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Why is a Skaven like a man-thing desk?; Animosity Fluff
Topic Started: 19th January 2012 - 08:48 PM (963 Views)
Ratty Gnawtail
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Ratty's Rats have been put on the side for now, here be me animosity fluff and the return of Whizz-Bang!:

Why is a Skaven like a man-thing desk?

Nestled near to the Chaos Wastes lies the burrow of Clan Blackfang, a minor Clan with only small dealings toward nearby Hell Pit. Its closeness to the Wastes themselves had made the Warlord Sneeet Blackfang rich from the bounty of warped beasts being captured and sold to the Greater Clan. The Skaven of the Clan were used to oddities of Chaos, though what slowly shambled toward their burrow now was something different.

At the underground gates bemused watch-rats peered at the ragged figure stumbling towards the entrance of the burrow. The creature had apparently come from out of the Chaos Wastes and from what the Clan's spies who had dogged the figure for the last few hours could ascertain was a Skaven. The keen eyes of the watch-rats looked closely at the now nearer figure. He appeared to be swathed in rags that covered his bony frame. There was a slight glint from a heavily tarnished breastplate, probably bronze. In his right claw he held a gnarled staff that looked like it was once a leg bone of a creature from the Wastes. In his other claw hung what appeared to be a small iron cage, though whatever was inside was covered by a draped beast skin. The Skaven's gait appeared to be affected by a liable injury to his right leg.

The stranger finally reached the gates and gave it a loud thump with his staff. He received no reply. Again he thumped the gates, hard enough this time that a sliver of bone broke off from the morbid staff. Still no reply. The figure paused and turned to the cage and whispered to it. The watch-rats craned their ears to hear what the clearly mad rat was speaking. They could make out the words of "plan" and "my beloved" but little else. The stranger placed his ear close to the cage and listened and began to nod. He straightened his hunched back as much as possible before striking his staff once more to the gates. Then with a cry "Long-long I have travelled, through wastelands and fire. I once wielded-used the power of a god-thing but I was cast-cast into darkness. I have returned and you shall obey. Your weak-weak Warlord gave you little; I will give-give much reward." The last part of his cry was wracked with a mad laughter that chilled the spines of the watch-rats.

Warlord Blackfang however was no coward. He had not achieved such a position in the Clan by being weak or being cowed by some mad rat from the Wastes. It was true that he had neither never seen such a rat emerge so deep from the Chaos Wastes nor one who was so insane to enter in such a way. He had arrived as soon as word had reached him of this figure approaching. Of course he had brought along the best of his Stormvermin guards available with him, though for such a scrawny looking degenerate this stranger appeared to be, he was certain that he could remove the fool-meat's tongue with one paw tied behind his back. He had briefly considered ordering the watch-rats to fire their Jezzails or even to open the gates and let a tide of his Clanrats consume the fool. However the stranger's remark about Blackfang being weak stung like a wound, the blow to the feared respect his underlings had for him could lead to an uprising against him. Already he feared that Fangleader Ritty was soon going to make a move to seize the Warlord position. To show that he was strong he would have to dispose of this mysterious rat himself.

Whizz-Bang giggled as what appeared to be the Warlord of the Warren emerged from the gates. He hobbled back a little to give him some time to visualise his foe.
The Warlord gave a murderous grin at what appeared to be cowardice and advanced from the safety of the Clan burrow. Whizz-Bang dropped his staff to the ground and gently placed the cage nearby whilst whispering small words of affection. He turned his attention once more to the Warlord and gave a mad cackle. "You leader-thing of this Clan?" he laughed.
The Warlord gave a challenging smile revealing darkened fangs.
Whizz-Bang gave another mad giggle "and your name-name fool-rat?"
The Warlord hissed before answering with a booming cry "I am-am the great Warlord Sneeet Blackfang, ruler supreme of Clan Blackfang but you can call-name me your doom!" Whizz-Bang gave an even higher pitched cackle before raising a claw at the Warlord. Lightning crackled around his claw before sparking off at the Warlord. Warlord Blackfang had no time to call for help before the different hued lightning struck him. His dying eyes stared at the cage lying nearby and he could swear that he could hear a faint laughter...

Whizz-Bang stood upon the corpse of the Warlord. The Skaven present seemed aghast that he had killed Blackfang. He flexed his claws in their general direction and was rewarded by the musk of fear drifting from the burrow. "I am Warlord Engineer Whizz-Bang and you are all-all under my power! Take me to my chambers for there is much-much planning that needs to be done-done. And many-many rewards..."

Part Two

The Messenger-rat gave a shrill shriek as it was consumed by Whizz-Bang's lightning. He hoped the now charred rat had enjoyed its reward. He had lost count over how many of his underlings he had been forced to reward in these first few weeks of his ascension. Whatever the number was, Whizz-Bang even in his unhinged state was growing irritated. The news was the same. An area of the Chaos Wastes was retreating and growing into a verdant beauty. Several rats had whimpered about how this could harm trade to Clan Moulder and blamed conspiracy. Others far more daring, stupid, or just suicidal had blamed Whizz-Bang. These abominable lies ranged from his inactivity to him actually causing the crisis. Whatever their views on the matter they had all ended the same, charred bones at the foot of Whizz-Bang's lair.

The Warlord Engineer at least looked less emaciated than when he first arrived but for how long? Dissent was appearing in the lower echelons of the Clan. So far all outspoken voices and actions had been dealt with brutally, but even the Stormvermin appeared to be losing faith in Whizz-Bang. He gave a mad giggle as a small rat scuttled out of his lair. "Yes-yes run-scurry little one! Tell them all it's just begun!" At once he became brooding and glanced toward to veiled cage that hung close by. He gave a short laugh and began to whisper to the cage in an affectionate manner. He suddenly gave a triumphant grin and a glorious cackle. "And you are sure-sure my love, my pretty one?" He paused to listen to the cage before uttering more chittering laughter. "Yes-yes I will beloved, my pretty beloved."

