Thursday, 2 December 2010

Their Fated Travels...Chapter 19 - Blackrot

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Their Fated Travels…

RPG Party events as told By Lory Cozens

Second Treatment, plot co-coordinating, editing by Robert James Freemantle

Chapter 19


The party had made their way to what seemed to be the final destination in this entire investigation – that they had been roped into - and hopefully an end to their business in Middenheim.

Maestro for one just wanted to end this quickly and without anymore fuss, but he knew that this wouldn’t be the case and was prepared to face whatever the fates would throw at him.

Dieter began to get a bad feeling, which when coupled with the slight burning sensation in his chest from each of the marks that were there, he felt even more on edge. He unconsciously rubbed each of the marks whilst he tried to formulate a plan in his mind.

He didn’t have to much worry for Tristran’s safety as much as he did the others of course...

Sunrise was still a couple of hours away and Tobias was skulking behind the group in the shadows while Tordrad and Tristran took point as the party finally arrived outside the tavern.

From the look of the place, it had long since been abandoned and left to fall into disrepair.

Rissandrea’s skin began to crawl as if trying to escape from whatever lied within - she remembered feeling like this once before back in Altdorf, when the group were with her in the sewer system… This gave her pause for thought and gave rise to a question in her mind ‘What terrible aspect of chaos lays within?’

“Something feels odd here” Maestro announced as if he was expecting everyone present to hang on his words as he spoke. Of course no one looked his way, much to his annoyance. With a momentary frown he continued on anyway, “I can definitely sense a disruption in the aethyr, almost as if something is pulling it here. It is small now, but there is definitely a swell of non-transient magical energy. Now don’t get me wrong, there are swells of magic everywhere. Magic itself is indeed quite a swollen thing. It’s just that it is quite swollen in particular in this general vicinity.”

Dieter just sighed; Maestro just didn’t know when to shut up. The trainee doctor’s sixth sense was telling him not to enter and as much as he would have liked to listen to it, he knew that he had come too far to just drop out now.

Tobias unconsciously scratched the back of his head as he often had habit of doing. He hadn’t been paying attention to a single word that came out of the wizard’s mouth as he had been more focused on the map of the city sewer system he had ‘acquired’ in the thieves’ den.

Rissandrea ignored the words of the party about her, praying to Shallya for strength and protection. Tordrad didn’t understand what was being said but got the general idea of what was happening. He could see everyone’s posture had shifted, as if they were expecting a pretty dangerous confrontation, well almost everyone. Maestro still had his shoulders slumped and looked disheartened at the fact they were all ignoring him.

Dieter wouldn’t say it out loud but he could also sense something was wrong with this place. As he touched the handle for the door he felt a wave of oppressive malignance that would have made a weaker minded man break down, but the worst thing he felt was his hand starting to go numb - So much power here, this does not bode well for the group. After that incident with the daemon I wonder how well we might fare with whatever is in here. He slowly opened the door as he reached for his machete.

Once the door was fully open, the group peered inside. The common room was completely empty and several of the tables and chairs were rotten and ridden with termites. This particular stench of death and decay was extremely potent and familiar to them - and they didn’t need Maestro’s witchsight to tell them that the Plague Lord was at work here, which of course he did anyway.

As the party made their way to the cellar Rissandrea held her arms against herself, eyes closed in concentration, as she mentally fought off the feeling of corruption seeping into her very being. Just like last time, being in the vicinity of such pure evil hurt her body. This only served to mentally embolden her further onto her path of faith.

The cellar was just as bad as the common room in appearance and the even the metal hinges on the door at the opposite end to where they entered was rusted away and looked like it would fall over at the slightest touch.

There were sounds coming from the other side of the door: excited whispers, deep animalistic growls and various other ominous noises that set Maestro’s hair on end.

Tordrad furrowed his eyebrows as he moved forward and reached to push the door open, this was a signal to the rest of the party to ready their weapons.

Tordrad didn’t just open the door - he kicked it down sending it sailing through the air and crashing into one of the room’s occupants. He drew his scimitar and stepped into the dusty open area beyond pointing the weapon towards the one person in the room that he instantly recognised. He remembered the stench of corruption that flowed through this place.

