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Fire by Night; Chapter 3
Topic Started: 5th June 2005 - 04:28 AM (316 Views)
scrivener
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*toot*

The story meanders pointlessly along while I figure out a plot. :P


Chapter 3: On Life, Death & the Horned Rat

Morrikk sat on the curtain wall, leaning against the battlements. Below him, his army scurried about in their preparations for battle. His pipe was cradled in one paw, and a fragrant cloud of smoke hung thickly in the air above him.

A group of plaguemonks that made up the Abbot’s personal retinue were milling about against the wall directly below Morrikk. He could make out smatterings of conversation. They appeared to be swapping recipes for tropical diseases.

Morrikk looked up to see Abbot Tifus approaching. He raised one paw in greeting. The Tifus returned the greeting and sat down next to his friend, leaning his staff against the battlements.

'And what do you do tonight, Morrikk?' the Abbot asked. Morrikk exhaled, and a stream of smoke drifted lazily away. 'So many ques-questions always, Abbot. Tonight, I am-am resting, while my clan prepares for war tomorrow. I have much on my mind, so I wil need some time alone to think-think.'

‘Think?’ the Abbot queried. ‘What thoughts would interest a warlord?’

The warlord drew deeply on his pipe. ‘If you must know, why do we live? We are skaven. We live for the under-empire and the Horned Rat, we fight-fight, we kill, we mate, then we die-die. Life is short-quick, so pointless. The slaves have it worse though. They just fight, flee, then die.’ He looked at his companion. ‘Is there no purpose to our lives, for ourselves?’

The plague abbot shrugged noncommitantly. ‘Such thoughts are inappropriate for a warlord. A warlord should only say such things as “charge!” and “kill-kill!” Not “What is the meaning of life, now?” We live-exist only to serve the will-will of the Horned Rat.’

The warlord turned on the abbot. ‘Then tell me,’ he hissed, ‘what does the will Horned Rat have for us once we die for him?’

The abbot snickered. ‘What I preach is this-this: when a good rat comes-comes to the end of his life-tunnel, he finds himself-self in the great cavern of the Horned Rat, where he shall snort warpsnuff and mate with the finest breeders for eternity. But perhaps that is a lie. Who know-knows? After all, no rat has returned from the caverns of the Horned Rat.

‘What I think is this: that when we die, we become food for maggots and crows.’ The abbot grinned horribly. ‘Unless we die fighting ogres, then we become food for ogres,’ he amended.

Morrikk mulled this over. ‘Then there is no cause-purpose to live.’ Morrikk sighed. ‘I fight for the joy of pitting sword against sword and blade against bone. My rats fight for food, for the rights to mate, for land and spoils and glory. But by the end of it, when the battles are fought and done-done, we the survivors may die tomorrow; from plague, hunger, wild beasts, freak accidents, or faulty Skryre products. We fight to keep our lives and our spoils: things we may lose anyway.’

Tifus wrinkled his snout disapprovingly. ‘Do you perhaps want immortality? We fight, we live, we die. That is our way-path. You, Morrikk, chose the way-path of the sword, and by that you at least live longer than the lowly slave. You fight for the joy of the fight, you live for the joy of the fight. What else do you need-want.’

‘A purpose, perhaps-haps. But no matter, for now-now, we fight for the hell-hell of it.’ Morrikk grinned. ‘So, now, about our pointless little war…’



Twenty wheels south-west of where Morrikk and the Abbot sat talking, the last host was marching for thew war. The Gates of the Damned Road was a barracks warren and training grounds for the Blackvermin. Whoever was responsible for its interior decoration must have considered viscera the epitome of beauty. The crenellations were tastefully draped with guts like some nightmarish version of party ribbons, and dark braziers were mounted along the walls, fueled by dismembered limbs. The path leading through its heavy iron portcullis were paved with skulls. The stink of burning flesh and moldering bones hung in the air like a fog. Skreznir gave a slight shiver of thrill: the scent of death never failed to excite him.

