Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Their Fated Travels...Chapter 26 - To Nuln By Barge Part Three

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Their Fated Travels…

RPG Party events as told By Robert James Freemantle

Chapter 26

To Nuln By Barge – Part Three

The barge had suffered a terrible amount of damage, but its design had been commissioned on a purely private basis and therefore had implemented ideas not usually seen within the design of normal passenger transports. This one had water proof sealed segments to its hold compartments so that that part that did indeed break away, didn’t sink the entire vessel.

Nothing had been seen of the beastman war gor who was presumed dead and no further attacks came.

Soon after the incident had happened, the amethyst wizard Gabrielle aboard the barge was assisting the vessel’s travel, in a semi state of magically willed meditation to keep it moving forward at great speed. Slowing down now would be potentially fatal given the conditions of the land around them and the attack they had just endured. Her concentration meant that they were now making even better time than they would have been. However, it also meant them making an unscheduled stop along the way for dockyard inspection. After all, the lady magistrate could only concentrate her powers for so long before needing to sleep.

Some passengers disembarked prematurely of their destination, not wanting to chance the river any longer. This just so happened to free up space for new passengers.

Tordrad, Rissandrea, Tobias and Dieter stood together watching the newcomers board. One was a tall, muscular looking armoured fighter type in his early fifties. As he thanked the staff and bowed, it was clear that this man had roots in Bretonnia, still carrying some of the accent in a warped mix of that and of the Empire’s general accent. Dieter considered that this man must have spent quite a time away from his home land. His behaviour too, while courteous also carried a certain rugged air about it, as if the refined training he would have had perhaps was slipping by the wayside for whatever reason. Dieter was very good at reading people like this. Those who had no magic. They were easiest to read.

The would be doctor scowled at the next passenger accompanying the Bretonnian: A gnoblar, who carried a range of weaponry about his person that suggested he was a helper to the man, ready to hand him a weapon of variety when required. However, the way he looked too, something I his eyes and the scars on him suggested that he too might be a formidable opponent in battle, oddly enough. Dieter chuckled hatefully at the idea of killing such an ugly greenskin small thing. He detested small people.

Gnoblars are cousins of the goblin race, usually employed (well, kept) by ogres in a somewhat mutually beneficial lifestyle. How odd then to see one wandering about in civilised society and with a human too, thought Dieter.

Dieter watched as other passengers stared in fright at seeing a greenskin board with them – and then watched with intrigue as the man shackled the creature’s legs and hands with manacles. Based on the fact that he did this only now and not before they boarded, Dieter concluded that this was merely for appearances sake, for the sake of the other passengers and not for that of the human. Indeed, it appeared that the human and the greenskin got along quite well actually! They spoke as if they had known each other for years.

Next to board, also with this bizarre party came a person that put Dieter into a state of alert – someone he couldn’t read: A wizard. He was obese and of average height. His face could not be seen behind the gold mask he wore across it. This told the physician that this was a magistrate of the gold order, those wizards who would manipulate metal itself.

The wizard’s high pitched voice was instantly irritating for Dieter to hear, yet there was something of a scoundrel about his tone too. He boarded the ship with great endeavour, frequently dabbing his forehead with a handkerchief from the effort of the climb up the somewhat raised boarding plank.

Last to board was another Bretonnian. This time a damsel. She spoke in a much purer manner, unlike the man. She joined the group too to complete their numbers but Dieter could see no closeness between the man and woman to suggest that they were anything more than team mates. Magic too danced somewhere behind this woman’s eyes. Dieter would have to keep an eye on this lot, he reckoned…To make matters worse, their cabins were close to the party’s.

Later that day the barge had begun to move up the river again, having passed its dockyard inspection.

Night had come upon them once again and most of the passengers were asleep.

Beyond the sounds of snoring here and there about the sleeping quarters, an easy to miss muffled scream followed by a squelching sound could be heard – as a crewman desperately answered his attacker’s question. The wizard he did indeed confirm was in this area. With that, he gagged as the last of his life force was robbed from him by the dark hearted person who stood over him.

Quickly the assailant moved up the passage, looking at closed doors to either side. A slender form gave suggestion of it being a woman underneath the dark grey full length coat. She then produced a gem of fine quality, that instantly glowed with red pulses. She smiled as this indicated that the magic user was indeed close.

As the assailant made her way further up the passage, the gem’s pulsing began to speed up, until she passed a room in particular. After passing its doorway, the pulsing began to slow again, which made her turn about and walk towards the door.

Quietly she crept into the room. Locks meant nothing to her anyway, but this room wasn’t locked anyway. She saw a form in the bed before her, asleep. She moved forwards and still the gem sped up to confirm the target. She would give her quarry no chance. Quickly she drew an ornate looking dagger, that had crimson jewels set into its handle – and brought the piercing end down into the sleeping figure, piercing the sheets and bringing about a sudden scream that was muffled by a hand across the mouth.

