Chapter XX - A Wolf Among Sheep

Feel like burning like a bright wizard? Being as green as a gobbo? Robust like an Ironbreaker? Bloodthirsty like a witch elf? Feel free to speak as them here.

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Senlui
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Chapter XX - A Wolf Among Sheep

Post#1 » Sat Apr 07, 2018 5:09 pm

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His wounds had been tended to and his ragged clothing replaced with the garb of his ‘kin’. Duvaindir sat near to the campfire, surrounded by his brethren who had saved his life at Narthain. Together they had tracked the Dark Elf invaders at a distance, through Chrace and into the gullies of the Shadowlands, harrying and hampering them, at times even wounding them somewhat severely. The noble smirked to himself beneath his mask as he recalled the attack upon the Regiment along the Anlec coast road, their nauglir sent on the rampage by something of his own suggestion. The shadow warriors seemed to like that.

“My turn to take the watch,” Duvaindir announced, his tired companions settling into their bedrolls for the night. Patiently waiting for sleep to fall upon them, his eyes glinted with cold malice as he slid his sword from its sheath, and brought it down through the neck of the first of the five shadow warriors. The chocking cry of his first kill woke the remaining four, who struggled to free themselves from their blankets quickly. Duvaindir fell about them like a ravenous wolf. He felt his pulse race with exhilaration, his clothing and face splashed with the blood of his victims as his sword came down again and again, knowing that vengeance was getting closer.

The look of surprise, hate, and betrayal in the eyes of his companions, was worth every despised minute that he had found himself spending with his weak kin. So trusting, even with their somewhat brutal reputation. Their kindness had been repaid with treachery, their murders offered to Khaine in thanks for his guidance, their enraged impotent screams joined by the howling of a beast and cries of battle in the distance. Ah, the Shadowlands! The jewel of Ulthuan.

Gathering up the heads by their hair, Duvaindir savoured his gruesome trophies, and continued his quest to catch up with the Commander who so kindly left him for dead. And the din had led him straight to them. Really, they had to improve their stealth game if they were to make it out of these lands alive. Time for a little surprise.

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The Regiment, gathered around the corpse of a great cockatrice, were rendered into silence by his arrival. As the severed heads rolled to a stop at Caranordor’s feet, the Commander gazed at his lost Captain, taken aback by his sudden and unexpected return.

“I am sure you have many questions, and are eager to return to camp,” remarked Duvaindir, casually walking down to join the Dark Elves. “However, there remains one thing to be done...”

The Greenskins took to hiding behind the Druchii ranks, fearful of where this might be going.

“Commander, the tribe of shadow warriors from which came the group I had ingrained myself into, is nearby. If they are not dealt with, they will notice the disappearance of myself and their brethren, and any intelligence I now have will be obsolete. That is why I suggest an ambush...”

Suspicions were rife. The brazen return of Duvaindir was not met by greeting or glorious welcome, but wariness and unease. Just what he would have wanted, Ithilsyn thought to herself, as she glanced about the hilltops for tell tale signs of an approaching force. She would not put it past Duvaindir to have convinced the locals as ‘one of them’ to surround and execute them all; certainly when all that he had endured of late was to be considered. Caranordor did not seem to be so worried.

“Ambushing Shadow Warriors? Oh, I like that...” he replied with a smirk. “They’ve been at our heels for a long time now. It’s time we gave them a taste of their own medicine.”

“I had told them that I would sound the horn when the Druchii had been dealt with... Now that my erstwhile ‘comrades’ are slain,” making a slight motion at the severed heads, “I suggest that we take advantageous positions before I summon them.”

“Very well,” Caranordor replied.

“And what of the Greenskins?” Ithilsyn asked.

The Commander pointed to Noogl with a gauntleted hand. “You!”

“Wazzat, nify ear?”

“Show us that you were worth saving. Go over that hill. Take positions there, Greenskin.”