The nervous snout of newly appointed Messenger-rat Idzzk appeared at the entrance to Whizz-Bang's lair. The mad laughter issuing forth had already caused him to vent the musk of fear. The tales of how many others had been killed by the mad rat also hadn't helped. Now the scene and smell of the lair had made him fully empty his glands. He would die. His brilliant intellect, his cunning ideas all lost thanks to the fool-rat. It should have been Idzzk who should have become Warlord. True in Skaven society he was nothing, but he was sure the Horned One had let him survive thus far for a reason. Surely he was blessed, destined to lead the masses to inherit the surface world. At least he had until now. He gave a short worried cough and was rewarded by the murderous mad glare of Warlord Engineer Whizz-Bang. His blood ran cold and his glands stung as they tried to vent non existent musk. The mad Warlord Engineer beckoned Idzzk forwards with a gesture of his left claw, the right held almost as if ready to burn Idzzk with that strange coloured Warp-lightning that he had heard about. Idzzk gulped and slowly crept in. Moments to live he gravely thought.

Time seemed to slow down as he took in all his surroundings, almost certainly for the last time. The Warlord Engineer sat on a partially living throne, a gift from Clan Moulder to the previous Warlord Blackfang. It seemed to quiver as the mad rat glared down at Idzzk. The Messenger-rat's attention was drawn to the Warlord Engineer's staff, marvelling at the lumps of Warpstone hammered into it. A wealth Idzzk had one day hoped for. His heart began to beat faster as his attention was focused towards the cage that hung near to the Warlord Engineer. No one knew what was hidden behind the beast skin veil. For a moment Idzzk thought he heard a low hiss emanate from the cage. No it was probably just his breathing. At least he hoped it was. Idzzk braced himself for his inevitable death and squeezed his eyes shut.

Nothing happened. With a flash he opened his eyes and was rewarded by a shrill laugh. "Tell-tell Fangleader Ritty to prepare the masses; we go to find-find the Court of the King of two faces. We shall follow-listen to his plan-things and obey his every command, for now..." Idzzk looked in wonder at this sudden change in the Warlord Engineer who now seemed full of mirth. Whizz-Bang glanced again at the Messenger-rat and with a short giggle asked "or do you want-want your reward now-now?" Idzzk nodded eagerly, he most assuredly was to become the Warlord Engineer's adviser and favoured servant. The Horned Rat did look upon him with favour. All he would need to do was to remove the insane excuse for a Warlord and his ascension would be complete! Whizz-Bang gave a mad cackle, raised his claw and with a stream of Warp-Lightning instantly incinerated Idzzk. The smell of charred fur and flesh rose once again but Whizz-Bang paid it no heed. He sat back in his throne, mused for a moment and began the wait for the next Messenger-rat to arrive.
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Part Three

Fangleader Ritty gave a silent shudder as he scuttled towards Whizz-Bang’s latest lair. The smell of death and fear was heavy in the air. The Warlord Engineer might be insane and a fool but he was dangerous, very dangerous. It had been only a few days since they had arrived at the Court of the king of two faces. Even Ritty had to admit, the ‘king’ seemed more insane than the Warlord Engineer! In fact Ritty was almost certain that Whizz-Bang was attempting to now be more insane as if he was trying to challenge Two-Name’s madness. If anything Ritty had been more surprised by how Whizz-Bang had not replaced the ‘king’ of the Ascension Court with himself, but instead had promised servitude. Was Whizz-Bang up to something or just plain mad? mused Ritty Heh probably the latter.

The Fangleader poked his snout into the lair and was rewarded with the powerful stench of charred corpses. Sitting at a stolen Man-thing table was the Warlord Engineer lost in the insanity of his own mind. Around the table sat the propped up corpses of several Messenger-rats as well as the odd Stormvermin. To the right of Whizz-Bang also sat the mysterious cage of whatever creature or thing the Warlord Engineer doted upon with affection. Arrayed upon the table in front of each of the seated was a crude man-thing drinking vessel. Ritty watched with disgust and a slight bemusement as the Warlord Engineer lifted his vessel and pretended to drink from it. His eyes grew excited however when the Warlord Engineer began lifting the veil of the cage to offer a drink to the thing residing within. Finally he would know what really lived in the cage and perhaps how to control it. He would dispose of the fool-rat and use his mighty intelligence with that of the thing in the cage to overthrow the Council and rule all Skavendom. Perhaps even amass the power to defeat the Horned Rat himself! “Why is a Skaven like a Man-thing desk?” hissed a voice. Ritty in horror realised that the Warlord Engineer was glaring right at him with those insane bloodthirsty eyes. He began to whimper apologies to the terrifying form of Whizz-Bang; how it wasn’t his fault, how other rats were plotting against him, and promise of fealty. He was interrupted by Whizz-Bang who ignoring his minion’s squeaks, screeched again “Why is a Skaven like a Man-thing desk?!”

Ritty couldn’t hold his fear in check any longer and the scent of the musk of fear began to overpower the already potent smell of the lair. He managed to stutter out “Why is a...a Skaven like...like a Man-thing desk?” Whizz-Bang sat back looking confused at his minion “What did you say-squeak?” he inquired. Ritty gave a gulp and repeated the question. Whizz-Bang looked at him strangely before muttering “I do not know-know why you question-ask such a thing.” He suddenly became rather amiable and with a mad cackle asked “so how are the plan-things going?” Ritty was still shocked by the Warlord Engineer’s sudden personality change and didn’t answer. He began to sink into one of the few empty seats around the table.

“It’s very bad-rude to sit-sit when you are not-not invited!” cried Whizz-Bang throwing his Man-thing cup at the Fangleader, narrowly missing his snout. Ritty jumped up like a bolt before stammering “they go well-well great-mighty slayer of lesser rats.” Whizz-Bang nodded and took another pretend sip from another nearby empty cup “Good-good, we begin the march soon-soon” he paused and gave his ear a scratch, feeling the ragged hole that had punctured through his earlobe. He dimly remembered fighting a daemon with a collection of other lesser Skaven, how he had attempted to use the raw magic bleeding out of the daemon, of the fool of an Inquisi-rat who had decided to shoot poor Whizz-Bang and had inflicted the irreparable damage to Whizz-Bang’s ear as well as right knee. He let this moment of near lucid thoughts disappear and gave a short cough before continuing.

