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The sky was a bright orange, heralding the coming of nightfall. The city of Mystdorf was now at its peak of activity as people of all races mingled in the marketplace beneath the pink clouds of the evening. They were safe here from the icy desert nights. The city gates opened one last time, the two aelfin guardsmen standing at either side allowing the caravan to pass. The gate was shut behind them.

This caravan moved through the market, turned down the slave district, took a shortcut through the slums. There they had to fight their way through thieves and thugs. Several men lie dead, aelf bolts in their hearts. After another gate they had entered the high district, full of tall black spires reaching into the sky. This was the district of the nobility, and no duardin, human, halfling, or anything was allowed within its walls. It was strictly inhabited by aelf-kind. The caravan made its final stop in the courtyard of one of the local palaces. Its guards disembarked, then unloaded the cargo. Men and women, all of the captured runaway slaves, tribal barbarians, prisoners, wanted men and women. The owner of the palace wandered out, a tall aelf, his scalp entirely bald. He wore pink and purple robes as he descended the marble steps of his home, joined by two of his elite guards. Several of his wives stood in the entryway, getting a breath of fresh air and watching the show unfold. The aelf approached the lines, looking them up and down. He recognized one of the men, and had them shot in the forehead point-blank. He continued up and down the line. He stopped before the most interesting barbarian he had ever seen.

This man was taller than any other he had ever seen, maybe as tall a Stormcast Eternal, with his hair shaved close to his scalp. Scars covered said scalp, along with his face. He tilted his head, looking the man over. The man was obviously a warrior, he wore a white and blue pauldron upon his right shoulder, though the rest of him was bare save for long cloths draped about his waist. Metal studs stuck out of the man in several areas across his muscular frame. His arms were bound at the wrists by enormous chains. Scars covered him.

"My lord," one of the caravan guards knelt, placing his fist upon the sand of the courtyard. "We found him with a small group of Bloodbound tribesmen in a sandstorm. They attempted to overtake us. We managed to take him down with several tranquilizer darts, along with a few other Khornates which we believe to be in decent enough shape to entertain the masses. He does not speak our tongue."

"Learn," spat the giant in a deep voice, who cracked a grin. "Learn will." the aelf lord clapped his hands, causing the giant to chuckle further. "It will make an excellent addition to the arena, Kagnit. I thank you. I shall take three other male slaves. The women I possess enough of." he turned back to his entryway. "Have the men brought to their quarters. You may leave the giant in the training yard. Have the gatehouse guards fetch you your payment." 

"Yes, lord!" called out one of the guards as he left. 

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The large man had spent the next few days in a small room of wood, a shack for lack of a better term. It was somewhere within a larger chamber and full of other slaves. A cage more or less. They were somewhere within the enormous palace of the aelves here in the noble aelf district. He peeked through the cracks, out at the city beyond. Tall black spires pierced the pink skies. Airships and dragons with the sun glimmering off of their purple scales flew between these high towers. The aelves of this city did not allow a single non-aelf within these walls. If they did, they would be guillotined, shot or tossed into their barbaric arena, of which the giant had already had the pleasure of visiting several times. It was his third week. Every day he was fed a strange paste, a mixture of ash, oats, and nuts. Luckily for him however, he was given three portions, while the other slaves and gladiators in his pen would get one. It was probably because he was so large. 

He had also learned more of the native tongue, of which he had not yet had the chance to use. The wooden cage opened its hole and the bald aelf stood motionless, he smiled to the giant. "Follow." he ordered. The giant stood and followed him out. The two wandered down a marble hall and exited their building out to a vast balcony overlooking the city beyond. The aelf grasped the golden railing with both his pale hands, and gazed out at the misty, yellow horizon far beyond the desert. "There are games coming up. Games between the Houses of this fine city. Do you understand, creature?" That word, creature. It was uttered with condescending nature. The giant nodded his understanding. "Good." He did not take his eyes off of the horizon. "You are a beast, I am sure you have realized that we have seen your superiority in the fighting rings of the tower. I want you to represent my House in these games. Now simply, a yes or a no will do." 

