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The Tekris and Gribble Show; MP Season 4 fluff
Topic Started: 4th July 2016 - 04:49 PM (889 Views)
Ratty Gnawtail
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Scribble-thing

Part One: Dear Mizzreek


“Gribble.”

“Yes-yes, I agree.”

“Grib?”

“One must spend warptokens to make-make warptokens.”

“Gribble.”

“No-no, you are not-not getting a black and white striped costume and we are not steal-stealing anything Skreetch owns that isn’t nailed down. Valuable future patient-thing, that rat.”

“Gri, Gribble.”

“Yes-yes, quite right.”

The pair strode onwards through the misshapen walls of Hell Pit. A screaming face melded into one part of the wall spat dark curses at Tekris who replied by stuffing a roll of gauze into its fanged mouth. It gave a muffled screech.

“Much-much better” smiled Tekris.

“Gribble” commented Gribble as he pulled at his leash.

“Now where-where were we?”

“Gribble.”

“Ah, yes-yes. What true-truly makes one alive, where-where do we draw a line between rat and machine, can one be more-more machine than rat?”

Tekris stopped and scratched his snout in thought.

“It’s time-times like these I almost wish Mizzreek was still around, he’d scent-know the answer.”

Gribble remained quiet. Tekris’ former teacher, Mizzreek Gitfzk had been anything but sane. Constant use of opium for his twisted leg had reduced the once potent Mizzreek into either an overeager surgeon at best, or a reality bereft creature that would attempt to ‘heal’ inanimate objects whilst talking to other Skaven that weren’t even there at second best. Despite this, in his moments of lucidity, Mizzreek had expanded the young Tekris’ mind and had set him upon the path of a healer. Tekris would often angrily reflect that he never did get to kill and dissect his former teacher; Mizzreek had instead lost all sense of reality and had wandered into the bowels of Hell Pit raving insanities. Naturally, Tekris had inherited his lab, so there was that.

“Grib” said Gribble at last.

“Yes-yes...I think a drink before our business would be wise.”

The two deviated from their course, following the swarm of lemons that scurried to and from Rosko’s Pub. The colossal building came into view as the tunnel opened up into a great cave. Tekris could not but help admire all the different materials that had gone into building the magnificent pub. Jutting bones that had once belonged to a giant or some other great creature leant out of the pub and peered down at the congregating lemons as if it were a bony god lording over its misshapen worshippers. Wooden planks that possibly came from all variants of trees in existence, armoured the body of the pub, though its sheer size made it difficult to truly tell.

The third largest building in all of Hell Pit, so it was said. Tekris personally preferred the Scuttlepub, but had only stumbled into it a few times when its door had appeared. The crowd of that pub were certainly more questionable, were Tekris more devout he would have felt utter indignation for the heretics that wandered the pub. Besides, the quality of the Scuttlepub’s stock and conversation with J. far outweighed the skittering of the slime of Hell Pit.

“Took-took your time” hissed a cloaked Skaven as Tekris sat down at the table facing said rat. Tekris slid a glass over to the cloaked Skaven and took a sip of his own drink.

“We al-almost weren’t going to come” Tekris began, “but we decided we needed a quick drink-thing first.”

The cloaked Skaven chuckled, its glazed eyes sparkling madly from the darkness of its hood. Tekris took another sip of his drink. “Gribble and I were pondering what-what makes a rat, where-where do we draw the line-thing?”

The cloaked Skaven tilted its head slightly. “Before the great breaking...Skryre had many rats that were barely organic. There was talk of even repla-placing the brain-meat with machinery. With-with the creation of robotic servants in current Hell Pit, who can truly say-squeak if such a line exists anymore? A rat can become a machine and a machine can become a rat. In a way...we are all machine-things...cog-things for Mutae.”

Tekris thought on this as he finished his drink, the cloaked Skaven’s remained untouched. “Well, I had bett-better get on with my duty-things” Tekris said as he rose from the table. For a moment he opened his mouth to say something else but decided not to, instead turning away.

“Gribble?”

“No-no, just the one drink, Gribble. We need to make-make some warptokens not drink-drink them all...”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Packmaster Liincth woke to a tapping on his door. He groaned as he righted himself out of his quivering chair and shuffled to the door with a cudgel in paw. He opened the door to find a very familiar Skaven and his pinkish pet, both holding large syringes.

“You’re due an appointment, Liincth” smiled Tekris and advanced on the panicking portly packmaster.

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Part Two: Sweet Dreams


Scorched flesh, bubbled and blackened parted at the delicate crease of the glittering blade. Old and worn paws peeled back the skin and flesh to reveal the bundled threads of muscles tethered by tendons to the bone.

The glittering blade danced once more, gently separating the bundle from its anchors and raising the red meat from its burnt casing. An old and worn paw reached back into the scorched flesh casing to feel the bone within. It softly moved across the now clean bone, feeling the contours, fissures, and strength.

“Pity-shame.”

The old and worn paw levitated back out of the flesh casing and returned to the extracted muscle. The paw traces the threads, testing the bundle and painting itself with its red wine.

“Not-not bad...”

A red streaked old and worn paw retrieved a hammer and hovered back over the open case of burnt flesh and the gleaming marble structure bare to the world. The hammer struck down unkindly with a deep cracking sound as the bone splintered and broke. Once more the hammer rose from the case and descended in judgement. And again. And again.

With a final crunch, the bar of white broke apart and an old and worn paw pulled away a lump of bone. The yellowed marrow glistened in the lamp light.

“Hm, interesting.”

An old and worn claw dug into the marrow and brought the yellowish substance to a gnarled and fanged mouth.

“Perfect.”

The meat case moaned slowly and opened burnt and bloodied eyes.

“Good, still alive. You thought-thought you could replace me? No-no, don’t try to move, you might actually feel some pain-hurt through the drugs.”

And old and worn Skaven face hovered over the burnt meat case’s eyes. Despite the blood, burns, and mortal agony, the eyes widened in horror.