The shaman toddled off, his guard accompanying him, muttering something about “shitty elves”.

The seeress glanced at the him a smile, laced with feigned sympathy, as his bulky bodyguard laughed.

As the Regiment took its positions along two ridges, Duvaindir instructed, “Make sure that you are hidden from sight. I will stay in the open to welcome them.”

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Raising the horn to his lips, a low note was issued, the blast of sound echoing around the desolate landscape. For a moment there was silence, feeling like an eternity, until suddenly, footsteps could be heard coming from the west. Five Shadow Warriors emerged into the clearing, approaching their supposed comrade. Duvaindir opened his arms wide, welcoming his ‘brothers’. As the first stepped forward to embrace his companion, the sly Druchii leaned forward, whispering something softly into his ear. The thalken’s expression turned to horror as a wicked dagger was plunged into his ribs, as Duvaindir gave the signal to attack as he kicked away the grasping hand of the dying elf. There would be no mercy for the betrayed this night.

The outraged Shadow Warriors, drew swords and knocked arrows in their bows, the wickedness of their ‘kinsman’ revealed, and the fight began.

Ithilsyn, from the advantage of her high position, threw forth a hand, a crippling stream of dhar striking one of the thalken. He screamed with pain as his back arched at an impossible angle. Something snapped with a loud crack, and he fell to the ground, his body twitching as pain consumed the dying elf. The seeress savoured his suffering, observing him with a gentle smile. Following her cue, Noogl screamed and issued a stream of green power from his eyes. It struck a second elf who flailed about as he was consumed by green fire, before he fell to his knees and slumped forward dead. The shaman’s bodyguard rushed into the fray with a cry of “Waaagh!”, barrelling into one of the Shadow Warriors with bone-crushing force, before proceeding to hammer his thick forehead into the face of the elf, giving his name of ‘Facebeater’ credit.

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Caranordor was not far behind. Putting great momentum into a halberd strike as he charged down from the hill, he struck his foe with such momentum that the Shadow Warrior was thrown into the trees behind him, his body dropping to the ground with a loud thud. The last elf backed away slowly, turning his sword this way and that as he considered who would attack him first. The whites of his eyes were larger than they should be, the terror of his situation apparent. He froze, his shoulders rising, as his head fell back with a sigh of pain; Gretka appearing behind him and twisting her long knife between his shoulders deep into his chest to pierce his heart. The witch elf placed a hand over his face as she withdrew her blade before running it across the front of his neck to open it wide. Noogl laughed.

As quiet fell upon the gulley, Duvaindir looked about the slain for a particular elf as he walked among their midst. Not finding the one he sought, he gestured to Caranordor to follow, and with the others behind them they set forth on the narrow path into the hills from which the Shadow Warriors had emerged. Behind a ridge, a lone elf could be seen, clutching a wrapped scroll. Wearing ornamented armour to suggest a higher status than her kin, she stood in a small Asur camp, hidden under a small rocky outcrop affording it shelter from both weather and eyes.

The elf looked up, as the party approached, a questioning look in her eyes as Duvaindir stepped forth. “Yriel... I have returned. The situation has changed.” He threw a nod to the Regiment behind him, whispering “Kill her”, her countenance marked by a scowl at the betrayal.

“Bring me her head!” roared Caranordor, ordering a charge.

Yriel, face locked in fury, let an arrow fly towards the Commander. Her steady hand it seemed was ruined by the fear of her impending doom; the arrow flying off course, landing to the side of Caranordor, who threw a condescending smile at his foe. Realising the odds were against her, and angered by her failed attempt, Yriel turned tail in a bid to escape into the gullies and ravines.

“Run if you like, but we shall flay you alive soon enough!” called out Caranordor mockingly. Duvaindir raised his crossbow, releasing a bolt. The projectile found Yriel’s leg, and she cursed to herself as it gave way beneath her. Lowering a hand to the bolt, she closed her eyes and turned to fight, grimly realising she now had no chance to outrun them. Let the gods see that she would die well in battle than endure what a captive of her twisted kin would impose upon her. She raised her sword, her hand shaking. She threw a hateful look at Duvaindir, spitting at his feet; the traitor merely responding with a wicked grin.