There was a long silence. Awkward if anything. The aelf turned to look at the monster, gazing up at him and cocking his head. He looked so alien.

"Yes." Came the response.

"Good. Good." he folded his arms together. "Back to your quarters, then. In the morning, you shall be given new quarters more akin to your position." The human simply turned and went back from whence he came.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The arena itself was nestled in one corner of the Aelf district, surrounded by towering black spires. The arena itself was built from the same black, fluorescent material that allowed it to glitter in the sunlight. The giant man rolled back out of the way of the manticore's stinger. The second blow came and he managed to cut away the point with his enormous aelfish battle axe. Another overhead swing and the monster's skull was split. Red sprayed across the white sands and across the human's muscular upper body and face. The crowd of aelves cheered and roared. The man scowled, releasing the handle of the weapon still embedded into the brain. He backed away a few steps before several slaves were rushed out onto the sands to cart the monster off. Three guards in Dreadspear kit stepped onto the field, behind them were two slaves. Naked men who were pushed down upon their knees. From his pulpit the Dreadlord of the City threw out his arms. "These men sought to defile our fair city!" The crowd roared angrily. The warrior stood motionless, watching the prisoners. "They are guilty of sneaking into our purely Aelf district by way of the sewers!" he continued. The spectators did not die down. "I sentence them to death. Malerion and Sigmar both have mercy on your misguided souls." He finished, sitting down.

The warrior stared at the slaves who cowered before him. There were no weapons here. The warrior sighed, taking a dreadspear, and with it he ended their lives quickly. Several hours later he bathed alone in his new quarters, untired and unrelaxed. The bald aelf soon joined him, but did not undress. He stood in the warmth of the bathing hall, and found a chair to sit comfortably in. "Tell me of your life before the arena, human." He ordered. The man stared up at him from the bath, and grunted.

"Aye." He looked to the ceiling. "I do not recall what led me to this place. To the deserts beyond your city." He looked to the marble ceiling. "I was a warrior amongst thousands, in the legions of one of the greatest armies in existence. I saw cities burn, gods fight, I saw brothers die. I saw the wrath of the Dark Gods that we thought we could harness. I left when my superiors turned to the gods of Chaos. I fled. I ended up here. I do not know how."

"Curious..." the aelf said, standing up. "Are you what the Stormcast look like without armor? I dare say, I did suspect it when I first laid eyes upon you."

"I do not know what a stormcast is." he replied. "I am going to meditate." he stood, water dripping into the pool. Slaves rushed in with towels but he shooed them away, drying himself off.

"Indeed. I will... look into the capture of your person more closely. Investigate. Someone must know something..." he turned and left without another word. The man wandered out into his bedroom with naught but a towel and sat on his knees, meditating.

* * *

Vurra the Mammoth stood at the bow of his longship. Behind him were ten other ships, each one ferrying its own horde of bloodreavers, warriors, marauders, pirates, beastmen, mutants, and others. Barbarians all, whom worshipped the Blood God. Night had fallen and the stars shimmered in the heavens. Vurra spat into the water of the river. The chieftain Garr Marrows stepped up beside him, cradling his black helmet under his muscular arm. "Vurra, the men are tired."

"I'm aware," he rubbed his chin, not turning to face the bloodreaver. "We can make a camp on the river for now. But no fires shall be lit. Get everyone wolf hide blankets and have them be as warm as they can. If they die of cold at night, we leave them for the crocodiles and other beasts."

"I shall, Vurra. Thank you." he looked up ahead, upriver was the city they had been planning to assault. "What do you know?"

"Only what the prisoners have told us. It is a city ruled by aelf-kind. There are some who worship Slaanesh within those walls." Garr chuckled.

"In other words, weakling whelps and slaves? What are they? Fat pink-skinned and too busy eating and sleeping in brothels?" Vurra laughed. 

"No, I do not know what they look like. Just that they are ruled by aelves... Look..." he waved a hand at the city. "The spires, the black spires. The walls. It looks magnificent. Our God is that of destruction, of Blood and Skulls and war. Alas, you surely can appreciate the architecture of our enemies, aye?" Garr scowled, lifting his drinking horn and took a swig.