“You see-see we need to change the name-thing of the Clan. Something more suitable yes-yes? I propose that the Clan should be rename-named Clan Whizz-Bang.” Ritty eagerly agreed with his lord by releasing the right musk fear scents. “A most great-great idea most wise-wise and mighty one!” he joyously cried. Inside he seethed, the Clan should have been his not this mad-rat! Whizz-Bang had sat back and took another sip from his empty cup before muttering words of affection to the thing in the cage. Oh yes thought Ritty your time will come soon enough fool-meat...
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Part Four

Why is a Skaven like a Man-thing desk? Ritty had been plagued by the question since the fool of a Warlord Engineer had first mentioned it. It seemed a question based on madness but Ritty couldn’t remove it from his mind. A Man-thing desk? Why a Man-thing desk? Indeed what had the mighty Skaven race had to do with silly those Man-thing creations? Ritty rubbed his head as if to help him find an answer, any answer. An answer like this would be far greater than anything of Whizz-Bang’s mind, if anything the thing in the cage would know. Yes-yes that’s why the Warlord Engineer dotes upon it so! He is just a puppet controlled by the superior intelligence of the thing in the cage. He is too weak to control it and use its power. I Ritty would succeed where the fool-rat failed. Maybe I’m going mad? No! Impossible! I am beyond that. I am the chosen of the Horned Rat! I shall lead my kin to ascension, and no other rat will stop me. Let alone Whizz-Bang.

A tap of a staff woke Ritty from his thoughts. He glanced up quickly and took a submissive pose as Warlord Engineer Whizz-Bang shuffled towards him. Ritty had to marvel how strangely the Warlord Engineer’s crippled leg had begun to almost heal. The rat seemed to be less reliant on his bone staff, though as Ritty noticed he still carried the cage with him. Perhaps another power granted by the thing in the cage? He thought staring at the beast skin veil as if his eyes could pierce the cover. “What-what are you staring at fool-meat?!” hissed Whizz-Bang as he got closer. Ritty shuddered a little before answering in a stammering voice “N-nothing oh supreme of superlatives.” Whizz-Bang stared for a long hard moment at the Fangleader before raising the cage in his left claw to his snout. “What do you think-think of our Fangleader my love, my precious one?” The Warlord Engineer moved his head closer to the cage to listen to the reply. Ritty likewise attempted to surreptitiously listen in. To his hearing he thought he heard a quiet hissing and a whisper as dry as death. Maybe it was a trick of his mind, just the sound of air moving through the tunnels. And yet he still suspected otherwise. Whizz-Bang withdrew from the cage and gave a mad cackle. “Sticks and stones with break your bones and word-things will make-make you cry. If you look-seek the answer for much-much more you will surely die.” He ended this with a laugh that chilled Ritty’s bones. How did the fool-rat know of Ritty’s obsession with the answer? What more did the Warlord Engineer know?

Whizz-Bang stopped laughing and turned serious. “I have-have despatched Trikkz to do something special for me. Currently things are going to plan-plan.” Ritty looked bemused at this before daring to ask “why Trikkz, most cruel of cruelties? He is unreliable and has a stupid-empty mind!” Whizz-Bang merely giggled at this outburst and gave a challenging smile at the Fangleader. “You question the one-one that gives me advice? That really is not-not very nice!” He gave a glance to the cage in his claw and began to whisper again to it before continuing “I find your lack of faith-faith concerning Fangleader Ritty. The sword of Ratticlese hangs over your head-head.”

Ritty gave a gulp “I am always your loyal servant-thing my master.” He stammered as Whizz-Bang flexed a claw. Ritty had been there the day when Warlord Sneeet Blackfang had been killed by this mad rat. He knew the potency of the Warlord Engineer’s lightning and was perhaps more afraid by its different colouration than the norm. It was true that he had never seen a Warlock Engineer project lightning but if the stories were true then Whizz-Bang’s was very different indeed. Whizz-Bang glared at Ritty for a moment but then appeared to grow bored. “We have much-much work to do Fangleader and I daresay should you fail-fail me, you will drink-drink at my table.” The Warlord Engineer began to hobble away but Ritty didn’t pay any attention. For as the Warlord Engineer had spoke, Ritty had thought he had heard a hissed voice from the cage. Four little words that froze his blood: I am watching you...
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Part Five

A memory?

A figure moved with great agony along the wastelands. His robes now nought but rags that clung to his thin frame. He staggered and fell with a curse. It had been the fourth time that day that the healing on his shattered knee had failed. At least he guessed it had been a day. Within the Chaos Wastes time could ebb and flow. Starvation and the constant corruption of the land had fractured his already unstable mind. Mortals were not designed for this, except at least the very few who had somehow survived. The robed figure for all the rot infesting his mind still could recall one word. A name, if not a definition. Whizz-Bang.

Several hours had passed until the rat that was once Whizz-Bang crawled his way to a nearby cave. He huddled inside talking to himself, begging with imaginary demons for help. A terrible roar banished his prayers. He quickly glanced up and saw the lumbering form of a heavily mutated Troll. He wasn’t sure if his mind had rebelled because he could swear that its flesh was in a constant motion, sprouting new limbs and engulfing others. Fanged mouths appeared fleetingly on the Troll’s body, some gnashing hungrily, some spitting bile, and some whispering honeyed promises. Whizz-Bang shakily rose to his feet and gave a squeal of rage and fright. In response green lightning danced from his claws lashing out at the monstrosity in front of him. The Troll howled for a moment before swatting away the sparks of lightning with a trunk-like arm. The other arm snatched up Whizz-Bang and dropped the shrieking Skaven into its enormous gullet, swallowing him whole.

Whizz-Bang woke up in the cave with a fearful cry. A dream? No it felt so real, he could swear that the tang of recently used magic was in the air. He glanced into the depths of the cave and saw a gleaming sparkle. He shakily got to his feet and moved towards it. It was part of the skeleton on a Troll, somewhat charred. He picked up one of the large deformed bones and gasped with shock. It was warm. He had already vented the musk of fear on waking and now his glands began to ache trying to vent more. “Come” whispered a voice deeper within the cave. “Come and know me better...Whizz-Bang.” The former Warlock Engineer briefly considered fleeing but the voice that spoke as if in his head urged him forwards. He picked up a leg bone from the Troll skeleton and began to limp further inwards.

Soon the darkness was so absolute his acute eyesight wasn’t enough. Still he stumbled onwards, ears pricked for any attack. However none came as he walked what seemed to him to be many miles through the labyrinth-like cave guided by the voice. Eventually he arrived within a small cavern, a small ray of dirtied light shiny through a crack in the roof. “Down here” whispered the voice. Whizz-Bang looked down and was shocked to see a small cage at his feet. It was only a small iron cage but what was within made Whizz-Bang’s eyes shine with wonder and glee. “Hello there my precious one, my pretty one” he giggled. He picked up the cage and smiled.
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Part Six

The small warband of Beastmen crept closer to their prey; hiding behind the odd large rock or warped architecture. Even they were clueless about who had built such strange buildings in the Wastes. All the Beastmen were concerned with was the solitary figure who was currently hobbling through their territory. Ghroroktusk the lesser had wanted to attack straight away, his view had been echoed around the small warband. There was but one foe whilst they numbered in the dozen, surely it would be an easy fight? The cracked words of Weirdrak old-tooth had stopped the impetuous Gor from leading the others to charge without knowledge. The aged shaman had led the warband for longer than any could remember. He had led them through victory and defeat. There was precious little that he did not know of in ambushing and slaying foes big or small.