“Mizzreek will help-heal you, make-make a better Tekris. Yes-yes!” the old and worn face giggled. The meat case blinked and the face of Mizzreek was replaced by a grinning pinkish blob that regarded him hungrily.

“Gribble!”


Tekris woke with a cry from his armchair, the tome on burns and how to treat them toppled from his lap. In his basket Gribble continued to sleep, making the odd gribbling noises beside a crudely drawn picture of himself and what looked like Tekris. Naturally Gribble was drawn as being bigger than Tekris. And the crudely drawn Tekris seemed to have stink lines around him.

Tekris sighed, rose from his armchair, and turned up the hanging storm lantern from Mizzreek’s seafaring days, giving the room a brighter green tinged illumination. He gently reached down and picked up the fallen book, mulling over the nightmare he had just had. Some rats claimed that Hell Pit travelled through realities including the realm of dreams and spirits. It was possible that this dream was more than just a dream.

Tekris returned the book to the case and went to check on his herb garden, checking for which of the plants were ready for cutting and harvesting. It hurt him that he was selling such medicine at such cheap prices, but it was necessary in building up the funds for pit fighting. Already he had found much intriguing information in his myriad studies, but he needed more.

He picked up and leafed through the latest edition of the Moulder Monthly, grumbling about the epidemic of the theft of organs. He glanced over at the still sleeping Gribble, trying to calculate how much Gribble’s organs might actually make him, but quickly realised it was a wasted effort. Everyone wanted good organs, not Gribble’s.

Tekris sighed again, boiled a kettle of water, and poured himself a cup of Warptea, ignoring the tiny mouths on the tea leaves that squeaked at him. He wasn’t quite sure why everything had to have a mouth on it. They usually had nothing to talk about and just screamed instead. Very unhelpful tea leaves.

Sipping his tea, Tekris wandered over to his study desk and sat down. He lit his long lived and inherited Seer blessed candle and smiled as its calming glow surrounded him. He reached for a quill and parchment and noted down a few more money schemes to try before the week was over.

A glimpse of metal caught the corner of his eye and he bent over warily and when the object did not explode he picked it up. It was a surgical knife. Tekris recognized the knife, it had been Mizzreek’s.
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Part Three: Brrx

Though there was no rising nor setting of a sun, nor any such light underground to regulate day or night, Hell Pit’s brilliant Enginseers had worked in a time rota to measure the days. Around Hell Pit the flickering lights in the tunnels and the fleshy glow orbs began to dim down as the floating pit of horror entered its night cycle as it continued its journey through reality. Tekris was tired from a day of research and peddling his curatives and had reclined into his chair to do a little light reading.

“I hear-heard you were hiring.”

Tekris looked up from his tome on the history of muscle growth and degeneration in shock at the voice, grabbing for Mizzreek’s old surgical knife.

“Gribble!” cried Gribble, wielding a sharpened feather and gesturing towards the figure in the doorway. “Grib! Grib! Gri!” he chanted, Tekris recognising it as a war chant in Gribblish, though what harm Gribble could do with a feather was questionable at best.

“Your lock-things on your door aren’t very good” the figure continued, stepping into the lab and the glow of the warplamps. The figure was fairly unassuming, a Skaven female that hadn’t been modified for pit usage with greyish fur and a strange green left eye. There was a scent of oil and Warpstone about her. The calling card of Wyrdtech.

“Spy-thing? Assassin-flesh? From Wyrdtech?” Tekris managed, fumbling as he tried to properly get his paws on the blade that kept slipping from his grasp.

“No-no! Those tech-rats wouldn’t have me. I think-think they were jealous.”

Tekris’ eyes narrowed. “Tekris is doctor. Not-not tech-rat. I have no want-need for tech-rat.”

“Gribble!” cried Gribble, waving his sharpened feather menacingly.

“Well, if I can break-break into your lab that easily, what-what’s to stop actual Wyrdtech rats from doing so? I also find-find myself in a position where I want-need to learn some fleshcraft as I can’t really go back-back to the Enginseers right now after my little-small accident...”

“Accident?” spoke Tekris again, grabbing for the knife once more but finding himself unable to grasp it.

“Yes-yes...erm...I may-may have blown up Engineer Tkull’s worskshop...it was his faul-fault, honest!”

Tekris tried to snatch up the knife again but it seemed to skitter from his paw and disappeared into the shadows. He sighed and rose to face the ex-Enginseer. “I take-take it you’ve worked with Warpstone before?” he asked at length.

“Yes-yes, I can handle it very-very safely...apart from the odd...accidents...”

“Do you have any idea-things for increasing our funds?”

The ex-Enginseer thought for a moment and withdrew something from her pack. It was a miniature warp lantern that glowed very brightly. “I’ve been work-working on making devices smaller and more efficient without losing much of their function. Perhaps-maybe some of these devices could help-aid raise you more funds?”

Tekris paused for a while, thinking about how adding small commercial devices to his curatives and surgery work might help him raise more money for more research.

“Why-why not sell such devices yourself and become wealthy-rich? Why not kill-slay Tekris and take-steal my lab?”

The ex-Enginseer looked a little uncomfortable. “I’d rather lie low right-right now and expand my knowledge. I hear-heard you were a student-thing of Mizzreek. Tkull used to say-squeak how Mizzreek was one of the most esteemed surgeon rats in Hell Pit. While-while my preference is in the art of technology...it would be good-great to learn a few tricks for if I ever did get hurt-harmed in another...accident...”

Tekris looked to Gribble and Gribble began to snore, having already gotten bored of a fight that wasn’t about to happen. Tekris shrugged. “Sure-sure, you’re hired. Have you a name-thing?”

“Brrx” the Skaven replied simply, “my peer-meats called me Wyrd-eye...until I stabbed out their eyes. I would rather you don’t squeak-call me that.”

Tekris nodded and began to show Brrx around the lab, pointing out which areas suited which purposes, how she should never accept one of Huggles’ infamous hugs, and to stay out of his herb garden.