"Nope." he laughed, waving an arm at one of the bloodreavers behind him to signal the ships to go ashore.

"That architecture, specifically, it is that of the Darkling Coven." he rubbed his hands together. "We are fighting the Druchii here. They are as cold as they are fierce."

"Any aelf is a broken body waiting to happen, Vurra." the chieftain snarled as the ship pulled ashore. The warriors began to disembark, carrying supplies and furs. As soon as Garr's boots hit the sand he undid his drawstring pants and began to urinate on the beach as his tribesmen leaped down and began to make an area for sleeping. Vurra remained on the bow, placing both hands upon the rail of the ship and chewed his lower lip.

"Garr!" he called. The chieftain looked up from his business.

"Aye?" he asked.

"Take a few bloodreavers. Scout the walls." Garr grunted, hiking up his pants. 

"But we were just unloading the damn meat!!"

"I don't care. Take a bit with you and scout out the walls. Report back at morning. Let no one see you, period. We do not want to give away our position." Vurra snarled. The bloodreaver spat, gathered a few men and they left on their journey. Vurra crossed his arms, pulling his fur cloak tighter around him. The city would be his.

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Vata Blackchaser was a darkoath chieftain. He had led his warriors on the journey with Vurra, and had himself led many raids of Sigmar's villages along the voyage. He walked alongside Garr as the warriors picked their way through the hot jungle, their vision fully adjusted to the darkness. Along with them as well were Wirbirk and Tarrald. The recon force was to get as close to the city as they could to try and locate any way into the city they could. "Good things there are trees here," Vata breathed. "Enough wood for some siege towers.

"Alas, let us hope we can get in without towers," Garr shouldered his axe. The city rose high into the night sky above them as they closed in. "This is what I had hoped for!" Garr smiled evilly as they came upon an enormous pipe releasing dirty water into the river. "Vata," he looked to his fellow chieftain. "Would you crawl up there and scout out a path into the city?"

"I am not into sewage, Marrows." he snarled. "I will do it, though. Damn it."

"Excellent. We shall return to the camp to help set up. It's going to be a long few weeks of chopping down trees. We'd best get started sooner rather than later. Go find a way into the city, do not return til you find it. Let us return." He turned and wandered back into the shadows of the jungle. Vata grimaced and began to crawl into the pipe. It was cramped, and stunk worse than the Nurgle-worshipping garbage whom Vata had the pleasure of meeting in his life. He slithered through the wet darkness like a serpent, eventually reaching a manhole, and clambering out into a dark city street just behind the wall. The spires just beyond the inner wall towered above him. It was definitely time to go back before he was spotted, but he decided to remain in the city and see what else he could learn, find out and sabotage. He, much like Vurra, had brains as much as he had brawn. 

He did not return until two nights later, when he sauntered into the established war camp of Vurra The Mammoth. Bloodreavers, maurauders and pirates were in the forest chopping down trees. The engineers and cultists were constructing their siege towers. Vata found Vurra's command tent, recognizable from the fact that it was constructed out of the skin of men, orruks and troggoths.  He pushed in, the giant warrior-king looked up from his crude map of the region. Garr shook his head as Vata entered and took his leave. "I understand you had been inside the city?" Vurra asked, taking a sip of mead from his horn. He offered some to the darkoath chieftain. Vata accepted and wiped his mouth with his forearm, and nodded.

"Aye. I have. There's a sewage pipe that several men can slip through, get inside the walls. The siege towers are good if we can get them tall enough, and reinforced enough."

"We've got enough fur pelts, steel and rope to make that happen I assure you. What is it like on the inside?"

"I was only able to explore the slums, king Vurra. The inner-city is protected by another, even larger wall. But if we have enough of a force inside, and capture the outer walls, there should be nothing stopping us from breaking through the inner gate." he rubbed his stubble-covered chin, taking another sip.

"That would be hard. But Khorne did not settle for an easy victory. Glory is found through the most difficult of trials, Blackchaser." The chieftain nodded. "The trees here are tall enough to hide the towers, but how to we get them to the wall?"