Weirdrak stared hard at the hobbling figure and tasted the subtle hint of magic on the air. His practised eyes (however old they were) studied the figure closely. It looked like a wretched mutant, strangely in the form of a man-sized rat. He had heard tales from one of the few survivors of the last Everchosen’s attack on the Old World; tales that concerned the offspring of one of the lesser gods of Chaos, rats who walked as men and all the more treasonous and untrustworthy. If so what in Tzeentch’s name was one doing so deep in the Chaos Wastes? Especially one who seemed gifted with (albeit weak) magical prowess! Something didn’t seem to add up to the old shaman and as he finally signalled to the others to begin the attack, he began to feel a slight sense of worry of what he had got himself into.

“You’re being followed” whispered the voice from the cage “I estimate twelve of them, one a shaman of great power.” Whizz-Bang chuckled at his companion’s words, if they were words at least, he wasn’t too sure if they spoke aloud or in his mind. “Do not fret-fear my darling one, my precious one. I’m hungry anyway.” He stopped his staggering and turned around, wincing slightly as his damaged knee screamed in protest. He raised his Troll-bone staff and drew a crude line in front of him before placing the cage beside himself. Already his fine Skaven eyesight picked up the forms of several Beastmen creeping towards him and flitting in between rocks and ruins.

Noticing with shock that their prey was aware of them the first of the Beastmen rushed forwards letting frenzy over take their brutal minds. Whizz-Bang giggled and released a barrage of lightning, incinerating the first among them. The others darted behind a large rock to avoid the mad rat’s attack. Weirdrak joined them surprised at the power behind this foe’s attack. Even with the roaring winds of magic that howled across the Wastes, a being like that should not have been able to bend them that easily at least without crippling his mind. He muttered an incantation and a small murder of crows formed in the air above him. He grunted with the strain of such magic in such a tenuous area between worlds but managed to send them swarming at the rat creature.

Whizz-Bang cackled at the bird-things that circled above him. One took a dive at him and was swatted away by his staff. Another lunged towards him and he caught it in his paw crushing its magical body as it tried to escape. The last crow took advantage of the distraction and raked the Warlock Engineer with its claws, drawing a bead of blood. Whizz-Bang gave a squeal of pain and retreated back before the crow began to fade into nothingness.

“Touch the ground” murmured the thing in the cage. Trembling Whizz-Bang did just that and began to voice words he barely understood. The ground began to quake and the rock the Beastmen hid behind crumbled. Weirdrak desperately tried to halt it but found his power unmatched. Impossible! He was a servant of Tzeentch the Lord of Change! How could this worshipper of a lesser god surpass him? As the mountain of stone fell and crushed him and his warriors, he glanced at the figure of Whizz-Bang and noticed the cage at his feet. With a shock he cursed himself an old fool, the mad Skaven did not serve the lesser god. He was the servant of another...

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Part Seven

“Have you ever tasted power Vzrrrk? True-true power? The power of a God-thing? I know that I have.” In his darkened lair lit only by two battered warp-lamps Whizz-Bang paused to give a short giggle. His guest did not utter a word. “You see-see Vzrrrk, I once wielded such power. It was brilliant, as if-if I had more power in my tail than the Great Horned One! Not even those fool-rats in Clan Skryre could surpass me. A pity then-then that I never did get to try it out-out on them!” Whizz-Bang rose from his throne and began to pace his lair for a moment forgetting his silent guest. He scratched his scarred ear and attempted to remember his brief taste of godly power.

“Yes-yes that was it! The blood of a Daemon-thing! Pure undiluted magic my dear-dear Vzrrrk. I remember siphoning the magic that pour-poured from the Daemon-thing’s wounds to charge-charge up my magic. Never before had I felt-felt so much power. With a simple flick of my wrist everything charred and die-died. It was beautiful and yet wrong-wrong. So very very wrong-wrong. I couldn’t control it.”

Whizz-Bang paused again a pained expression on his face, as if the pain he remembered had become real. He staggered for a moment and seemed to shrink into himself. The darkened lair became silent. A small white rat skittered past and Whizz-Bang regarded it with a faint smile. “Hello there little one, do you wish-wish to join my party? I would be so-so happy.” The rat scurried away on hearing his voice, as if even it wasn’t as foolish to step into the spider’s lair.

“You know Vzrrrk, I was once quite sane.” Whizz-Bang cackled loudly to his still silent companion. “Imagine me Vzrrrk, completely sane! Oh but I can-can still just remember the day-day when I was inspired. You see-see I was once a lowly Clanrat in Clan Ektrik. I used to think-think that their love of electricity, of lightning was stupid. Until the day it hit-hit me. Literally! You see-see Vzrrrk, one of my Clan’s Warplightning Cannons malfunctioned and a bolt of it struck me and my claw pack. The silly-silly thing with Clan Ektrik is their armour. Bronze armour you see-see, very conductive for electricity.” Whizz-Bang pointed to the battered remains of his armour. “Yes-yes Vzrrrk, even now-now I still wear-wear the same armour from back then.” He gave another giggle and sat back on his throne.

