghal Maraz, but chiefly she was looking at her reflection in the golden hammer. She ignored her short cropped hair and lean face, she focused on the scars that lined her pale flesh. These scars have been with her each reforging, she expected them to disappear like most of the scars she received during her campaigns but these ones still linger. Caterine looked down to her side, staring at the scar that laid there simply caused her anger to build. She cursed again and stood up right, she strode over to the armour stand that held her gleaming white sigmarite plate.
She thought to call her retainer who was lingering outside but decided against it, as always she puts on her armour by herself despite the difficulty. As she began the long process her mind dwelled on the mortals within the Black Fortress. She couldn’t understand why Garis the leader of their brotherhood started seeking mortal help. Ever since the realm gate wars they have required no one, she actually longed for that time again at least it was far more simple than watching over a city.
For when the city of Haven was founded that was when mortals as always show their true colours. They choose to blacken their hearts again and again, then they have to deal with it. None of them could understand the sacrifice and pain that was required to reach this point and the mortals of today are squandering it.
Finally she reached for helmet, it was plumed and held the comet of sigmar to mark her as Liberator-prime. She turned it over, gazing at the frowning face. In truth the helm matches what they are, when people look upon them they see the face of Sigmar. It was not a face that promised peace but destruction that was what she thought. She then turned it back and placed the helmet on her head and went to fasten the straps. Once the straps were in place she walked over to her weapon stand and picked up her warhammer and attached it to her black leather belt.
She then picked up her shield and held it her hand left hand. Now fully armed she left her chamber and standing in front of her was her retainer, Turid. Her blonde hair was braided and her face was tattooed with ayzerite script. She bowed. “My lady.” “What is it?” Caterine said curtly. The mortal rose, whether she was offended she didn’t show it. She never did. “The White Seraph wishes to see you.” Turid declared flatly.
The summons was a surprise, but why the White Seraph didn’t personally approach her was another minor annoyance. “Very well, I will go and see him. You are dismissed for the day.” Turid bowed again and walked away. Once she was gone Caterine walked the other direction, the commanders lodging was on the third floor, the fourth floor was heavily guarded since that was where the Shimmershift realm gate was housed.
Caterine made her way to the staircase, passing by follow stormcasts on the way. They all gave curt nods or greeted her with single terms such as sister or prime. As she reached the staircase she started to wonder what the White Seraph wanted, it was evident he was going to send her on another errand. One where she was most likely cleaning up another mortal mess.
She then began to go up the stairs, along the way her annoyance increased with each thought of what type of mission was in store for her. Caterine then arrived in a hallway and took the left corridor. The White Seraph’s office was the third door on the right, when she arrived she hoped it was something trivial. She knocked on the door with the back of her hand.
Caterine picked up the sounds of locks moving and as the door opened she caught sight of Lord-Veritant Cardor the White Seraph. He stood aside and gestured in. “Please come in sister.” Despite the grim nature of his work his voice was soft almost warm it was something she has always found strange. She nodded to him. “Thank you brother.” She stepped inside the room, it was replete with book shelves, tables held icons of sigmar and his desk was covered with reports.
Yet what had her surprised was the mortal playing with Cardor’s gryph-hound. He was kneeling and stroking it’s head. It was clear to her he was not part of their auxiliary freeguild. The mortal wore leather armour and had a crossbow was strapped to his back. It was not the single shot kind but the repeater variant held by aelves, she guessed he most likely bought it on the black market despite a the twin-tailed comet charm hanging on it’s side.
Cardor closed the door and walked to her side, that was when the mortal stood up right. The gryph-hound chirped and ran back to his master. “So I assume the reason you called me has something to do with this mortal?” Caterine stated. The White Seraph nodded “yes it is.” he gestured to the human. “This is Adrian flogovar. He’s...a hunter of sort.” Caterine took measure of him, he had a stubble and bags claimed his eyes. His black hair was also dirty as well, it was evident he has been sleeping rough. “What does he hunt?” she asked. “Beasts darlin, I hunt beasts.” Adrian spoke up, she thought it was brave that he pushed into their conversation and calling her darling. “I wasn’t talking to you.” “Well I thought I was going to get help with dealin with a certain situation. Spent almost a week camping outside your fortress, screamin for someone to let me in.” Cardor chuckled “your help has arrived Adrian. This is Liberator-Prime Caterine Whiteheart she will help you, along with her retinue.”
Caterine didn’t like being pushed into a mission she knew little about. She grunted “before we get ahead of ourselves can you at least tell me what is going on?” Cardor sighed and walked around to his desk, he picked up a piece of paper. “Several young men and women have been going missing over the last few months.” Caterine nodded “I see...this relates to our mortal how?” “I am getting to that.” said Cardor. “Over those said months corpses have been found, drained of blood. Plus in the same general area normal corpses have been found as well.” She didn’t like the sound of drained corpses. “So how do the normal corpses relate to the ones that have been drained?” she asked. That was when the White Seraph gestured the paper to Adrian. “These corpses upon examination held crossbow bolt wounds, I assume this was the handiwork of our mortal.” “So he is a murderer?” “No I am not a murderer.” Adrian said flatly. “They were working with those I am huntin. The order of ayzr is useless and called me a madman, the guards are most likely in the beasts pockets so I came to you. I think I finally got a bead on their hideout. Being only a mortal I wouldn’t be able to take all of them on by myself.” Caterine narrowed her eyes at the man. “How did you get the information on their hideout?” “Simple, from the men I killed. Took awhile to get them talkin. I tell you that darlin.”
Cardor sighed again “so it leads to this. Investigate the hideout with the mortal and act accordingly.” She didn’t like this the order of ayzr could be right despite their weakness. Adrian could be a madman, yet the White Seraph feels this must be important enough to investigate. “Very well my lord I will look it into it.”
She then glared at the human due to her helm he did not notice it. But if the situation was serious she hoped he would not get in the way.
Caterine walked through the city with her retinue, Adrian strode at her side. The streets were largely empty due to the storm, most likely the populace think her brotherhood are upset about something. What the mortals don’t understand is that the rain was Sigmar’s tears and the lightning and thunder was his anger. The fact the storm clouds have descended upon the rest of the city and blocked the light of Hysh meant that perhaps the mortal with her was onto something. They marched down the cobbled streets until the mortal had them stop in front of a tavern. It was made from wood and the sign said. Gary’s Grotto. Caterine shook her head. “Is this the place?” Adrian simply smirked at her. “Yes it is, now let’s head inside.”