Gribble woke up and looked around in confusion, dropping the sharpened feather. He blinked yellowed eyes and crawled over to Tekris’ desk. “Grib,” Gribble muttered as he came across a fallen surgical knife and reached out to touch it with a pinkish tendril.
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Part Four: Another Night in the Pub

“So then I said-squeaked ‘if that’s his liver why-why is it still screaming at me!’”

“Gribble”

“Nonsense, I’ve only told you that story about four times. Ritty wasn’t happy about his screaming liver. Never did find-scent what happened to him...”

“Dead” muttered Brrx into her drink. She slowly nursed her brew, as if wishing it had more of an engine oil flavour that she felt far more used to.

“Dead?! How-how?”

“His liver ate its way out of his body and escaped. Rumour has it that it’s one of the heads of the Inquisition.”

“How...how do you know this?”

“I had a nosy through a few of your old log books and thought I’d chase up a few former patients that you had yet to do.”

“Gribble! Gribble! Grib! Gribble!”

“Erm...what-what did it say?”

“Something about interfering weird eyed idiots who should leave well alone.”

Instantly a warplock pistol had appeared in Brrx’s paw and was pointed at Gribble.

“Want to say-squeak that again, Gribble?” hissed Brrx.

“Gribble...” muttered Gribble with narrowed eyes.

The eighth floor of Rosko’s Pub was fairly empty for this time of evening; already several lanterns had been lit by one of the deformed Oksors across the floor. The lamps threw up a green tinged illumination to the pub’s floor, though even with their hungry glow, the shadows still lurked deeply like a great maw. The hunched Oksor, Tekris forgot which Oksor this one was, appeared at the trio’s table and thunked down a tray of drinks onto the table. A lidless eye appeared on the tray and stared at Tekris. Tekris stared back at the tray. There was a splintering sound as the tray opened up a mouth and began to scream at the Skaven present.

“You can’t get-get the cutlery these days, can you, Oksor?” Tekris said as he shoved a wad of gauze into the screaming tray’s mouth.

“Indeed...sir...” hissed the deformed Oksor, who scuttled away to tend to his bar.

Tekris swilled the liquid around in the tankard, glad for once there was no screaming lemon bobbing up and down in it like last time. Mizzreek had always said something about lemons, maybe something about them being a possible cure for the scurvy that often ran rampant in the lower quarters of Hell Pit, or was it something about hating them?

“Gribble!” cried Gribble, a sick and wide grin plastered on his blubbery lips.

“Indeed! To another great venture and more-more warptokens for research!” replied Tekris and clinked tankards with the other two.

“I still wish you’d let me build that robot...” muttered Brrx into her drink before pushing it aside and tentatively tasting the new one. For a brew call Hell Pit Oil, it certainly didn’t taste of oil.

Tekris drained his tankard and rose to his feet, staggering in the direction of that floor’s toilets and hoping that Oksor had fixed the lemon scented urinal cakes which turned out to be living lemons. For one thing, he was starting to get sick of treating patients with lemon based injuries.

“You’re late-late.”

Tekris turned to see the cloaked Skaven standing beside the entrance to the toilets. Old and insane eyes glowed from the cloaked Skaven’s hood and nothing more. Tekris shrugged.

“Been busy-busy. Much-much work to be done, many Warptokens to gather-gain. I’ve even ben create-making beasts again.”

“I know” hissed the cloaked Skaven betraying a sense of anger towards Tekris, “your beasts are terrible and why did you hire that tinker rat? No good will come of tinker rat trickery.”

“Well, the lab’s defences have nev-never been better since Brrx join-joined my lab team and her inventions sell well. And my beast-things are tests in my research, noth-nothing more.”

“You better watch-watch yourself.”

“Why-why?”

“There are those that wish to do you harm.”

“A humble surgeon-thing like me? What-what threat do I even pose?” Tekris exclaimed, almost bursting out into peals of laughter.

“You are not-not a humble surgeon-thing are you, though?”

Tekris paused and his eyes darkened for a moment, betraying something else that lurked within his skin. The cloaked Skaven seemed to see it also, his eyes glinting something that could have been pity or fear. And then Tekris blinked, he smiled, and the darkness left his eyes.

“I have no-no idea what you mean” he grinned and entered the toilets.

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Part 4.5 (Bonus fluff) : Brrx's Workshop.

Brrx smiled gently in the glow of the warp lantern, paws delicately moving over the piece of metal she was working over. Her green eye flashed as her cutting tool creased through the metal to create a perfect groove on her project.

“Ah, yes-yes. You are beautiful my little one. Yes, yes, yes...” she whispered to the piece of metal, paws feeling the groove and tasting the scent of shorn metal that rose up from her desk.

The desk that Tekris had provided her was not really what she would have wanted, the desk was made of a mouldering wood and not the normal cold metal that she was used to when she was working under the lunatic engineer Tkull. It had been fortunate that she had taken what tools she had after accidently burning down Tkull’s workshop as she fancied that Tekris would have given her inferior tools to work with. She sighed and turned back to her project, her brow suddenly furrowing.

She had forgotten what she was actually even making, too lost in the feel of the metal and beauty of her crafting. She growled and tossed it aside in anger, rising from her desk to have a wander around the lab and try and remember what she was actually doing.

Brrx paused as she neared the beast cages, glancing into the frenzied eyes of Huggles the Rat Ogre that seemed to grin as he flexed his large arms for one of his infamous ‘hugs’. Despite herself, Brrx shuddered a little at the image of the Rat Ogre crushing his victim into a red paste. She moved away from the cages and found a pinkish blob working on a piece of paper with a stick of graphite.

“What-what are you doing there, Gribble?” she asked warily, certain that her new master’s creation really did not like her.

“Gribble” muttered Gribble, showing a crude picture of what looked like Gribble in a metal suit.

Brrx smiled. “I might-may be able to help-aid you with that...” she began and then remembered what her metal project was for. “But first-first I have to fin-finish my hinge works for sell-selling. More-more tokens for you and Tekris.”

