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Fire and Blood

Joined
Oct 5, 2017
Messages
39
#1
Allright. With some help of the wonderful tool https://www.deepl.com/translator, i throw myself in an english version of my stories. Before i begin, i'll warn you about 3 points :
- As i told you in my introduction i'm not a very good english speaker. So even with the help of deepl i guess many speaking mistakes will appear. Please feel free to highlight them if it peel your eyes, but in PM and i'll correct them as soon as possible : i wish not to get a topic full of english lesson...
- This story is a long one with many chapters and it's still in writing. They all are already shared in french on your neighbor the whcv forum and on my personal blog . And it's currently divided in 3 acts. This one is the second : the most recent and better written in my opinion. The first is the Lahmia events where my characters met vampires for the first time before becoming night children themselves.
- I am not 100% lore friendly since i took some liberties in my firsts writings (by choice or by lack of knowledge) and choose to keep them as it is. For example, my Abhorash was not a asshole killer and lover of the queen but the proud Lahmia's general who was fighting this new threat without knowing it was his own high-class he was hunting. And i add to the vampire a common power of the Masquerade universe : when a vampire drink blood he stole few memories and a bit of power. But this second isn't permanent and without practice, powers recently acquired will be lost.

Soo i guess i said everything i wished before starting this. I'll not translate the whole story at once but one chapter after another, offering you some time to read it - and time for me to go on :-D

Have a nice reading.


Fire and Blood
Introduction​



The young woman, humming a cheerful air, attacked the ascent of the talus. Her blond hair wavered on her shoulders, seemingly accompanying the melody to the rhythm of her footsteps. She was walking barefoot in the grass. A light breeze blew and crept into her clothes, making her shiver. She tightened her thin white dress, but left her shoulders and long legs exposed to the rays of the setting sun. When she reached the top of the hill, she rotated, turning her back on the building.

She smiled and looked at the landscape drawn before her eyes. The orange rays streaked the colored sky as the day drew to a end. The foliage appeared amber, extending from north to south. They were reflected in a long line of fire along the length of the river. And, a few kilometers to the west, the few towers of the city were looming, surpassing the tops of the oldest trees. The city's trade routes, whose only reason for its existence was its strategic position, were all far from this location. Nestling in the heart of the forest, Grissenwald allowed merchants from Nuln as well as those coming from the duchies to go either to the heart of the Empire or to the North, with its capital and its large ports. Grissenwald was a business node.

But it wasn't this magnificent landscape or the geographical advantages of the city that made the young woman smile. She turned around and looked at the half-finished sculptures. Despite the passage of many winters, peoples could still be seen in line with a higher figure. Profile riders raised their banners high, as well as many sentences now illegible, which she did not think to decipher to any minute.

Taking up her melody again in mid-voice, she entered the old building, which had no doors to prevent access. She went down a flight of steps and stopped at a rusty grill hanging on its hinges. With a distracted gesture, she pushed it aside in a sharp creak that disturbed several spiders who had woven their webs here. Then she came down the snail made to prevent access. Each of her steps raised scrolls of dust, blind insects quickly descending, disturbed by her passage. Without ceasing to hum her melody, she moved into the depths, now plunged into complete darkness. The steps became slippery and viscous under his feet, the wet wall covered with damp and nauseating foams. She perceived around her the regular sound of water drop bouncing on the stone, the squeaks of a few frightened rodents, as well as the increasingly heavy and motionless air of the underground. Plus the regular echo of her footsteps and her song.

- If I tell you that she entered into it, said the tallest of the two boys.

With his face covered with acne pimples, he smiled from all his teeth at his partner.

- Look, to get her out, she had to go through there, we'll have fun! he encouraged him.

The other laughed, while he was evoking his thoughts with a hip movement. The two teenagers were barely in their forties.

- It's going to be dark in there, he pointed out, taking his seriousness back.

- It's just one girl, said the other one. She'd have afraid in the dark alone, she's got to have a flashlight.

- Yeah, but i don't want to go into the dark. Stay here, I'll get some branches, he said, showing him his lighter.

A few minutes later, both entered the building in turn.

- How many times do you say he did it, your brother?

- Boarf a good ten. They love it, don't worry about it. And even if she says it in the city, as my brother says, there are dozens and dozens of kids.

However, their confidence declined over the minutes. They came to the open gate, and wielded their torches over the staircase. The footprints were clearly visible here, drawn in the thick layer of dust.

The smallest of the two shouted a sudden scream, which caused his friend to startle.

- What's the matter? What is it?

- A spider fell on me, he whined as he shook his hair with energy.

The other mocked, before his laughter quickly ceased. He too was not reassured.

- Come on, come on. We will show him what men are like, he tried to encourage his companion.

The other one was pouting. They began their uncertain descent.

- Why the hell did she come here for? said the smallest one shortly afterwards, finally breaking the silence of a trembling voice.

The other one did not answer him. The knees trembling, they slowly descended, taking care not to slip on the irregular steps and covered with foam. Their torches drew moving shadows on the wall, covered with viscous drips whose origin it was better to ignore. The regular sound of the crashing drops could no longer mask their quicker breathing.

- We'll go back upstairs to do it, won't we? he dared to ask.

The other one nodded his head, swallowing his saliva. His forehead was damp with icy sweat.

They both finally reached the foot of the snail's foot. The air reeked of mold and closed it. They waded in mud clinging to each of their steps, producing a suck sound as soon as they raised their feet. They exchanged a look before crossing a new gate. The girl's footprints, embedded in the earth between two puddles of cloudy liquid, continued past. The two thugs had now forgotten all ideas of rape, crushed by the gloomy atmosphere of the place.

They nevertheless continued their underground advance.

- My mommy's gonna scream again because I messed up my shoes...

Contrary to his habit, the other one did not make fun of his companion. He had just noticed that if they continued their exploration too much, they would probably have to go back into the dark. Thought that didn't enchant him.

- But where does that bitch go, he said quietly. And what does she do in a place like this?

- What are we doing here? Bidding the least loudest in a high voice.

They finally ended up in a circular room where dust flies, lit by two torches. This one overlooked three other dark corridors and filled with white canvases. Bodies stood between each of them, lying in alcoves embedded in the walls.

- I want to go back up, I want to go back up, I want to go back up!

- Wait, grumbled the tallest, attracted to the nearest corpse.

With his mouth open, he leaned over the dead man, raising his torch, fascinated. The teenager would never have believed that a dead person could look like that. He had been lying there for so long, with his arm crossed over his chest, that the skin was nothing but dust where a few bugs were fleeing. The material with which he had been clothed was now confused with the cobwebs covering him. Its empty orbits scanned the stone from above, on which lay another parchment-like skeleton.

A hiccup of his friend made him startle. He was about to cast a black look at her, when he heard the reason for it. The slow-pitch scrape came from the central hallway approaching. Both eyes were riveted in this direction, with the torches gradually decreasing. With each step, crackling sounded in the hallway, accompanied by rattling and metal creaking.

Under their amazed eyes, a person who was stuck in a rust gnawed stitch cloth stepped forward with a dragging step. Illuminated by the torches, they realized their disregard. No globes were sitting in the creature's orbits. With each step, the fragile skin cracked on its prominent bones. With his jaw without lips and lifted off on one side, he shouted silently while pointing to them with a broken half-length sword.

One guy stumbled back, unable to articulate the slightest word. His torch rolled in a puddle before it went out whistle-blowing. Petrified, the other felt his pants wet as the skeleton in armor advanced towards them like a puppet, failing to collapse at each step accompanied by a muddy suction. He lifted up his weapon held by a hand made only of bones and tendons, continuing to move forward. Terrified by this nightmare vision, he could not hear the tremors from the alcove where he was leaning against. Both of them only began to scream once they were plunged into the darkness.
 

Count Vashra

Lord of Shadows
True Blood
Joined
Sep 29, 2013
Messages
1,554
#2
Excellent, excellent. Very few llanguage mistakes there. You did the atmosphere of going into a creepy dark place very well. Looking forward to more.
 
Joined
Oct 5, 2017
Messages
39
#3
Thanks for your comment.
I'm currently reading your story and the one from get's of W'soran. Both of you tell looongs stories ! Would be a pleasure to comment them once I've read everything.


So, here the true first chapter.

Fire and Blood
Chapter 1​


The wagon was moving calmly along the river. The team was not in a hurry to get the passengers talking to each other. Two young men stood in the front of the car, keeping an eye on the monotonous road. In the shadow of the tarpaulin at the back, an older, thicker man kept passing a rag over his gun with his heels touching the dust. After a while, he lifted her up above his head and gazed at her in a ray of light. The mighty war hammer sparkled. Satisfied, the man in bure delicately put it inside, at the feet of a fourth man. He looked at her with great respect, before turning to the blue sky at the end of the afternoon.

Snoring was coming up from under the fourth man's imposing hat. Despite the fine weather of late autumn, he had kept his ample coat, his arms crossed, disappearing inside. The jolt of a bad stone shook the hammer which touched his thick studded boots. Crystalline tinnitus erupted from the crates on either side of the sleeper.

- John is still sleeping, said the man cheerfully following the wagon.

Raising his head, the bald priest gave him back his smile. Few things could pull John Grenaille out of his sleep. Few things have been omitted from its obligations, as both of them had already noted on numerous occasions. Rare were the men who had practiced his profession so long and so enthusiastically. John had been a repudiator since he was nine years old.

- He can sleep after the life he made in Nuln! cried one of the soldiers, also walking behind him, at the head of the fortnight's head.

The first one laughed and approved. John had animated one of the city's largest inns until after sunrise, seemingly tireless, always dancing, courting or singing. And yet he had achieved the impossible the day before. Without the man in the adventurer's hat, the twenty or so people in the procession would have perished in the sewers of the city. He was the one who had killed the master mutator, the abominations puffed up suddenly destabilized by the disappearance of their pack leader. The vermin would still have been a real scourge for merchants for a long time, piercing their cellars and seizing their possessions as well as their servants...

Tristofan Tisseron wore a white and gold tabard, embroidered with scarlet flames attesting to his status. He was a magus of fire. His beard, constantly brownish, contrasted with the thick red hair that grew in disorder on his skull and sparkling green eyes. Her bare arms were covered with freckles, whose skin stuck to her muscles revealed her regular excess in magic manipulation. Nevertheless, he advanced vigorously among the soldiers, holding his stick firmly and firmly.

They had now been warned of increasing disappearances in the city of Grissenwald two days ago. They immediately set off, flanked by Dave and Leon, the two apprentices of the repurgator, and accompanied by Brother Brandit. To them five they had already carried out more than fifteen interventions through the empire, relentlessly tracking down the servants of ruin, the Skavens or any other vermin.

A little less than twenty soldiers followed, with their metal armour rattling as they walked. They had heard about their problems with the solved skavens at the same time as the Grissenwald incident group. They were delighted to learn that John had decided to visit the scene of the incident. But surprised that he told them that if the soldiers wanted his help, they would have to move at his own pace, which means at the speed of a mule. Preferring to count on his support, Corporal Rechald had given up their mounts. At least they didn't carry the majority of their food and sleeping accommodations, which were currently used as mattresses and pillows.


*​


With her eyes soaked in tears, she begged the individual to let her go. Her long, brown hair was glued to her cheeks and her naked body by croupy water. She suffocated for a moment. Her gag prevented her from stirring her jaw completely.

Lying on the cold ground, she could only contemplate the other three women slowly bleeding to death. A bloody furrow was traced on each of their throats, yet they were still alive. The trachea and esophagus had not been severed. Nevertheless, they remained immobile, paralyzed by magic. She saw the creature leaning towards the nearest one, observing it carefully. He totally ignored the naked, slender body dripping with hemoglobin, and stretched a emaciated finger towards the bloody cut.

The fourth woman shouted a stifled cry as he slipped his finger into the wound of his immobile victim, the skin waving as he stroked the inside of the flesh. Slowly he took it off and carried it to his lips. For a moment he seemed to study her taste like a winegrower of a great vintage, the vague glance. Slowly, a smile stretched over his light grey face, revealing his yellowish, prominent canines. Slowly he leaned over the poor woman whose gag had been removed. His crackled lips rested on those, red and fleshy, of the throat.

She was a witness despite herself of this long kiss in the light of the torches. The fluids of the first three victims flowed on their kneeling bodies, criss-crossing between their breasts and dripping from their thighs in furrows dug into the stone. These formed a perfect circle in which the dark liquid flowed, before going into a central basin where it gradually accumulated. A crackling sound made the woman startle, fascinated by this morbid kiss. A horror thrill roamed her as she watched the creature straighten up. The woman turned forward, her gaze stuck in the survivor's eye while her paralyzed jaw remained wide open. A new flood of blood flowed through her thick broth as she tried to loosen her ties, screaming in spite of her gag.

- There is no doubt that it is the tastiest of the three,"said the individual, chewing slowly. From the point of view of experience as well as nectar. And you, sweetheart, what do you have to offer me?

He swallowed his victim's severed tongue by turning to the last woman still screaming. A big smile spread over his red smudged face.

- As I wish I could read in the past, whispered the man as he contemplated the ceremony with an envious gaze. How pleasant it must be !

- Master Scleras will soon give us his kiss, said the smiling blonde woman in a low voice.

She still held the seal of water with which she had awakened the other brunette in her hand. Carefully tracking every move of the vampire, she leaned her head aside, calculating. How she admired the grace with which he manipulated the emotions of each of them.

Castille herself had coated the dagger of her master with paralytic poison. She knew her effects perfectly well. The other three women were fully aware of what they were going through. Better still, she felt with increased perception every sound, every caress and every dash of pain. And yet, the substance forbade them from moving. They were no longer even able to blink eyelids to moisturize the apples in their eyes. Each had an open throat from which an irregular stream of hemoglobin came out, ejected by the painstaking beating of their hearts.