They walked through the flapping doors and right away the smell of ale and sweat greeted her nose. She looked around, eyes went down to drinks, men and women stopped playing cards and exchanged glances. Adrian paid no mind to this and walked up to the bar counter. Caterine did the same and was right behind the mortal with her retinue. She was about to say something to the bartender who was sweating profusely but the mortal was ahead of her. “So...tell me Gary, what are you hidin?” “I am not hiding anything! Everything I do here is legal!” Gary glanced up to her. There was a scar over his eye and he had a thick brown beard. Adrian shook his head “so...how about you let us look at your basement storage? Sure your not hidin anythin..” “T-There’s nothing there.” Gary stammered out.
Caterine grew tired of discussion and started to walk around the bar counter she could see a door that lead into the back. “W-What are you doing!?” The bartender shouted. “Doing my duty.” Caterine responded firmly. “If you impede me I assume you are hiding something, which will not help you when you are taken to the Black Fortress.” At the mention of the fortress the bartender’s eyes went wide, he then narrowed them. Suddenly the fear vanished. His gaze turned firm. “Stop them!” he screeched.
Everyone in the bar rose from tables, Adrian didn’t waste time he unslung his crossbow from his back and fired into the bartender sending him to the ground. He then hopped over the counter and started firing at the approaching bar attendees. Caterine frowned “advance! Crush the heretics!” They all drew their warhammers and waded into the mortals. Caterine spotted one heretic coming at her with a blade, swinging it madly. She bashed them back with her shield, the cracking of bone greeted her ears as she sent the mortal hurtling towards a table. The human crashing upon the table did not stop the others, even as she raised her warhammer to crush the skull of another mortal. Despite the ease of killing them she knew something was wrong, there was no fear just a frenzy to see them dead. Like they were protecting something.
The melee lasted only a few moments, the men and women they killed were but thugs. She turned towards the counter and Adrian’s head popped up. “What did I tell you darlin? I bet you were doubting me.” “Shut up and lead on.” The mortal shrugged and gestured. “Follow me.” He lead them to the back, there were stairs leading to the underground storage where ale was meant to be kept but Caterine suspected something sinister was at work.
Entering the basement it was full of barrels containing ale, but Adrian led them to a second set of stairs. At the bottom of it was a door that was chained. “So they are hiding something….” Caterine declared. She walked down the steps with her Retinue, the mortal didn’t seem to mind this. When she was before the door she brought up her warhammer and smashed door the with a few blows. Once it was down there was a further set of stairs leading downwards. “Be on guard” she ordered.
She raised her shield and hammer and descended the steps. Reaching the bottom she noticed the walls and floor were cobbled and the hallway was dimly lit up with braziers that burned with purple fire.
They all carefully advanced down the hallway, that was when she picked up the sound of muffled screeching. The sound steadily crept towards them until out of the dark bats rushed out screeching angrily at them. Caterina caught grunts from her retinue but what she found most annoying was the obfuscation of sight. Once the bats and flown by she looked ahead to see two individuals standing before them. One was female and the other was male, both were pale complexion and they wore red baroque armour. The two individuals were also holding ornate blades. “Oh dear sister look at what has happened, rats have scurried into the lair.” said the male. “It is indeed annoying dear brother, I am quite sure mother will be upset about this.” “But mother will be quite happy if we dispatch the rats.” The male smiled showing fangs.
Caterina shouted right away “form up! Vam-” She didn’t get to finish both were charging down the hallway at abnormal speed. The female slid under his legs and a few moments later she caught the sound of an anguished cry, lightning was now crashing up and down the corridor until it turned back the way they came. She was about to twist behind her but the male bringing his blade down upon her shield drew her full attention. “Abominable creature!” Caterina hissed. She pushed the vampire back, he was grinning ear to ear like this was a game. “Do try to keep up tyrant!” the male vampire spat.
He went in again but this time he was thrusting, the speed was too great all she could do was defend. If Cardor was here they would of been able to deal with these creatures easily. “Close your eyes!” It was Adrian, she didn’t know what he was going to do but for some reason she agreed. Her eyes slid close that was when she heard a clang and despite her eyes being closed she caught the hint of a blue light. Once the light ebbed away frenzied screeching erupted in the hallway.
She opened her eyes and the male vampire was staggering back his skin was burnt, his yellow eyes were red with fury and now the creature revealed it’s true bestial form. Caterina took the opportunity before her, she strode forward and brought down her hammer upon the vampire. She sent him thundering to the ground, she didn’t stop there she kept up her assault. Breaking his limbs, caving in his armour and finally she bought down her hammer upon his head silencing the monster permanently.
She looked back to see her brothers and sisters had the right idea, each of them were covered in nicks and scratches from the female vampire’s blade, but just like her brother she was dead. Adrian picked up a round sphere next to her corpse and held it up. “I am glad that I bought this.” Caterina was about to question what the device was, most likely another item from the black market. She thought it would be a good idea to take the mortal in for questioning after this situation was done. “We need to move.” she is said flatly. Adrian gave her a curt nod, her retinue simply fell back into formation.
They continued walking down the corridor, she hoped they would not encounter anymore vampires. She had a feeling that Adrian's device only worked once.
The corridor so far was a straight line but steadily Caterina picked up the sounds of panicked voices. This was when the mortal seemed to turn grim. “We are almost there…” his voice was breaking slightly. She could see he had a personal stake in this. “So tell me mortal, most would not go hunting after vampires. What drew you to this profession?” Her question caused Adrian to smirk. “That’s a long story darlin, one I don’t think I have time to tell at the moment.” If the mortal wanted to keep his secrets that’s down to him, but she suspected she would learn of them soon enough when he is imprisoned within the fortress.
The corridor lead them into a strange underground church. It was replete with bone-like statues and at the altar the face of the lord of death loomed over them all. Caterina would take time to examine this if it wasn’t for the fact a group of young men and women were clustered near the altar. When they approached Adrian came to the front. “Lisa! Come out!” From the group of fearful mortals a young woman with brown hair pushed through, when her eyes fell upon Adrian she held the look of shock but it slowly gave way to fear. Tears started to build in her eyes. “Papa!” She shouted.
Now Caterina could see what this was about, a father seeking to rescue his child at least that was what she thought before Adrian pointed his crossbow at the woman she assumed to be Lisa. “Stay back!” Lisa froze. “I-I thought you were coming here to rescue me?” Adrian started to cry, but strangely his tears to her seemed more real. “Let’s speak about your mother, do you know what happened to her?” Lisa frowned “t-the vampires killed her…” “Liar!” he shouted. Caterina wanted to reach for the crossbow, she had to keep him from killing anyone for the young men and women had information they could use. “Stop!” he shouted. She froze in place, it was evident he was addressing her. “J-Just let me speak to her. Alright d-darlin?” Caterina sighed “very well.”