“Gribble” grinned Gribble back, showing his blunted teeth.

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Part 5: Amongst the Narkil Flowers

It was another night cycle and the tunnels of Hell Pit were slightly less filled with tortured screams, but only slighty.

Tekris put down the tome that he had been reading and gently closed it, lingering over the binding as if imagining what had given its flesh to bind these pages of priceless knowledge. It was a shame that such knowledge seemed to have quite the price in Warptokens.

Tekris rose from his chair, briefly glancing at his gnarled and ancient candle that flickered back at him almost mockingly, before turning to Gribble who was seated nearby in a strange metal contraption. Tekris sighed deeply and looked at his empty right paw.

“It isn’t easy, Gribble. It isn’t easy crawling out of the shadow-thing of Mizzreek. I won-wonder sometimes if I am a pale imitation of that rat with just a different name-thing. Am I truly my own rat, Gribble? Who really am I? Am I Tekris Zimkus of Corpus Mutae or am I the mere echo of somerat far greater than myself? I cannot even hold a scalpel to Mizzreek...I cannot even hold his scalpel...”

Tekris rubbed his eyes.

“I even wonder if I am defined by you, Gribble, rather than even myself. Tekris and Gribble or Gribble and Tekris, you’d like the second one, wouldn’t you?”

He paused again.

“In a world-place like this, it’s funny-strange being...‘average’. Who am I, Gribble?”

Gribble didn’t reply, his eyes closed and a thick wad of drool hanging from his maw. He gave a gribbling snore and the drool broke away, hitting the floor with a dull splash. Tekris looked deeply at the wet patch, perhaps wondering if that defined him before sighing and rising to his feet.

“There is no-no rest for the wicked. Not-not I’d call myself wicked. But you get the thought-drift, don’t you, Gribble?”

Gribble continued to snore and twitch slightly.

Tekris picked up a pair of shears and moved to his plants to check on them. He blinked as he saw a brown papery shape stare back at him from behind the Narkil flowers.

“What-what are you doing, Brrx?”

“Hiding” replied the paper bag that had one red eye and one green eye.

“From Gribble?”

“No-no”

“Then what?”

“Didn’t you scent-read the Moulder Monthly?”

“Briefly, the crossword was a good one this month. I think 12 down was Gribble, though I’m not sure how and why.”

“I mean-mean...did you read the rumour-things?”

“Counterfeit Gribbles? Not-not a bad idea really.”

“No-no, the Engineers are after me.”

“Nonsense, the breeder-thing they’re looking for is believed to be within Wyrd-tech.”

“Believed to be...”

“Well, I took-took the liberty to do a background check-thing on yourself and Tkull. Tkull doesn’t have the tokens to put a price on your head...or return. I kept reading titbits about doomrockets for some reason...Maybe he’s compensating for something...”

“Still lying low” argued the paper bag as it receded further back into the safety of the Narkil flowers. Tekris at that moment didn’t have the heart to tell her that the Narkil flower could be deadly in a high dosage and that hiding amongst them might be bad for a rat’s health even with the protection of a paper bag.

“What-what did you even do to Tkull’s workshop?”

“Set it on fire...it was an accident...honest...”

“And Tkull wasn’t caught in the fire? Couldn’t you have at leas-least tried that?”

“Don’t you think-think I haven’t tried that before?”

“...Doesn’t fire work on him? It work-works on most things...”

“Last-last time I tried he wasn’t harmed at all and went more-more crazier than usual. He started using fire magic and began to call-name himself Fyr-Claw. His lips didn’t also match his word-things...it was odd-strange...like a bad Eshin film...”

Tekris found a piece of paper and quickly scribbled down to never ever use any form of fire on anyrat identifying himself as Tkull.

“I was meaning to ask” Tekris began, looking directly at the paper bag, “what-what did you do to Gribble?”

“Ah, I was experimenting with simple pulleys and muscle interfacing systems and create-built Gribble a simple walking device. Save-saves dragging him around.”

“Hmm, must’ve been while I was out sell-selling wares...”


Elsewhere a shadowed and cloaked Skaven picked up a scalpel and smiled almost lovingly at it. The scalpel glittered back joyfully at the cloaked Skaven.

“It seem-seems my time approaches, little one...”
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Part 5.5 (Bonus fluff) : Gribble's Day Out

“Gribble” gribbled Gribble as his crude walker that Brrx had knocked together for him clunked along down the tunnel towards Rosko’s Pub. Whilst Tekris was busy with his own troubles, Gribble had decided he had needed a drink and had purloined Tekris’ pub funds.

A face in the wall with a piece of gauze still stuffed in its mouth glared at Gribble. Gribble paused and with a tendril removed the gauze from the face’s maw. The face on the wall blinked in surprise.

“Gribble” explained Gribble.

The face in the wall then began screaming again, its fangs snapping madly.

“Grib Gribble” Gribble sighed and shoved the gauze back into the face’s maw. The face glared at Gribble and gave a muffled shriek.

“Gribble” said Gribble nonchalantly as he flicked a tendril insultingly at the face and continued on.

A pack of lemons giggled past Gribble who regarded them warily as they cornered a small rat and tore it limb from limb. They thrashed and giggled as they shoved bloody chunks of the rat into their tiny fanged mouths. Gribble muttered something and continued on.

Gribble turned a blind bend and suddenly stopped as a swaying shape emerged from the shadows. It was an ugly brute of a Skaven, with over pierced ears, nose and tail, and stank of cheap narcotics. Gribble didn’t need Tekris to tell him that this individual had already irreparably damaged his body from his lifestyle.

“So-so...what-what have we scent-got here?” chittered the rat, his eyes focussing and unfocussing whilst spinning about in their sockets.

“Gribble” replied Gribble without expression.

“Funny, very funny” hissed the rat, reaching for a dagger, his eyes suddenly focussing on Gribble’s money pouch.

“Gribble” stated Gribble calmly.