Skreznir looked out over the battlements of the Gates. He was a large warrior, standing a full head taller than most, with fur so black it was absence of light, as was befitting a skaven who held the position of High Fangleader of the Blackvermin Guard. He lived as if he was already dead, delighting only in the joy of the kill. His armour bore his collection of trophies taken from fallen foes: his helmet was the skull of a hellhound, and his steel plate-armour was studded with teeth. He had taken a tooth from every worthy enemy that had died under his massive two-headed halberd, and his armour now looked like it was festered with macabre barnacles.

Skreznir gazed down from the battlements at the ranks of Blackvermin marching forth from the gates. It was the last contingent to leave for the war. Numbering five hundred, they marched in perfect order, darkened steel catching the flicker of the oily flames and banners dyed in gore flapping languorously above them. The Blackvermin were the elite of the elite; skilled in the ways of war and slaughter. They fought in perfect discipline unheard of among skaven, but more than that they fought with no care of life and with revelry in death.

As the last of the host left the gates, he lifted a horn carved from the head of a beastman, and blew upon it. The portcullis below clanked down, sealing the entrance. From the host, an answering horn sounded, and the host was gone down the winding tunnels. The bowels of the Union had emptied for war.



‘…So,’ Morrikk asked Tifus, ‘all the Blackvermin are gone to the north, is-is that right? We would have nothing to worry about then-then besides a few guards manning the few posts to the Throne.’

Tifus nodded. ‘And if the rebellion has survived, they should have defeated whatever Klaww had sent to destroy them. It is a clear path-road to the City of Levels.’

Morrikk pondered for a moment and took another puff on his pipe. Below them, the Plaguemonk Discussion Group was now actively discussing the symbolism of the Skraatt-Skrrt sigil in the Rite of the Brewing Death. Finally he said: ‘Then we march tomorrow for the Throne, and send scouts ahead to find-get news on the fate of the rebels. And we send messengers back to our allies. Let them-them know to secure our paths behind us while we move forward. And once we arrive on the Damned Road, may the Horned Rat drink the blood of any wretched creature that stands in our way.’


If you severely disliked the above chapter, take an egg yolk, mix in half a quart of jello, blend, chill overnight, then add it to your bathwater.
hannanibal
 
*Angry mob assembles*

"WHAT DO WE WANT!!??"
"A THINNISH, WATERY PAINT WITH A GREENER TINGE THAN AGRAX EARTHSHADE!!"
"WHEN DO WE WANT IT!?"
"QUITE SOON PLEASE AS MY LAST POT IS RUNNING OUT!"
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Blood Vixen
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All hail the Age of Skaven
a good read if a tad long winded but good all the same im just tired so dont bother takeing any7thing i say seriously ^_^ choclate beans in a garlicbread salad and add cheese slices 13 times mix well go to the toilet add essence of cat and there you go the perfect brecfast in bed for your wife
Shhhh I'm not here
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Festering Chantor
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Unholy Preacher
Exelent, most exelent. You're a good writer, you have a very original style... and those Plague Monks are highly entertaining...
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Stinkhair
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Dabbling GM. Clanrat loon. 6th Edition Aficionado. Bitter.

:D nice work scriv, one day i'll get the time to read the other two, but not, alas, today.

:D keep it up laddie!
Posted ImageI've flown with pirates twixt the stars of New Eden,
Fought across Lordran, slain dragon and daemon,
Wandered the Wastelands - the East and the West,
But U E dot net's what I like the best.
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scrivener
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*toot*

Heh, yeah, sorry for being long-winded, i know it is... :unsure: i was trying to find a plot but kept gettin' distracted... :rolleyes: *kicks giantrat for some plot tips*
hannanibal
 
*Angry mob assembles*

"WHAT DO WE WANT!!??"
"A THINNISH, WATERY PAINT WITH A GREENER TINGE THAN AGRAX EARTHSHADE!!"
"WHEN DO WE WANT IT!?"
"QUITE SOON PLEASE AS MY LAST POT IS RUNNING OUT!"
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Morkskittar
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The Tunnel's Resident Rodent Ecologist

Wow... That was great! Was slightly long... but it was worth it!

Keep going!
The Eldritch Wastes: A Post-Lovecraftian Online Serial Novel (Author Website)
Pub Fight Deaths: 334. Pillz and Pyllz are © by Morkskittar.
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Complete Works of Morkskittar / You Have Just Lost the Game 'zodi
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