"We cannot wheel them there, the jungle is too thick. A strike force could easily sneak through the woodland, though. The siege towers should go by raft. I have seen a portion of the city goes out onto the river. They have a harbor, as well just in the outskirts. And fishing villages."

"Well finding food and shelter after the siege begins will not be difficult. Thank you, Blackchaser. We shall mount the towers on rafts. I will send my sorcerer and some warriors to the northeast, beyond the city, to create a distraction. Whilst that is happening, your warriors will go through the pipe into the city. Once everyone mentioned has the attention of the city, the main force will enter through the siege towers over the walls, and the harbor by ship."

"It sounds like a grand strategy my king." Vata said. 

"Aye. Go help chop trees. We need all the help we can get. A final talk shall be given in some week's time.." Vata left the tent, and Vurra continued looking at the map, thinking of possible alternatives.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

The bald aelf grunted angrily, spinning on his heel away from his guard who had brought him the news. He had been waiting for this news for many months. The Khornate were here. Not upon the city, but they were here. He knew this was going to happen, as he had heard that the giant man was found amongst their kind. They were possibly here for him.

He pushed through the two shimmering golden doors and into his palace's inner most sanctum. The air smelled strongly of perfumes. Pillows and blankets, each one constantly cleaned were made of the skins of different animals. Music poured into his ears, and he was surrounded by dancing aelves all around. He pushed through to the passage covered in beads and he reached his destination. Within was the Icon of Vanity. "My lord..." the aelf whispered.

"I am busy," said the sorcerer quietly. His back was covered in bloody scratch marks. A dripping scourge was in his hand. The sorcerer sipped some wine from a slave girl, another offered him a pipe though he waved her away. A slave man, obviously a former-gladiator judging from his build, entered with a silver tray. The sorcerer placed his bloody scourge upon it. "Leave us," he waved the others away and the slaves departed from the chamber. The sorcerer breathed deeply, sat forwards on his knees and turned around, his eyeless visage appearing within the deep purple light of the chamber. "What is it?" he asked.

"The Khorne warband our scouts have reported has reached the outskirts of the city. They are making a camp in the jungles, around the riverbend." The bald aelf also fell to his knees. The sorcerer rubbed his chin. The human pondered the situation.

"We will not be evacuating the city." he wiped his mouth. "We will allow the peasantry of Sigmar's filth to be a shield against this foe. I shall prepare a gate to escape through. Gather the men. We depart in a week." The gladiator-slave returned, dragging in a screaming, naked human from the main room. "What is this interruption?" the sorcerer said, snarling.

"This man stole ember-dust from the main room." The gladiator grunted, holding the writing man. The sorcerer stood slowly, climbing to his feet. He approached the writhing nude man and gently felt his face.

"I carved out my eyes years ago, as I believe the only being worth seeing is our lord, the Prince of Pleasure. She who waits beyond the veil to devour our loving souls. You, my manling friend, you are just a beast. You are too ugly." he placed both hands upon the man's face, who was screaming in fear. The slave was obviously high off of the ember-dust. He was hallucinating as well. "And you stole from Her? The prince? How barbaric...." he dug his nails into the man's face, causing more screams of pain. "Bring him to my chambers," he breathed heavily, and looked in the bald aelf's direction. "Prepare the men. We leave in one week. One. Leave us." 

The aelf bowed slowly, and left, his face covered in sweat. 

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Vata stumbled upon the farmstead early in the morning. Singing birds surrounded them, filling the air with loud tweets and screeches throughout the jungle canopy. The light of the morning sun shimmered down upon the few dilapidated buildings constructed from the wood of the surrounding palm trees and larger buildings of limestone and mud brick. The flood waters of the farm had receded, earlier in the season, revealing the rich, black soil. Judging my the looks of the soil, it had already been ploughed and seeded. Grain was found growing in some areas. Others had melons. A few of Vata's marauders began helping themselves to the fruits growing among the farmland. There was not too much that was grown, and a few things were rotten.