“Shut up freak-thing! Give-give me your tokens and I’ll make-make this qu------aaaaaaaack!”

“Gribble!” roared Gribble as he latched himself to the drug addled Skaven’s face. There was a sickening crack and the Skaven dropped like a sack of rat dung. Gribble lingered a little longer around his neck to make sure he was dead and then began to rifle through his pockets.

“Gribble” Gribble smiled.
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Intermission (Bonus fluff) : History

There is a room separated from reality. There are many like it, hundreds if not thousands. In this room its occupant scratches his gnarled pen on the great tome in front of him. He is ancient, not truly the most ancient of beings, but old enough to have been worn by time and his duty to his lord. His white fur glimmers slightly in the old candle dimly lighting his chamber. He could as well be a god, and yet at the same time he is a prisoner.

He paused to look at the crack in the wall of his prison and sighed. The old candle flickered in sympathy; it’s stubby and wrinkled form proof of its similar imprisonment to its master. The Vermin Lord closed the tome and rose from his ebony chair, slowly walking towards the crack.

He reached out to touch the crack and spoke a series of arcane words.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The old battered Warp-lamp cast an eerie glow on the hunched figure inspecting a piece of parchment. The empty workshop was silent. The only sound was the muttering and cursing of the creature engrossed with his work. "No-no t'is nae good enough!" he cried crushing the parchment in his paw.

The orange furred Skaven rose angrily from his desk and looked about his singed workshop.

“If only ye were here, Greenie. Ye’d know what ta do” he muttered, looking around for a bottle of Albion’s Finest but only finding empty or broken bottles.

There was a shimmer and a ghostly figure of a Vermin Lord appeared in the workshop.

“What is it, Tkull?” hissed R’ttig, “some of us have much-much to do.”

“Hoy there, Greenie!” replied Tkull happily, “T’is been too long!”

“It’s been less than one of your mortal month-things, Tkull.”

“Aye, too long.”

“Look-look, what do you want?”

Tkull sighed and indicated around his burnt workshop.

“Seem-seems you’ve been redecorating” smiled the ghostly Vermin Lord, “can’t you get-get your apprentice-meat to tidy up a bit for my visits?”

Tkull growled deeply.

“I see” chuckled R’ttig nastily, “pity-shame, she’s more important than either of you two realise. The blood of Ironfur flows in that one.”

“I should have-have her hunted down and either kill-slain or drag-dragged back here!” shouted Tkull, flinging a lump of metal at the workshop’s wall and leaving a large dent in it.

“No.”

“What-what was that, Greenie?” replied Tkull quietly with burning eyes.

“I scent-know where she is. She’s being quite the productive little Skaven. Let her taste this freedom and hone her skills. She will return in time, far brighter a pupil than when she...left you.”

“Where is me apprentice, Greenie?”

“With an old friend-thing.”

“And what-what am I meant tae do in thar meantime, then?”

The Vermin Lord flickered for a moment but with a pained look managed to retain his presence in the material plane.

“Remember those ‘paintball’ muskets of yours?”

“Ye remember too? I remember a restaurant-place and then darkness. Next-next thing I know, I’m on this floating mound of earth. I swore I’d never drink again...”

“That didn’t last long.”

“Nay, but ye’ve given me an idea-thing...”
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Part Six: Time Runs

“Scent-look at this!” cried Tekris angrily, throwing down the Moulder Monthly.

“Gribble” snickered Gribble as he read the line mocking Tekris’ laughable performance in the first official fight of the season. In all due respect, Tekris shouldn’t have expected any better by the so-called Distraction Rat, he did not truly belong.

“At least you got-gained a condolence prize” laughed Brrx, “won-wonder what the Monthly will say-squeak about Tekris Zimkus having crabs...”

Gribble broke into gribbling peals of laughter.

“I’m not-not even sure why I’m even here, even that robot-thing scent-seems a better Moulder than you. Prob-probably smells less too” Brrx continued to laugh.

Tekris stood very still.

Gribble stopped laughing and sped his crude walker away, deciding he might try and murder some more cutpurses down the pub and steal their organs. It would probably be a lot safer.

Brrx wiped at her eyes only to find Tekris’ had gone very dark. Her laughter faltered.

Tekris picked up the telephonic wave emitting device Brrx had installed a week ago and pressed a series of numbers on the keypad. The device began a loud series of beeps as it sought to connect to another such device.

+Hoy! Ye’ve reached thar Workshop of Engineer Tkull, purveyor of Warp Musket attachments and corrosive paint. I be sorry but I be currently away from thar phone. Please leave a message after thar sound of thar bottle cork being popped...+

Brrx had turned an ugly pale shade and shook with terror at the sound of the voice. Tekris’ expression remained stony as he instead cancelled the call.

“Next time I will leave a message” hissed Tekris.

Brrx nodded quickly and made herself scarce.

Tekris sighed and placed the Skryre device down and rubbed his eyes. He glanced at his heavily wrinkled Seer blessed candle that seemed to flutter with sympathy. He slumped into his chair and rummaged beside it before retrieving a dark red bottle that seemed half full. He bit out the cork and took a deep swig.

Plague had arrived in Hell Pit again. A time of hardship, of fear, of pain, and yet for Tekris it was none of those things. To him it was a golden rat-goose. A flowing river of tokens for the making.

His eyes wandered back to the discarded copy of the Moulder Monthly and narrowed.

“What-what do they mean, scent-smell bad?!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The lemon screeched in agony as the claw dug into its sour flesh.

The shadow peered at the disgusting creature with disgust before silencing its screams with a final wet crush. Several over cowering lemons gibbered and scurried and crawled away from the black robed Skaven.

The Skaven sneered at checked the softly glowing device he wore, relieved to see that it still at least seemed to function. His once black fur was flecked with greys and whites and what flesh showed seemed weathered and crisscrossed with scars. A long and deep scar ran down his aged snout.

He straightened and sniffed the air again before setting off.

He had much to do and all the time in the universe to do it in.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There is a room separated from reality.