The decayed form of Blackrot stood atop a dais, his thick leathery skin almost seeming to shine in the dim torchlight.

Next to him was an equally blessed chaos sorcerer and surrounding them were no less than fifty chaotic beasts, ranging from skaven to various sized beastmen.

The room looked like it was recently hewn by pickaxes, which was further proven by the various dwarf corpses littered around the room, they had dug their way in previously to try and influence the final battle of Middenheim, or perhaps to take advantage of the city’s weakened state and destroy it slowly through the corruption of the plague lord.

The beastmen present were jaded under the influence of ‘Grandfather Nurgle’, physically showing signs of their benefactor’s ‘gifts’.

The skaven present were not particularly within the influence of Nurgle; they were not those of Clan Pestilens for example. They instead had helped Blackrot make his way into the city from the Skaven undercity below after his forced visitation upon their home. They were nothing but helpful to simply get rid of him from their lair and protect themselves from reprisals if they’d refused.

This race and such places as these were something that humans denied even existed. In some areas such as Nuln in fact you could be in trouble with the law for even suggesting that the rat people might be real.

Tordrad wore a scowl on his face, the chaos champion had survived the last encounter and was now here in Middenheim.

The rest of the party had entered the room as well.

Rissandrea was gripping her staff tighter than she would have liked but she knew that now was no time to run. If she did then all her training would have been for nothing.

Dieter was scowling far more than Tordrad though. This monstrosity before him seemed to think it was better than him and he couldn’t have that!

As for Maestro, his train of thought was leading him to worry about a decidedly off-putting runny nose and how that might affect this showdown.

Tobias was wondering how much he could get on the black market for the poison that ran through the veins of a chaos champion and Ulger was letting out a low growl as he stood next to his master ready to spring upon an opponent at a moment’s notice.

Tristran looked around at the small group, the expressions on their stunned faces took him by surprise. This chaos champion brought out a strange sense of unity that even the most experienced of warriors on the battlefield would not have known before, a strange sensation binding all living things together: Death, or rather disease and plague that would bring about death, for was death not the ultimate unifier? Were not all men equal in its grasp?

Then Tristran turned his gaze upon the foes, noting each with an intense study. Each of the skaven that stood opposing them were dressed in what at one point could have been considered robes, but in several places each one had a different pattern of this scheme which was created from pus and blood filled extrusions on the body that had burst multiple times and had stained them far worse than any dye attempts could produce . They all seemed to possess some sort of dark gift of their god - the Horned Rat. These unfortunates had spent too long in the plague champion’s company.

To Tristran however they just looked like chaos mutations as they seemed to match up to several of the mutants that made up yet more of the numbers: diseased and plague-ridden men and women shambling along like some cruel parody of zombies but with the misfortune of still being alive feeling every moment of their situation.

The beastmen were just as disgusting to look at as the rest of the creatures present, parts of their skin were so decayed that you could see right through to the bones underneath and clouds of flies flew around them like they too were walking corpses.

The seconds passed with both sides just staring at each other, waiting for some sort of unseen signal to attack. With a deep and put out hiss that sounded like a punctured lung, Blackrot stepped down from the dais, slowly and purposely moving through the crowd of chaos monstrosities to face the adventurers. As he reached the forefront he looked over each of them in turn, causing them to ready themselves for some kind of attack, but instead the champion spoke in a mocking raspy voice that he seemed to emit from his chest cavity. It was as if noxious spores had been breeding in his lungs and were escaping into the air around him, “So it seems the trap has caught more than our intended prey, but it seems that this is a good thing, as a chance to take revenge on those that interfered with our plans before. I could not ask for a better outcome that this. My master wishes you dead, boy.” His hand was outstretched towards Tristran as if he was directing his own plague bearing spores towards him.

Tristran was about to reply but had not time to even start a sentence as Blackrot turned away from them and the horde rushed towards the group intent on tearing them apart.

Tordrad parried a deadly looking blade and barely avoided the large globule outpour of liquid that was spewed up by one of the mutants. It hacked and heaved as if trying to find more to shoot at him. Then he found himself forced into a blade lock with a beastman. Knowing that he couldn’t afford to be bogged down for too long in one fight he kicked his leg out, pushing the creature away from him and before the mutant could spew a second wave at the Kislev born bodyguard, a bolt of lightning struck it in the chest.