At his side, Morisburg was fascinated. The envy was so powerful in his eyes that he could have illuminated the room. Entirely dressed in black cloth, his outfit contrasted with his neighbour's light white dress, whose bare feet were stained with clay. Where she was excited, the fabric bounced over her knees, he was totally motionless. As if he had cut himself on the dagger of Master Scleras. Dagger that drew a new scarlet line in a muffled cry.


*​


- You say that each of the forty-three missing were under the age of thirty-five? Leon asked Leon, observing carefully the innkeeper's expressions.

Next to him, Dave wrote down every word on a notebook, his hand constantly moving.

- Yup, even though the old Baster was found dead the day after his daughter disappeared, approved the man with the imposing belly.

- Have you noticed anything out of the ordinary, a detail, an object that was not in its place, a wound, a missing jewel?

- Well, everything was locked in their house and we didn't notice anything broken or missing, said the innkeeper, scratching his stomach and frowning. But old Baster... he had an expression...

The man had a heart that did not escape the eye of the apprentice.

- An expression...? he urged him to continue, Dave looking up from his notebook.

It was as if the devil had taken his daughter away, he whispered quickly as he pressed his thumb against his forehead. I've never seen anyone with a face like that before, and yet I've seen some pretty good weirdos in twenty years in this hostel. But I'll tell you myself, he added, leaning towards a conspiratorial air. I'll tell you who killed him. It's not that hard to make wine. Old Baster... he's scared to death. Something that scared him so much that his heart gave out...

The two boys exchanged an anxious gaze. His testimony concurred with that of a woman at the wash-house at the entrance to the city and a baker three alleyways further on, which was not reassuring...

- I mean, Mr. Grenaille, couldn't it wait till morning? complained Simon, a local soldier. You've only been there two hours, and I'm going to...

- Soon finish your service I know yes, cut the man with the hat, inspecting the door lock of the entrance door by the light of a torch. You'll tell the next victim's parents that.

The man sighed. The repurgator had come to interrupt him at his post in the middle of dinner, posing a red mullet in his place. "You're from here," he argued. And he said that he was probably safer at his side than alone at the end of the bridge or in a prostitute's diaper. John came in and lifted his torch to inspect the room.

- Did you move anything? he asked.

- We pushed the table and a few chairs to get the body out of the old Baster, he says. Nothing good...

- How many people came in ? cut John off.

- Boarf, no more than ten.

He kept quiet by quickly sweeping the room. There was nothing left to get out of this place.

- You all went up to Baster and his daughter's rooms, I guess.

- Uh, uh....

- I see.

They went upstairs. Just as in the lobby, he did not dwell on the beds or chests of drawers that too many people had obviously moved. On the other hand, he inspected the doors at length.

- But what exactly are you looking for ? the soldier was surprised.

- Did you tell me that Baster was found lying dead on his daughter's bedroom door? Ignorah John turned to the window of the room in question.

- Yeah.

- Has anyone touched that window?

- Uh, not that I know of, why?

- Look at this.

Simon leaned forward and examined the glass that John had pointed to him. There was a wedge on the ledge so that the window did not open violently during draughts and could break. He gazed at his reflection in the torchlight for a few seconds before turning to the repellent.

- Yes and?

John sighed and pointed his index finger at a specific point on the tile.

- Look at this much.

He gave him a few seconds to examine it more closely. The soldier finally noticed that a more translucent circle was visible on the glass.

- Somebody rubbed the dust? So what?

- So here's the subtlety.

John wiped the window with his sleeve.

- I really don't see what...

He stopped when the repellent removed his arm. The circle was still visible. Simon frowned. John carefully opened the window. The door opened inwards, and then jammed at an angle close to 45° with the wall, blocked by the wedge. He remained impassive and had to stretch out his arm to be able to touch the dirt on the glass at the same level as the clean circle.

- Someone wiped this window from the outside, John said with an insured tone. Moreover, there are no shutters.

- Impossible, look at the height and texture of the wall, protested the soldier.

Performing, John leaned over. They were almost four metres high and the wall was virgin plaster.

- Brother Brandit, over here! He calls in the night.

- Did any of you pass under that window? The repurgator questioned, showing the opening to the garden, while Simon shook his head negatively.

A torch appeared beneath them. Its brightness was reflected on the priest's smooth skull and the head of his heavy hammer, hanging on his back.

- See if there's any ladder marks, we're going down.

They quickly joined him, the priest inspecting the grass arriving at half calves.

- What's up?

- No trace, Brandit commented with a hard look. On the other hand, I found this in the grass.

He raised his free hand and showed them his find. The soldier blurred as John's eyelids were strangled. These were three human phalanges.


*​


On the eastward bank four silhouettes stood up, observing from afar the gleams of the sleepy city. Three of them had thick armour with dull reflections under the moon. The fourth one had him only a leather cuirasse. Sheaths hung from the belts of each of them. The glowing light of their eyes pierced the semi-darkness.

- Can you smell the web ? asked the first one, the others nodding in silence. We are not alone in the region.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Oct 5, 2017
Messages
39
#5
Thank you.

Here goes the chapter 2.



Fire and Blood
Chapter 2​


- These bones are hollow. Hollow and old, John said, making the hundred steps in the modest room. Hollow but not drained of their marrow. Just too old to have any more.

Watching his merry-go-round while thinking aloud, Brother Brandit remained impassive. His hammer was placed on the bed, within easy reach. The hat of the repurgator hung at the foot of the bed, but he had kept his coat. The latter slammed at every turn of his owner.

- The kind of bones found only in ancient tombs, he continued in a monotonous tone.

He turned suddenly towards the sigmarite, which nodded his head with a grave air, declaring:

- We're dealing with a necromancer.

- You don't have to scare the others by firing on the comet right now. But... I'm afraid so...



*​


The vampire remained long to fix his creation with a vague gaze. He had failed again. However, this failure was not in vain.

- We will try again next night, he told his two acolytes, who immediately approved.

Both of them were hiding their disappointment. Nevertheless, he guessed that it was their thirst for power that forbade any rebellion or desertion. Only he could grant immortality to the two necromancers.

- Morisburg, find me four women before dark.

Nodding his head, the man dressed in black slipped into one of the many corridors. When the vampire was certain that he had left the premises, he turned to the girl.

- How many bodies are left in Sladcrust's mausoleum? He asked questions.

- I think there are still about forty to be found, she smiled adorably.

The undead smiles in turn, revealing his yellowish fangs.

- I want them all to be by midday.

She bowed when he fired her with a wave of his hand. She disappeared into the darkness, her discreet steps already inaudible even for the sharp ears of the vampire. Without wasting a moment, he took the direction of his apartments. In doing so, he crossed its underground complex, alternating paved ground, sticky earth and viscous puddles. Many conduits crossed his path, the echo of some dubious creatures reaching him. He quickly reached his goal. In a careless gesture, he disarmed his magical protections, the chiselled wooden door opening itself. He entered while a humming buzzing in his back, the only witness that magic had reactivated.

He swiftly wandered through the place with a fast eye, his scarlet pupils needing no torches. Nevertheless, undoubtedly an ultimate vestige of his supposedly bygone humanity, he lit a torch of thought. He waited for a moment for his sensitive eyes to regain their radiance. A moment later he looked at his chaotic workbench, where remnants of rodents rubbed shoulders with vials full of turbid substances and scrolls covered with stones and esoteric formulae. With a sigh of resignation, he took hold of a specific leaf, lifting it up at eye level. It was a sketch, which represented scaly skin.

A high-pitched whistle turned him to another room. With his tired face, he rested the scroll and watched the apparition finish materializing. A teenager took shape in front of him, staring at him with his ethereal gaze. His translucent body made the thinness of his naked body even more obvious. But he didn't give a damn about that kind of anecdotes.

- Master Scleras, he bowed to him.

The master always found it as amusing to see the spectres bending as their toes floated above the ground.

- Foreigners arrived in Grissenwald during the afternoon, he said in a neutral tone. Soldiers from Nuln for the most part.
- How does this kind of information require you to interrupt the calm of this place? he replied with a tired tone.

- A priest is among them.

A spark shone in the vampire's eyes, nodding his head to continue the report.

- Together with several other men, they searched the houses of people who had served your... experiences, he hesitated for a moment.

- How many of them?

- Twenty-one Master.

- Let me see it.

As the undead frowned, digesting this information, a fog from nowhere materialized in the room. It condensed and became more precise forms as the boy dissipated himself. The covered wagon and its occupants appeared there, along with the column of soldiers that followed. As the details became clearer, he recognized the clothing of one of the humans, decorated with flames.

- This scene took place shortly before they entered Grissenwald, echoed the boy's voice, coming from several directions at once.

Scleras ignored this remark, contenting himself with studying individuals. Next to the magician were several soldiers, as well as a Sigmarite priest of great stature, holding a massive hammer engraved with many symbols in one hand. The vampire stared at him from top to bottom. He was going to ask the specter to make this scene disappear from his sanctuary, when an individual attracted his attention, descending from the cart as he stretched out. He exchanged a few silent words with the rest of the group, tilting and sweeping a non-existent herb from his ethereal hat. His coat falling down to his ankles opened for a moment, but it was enough for the vampire to see what he was hiding there. Several guns hung from his belt. He continued to observe him from head to toe, his gait, his outfit... He nodded his head. These individuals were not there by pure coincidence.

- You will pass on to Castille and Morisburg that the game has changed. Repurgators are in town. Make sure they don't get noticed.

- Right master.

Scleras was going to fire the teenager when the fog expanded and remodelled, quickly taking the form of four silhouettes looking in the same direction.

- What's this about...? he asks intrigued.

- Four other people crossed the Grissenwald lands, said the disembodied voice. However, they disappeared from my gaze shortly after I contemplated this scene.

The vampire frowned while the outlines of the armour and the faces of the strangers became clearer. They were straight, impassive. Only one of them did not wear thick armor, but all wore a sword at the hip. He approached one of them, his gaze planted in front of the double of mist. This one reminded him of something. The growth of his hairs on the front of his skull, the square of his chin and the shape of his nose... Straight from memory of his Father in death and his father's father, the answer was obvious. He caterwauled with a blazing anger, as a hate inherited from his vampiric ancestor, the great W' Soran himself, burst into his mind. He swept away the intangible imitation of a brutal gesture. But the glance was spared, continuing to observe it with intensity before being erased.

- Manesh' k! spit him out.



*​


- Forty-seven disappeared now, Dave said in a gloomy voice. The guard told us that four girls aged 19 to 27 had not given signs of life for more than 24 hours.

- So perhaps they are still alive, Rechald said.

- Or perhaps the kidnapper started hitting our beard again this very morning, John said in a gloomy tone.

The soldier was worried about this idea. All six of them were gathered in the room rented by the repurgator. He was sitting on the floor with his back to the bed where Leon and the magician were sitting. Soldier Rechald was leaning against the wall not far from the door, preventing anyone trying to interrupt them. Dave was sitting in the only chair while Brother Brandit stood with his back to the window.

- However, new victims or not, we must do everything we can to determine what happens to these disappeared, said John, bowing his head and hiding his gaze from his companions.

- Three hypotheses, Leon said that his mentor encouraged him to use a discreet sign. Either the disappeared left Grissenwald illegally, or they are held somewhere in the city, or they have all been dead for a long time.

- In the latter case, he has to get rid of the bodies, right? the sorcerer wondered frowning his brush brows.

Brother Brandit looked restlessly at the repurgator, who did not lift his head up, attentive to the debate.

- Who knows where he could hide them, Dave said. The forest around Grissenwald is thick, and in the river the bodies would quickly disappear.

- And in the city? asked Rechald. Valent, one of the officers from Grissenwald, told me that no patrols were taking place in the sewers, despite some recent research. Infructuous of course.

- John?

The repurgator lifted up the head, concealed by his hat. He assimilated every theory. The Sigmarite watched him with a brilliant eye, patiently waiting for John Grenaille to prove his genius to them again.

- Rechald, take five men with you and go check the sewers. Always stay together and look for clues rather than people.

- As in Nuln, he said.

- Exactly.

It was by working together that they finally found the skavens from under the city. A gallery dug by the mutants had been discovered beneath the poorest neighborhoods and yet among the most frequented by thieves and robbers. Only their flight in front of two enemies had allowed to signal this presence, allowing a massive return of the guard to the scene. Rechald wouldn't play heroes in the dark underground.

- Continue patrolling on the surface and note or even question anything suspicious. Tristofan and Dave, go round the area. Maybe our kidnapper isn't to be found in town. Brother Brandit, Leon and I will take over tonight.

- Just the three of you? Osprey Rechald.

- There's no need to be more. So many patrols won't do any good if Valent's patrols don't work. Our target is too clever for that.



*​


- I would do as such, declared the human being, firing the apparition.

He straightened up and climbed up the stairs until he came out into a dark cellar. Blindly, he replaced the empty crate that concealed the entrance and climbed up to the ground floor. He clawed as he opened the shutters. By spending time underground, her eyes were less and less able to withstand daylight. Nevertheless, he illuminated every room with empty furniture. The vampire had bought the building, like another one belonging to Castille, for the sole purpose of giving the two acolytes discreet ways to reach the sewers. He traded his dark clothes so discrete underground for simple clothes, both banal and common in the city. Turning to a mirror, he observed his reflection. He saw only one man in the prime of his life, but a three-day beard and huge dark circles contrasted with his pale skin. He pleated his eyes. Slowly, the curves of his reflection wavered. His cheeks were raised, his hair rose up on his forehead, his eyebrows became thicker, his lips thinner... Even his eyes went from black to dark brown. Satisfied, he allowed himself a smile.

Four women. Apparently, they didn't have to be virgins this time. Deeply inspiring, Morisburg had a moment of vertigo. He felt a warmth running through him that owed nothing to the sun's rays.