“Oh but I survived Vzrrrk. My fellow Comrats were instantly turned to roasted meat. Of course no one care-cared at first until I rose-rose from the destruction of my pack. I had seen-seen the light, the Great Horned One was the father of all the elements and that he controlled lightning. I believed that the electricity around me were the children of the Horned One. They were his children and I was their carer. Oh but everything changes, it always does-does. We live on an ever moving wheel-thing Vzrrrk, dear Vzrrrk. I began life without madness or power, which soon changed. I then lost both power and madness, until I met her. Yes-yes my precious one, my beautiful one, my darling one. And yet there are so many questions. Why is a Skaven like a man-thing desk? Am I wrong to be right? I keep thinking I’m mad-mad but does that mean I’m sane? Heh! Who care-cares anyway? The old God has been changed to the new, though I still-still have a special place-place in my heart for the old lightning. So anyway Vzrrrk, what are your thought-things to my tale?” Whizz-Bang glanced over and gave a smile at Vzrrrk. He said nothing, a few wisps of smoke still rose from his charred corpse, but his dead eyes that stared at Whizz-Bang gave the mad Engineer all the answer he needed.
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Part Eight

“Why is a Skaven like a Man-thing desk? Why?!” snarled Fangleader Ritty to himself. He was afraid, deeply afraid. He had heard obviously of the diseases of Clan Pestilens that could spread through a warren like wild fire. However he hadn’t realised how contagious Whizz-Bang’s insanity was. He was losing his mind, even he was sure of it. He peered into a sliver of reflective glass in his personal burrow and was taken aback by the wretch who stared back at him. The lean but powerful Fangleader that usually greeted him had been replaced by a hollow eyed and unkempt excuse of a rat.

The question, probably a flight of fancy on Whizz-Bang’s part, had been torturing Ritty for weeks now. Still he had no answer but an even greater desire to take the thing in the cage for himself. Yes then he would know the answer, and then he would have the power. Ritty gave his head a scratch. If he were to do so, he would have to act soon as some members of the clan had recently been hissing about Whizz-Bang being far too unpredictable and damaging to remain Warlord. Some had even muttered how Whizz-Bang’s fool of a quest had put them far behind their trading quotas with Clan Moulder. However none spoke up these dissident voices at least in the presence of the Warlord Engineer and his still loyal followers.

However Ritty still knew of this discontent building up in the clan. He had not climbed up the rungs of Skaven hierarchy without learning to anticipate your enemies as well as having a knack for obtaining information when it was not available. Several of these fool-rats had been in the end caught by Ritty personally, their deaths serving as a warning of trying to overthrow the Warlord Engineer. Whizz-Bang had confined himself to a newer bigger lair. It was all change with him thought Ritty. The Warlord Engineer had been attempting to build the strange device that he had shown Ritty a while ago and had barred all from entering including Ritty himself. What ever the fool-rat was doing he had better hurry up! Thought Ritty with a scowl. Already he had serious considered leading a coup against Whizz-Bang, though despite the mad Engineer’s almost fondness for him, Ritty knew very little about what the Warlord Engineer was capable of.

Ritty mused upon his old Warlord...what was his name? Erm Sneeep Darkflang? That was probably it. In any case Fangleader Ritty had to hand it to the now deceased rat. When he had first formed the clan as a breakaway from the failing Clan Vrrdent before its inevitable destruction by a group of Dwarf-things seeking to build an underground railway system, he had ever so cunningly only set the ranks of Clawleader, Fangleader, and Warlord. There were no Chieftains in the Clan and this made it interesting. For one thing the Fangleader had the unenviable task of holding off challenges from the multitude of other Stormvermin and Clawleaders who in turn had to hold on to their positions. With the placement of one Fangleader, the Warlord would have less worry of being overthrown. Instead most enterprising rats would try to kill the Fangleader as the stepping stone. Of course such a plan had a flaw, if an unknown or lowly but cunning rat managed to challenge the Warlord then this could cause a meltdown in the system. Whizz-Bang had practically crippled the system and it seemed to Ritty that only the fear of his powers and mad mind kept the Clan in check. Ritty gave a savage grin. Though not for much longer...
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Part Nine

In the darkness of his lair Whizz-Bang was awoken by a clamour of alarm bells and the panicked cry of guard rats as they wakened from their sleep, rushing to halt the attackers. Whizz-Bang groggily staggered to his feet and with a shaking paw grabbed his staff and leaned heavily on it. He glanced towards the veiled cage and gave a grin at the thing in the cage “It seems my love, my darling one that we have-have some company this night!”

The thing in the cage gave a small chuckle as Whizz-Bang delicately lifted its home and carried it out of his lair. He paused to trip over a Clanrat who was running past with his bone staff. The rat snarled up at Whizz-Bang and then realised his mistake. The mad Engineer brought down the staff onto the Clanrat’s head with an almighty crunch and adding some interesting new colours to the base of the staff. He strolled away from the still twitching corpse and bellowed a command to the other nearby scurrying rats. They turned and seeing the Warlord Engineer as one vented the musk of fear in deference. With a wicked giggle Whizz-Bang commanded them to forge a path ahead for him.

When they finally arrived at the border’s edge of the Warren, Whizz-Bang and his group were in for a shock. Standing in a parody of a formation was a large group of mostly orange furred rats, many of them looking experienced and more than a match for any of Whizz-Bang’s troops. In the honourable position of the rear of the formation was a lean but powerfully built rat with fur that seemed to burn like a flame. In one paw he held a spear that looked like it had been carved from a giant bone and which faintly glowed with magic. On his back there seemed to be a slung on shield, while in his left paw he held a curious bottle of something potent smelling.

Seeing the arrival of Whizz-Bang, the strange rat gave a chuckle and pushed his way through his minions. “Are ye thar great Warlock Engineer Whizz-Bang?” the rat cried at the Warlord Engineer, in an accent that seemed to originate from perhaps Albion. “Yes-yes I am he and he is me” hissed Whizz-Bang striding through his minions and delivering a stinging blow with his staff to one of the slower rats. “Aye that be good then laddie, t’is taken me and thar Wanderers a wee while tae find ye. I be thar great Frekrell McSqueek, mercenary captain supreme. Words travel quickly in thar tunnels ye ken, I t’was passing just south from here when I heard talk about a Court. Well it t’had me thinking, all thar wealth of a kingdom. I then heard about yer interesting Clan and yerself. As much as thar wealth of a king t’is all well and good, I t’would ask ye for something more in exchange fer me services tae ye.” Frekrell paused and stared at the cage and back to Whizz-Bang as if his potential paymaster was a little stranger than he had anticipated. Instead he took a drink from the bottle and gave a laugh “So then shall we discuss this wee proposition further?” Whizz-Bang gave a mad giggle as he grinned a mad grin at the Albion rat and pointed a claw towards him...

________________________________________________

Frekrell McSqueek has returned! :o
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Part Ten

It was during his journey to the North that Frekrell McSqueek supposedly met the insane Warlord Engineer known simply as Whizz-Bang. Sources tell of how Frekrell had journeyed to the North in the pursuit of an object of great worth or power, so he could finally return from exile and enact his revenge upon the Warlords of Under-Albion. For all his (mostly fictitious) deeds in the past, the madness he witnessed in the North would change him more than anything else...
From The Tale of Frekrell – by Histori-rat Neeek Oldeye.