Vata himself made his way toward the farm buildings. He tried the door to the larger building, a cubical structure made from limestone and bricks. The wooden door opened with a creak and the barbarian chieftain stepped in. Within this first floor were tools of the peasant trade: sickles, ploughs, bags of seed and barley. He opened one bag to reveal oats. He scooped some out and sniffed it, then put the wad in his mouth to chew. He looked around more. Sunlight beamed in through holes in the construction. Dust flew through the beams.

A broom fell over in the corner. He wandered over quietly, his axe resting upon his shoulder. He pulled aside a curtain to reveal an empty room. A closet, probably a pantry where extra food was stored. He opened a few crates to find hunks of bread and bundles of fruit. The floor creaked and he sighed. The chieftain pulled open the trap door hatchway beneath his feet to find a family of peasants. Human. They were all dirty and they smelled awful, obviously they had been down there since the marauders had arrived and built camp. "Hello." He said, breaking an awkward silence. The people were terrified. "I didn't see you here. I believe my god does not enjoy watching the lives of... those without a weapon and fighting experience to be quite ill. That said, stay quiet. I will get my horde away from here, but you must leave." The peasants all nodded simultaneously. Vata smiled sheepishly. He closed the hatch, tore down the curtain and tossed it over the door. Then he simply left. 

Once outside he called the men and women to him. "This one is full of baby food. Let us return for the day. I shall personally catch one hundred fish for you lot!" he called out. The others laughed heartily and they left the farm behind.

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The siege was prepared for finally, and they began their attack early the next morning while the sun was still rising and thus would be in the eyes of the enemy. The nautical siege towers would besiege the river-facing walls and harbor. As explained previously, Vurra's experienced sorcerer created a vortex in the northeastern mountains above the jungle. This perplexed those within the city. The aelves knew something dark was afoot and set up a defensive line there. It was not long for fireballs to rain upon the northern wall. Meanwhile, the towers reached the walls, and the ships reached the harbor. The pillaging began even before Vata and his marauders exited the pipe into the dirty slums.

Blackchaser's booted feet hit the wet cobblestones, sending up a splash of muddy water. Screams and the clash of steel were heard. It would not be long before the defenders of the outer wall face them. He could see that the aelves atop the inner wall were preparing defenses. He rushed, axe and sword in-hand through the narrow streets. The people were running scared. One of his marauders tossed his axe and the blade bit into the shoulder of a woman. She screamed as she fell. The marauder, Fysku, picked his weapon back up and threw it back down upon her spine for the death blow, sending a rain of blood across his body. Vata stopped behind him. The other peasants left the street empty as the warriors began breaking down doors into the empty townhouses. Vata growled under his breath. The marauder turned, raising a brow. "You do not mind me endin' the life of an Azyrite, right lord?" the man asked, grinning. His yellow teeth glaring in the morning sun. Vata grunted, smashing the back of his axe into the warrior's kneecap. The marauder let out a cry and fell to the ground from the blow.

"You have killed a woman!" he turned her body over to see the bundle that was not moving. A tear fell down his face. The marauder grabbed hold of a market stall to pick himself up, his leg broken at the knee.

"She was Azyr, lord. The rest of us are doin' it. We've done it before, aye?"

"We set out with Vurra to make a name for our clan, you ******. To make a saga. What saga is befitting of slaughtering those who cannot even defend themselves?"

"Khorne cares not from whence the blood flows, my lord!" The marauder sat upon the stall's countertop, his bloodied, dripping axe resting upon his lap. The outer wall defenders had reached the towers. Fighting rang out across the slums. Burning arrows were fired in, and buildings began to ignite. "He cares not."

"He does, you mad fool. Do you realize what you have done?? You spit upon your clan, you coward!" Fyzku laughed at this. 

"Coward? You dare call ME a coward? You are the one who allows the Sigmarites to leave when we raid."

"Khorne cares only for honor in his duels. He only RESPECTS honor, Fysku. He will not accept this murder. Where is the glory in killing a woman with a child instead of a sword?"

"Murder? We worship the god of unholy murder, you dumb fool!" Fysku stumbled to his feet. He nearly fell but stopped himself with the bottom of his axe. "What are you?"