Taking upon himself, he closed his eyes, his jaw tightened. Deploying all his will, he suppressed this sensation, repelling the appealing call. When the crisis finally passed, he allowed himself to reopen his eyes, stretching his tired shoulders. As he would have liked to let himself go, to spin in infinity, to hold the power in the palm of his hand and to soak up, again and again, this exhilarating sensation...

He shook his head. It wasn't by dreaming about he could make his wishes come true. Morisburg went out in the streets of Grissenwald, already thinking about where he could start his hunt. He repressed the fatigue of his sleepless night like promises too soft to be innocent, on the other side of the veil. Four girls. Then he could go to sleep in the house assigned to him by Scleras.

Very quickly, he understood that satisfying his master would be more complicated than the day before. He came across several soldiers he had never seen before, wearing the blue and white colours of Nuln, observing the alleyways with too much attention to be benign. These foreigners took their work seriously. But the master was less selective about his prey of the day. It was a perfect timing.

He went to a brothel across town as the sun was already ascending. Checking the driveway to make sure no one was following him, he approached and hit the building identical to his neighbors. Nobody paid any attention to him. A large woman, her opulent chest hardly contained in a purple corset, opened with her tired eye after several minutes of perseverance.

- We don't open until noon, she told him in a dry tone of voice and gauging him.

- It's a shame, he says. My master would appreciate the company of two charming ladies for his lunch.

- Sorry, sweetheart, but you'll be back at noon. And my daughters don't practice outside.

She began to close the door, but Morisburg intervened by blocking the door with her foot. He put his hand on her shoulder.

- What...

- My master knows how to be very persuasive, he insisted with a sweet tone.

The woman spluttered, a veil falling on her eyes. She babbled for a second before nodding.

- Don't move, I can tell exactly what your master needs, she chuckled as he let her walk away while closing the front door behind him.

He examined the living room, which was nothing more than a profusion of veils and velvet, hiding the many corridors and stairs from his gaze. Carefully, he slipped his hand into his pocket, smiling. She came back, always jumping gaily, two girls on her heels.

- But Martha, it's not even noon yet, yawned the first one who looked down on Morisburg.

- And why outside? protested the second most skeptical one who held a long travel cape against her. Will the honoraria be...

- The gentleman will explain all this better than me girls, clucked the mistress of the house, planting them facing Morisburg before leaving again.

- Ladies, he said bowing to the two dubious prostitutes. It's a pleasure to meet you. My master will be pleased to meet you.

In doing so, he extended both hands, inviting the women to lodge their own. They looked at each other with reluctance.

- I'm warning you, if....

She interrupted herself the moment Morisburg's fine fingers closed on her wrist. Her gaze was suddenly veiled as her partner was already waving her lips in the void.

- Yes, my master will be delighted to meet you, he repeated with a brilliant look.

The two women smiled at him and put on their capes. They came out of the brothel after him and he took them by the hand.

- I am really looking forward to meeting your Master, said the first one, while the second one was laughing like a little girl.

He could only repress his own smile. It was so easy...
 
Joined
Oct 5, 2017
Messages
39
#7
Thank you again Count Vashra.

Here goes the next chapter.


Fire & Blood
Chapter 3


With a slow gesture, he put a golden coin on the bedside table. A sad smile on his face, he looked at the sleeping couple. Her name was Roxanne and he was Romuald. He was a native of this town, Grissenwald, but she came from a hamlet nestled on the edge of the mountains. She had left the city three years ago to move in with him. He was a courier and had met her when he came to bring a letter to his father. He had seen enough to know that they would soon be parents.

Their breath was much weaker than when he arrived, but they were still breathing. He had been as delicate as possible despite his dangerous thirst for murder. Their life, both physical and intimate, went by in his mind. Within minutes, he knew the area as well as the two lovers. He took a step backwards, his hands shaking with slight tremors. He shook his head, trying to resist the insistent call of their two still beating hearts. Because yes, both were alive. As often as possible, he let his victims live.

Several centuries ago, he finally understood that he could never get rid of this thirst. Also, as his convictions and those of his mentor flowed through his veins, he had decided that no human life should be sacrificed. No one should suffer from his condition, which he considered to be a disease for which they were desperately seeking a cure. And six centuries ago, his mentor finally found out. He had thrown a huge dragon out of his lair, bloodless, and then straightened himself with the weapon in his hand. He had been screaming for long minutes for this deliverance, for the joy that now permeated him. It was so full of energy, stolen from the behemoth, that he had healed.

Today, Manesh'k wanted nothing more than to imitate him. He leapt through the open window and rushed into the alleys for a while. Roxanne and Romuald would have a hangover tomorrow. He shrugged his shoulders. The gold he had left them would more than compensate for Romuald's two days away from his job. The exchange was fair. He should now try to forget the memories he had stolen from them. The curve of the hips that Roxanne exposed to him with a mischievous smile imposed itself a few seconds among his thoughts. He had a resigned smile when he thought it would be complicated.

The plates of his thick armor slipped quietly as he ran under the night. With the release of a feline, he jumped on the ledge of a nearby building, before bouncing off its summit with a slight step despite its heavy weight. Raising the sheath, he sat down cross-legged and did not say a word.

Several creatures were flying around his arms raised. Owls, ravens and bats swirled around the individual in lighter cuirasse. They would land on his arms and yell high or croak from time to time. After a few minutes of this ballet, they all landed on his shoulders or armour, or on tiles as close to him as possible. He turned his luminous gaze towards a motionless, attentive Manesh'k.

- He is not alone, said the other vampire, his absent gaze jumping from raptor to bat. They see him a few times, but it was mostly his two apprentices who came out of their den. A girl and a man. She manages to lift very old bodies that she hides in the forgotten crypts hidden in the woods. He seems less gifted. On the other hand... his face and smell is rarely the same.

- What does that mean? interrupted a third vampire in armour as he came along, followed by a fourth one.

- The winds are altered, he replied enigmatically. There are other magics at work here.

Manesh'k nodded his head. He was going to speak when the other resumed.

- We are not the only foreigners. New soldiers arrived recently. A sigmarite and a wizard from Altdorf are here. They patrolled the city, the woods and sewers all day long. But they must not be aware of our presence, even if the sorcerer passed very close by during the day.

Suddenly, all birds and other flying things flew away in a chaos of feathers and fur, sparkling with anger. The four vampires had also felt the intrusion, as the animals were finally dispersing.

All of them turned in the same direction, where the air suddenly fogged up before the wave disappeared.

- It is a W' Soran's offspring, inferred one of the vampires in armor, turned in the direction in which the ghost had fled.

- In this case this walking corpse will not leave the city, spit out the second one with anger.


*​


- Here, said Brother Brandit as he passed in front of the building, looking harmless.

Holding his hammer bare-handed, he approached the door and knocked without hesitation. He was opened after several minutes of waiting. A half-faced face with a lot of make-up appeared in the gap that the safety chain allowed. The woman detailed them with an inquisitive eye, without saying a word.

- Good evening, simply declared the priest. We...

- What does a eunuch do in front of my establishment, she preceded it with an acid tone.

- We are currently looking for four missing women, said John, who smiled as he pulled off his hat. We are concerned about them and look for any clues that might lead us back to them.

- You come in, she ordered, continuing to keep an eye on the religious. The others are waiting for you.

All three agreed.

- Are you sure about this? John whispered to the priest.

For any answer, he handed him the weapon which the repurgator touched. He could feel the gentle warmth through the leather of his glove. He made a grimace. The last time his hammer was so hot was several years ago. In an old man terrified by his last hour who had ended up in a pustuous abomination...

He rolled his wrist with a rattle suffocated by his coat as he walked in smiling. With the hat in his other hand, he swept the place with a sharp look as the door closed behind him. Thick carpet, velvet profusion and veils concealing many exits. He hated places like this where dozens of enemies had no choice but to find good hiding places.

Hiding his nervousness behind a warm smile, he noticed that once the woman's face was properly lit, she had tears in her eyes.

- Who are you and what are you looking for in my establishment? she questioned him with a faulty voice.

- My name is John. I've just arrived from Nuln to find several missing persons who...

He did not have time to finish his sentence, the woman collapsing on him, his cheeks flooded with tears.

- I don't know what it took, she sobbed immediately as he tried to spread his apparently free arm. We never receive before noon or outside, but... he said that his master... and I accepted !

She plunged her face against him and burst into tears, her words drifting in an incomprehensible flow. John sighed, turning his wrist again in a discreet click. He put his hand on his back.

- Ma' am, I swear to you that I will do everything I can to help you, he said in a harsh voice that made her stop crying for a moment. But for that, you have to tell us everything that happened here.


*​


- You say you only have an inaccurate memory of what happened after he laid his hand on your shoulder? said John about an hour later, as Leon continued to blacken his notebook.

She nodded shyly. Her cheeks were black with make-up after wiping them, which could have been funny in another situation: the kidnapper had struck again despite the patrols of Rechald.

- Without sounding rude, can you remove the scarf around your neck, show us your bare shoulder? asked the man in the hat.

She frowned.

- It is the skin where the man laid his hand on you that I want to see, he reassures her with a new smile.

The priest lifted up his eyes to heaven, exasperated both by the behaviour of this woman and the ease with which she was manipulable. There was no need for gifts, he thought as she was executing and the red rose to her cheeks. She seemed ready to do any... His thoughts stopped abruptly when he saw her shoulder. She hiccuped when she saw it. Thin dark filaments ran beneath the skin, all connected by a punch of coagulated blood, similar to a dark flake tattooed under her skin.

With a hard face, John took off his hat and leaned over the mark, holding the woman's arm firmly. Leon, with his eyes wide open, stood up to see better.

- What... what is this... this! She stared from John to Brother Brandit, passing through the apprentice. Take it off me, take it off...

- Quiet! Aboya the priest with a stentorian voice.

She grew a frowning, but obeys with a disconfident mine. John quickly guided her to the nearest chair where he forced her to sit. Wise precaution because she blurred on sight, on the point of failing.

- Do you have any idea what this is about, asked Brother Brandit in mid-voice, he and the repurgator having moved back slightly, leaving the shaken woman in Leon's care?

- I have an idea, but it has nothing to do with a necromancer, he replied darkly, passing his hand through his hair. The thing that stung her gave her something, which is surely the reason for her cooperation with our man. A substance that would have altered his judgment. A drug maybe.

Brother Brandit digested the information.

- A person who has fun terrifying people with surgical equipment ?

- Possible. But I've never heard of such a poison or similar brand before. We will have to keep an eye on this woman and see if this kind of thing has ever been mentioned in Grissenwald. Now let's go, we won't find anything more tonight.


*​


- This is where they last saw the man. He brought in four women in two times today.

The four undead were still perched on a roof and faced the building glued to the neighbouring houses. This one was no different from the others. Except that each one of them could perceive the emptiness that reigned there. No heart resonated in the house.

- Did he come out again? questioned one of them.

- No. There must be a secret way out, he replied.

All four remained silent for a few minutes, silently observing the alleyway and the dark building.

- Lead us to the girl, finally declared Manesh' k.


*​


Brother Brandit almost dropped his weapon when it caught fire with an inner light. Stunned, he looked at his war hammer now orange-coloured. The heat shedding was unprecedented. Forbidden, John also kept his eyes on it. Never before had they seen a relic of Sigmar so vividly manifested. Manifestation that was related to the evil that the hammer perceived.

- That's... that's impossible, begaya Leon.

None of the two adults dared to contradict him. Illuminating the alleyway with its radiant glow, their situation seemed almost unreal to them.

- Never a necromancer could pose such a threat, whispered John who was hiding his trouble behind a marble mask.

The priest nodded, as he felt the weapon was getting warmer and warmer!

- Whatever it is, it's coming!

As soon as he had finished his sentence, a concert of croaks, hoarseness and roaring wings from the sky raised their eyes. Under the cover of a veritable cloud of nocturnal birds, several shadows leapt from one roof to the other.

- We mustn't lose them! cried John, pulling his companions out of their stupor.

He rushed into a first alleyway, his coat slamming behind him. Already the hammer was becoming less luminous, falling from its sudden glowing shine to the dull burst of polished metal. What were these creatures to provoke such a reaction? Never before had his own mentor witnessed such a thing !

They ran for several minutes through the maze of streets that was Grissenwald, guided by birds and the declining light of the weapon. The echo of their race echoed when they passed over one of the few cobblestone sections or slipped into muddy puddles. Many beggars ran out of the way as they overturned a few barrels obstructing them or cut small properties through the gardens.

They flowed from a narrow alleyway into a larger avenue, the emanation of the hammer returning in intensity. All three quickly spotted their targets thanks to the profusion of birds surrounding them. The said targets did likewise, having obviously noticed the weapon appearing to be incandescent, throwing an orange veil on the nearest facade. Four shadows rose up from their promontory, knowing that they had been discovered, and they measured these three arrogant humans who had been tracking them through the city. The crimson red pupils shimmering in the darkness petrify the repurgator and his companions. The two sides thus remained a few long seconds to observe each other. The deaf melody of their hearts felt by the chase and the sudden anguish was deliciously pulsating in the ears of the four creatures. Without consulting each other, they swung and leapt across the other side of their building, disappearing into the night. None of the three humans dared to follow in their footsteps.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Oct 5, 2017
Messages
39
#9
Alright, big chapters start to flow. And it's still a small one xD

In this one i'm not sure about one of my translated word, the caterwaul verb for the french one feuler. I mean the cat scream with anger, but everywhere i look i found it also mean the cute meow... less intimidating. If you got a better word i'll gladly take it.

This point moved aside, here is the next chapter.