Adrian smirked. “T-Thanks...I-I am going to ask you again Lisa. What happened to your mother? What happened to my wife...she was stabbed nine times. I was happy coming home to see you after a campaign, I came home to see my wife dead and my daughter missing.” Caterina noted going by what Adrian just said that he was most likely a deserter from a local freeguild, he would have to be questioned about that as well. Chiefly though Lisa was fidgeting. In her eyes the evidence was damning, this looks like a cult than a place where young men and women gathered by vampires and their thralls.
Adrian lowered his crossbow “y-your silence is the answer, t-those monsters most likely promised you immortality right? That you live in finery and that you would never be p-poor again? A-Am I right?” Adrian quickly turned away from his daughter. “D-Dammit!” He squatted and simply screamed his lungs out.
Caterina let the man grieve for now. Her eyes swept over the traitors. “Surround them.” she ordered. Her retinue took positions around the young men and women, one sought to run but a liberator split his head open before he could take a few steps. That death cowed the rest, her eyes then moved to Adrian who was rising. “We are leaving.” “Alright darlin..I am right behind you.”
They did not encounter any resistance on the way back, when they stepped back onto the streets there was a crowd but the sight of her along with her retinue caused the townspeople to flee. Standing outside in the rain she watched Adrian look up. “Maybe this is just a bad dream eh?” He looked down to his daughter then his gaze drifted to her. “I bet you want to take me in as well right?” Caterina nodded. “Yes, you are still a murderer, deserter and traded through the black market. Now drop your weapon.” The mortal was still holding his crossbow, they were a few paces apart. She hoped he would do the right thing. She has been let down many times in the past.
She watched Adrian sigh, he dropped the crossbow and took a step towards her. He didn’t get the chance to take the second, a blue light claimed her sight and thunder roared above her. Once the light dimed, the mortal was gone. She looked up to the skies and now they were clearing, letting the light of Hysh break through. Caterina chuckled to herself. “How strange...is that all it took?” She then faced her retinue. “We are heading back to the Black Fortress, keep an eye on the heretics brothers and sisters!”
The traitors were now trembling in fear, they were right to do so. Their death’s won’t come easy, they will soon learn all the stories about their fortress was true.
He grasped his burnt arm as he ran down the alleyways, flipping over fences and walls with ease. Despite his superhuman vigour the one who sought his death wielded weapons that sap his vitality. He quickly made a corner and planted his back on the wall, he moved his black cloak aside revealing his charred arm. He cursed under his breath looking at the injury. “Dammit Anghel, you got sloppy…” he hissed in a hushed tone. He bought his cloak around himself and continued his escape. He was in the process of gathering new converts among the poorer and middle class districts but the gathering was interrupted by the white tyrants. He has encountered them many times in the past, they were lumbering fools that were easily avoided but the one chasing him now was different. He was a hunter.
The irony of this situation didn’t escape him, he thought the twins were weaklings and fools for allowing themselves to be killed despite being blessed by the soulblight. Now being caught in this situation the blood of Nagash was acting as a hindrance. He grunted in annoyance while flipping over another walled fence. When his feet touched the ground the beggars in the alleyway became startled. They blinked in confusion while they sat in their own filth, Anghel smiled staring at the mortals he could feel his fangs brushing against his tongue. “Well beggars can’t be choosers…” he said in amusement. When he took the first few steps he caught the sound of clatter from the rooftops. He froze and looked up, nothing was there. He grimaced as his eyes came down again, he decided to sniff the air and strangely he could pick up the smell of clean rain water despite the filth that gripped the alleyway. “Clean rain water…” he mumbled. His eyes went wide, he looked up again to see a white giant standing on the rooftop, his armour colour was at odds with the night Ulgu provided like it was pushing the darkness back. The tyrant was also covered in furs and held an axe in one hand and a monsterous crossbow in the other. He jumped from the roof and planted his hand on the wall, as he came down sparks flew in the air.
Anghel moved to run, but the white tyrant pushed himself from the wall and charged into him planting him against the other side of the alleyway. The white tyrant now had his arm against his throat, the pressure was immense. Anghel tried to claw at his gauntlet, but it would spark with lighting causing his hands to rear back. “Caught you at last little leech...” The giant stepped back, freeing him. Anghel didn’t question it he decided to race down the alleyway, before he could take a few steps he was tumbling to the ground. Threads of pain ripped through his legs, he looked back to them to see they were charred like his arm. The white tyrant was walking towards him, his hand crossbow was smoking, Anghel cursed that infernal device.
He looked on ahead he decided to crawl, he had to escape no matter the cost. He barely moved a few inches before a boot came down upon his back. He grunted in pain. He turned his head back slightly to see the tyrant looming over him. “You thought hidin amongst the filth would keep you from me?” The giant looked on ahead. “Didn’t I tell you darlin? I could catch the leech by myself.” The sounds of heavy footsteps thrummed through Anghel’s ears, more white giants pierced the darkness of the alleyway. The ones he escaped from.
They were not covered in furs but wore the simple white plate like all the white tyrants do, just by the form of the leader he could tell she was female. “How many times have I told you not to call me that?” she growled. His pursuer shrugged “I just thought it would be appropriate since we get on so well after all. See? Look.” He pointed his axe at him for emphasis. “I caught the leech alive, I tell you he was quite slippery.” “Adrianus, enough. Let us just take the leech to the Black Fortress.” Anghel found it perplexing how they spoke of him like a simple animal, he gritted his teeth. “I won’t say anything…” He glanced at the beggars and shouted “Look people of Haven! See the tyrants! Hunting me like an animal!” He could see fear in the eyes of the beggars and as his mother taught him even the lowest mortal can bring a cascade of change. Planting one small seed can spark a rebellion.
His pursuer shook his head he raised his hand crossbow and pointed it at a mortal, it barked with blue light as he killed all of the beggars in the alleyway in quick succession. His gaze then came back to him. “What were you sayin leech?” How the tyrant casually executed the mortals surprised him, he didn’t care for their lives they were a means to and end. “You killed them?” Anghel said in disbelief. “Of course.” said the female tyrant. “You tried to show them something other than Sigmar, so they may have been potentially compromised. Now.. you are coming with us.”
The white giants surrounded him, he tensed and readied himself for the hell that was to come.