The Dwarf screamed as he died. Frekrell McSqueek withdrew his spear Gae Bolg from the corpse, a magic weapon of great power from his Albion homeland. Around him his unit the Albion Wanderers continued to tear through the Dwarf flank. Prior to the battle the Wanderers had sung death songs and chants before drinking each a small bottle of reserved strength fire liquid. Albion’s Finest it was called and Frekrell had yet to meet another rat who could match the drinking of him and his band. There was something within the spirit that stirred an unnatural lust for battle and Frekrell and his Wanderers had as always fallen into a frenzy as the massed ranks of Skaven fell upon the Dwarfish line.

A ríastrad. The warp spasm some called it. Others simply named it the berserker’s rage after that of the Norse. Whatever it was called the Albion rats had succumbed to its burning rage and had with a triumphant squeal smashed into the Dwarf warriors that had barred their way. With a slight green glow Gae Bolg had whispered through the armour of the first Dwarf, like a breath of wind through the crack of a door. Armour was little match for a magical spear carved from the bone of a mighty sea wyrm. Naturally of course the Dwarf-things he had attacked had already been decimated by Warpfire Throwers and were mostly comprised of inexperienced Beardlings. Still with a subtle alteration of the details, Frekrell could add the tale how he had personally held back an army of Dwarf-things on his own to his already lengthy legend.

On the other side of the battle, Whizz-Bang giggled as he sent another stream of Warp-lightning at a group of Dwarf veterans who collapsed in a smouldering heap. The thing in the cage remained silent, Frekrell knew not what lived in there and wished not to know. Leading a horde of Stormvermin was Ritty who appeared to be muttering insanely to himself; his unit crashed into a small group of undefended Thunderers, taking many casualties from the doughty Dwarfs. Clanrats dragged Dwarfs down and in turn were smashed by Dwarfen weapons, which in turn were also overwhealmed. Despite inflicting a heavy toll upon the attacking Clanrats and Slaves, the Dwarf line having been breached began to crumble. A horn of retreat was sounded and the Dwarfs slowly began to leave the field, the rear guard fighting a desperate battle to buy them some time. It was late evening by the time the last of them fell.

Frekrell McSqueek walked amongst the corpses littering the cavern. Both Dwarf-thing and Skaven alike had paid dearly for the fight. Frekrell recognised some of the faces of the dead and gave a great sigh. Not all make it home… He was bone tired. He felt all the worse for it especially from the exhaustion from his berserker rage during the battle. In fact it was no small wonder that he hadn’t dropped down in a deep sleep among the slain. As he pondered this he saw something move out of the corner of his eye. A shadow. No not a shadow but a creature in a black robe. Awestruck he watched it move across the battlefield, a scythe held in one hand and a twisted blackthorn in the other. As the creature drifted by the Skaven dead, a vapour-like substance rose from their bodies and began to follow the apparition.

Frekrell noticed that the mysterious creature was a skeletal Skaven judging by the bony tail that crept from under its robe. Noo this t'will be a great tale tae tell! thought Frekrell. But suddenly the apparition turned. All thoughts of boasting disappeared from his mind as he looked into the glowing green eyes that regarded him so intensely. The apparition then began to move again drifting amongst the bodies with it’s misty following trailing behind. Frekrell blinked and suddenly the skeletal rat was gone. He sniffed the air and looked around but couldn’t find anything. He shrugged; no one else appeared to have seen the creature. It must be his tiredness getting to him. He turned away and staggered back to the camp, the shrill victorious laugh of Whizz-Bang sending a shiver down his spine.
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Part Eleven

The thing in the cage.

No one knew where or how Whizz-Bang had gained his ever companion. No one knew exactly what this thing really was. There were some whispers about several witnesses seeing an almost draconic-like tail briefly swish from under the cage’s beast-skin cover. Some had claimed that they had seen red eyes that glared at any foolish rat that saw them. Indeed rumour had it that all who saw the eyes of the thing in the cage met a gruesome end not long after. There was even a curious tale from one albeit often intoxicated Clanrat who claimed to have found a multi coloured feather that had fallen from the cage. This whispers and rumours however were just that. For every tale claiming to know what the thing in the cage was, there was always another that contradicted it. With the recent victories of Whizz-Bang’s army as well as the unknown nature of the thing in the cage had somehow prevented a full scale coup by the masses.

Within his burrow Ritty Gniwtil restless tossed in his sleep. His trusty blade hung nearby and over the last few months he had had to use it several times to save his skin from an assassin’s blade. For now he slept, still ready to leap into action in body but in mind he was elsewhere...

The tunnels burnt with green fire. A group of screeching Clanrats attempted to escape but were immolated instantly, their twitching bodies wreathed with fire. Ritty walked calmly through the flames as if nothing was there. The flames licked at his armour like a summer’s breeze or the delicate feel of long grass blowing in the wind. Ritty felt no heat, no pain, and no worry. A clutch of Slaves huddled in a corner but the heat of the flames drove them out into the waiting arms of death.

Ritty walked onwards through the fires. He wasn’t sure how they had been started. Probably some mad invention gone wrong. Or Whizz-Bang’s already shattered mind had somehow fractured further. With a calm precision Ritty strode into Whizz-Bang’s chambers and gave a gasp. Whizz-Bang was not there. The burrow was empty. Except for one thing. The iron wrought cage sat in the centre of the room, with only the beast skin preventing Ritty from finally seeing what really lived within.

Cautiously Ritty strode up to the cage and prepared to remove the veil. His heart hammered in his chest with anticipation. Suddenly the air whizzed towards Ritty and he turned just in time to see Whizz-Bang’s bone staff smash into his snout. He looked up at the furious form of the Warlord Engineer. Whizz-Bang opened his maw and gave a screech almost akin to that of a bird. The Warlord Engineer gave a shudder and two large feathered wings burst from his back. His claws turned into avian talons and numerous feathers began to sprout over his body. Indeed his body began to warp and flow into the visage of a giant bird like creature. What was once Whizz-Bang gave a shrill shriek and descended upon Ritty, literally like a bird of prey about to consume a small rodent...

Ritty woke up with a scream.
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Part Twelve

Within the tunnels something stirred.