Fire & Blood
Chapter 4​


Satisfied, he took a step back to better appreciate the result and allowed himself a small smile. Every bone had been chiselled. Engraved. Mystical symbols appeared in relief all over the subject's body. Still, this one seemed to be covered with primitive tattoos. Stylized horns wrapped around his skull, while the words on his wrists formed artificial veins. Neither his teeth nor his phalanges had been spared by the treatment. A star was deeply engraved in the middle of his forehead. Stoic, an evil spark was shining at the bottom of his empty orbits. The animated skeleton was ready.

Morisburg shudders with excitement. No power was yet flowing in this ivory puppet. Nevertheless, he knew the receptacle was operational. He felt in his flesh that this time, Scleras would succeed. Morisburg would have liked so much to carry out the operation himself !

Her arms crossed on her short light blue skirt, the blonde showed a calmness that contrasted with her neighbour. Attentive, she took care to memorize each of her master's movements. Nothing would escape her. Even when a hairy rat rubbed itself against her ankles she continued to look away, her mind far beyond the present situation.

Finally ready, Scleras turned to his four female spectators. Kneeling in a circle around him, all watched with horror. The venom kept them from blinking their eyelids. Ignoring their naked bodies, he bent over and examined the ground one last time. The gutters carved in stone were perfectly clean. Castille had done a good job. He stood up straight and nodded his head to his companions.

Immediately Morisburg rushed to the candles, lighting them one by one. At no time did he step over the circle or any of the eight dug furrows. Meanwhile, Castile had let her dress slide over her hips. She approached her master with a sharp eye. However, he did not dwell on the delicious curves of his sidekick, but on what she held at chest height. The impregnated dagger. Humbly, she knelt down and leaned forward, presenting the weapon to her master as high as her position permitted. In front of her eyes the gully seemed to wave with impatience, her blond hair touching the rock.

When Morisburg had lit some of the candles, the vampire seized the weapon. With respect and without straightening, she moved back carefully until she found herself back to the wall. The man joined her as she finally got up. Both were fascinated by the current operation.

Scleras stood up to the first woman. Her frozen expression made him smile. He raised the dagger above her forehead before he cut it. He patiently drew the symbol in her flesh, neglecting the blood flowing on her victim's cheeks and staining his hands. When he had finished, he looked at the result with a critical eye, before smiling again. He passed behind her, grabbed her by the hair and cut her throat meticulously. A scarlet spray immediately splashed the stone. The flow of hemoglobin dripped in thick broth between the breasts of the unfortunate woman, up to her thighs before dripping into the canal. As the fluid flowed as expected, Scleras turned to the next woman. He repeated the operation until each of the four women had their throats open and forehead cut open.

He crossed the circle and found himself in opposition to his two servants who waited patiently for serious things to begin. Scleras ignored them and watched the gullies slowly fill with the blood of the four women. As he would have liked to taste their nectar, violate their most intimate thoughts and stain each of their memories. He would have been satisfied with just one ! But time was running out. The children of Abhorash as well as the repurgators would come into action at nightfall. He knew about them. He felt it. Preparing the skeleton had already taken him long enough. There was not a minute left to lose.

The vampire defied his dress and quickly removed it from his shoulders, finding himself bare-chested. His translucent skin rolled over the frail muscles of his body. But neither of the two acolytes was fooled : behind this rachitic body hid a prodigious force. He threw the charms he had on his neck over the dress ball in a corner and refocused himself on the present situation. Scleras closed his eyes and raised both arms. Morisburg and Castile had a shared thrill. Finally it started.

First, nothing visible happened. Then, slowly, thicker smoke escaped from the candles. Darker. Nauseating. It gradually condensed, becoming more consistent, like tentacles bursting out of the flames. A wave swept through the tank in the centre of the circle and women's haemoglobin continued to pour in. Slowly, this one gained in intensity, tiny waves striking it. The skeleton did not make the slightest gesture when the first drops touched his malleoli. He was standing over a now-filled bowl. The tentacles of smoke joined exactly above the scarlet puddle and the sculpted skull. Slowly they began to spin, continuing to thicken. A first bolt of lightning went through them, throwing a flash of light into the room.

Scleras stood still. Only the fold on his face betrayed his efforts to control the events he had initiated. A liquid was even beginning to suppure from his dead body. Castille and Morisburg did not even dare to blink because they were so fascinated. In doing so, they imitated the four unfortunate women who, tetanized, took advantage of choice places to discover the ritual. Suddenly they were agitated with tremors, making the two acolytes startle. They were both stunned. They had such a dose of paralyzing poison in their veins that a horse would have been immobilized for almost a week ! There was no way she could even beat eyelids or swallow ! And yet, they were now all agitated with spasms, their panic-stricken looks on the skeleton. Or more precisely at the feet of the skeleton.

The smell of iron was stubborn, sticking to the mouths of both humans. The liquid also began to spin on itself in a tiny whirlpool, with steaming bubbles bursting from the surface. The phenomenon rapidly gained in intensity. Suddenly a form emerged from the liquid. It rose painfully, connected to the scarlet whirlwind by viscous strands. Then she unfolded. Red glowing embers appeared in the smoke folds as new flashes of lightning flew through the room. They bounced off on the daggers and charms that the vampire had removed, attracted by every single piece of metal. Puddled and dripping fingers came out of the puddle. And they unfolded, standing up to the sky. Scleras sketched a grimace, struggling against the flow of invisible winds despite the raging elements around him. The difficulty he had orchestrating all this was palpable. Slowly, the bubbling hand turned to the nearest ankle. The liquid fingers were as if drawn by the engravings. The four women simultaneously rejected the head backwards when bone and blood came in contact. They screamed silently, their vocal cords cut off. In a crackling sound, the two human acolytes were dazzled. They protected their eyes sensitive to the violent lighting of the flashes of lightning that now plunged into the scarification of the foreheads, from both the prisoners and the skeleton. Their disarticulated arms wavered furiously as the haemoglobin seemed to be sucked out of them by the spell, their eyes rolling in their orbits. Their skin where the liquid was flowing began to brown, burned by the temperature of their own blood!

Morisburg moved even closer to the wall. He heard the call. Magic told him to move on. Yet he had to resist. Squeezing his fists, he continued to observe.

The hand wrapped itself around the ankle, wrapping it in a viscous cocoon. Immediately, a second one emerged from the first, all bubbling and began its ascension. The kneecap then the femur was swallowed up in a garnet-coloured sheath by successive creeps. The heat from the fire and ash vault was stifling. The flashes of lightning attacked the eyes of both humans. They almost suffocated as the air reeks of iron and some other horrors. Nevertheless, they could not turn their eyes away from the current cataclysm. The blood, animated by a clean life, slipped from ribs to ribs, before quickly running down the arms to the wrists. It accumulated along the spine, giving the body a bumpy appearance. While the four tortured women were drooling a pinkish foam, the fluid rose up the jawbone, sliding in the mouth before the teeth were swallowed. The whole body of the dead man was covered, leaving only the star connected to the roof by lightning. A black fluid flowed out of the vampire's nostril, which squeezed his teeth, and his fangs were widely visible. It was out of the question to fail after going so far!

The "sky" roared, as the outlines of the creature wavered. Knotty muscles were forming beneath a layer of blood beginning to clot. The skull seemed to stretch in all directions, before the strings frayed. The two horns growing at the temples and the lengthened back of his head became clearer. The body was reshaped at the level of the spine, stretching in new directions. Slowly the ankles straightened up and the body stooped forward.

In a great crackling that made each person present startle, the lightning faded. When the sight returned to the necromancer, he found that all four bodies had collapsed. Their transparent skin was stretched over stunted organs. They were emptied to the last drop of hemoglobin. The call of the winds was more distant, more bearable. Scleras opened his eyes again, panting, and watched the ashes dissipate as he twirled. For a moment he thought he had failed again. But the scarlet creature remained. It slowly straightened its head and two golden lights pierced through the carmine veil. The knotty arms moved slowly. The head dodelled on one side and the other under its own weight. The creature quivered and almost fell forward. But with a mighty step it straightened itself, splashing droplets on the virgin stone. These were not bones but dark red scales. Toes topped with obsidian claws scraped the ground. A pink tentacle suddenly springs out of the still fluid-covered face, splashing the two petrified humans. The long, dripping tongue seemed to smell the ozone-laden air from the underground before the creature shuddered. It sprinkled them all with scarlet rain before turning to its creator. It took a step forward. Its gaze, similar to a flame pit, plunged into the one injected with the blood of the undead. Neither of them broke the eye contact. Until it takes a step forward and shouts of pain.

The vampire sighed for relief as luminous symbols appeared on each scales, claws or pieces of horns. The creature almost collapsed from pain, but the phenomenon ceased. Blackened symbols remained engraved on its body. It scolded with anger but did not outline the slightest threatening gesture. With the knotty muscles dancing under its natural breastplate, it swept the place of gaze and stopped on Castille's naked body. The woman remained motionless when in a flash, the still dripping monster was upon her. The tongue wrapped around her graceful neck. Its claws passed through the woman's blond hair, staining them with half-coagulated blood. The ridge in the back of the monster rippled with anger. But the creature did nothing and moved back one step, rumbling with fury. It slammed its powerful jaw a finger away from the woman's face, its sharp fangs dripping with hemoglobin. Morisburg smiled as the chest of Castille rose with frenzy. The eight-pointed star shone between the two black horns of the monster, echoing its incandescent look and contrasting with the dark tattoo now binding it together.

*​

They both landed on the tiles of the girl's home. Without slipping, they straightened up and swiftly inspected the surroundings, but nothing moved. Quietly, they dropped to the ground in front of the entrance. The first of the two put his cape on the lock, which slightly suffocated the crash when he blew the lock with a boot kick. A few seconds later, they had discretely entered the interior.

Their scarlet sloes shining in the darkness, they did not need torches. They carefully inspected each room and opened the furniture, which turned out to be empty. The place looked abandoned.

- Gilnash was wrong? There's nothing here.

- I don't think so.

Without consulting each other, they went down a staircase to the basement. They both came to a standstill, as if they were struck by lightning. Their faces were deformed by anger, and they swept the basement with their eyes. The air reeks of salt and iron ! Without consulting each other, they turned back, alarmed. Hearthbeats were now resounding in the entrance. Calm, steady.

- He was waiting for us! spit the first.

A crystalline note rose when they drew their swords as they rushed up. Already other beats were approaching, much stronger and faster. No sooner had the first of them reached the top than a bang sounded in the house. The vampire collapsed , hit in the head by the bullet. The latter rushed immediately, ignoring his companion on the ground and raised his blade above his opponent. He ran into an invisible barrier separating him from the man with the hat. Stumbling with surprise, he backed off. The man's pulse was still as calm as ever.

- Harkon ! Call the vampire.

The concerned person grunted and rose up painfully. Both of them could see the man frowning despite the darkness. The wounded man looked furiously at the human.

- It's burning! cried the undead. You dared soak that shit in garlic !

The man raised both arms coldly and pointed to them. As if by magic, guns appeared in his fists. The two undead had the same reflex and plunged into a nearby room under the cover of hail from the repurgator. The noise inside was worthy of a thunderclap. In shards of stone and splinters, he pounded their retreats until they were out of sight. Deeply inspiring, he released a high-pitched whistle. His two pistols rolled on the ground, smoking, while he mechanically replaced them with others drawn from the folds of his coat.

When the soldiers entered, guided by Brother Brandit, Tristofan and Rechald, the weapons had already disappeared in his sleeves.

- Two targets, he said immediately. One of them took a bullet impregnated in the jaw, it seems to me, but the powder must have consumed the main part of the garlic.

- Shouldn't the silver not have been enough? The captain surprised himself when he waved to some of the men in chain mail to climb upstairs.

- Silver hurts them more than plumb, but in no way fatal, John explained while carefully inspecting the soil where they had fled. Brandit, your decoction worked perfectly. They couldn't get past the sanctified ground.

The priest did not answer, merely following the sorcerer. His fists were as bright as the sigmarite weapon.

The few soldiers wielding torches and swords in their fists entered the room overlooking several other areas. Nervously they unfurled. One man would stand at the doorframe and lift up his torch, and another man would swing his sword with a third one on his heels. They came out empty-handed in the first room. The second led to a kitchen leading to the entrance, and the last one visibly leads to a guest room. They put themselves in position to enter this room when a scream came in from the entrance, making them startle.

In a sudden tear, a blade pierced the man's torso stuck to the wall. He hiccuped with surprise as his companions turned towards him again, the blade disappearing into the wall. He slipped gently to the ground, leaving a bloody trail on a yellowish background.

An explosion suddenly shook the entire structure of the house. The burning blow made them all move back and protect their faces. When they lowered their arms raised, the demon was upon them. He snatched the jaw of the first from a backside of his sword and grabbed the second from the throat, lifting it from the ground. With his throat crushed by his wrist, he could not cry out. His horrified gaze fell upon the vampire's shining eyes of hatred. With a scream of fury, the undead threw him through the room and countered the blade of the last one. Much faster, he slipped his sword over the human one. With a twist of the wrist he pulled the sword out of the human being and cut off his abdomen, tearing apart the steel links. The wounded man had a hiccup while the blade was sinking like butter between his arms. He gave up his last breath when the vampire took his blade out with a growl, tearing off several pieces of intestines. The last survivor, lying near the first corpse, tried to catch his breath. He fell to the ground when a dagger pierced his temple with a red spray. The vampire swore when he saw that he had chipped his sword on the chain mail.

He turned away from the corpses and saw a bald man of high stature enter through the kitchen. He was wearing a bure and his shiny hammer was stained with a dark liquid leaving no doubt about his identity. Caterwauling, the undead charged. He swept the air out of his blade, but she only met the handle of the hammer in a screeching of sparks. Instantly he went on with few quick attack, taking the religious out of speed who soon get a hitch on the right arm. Shrugging his shoulders, again he was on guard. The vampire grinded his teeth with frustration.