“Fire again.” The blue bolts crashed into his flesh Anghel shrieked. His pursuer was tormenting him at the order of the tyrant wielding a staff topped with a strange lantern. It didn’t help that due to being crucified on the cell wall each bolt caused him to shudder, making his arms move on the nails that were rammed through his wrists. The nails burned his flesh he wondered what sort of enchantment the tyrants wove upon them. Anghel narrowed his eyes at the lantern wielding stormcast. “So the Cardor the White Seraph personally comes to question me? What an honour.” he said with a mocking tone. The tyrant didn’t seem to pick up on his barb, he walked over to a table and opened up a large tome. “Your cult has been busy.” he said flatly.
Anghel glanced at Adrianus “so are you going to have your dog shoot me if I don’t answer your questions?” “No.” answered Cardor. “He can actually shoot you as many times as he wants as long as he doesn’t kill you.” The hunter looked back. “W-Wait, I can?” The White Seraph simply gave a curt nod. This caused his pursuer to fire his crossbow several times, Anghel lurched on the nails. He couldn’t help but scream as his body burned due to the bolts. The White Seraph then spoke calmly “You will answer my questions and if you do we will kill you quickly. If not…” “Pah!” shouted Anghel “I won’t talk! No matter what you do to me...” Cardor shrugged “if you don’t I will swap Adrianus with the Soulflayer, trust me you wouldn’t want him torturing you. I assume you have heard him correct?”
At the mention of Soulflayer he frowned, the stories were that he could burn souls to ashes with lighting or turn them inside out. “Are the stories true then?” Anghel asked. Cardor chuckled to his question. “Do you want to find out?” A frown was now tucking at Anghel’s lips. He knew death would not be the end, not after what is coming to the realms. “You can’t stop it.” he said flatly. “We are simply keeping your eyes from the grander prize, that’s it.” “Grander prize?” He picked up a hint of surprise in the White Seraph’s voice. “Yes a great one, a cataclysm so great that the dead will ru-” He couldn’t say anything more.
He felt another presence in his mind. “You dare betray me?” The voice was ancient, his voice was like the grating of autumn leaves. Panic washed over him. “No! I would never! P-Please!” “You dare give them some inkling of my grand design? Your mother should of taught you better. Your life is forfeit.” A sense of hollowness ripped through his body, he jerked in his bonds as gouts of purple flame poured out of his mouth. The pain was horrific, he could feel a great skeleton hand grasping his heart. It squeeze it slowly he could feel blood running down his eyes, his vision turned blurry he could make out the White Seraph raising his lantern but the blue light was smothered by a purple haze.
Slowly his vision darkened and eventually he saw nothing save a great skeleton maw that sought to devour him whole.
Cardor stared at the corpse of the vampire. He was mess, purple drool replaced the flames and his eyes were matted with blood. What had him worried was when the blood reached his chest it formed the face of death itself. Adrianus looked back to him. “So...what do we do now?” The White Seraph shook his head. “I think this is far more bigger than a cult.”
Gerhard stood in front of the desk of his Freeguild general. His office was replete with trophies of war, from orruk skulls to large beasts. There are even commendations from the Grand Conclave of Haven. The largest city within the lands of Gathilee. Yet he was not here for a commendation or a mission, he was here to be chewed out. Stefan Goldstrike sat back on his chair, he looked tense there were bags around his eyes and his brown hair held threads of grey, most likely from stress. Gerhard waited, he wondered how he will be shouted down. Stefan rose from his chair and walked around to the front of his desk, his golden armour rattling with the movement. Once he was standing at the front of his desk, he leaned back on it. “Do you have any idea what you have done?” Stefan said flatly.
Gerhard saluted and gulped. “Yes sir, bu-” “but nothing, you are aware what could happen if your message is picked up by the wrong people?” At the mention of people he obviously thought of the Grand Conclave, they fund this Freeguild to protect the town of Strahafen for it produces and exports the gildweed of Chamon. The root was said to have medicinal purposes and helps in spell casting. So it’s highly valuable. Gerhard’s lips felt dry thinking on the trade of the root, their Freeguild has a lot of responsibility and if they failed in their duties they could lose funding. “T-The Grand Conclave c-could revoke our funding, that would mean we would be out of the job...sir.” His words stammered out of his mouth, but Stefan shook his head. “It’s not the Grand Conclave you should be worried about boy, but the White Angels are the ones you should fear. The Conclave fears them and that...is what we should be worried about.”
At the mention of the White Angels he knew them to be the stormcasts that stand vigil over the city of Haven. They respond to threats throughout the lands of Gathilee, but he did not think that Sigmar’s holy warriors would respond to such an issue, he didn’t think it would warrant it. “Sir, shipments have good missing, patrols have been found dead...I don’t think Stormcasts would get involved. I-I just thought…” “You thought that we couldn’t handle it, these sorts of problems should be dealt with in house.” “S-Sir no one has been listening to me, I even tried to organise a meeting with you but I get stonewalled every time.” “Maybe because your issues does not warrant my attention? Perhaps the other officers are dealing with this issue in house as I said.” He had to admit he didn’t think of that. He looked down slightly“Sir..please don’t eject me the Golden Lions...I-I…” “You need the money, like all reclaimed am I right?” Gerhard simply nodded. “Yes sir...I send the money back to Haven sir…”
Stefan was about to say something, but a knock on the door interrupted him. “Go away!” Stefan shouted. The knock came one more time, the general growled in annoyance. “If you kno-” The door suddenly buckled and burst into a thousand splinters, when Gerhard turned back a white light washed over him. The smell of clean rainwater started to fill his nostrils, as the light slowly ebbed away he could pick up the sound of heavy footsteps. Slowly his vision cleared and standing over him was a white giant, covered in bones and icons of Sigmar. A skull was leering down at him and through the eye sockets he spotted a soft blue glow.
Gerhard simply fell to his bottom, he was shaking with fear. He looked around to see the white giant had two others standing behind him. They held massive hammers and blue shields. Gerhard’s eyes darted to Stefan who was sweating rivers. “G-Greetings my lords.” the general stammered. The giant with the skull looked around the office, his eyes then fell upon his general. “You are in charge of the Freeguild known as the Golden Lions?” the giant’s voice held the rumble of thunder.
The general simply nodded to the question. The giant returned the nod and said “I am Lord-Relictor Atticus Soulflayer of the Knights Excelsior. I am here to tell you that this town will be purged and all officers will be incarcerated at the Black Fortress for further questioning.” At the mention of purge that was when the screams started, Gerhard even spotted a soldier flying across the door. The sounds of carnage began reverberating through the room. Stefan eyes went wide. “You can’t do this! H-How dare you! What of the Grand Conclave!?” Atticus cocked his head. “The Grand Conclave have no control over the Stormcasts. At least in Haven they don’t, wherever heresy and chaos gods go we the holy destroyers follow.” Atticus raised his hand and summoned forth chains of white light that shot towards them like a snake slithering snake.