"I am an honorable warrior, and I seek to send many skulls of warriors to our lord. You have sent the skull of someone who may not have ever held a blade. For that you must attone."

"What?" he grumbled, hefting his axe. His crooked leg was tucked beneath him and he fell to one knee. "You dare?? Vurra would be furious right now!"

"Alas, I am not he!" And with that, Vata swept his broadsword and decapitated the marauder in a quick blow. His head rolled across the narrow street, leaving a stream of red in its wake. "Skulls for the skull throne." The darkoath chieftain muttered under his breath.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Koro hobbled through the street. A devout worshipper of nurgle, the broken corpse his poor, defiled soul occupied was bloated and covered in various cancerous tumors. His nose was constantly running, yet he felt no pain. Only the joy through killing. His tentacle fingers were wrapped around the decapitated head of an aelf, three tips gripping inside of the eye sockets and mouth, the free tentacles were twitching and coiling in anxiety. He laughed as Vata walked onto the street. "Hail, Vata!" he coughed, a bit of phlegm rolling down his chin.

"Koro..." Vata said, half-disgusted. "I see your tribe has taken the harbor?"

"Aye!" he held up the head, its spine still dangling from the bloody meat. "A trophy to take back to the deathlands!" he cackled happily. Vata nodded.

"Indeed. I am taking a contingent of warriors into the inner wall. Would you care to join me?"

"Aye! That I would!" He said before vomiting upon the wall. Maggots twitched within the bile. Vata decided he would rather spend a lifetime in a room of dead besides be anywhere near this man.

* * *

The giant left his room. The bald aelf greeted him, a few concubines were running terrified by down the marble hallway. "What is it?" he asked, shouldering his axe upon his broad shoulder.

"The city is under attack."

"By whom?" he raised a brow.

"Several tribes of Chaos have laid siege to our city. We offer you a choice to flee with us. Several other gladiators are leaving. Will you?" You are strong, powerful. You could go far?" The giant man laughed.

"No. You go on, I shall buy you time. Have they breached the inner district?"

"No, but-" The giant started leaving. 

"Then I will meet them on the walls. Do not wait, aelf. I shall hope to see you again!" he pounded his chest once and left the room. The aelf stood, dumbfounded and scared. He would have to leave with the icon of vanity by himself with whatever madmen they have with them.

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  • 3 weeks later...

"What is down this corridor?" the giant gladiator asked the bald aelf walking ahead of him to the Icon of Vanity's portal room, where the Lord's retinue was to make their escape and abandon the city they once dubbed their home base.

"That is the artifact chamber, only our Lord's most trusted may enter-" the aelf went silent as the beast wandered down the hall and pushed open the door even though it was locked. Within were many weapons and artifacts of strange lands. only one object was familiar to the giant. "We must leave, our Lord is going to make his escape. The rest of these slaves and creatures are mere peons, we are the strong, we must survive. For our true lord to survive."

The beast ran his hand down the gargantuan chainsword- an eviscerator. "Where was this tool found?" he asked, grabbing it by its long hilt. The aelf stammered in fear at the strength.

"We, our slaves found it in the desert. Near a devastated cluster of burnt metal."

"I shall be taking this." He shouldered the weapon. "Go to 'your' lord. I shall head to the palace gates and hold off the horde as long as I can." He started out of the ruined room, knocking over priceless treasures without care, as though they were mere blades of grass. "If we ever meet beyond this day, and you call me 'slave' again, I shall kill you. Disgusting creature..." he walked out, leaving the bald aelf to himself, who scuttled out of the room, avoiding broken shards but taking what he could with him as he rushed to his Lord's side. The giant wandered out of the building, avoiding the many aelf women and slaves running in a panic. He saw aelf warriors, warriors of the Darkling Coven gathering outside the gates. They were making way to the larger gates of the inner aelf district and the walls to guard against ladders and towers. The warrior joined them. They looked at him as though he was foul and beneath them, even though he could destroy their skull with the back of his hand.