Several soldiers stood behind him, daring to interrupt the fight between the undead and Brother Brandit. Until John Grenaille pushed them aside and opened fire without warning. The blast interrupted a charge of the driven creature. She tripped before jumping out of the reach of the dangerous hammer. He stretched out his shoulders and the steel of his armor protested, mistreated by the projectile.

- Give yourself and we will grant you a fast journey to the kingdom of Morr, said the priest in a gruff barely breathless tone.

Behind him slipped the red-haired sorcerer, the already inflamed fist. The undead took a look over them and had a sniff of disdain. Without warning, he swung and threw himself into the room behind him.

- Stop him ! the captain roared as he rushed forward.

Tristofan was quicker and the crackling missile shot between Rechald's men. In a new explosion of flames, the fireball filled the chamber and immobilized them in front of the infernal heat. John stood facing the opening, his two armed revolvers. Calmly, the sorcerer attenuated the fire and allowed them to discover the devastated piece. They grimaced when they saw a wall of bricks smashed high and from which already there were screams of terror. The repurgator rushed through the opening and found himself covered with dust in the living room of the next house. A man's torn up body, probably alarmed by the fighting, was already lying there. A woman in tears did not dare approach it, tetanized. John ignored her and spotted the crumbled window, looking out onto a poorly lit alley. He grinned.
 
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Joined
Oct 5, 2017
Messages
39
#11
Now we got the funny stuffs. Have a nice reading.


Fire & Blood
Chapter 5​

The two intruders froze when the first growling came to them. Wandering in the nauseating puddles, they made themselves as discreet as possible. All the senses on alert, they quickly spotted the position of the other one. Yet they did not perceive a heartbeat nor the annoying sound of suction accompanying each one of their steps. Manesh' k in front, they camped on their position, ready to draw their weapons at the slightest threat. How was a W'Soran child going to welcome them ?

They remained stunned when they saw it at an angle. Its gaze was clearer and more sparkling than their own, but without pupils. Thanks to these claws that it planted in the rock, it moved to the ceiling like a spider. Without taking the time to look for them, it made a grimace, showing its sharp fangs. Head down, the mood dripping from its mouth flowed over its muzzle and forehead. A tongue of frightening length whipped the air beneath its skull like an insidious tentacle. Despite the near darkness, both could see its stretched cranial limp and dark horns wrapped around its temples. Knotty muscles rolled under its dark red scales. But what alerted them the most were the surprising tattoos it wore, spreading over its entire body.

- Come on ! complained the one in lighter armor. What the hell is that doing here ?

- Didn't you say the winds were altered ? said his companion, drawing his sword.

The aberration fell to the ground and dropped smoothly on its feet. Nodding its head at every step, it advanced towards them, continuing to grumble. It came to a halt a few steps away. The air itself twisted as sparks flashed out of nowhere and lit up the tunnel. Two shining swords materialized in its clawed fists. As if animated by a life of their own, they pulsed with an orange glow.

- Well, I hope that Claster and Luthor were luckier than us, sighed Manesh' k in a resigned tone. Find another way, I'll take care of this thing.


*​


Scleras shuddering with excitement. Manesh' k himself stood before his creation !

- The other two of the children of the night may perceive my master presence, foretold the disembodied voice of the adolescent.

The vampire did not bother to respond, absorbed by the ghostly scene that was happening before his eyes. Wrapped in a thick suit, he had his eyes wide open and his face lit by the white smoke, saying silent words. The creature dropped to the ground and materialized both swords. It had invoked its weapons! Even in his most positive estimates he did not dare to hope for that ! He saw without hearing the other two talking to each other, before one of them left the fog scene.

Watching in silence, Morisburg and Castille also watched the creature's behaviour. It had reacted violently by noticing the naked necromancer, a sign that the will of its first creator was flowing through its veins. However, Scleras control had been perfect !

- Castille, we risk having visitors, said the master of an absent tone. Take care of them.

The concerned woman bowed, then withdrew and disappeared into one of the corridors, her bare feet not producing a noise. Scleras and Morisburg concentrated on the two antagonists who threw themselves at each other.


*​


The creature struck both blades simultaneously in a V-shape that would have killed anyone at once. But Manesh' k was not just anyone and of inhumane vivacity, he deflected the first blade and slid it over his own before parrying the second. The orange-coloured weapons placed at the tip and guard of the vampire's weapon, the monster pressed his advantage with a herculean force. The undead man placed his free hand at the other end of the sword to support the pressure exerted. The jaw clapped an inch from his face, but he had already moved. With a complete rotation, he slid the blades on his own in a flood of sparks, before removing it and cutting the left shoulder of the creature whose weapons whipped the void. It made up for it with one step forward and swung, firmly inserting its claw in the clay. Suddenly, Manesh' k kicked it from the heel behind its exposed knee and tripped it, before whipping the air with his blade. The monster's head jumped out of its shoulders like a cork.

Turning his back on the defeated creature, he continued his way, regretting already having wasted his friend's time. He examined his precious blade, still burning where those of the creature had crossed it. Any weapon of lesser quality would have been broken. He was pleased to have once accepted this gift from his enemies and lowered it, when he noticed a movement in the dull reflection of the blade. In-extremis he swung and parried the reddening sword, retreating one step backwards, and parried once more the second one. With a blazing gaze, the resurrected creature ruthlessly pushed its advantage, making him retreat with lateral blows as fast as they were powerful. The vampire could no longer regain the advantage, still shocked to have come so close to disaster. The evil weapons were not stopped at all when they stroked the walls or the mud, leaving blackened and smoky furrows. Manesh' k caterwauled of anger while parrying the two swords suddenly sprouting on his left. Suddenly the weight disappeared and the claw struck him hard on the other side of his exposed belly and slammed him violently against the viscous wall.

Although stunned, he had the reflex to let himself fall to the ground, while the blades crossed where he had held his head a second earlier. He hastily rolled out of reach, putting himself back on guard. Grumbling and whipping the air with its reptilian tongue, the tattooed creature charged again. This time Manesh' k no longer underestimated it. He parried the first weapon with his own blade and caught its other arm by the wrist, preventing it from cutting him in half. The sharp mouth plunged straight down towards his face, but only met the vampire's armoured knee, slamming its jaw and cutting the filthy tentacle. It stepped back, stunned. The head that he had decapitated was well and truly fixed again. What was that sorcery ? Was it an illusion ? Yet his ribs claimed otherwise...

It was when he saw the creature shaking its head, splitting the air from it spiral horns, that he noticed the violet tongue growing back quickly by itself. Even the shoulder wound was gone. He tilted his head sideways. To defeat a creature not fearing physical wounds or its ancient blade would be problematic, especially if he himself were devoid of magical gifts !


*​


Morisburg had a hiccup when they saw the result of their hard work pitifully collapsing, its head cut off. But animated by the most powerful sorceries, it straightened itself. The ungodly flesh came back in a matter of seconds and almost sliced him in half without its opponent noticing. Scleras shouted with frustration. They saw the monstrosity taking advantage, pushing the vampire into his last entrenches, striking him and missing to finish him. There was a new weapon pass before the undead retreated, perplexed. Scleras jubilated.

- He figured out that he couldn't win, he shouted euphorically. He contemplates death, and this time it will be definitive !

Morisburg could not but share this enthusiasm, delighting in the scene faithfully reproduced by the revenant.


*​


The steel whistled above the head of the squatted creature. Immediately Manesh' k struck the spongy floor with the boot, throwing mud at the creature's face. Blinded, it screamed in anger and gesticulated before its face was split in half with a dark spray. Its scream cut, it leaned forward, its arms suddenly heavier. Manesh' k rushed into the breach. He slit its flank and arm at elbow level, passing on the left, then made a quick rotation before spinning it. His blade came out right in the middle of its chest. Without collapsing, the aberration remained motionless to suffer his blows. He could not help but smile as he thought of the reproaches his father in death would have made for the way he had taken advantage. Nevertheless, and given the enemy's capabilities, he did not consider this to be essential.

- No magical creature possesses infinite stamina, the offspring of Warp more than any other, he said with a grave tone. How many times do I have to kill you before you go back to nothing?

In doing so he pulled his weapon out in a scarlet sheaf. The monster fell to his knees. Scold of anger. It leaned on its arm unharmed, the stump resting over the sliced flesh. But the sliced flesh suddenly rippled and leapt to the wound with which it merged under the amazed eyes of the vampire. The black and scarlet demon stood upright, shouting with rage. It swung and charged the fighter again.

- So it will never end ! he shouted as he lifted his weapon.


*​


He came to a standstill frowning. The sounds that came to him and the troubles that he felt did not tell him anything good. Especially since he was now alone, having let Manesh' k cross the iron with the other creature. Just thinking about it again, he got a shiver of disgust. Unaffected by the winds of magic, his friend could not understand how he felt so close to a warp offspring. He felt happy that he was not in the place of the other vampire. He could still hear the sound of the blades ringing, a sign that the fight was harder than expected. But he didn't doubt the outcome of the fight. It was Manesh' k. Like him, he was descended from the commander of Lahmia's troops. He wouldn't fail.

He perceives the heartbeat approaching well before seeing his owner in the dark underground. Accompanied by a whole army of skeletons moving mechanically, causing a concert of splashes and sucking noise, she presented herself to him.

- This is the first time I met someone other than my master, she said while stopping.

He inspected her without answering, while the puppets stopped. He hadn't made a noise and she was clearly not wearing an arcanic object. She had her eyelids closed. However, he felt it, and so did she. That's how she saw his presence.

- You are different from Manesh' k, she told the immobile figure. He doesn't have any gifts. But you...

She straightened her head, breathing in with her full lungs as her skirt stretched over her chest.

- You have the gift, she said with a smile. The gift... let me guess...

Suddenly her smile froze, before fading away. Doubt was painted on her face.

- The magic of the beasts, she whispered as stepping back carefully.

He remained impassive in the face of the dozens of undead standing upright, rusty weapons or simply armed with their bare hands.

- I know who you are, she continued in a trembling voice. You are Gilnash, one of the first four children of the traitor to his city...

- With one detail, he replied with his daggers appearing silently to his fists. Whoever your master is, he must appreciate you for telling a human being all this. But we never betrayed Lahmia. She's the one who denied us.

With a coordination too perfect, all the dead rushed upon him. He stood still, letting them come to him. Anyway, the conduit was so narrow that they could not take advantage of their number more than three to one. His boot smashed the ribcage of the midle one before he fired his shot, and his fist tore the skull off the righ one. He then bounced the dagger of the last one on his own blade, before leaping over the sword of the last skeleton, who continued his spin to the second row. When he fell down, he mowed the ankles of those too close to his taste, throwing them on the ground. With a cold efficiency he broke their articulations of arms and legs, before going back to the assault. He noticed that the heart of the necromancer plunged into the dark was accelerating noticeably as she did not move backwards, leaving more and more bone puppets between them. But would there be enough, he wondered with a fierce smile ?


*​


The metal grid flew through the air with a ringing of protest. Immediately the fighter jumped into the alley, rising up to the first floor of the buildings, and fell a few meters further down. And the creature took out what was left of the sewer mouth, falling down on all fours. It straightened up as its wounds from the vampire blade and the shredded grid closed fast. The impassive face, Manesh' k once again warned.

They leapt on each other, their blades held in the cool air of the night. The tattooed creature jumped abruptly into the air, passing over the vampire's whistling sword, and shot down its two weapons again in a mortal crossroads. But Manesh' k had again dodged by moving aside, turning on himself to increase his momentum, struck the creature's shoulder violently. It lifted off the ground and swirled for a few metres into the wall of a nearby building. The vampire remained impassive, holding back from grimacing, while a splash of dark blood had accompanied the shot. The studded leather boot was torn on the crest that the monster wore along the spine. It fell to the ground, raising its head straight away, eyes shining with anger. Nevertheless, it shuddered as it got up. Visibly taking hold of itself, it straightened up completely and grumbled with anger, its long purple tongue waving furiously in front of its face.

- The game is coming to an end, whatever you are, Manesh' k said calmly. You can't stay in this world forever if I continue to undermine your strength in this way.

It grumbled once more, scratching the floor and tearing a pavement with its claw. But did not charge.

- Don't be afraid, your master will join you shortly, whatever he may be.

As he dashed, the monster turned back and leapt mightily towards the wall cracked by the impact, passing through a crash of stones and mortar. Manesh' k rushed in, just to see its leap up a flight of stairs, pulverizing the railing and disappearing upstairs. He swore while jumping the steps four to four, a dreadful doubt pointed in his mind. He had recognized the creature despite the strange tattoo and the powers it had been given. He also knew what offering was needed to invoke it...

He rushed into a room just in time to see the monster tearing out a woman's throat in a dressing gown with a jaw jerk, splashing the sheets and the man who shared the diaper. Mortified, Manesh' k saw the monster proceed in the same way as his fellow beings were feeding, sucking life out of the body at an astounding speed. The man pushed a swell of terror, managing to get out of bed, the bloodthirsty demon ignoring him completely. The vampire moved aside without paying much attention to the human who did not even notice his pale complexion or scarlet eyes. The rotten bowels piled up as the creature made great efforts to shred the body, tearing it into bloody pieces. It looked exactly like what it was : a rabid beast, thirsty for blood and slaughter. It had taken less than ten seconds to drain the body of any fluid and make the appearance of the remains barely recognizable. If he had been human again, he would certainly have emptied his stomach at that nightmarish sight.


*​


- Slowly buddy, cried out to the priest catching him.

The young man's face and nightgown were soaked in blood, which did not prevent Brother Brandit from holding him against him.

- He will kill me, he will kill me, he screamed hysterically.

His gaze swept through the surrounding alleys at a frightening speed. He even scratched the religious.

- Now that's enough ! the man roared with a stentorian voice without letting him go, which caused a soldier from Nuln to startle at his side.

The effect on the unfortunate was radical. He stopped struggling and stared at Brother Brandit. He trembled like a leaf, and his tears whipped white furrows in the dust stuck to his cheeks with blood.