Gerhard didn’t even struggle as the chains wrapped around him, his general screamed in agony as the chains touched him. He fell to the floor with a thud. Atticus then hefted him to his feet with the chains. “Do not resist general, if you do that will further prove your guilt.” Gerhard shook his head. “Y-You’re stormcasts…” Atticus eyes drifted to him. “Yes we are.” “T-Then why are you doing this?” The Lord Relictor chuckled but there was no mirth in his voice. “If you have to ask then you do not understand us.”
That was when one of the stormcasts behind Atticus came over and hefted him up with the chains as well. He was lead out of the office with his general. When he got outside the garrison itself was a charnel house, men and women were strewn across the floor. One was still alive and was crawling back screaming for his life, but the stormcast ignored their pleas as she bought her hammer down upon the soldier’s head without hesitation.
Now he understood what his general meant, now he understood the gravity of what he has done.
Gerhard was lead through Haven with the other officers, the trip took several hours and they had to walk without any breaks. He could feel his feet throbbing in pain, but despite the pain what was shocking him was when men and women were running to their houses. Children were dragged from roads and stalls were abandoned as the Knight’s Excelsior marched them through the city. Despite all of this happening he noticed one thing that stood out, it’s been years since he has last been home but every single house and stall was covered in religious icons and parchment.
His eyes drifted to the stormcasts that escorted them, he knew they had something to do with it. “Look at what you’ve done.” Stefan hissed. The general was walking next to him, despite being surrounded by the white giants they are not stopping him from speaking. “I told you reporting the situation to the city would catch the attention of the wrong people!” He was not shouting, he was speaking in whispered tones. “As the years went by the Stormcasts grip on the city turned more firm, the Grand Conclave’s hands are tied you fool!” The general kept ranting, his heart was sinking but it collapsed completely once they reached the dreaded Black Fortress.
Gerhard has heard stories of stormkeeps, they were meant to be grand and beautiful bastions where the warriors of sigmar lived and watched over them. But beyond the bridge all he saw was a dark fort of black metal being manned by white giants, it seems in this area the light of Hysh was dead. Storm clouds covered this area in its entirety and it didn’t help either that it was raining despite the fact the rest of the city was enjoying summer.
They were then lead down the bridge and he noticed the stone bridge held statues of grim warriors both mortal and stormcast, he didn’t understand the significance of them. His mind was mainly still reeling at the thought of the Stormkeep.
Once they reached the spiked gates Atticus raised head upwards and called out. “Open the gates!” His voice cut through the wind and rain. The gates made a clunking sound and slowly they rose upwards. They were escorted into the courtyard and the sight of it filled his mind and heart with despair. Oubliettes dotted the field, stormcasts were throwing people into them and worst of all were the executions. Priests in white robes and Stormcasts were calling down lightning upon those who were tied to posts. The screams were too much, worst of all were the wails that erupted from the great building at the other side of the court. He dreaded to think of what was happening inside. Atticus turned them to and shouted. “Those who forsake the light of Sigmar will find no reprieve here! Unburden your heart so the blessed storm can take you sooner! If not...you will know the tears of Sigmar forever…”
As he finished speaking the stormcasts divided them and dragged them to oubliettes, they were stripped of armour and clothes. Gerhard shuddered in fear as the female who crushed his fellow soldier’s head opened the gate of an oubliette. “****** this! I haven’t done anything wrong!” Gerhard looked back to see another sergeant was trying to run for it, but a stormcast on the battlements who wielded a bow simply aimed and fired. As the arrow traveled through the air it turned into a lightning bolt and crashed into the fleeing sergeant. His screams were added to those on the wind as his blackened corpse fell onto the grass.
Gerhard eyes came back to the oubliette and that was when the stormcast escorting him started tearing off his gear. It only took her moments and once she was done she shoved him in. Gerhard fell onto the hard floor, as he staggered to his feet he looked up and he watched the gates close. That was when he started wailing he tried to reach up and the gate was several centimetres out of his reach. He even tried to jump and he still couldn’t reach it.
He began panicking while looking around but he was only met with cold stone. “Help me!” he cried out out. Rainwater poured down onto him through the gate, it was cold the biting kind but he kept screaming. “I didn’t do anything wrong!” He kept screaming, but deep down he knew his voice was just one more scream added to the wails of those incarcerated here.
He didn’t know how long he has been here for, he hugged himself while sitting on the ground, he was trying to push back the cold that gripped his body. He should be dead due to the temperature and rain but something or someone was keeping him alive. He had that intrinsic feeling that was the case and he cursed the person who was doing it. He sneezed and looked over to the small sack, it was full of soggy bread. He had several of them which were empty he hoped to use them to cover himself but it didn’t help keep out the cold. His stomach then growled but he forced it back, he knew the timeframes for when they were fed was random, there was no set time. Sometimes he would go through days of a sack not being dropped down to his prison.
It got to the point that he prayed all of this to end, but his survival instinct would kick in and he would stuff his food into his mouth. Gerhard then remembered what Atticus said, to unburden his heart then the torment would end. So he reflected, he thought back to when he was sixteen winters when his parents couldn’t find a job. Their status as reclaimed kept them from most jobs by the ayzerites who founded the city.
That was when he was approached by other youths who ran the street gangs, they were all reclaimed as well which fed into the vicious cycle that they could not be trusted. They told him if he ran with them his parents would live comfortable lives. All he had to was deliver gildweed to the black market and fight with them. Most wouldn’t refuse considering the conditions most non-azyrites live in. Yet he chose otherwise, he decided to enlist in a Freeguild, he was refused many times but he didn’t give up and eventually he was taken in by the Golden Lions. It was tough working with them considering his status but he bared it and made it to sergeant, he used that money to make sure his parents could see a ripe old age. He wondered what would they think once news travels that the Golden lions have been decimated by Sigmar’s chosen? He dwelled on his parents until he heard metal grating.
Gerhard staggered up, gazing to the skies he could see the door to his oubliette has been opened. He would be happy but a stormcast was standing there, the giant reached down and grabbed him by the neck. Right away Gerhard clawed at the gauntlet but the giant pulled him up with ease. He then threw him to the grass, looking up he saw it was the Lord-Relictor. “Get him up.” Atticus said flatly.
