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Fire by Night; Chapter 4
Topic Started: 6th June 2005 - 06:20 PM (319 Views)
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It's quite long, be warned.

A thank you to Festering Chantor for letting me use his character (we'll hopefully be seeing more of our dear rabid plaguerat in chapters to come).

Chapter 4: of Battles & breakfast

The attack that came at dawn was completely unexpected, because it came as a surprise to both sides. When one is rudely forced to make a mental leap from mundane thoughts of breakfast to frenzied battle mode in a short space of time, things can get very confusing.

Morrikk was choosing between the dried toad jerky and the unidentifiable meat stew when he first heard the urgent squeaking coming from the western side of the fortress. He peered through the doorway and noticed a guard stationed on the wall frantically hopping up and down while frantically waving its arms.

Morrikk grumpily trudged out of the keep. Clanrats were nervously muttering around the cooking-fires, staring at the tunnels. Morrikk turned the corner. The he saw what it was that was causing all the excitement, and froze.

The walls of the rudimentary fort were only erected on the east side of the cavern, holding off prospective invaders from entering the inner tunnels of the Union. The architect who designed the fort had naturally considered it pointless to erect defences on the western side, which would only be good for holding off fellow Union rats from entering the rest of their lands. There wasn’t as much as a gate between the tunnels and the keep.

A host of Blackvermin was marching silently out of those tunnels now. They glanced around, curious at the lack of fellow Blackvermin, but as yet unaware that they had just walked into enemy-held territory. They halted at the courtyard and stood at the ready, waiting for further orders. The Skrivning rats and the monks milled about, nervously watching them. The Blackvermin gazed back bemusedly through beady red eyes.

Morrikk trotted briskly over to where the Fangleader stood. ‘Ah-hmm, err,’ he stuttered, ‘you are marching for the war, right-right? A little late I think.’

The Fangleader stared back silently. ‘Yes-yes. We have just left the Gates under the orders of the High Fangleader Skreznir. Where is Fangleader Rekkrit? We had no word that his regiment was replaced with, erm, clanrats.’

Morrikk fumbled for an excuse. ‘Ah, yes. Right. You see-see, all our best warriors are gone to the north to aid our most benevolent Arch-Flamelord. No need to waste good troops def-defending forts this far-far south.’

‘Right-yes.’ The Fangleader nodded. ‘Would you be so kind-kind as to open the gates so that my rats may continue? We are late and are in haste.’

‘Eh.’ Morrikk glanced nervously at the curtain wall. His rats had yesterday tossed out the dead Blackvermin, including what was left of Fangleader Rekkrit. There was now a pile of decaying black-furred corpses to the right of the gate. He turned back to the Fangleader, thinking quickly.

‘Yes, yes, erm, of course. Err. However, we unfortunately have sealed the gates shut, it may-may take a while to get them open again. So if –‘

But the Fangleader was sniffing the air suspiciously. He cocked his head to one side, paused, and glanced down between his feet. Morrikk followed his gaze.

There was a dried smear of blood where ex-Fangleader Rekkrit had been dragged off. There was also a scrap of black fur. Skaven aren’t the most fastidious of sweepers.

Unlike his former colleague, this Fangleader was far more paranoid and a faster thinker. His blade swept out quicker than greased lightning and lanced for Morrikk’s head.

But Morrikk was already on the move. The warlord skipped backwards and fled. ‘Take them down!’ he yelled. The Fangleader was bellowing similar commands to his troops. The Blackvermin, perfectly trained, reacted instantaneously. The nearest Skrivning rats were cut down while they still milled about. Then Riptail, ever the trigger-happy clanrat, opened fire with his ratling gun. In his excitement he missed all five hundred Blackvermin and took out a hapless guardsrat standing on the walls, but that was enough. The sudden gunfire galvanized the clanrats into action.

Morrikk scuttled back towards the keep as the battle began. He glanced back to see the Fangleader hot on his tail. He turned and kicked at a firepit that had been set to cook a breakfast, scattering hot embers at his pursuer. A saucepan overturned, spilling man-thing bacon. As the Fangleader swept the flying sparks out of his face with his left paw, Morrikk drew his own sword, a slim curved blade. He lunged and struck with a flurry of blows, quicker than most, but the Fangleader was well-trained. He parried and aimed an overhand swing for Morrikk’s head. The warlord raised his sword to deflect the blow, and that was when the skilled Blackvermin swivelled his wrist, changing the blow’s direction, and slashed across Morrikk’s chest instead.