- What happened ? questioned John, his eyes hidden in the shadow of his hat.

- A... A monster... Lily... Lily... slit her throat... he... blood....

He carried his two hands to his face, splashing a little more scarlet, bursting with tears. Brandit released him and John rushed to help him sit down, supporting him with a firm hand.

- Describe this monster to me, he declared in a firm tone of voice, plunging his gaze into the eyes of the man in a state of shock.

He stammered in the void for a moment before shutting up. Neither of them were blinking. One of the soldiers was about to speak, but Dave stopped him.

- He had bright eyes, like molten iron, he articulated slowly.

- Good. And....

- Red ! he cut. His skin and red and black! He has ram horns over his skull and a tongue like a snake ! He's got... Lily!

John and the priest could not help, exchanging a glance of incomprehension.

- His skull, how...

- It was as long as my arm ! he exclaimed, grabbing John by the side of his coat. Red ! I'm telling you it was red !

- I will take it into account, replied the repurgator with detachment. Rechald, will you...?

The soldier nodded and bent over, inviting the unfortunate to release the man with the hat. Suddenly a sharp scream broke through the night, making him scream again. With a flash of light the hammer went on again.

- Hunting start again ! roars John as he bounces on his feet, freeing himself from the poor man's embrace.


*​


The creature jumped backwards. It jumped against a wall and threw itself on the balcony facing it. Itrolled and got up immediately, growling towards Manesh' k. Taking advantage of this unexpected rest, the vampire let his shoulders relax. He had shaking wrists due to his heavy parry, and his armour was now covered with scratches.

- Are you having fun?

He did not lift the spade while his companion was falling from a nearby roof. The creature climbed up the balustrade and clapped its jaws, making the newcomer startle.

- What is that again ? He exclaimed with anger as he drew up his sword.

- Good question.

- I mean, whatever... Claster's dead, and for good. What about Gilnash?

- Still underground, replied Manesh' k with a grin. We were separated by this thing. What happened to Claster?

- An ambush in the girl's house. The sigmarite was waiting for us. There's a repurgator with them. Besides, with the noise you've been making, they should be here soon.

Manesh' k did not answer, thinking. The red and black demon didn't seem to want to run away from them. It was just staring at them as it scolded, waiting for the next assault.

- Why are you bothering to play with that, by the way, while they were trying to eliminate us ? asked his companion in a threatening tone

- I don't play. It regenerates with every fatal wound instead of going back to nothing.

- Ah...

- You say we're going to have company, the same people who killed Claster ?

- According to the beating hearts concert that is approaching, there is no doubt about it.

- Then prevent this filth from running away by the roofs, ordered Manesh' k who came forward by whistling his blade.

- So make sure that the man with the hat, the priest and the sorcerer do not die, said the other man before he obeyed. They're mine.

With a roar of anger, the demon leapt to Manesh' k who parried the first sword while the second one broke the air in his back. Rotating in the opposite direction, the creature depicted a circular arch of its first sword at head height. The vampire had already squatted down. He leaned on his free hand to give a violent heelstroke into the tibia of its opponent, which produced a sinister crack. Carried away by its swing, the creature stumbled beside him, its leg having reaped a dubious angle. But the pain did not change its willingness to stab the undead, as it rolled on itself by extending its arm and the orange blade split a pavement of the alley in two. Swearily, Manesh' k carried his hand to his calf. The metal was boiling where it had been cut and it hurt like hell. But he didn't have the muscle cut off.
 
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Count Vashra

Lord of Shadows
True Blood
Joined
Sep 29, 2013
Messages
1,554
#12
Another good fight scene.

Where you say protagonists in the last paragraph of the second section I think you mean antagonists?
 
Joined
Oct 5, 2017
Messages
39
#15
Allright guys, i was occupied for a while and could not translate since months. But still, here is my next chapter



Fire and Blood
Chapter 6​


- This... Doesn't make any sense, complained Tristofan, obviously just as confused.

- Not surprising that this city suffers so much, Brandit said as he moved forward.

His hammer, illuminating each of his steps, immediately caught the attention of the two belligerents.

- Your presence here is an insult to the inhabitants of this city, your existence to the efforts they make every day!

The demon caterwauled one more time, its long tongue whipping the air towards the priest. The undead, on the other hand, had a reaction that caused the repurgator to raise his eyebrows. He moved to the side, without losing the creature's eyes for a moment. Was he trying to find a way out of his delicate position, stuck between them and the scarlet child ? Or was there something else ? His behaviour betrayed no fear of them. All his attention was focused on his enemy.

- Move aside, I'll burn them to the ground !

- No ! John cried as the sorcerer dropped a flood of flames in the alleyway.

The heat generated by the explosion made them tremble. As death swept through the passageway, hiding the two enemies, the repurgator could not help but sniff out.

- Tisseron ! What have you done !



*​



The two vampires were already running down the cobblestones of a parallel street. They fled the fire that the magician would soon extinguish, while Manesh' k recovered from his emotions, the smoking cuirass.

- Gilnash is still down there, we have to go get him before he comes face to face with this shit.



*​


He had no illusions, his escape was inevitable. She had no chance of undoing someone like him with those crackling bones skeletons. He calmly took the time to examine the broken bodies. The surrounding ducts were now strewn with them. No sane necromancer would attempt to pick up these piles of broken bones. With the smell, the dust, but also the energy spent to animate them, Gilnash guessed that it was not the remains of ordinary villagers, the deceased of a distant war or an old cemetery feared by the most superstitious, and rightly so. No... these bones came from much older generations than only forgotten crypts could have sheltered. Men among the builders of the empire, and probably much further afield.

- Would this necrarch have as his father this rot of W'Soran itself or one of these sons in the non-life ?

A sudden thrill came over him, drawing him from his thoughts. The invisible winds swirled towards him with violence that left no doubt about his origin.

- Manesh' k what the hell did you do ? he wondered as the shadow hanging from the ceiling turned his incandescent gaze towards him.



*​


The two vampires disembarked at the intersection, blades clear. They swept the area for a moment, the crunchy sketches under their boots.

- Gilnash ! cried out first when he saw him lying on the ground, standing still.

- He's...

- Just unconscious, he replied, charging it on his shoulder with no apparent pain.

Manesh' k sighed for relief. Their companion had visibly crossed the bloodletter, but for some reason it had not hurt him.

- Come on, let's get out of here before this horror or the humans find us.



*​


The vampire, whose appearance was closer to the dead than to the living, overthrew one of the study tables. Scrolls and esoteric instruments rolled on the ground, soiled by the contents of several bottles. His anger was more than palpable, and neither of his two apprentices dared to interrupt him while several scared bats fled the room.

- We were so close, so close ! he exclaimed. How could they survive ! Even humans have lined up against them !

Surprisingly vigorous for his pace, he caught a frightened bat in the middle of the flight that had the misfortune to pass too close to him. His thin and emaciated fingers dripped with fluid as he pressed it like a lemon, crushing the small body of a handful not to underestimate.

Snarling, he examined his sticky hand for a moment before standing upright. His spinal column protested when he turned to the horned creature still subject to his will, squatting in a corner of the room. He felt its hatred gnawing at the tattooed bars on its skin, but these would last a long time. The solution was there.

- If one was not enough... Morisburg ! He whistled.

- Master, he replied immediately as he advanced.

- You're going hunting again. Do whatever you want, manipulate and kill whoever you want, but bring me back a dozen women as soon as possible. Now ! Now !

With a sharp eye, he guessed that it was useless to argue and bowed low before turning the heels without losing a moment.

The young woman watched him leave without saying a word.

- Go and prepare two more skeletons for me, he spit without looking at her. Have them ready for Morisburg's return with the girls.

The necromancer's eyes creased. It took her more than a day to prepare the first bounded bloodletter to carve out all the spiritual bonds... But she remained silent and prepared to imitate her companion of misfortune when the vampire added :

- Don't disappoint me any more Castille, where I would take special care to drink in your skull.

She smiled lightly before disappearing into the sticky corridors. Continuing to grumble, Scleras turned to the chained demon. So much effort, so much manipulation and so much research to get there...



*​


Repeated blows pulled him out of an already restless sleep. Shaking his head, John carried his hand with the pistol on his bedside table and went to open the flaps on which someone was still hitting. Ready to pass a serious blower to the idiot hitting there, he suddenly remembered that he was on the third floor of his smooth walled building. When he threatened an owl, this one only tilted his head sideways and looked at him with his big round eyes. The light of day was running along his face in the shade.

- A... owl, he cursed while casting a black look at the nocturnal bird of prey.

He prepared to repel the bird when the eye pupil of the bird suddenly became scarlet. He leapt inside and avoided the projectile which, however, russeted his plumage.

The animal landed on the edge of the bed, observing him with its unusual eyes and did not squint when the barrel landed between them. He clapped his mouth and a voice that had nothing of an animal coming out of his throat.

- We must speak, human.



*​


- Wait a minute, claimed the priest whose hammer on his knees was glowing faintly. If I understand correctly, you claim to have come to eliminate the person responsible for the disappearances in this city.

- More or less, conceded the bewitched animal whose head turned on its axis, looking at Brandit.

- Why should we believe you? Grounded the fire magician in a threatening tone, sitting with his arms crossed in the window's cable to prevent the creature from fleeing.

- Because we are the only hope for the inhabitants of this city, replied the bird without hesitation. As we speak, one of the necromancer's two apprentices is capturing other womens across the streets. He already did it the day before. The result was that unnatural abomination you could see.

- Right now ? hiccupped Dave who stopped writing down everything that was said.

- Where? Valent cried out in an urgent tone, the local military officer leaping from his corner of the wall to lean over the bird.

- Too far away for you to do anything for them, the bird calmly replied raising its head to keep looking at the other person.

- How does he take his victims so easily ? John asked in a calm tone as the soldier flip-flopped and shouted helplessness.

- It is not a classic necromancer even for us, the bird explained with gravity. This man manipulates magic winds that have nothing to do with death.

- And he is not the only one apparently, Leon murmured, the second apprentice of the repurgator to whom the bird turned while squinting.

- That would explain a lot, especially the eight-pointed star-shaped fingerprint under the other woman's skin, Dave thought about it in a quick way.

- But what does this guy look like ? taken Valent back. We must be able to find out what it is...

- Its appearance changes every time he appears in the sun. You will not be able to identify him, replied the owl in a casual tone.

Valent snarled as Rechald came to hold his shoulder, inviting him to sit down and let John continue the conversation.

- Let's get to the facts vampire, he said as he landed in front of the predator. Why contact us?

- Because we have a common goal : you want to eradicate the evil that is eating away at this city, we want the head of the one who started it.

John nodded his head, inviting him to continue.

- You have seen the aberration they have succeeded to spawn. None of you are big enough to face it and everything suggests that there will be a second one by nightfall.

Tristofan got his arms straight when he heard these words, while all colours left the faces of Valent and Dave.

- You are very presumptuous, Brandit said in a deep voice.

- Realistic, nuanced the bird. The best of us has scraped through the whole city and...

The bird had a jolt, John frowning. With a dry movement the animal's head turned to the priest and a new, more aggressive voice came out of its beak :

- I'm the one who scrambled with this crap. I executed it about fifty times, but nothing is likely to send it back to nothing, not even beheading. How long do you think you would have stood before one of the champions of the god of skulls, made immortal in our world by a witchcraft that combines demonology and necromancy?

The priest answered nothing, but raised his head. In silence he felt for a moment a certain respect for this monster.

- How do you plan to deal with this ? continued John who was trying to stay focused and calm both sides.

- The demon ended up drinking blood, replied the first interlocutor through the bird. You know this is a vector of its power. So they don't have unlimited regeneration. If we exhaust their energy, they will eventually return to the void. But if you embarrass us again, we can't eradicate this evil.

- What do you propose in this case? questioned Tristofan with a voice that did not hide his anger. That we let you walk around the city without having to...

- Why did I contact you? Breathed the bird with a voice that betrayed his anger. The best way to hope we don't kill each other by trying to kill this crap is to fight together. We didn't kill any villagers here and you immediately tried to eliminate us.

The bird's plumage inflated as it breathed in deeply.

- All of us who deserve to die may not be the monsters, he said in a trembling voice of anger.

Dave had a hiccups, a glow of fear animating his eyes. His reaction reflected the general discomfort of humans who were talking with a nocturnal bird of prey.

- So what do you propose ? John calmly repeated, drawing a light smile that confused his companions.

- We will take care of the demons that he will release, the bird said after a moment of staring at him. We'll lure them to the surface. Take advantage of this to find the necromancer's lair and cut off the evil at the root. But for this to happen, at least one part of the city would have to be evacuated, where demons could regenerate at leisure.

- This is...

- It will be done, cut John with a black look at the fire magician.

- The enemy of my enemy is my friend, said Dave whose face lit up.

- Not really, sliced the undead. You killed one of our brothers in arms and blood, the first son of Manesh' k whose word I transmitted. The second the necromancer's head rolls to the ground, you will be next on the list, he continued threateningly. The magician, the priest and the man in the hat will pay.

- You...

- Understood, vampires, John replied, interrupting the fire magician again.



*​


- We'll meet you after dark, Gilnash concluded, breaking his bond with the bird.

- Their heads are mine, growled Harkon, holding his sword.



*​


- I tell you that this is an ambush, Tristofan insisted in annoying himself. They made it clear that they would skin us at the earliest opportunity!

John did not seek to contradict this point and quietly sat back on the poorly lit street wall. He himself had heard the bird's words. Nevertheless, their behaviour was unprecedented. From the memory of a repurgator, never a living dead man had offered his help to a mortal. Other questions also remained unanswered. Didn't they really have anything to do with all these disappearances? Why did they fought the bloodletters and what where this tattoos he wore? How many were there and what threats were hanging over the city ? Finally, out of curiosity rather than necessity, what were these different castes of vampire and why were they fighting each other?

