Monday, December 19, 2011

Vampire Counts - The Old Man Returns

 The keep at Horrick's gap had long been an shunned ruin, a mere capstone to the skaven lair beneath. Since the ratmen had been purged from their stinking tunnels, the castle had been restored to something of it's former glory. Tireless skeletal workers had set to work on the ancient stones, oblivious to fatigue, and rebuilt the keep with frightening speed.

Stephane Dreux poured over a map laid out in an enormous wooden table in the great hall. A fire blazed in the massive hearth, throwing mad shadows around the cavernous room and illuminating ancient, silent warriors as they stood motionless. The vampire was heedless of it's warmth. The former Bretonnian's brow knitted in consternation as he drew his conclusions. Innately sensitive to the vampire lords thoughts, his wights bones creaked as their withered hands tightened unconsciously on their weapons.

Stephane's moody reverie was ruined as the doors to the room swung open, hefted back by a pair of enormous zombies. A familiar figure made his way into the room, his feeble, limping gait a little too exaggerated for believability. Morbius made his way to a leather chair near the fire and groaned dramatically as he flopped into it.

"My word, that was a long walk, I can tell you. My feet are worn down to the bone." 

Stephane, long since having grown used to Morbius' love of drama, (the liche did not actually appear to walk anywhere, but drifted a few inches above the ground. In fact, Stephane was not even sure he had feet) let out a tremendous sigh and walked over to another rather comfortable looking chair and set himself down. Were one to inspect the leather of the chair, one would discover many furred patches and the odd tattoo. Stephane regarded the old creature. "I was unsurprised to receive your message, though the loss of Andre does pain me, he was under my protection."

Morbius took a mug of steaming liquid from a shuffling attendant. "Well..." he commented as he took a sip. "You may take that up with the powers of the great city. Ten times our number would have been ground to dust."

"And yet you alone survived." The vampire was in a foul humour.

"Only under their sufferance!" A flash of irritation crossed Morbius' face. "Such arrogance they possess, and what's worse, with good reason! But enough of that. I did return with at least something of a prize." Morbius' eyes flicked up as more figures made their cautious way into the room.

"There are many hidden dangers on these isles, but I did not imagine anything of this power lay hidden. Pity the fools who unearth them. We must keep these places far from our ambitions." Another sip, and the mug was set down. 

"I did, however, meet the most intriguing of travelling companions on the road North." The liche and the vampire rose as the newcomers approached.

Stephane had heard tales of the creatures, but had never before seen one. These were larger by far than men, and would be yet taller if they stood upright. Great clubbed tails tipped with spikes swayed behind them as they walked. The wore leather and bronze, and most were covered in spiralling tattoos. What was of most note, however, was their hairless, snouted head with it's single eye. The fimir were indeed creatures of the wilds.

The apparent leader of the delegation made his way to the pair of undead lords. He leant on a great gnarled wooden staff. He was similar in aspect to the others, but bore a pair of great horns, and wore a long red robe covered in the filth of sacrifice. 

"I have the name of Murdach, and I bring tidings from my mistress. She offers us to aid your cause. Tell us, what do the dead lords offer in return?"

This would be a long night, Stephane mused.

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