* * *

Two months passed. Vata wandered the streets coated with dried blood. The outer slums and poorer districts had been made into a base and camp for the foreign barbarian invaders. Slaves were taken and being sold or transported from the harbor to parts unknown. Tribal traders bartered wares with explorers and warriors that had come with the horde. Blacksmiths worked in the sacked smithies, forging new weapons and armor for the marauders and warriors. He was disgusted with his destination, the Meatlocker, of which once was a hospital that had been turned into the local Bloodbound garrison. He wandered into the building. Marks of Khorne were carved all over the beams and walls. Blood both dry and wet coated most of the half-burnt room that had once been some sort of reception area, and meat hung from hooks roughly nailed into the ceiling. A bloodreaver, slightly his height, walked up to him, guzzling down a cup of mead. He grinned, showing red teeth. It was not mead. "You come to see the master??" he cracked his neck. The bloodreavers were mostly average marauders (that he knew at least) but then there were the undesirables. The stereotypical cannibalistic bloodreavers and warriors were more an Age of Chaos thing. But some stuck to the old ways. Whatever they felt impressed the Blood God more. The same god that Vata worshipped, alas for different reasons and in different ways. Vata was honor, courage and combat. For most, it was just combat. Vata nodded.

"Aye. Take me to him at once." he demanded. The bloodreaver tore a chunk of what Vata assumed was human or duardin meat off of the dangling mass of gore closest to him and waved for him to follow. Most of the building looked the same. Full of singing bloodreavers and blood warriors and smelling strongly of alcohol and death. A woman's screams rang out from the floor above and the laughter of evil marauders. Vata did his best to block it out. That was how you remained sane in the company of such madness. He knew he himself was beyond saving, and definitely as insane as his fellows. He sighed as he walked into the faux-throne room. The Blood Warrior Vurra the Mammoth sat, leaning upon his giant axe that had been carved from a Chamon beast's steel bones. He threw an empty drinking horn at a duardin slave who was bruised all over his face and the slave scurried off through a curtained door.

"Hail, Chieftain Vata. Your tribe has aided my conquest greatly. We take many slaves and loot back to the homelands in Chamon." he grinned, grabbing a nearby human woman and forcing her upon his lap. "What do you want?"

"My lord, we have yet to break through their inner sanctum. The aelf district is held firm by a line of dreadspears and a gladiator whom appears to be Khorne himself incarnate. He is a beast. The most beast of a man, and greater than any Blood Warrior I have seen... He has bested many of my warriors, and not many have come back alive. What are your orders?" Vurra stood, throwing the woman off onto the bloody floor.

"We kill him, of course! None can impersonate the Blood God! He shouldered his weapon. "Or we capture him. A trophy. Khorne has sent this Beast upon us as a test of our courage and our skill in battle. Capture him, and take every aelf-creature's skull for our Master's throne!!" A cheer rang out amongst the Bloodbound within. If only Vurra had this kind of initiative when the siege had settled down in the past months.

"Alright. I shall attend."

"You shall fight him first!" Vurra shouted. The Bloodbound cheered again. Vata sneered. It had been weeks since he had last dueled, and he had spent that time working amongst the slaves and thralls in the harbor, the farms being made outside the walls and hunting game.

"I accept this challenge. I shall fight the warrior."

"You shall defeat the warrior! Come, Chieftain Vata! The sagas of Chamon shall ring with your name!" The Blood Warrior put a meaty arm around his neck and led him outside, followed by the warriors of The Mammoth's tribe. The approach was long as they wandered up stairs stacked with skulls and bones of the dead, both of marauders and of the enemy. They led to the frontline. The walls. A siege tower had been constructed out of stone, bone, wood and furs. It was stable and a line of warriors wandered up both it and ladders that rose as fast as they were pushed down. The siege was eternal. Blood Warriors stood at the main gate, constantly smashing it with an enormous ram. Alas, the gate stood firm. Vata sighed as he came to line in the siege tower. He climbed, bloodreavers were behind and ahead of him. As they ascended, a skinny, skeletal man handed off round shields of metal and fur to them. Vata accepted his and continued to ascend. At the top was a barbed metal ladder that had snared itself into the wall, and with the powers of the Dark Gods, melded with it. A line of Chaos Warriors and Blood Warriors lined the top, alongside the marauder warriors. They had a foothold and with a wall of shields held firm. Vata approached, shield and axe in hand. He swept his axe downward into the skull of an aelf warrior. Beyond the dreadspears he spotted the giant, coated in blood, approaching. The Beast wielded an enormous contraption of metal, dripping blood and gore. He slayed even the dreadspears who got in his way.