He was surrounded by what looked to be humans in white robes. They hefted up by the arms and that was when the Lord Relictor turned from him and began walking to the main building. The humans followed after the Stormcast, Gerhard didn’t have the strength to walk but those in the white robes simply dragged him along.
When they entered the building the warmth crashed into him, the screams on the wind were silenced.
He started crying but that was short lived until his gaze fell upon a set of stairs, one was heading up and the other was heading downwards. Atticus walked to the stairs heading down and that was where he was dragged to, going down he picked up the sounds of more screams. His tears turned to ones of despair as he realised his torment was not going to end. When they reached the bottom of the steps he could see they were in a corridor, the walls were covered by great metal doors. The screams were coming from there, his heart shuddered as he was taken to one, he watched Atticus turn the handle of the door and opened it. He gestured into the room.
The white robed humans nodded and dragged him into the room. Gerhard spotted a large table and bench, there was also another white robed human standing in the corner. They were holding a large book, but what rattled his soul was her face was covered with tattoos. Her bald head held the sigil of the Knight’s Excelsior, the great sun with a crescent moon on top of it. She also had black lightning bolts tattooed over her eyes as well.
The ones dragging him set him down on the other side of the table and stood behind him. That was when Atticus came into the chamber and closed the door, he sat down across from him. That was when the female set the large book in front of the stormcast who opened it up. The leering skull and the blue eyes from Atticus caused Gerhard’s to wince in fear, he wanted to voice something to speak out against his treatment but no words would come. One look from the stormcast made him cease the attempt. “Do you know why you are here?” asked Atticus. Gerhard shook his head. “Let me tell you then.” the stormcast said flatly. “The Golden Lions are guilty of trading Gildweed to a cult belonging to the ruinous powers.” At the mention of cult his eyes went wide. “W-What?” Gerhard stammered.
The Lord Relictor simply turned the page of his tome. “General Stefan Goldstrike and the upper echelons have all been profiteering from this trade. Also I would like to add each had a grand amount of debt so the deal enticed them. This cult was stationed in the town of Strahafen.” Gerhard shook his head “I-I d-don’t understand. I never knew about this.” “That’s the surprising thing.” Atticus declared. “I suspect it has to do with your status as one of the reclaimed, but how ironic the group that is prone to corruption avoided it...Let me tell you why.” Gerhard rubbed his arms, it was far more warmer in this room but he could still feel the stinging cold somewhat. “I am not all that different from anyone else…” “But you are.” said the Lord-Relictor. He turned the page of the tome. “Let not the soul waver in the face of grey, it’s a tenant from the Shining Lord, the greatest among us in the Knights Excelsior. Do you know what that means?” Gerhard simply shook his head. “I don’t.” “It means that the soul wavers when it sees grey. We make excuses for why we do evil and trying to see grey leads to your soul being enshrouded with the blackness of heresy.” “Then...what of the people you killed? I am sure not all of them knew of what was going on in Strahafen.” Gerhard felt a measure of anger as he preached at him.
Here the stormcast was speaking of morality when they butchered a whole town. Atticus chuckled, it was most likely he was seeing his anger. “It’s quite simple.” said Atticus. “They were all guilty, we have been investigating this town for quite some time. All knew of the missing patrols, murders and trade issues but none thought to do anything about it. They made excuses, I am too scared to get involved, I don’t want to ruin my position, I have a family to take care of.” “There were children, did you kill them as well?” Gerhard said firmly.
Silence reigned the chamber, the Lord-Relictor simply turned the page of his tome. “Evil succeeds when good men and women do nothing. It’s that simple, that’s why we kill everyone.” Atticus declared. “Such people shouldn’t raise the young, the parents habits are imprinted into the children. Even so there was one white soul in the town. It was you.” “Me?” “Yes you, the plan to purge the city was in place for weeks but when I received your report our Lord-Veritant suggested that we shouldn’t kill you. I decided to take a look into your background and it further proved your soul is white, you don’t see grey. When you could’ve taken the easy road you didn’t. When you were enticed by crime you chose service. When you saw something was wrong you didn’t choose the dark powers you chose Sigmar.”
The Lord Relictor closed the tome. “So now you must make another choice.” Gerhard knew what this meant. He looked slightly back to those in white robes and then back to Atticus. “You want me to work here, don’t you?” he said flatly. The Lord-Relictor said nothing. The silence confirmed it, Gerhard looked down to his pale skin. “I will be helping you torture people…” “You will be torturing heretics.” “Isn’t that still wrong?” “Not against them mortal, for their souls are black.” Gerhard clenched his hands, who was he to gain say the chosen of sigmar? He hoped that maybe, just maybe there was a proper reason for their actions. “Fine...I will help you.”
The Lord Relictor turned his head to the female. “Agatha get Gerhard a white robe. Have him cleansed and brought to the courtyard.” The woman simply nodded. “Yes lord.” Gerhard watched the stormcast rise and walk over to the door, once he left his mind started to race with questions, he wondered what he meant by cleansed?
Gerhard stood in the courtyard with his brothers and sisters. His hair has been shaved, he was almost drowned by a lector through a sacred cleansing and now he earned his white robe. Underneath it he wore a small amount of armour and a sword was attached to his belt. Yet what he found strange was the rain wasn’t cold anymore. When Agatha explained what he was now a part of it didn’t sound that bad. Essentially they were an auxiliary Freeguild attached to the Knights Excelsior called the White Templars. Agatha said this specific stormhost has the greatest trouble finding mortals to fight with them, very few meet their standards. Thinking on the bar required to serve them Gerhard didn’t think it was that high. He just wanted to help his family and be productive, that’s it.
He focused on Stefan who was now emaciated. When their eyes met the general started shouting at him. “Traitor! Siding with murderers!” Gerhard winced, Stefan continued to spit venom at him but that was silenced as Atticus came forward. He was holding a great staff with a skeleton embedded into it, he told him that it used to be a battle companion who fought to the bitter end to help found this city. But his name was forgotten, nobles have torn down his statues and replaced them with statues of their own likeness. Agatha placed her hand on his shoulder. “Ignore the infidel, he seeks to push his sins upon you.” “He is making excuses to why he is now here.” Gerhard said flatly. “Indeed he is, now watch. Lord Atticus will summon the storm to tear him asunder.” Gerhard gulped, he was not sure if he was ready to see this.