There was a brief flash of green light and the stink of singed fur. The Fangleader stumbled backwards, his sword clattering to the ground. Morrikk noticed a thin stream of smoke snaking out of one of the Fangleader’s ears. He rapped on his breastplate and grinned. ‘Warp-warpstone armour,’ he remarked, ‘very useful, if a bit heavy.’ Then he lunged forward. His blade speared through the Fangleader’s mouth and up into his brain.

The rest of the Blackvermin force, however, was gaining the upper hand against the sleep-befuddled clanrats, who were for the most part unarmed and unprepared. Rats fell dead by the score, while the rest fled hither-thither in the confusion. A handful of plaguemonks had seized their staves and knives and were now desperately fighting in a knot under the arch of the gate. The Blackvermin closed in on them, eager to hack their way out of the fortress.

It was Vesper the plaguemonk, caught with his friends against the dark wormwood of the gate, who first noticed the new alien sound in the midst of the battle.

There was a polite knocking on the gate.

Vesper turned and looked at the gate. The unseen knocker rapped on the gate again, more urgently this time. Then the gate buckled as its wood rotted rapidly, crumbled and then fell off its hinges. The plaguemonks squealed and ducked as a shower of splinters rained on them. Vesper fell to the ground under a large plank. He pried himself free and glanced back.

Two skaven, a priest and a plaguelord of Clan Pestilens by their robes and censers, stood in the entrance. One of them, the priest, briefly surveyed the scene before him. His gaze fell on the Blackvermin. He smiled horribly, then twirled his censer over his head and charged. Behind him stormed a horde of plaguemonks. The flood of robed rats was endless, as if all of Clan Pestilens was set loose upon this one battle.

The Abbot’s reinforcements had finally arrived, and not a moment to soon.

Morrikk stumbled over to where the Abbot stood surrounded by his monks. ‘About-bout time they came,’ he snapped. He pointed at the brown-robed priest leading the horde. The rat was gibbering in a maddened frenzy, sweeping anything from his path with great swings of his censer. Even the feared Blackvermin covered before his relentless approach. 'Who is that?’

‘Brother Skrot, his name is. Strange chap, very frothy, but efficient at his-his work. It seems-looks like every monk I called upon has arrived, and more. How are you?’

‘The Fangleader probably cracked one of my ribs, but I am fine-good.’ He watched the battle. The Blackvermin were being pressed back from the gates and pushed back into the western tunnels. Brother Skrot charged into the heart of the battle in a cloud of smoke, his sacred censer whirling around like a wheel of death. The plaguemonks cleaved a swath through the ranks of the now leaderless Blackvermin, and soon the dark-furred rats were routed in the face of the overwhelming numbers of the combined armies. Morrikk surveyed the battle-scene with a grin on his face. ‘It-it was close for a moment there-there, but I believe we are now close to our goals,’ he remarked. The frenzied plaguemonks were already swarming down the tunnels after the fleeing enemy. ‘Today, we shall march for the damned road. But first, to breakfast.’

If you didn't like the story, get a half pound of breadcrumbs, mix well in syrup, chill overnight, then PM me for further information. (no, don't actually PM me)
*Angry mob assembles*

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Festering Chantor
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Unholy Preacher
Oh fun... you captured the essence of my character very well...

Yes, he's mad...
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Dabbling GM. Clanrat loon. 6th Edition Aficionado. Bitter.


that was bloody brilliant scriv, i loved it...

specially these bits

There was a polite knocking on the gate.

....Strange chap, very frothy...


want more! more i say![/color]
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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The Unlovable Lurker

Masterful! Keep it up and give us more!
Bod... err... I mean UB!
Phink, Phank, Phonk, etc.- Ratphinks various split personalities

Award for the Worst joke ever goes to... THRASKITAR for the following:
Now, now, everybody, let's not lose our heads over this... wink.gif *wink-wink*
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