The shields of the warriors held against the enormous growling weapon, whose serrated, buzzing teeth bit through flesh as though it were butter. Marauders and aelves fell like wheat. He was not always out on the walls, but luckily, he was here today. Amongst the cries of battle and the singing of metal on metal, Vata cried out a challenge to the man. A horde of dreadspears backed away in fear as the Beast moved closer, and the warriors parted to allow the chieftain to pass. He was but a few of his own tribe left in the horde. He had not much to go back to in his homeland save for his wife and child, and if he died he would serve by his Master's side. Vata tossed down his shield and tossed his axe into his left hand, drawing his broadsword. The Beast growled in anger, hungry for gore and battle.

The eviscerator swept from Vata's right and cut down a marauder through his shoulder. Vata blocked the scything teeth with his axe but he paid dearly for it- the blade of the axe was carved into, nearly in half. He tossed the weapon down and rolled for his shield. He picked it up in time for another sweep and bashed upward to charge in and stab the Beast in the thigh. The warrior grunted, as though the pain was nothing, and kicked Vata away. He brought his weapon down again and cut into his shoulder. Blood flew but the marauder chieftain grit his teeth and rolled away, leaving a trail of red before him. 

Within five minutes, a pool of blood from both parties had formed in the dueling circle, surrounded by dead Chaos mortals and aelves. Vurra climbed atop the walls, watching as men continued to batter the dreadspears back on either side of the duel. As expected, the chieftain was keeping the Beast busy. Vurra cried out, charging forwards. The Beast swept his blade over his head, bringing it down in another arc and carved straight through Vata's shield and the warrior felt the metal teeth carve into his bone, he fell back in time for the blade to be blocked by Vurra's axe. The eviscerator was not carving through its material. The giant chieftain, who was almost a head taller than the Beast, pushed him back. "Beat him! Beat him!!" He cried, bringing up his gorefist and smashing the warrior in the face. Others surrounded him, punching, kicking and beating him. Vurra stepped upon his giant fist, releasing the eviscerator from his grip and ordered bloodreavers to draw it away. Everyone else began pounding on the gladiator. A few hunters tossed a few nets over him. Some of rope, some of chorded steel forged in Chamon. Vurra looked over at Vata, who was drowning in his own blood, in the sun-kissed light upon the walls. He looked up at the Blood Warrior, sweat covering his face. "You shall return home a hero, man! A warrior of the Blood God! Men, carry this man to the ships! He leaves for Chamon immediately!!" A cheer rose up.

The Slaves to Darkness hordes breached the Dreadspear-held walls and entered the aelf districts. Within the evening, the dark towers were slick with blood, desecrated with the symbols of laughing gods, and the trophies of dead aelves lined every corner, every street and every room of every building. Not a single aelf was spared that day. A Bloodbound garrison was left in the outer city, but all over warriors departed with their loot and plunder for Chamon. Within the gladiatorial arena in which the aelves forced gladiators to do battle against one another and beasts, with the blood of the final few dreadspear defenders they had written out "BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD". And with their skulls they constructed the symbol of the eight-fold path. That night, Vurra admired his growing horns in the stolen mirror his slave held up.

* * *

Vata awoke. It was dark, late at night. He was below deck aboard a stolen aelf vessel. He stood and wandered up to the top deck. His wound had healed, a gift from his god. A giant scar was all that remained, and the bone had healed, though his apothecary informed him that he was not allowed to move his left arm for any reason or use it for anything. A cloak of mammoth fur draped about his shoulders, he drank deep some mead as he watched his new ship and several longships carrying his tribe depart from the main raiding fleet into rivers carrying them through Shyish. The whispers of the dead were around every riverbend, and snow began to gently fall upon the deck. "Ah, yes. Just like home..." he sighed into his cup.

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