A roar from above interrupted his thoughts. Furiously flapping wings and screaming with anger, a true flying swarn flew over the rooftops. Bats, owls, falcons, ravens... A variety of flying beasts dominated them from the air.

- John... frightened Dave, the youngest of his apprentices.

Tristofan set his two fists on fire with a heavy look of reproach to the repurgator as the priest's hammer gradually lit up.

- Just stay calm, John said as he got up. They're just checking that we didn't ambush them.

He calmly adjusted his hat on his skull and looked up to observe the ballet of these creatures.

Tristofan, he began, do you feel a wind trouble?

Officer Valent frowned without understanding, but the magician answered quickly.

- There is indeed a presence, difficult to perceive, hovering among its birds. But no fate binds them. They are there of their own free will.

- Interesting...

As they all stared intensely at the roaring cloud, a shadow suddenly fell in the midst of humans. The shock of its reception on the cobblestones was perfectly audible despite the noise. Three soldiers drew their weapons and the fire magician extended his arm, ready to set the intruder on fire, but John stood between them and the undead.

The vampire in dark armor slowly straightened up, intensely observing each of the humans facing him, ignoring those in his back. He plunged his scarlet gaze into the repurgator's face. With a grimace he cured and swung about himself, looking at the faces of each of his allies under the circumstances.

- You are Manechke I guess, declared John with gravity.

- Manesh' k, rectified a second undead, receiving himself with much more lightness.

They were so focused on the first intruder that they stopped looking at the swirl of birds. The newcomer was not wearing the imposing armor of his companion, but an outfit resembling old and chiselled leather, much lighter than metal.

- And you are our interlocutor, replied John, who recognized the owl's voice.

Gilnash nodded his head before looking at his brother in arms, who remained impassive. As if their common madness had suddenly dissipated, the flying creatures flew away and gradually disappeared into the night.

- How many of you are there? Asked Tristofan.

- There are three of us, Manesh' k replied in a growl.

Immediately the majority of the men raised their heads to the roof to see that the last vampire had remained perched in the heights. He wiped his lips and and with a resigned sigh let himself fall.

- The sooner we finish this, the sooner I could avenge our brother, he grumbled with an insistent look towards the priest who gave him back his face.

- It's going to be a long night, Manesh' k cursed while raising his eyes to the moonless sky.
 
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Oct 5, 2017
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39
#17
Thank you Count Vashra. Here is the next, just translated.

Fire and Blood
Chapter 7

Manesh' k opened the walk in the damp channel, his eyes shining in front of the torches. Humans followed him with a far less reassuring approach, regularly tripping over garbage hidden by the dirt in which they all waded.

- I would not have thought that such an underground network was beneath this city, complained one of Rechald's soldiers as he gnawed his nostrils.

- Silence, requested the fire magician just in front of him.

As they reached a high crossroads that allowed them to get out of the mud, Gilnash answered the sorcerer.

- From the moment we entered these galleries it is futile to be silent. They know where we are.

- What do you mean? The same soldier marveled as he climbed the steps, finding himself facing the vampire.

- Because a spirit haunts these places and soon had to bring everything back to his master.

John cast a questioning glance at the priest who was closing the walk with the last undead man. He shrugged his shoulders, indicating that he had not felt any presence. An angry look at his luminous battle hammer reminded him again that the presence of their new friends made his powers of perception useless. Tristofan nodded that he hadn't seen anything either. The repurgator bowed his extravagant hat while making a face. He hated that kind of situation. But the sparkle that illuminated his eyes betrayed the pleasure he had in hunting.

- We are not very far from where we met the demon, Manesh' k said, observing the fork with intensity. Start monitoring the vaults.

- The vaults? Repeated Tristofan without understanding.

- Yes, the vaults damned...

- The bloodletter was hanging on the walls like a spider, Gilnash explained, cutting off his friend to avoid the argument that would follow.

- Speaking of vaults... said Rechald.

Everyone looked up at the sloping ceiling, which the captain was lighting by raising his torch high. An eight-pointed star intertwined with secular runes was engraved in the mortar, dominating the group.

- What the hell is that? Tristofan wondered as he stood on his toes.

- That wasn't there when we last came by, Gilnash warned, catching him by the shoulder.

As if the evil trap had precisely awaited this reaction, a wave swept away the symbol. The material rippled as when a fish grazed the surface of a pool and a fissure cracked the star in an inhuman cry.

- Get out of the way ! John shouted as the rift stretched out along the way.

Yet the veteran soldiers panicked at the thought of being buried alive when the first pieces of rock fell. These rocks reveal knotty tentacles gushing out of the stone, making their way through the cement and causing landslide.

- By Sigmar! Brandit cried as he retreated back on the vampire as several soldiers were thrown into the mud.

Shooting at him a sounded soldier, John saw the fire magician lighting up his fists while cursing the creature. The sorcerer dropped on the beast a crackling fireball that exploded against what was left of the ceiling, causing the passage to collapse completely.



*​

- Perfect ! Perfect perfect perfect ! Gloated the emaciated vampire jumping from one foot to the other.

In front of his eyes the mist gallery had just collapsed on the intruders. Some of them had been buried, while others, wrapped in dust, were strenuously extracted. The Morisburg trap had separated them into three groups, five individuals including a child in the mired conduit.

- Where are Abhorash's sons? He asked, finding his serious appearance as quickly as he had leapt with joy.

- There is a vampire in each group, replied the disembodied voice of a child from all directions. Manesh' k is with the repurgator.

- Perfect so, Scleras continued, observing the three groups so formed carefully as the ghost tried to reconstitute.



*

- John ! John, can you hear me ? John !

- ...don't tire yourself kid, the vampire said in a tone of voice that summed up his interest in the teenager.

Dave turned around and took off a black look at the undead, which returned his gaze with indifference.

- He's right, my boy, tempered the priest as he approached the pile of rubble blocking their access to the platform where their companions were. We're gonna have to wade around for a while and find another access.

Opposing the two adults, a weak voice came to them from the other side. So they kept quiet.

- ... good. Continue and try... another access... grouping together... coming up to the surface...

The repurgator was barely audible. However, it was enough to reassure the boy.

- He's alive, he whispered with a smile.

- Luther, don't be a jerk, said a new voice from the other side, much more imperative.

- Luther? The two humans marvelled at each other, before turning to the vampire who smiled up to the ears, all fangs out.

- I think he speaks of me, he explained to them with a natural destabilizing.



*​


- I don't think there are any other survivors buried under there, said Manesh' k critically, the soldier hehad just released rubble lying inert at his feet.

John made a face, but recovered quickly. Things were not going as planned at all.

- Let's go, he ordered darkly.

Of the twenty soldiers, from Nuln and Grissenwald, only nine were with him. The others were either in the other galleries or buried under tons of dirt and rock.

He led the group and they rushed into the gallery by the torchlight. After a few minutes he asked the vampire:

- I suppose Luther is the third of your companions, because the one which communicates with the birds seems to be far too quiet for such a warning. Is he a threat to my mens ?

Manesh' k studied for a moment the human being who was watching him over his shoulder. He was of course asking him such a straightforward question.

- Yes, indeed. And to be honest, only Luther could answer that question. He's pretty... unpredictable. And he... don't move any more, he suddenly ordered.

Bending his eyes, John stood still and looked into the darkness. On his guard, however he had the revolvers pointed in his back, hidden by his ample coat.

- Our paths separate here humans, taken up Manesh' k then two pairs of luminous eyes had just appeared outside the field of torches, hanging on the ceiling. I'm fulfilling my part of the deal, fill yours.

Manesh' k unsheathed his blade and passed John. He rushed into the darkness while caterwauling as a cat. John grimaced as the first inhumane cries resounded in the shadows. Without wasting any time, he in turn moved forward and found what he was looking for : a parallel corridor that would take him and his men away from the monsters in battle.



*

- Stop, Gilnash ordered, spreading his arms apart to prevent them from continuing.

- What is it...?

The sorcerer did not finish his sentence, while a guttural growl echoed in the hallway. Suddenly much less reassured, the five soldiers behind them firmed up their grips on their weapons. An orange glow gradually illuminated an intersection of corridors they hadn't noticed.

In a slow, measured step, the devil presented itself to them, its two long incandescent blades in its fists. It was covered with dark tattoos that seemed to wave over its body as it snuck around, its long horns sweeping the air under the vault. It shoved its tongue towards them and curled up, ready to jump.

Gilnash swore and unsheathed his own sword. To his surprise, Captain Rechald did likewise and stood by his side, visibly determined to fight it out.

- No need to wait any longer, Tristofan let go by sending a long stream of flames to the creature without warning.

The heat released caused the two fighters to retreat as the whole passage was set on fire. In a furious rumble the bloodletter gushed out of the flames and struck its blades in a V-shape, driving its weapons into the ground where Rechald and Gilnash had been held the second before. With its body full of flames, it avoided the vampire's thrusting before swirling on itself. The captain's sword was removed from the first parry and the second sword left a bubbling furrow on his chest, while the undead was thrown against the soldiers by a vicious kick of the creature. It regained its support by growling at him. Its tongue whipped the air just under his throat.

Rechald closed his eyes while grinning. But when the heat flooded his face he understood that his hour had not arrived. Taking the risk of going hand-to-hand, Tristofan had put a left hook on the demon. Dissipating the flames, he clawed and carried his hand to his bruised phalanges.

- This filth is as hard as a piece of iron ! he spat with anger.

The bloodletter rose and shouted again. It caterwauled again and ran... before abruptly stopping in its swing. It curled up on itself, in the throes of some suffering that confused the fighters shaken by its assault. After a last bad look, it turned around and disappeared, running in the hallway from which it came, its sword disappearing by magic.

- What's that, cursed the sorcerer as he stepped forward in pursuit of it.

However, a soldier from Grissenwald overtook him, excited by the flight of their enemy and stood in the passageway where it had disappeared. He was thrown backwards so violently that Tristofan, who was on his heels, stumbled backwards. Harboured, he looked up at the soldier nailed to the wall by a multitude of bone spikes about ten inches long. The surprise was still visible in the eyes of the deceased.

- Move ! Move ! the vampire roars as he leaps towards him.

Tristofan turned to him without understanding. And his sixth sense, the same one that allowed him to manipulate the flames at will, suddenly panicked in him. He leapt on his feet as the dirt on the ground swirled around him, the only warning that he had magic at work. The vampire's hand closed on air, the fire sorcerer being literally sucked into the ground by the evil spell.

Gilnash punched the floor with his fists. He left the fingerprints of his gloves in the dust, the soil having regained its normal solidity, as if nothing had happened. He swore.

- Well well well, here are some words for a proud soldier like you, sounded a raspy voice from the hallway.

Gilnash straightened up in a flash, while the humans remained frozen, caught up in the sudden death of their companion and the disappearance of the mighty fire sorcerer. With a measured step, the necrarch finally revealed himself to them.



*​


- Right this way ! resonated a voice in one of the corridors they hadn't explored in the first passage.

Brandit and Luther exchanged eyes. The vampire shrugged his shoulders and the sigmarite rushed into this new duct, Dave standing back. Guided by the voice, they arrived at a large room where several pipes flowed, reminding them that they were in the sewers of a city of good size. All the water flowed in a larger conduit, presumably leading to the river alongside Grissenwald. Strolling down the nauseating gutters, they finally arrived in front of a man of banal appearance, separated from him by a rusty grill locking his hallway and preventing them from reaching him.

- What are you doing here, boy? questioned Brandit with suspicion.

The man, dressed in a light shirt and dirty pants, looked indecisive and raised his hands as a friendly sign.

- I was just looking for someone to open this door that blocks my path to continue my journey, and I heard you, he explained simply.

- In the sewers? Dave surprised himself, frowning his eyebrows.

- Is that a crime?

A smirk from the vampire, left behind, interrupted them.

- You are so naive you poor humans... I know that this stinking place blurs your senses, but still ! He reeks of rotten flesh !

Forbidden, Brother Brandit and Dave turned to the man who gave them a big smile. At the same moment, the hammer held by the sigmarite illuminated, having nothing more comparable with the gentle heat generated by the presence of the vampire. Morisburg showed them his wrist as they retreated carefully. His face froze, and with a spongy crackling, his forearm twisted in two like a new articulation had formed, which caused even the undead to startle. The skin blistered and swelled, swelling up as a light fur swelled its muscles quickly. With a last morbid crack, he presented them again with his enlarged limb, now as wide as his torso. All amusement had deserted Luther's face, and he unleashed his sword and feigned, showing his fangs.

On a careless lapel, the layman swept away the bursting grid and stood upright in front of them. From his normal arm, he ripped his shirt without difficulty, revealing an imposing star-shaped scar on his torso, and the horrible mutation continued. He screamed as his ribs and clavicles cracked under the pressure of his growing organs. Huge black veins carried some unholy magics to his increasingly enlarged muscles.

The colossus charged with a diabolical vivacity and gratified the intruders with a tackling of unprecedented violence. Brandit was the only one to avoid the collide and fell backwards as the three belligerent men plunged into the cloudy water in a splash that dipped the stunned priest.

- Dave ! he screamed as he rushed to the water's edge.

The unfathomable depths were stirred by swirls as a flood of bubbles rose to the surface, witnessing the struggle he could not see. They were soon accompanied by a scarlet flow. The priest bowed his head, the boy's death affecting him more than he would have liked. Squeezing his teeth he straightened up and firmed his grip on his hammer, watching for the reddish water that suddenly wiggled. In a new splash the head of the vampire emerged. Without waiting for a moment or taking a breath, he rushed to the edge and hurriedly climbed, the sword at his fist.

The priest did not ask what happened to Dave or by what evil spell the undead managed to stay underwater for a minute and how he got out of there with the weight of his heavy armor. He read a feeling he never thought he would see in the apples of such an arrogant being : panic.