Maestro’s spell crackled with a satisfying after echo as he spoke to Tordrad, “Don’t mention it my man, you’d do the same for me…well you wouldn’t, because you’d be a wizard then but you know what I mean!”

Rissandrea and Tobias were taken it in turns to fire shots form their respective ranged weapons, the halfling with his crossbow and the Priestess bearing the smiting fury that was ‘Redemption’ her pistol, a weapon she reserved for foes that were beyond saving, so evil that their death was a salvation of sorts – and in this way the Vhor sub-sect of Shallyan faith was unique. As one reloaded their weapon the other took down what they could, but they too would soon become overwhelmed and as hard as Tordrad and Tristran fought, the sheer amount of numbers made it so that many got past them.

Rissandrea was forced to the ground by a skaven who raised a dagger above its head ready to kill her. Instead though, a crossbow bolt pierced its throat and sent the creature flying off her, its frame was smaller than that of a human and thusly prone to a more pronounced reaction to strong collisions.

The last shot Tobias had fired had been point blank range, had he been even a fraction of a second slower in reloading it, the priestess would have been dead there and then. There was no time for words however as a large group of beastmen had surrounded them.

Tobias had drawn his knife and was holding it with the blade pointed towards the ground, “Well then, which of you fools wants to die first?”

Dieter was crouched down gripping his walking stick as tightly as he could, hands shaking. Ulger was protecting its master as best he could but a great weapon wielding beastman made it past him and had a perfect cleaving strike lined up to split the would be physician in two!

Suddenly Dieter’s eyes snapped open and a strange feeling washed over the entire room. The three most attuned to magical energies turned towards Mr De’ath who was stood in the epicentre of this strange phenomenon, each of them wondering what had just happened.

This confusion was increased as almost every single beastman in the room was fighting each other to be first to escape from the presence of the group, or rather the swirling mass of seemingly magical energy imperceptible to the human eye that radiated near Dieter.

On the beastmen fled, through the very tunnel they had used to enter the city in the first place. The skaven below would no doubt be happy at this visitation. No doubt the two difference child races of chaos would soon be vilified with each other in combat, perhaps in a matter of minutes.

Blackrot signalled to the sorcerer who moved forward into the fray and began chanting the words of a summoning spell.

Maestro now had Tordrad covering him and he performed his own magical response. The journeyman wizard noticed with his witchsight that the other caster’s spell actually reached out through the aethyr and swirled as if slowly forming a large shape.

The sorcerer was cut off mid chant and reached for his throat wondering why he was unable to speak, “Sorry but we can’t have you doing that” Maestro called to him in a cheery manner. He also quietly noticed that the spell he had just cast had come about too easily and he was already experienced and learned in the craft to understand that he was standing in an aethyrically amplified area – the winds of magic were indeed stronger than usual here – perhaps, he thought, I can take advantage of this myself.

Maestro looked upon the swarming enemies around them. Worse still there were amassed forces present still waiting to get into combat even though the beastmen had already fled. Maestro noticed that the strange pulsing radiation that had scared them away continued on in that place, even though Dieter had now moved far away towards the back of the group again. Whatever the odd aura like manifestation was, it had helped them but it wasn’t working on anything else in the room. With that he raised his staff into the air and concentrated on chanting a particularly dangerous verse line from the language of magic, the language of the Elves. After a while his arm began to shake and his muscles felt like they were on fire. Beads of sweat rolled down the wizard’s face and his skin had paled incredibly. The amount of raw uncultivated energy he was channelling was far more than he was used to. He was nowhere near the level of master yet and here now he was trying to call upon a spell that he had learnt on the promise to Tobias of not using until he was a fully fledged wizard magister “or perhaps even wizard lord” he remembered the halfling scholar’s words.

He was rapidly regretting his decision to cast such a powerful spell in so unprotected and raw a state but knew that losing focus now would probably mean his death. No he didn’t like the thought of that outcome on bit, so he squeezed his eyes tightly closed to help deal with the pain. Even so, the magical flux that reverberated through his being lit him up internally as well, making his eyes able to view the room in a magical white and blue hazy mode of vision.