Whizz-Bang himself was seen only on occasion. He had briefly returned from a secret mission and instead of appearing in public, he had relocated his lair and confined himself. The only admitted rats to Whizz-Bang’s even newer lair were that of Frekrell McSqueek and Ritty Gniwtil to bring news or advice. Of course as for advice, Whizz-Bang never listened to his minions; the softly silken voice from the thing in the cage gave him all the advice he needed. He still recalled the moment when he first saw the cage and what was inside it. She was beautiful, a marvel of brilliance. She had guided him throughout the Wastes and to where he currently sat now.

Within his lair Whizz-Bang stared at a blueprint for some strange device. Suddenly a low wailing began to emanate from the thing in the cage. Whizz-Bang leapt up from his throne and snatched the cage up in his claws. As he desperately tried to calm her down he noticed a change in the air. Ding...ding...A small bell attached to his bone staff began to slowly and softly ring. Whizz-Bang stared at it in fascination. Opposed to the rest of the Court, Whizz-Bang had not decided to join or view the great ritual. Instead he had sent Fangleader Ritty to view the ritual in his stead via a modified Farsqueaker. Ding...Ding. The small bell swung again this time harder. Whizz-Bang sniffed at it. The thing in the cage began to wail louder, the cage vibrating in his claws as if trying to escape. Ding!..Ding! Louder this time. Throughout the current burrow the sound of shocked Clanrats rose as all manner of bells began to ring on their own. DING! DING! Whizz-Bang snarled and threw his staff away from him, angered by its strangeness. DING! DING! DING! DING! The small bell began to crack as if the ghostly hand who rung it and the others was growing in power.

DONG! Sounded all of the bells in one final and terrifying thirteenth ring. At once to Whizz-Bang’s magical gaze the air within his lair began to change to a darkened green. A deep chittering could be heard in his fractured mind. And finally the wave of power struck him, smashing him to the floor with a crash. Whizz-Bang’s screeched laughter rose as the wave of fire and fury, of bitterness and ice, of glory and nothingness swept over him. And then it was gone. Whizz-Bang shakily rose to his feet and glanced to the cage. “It is done” he shouted, but to his burst eardrums it was but a whisper.

It took at least a week before the rats of Clan Whizz-Bang had even slightly recovered. Frekrell throughout this time had only murmured something about “thar Morrigan” and Ritty who had witnessed the ritual himself had been a babbling wreck. Whizz-Bang had on the other paw been generally of a sober mind and had continued his work as though he was near the end of something. It was on the twelfth day since the ritual that a visitor arrived in secret to Fangleader Ritty. The rat was cloaked in a faded red long coat, a wide brimmed hat, and was armed with a thin rapier and a brace of finely crafted Warplock pistols.
“You say-squeak that there is a heretic-traitor within your ranks?” said the stranger.
Ritty bowed before the rat before saying “Yes-yes, it is Warlord Engineer Whizz-Bang. He is the traitor-heretic!”
The stranger gave a fang filled grin “Then Commissar Gnawski of the Skavenblight Inquisition shall investigate this Whizz-Bang...”
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Part Thirteen (part one)

It was late evening when Commissar Gnawski had arrived at Whizz-Bang’s lair. From birth the dark furred rat had been singled out by the Skavenblight Inquisition to be trained as an agent of the Council. Few rats ever got that chance. All of his training all of his hardship was for this moment, the destruction of the enemies of the Horned One. The bottom of his red long coat gently touched the dusty ground of the tunnel as Fangleader Ritty led him to where Whizz-Bang currently resided. “So then comrat, why-why do you suspect-accuse this Whizz-Bang?”
Ritty turned and gave a hard look. “He constantly changes the location-place of his lair, mostly for little-no purpose. He also keep-has a creature in a cage, perhaps-maybe a Daemon-thing.”

Commissar Gnawski gave a chuckle and adjusted his wide brimmed hat. “Change? Then we might be dealing with Tzeentch, comrat. The changer of ways.” He paused for a moment and studied his pistols, checking to see if they were ready. “Tell me comrat, have you seen-seen anything else strange about this Whizz-Bang?”
Ritty gave a short cough before whispering “yes-yes when he use-casts magic it is of a different colour-thing.” The Inquisi-rat said nothing but motioned that they should speed up.

When they finally did arrive at the newest lair of the Warlord Engineer, they were surprised to see that there were no guards standing outside. Cautiously Commissar Gnawski led the way into Whizz-Bang’s darkened lair pistols at the ready. He was greeted by a giggle of laughter and the clapping of paw against paw. Several warp lamps suddenly illuminated and the Inquisi-rat took a step back from the blinding light. Seated at a long table a short distance away from them was Whizz-Bang giggling in mirth and surrounded by the seated and decayed corpses of several Skaven. “Commissar Gnawski of the Skavenblight Inquisition! I’ve been expect-waiting for you!” he beamed at the Inquisi-rat and the treasonous Fangleader.

“Warlord Engineer Whizz-Bang, you are charge-charged with heresy against the power and majesty of the Great Horned Rat, blessed be his ever name!” cried Commissar Gnawski drawing his pistols. Whizz-Bang sat there staring at the Inquisi-rat before bursting into hysterical laughter. He stopped and gave a wicked grin at the two rats and slowly rose from his seat. He picked up a battered top hat he’d had stolen from the surface world and placed it on his head. “Oh Ritty, poor-poor Ritty. Why is a Skaven like a Man-thing desk? You want an answer-thing don’t you? You want to know-know the truth. Pity. Guards?!” Emerging from their hiding places, several large Stormvermin leapt to attack Ritty and Commissar Gnawski. Whizz-Bang gave a titter and picked up the cage seated on the table to retreat back to his throne.

“Though I walk through the valley of darkness and death, I shall fear no evil!” cried Commissar Gnawski raising his pistols and shooting down the first two bodyguards. He tossed aside his spent pistols and drew his rapier. “For the Horned One is with me and I shall not relent!” He dodged the attack of another Stormvermin and buried his blade in the throat of another. “For I am the hand of the Horned One and I shall lay judgement upon thee!” His blade snaked out and swiftly slew another of the guards. “And ye shall know the will of the Horned One and ye shall weep before his majesty!” With a deft flick of his blade the last of the guards fell clutching his throat.