The Lord-Relictor raised his staff and shouted to the heavens. “Know that you bought forth Sigmar’s fury. He placed his trust in you to serve his grand dream! Yet you chose to work with those who would unravel that sacred task! Feel his fury made manifest!” Lightning began to thread the clouds, and line of lightning shot down towards Atticus’ stave. The blue light almost blinded Gerhard, at least it felt like it. Still he could see Atticus clearly the smell of clean rainwater intensified and at the same time his skin tingled as lightning arced around them. None of it touched them but within the crackling it was like a presence was there. He could feel that someone out there was angry and also sad. Gerhard did not get much of a chance to explore this since Stefan started to scream. Stefan howled and wailed and the smell of burnt flesh forced its way into his nostrils. Once his screams faded so did the blue light, Atticus stepped aside and all that was left of his general was a blackened corpse.
Gerhard clutched his white robe, part of him wanted to think he didn’t deserve such a fate but in the end he traded with their enemies for coin. Who knows what the cult could of done with the gildweed? What bothered him most of all was why would anyone trade with followers of the ruinous powers? Questions upon questions railed his mind until the Lord-Relictor approached. “Even in the end he sought to blame someone else, not even once did he reflect upon what he has done. Now he is fodder for the dark masters he aided.” Atticus said flatly. “You will seek to find answer but it’s simple. He was a greedy and evil man who put his vices ahead of Sigmar’s dream. A dream where the realms are free of chaos. If you desire that dream...look upon him with scorn and hatred. His blackened husk is the same colour of his soul...remember that Gerhard.” The Lord-Relictor walked past him, attending to the next execution with the others.
Gerhard dwelled on what the stormcast told him. Deep down he had to admit he was right, Stefan was respected and achieved a position of trust. He squandered that. He then quickly made the sign of the hammer and turned to follow after everyone.
Well...a mate of said if I want to enjoy newer armies I have to upgrade my hobby and invest in hobby materials, like storage etc. Which I did so...I decided to do kharadron. Always said I wanted to do an army of em, which I am now doing. So...yeah hope people like this.
The air was murky as always, it was slightly dense and thick in the sense that it causes you to breath more harshly. Even if you are wearing a helm, the eternal dusk and night of the twilight plains makes journeys difficult as well. But such challenges are meant to be taken head on, defeating challenges while making money is the only way to earn mehret. Ulfar turned the wheel of the ironclad, he looked up to the look out he shouted at the old Aethric-Navigator and his friend Thungi Khazadson. His silver armour glinted despite the darkness, wind currents swept around his form as he clutched his Zephyrscope. “Thungi! How close are we to Daleshire!?” The Aethric-Navigator looked down to him, he removed his helm displaying his aged countenance, his brown beard also holds grey hairs. “No need to shout. I am just several metres above you.” Ulfar shrugged, normally he has to shout because he has no idea whether he is praying or not, his form of praying is listening to the currents seeking out the voice of Grungni.
Such a practice has been long forgotten by the Kharadron save those of Barak-Thryng, they venerate the ancestor gods to this day. It’s partly why Thungi is serving on his ship, no one wants him due to him being so old fashioned. But he liked that, he prefers to work with those who will honour their word and seek profit without tarnishing their duardin spirit.
Their skyport Barak-Dum are far more pragmatic compared to others, some call them cutthroats and even Barak-Mhornar turn their noses up at them. He personally hated it but it had to be this way since they live in Ulgu. A land of shadows, half truths and unknown horrors. It does not help either that they have a trade deal with Morathi the Shadow Queen. He had to admit it’s a lucrative deal, but there are costs to shaking hands with an aelf, an aelf that worships a god of war and blood.
He frowned “Well at least you are not praying, we have to be focused.” Thungi placed his helm back on, he left the look out and walked down the steps. Now that he was with him at the helm the old duardin shook his head. “We are only doing this because Barangor desires to seek out more lucrative tasks. This is a distraction.” “Aye, but what we are doing is important. Daleshire harvests gloomsweed, the medicinal properties of the root works wonders on injuries and having a great amount of it is useful for long voyages. They stopped trading with us recently and Barangor wants to know why.” Ulfar then heard the clanging of magnetised boots, the ironclad’s Aether-Khemit Mordin Logansson strode up to him, he shook his head. “We could seek some aether-gold on the side. I can smell a stream a few miles away.” Ulfar sighed “No Mordin.” he said firmly.
Mordin cocked his head slightly, the gesture looked strange with his helm. The long tubes used to aid in sniffing out aether-gold always caused him to shiver slightly. He stared the Aether-Khemist in the eye “Honour is everything.” he lived by that tenet, breathed it. “The task comes first, we won’t wander off the beaten road. The Admiral placed his trust in us.” Thungi nodded in agreement “despite my issues with the Admiral, Ulfar is correct. Honour the work before us, honour the agreement. If Daleshire stopped trading with us due to outside sources then there will be grudges to settle.” Ulfar grinned, that was another thing he liked about Thungi. He also enjoyed settling grievances, Ulfar even has his own personal grudge log strapped to his belt.
Then came another voice “I just want this to be done so we can return to the fleet.” A endrinrigger floated towards them. His aether-endrin strapped to his back gave off a soft hum. Ulfar grimaced, he was lucky that he was wearing his helmet so the Mizzenmaster could not see what expression he was making. As captain his rule is absolute, but Durak Hergarsson questions him all the time even when a course of action is agreed to. The troublesome endrinrigger is only on his ship for one reason alone. He is a black sheep among other captains of Barak-Dum, Durak’s endrinriggers were the only ones of the Endrineers Guild who had the desire to join his crew. But it was clearly obvious to him that Durak is Barangor’s eyes, for he had to admit he has not bought in much profit since becoming captain.
That was one fact he wanted to change quickly. “We should not do anything hasty when we arrive. I say we get a gauge of the situation and report back to the admiral.” Ulfar snorted “It seems you would like to lead Durak.” The Mizzenmaster’s red eye lenses fell upon him. “It’s just a suggestion captain.” “I heard your suggestion, now get back to what you were doing before.” Durak shook his head “fine, I will go back to doing check ups.” He flew back over the edge, Ulfar could hear his rivet gun firing, he nodded in satisfaction.
Thugni sighed “he is the problem with our sky-port.” “Nothing will change Thungi.” Ulfar said in slight annoyance. They had this discussion several times, he personally did not place much stock in gods they were never there when they are needed. He always believed at the end of the day you had to rely on oneself over other people fixing things for you. The old Aetheric-Navigator clutched his staff. “I know, but don’t you think Grungni is sad looking at us? What have we thrown away for the sake of shares? Barak-Dum doesn’t even follow the code properly either.” Ulfar narrowed his eyes, he had to agree with him there. The Admiral council use the code only when it suits them, but all know they are focused on lining their pockets.