Just as Maestro seemed to reach his limit, seeming as if he might collapse there and then a rage-filled blustering black cloud formed out of nowhere and swelled in size until it looked as if it was going to burst. With one shaking hand outstretched, the wizard attempted to control it as best as he could - then slammed his staff onto the floor! This forced a pulse of energy to travel along the line and made his own party’s hair blow from the momentary gust in passing before it hit the powerful manifestation of natural elements. Then, bolts of lightning shot forth from the cloud, striking all that stood beneath it.

Some of the weaker foes were killed outright, others were left with huge burn marks on their skin or fur. The sorcerer was clutching his right arm which had been struck - it had turned pitch black in colour and the entire piece of cloth that was covering his limb had been destroyed by the blast.

The wizard fell to his knees panting. He was lucky to have survived casting the spell as he had felt as if the very aethyr itself fuelled by nature’s protests was about to pull him apart for his arrogance - but the fact was, he had done it. That had to count for something he hoped, pulling himself up from the floor and dusting himself down.

What had been an overwhelming force had been whittled down in a few minutes to survivable odds, granted Maestro had almost killed himself doing so, but of course this meant the surviving mutants and skaven would by now be backed up by the champion of Nurgle himself.

The numbers around him now vastly diminished, Blackrot strode forwards and drew his blade…Unlike most warriors, his sword had no scabbard…Instead it lay buried up to the hilt inside his body, simply pushed in like a stab wound through a pustulent ringed sore that marked the permanent point of entry. Even his chaos armour, a materialization of daemonic interference had evolved around the blade as an undeviating purposeful fissure.

With the blade drawn, his vile black blood dripping from its edges as he pointed it challengingly towards Tristran, who had just finished off the last skaven that had attacked him - and his eyes met the massive bulky form of his adversary. His entire presence then focused upon Blackrot. In acknowledgement to the challenge Tristran rushed towards him swinging his great sword around in an arc. This first strike collided with Blackrot’s shield almost completely stopping the blade from moving. It felt as if some teeming but unseen mass along its surface was trying to stick the weapon to it. Using only part of his strength to push the blade back, Blackrot threw his shield out to the side, causing the warrior priest to stumble backwards slightly. Using the opening, the chaos champion lashed out with his own sword aiming to take the verenian warrior priest’s head clean off his shoulders. Tristran barely managed to dodge it, although he took a shallow cut to the cheek which felt as if it burned like acid or some other corrosive substance. Blackrot’s blood was a natural living poison and the weapon was covered in it.

The remaining mutants weren’t worth the trouble compared to the danger that some of these creatures presented, this was evident as Dieter sent one flying backwards with just his staff. This did surprise him however as he hadn’t put much strength behind the attack. It was possible that the tormented creature had some sort of mutation that decreased its weight - the man did look rather gaunt, almost ghoul-like. This just proved that not all mutations were beneficial to the occupier.

Tordrad gutted one of the remaining skaven. They had faced several of the beasts during their stay within Middenheim. They had learned that the ratmen would attack from the shadows and in large numbers using it to their advantage, so for the group being able to at last fight them on more even odds made the skaven become increasingly cowardly as the fight drew on.

Meanwhile Tobias and Rissandrea were now left in the clear. The two of them had very little left to offer the group in terms of help and as such the remaining creatures were being dealt with by Dieter, Tordrad and Ulger.

The Shallyan priestess had been worried about the overall outcome, but even the most severe wounds that they had received were nothing that both Dieter and herself couldn’t handle given enough time. Tobias was bored, the beastmen had run before he had a chance to deal with them. Whatever had happened over near Dieter had caused the whole lot of them to run. He looked around hungry for battle and he could see the remaining mutants and skaven were being held off and pushed back into the entry tunnel. The halfling did however notice a small amount of movement out of the corner of his eye as the Nurgle sorcerer raised his only working arm in one last gesture of spite.

Maestro looked over in the direction of the sorcerer and he didn’t need to try and force himself to see the aethyric energy flowing around the man of chaos. The spell was going out of control and rather fast, he himself was far enough away but the other two were too close to the epicentre of whatever was going to happen and he found himself calling out without thinking, “Tobias! Rissandrea! Move out the way quickly. That spell has too much power flowing through it and I don’t know what the backlash could do!”

