"When will this damn fog dissipate?" Begodrek groaned as he tightened his cloak to warm himself up.
"Don't speak too loudly," his companion whispered. "We don't know what might hear us."
In response, Begodrek sniffed disdainfully. The duardin hated the damp dark cold climate of the Coast of Fleeting Hopes. Cursed be the Shadow Realm! For his part, Calestor, a a tall slend human around thirty, nervously scrutinized the mist that obscured the landscape. The two fellow travellers had been caught by surprise by the sudden appearance of fog and had to quickly take refuge in a dilapidated cottage, obviously abandoned for years. They were extremely fortunate to have found a shelter in the middle of nowhere in the wild lands of Ulgu.
"If only we could light a fire to warm our bones..." Begodrek muttered.
"Certainly not. It could attract nasty creatures. We have to stay hidden and wait for the fog to pass. Only after that will we be able to light a fire or get back on the road."
The frustrated duardin glared at his travelling companion then turned his ear to listen carefully, just in case there were something crawling around the cottage. Not a sound. Only silence...
"I hope your information is reliable, human. I'd hate to find out that I came all the way from Azyr for nothing. If that's the case, you'll wish you hadn't brought me into your business..."
"Trust me," Calestor replied. "I have already checked and rechecked my sources several times. My documents do not lie. If we can find and enter the Citadel of the Starry Firmament..."
"The Blinking Tower," the duardin interrupted him.
"That one, yes," his partner replied in an annoyed tone. "So if we can get inside, my documents will help us find the magic treasure that is hidden in there. You'll see, my research in the Azyrheim libraries will be useful to us."
In response, Begodrek gave him a look that seemed to mean "we will see". Calestor ignored him and pretended to examine the fog outside. This duardin annoyed him more and more with each passing day. In the end, he regretted having chosen him for his protection, but it was too late to turn back now. They were very close to the destination: the enchanted tower was somewhere in the region. All they had to do was locate it and they would soon become very rich. Calestor thought about what he would do with his share of the loot: he would buy himself a nobility title as well as a manor house and invest into one or several companies. He was smart enough to know how to invest his money wisely and if he played his cards right, he wouldn't have to work a single day of his life. As for the duardin... well, he would probably drink all his salary in fyrebeer imported from Hammerhall. This uneducated fool was unable to see beyond the tip of his beard. Anyway, Calestor would terminate their collaboration as soon as they split the treasure. But first of all, they had to wait until the fog lifted so that they could resume their journey. That damn fog that seemingly wanted to linger forever...
Suddenly the duardin mercenary made a thundering sneeze behind Calestor's back, who flinched with surprise.
"It's all dat humidity" he grumbled, blowing his nose in his cape.
"Shh! Shh! Silence, you idiot!" Calestor whispered as he listened outside.
He seemed to have heard something react in the mist. The adventurer stood on the lookout, his whole body tense. Nothing. No sound. Then a series of clicking noises broke the silence, soon joined by other clicks from different directions. Blurry silhouettes appeared in the fog, rushing towards the cottage.
"By Sigmar, Grey Clickers!" yelped Calestor, panicked. "The guards in Port Stellis warned us!"
In a glimpse, Calestor saw that his duardin bodyguard had already grabbed his axe, ready to fight. "Good reflex," he thought, while clumsily trying to pull the flaps of his cape apart in order to grab his sword. But before his trembling fingers could pull the weapon out of its sheath, Begodrek smashed his right knee with a well-placed blow of his axe, breaking the joint cleanly.
"Aaarrhhh!! What the hell...!?
"Sorry, human. Rather you than me."
The duardin snatched the bag containing the notes on the Blinking Tower from Calestor before fleeing as discreetly as possible in the direction opposite to the approaching clicks.
"Begodrek! You traitor! I swear I'll find you!"
Calestor tried to crawl in pursuit of the thief but it was too late... The Grey Clickers were already on him.
As Begodrek moved away as quickly as possible, he heard behind him the screams of his former partner who was being eaten alive by the creatures. If he felt a pinch of guilt, it was quickly dispelled by the alluring thought of getting all the treasure for himself instead of having to share it with a stupid human.
† † †
Among the monsters that prowl around the Coast of Fleeting Hopes, the most famous are the Grey Clickers (sometimes also called Grey Gnashers). These humanoid creatures have a lean appearance and grey skin with purple parts. Their most striking feature is the lack of eyes: Grey Clickers are simply blind. They compensate for this handicap by a very good hearing that allows them to detect any prey over long distances, or even to hear heartbeats at short range. These creatures have another special peculiarity: they emit a series of very distinctive clicking noises, more or less like a stridulating insect. The scholars and hunters of Port Stellis have two hypotheses to explain these noises: either they serve as "sonar" for these blind creatures, allowing them to find their way around, or they serve to recognize each other. In fact, these two hypotheses are not mutually exclusive and could both be true. Whatever the real reason for these clicks, if you can hear them, it's that Grey Clickers are nearby...
Clicks: local slang for "bad news". Example: "The messenger was hanged for announcing clicks to the lord." — Encyclopaedia of Port Stellis
These creatures are easier to spot when the fog has lifted.
Grey Clickers usually move in bands, so it is rare to encounter only one or two at a time. These creatures are spectacularly voracious and when they spot a prey, they immediately attack it, regardless of its size. Their movements are completely chaotic and without tactics, so a community with a properly organized defense can repel them without suffering too much damage. However, Grey Clickers are often very numerous and their ferocity makes them immune to fear, so that by the time you kill a clicker with a fork or spear in the chest, two or three more clickers are already on you, busy tearing out your flesh with their sharp teeth. As an anecdote, Voredd (the Ogor warrior from Port Stellis) claims to have seen a gargant being overrun, then knocked down and finally devoured by a colony of Grey Clickers.
Although individually, they do not represent a very significant danger, when they are many, Grey Clickers pose a real threat to Port Stellis. No one knows for certain how they multiply, but it seems that they have asexual reproduction. The most common belief is that they are born directly from the mist hence why they are sometimes nicknamed "mist wights". One thing is certain: the clickers are considered a dangerous species whose population must be regulated. For this reason, stormcast eternals regularly conduct hunts in the wild in order to kill as many as possible (usually when a wandering colony has been spotted). The Ogor warrior Voredd also regularly kills some of them during his forest patrols.
A few stormcast eternals versus a swarm of clickers.
Voredd the Ogor is an expert at skragging clickers. But even he has to be careful not to fight too many of them at once...
For the inhabitants of Port Stellis, the Grey Clickers are merely one of the ordinary dangers that punctuate their daily lives. Farmers living on the outskirts of the city have learned to take shelter in silence when the fog comes, while children are told scary stories so that they learn to fear clicking noises....
Fear the clicks in the mist...