Its sole occupant opened another tome formed by his own magical essence and flicked a few pages through until he found what he was looking for. He smiled in the guttering glow of the candle as his claw traced the lines he had written an eternity ago (although time flowed strangely in the warp, it may have been written only moments ago.)

He closed the book and rose from his throne to pace his prison. His eyes fell on the crack in his chamber wall, and a savage grin grew across his face. He concentrated and released some of his essence into his outstretched claw. For a moment he faltered in the effort, the façade of his features flickering and showing the true decayed monster beneath. He growled deeply and fought against it. He felt a cold metal shape appear in his claw.

He opened his ancient eyes and looked at the iron mask he had created. Memories came unbidden to him, memories of when he once was a mortal. The mask’s glare was so familiar to him. He tasted the name of the rat that once wore it and savoured the image of his demise at R’ttig’s claws.

He raised the mask to eye level and peered deeply into the dead and empty glass.

“Ironfur...” he whispered and the glass eye lenses seemed to flicker a dull green for a moment.
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Intermission part two: R'ttig

There is a room separated from reality.

“I often wonder what-what it must be like to be alive. To feel the air rush through my lungs, to hear my heart pound as it pumps blood around my mortal frame, to see only what living eyes can see. Am I really the Skaven I once was or merely the memory of him cast into the Realms of Chaos to form a magical copy? Perhaps I am the soul of who I once was. Torn free from my physical body and cast into this place. But if it is my soul...why do I feel such a sense of loss, of emptiness, of detachment? I remember my past life in brief moments but under a greyish pallor. I can taste my own name in these moments and for a while I almost feel like I am alive again. And then it fades as it always does, and I am alone and empty in this prison of mine. When I open my eyes I can see the magic flowing through the air, far clearer than when I was alive, now I can touch and taste it and bend it to my will. At a whim I can cast my vision to scry into the past, present, or future and learn things that would drive the once mortal me insane. And yet, I wish to see with dimmed eyes. I wish to see the simplicity and flawed beauty of the world. Instead I am reminded of what I am and what I always will be.”

R’ttig lowered his quill and sighed as he looked over what he had written.

“Perhaps that is one of the reasons my kind thirst to enter the material plane. It’s not exact, but it’s almost like being alive again. To feel the ground wither beneath your feet, taste and smell the blood of the slain, to hear the cries of the dying. Beings of destruction are we. I do not like this. Tkull was right. Skavenkind needs to change, they need to create rather than destroy, and their creations need to exist for other reasons than destruction. Likewise, I fear my brothers and sisters in the Realms are too bent towards the ruination of the mortal plane and each other. Maybe this is why I am here. No. I need to widen the crack in my chamber wall; then I shall escape.”

The words on the page wriggled and contorted as if they were alive and R’ttig glared balefully at them, willing them to stay or give him an answer. Slowly they stilled and he read back through, growling in anger. Every line had changed into the same mantra: “The answer is you.”
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Part 6.5: Herkter

There were once three great Eshin masters of thought and martial skill. One day they supped together at a factory producing vinegar. The first master grimaced as he drank the vinegar for it reflected a breaking of convention and the bitterness of unstructured existence. The second also pulled a sour face as he drank for it reflected the sourness and pain of struggling towards enlightenment. The third master merely smiled as he was immune to the poison he had laced the vinegar with.

From the Book of the Divided Rat.



My name is Herkter. Some know me as the Underwells. To my victims I am often but a flickering shadow, Eshin’s judgement in a mortal frame.

I was born so long ago that sometimes I even forget the moment when I first laid my eyes to existence and reality. I have seen the dark heart of Skavenkind, the ruination of civilisations, and the beauty that lurks in even the direst of times.

The device I stole from a Tkull lets me swim through the tides of time, with it I could be a king, maybe even a god. And yet my being is driven to contain the timeline and preserve the path for my master. I have prevented the death of myself more times than I can count, although I have often felt the temptation to let the blade slip or bullet to go undeflected. In a way I am but a puppet, a prisoner, just like my master.

Nonetheless, I have reaped some reward from the time device. I have been taught by some of the legendary masters of forgotten times, I have even instructed some. I have watched the birth of the Old World and the rise of my race, I have watched the world consumed by Chaos and cease to be, and I now see this strange new world that Hell Pit has become.

There has been talk of plague recently and the wealth so-called Skaven ‘doctors’ have been making off of those foolish enough to part with their Warptokens. None of this concerns me. I have come to this place to save my master in the hopes of finally getting my true reward.

My target is in this floating pit and I will eliminate them.

My name is Herkter, and I shall stop Ironfur.
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Part Seven: After the Fight

“Gribble” said Gribble as way of consolation as Brrx and Tekris stared into their steins dolefully.

“Grib Gribble. Gr, Gribb Gribble Gribble, Gri, Gribble. Gribble, Grib Grib Grib. Gribble” spoke Gribble sagely, inflating his fleshy body for emphasis.

“It’s no use, Gribble. I am surrounded by failures it is-is my lot in life” Tekris muttered darkly.

“If only I had a robotic suit and a ratling gun...that would have shown that Dwarf-thing” muttered Brrx into her drink.

“Gribble.”

Tekris helpfully translated Gribble’s word(s).

“What do you mean-mean it’s the beast-things that fight? How-how am I meant to show the might-greatness of Skryre?!” Brrx replied, raising her head in defiance.

“Gribble.”

“What do you mean-mean this is Clan Moulder only and that Skryre no longer exist, and that I should know this what with being a ‘packmistress’?!”

Brrx looked like she was going to say something more when the door swung open.

“Aye t’is been a long time since I had tae come here. Fer good reason if I recall!” grumbled a voice and an orange furred Skaven stepped into the room.

“Isn’t that Tkull...?” Tekris began turning to Brrx only to find a Brrx-shaped empty void next to him.

“Gribble?” Tekris said turning to Gribble who had snatched up Brrx’s drink and was pouring it down his throat.