Heeding his words, the two began to move as quickly as they could before the spell could be finished, however before they could get away an explosion rang out followed by a magical shockwave that knocked them off their feet. Maestro was close enough to be pushed back a little by the blast. Whatever the spell was to be they wouldn’t know, for the burn on his arm began to turn into some sort of glowing rock like substance and it began to extend up his arm until it covered his entire body. The man, if you could even call him that, was turned into a statue, completely black in colour and his face contorted into a mask of pain and horror. The large and deadly looking shape of energy that comprised of the other spell the sorcerer had been casting dissipated away at this, just as vile daemonic features formed enough to see a sharp-toothed glower had anyone been interested to have looked at that moment in time.

Every single attack that Tristran attempted was blocked by either the shield or sword of Blackrot who seemed to know just when and where to block and counter, as if some terrible all knowing presence whispered information into his ear.

Both seemed evenly matched. When the Warrior priest saw an opening in his opponent’s guard, he swung his sword at Blackrot once more - however this time the chaos imbued creature that once was a man didn’t even think to dodge the blow as the blade sunk into the armour.

The cut went no deeper as Blackrot’s thick leathery skin and overhanging fat absorbed the blow, with the suggestion that he did not even require that scrap parts of armour that still clung to his body here and there.

Blackrot hissed in satisfaction and taunted his opponent, “If that is all you can do priest, then perhaps my master’s fear of you being able to interfere with his plans is unfounded.”

Blackrot dropped his shield and used his now free hand to pull on the great sword that was lodged into him, sending it deeper into his own body with some effort.

Caught off guard, Tristran fell forwards and was impaled upon Blackrot’s now uprising sword, the blade’s corrosive effect tearing through the warrior priest’s armour like it wasn’t even there and piercing his body with little effort as it went all the way through and out his back.

Blackrot continued, “It seems you are unfamiliar with fighting true chaos boy. You weren’t even worthy of my time.” As he said this, Tristran was muttering something. Blackrot could not hear what but the words were arcane in nature.

Tristran then weakly raised his arm and quickly slammed his hand into Blackrot’s face. A holy passage bringing the truth of his foe’s purpose recited. As he did so, images flashed through his mind, the form of Blackrot and three other figures he did not recognise were very prominent as they stood behind a fifth figure in pitch-black armour with metallic wings protruding from his back, standing in front of a snowy and frozen landscape. Then a sixth figure came into view, this one was a women and she seemed to bare no mutations whatsoever until the image focused upon her face.

Her eyes glowed with an aethyric power that was uncommon among the wizards of the empire and no sound came at all when she spoke, but the words were clear even in the silence that followed, “The fall shall come from that which surrounds you on all sides.” There was something Kislevian in her features and in the surroundings of the vision.

As Tristran saw all of this his mind was overwhelmed by the sheer implications at stake. He knew the truth now!

Blackrot let out a roar of agony as a divine fire burned within his body, he let go of his sword and placed both hands on the side of his head as a brilliant white light began to emit from his skin.

Tristran fell to his knees with the sword still embedded in him. Rissandrea had quickly rushed over to him as he pulled the blade out wincing as he did so.

The young priestess acted as fast as she could to remove his breastplate, although she had little knowledge of how this armour went on, let alone how to get it off.

Tristran grabbed hold of her wrist and shook his head, “Leave it unless you wish to contract whatever vile poison was on that blade” he told her in a painful strained voice. Rissandrea tried to argue, “But I must do something, as a member of the Shallyan priesthood I can’t leave any injured unattended.”

Tobias’s voice cried out, “Now is not the time for you to start citing you’re scriptures fool girl, now get down!”

He was suddenly dashing towards her, dagger ready to strike. She moved to the side as fast as she could which was almost not fast enough as the Halfling dove past her and leapt into the air. That was when she saw why Tobias had done what he did.

Blackrot was towering behind her as Tobias’s dagger struck true, tearing into the monster of a man.