Commissar Gnawski stood before the shocked looking Warlord Engineer. Whizz-Bang attempted to kill the rat with a burst of lightning but hidden enchantments woven into the Inquisi-rat’s attire dissipated it. The inquisi-rat gave a savage grin at the cringing Warlord Engineer. “Repent!” cried Commissar Gnawski raising his blade for the killing blow.
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Part Thirteen (part two)

Whizz-Bang stared up at the thin rapier about to be buried in his body. The fierce frenzied eyes of the Inquisi-rat glared down at him. The blood and other fluids coating the blade dripped down upon Whizz-Bang’s throne, the thing in the cage in an almost worried way began to whimper. Whizz-Bang shushed it gently and glared back at his would be executioner. He suddenly noticed a slight movement behind Commissar Gnawski and began to laugh and laugh and laugh.

This was what I was born to do!
Commissar Gnawski stood above the foolish sorcerer-rat poised to execute him for his heresy. Gnawski had travelled far and wide hunting heretics and traitors, but it was the satisfying end of a hunt that was the sweetest tasting victory. And yet, why was the mad rat laughing? He was laughing at him! No! He should be cowering before the holy might of the Skavenblight Inquisition! He sho-

The click of a Warplock pistol shattered his thoughts. He felt the cool touch of the barrel on the back of his head, and for the briefest of moments felt the Warpstone bullet thunder through his brain. And all was black...

Fangleader Ritty grinned as the Warplock pistol; the same one wielded by the foolish Inquisi-rat, killed its master. The body swayed for a moment and collapsed against Whizz-Bang’s throne, upsetting the veiled cage and sending it tumbling to the floor with a crash. Whizz-Bang’s maniacal laughter stopped in his throat and he leapt up in horror. Ritty stared in disbelief of what he saw inside the cage. He fell to his knees and gibbered for a moment. “Impossible...” he managed to stutter before Whizz-Bang’s bone staff smashed into his head. The furious Warlord Engineer stood protectively over the cage and snarled at the Fangleader. Ritty rose to his feet with a distant look in his eyes. “Why is a Skaven like a Man-thing desk?” he managed. Whizz-Bang gave a hiss and moved in closer. “Why is a Skaven like a Man-thing desk?” the Fangleader gibbered again this time louder. Whizz-Bang drew in close to Fangleader Ritty, their snouts almost touching. “Why is a Skaven like a Man-thing desk?!” shrieked Ritty suddenly all too aware of the answer.

Whizz-Bang smiled and put his paw on Ritty’s quivering shoulder. “You want to know-know the answer? The answer-thing to everything? Then come-follow.” He giggled. The Warlord Engineer picked up the cage from the floor and spoke soothingly into it. He replaced the veil and began to lead Ritty to another room hidden in the corner of his lair. The room itself was carefully hidden through enchantment and technology. He muttered an spell and what was a solid wall became a door. In all of his lairs he had included such a room, each time built or emptied by a team of slaves who were later silenced. He led the still shivering Fangleader Ritty to this room and ushered him in. The room was small and was filled on every surface with mirrors. Whizz-Bang leant in close and whispered something to Ritty. The Fangleader stared up startled and saw each of his reflections staring back at him just as startled. He turned to Whizz-Bang but the Warlord Engineer had already left, sealing the doorway behind him.

The Fangleader in horror stared at the mirrors and his reflection stared back in horror. He screamed and the mirrors screamed him down. He wept and the mirrors showed his weakness. Finally a short giggle emerged from his throat and echoed through his new prison. He sat upright with a mad gleam in his eyes, reflected in each mirror, and began to laugh himself into insanity.

He knew the truth.




Epilogue

“Ye have yer invention ready fer me Engineer?” asked Frekrell McSqueek at the insane form of Whizz-Bang. The Warlord Engineer gave a giggle and produced a strange device which he carefully handed to the Albion rat. Frekrell looked down at it with bemusement. “And this t’is gonna let me claim me inheritance in thar leadership of Under-Albion?!” he bellowed, the smell of stale fire liquid coating his breath. Whizz-Bang said nothing and stared into the eyes of Frekrell with a savage grin. “Press the button.” Frekrell looked again at the device and noticed a strange looking button embedded on it. The rest of the Albion Wanderers crept in closer to see. Whizz-Bang tittered and moved away from the group, as Frekrell’s thumb trembled over the button until at last it lowered upon the switch and activated the device. The mad invention trembled and a keening cry of wind could be heard. The device shook and reality warped around it, trapping the Albion rats in a sphere of dimension ripping warp energy. Frekrell bellowed in fury at the grinning Warlord Engineer until with a pop nothing remained of the rats of Albion except the now smouldering device. Whizz-Bang smiled and slowly walked away.

Several weeks later the remaining rats of Clan Whizz-Bang returned to their old burrow where they had once lived what seemed a lifetime ago. Chieftain Trikkz and Ambassa-rat Marchzk Harepaw had remained in Under-Praag whilst Whizz-Bang had abandoned the Ascension Court, his work having already been done. The Clan returned to their old business as if they had never left. But change comes to many a thing and one quiet night the Clan hold was engulfed in flames. The source it was believed was several leaking Warpfire throwers within Whizz-Bang’s lair, though how it spread throughout the Clan burrow so quickly remains unknown. All of the Clan it is believed perished in the flames and Whizz-Bang the mad Engineer who had led them to infamy presumably joined them in death.

Through the darkness of the land strode a lone figure. The traveller leant wearily on a staff made of what appeared to be bone. Battered bronze-like armour glinted in the moonlight as he continued his endless journey. A slight giggle could be heard from the figure as the wind whispered through his singed fur. A veiled cage was held gently by his other hand. The wind blew again and for a moment the veil was lifted for all to see. To the common eye the cage is but empty, but to Whizz-Bang, who sees what he wishes to see, she is everything to him.


FIN
Edited by Ratty Gnawtail, 14th April 2012 - 07:11 PM.
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Bravo :)

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Not much I can say in the way of criticism; thoroughly enjoyed reading through this in its entirety, very well done :D About the only thing I'd say is that I found Frekrell's concern for the fallen slightly odd, but that's probably just my personal view on Skaven behaviour. And only a couple of typos in the whole thing ;)
Glad the 'riddle' went unanswered, gives you something to ponder :P
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*Bows*

Of course, I was silly enough not to link back into Frekrell's backstory. After his expulsion from Albion with but a few rats, Frekrell has been attempting to find a way to enact his revenge and overthrow the Under-Albion Council. Naturally he only has a finite number of 'loyal' followers and each death drags him further away from his personal dreams being fulfilled. Even this is perhaps strange for a normal Skaven to behave, but Frekrell is a strange rat (and admitted I find it hard to not put slight elements of this humanity thing in the odd character. :P )
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