“Gribble?” Gribble gurgled back.

“Have I been hallucinating that we had a packmistress who was a former apprentice engineer?”

“Grib.”

“Are you sure, Gribble?”

“Hsst” came a voice from under the table. Tekris glanced under to see a red and a green pair of orbs staring back.

“Who are you?” said Tekris, “another hallucination?”

“It’s me” said Brrx, “I’m hiding from Tkull.”

“You lied to me, Gribble!” cried Tekris, but Gribble had already scooted away with some of Tekris’ money earnt from their varied business ventures, and was already buying another three drinks for himself.

Meanwhile, the orange furred Skaven slumped against the bar. The Oksor of this floor glared at Tkull and pointed to Tkull’s picture on the banned pin up. Tkull glared back at Oksor and did not move. The floor’s bouncers meanwhile had found something better to do having noticed the large musket with doomrocket attachment that was slung across Tkull’s back. The two Skaven glared at each other for a time until finally Oksor sighed.

“What’ll it be, Tkull?”

“Something that is nay weewee. Any Throat Toaster?”

“No.”

“Skrid’s 49?”

“No.”

“Mutae’s Old Peculiar?”

“Banned by the Inquisition.”

“Ye’ve only got ‘Hell Pit’s Finest’ haven’t ye?”

“Yes.”

Tkull growled and seemed to weigh up his options between leaving or staying. With a resigned glare at Oksor he finally thumped down a pair of Warptokens. Oksor quickly ferreted them away and poured Tkull a glass of a purple tinged liquid. Tkull sniffed at it and his eyes and snout wrinkled with uncontained disgust. Already Oksor’s paw was unerringly pointing towards a sign that said ‘no refunds’.

He glumly took a sip and winced. He put the glass down with a sigh.

“Y’see, I miss there being thar ‘old world’, or however ye want tae call it. Fer all it’s faults it was really quite beautiful with so much potential. Such verdant land that could have been repurposed tae feed all of Skavenkind. But thar thing I miss most, Oksor, thar thing I miss most is me regular supply of Albion’s Finest. Hell Pit’s ‘Finest’ t’is mere weewee in comparison but what is there really fer a rat like me tae drink?”

“You can’t be that old, Tkull. Hell Pit was in space before I was born” Oksor commented whilst ‘cleaning’ a glass with a dirty cloth.

“Look lad, ye have thar stupid sorta face that’d nay believe me if I told ye what transpired tae leave me in this floating pit in space. All I know is that I’ve spent too many Warptokens chasing after what bottles of Albion’s Finest there be in Hell Pit, and am pretty sure there be no more. I’m nay so sure if I should feel distraught or blinded by sheer fury at thar laughter of Mutae or whatever it be that we all worship now.”

Oksor’s eyes grew hard. “We do not-not allow any blasphemous thoughts to be projected openly in this establishment-place. We wish to maintain good-good relations with the Inquisition. If you want-want to be heretical take-take your business to that Scuttlepub place. Why-why do you think we banned you from drinking here?”

“I thought it was because Master Engineer Volta paid ye a large sum of Warptokens tae ban me so that she could laugh at thar image of me being sober. I dinnae what her problem is, she should have specified she wanted her workshop door pain-painted with non-corrosive paint. At leas-least I sent a gift basket fer compensation.”

“Her generous donation did help-aid the case against you, yes-yes. But if you say-squeak anything that might-may put this establishment into disrepute, you will be forcibly removed and likely deprived of your knee caps.”

Tkull growled and considered how much he enjoyed having functioning knee caps.

“Tell me then, Oksor, what do ye know of a Green Seer Gnawtail?”

Over at a nearby table, a Skaven garbed in medical attire paused in speaking to a mound of pinkish flesh and pricked up his ears.
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Part 7.5: Skretz's Threads

Skretz scratched at his snout in boredom.

His clothing shop was quieter than he dared remember it ever being, racks of hats, jackets, and boots standing proud in the void that was his livelihood.

There came a faint buzzing as a solitary fly (the closest thing Skretz had to a customer) attempted to leave the shop by ramming the dirtied window of the closed door.

“Typical” Skretz muttered, “not even the flies want to come-stay to my shop...”

The door then swung open and the fly dashed to smithereens by its movement as two and a half figures strode in. At their head was a strange grey furred Skaven whose clothing looked heavily worn and had an air of crude medical science to them. At his left was a female Skaven, one eye a glimmering ruby and the other a glowing emerald. And finally came a strange pinkish mound of flesh on some kind of crude mechanical walker that may have belonged to Wyrdtech Labs long ago.

Skretz blinked in shock but quickly regained his composure. “Sirs, madam, wel-welcome to Skretz’s Threads. The best-best tailors in all of Hell Pit!” Which was a lie in itself but this trio didn’t look the type to know fashion and extravagant dress sense.

“Yes-yes, I need –require suitable clothing for this hunt-thing that’s happening soon” spoke the lead Skaven, obviously the leader of this strange group.

“Gribble” burbled the pinkish lump.

“Yes-yes Gribble, I’ll ask the nice ratman. Do you make-sell fake moustaches? Gribble has been unable to grow one and I don’t want to was-waste valuable research time in working out how to genetically engineer moustaches.”

“You don’t sell mechanised suits?” asked the female Skaven, who seemed annoyed by the lack of shiny metal in the shop.

“Yes-yes, we make many fine moustaches and hairpieces” replied Skretz, “and I fear we do not make-sell what madam is looking for. Though I’m sure we have something to enhance your already incredible beauty, no?”

Brrx’s paw moved towards a weapon on her belt. “What-what did you say-squeak about my eye?!”

“Gribble.”

“Gribble says that the nice tailor-thing didn’t say-squeak anything about your eye” said Tekris hastily.

Skretz shook his head nervously, suddenly wishing that his shop was empty again.
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Part 7.5 and a bit: Greenie

“Hoy there Greenie!” beamed Tkull, “t’is been a while.”

