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Chapter XXIV - Collecting their Reward

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Chapter XXIV - Collecting their Reward

Post#1 » Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:15 pm


The dark clouds looming over Nagarythe had become somewhat brighter, the only discernible change that gave any indication that the sun had risen. The garrison bustled with activity as warriors clad their plate armour, reluctant nauglir bellowing as they were encouraged out of their pens with hooks and pole. Thin plumes of smoke rose up from cook fires, merging with the fog that hung thickly above the hollow in which the small fortification was hidden.

The Commander stepped forth, regarding the troops, satisfied that they were now fit once more to continue. He barked his orders, knowing soon the Regiment would venture out into the unforgiving Shadowlands once more, this time to deliver ‘famed explorer’ Nisothan Ardelon back to the care of his employer; the sorceress Zathos Chillwind.

For the sake of speed, Caranordor ordered that they would be riding the cold ones. Sildra looked far from pleased, as she remembered the last time she had found herself astride such a beast. Besides the risk of going mad or numb from the ichor the riders had to dab themselves with to be recognised as one of the pack, the Kynead were prone to rampaging. The Greenskins with them had no such trouble, boars and wolves making up for their steeds. Shrieks from the goblins mingled with grunts and snarls, Vashirinth wondering how they managed to get anywhere without the wolves attempting to eat the toughened boars. With a shrug she supposed the thought of a maw snapping on their heels would only make them go faster.

“Let us finish our task then. Onwards!” Caranordor cried, raising a hand upwards, sweeping it down towards the gates which creaked open, the Commander leading the formation pouring out into the gullies beyond, Nisothan riding at his side, to give directions.


The journey was surprisingly quiet. Suspiciously so. Signs of a battle in the night could be made out; a few broken arrows here and there, a Druchii corpse swinging by its neck from a tree at a crossroads, and the unending sensation of being watched. Crossbows were held ready, wards were cast, and eyes warily inspected every shadow and crag for an expected ambush that was not to come.

“Ah yes, here we are.” Ardelon announced, as they emerged from a steep walled canyon, to face a steep hillside at the foot of the mountains, rising ominously into the clouds, mist hanging in crags. Eagles cried as they circled above the small mercenary encampment before them, a corsair striding forwards, smiling crookedly, as the Regiment was called to a halt.

“Welcome back, my lord,” he called, as Nisothan swung a leg over his saddle and dismounted, passing the reins to his subordinate. The explorer brushed down his robes and marched into the camp, urging the others to follow him. “Up yonder, is where Lady Chillwind might be found. Come, I imagine she tires of waiting for us.

The Druchii cast each other wary glances, wondering if sorcery or scheming was responsible for his confidence, but gave no argument, Caranordor ordering them to follow a path winding up the slope beyond the camp, where the mouth of a cave gaped out from the rock face like a hungry maw.

“Let us proceed on foot from this point, this is harsh terrain.”


As they drew closer, the clanking of pick against stone echoed from within. Nisothan led them inside, Noogl cautiously placing himself between the sorceresses of the Kar Khadath Coven, gripping his staff, shaking it now and again, causing the finger bones to rattle loudly as he mumbled some invocation to himself. Stepping into the cavern, it became apparent that this was some sort of abandoned mine perhaps; numerous slaves working tirelessly and without respite in a hopeless effort to stay ahead of the cracking of the whip. Wheelbarrow full of glimmering purple crystals we pushed past them by thalken and human captives, their eyes sullen and spirits broken as the group made their way deeper into the mine. Hearing their approach, a guard turned, raising his hand to lash out at them, before recognising that these were not slaves.

“Took you long enough, bookworm. The sorceress was growing impatient and our supply of entertainment unfortunately isn’t limited.” He grinned at his own remark, shoving one of the slaves forcefully aside as he stepped forward to guide Ardelon and the Regiment deeper within the cave.

The passageway took them deep into the mountain, soon the only light was the flicker of torches and an eerie glow from fragments of purple crystal that decorated the walls around them in seams through the rock. The noise of the labourers echoed from many tunnels branching out through the mine, the dank smell of the cave clinging to them with the damp. After a while, the tunnel widened until they found themselves in a larger chamber, where on a ledge overlooking her minions stood a white-haired Druchii, holding a staff as she inspected the efforts of her slaves. Noting their approach, she stared coldly at the Regiment, who stood as Ardelon marched up to her, handing over a folded missive with a bow.


“I thank you, Nisothan Ardelon. You have been useful indeed.”

The sorceress smiled gracefully at him, and snapped her fingers. His look of satisfaction turned to surprise as he found himself yanked backwards by strong hands into the darkness beyond, the sound of his pained cries rising over the noise of stabbing and slashing.

A moment later, a witch elf loped to the side of Zathos, her face sprayed with blood. She prowled along the edge of the rock ledge, glancing at Zathos who gave her a slow nod, before somersaulting down, her bloodied blades drawn. The Regiment closed in tight, Noogl hiding behind his brutish orcs, as the sound of boots marching grew closer from the surrounding tunnels; Corsairs emerging with weapons at the ready, closing in and cutting off any means of escape.

Holding the explorer’s note in her hand, the sorceress vaporised it with a small flash of dhar, before turning her attention to her visitors. “I am grateful for your assistance, fellow Druchii. That is why I shall show you the mercy of a quick death, as opposed to enslavement.”

Her rapturous laughter echoed all about as thoughts of murder filled her mind. “Kill them.”


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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
Chapter XX - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=26114
Chapter XXI - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=26214
Chapter XXII - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=26233
Chapter XXIII - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=26323


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