Saying such a thing out loud would ensure you would never walk on another air-ship again. You would be reduced to a dock worker which is more or a less a death sentence for any of the Kharadron within Barak-Dum. The life of the dock worker is hard, you struggle to get by. He knows this, he had to watch his father waste away because he failed the musterpress three times.
His sky-port worked his father to death. Which is an an eternal Dammaz for him. It’s why he could never respect the admirals, the councils or the guilds. It’s clear also he gets stuck with all the poor jobs since he has a feeling that his Admiral desires wans him to fail. Modrin shook his head “stop thinking about it.” “I know Mordin.” Ulfar said dryly. Thugni chuckled “Calm your nerves captain, Grungni will give us a chance one day, I know it.” Ulfar wished he could believe, but a mix of pragmatism and being realistic he knew that his prospects would not change while being a part of Barak-Dum.
An Arkanaut at the aftcastle shouted and pointed to the distance “Captain we are here!” Thungi rushed up to the look out. With the aid of his Zephyrscope and spy-glass he nodded. “Aye! We are are few miles from Daleshire!” Ulfar clutched the wheel of the ironclad.
“Now let us see what the problem is…”
Ulfar stood before the town Mayor, the houses were damaged like they have been under attack and all the people were hiding away in their homes. Only the Mayor has decided to meet them in the plaza, Mordin sniffed around. “Magic is in the air captain.” Thungni nodded in agreement “Aye, I can feel the currents have been pulled and bended.” Ulfar shook his head, “So tell me Mayor Balvor, what has exactly happened to your town?” Durak flew down, to him. “I think we should get to the point captain…” “Be quiet. I am talking to the Mayor.” The mixenmasster looked away slightly “very well.”
Balvor looked frail, his fair skin was ashen. “It was….shadows. Shadows came and took our people away.” “Shadows?” Ulfar was confused. He knew of the shadow-daemons that lurk in the dark places of Ulgu, but they never attack towns unless someone directs them. “We have no one to farm the gloomsweed. The shadows keep coming and snatching our people away. M-Maybe...we angered Malerion somehow?” He snorted as he said that. “Doubt it, gods tend to move when it only interests them. This smells like someone interfering with our trade deal. Know this Balvor, I will get your people back.” The Mayor looked at him in surprise. “W-Why?” “Honour is everything that’s why. The one is attacking you is harming both of us, we need the gloomsweed and you need your people. Your livelihood is being attacked, our livelihood is being attacked.” The manling started to cry, he wiped his face. “I never expected you to help us...I thought…” “That we would abandon you?” Ulfar spat on the ground. “Others would, but not me. I protect our trade partners.” Ulfar removed his grudge log from his belt, he opened the small cylinder container holding his quill. He flicked through to a fresh page, he then wrote.
Let it be known that I Ulfar Grumsson will hereby avenge the attack upon Daleshire, these “shadows” attacked the Kharadron, attacked Barak-Dum. Punishment shall be meted out.
Mordin gave a small chuckle “you are taking this seriously if you are writing a dammaz.” “I am. Our fellow duardin underestimate the need for gloomsweed but I am damn sure they will remember it when their crew is bleeding out after an attack.” Ulfar closed his personal log, he returned the quill to the cylinder and attached the log to his belt. “I swear to you Balvor, I will end the people attacking you, if I can we will rescue those still alive. ” The mayor nodded slowly.
Ulfar accepted that, he placed his helmet back on. “Let’s go, we will follow their magic. The attack looks recent.” Durak looked like he wanted to say something, but one look the endrinrigger held back his complaint. The parameters of this job has changed, they will end the shadows for trade can’t be restored otherwise.
At the moment they are sailing to the south, Thungi can sense a great amount of shadow magic sweeping through the currents. They sailed under fields of gloomsweed and according to arkanuats looking down from the rails the roots were covered in blood. Thungi then called out “camp in the distance!” Ulfar removed his spy-glass from his pocket, while keeping a grip on the wheel. He would have a first mate to take over so he could use the spy-glass properly but considering his position he does not even have that.
But he could see the camp, it was full of female aleves wearing gold and red gear, their hair was white while also baring red streaks. But what shocked him even more is that he spotted mutants among them. Aelves who slithered around like a snake, they did not have normal legs. If he was not wearing his helmet he would spit on the ground with disgust. He removed the spy-glass from his eye. “So these are the shadows….” Durak came flying down. “We should report to Admiral Barangor, those are aelves of Hagg Nar.” “No we are pressing on. I am taking us to firing range.” “Do you know what it means to attack them!?” “Of course I damn well know what it means! Our sky-port is trading with an aelf who allies herself with mutants!” The mixenmaster removed his helm “in times of war, allies must be aided unless to so would prove pointless. Waste no duardin blood on unguz throlt.” Ulfar fumed with rage, he shouted at the endrinrigger. “Artycle 4, point 5 of the code! You think I am wasting our blood!?” The mixenmasster, looked young. His blonde beard was not all that long either, he flinched at his outburst. “Be silent child! Our sky-port wastes our blood allying with a back-stabbing aelf that works with mutants!” Ulfar brought up spy-glass again, they should be approaching firing range. The humans they were coming to save are dead, their hearts torn out, their bodies hanging hooks from macabre statues belonging to their pitiful god. “Honour is everything…” he hissed. “It seems you have forgotten that Durak. They attacked our trade partners, they are our enemy. My rule is absolute on this ship...unless...” he removed the spy-glass from his eye he swept his gaze over the rest of the arkanauts. “All of you feel otherwise?” They said nothing, those not wearing their helmets looked grim. He could tell they agreed with him.
Thungi then shouted “we are in firing range!” Durak shook his head “there will be consequences!” “Then let them come, I will take the fall. Open fire!” The the aether weapons sounded, the rattling of carbines the whoosh of torpedoes. Durak did not stop looking at him even as the sounds of shrill aelf screams greeted both their ears. Ulfar looked Durak in the eyes.
“The Dammaz has been settled.”
Dammaz - Means Grudge.
Mehret - a combination of success, profit and experience.
Unguz throlt - a lost cause; lit “undrinkable batch.” When a error occurs brewing of alcohol and good ingredients are lost, it is regarded as a tragedy among duardin.
Musterpress - Captains arrive to observe the drills, and they may choose to recruit new crew members by purchasing contracts, often to fill the places that have become available through death or injury. Those selected join the Arkanaut companies will endure any number of rites and rituals sacred to their new fleet, ship or both. Those passed over after three musterpresses must instead settle for lesser positions, often on mining or fishing vessels, or as dockworkers.