“It’s been a couple of weeks, Tkull” growled R’ttig.

“As I said-squeaked...a while” replied Tkull, kicking back his feet to rest on his table.

“What-what have you discovered?” spoke R’ttig with a hint of impatience that Tkull found strange in the Vermin Lord’s demeanour.

“No-no sign of ye, or at least who ye were. And there be nay remains on thar old world?”

“The ‘old world’ no longer exists. This is the last surviving relic of that world. That-that and Skavenblight now being in the Realms of Chaos...”

“...What?”

“Yeah...it’s times like that where I am glad I’m trapped in this prison-thing. Imagine the carnage mortal-things would make if let loose in the Realms.”

“So...I take it I’m nay invited ta yer daemonic curry night?”

“Our what?”

“Nay mind.”

R’ttig scratched at his ethereal snout for a moment and gave a sniff.

“By thar way, Greenie, ye’ve done some amazing work with this disease-thing ye’ve inflicted Hell Pit with” added Tkull, attempting to change the subject.

R’ttig’s eyes narrowed, while it was true that when he was a mere mortal Skaven he had followed the path of disease and decay rather than the traditional path of ruin that most other Grey Seers followed, he was certain that he had no part in this apparent plague afflicting Hell Pit. If anything from what he had heard the plague had been started by some mechanical lifeform. As he reflected on this, his form unconsciously shimmered and took on the appearance of how he had looked as a mortal, even down to the green robes that had earnt him his nickname from Tkull.

“Heh, did nay know ye could do that, Greenie” beamed Tkull as he popped open a bottle of wine and took a heavy glug.

“The disease is not of my doing” declared R’ttig and his form shimmered back to his daemonic appearance. Even so, R’ttig wondered quietly if his intrusion upon the mortal plane (even if it were but an astral projection) had indirectly bred or aided this plague. That said, Tkull wasn’t dead, so it probably wasn’t linked to him.

“Why-why are you so happy anyway, Tkull?” R’ttig asked, changing the subject.

“Mistress Volta’s eye has moved ontae thar threat of thar servitors becoming fully self-aware and away from her wine cellar. It would scent-seem like some dastardly fiend took advantage of this.”

R’ttig smiled coldly, “I’d rather you stay alive, Tkull. You are useful.”

“Heh, thanks fer saying that, Greenie. But aye, a suitable minor engineer has been framed. Besides, why must thar doctor-things be thar only ones tae profit from this plague?”
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Part Eight: 113th

Tekris inspected the bottle of vintage Estalian fortified wine and gently poured it into three glasses. The red wine glistened in the light of the room, inviting the drinkers to partake in its blood and being.

The varied beasts and test subjects had been given party hats which sat haphazardly on deformed and bestial heads. Selk discussed ritual combat to an unimpressed Kaltrik whilst Peggy attempted to beat back Huggles who was trying to live up to his name again. The Distraction Rat continued to be crippled.

The surgeon, packmistress, and Gribble all similarly be-hatted, raised their glasses in a toast of their hundred and thirteenth successful patient and the hopes of more tokens and success in the future. The bottle itself had come from Tekris’ special wine cellar that not even Gribble had been able to locate.

The bottle itself had been proof at least to Gribble that there had to be a hidden wine cellar somewhere and he would eventually discover it and harvest it of its delicious treasure.

The festivities lasted most of the night cycle, but as with all things came to an end quickly enough.

--------------------------------------------------------------

Brrx couldn’t wait any longer. It was as if she had been waiting centuries for a purpose to her being. She raised the bottle to her lips as she dangled over the edge of the abyss to certain doom. The liquid was harsh to her tongue but it had already been rendered numb long before, and so passed down with little complaint.

The bottle dropped into the abyss with a sad whistle and was gone from thought and mind. For a moment Brrx paused and considered going home instead, but with a sad sigh, she toppled forwards and let herself be consumed by the abyss that yawned hungrily.

As she fell she thought she heard a deep sigh through a reality unlike her own, and then everything went black.

----------------------------------------------------------------

Tekris woke up with a start. For a moment he thought he had heard a voice that seemed so familiar calling him. He rose from his armchair, still groggy from drink, and cast his red eyes around the room.

Within their cages the myriad beasts slumbered, hats askew or in tattered pieces of coloured paper. Tekris sighed and wandered over to make himself a cup of warpcoffee. He couldn’t quite shake the feeling that something was wrong as he took the first sip from the steaming mug.

He went back to check that his earnings were still there and was relieved to see that Gribble had not taken the lot to spend on some kind of binge at Rosko’s. Tekris’ head came up sharp. Where was Gribble? And for that matter well in Hell Pit had Brrx run off too?

Tekris rubbed his eyes as he tried to remember. Gribble had seemed distracted about something and may have slipped out early, having drunk very little (at least for Gribble.) Brrx had seemed strangely contemplative, and Tekris noticed that one of the bottles was missing.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

“Gribble!” cried Gribble to the assembled ranks of lemons that giggled and congregated around the pinkish fleshy thing that was Gribble. Gribble raised the sabre that he had stolen off of Kaltrik to punctuate the point that he was making to his yellowish followers. His party hat had been naturally replaced by an oversized and impressive bicorn for good measure.

“Gribble! Gri Gribble!” he declared to the ceiling of Hell Pit, and the lemons answered with a giggling cheer of their own.

“Gribble” Gribble finished with a bob in his mechanical walker and the lemons began to spread out, their teeth glinting in the torchlights.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Brrx woke up with a start. She shakily got up, realising that she had fallen backwards onto the cold earth. Before her was a ledge that she had been sitting upon, a ledge that dropped off into a terrible bottomless abyss.

She rubbed her eyes as her memories conflicted with each other. She was sure she had fallen into the abyss and there was a voice, ancient and stern. She blinked again and the memory seemed to fade slightly into the fog of her mind. She looked at the empty bottle in her paw and gave a sigh.

“A bad habit fit only for Tkulls” she grumbled and groggily made her way back to Tekris’ lab.
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