The scream! It didn’t sound right! It sounded like a woman? But her target was a man. How could this be she wondered? But then it dawned on her, of course, there must be other magic users aboard! As the assassin looked closely at the now dead woman in the bed, she noted her blonde hair and fine features, so different to her own. The only thing they indeed shared in common the horrified death gaze on her face – for she recognized that look from deep inside her own soul.

Where the dagger had pierced the woman, a strange red glow emanated from the wound. This weapon was an artefact of great power indeed.

Quickly the assassin made her way out of the room and down the passage again, turning to run down a new passage, following the indicator of the gem.

Maestro had slept within the cotton-wool like embrace of unconsciousness for a long time now. He had responded to no stimulus whatsoever. His magical centre, the power that exuded from his very being had been cut off during this time, due to the traumatic way that he had gone into unconsciousness. But as soon as the damsel had died, the energies stored within her from her own trauma had burst into the atmosphere of magical awareness and this had struck Maestro too. At last his own empathic magical channelling began to work again. He was now merely only asleep.

The assassin crept into a new room. This time she would make sure first. She pulled the covers back slightly and there she saw the wizard she had been looking for. Maestro Rophel Illefescion, in the flesh before her. At last her quest would be fulfilled. She rose the dagger like before, but before she could plunge it into the man’s heart, Maestro’s nose twitched as his sense of smell alerted him to something he did indeed have a long time hatred of. Maestro awoke with a single word on his lips, “Elf!” Just at that moment, a hammer struck the woman about the head from behind!

Angelique stood over the assassin, who was still alive, groaning to stand again. Her long coat had fallen open and only then did she see it was an elf. Not only that, but a dark elf. She wore very little in the way of clothes, showing off her body in a lurid display. This was a witch elf, one of the so called brides of Khaine.

Maestro was up and onto his feet. His staff in hand, he thrust it to the elf’s throat and vented a mad anger that was unusual for the man, “Why are you here, Elf? Why does your kind plague me so? Be they high elf, dark elf or whatever elf. You are the bane of me, I’m sure!”

The witch elf began to laugh, with a mocking cruel tone evident. She was captured, was at a disadvantage and yet still she smiled. She spoke slow and purposely, “Malekith the Witch King wishes you dead. Be it not by hand now foolish wizard, be assured if he does wish it, then it shall be.”

Maestro and Angelique gasped at the name. Everyone had heard of the Witch King. The leader of the dark elves, the great betrayer of his kind. He who was responsible for much of the misery the Old World was now entrapped in.

Angelique questioned violently, “Why does he want to hurt Maestro? Answer my question before I tear you in half!”

Again the witch elf laughed, but did reply, “All I know is what I am told. Hah. A future vision he has seen. A future that must be avoided. The catalyst of it all, is you!” and then she laughed again.

The elf quickly raised her dagger. Before Angelique could strike her again in response to this threat, the witch elf assassin did something that no one was expecting. She slit her own throat, quickly and confidently and died quickly with a smile on her face.

The magical dagger the assassin had wielded was a very powerful thing indeed. It was empowered by Khaine’s will. The last person it killed had their soul bound to it. If the wielder took their own life too, it will bind the two together.

And so it was, that the witch elf’s soul departed her body, and was drawn by the shared essence from the dagger, back towards the Bretonnian damsel. Her soul entered the woman’s body and suddenly the former cadaver now alive again, smiled. This was quickly replaced by a scream of pain as the dominant original host that was still present took control again.

Crewmembers were awake by now and everyone was trying to understand what had happened.

Maestro stood up and brushed himself down, then went red as he realised he was only wearing a night gown. Worse still, he couldn’t remember changing into it…Angelique hugged the wizard who gave a terrified little yelp in response.

Maestro tried talking but his voice was muffled by the bosom of the Sister of Sigmar. He at last managed to pull himself free enough to ask, “How did you know she was trying to kill me, sister?”

Angelique replied, “I saw her sneaking into your room. A young harlot intending trouble no doubt, so I struck her. It was a good job I did. You see, I am good for you my Maesty-ro.”

The wizard considered this and then said, “But what were you doing creeping about at night?”

With that, the nun went a little red in the face replying, “I was coming to see you, my love.”

Maestro shuddered at the thought. He considered briefly which would have been worse to wake up to, in actual fact. Though the assassin was an elf and he certainly did hate elves – this was Angelique we were talking about!

The rest of the journey went without incident, albeit with Maestro spending as much time around Tordrad “for protection” as he could. He had tried to explain to the Kislev bodyguard that he was worried in case anymore attacks came. Though the real reason, Tordrad suspected was that the wizard was afraid of the mad lusty nun who kept following him everywhere.

For now, all was well too with the damsel. They had considered her lucky to be alive - A miracle really. The gods were praised, as was usual. But ironically, that praise would have found its way instead to a more malign omniscience, gratified by the attention.

((Don’t forget to vote in the favourite character poll. You can find it at various Warhammer Fantasy forums including Warseer and fanfiction.net via the Their Fated Travels forums. Thanks for the support))