The momentum of his run up had given him an edge against the champion’s defensive mutations. Black blood erupted from the wound spaying the poisonous liquid into the halfling’s face. This would have normally been extremely dangerous and most possibly life threatening to any who had been hit with such a large amount of the foul substance, but luckily the mask the thief wore upon the lower half of his face saved him from having the blood enter his mouth.

Not risking anything, Tobias quickly threw the mask aside which was drenched in poison, as he readied his dagger once more. Tordrad appeared next to him, weighing his blood soaked great axe in his hands once more. This was the weapon he was most comfortable with and considering how it felt somewhat lighter in his grip now, even with the exhaustion that he was feeling from the fight, he wondered how much he had grown over the weeks.

Blackrot was still bleeding from the wound that Tobias had inflicted upon him and although it was slowly regenerating, it would still put him at a severe disadvantage in a prolonged fight.

His eyes quickly darted around as he saw a skaven trying to crawl away, its legs were burnt beyond use but that didn’t matter, only serving to elevate its own internal efforts.

Blackrot reached down and picked the creature up by the fur on its back and as he did so, his mouth and jaw stretched open like some form of unnatural snake.

The group had a look of disgust on their faces as the man swallowed the pestilent beast whole and almost instantly afterwards the cut on his neck began to heal at an even faster rate, as within seconds there was only a scar left.

The sight of the creature going down Blackrot’s throat was almost enough to make several members of the party vomit at the sight and only Dieter and Tordrad could keep a semi-serious look upon their faces.

With a last look behind him, Tordrad saw that Dieter had made his way over to the fallen warrior priest and was attempting to aid Rissandrea in keeping the young man alive. He then faced forwards once more and launched himself into battle with a Kislevite warcry.

Caught by surprise, Blackrot raised his sword to block but Tordrad’s strike was able to push him back.

His strength thought Rissandrea… it is on par with Bonesaw’s back when we last faced them.

The Champion was taken aback being almost knocked off his feet by the sheer power behind the attack. He had expected a growth in power but had also thought the Kislevite to have become lazy due to his time in the Empire.

Tordrad swung again, his blow sending sparks from contact with the shield almost knocking it from Blackrot’s hands. Tordrad had fought Chaos warriors before and even though his opponent now was a Champion, he knew that he could come through this alive. He knew that he had to…he had to complete his bodyguard duty to the stupid wizard in his care.

Tobias had moved to one side as Tordrad made his assault, using the distraction of the Kislevite’s attacks to sneak around behind the chaos warrior. If there was a weak point in that armour or the man’s body itself he had to find it before Blackrot could regain his footing under Tordrad’s furious attacks.

His eyes scanned the armour and stance for any sort of opening as his gaze fell upon a large growth that was strangely not covered even in part by the chaos armour. It was right in the middle of his back.

Tobias gripped his dagger tightly and lunged forwards, instinctively throwing his body to one side just in case some form of vile substance erupted from the impact as he had seen and narrowly avoided before.

The timing could not have been better, for as soon as Blackrot had slammed his shield into Tordrad almost sending the Kossar onto the floor with the sheer force, from which he would have then used the opening to do to the Kislevite what he had done to Tristran thus finishing off another of the close combatants.

Tobias’s dagger rapidly struck his target and the champion cried out in surprised agony as he was left prone for a few seconds – affording the time for Tordrad to take advantage.

The Kislevite’s axe crashed into Blackrot’s chest, cleaving through the armour and even through that seemingly impervious body, spraying black blood into the air.

Falling to his knees, the Champion’s eyes were wide in shock, not once but twice he had been wounded by members of this group. He had not felt pain like this since he had gained his mutations all those years ago and he was oblivious to the fact that Tordrad stood above him his axe raised.

The blade fell and moments later the sound of flesh on stone was heard throughout the room.

Tordrad’s weapon was dripping with blood and he was breathing heavily from being winded by the shield just seconds before. One hand was on his chest, but knew the pain would go soon - he could do with a drink right about now though.

Tristran smiled. These five people were far more skilled than their appearances led one to believe. He could feel the poison in his system spreading even faster no matter what Rissandrea and Dieter attempted to do otherwise - for Blackrot’s power had been derived too closely to the pure source of Nurgle for mere mortals to comprehend.