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Her grace diminished by her hatred and desperation, she stabbed forward towards her pursuers, a flash of green flame cast by Noogl missing her by inches and setting the tree behind her aflame. The Regiment closed in on the Shadow Warrior Captain slowly, to deliver the final blows. Halberds and swords cut down upon the elf, who fought for every last breath as she went down fighting. Falling to the ground, the scroll fell from her hand, and she pulled herself across the floor in a bid to keep it safe, even as blades thrust into her back. Her body could endure no more, “Lileath forgive me...” she whispered with her last breath, her fingertips lightly touching the scroll wrapped around a length of wood, bound by a blue cloth and held shut with a wax seal.

Duvaindir spat on the corpse, regarding the scroll, then looking to Caranordor. The Commander looked at it warily, before ordering “That scroll... High Seeress, check it for wards. Our cousins may have left us a parting gift.”

Ithilsyn stepped forth, leaning to pick up the scroll from the ground. Holding it in her hand, she inspected it with a frown of concentration. Sensing nothing untoward, she made to pass it to the Commander, who frowned with a shake of his head. “Open it.”

Despite all that she had been through, the Seeress knew that it would be unwise to give the Commander any cause to accuse her of rebellion. Running a thumbnail through the seal, she slowly began to unroll the parchment. A cry issued from her lips as blue flames erupted from the scroll, erupting around her hands. The blaze did not seem to affect the parchment itself, but the magical flash hampered Ithilsyn’s vision. She dropped the scroll, raising her hands to her eyes in panic as she staggered backwards. The scroll lay on the ground, still engulfed by blue flames, yet the parchment did not burn.

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“A trap!” whispered Duvaindir, the Commander remaining silent.

Noogl scampered forward “Lemme check dat fing!” sniffing the flaming scroll, humming to himself thoughtfully. “’Ow do I dispel dat ****... Aaaa... Stap it!!!” he shrieked, the flames obeying his command.

“It appears that these Greenskins might be more than they appear at first sight,” Duvaindir mused quietly, watching the flames flicker and die, leaving the parchment unharmed.

“Yea... I fink itz safe now.”

Gretka looked upon Caranordor suspiciously, wondering to herself if his parasite did find a way back. Had the Commander just tried to kill the High Seeress again? Ithilsyn was leaning on her staff, eyes rolling blindly in her face, stricken with a look of horror.

“Commander, perhaps we should examine the scroll further and plan our next move from safety. It would not do well to be caught here in the dark by more Shadow Warriors.” Duvaindir advised as he snatched the parchment from Noogl’s green grubby fingers and handed it to Caranordor.

“Indeed. With the wards now gone, let us see what it says.” Casting his eye over the writing upon the scroll, he uttered, “It mentions Nisothan. A Black Guard of some repute. He should be encamped nearby. Let us make our way to the Shattered Stand. There is an outpost there that might offer us some respite from these Nagarythi scum.”

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With thanks to Sylleth/Noogl for the artwork.

If you wish to join us or learn more about us check this topic:
viewtopic.php?f=14&t=23965

Previous Chapters:

Chapter I - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=23964
Chapter II - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=24190
Chapter III - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=24669
Chapter IV - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=24808
Chapter V - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=24875
Chapter VI - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=24880
Chapter VII - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=24898
Chapter VIII - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=24937
Chapter IX - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=24976
Chapter X - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=24979
Chapter XI - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=25000
Chapter XII - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=25033
Chapter XIII - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=25053
Chapter XIV - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=25067
Chapter XV - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=25155
Chapter XVI - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=25174
Chapter XVII - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=25801
Chapter XVIII - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=25921
Chapter XIX - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=26031

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