The sword that the champion wielded began to hiss and smoke grabbing the group’s attention. The blade lost all form, transforming into a variety of insects and spiders. Then just as suddenly, the corpse of Blackrot began to contort here and there into strange shapes, beginning to emit odd sounds as well until the body burst, tearing through both his skin and armour as if it wasn’t there. As it did so, a swarm of Nurglings emerged! They clawed their way out of the body and looked upon the group with pitifully dull and tortured eyes, intent on making them share in their torment.

Tordrad pulled back as they tried to move towards him, his eyes fell upon the wizard expectantly.

Maestro saw this and commented, “I…I am spent, any more magical output from me could kill us all, I can’t concentrate a channel now and thusly cannot guarantee your safety.” His face looked drained as well, his body hunched over in fatigue. Tordrad had never seen him like this before.

At these words, the others in the group began to mutter, hope becoming lost from their hearts as the nurgling swarm amassed to such a great size that it turned the floor into completely covering green mucky ooze where they trod, they were without number, pouring from the corpse like water from a tap.

Dieter propped himself up on his stave, preparing to fight with the last of his own power too.

Tobias readied his dagger once more knowing that this was probably the end.

Ulger whined feebly where before he growled.

The nurglings at last reached the group. Everyone swung their weapons in frontal swiping arcs in an attempt at simply keeping them creatures back. This was an effective attack in itself as several of the daemons were killed by the effort, but still they were replaced by more and more of them.

As each moment went by, the group fought bravely but were forced to step back until the wall behind them was close.

By now, everyone fighting in the group had been lacerated or stung in some way, at least several times and they were quickly tiring from the endless onslaught.

Rissandrea had curiously not been present on the front lines of these events. She had instead been kneeling down deep in concentrated prayer to Shallya for help. She focused all of her divine understanding into one moment of total clarity. Within those few seconds it seemed, even though surely impossible that the form of Shallya herself smiling with kindness flashed before her mind’s eye for but a moment.

The Priestesses of Shallya were the ultimate opponent of the forces of Nurgle. They opposed the disease and malevolent schemes of the fly lord better than any other order within the entire Old World.

With that, a suddenly blinding flash erupted from Rissandrea’s hands as a spell that would normally only affect one daemon at a time instead reached a critical mass of sorts and splayed out a blanket of enduring light across the entirety of the room! The powerful tide washed over every daemon present and across the group too. Where it was spread thinner than it would have been, its actual power would not have been enough to harm a large manifestation of chaos, however, it was more than enough to hurt these nurglings.

The daemons at once tore apart in the holy light as the body of Blackrot too was consumed by holy flames. The nurglings were destroyed, as was their entry point into this plane of reality.

The holy light had shone too upon the group but had been practically harmless to them. Dieter however was contracted over with some internal pain visible on his face. Rissandrea enquired worriedly, “Dieter, what is wrong?”

The trainee doctor replied with concentrated effort through pain, “I…am fine silly girl. This battle has simply taken it out of me. I am not as…able bodied as some of you…”

Tristran could feel himself losing consciousness but he needed to do one last thing before he fell into Morr’s embrace. He reached up and placed a hand on Rissandrea’s shoulder, “I must tell you Miss Vhor, Verena granted me a glimmer of the true intentions…” he coughed up blood as pain racked his entire body. Rissandrea made a move to silence him, to tell him to conserve his strength but he spoke again before she could, “Chaos still plots against us even now, the North men gather their strength in preparation for their next attempt to destroy us, but you must be the ones to warn the Empire of this new threat. Tell them…” Tristran’s hand fell from her shoulder, the poison had finally took him to the gates of Morr and as the life drained from his eyes, Rissandrea lowered her head in silent prayer for his soul. A single tear rolled down each of her cheeks as once again she had failed to save yet another life.

The group slowly and mournfully made their way out of the room through the busted doorway. Which each fight they won and walked away from, some of them felt as if they lost a little more of themselves each time.

If anyone had been looking a little more closely, they would have seen that while Dieter was walking away amongst the rest of the group, his shadow had somehow stayed behind in the room, as if burnt into place where the emanation that had scared the beastmen away occurred earlier…