A disproportionate hand grabbed the edge and the titan, at least three metres high, climbed up and faced them, dripping with blood and silt. He gratified them with a hideous smile as they retreated cautiously. He charged again, sweeping the pavement of the left arm. If Luther managed to get underneath, Brandit was thrown into the wall and hit it hard enough to feel each of his vertebrae clapping against the others. Roaring, the vampire gifted Morisburg with a new twist from shoulder to hip.

As an insect is being crushed, the enormous creature tried to flatten Luther against the ground, crushing the cobblestones under the force of the blow, but could not hurt him. Chasing away the fear of such a demonstration of power, the vampire deeply cut into this right arm whose fist raised a cloud of dust. Growling in anger, Morisburg grabbed him with his other hand as if it were a rag doll and struck him against the wall with a blow that shook the vault. He pounded himself to strike again and mashed the undead despite his armor. But it was without counting the intervention of Brother Brandit who struck the hammer on the shoulder of the colossus, strong enough to make him stumble.

As he rumbled, Morisburg turned to face him while the priest reversed the rotation of his heavy war hammer. He began a sigmarite psalm when he struck the knee of the unbeliever. He shouted a cry of pain as he collapsed on his wounded leg, the kneecap pulverized by the shock, and dropped the undead man out of action. Continuing his litany, Brandit struck at the temple his enemy who dodelled from the head with a groggy look.

But before the sigmarite managed to smash his skull, the giant pushed him back with a flicker as if he were chasing away a stubborn insect, throwing the priest several meters further away.

Totally sounded and his ribs sore, he heard more than he saw the behemoth rise up painfully, carried by some evil spells. Brandit did not struggle when he was caught by the leg and dragged to the ground, the cobblestones scratching the skin of his shaved skull. By reflex he clung to his hammer, the world continued to swing around him. Internally he begged Sigmar to grant him a quick death. When his hammer was taken from him, he could only protest weakly. Then he was sent to roll on the ground.

- This shit is burning me ! he heard Luther swearing.

A first deaf blow came to him, that of the mass breaking the stone. Then a second, quickly caught up with Morisburg's cry of anger. The third hammer blow to the vault of the pipe that had brought them to the main hall, weakened by the mastodon's shots, completed the work and the passage collapsed.
 
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Oct 5, 2017
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39
#19
Yeah i'm not going easy on this poor sorcerer. But well. He deserved it : he burnt my general's first son to the ground !

So, here is the chapter 8. Quickly translated this one i admit. Feel free to notice strange sentences if you found some...



Fire & Blood
Chapter 8



He parried the first blade with his own sword before jumping to the back of his opponent. Immediately the second demon mowed the place where he was before. Manesh'k devoured the frame into a confused ball and roll and managed to leap on the opposite roof. Several tiles fell into the street three levels below as he regained his balance on the gutter. This one protested under his weight, so he climbed cautiously higher before returning to the two demons.

In extremis he took a side step to avoid the blade that slit the tiles like butter in a panache of dust. He gave a punch from the left to the creature who nodded its head for a moment.

Manesh' k bounced quickly to the top of the building to keep the two butcher in his field of view. The second one passed heavily through the tiles joining them on this side of the street, sinking down to the bust into the room below. It could have been funny with the elongated skull and two twisted horns, all covered with scarlet scales and strange dark tattoos. But the spark of hatred in the monster's incandescent gaze spoke for itself about its intentions.

He had not planned to face the two puppets of the Necrarch alone, but this meant that Gilnash, Luther and their allies would have the field free. However, this plan implied that he would manage to survive the two unleashed demons until their summoner died. Moreover, he wondered if, with the spells of which they were affixed, killing the invocator would be enough to banish them.

He was also unable to determine which one he had faced the day before : they were both slightly different, but how to know with demons ? He widened his eyes with amazement at a detail. Neither of the two corresponded, but more importantly, they fought with only one sword each, while the other used two.

- How many of those bastards did you create ? He squeaked in his beard as he received the charge from one of them.

*​

Raising his torch high, John looked with a certain distance at the layer of bones lining the corridor they were exploring. Each of their steps cracked this white mattress, raising pungent dust. Almost all of the limbs were broken and even the most talented necromancer would have some difficulty in lifting them. He had the intuition that their new allies were no strangers but kept his suspicions to himself.

Fear in the stomach, Leon followed his mentor with quick glances at the split skulls as they watched him pass through their empty orbits.

A breeze of fresh air gently blew into the duct. The flame carried by John shook as the handful of soldiers who followed him quivered.

- John... John... I've been waiting for you...

The languorous voice was carried by the breath, but each of them perceived it as if the words had been whispered in their ears. Many of the men flip-flopped, surprised. The murmur became amused laugh. The soft, feminine voice mocked them.

- You are not here in your place... she continued.

- Don't listen to her, John said as he kept moving forward. She's just trying to scare us.

- Well, it worked, replied a man in a trembling voice.

The repurgator had a grin of exasperation but said nothing, examining a perpendicular corridor, empty. However, a ringing sound caught his attention. He went in, raising his torch as high as the ceiling permitted. Several soldiers froze as he revealed an ancient armor of rust-eaten breastplate, standing upright in front of them. The joints of the harness and the holes in the harnish revealed a mummified body with prominent bones. Its face was concealed by a mask of chain mail, orange-coloured and muddy meshes. A new breeze brought them the strong smell of oxide and dirt that he was emitting.

- None of you... will see the daylight again... prophesied the voice with the sweetness of a caress.

The undead man then lifted up his arm and carried it to his harness. He unveiled a blade devoured by time and pointed it in their direction.

Suddenly a detonation broke out in the confined space. The men shook their heads, stunned by the shot. This had no effect on the ancient warrior who walked towards them in a slow and heavy step. The shadows animated around them from both sides. A soldier frowned with fear as he turned his heels to hear the spongy and mechanical footsteps from which they came.

John grimaça. They were going to be far too many for his two holy water flask. Tristofan and Brother Brandit would have been of great help to them.

*​

Spitting and coughing, he tried to progress in the darkness. He tried to remain calm in the face of the oppressive feelings of claustrophobia and despair that beset him. The ceiling was barely more than a metre high and the stagnant water left an air pocket with only a few fingers. Tristofan Tisseron, Altdorf's fiery fire sorcerer, had his heart set on the edge of his lips, but nevertheless tried to keep hope alive. But it wasn't just crumbling water running down his cheekbone.

He was baking his own cheek and forehead to breathe, the back on fire because of its uncomfortable position, lost in an aquatic labyrinth and darkened several meters below the surface. Only the anger he felt towards his executioner and the assurance that others were looking for him kept him from drowning. It would have been so easy... He had to believe in his chances of finding a way out. He had to.

*​

Gilnash quickly rolled out of the ground again into fluid mud. Circular movements proved that he would have been sucked underground as the sorcerer had been. He lifted his head up and noticed that another rain of splinters was melting over him. Once again, it had to roll under cover to avoid being shredded.

An arrow whistled in the hallway before reaching its target with a dull sound. The necromancer lowered his eyes to the wooden stick extending to the right of his torso. Anger rather than amazement distorted his wrinkled features as he pointed to the archer of his crooked fingers, similar to bird claws.

A loud scream ripped the sewers apart and the humans fell to their knees, hands on their ears. A violent blast of air swept through the group of intruders. Before they straightened up, an emaciated silhouette became clearer beside Scleras and rushed to his victim. A soldier tried to strike a blow at the translucent appearance, but he felt as if he was hitting a breeze. All heat deserted his wrist, so much so that his gun slipped from his numb fingers.

The spectre rose in front of the terrified soldier, who a second one could see a woman's face, horribly disfigured and with her throat slashed. The next moment she hugged him in her mortal embrace, taking off from the ground screaming a new high cry. The creature from beyond the grave dragged him into the darkness faster than his friends could have followed. The wretched man's screams of terror mingled with the shrill complaint for long seconds before being suddenly smothered. The scene unfolded so quickly that she left the invaders stunned. The Necrarch snatched the arrow from his flesh with a careless gesture. His face deformed by time and deprivation now looked confident and serene.

- Monster! Captain Rechald shouted suddenly as he rushed to the living dead.

- Do not...

Before Gilnash could intervene, the necromancer was slipped under the soldier's raised arm. He grabbed it by the throat and lifted it from the ground despite its frail size, his feet pedaling in the air. Scleras opened his mouth wide as Rechald dropped his gun and grabbed the monster's wrist, looking for breath. The undead spit out a thick greenish cloud in the face of the already suffocating soldier. The little air he managed to breathe in was filled with this stale gas, while Scleras took the time to enjoy the fear and suffering visible on the human face.

Gilnash's blade made no distinction between stunted flesh and ancient bones. He slit the vampire's arm neatly at the elbow in a splash of black hemoglobin. Scleras screamed, looking at his stump with horror as Gilnash pulled the captain convulsing towards the few soldiers still alive. The Necrarch had fished out of overconfidence but was not about to make such a mistake again.

*​

The Grissenwald shipyard was the driving force behind the town, with most of the businesses having some connection to it. It produced warships, large fighting ships that then descended the Reik and travelled down the river to the ocean. But it also produced commercial vessels and, more rarely, pleasure boats ordered by wealthy clients. It was on this one that the workers of yard C were busy. They had a delay of several months to catch up on their contract and a night shift had been hired to try to fill.

However, a bestial howl interrupted their work. This one came from the mainland, but was so full of hatred, so inhumane that men looked at each other on the main deck. Even the foreman turned away from the plans he was consulting for the umpteenth time. A new, closer cry ripped the night away. From experience he knew that his men would make little progress on the finishes until nobody had silenced the jerk at the origin of this noise. Pestering against the inns that let their drunks roam the streets without remorse, he walked a determined step to the ramp. He leaned over and tried to determine the direction in which these cries came from.

In a scarlet flash he was caught by the face and swung overboard without having time to scream. It was too much for the crew who had their eyes on him. It was a panic when the bloody red creature hoisted up on board and rushed to the nearest worker who turned his heels, clawed all the way out. With an orange sword it cut off his back and he collapsed screaming. The next moment he was shaken with jolts and eviscerated.

A second creature, in turn, crossed the ledge and swept the chaotic ship out of sight. Not one man was thinking of stopping the monsters, all hitting the scaffolding. Some of them threw themselves into the water screaming. One of them, panicked, did not notice the pit planned for their lifter and fell to the lower level. Nor did anyone notice the third individual on board. He grunted and threw himself on the nearest creature, blasting his blade with his hands.

- There's no way I'm letting you regenerate, he roars.

He nested the demon who had a jitter, the Lahmian blade coming out of thirty good centimetres in his back. Manesh' k picked up the bloodletter and looked for the second one. It fell on him and before the vampire reacted, they both flipped over to the bottom deck of the ship through a section of boards that had not yet been secured.

Sounded, weakened, the creature on the bridge rose up painfully. The magic that chained the demon in this world shrank with each wound suffered and it began to feel the call of its own dimension. Nevertheless, it gazed at the last sailors on the highest scaffolding and, picking up its sword, rushed straight at them.

Further down the battle between the demon and the vampire was raging. Both had lost their weapons and were struggling with what fell to their hands: planks, toolboxes, nail bags... Several torches flew and when they reached the stored canvases and especially the tar stockpile, a fire broke out. Manesh' k avoided a strike and replied with a right punch on the snap of its nose, which cracked under his steel-tipped gloves. The evil demon tried to scratch him with a reverse, but the vampire was quicker and dodged before catching one of its spiral horns. He used this grip to beat the already weakened creature's abdomen with knee kicks before sending it to fly against a beam.

Confident, he approached quickly. With a flare of anger, the demon suddenly rose and charged with a fist raised. Manesh' k realized with horror that its arm was covered with an orange glow that did not come from the flames and plunged backwards. He avoided as he could the incandescent sword, re-invoked by the bloodletter, and gathered a long reddish furrow along his left flank. He rolled in the carpenter's equipment and got up out of reach. He was in one piece and his armor held, but he should at all costs avoid a new madness of this kind. And he had to quickly put his hand back on his weapon.

He plunged behind a beam that burst into a flock of splinters and ran to the other end of the level, frantically looking for his sword. He swore to have been so negligent, going so far as to confront this offspring of the skull lord in bare hand combat. He passed under the crane where a heavy load of beams and canvas was piled up and advised the body on the ground. He threw the unconscious carpenter into the face of the devil, who stopped for a moment to stab the unfortunate man. It tore the bloody body out of its blade and looked for the undead. The lifter then collapsed on top of it and it was buried under its load, passed through the floor and disappeared into the hold.

Manesh'k blew into the darkness for a moment. It had to be played tightly, but the monster's bestial instinct had been the reason for his focus. He knew it would take more than that to defeat the demon, but he was neutralized for a while. Long enough for him to find his sword. He found it under a pile of debris that the flames were beginning to lick when he felt his hair bristling on his skull. He straightened up immediately, ready to jump when the demon appeared.

However, he was caught off guard. An intense purple light shone in front of him and dazzled him from nowhere. A violent crash shook the ship itself as he protected his sensitive eyes and was blown violently astern. He stumbled and staggered, taking care to tighten the guard of his sword. And suddenly the light faded as mysteriously as it had appeared, but Manesh' k could see nothing for long seconds, completely blinded.

He remained alert, ready to respond to the slightest threat, but nothing attacked him. Not even the enormous mass that fell under this light protection when he could hear it moving perfectly around him. And for good reason, he managed to distinguish a good thirty barrels that were rolling on the floor, some of them torn apart by their fall. However, there were no other openings on the ceiling than that of the lifter and where they had fallen.

- What the...

If he had been alive, his blood would have frozen in his veins. As the flames began to devour the building, he saw the dark powder vomiting from one of the barrels bursting from the impact.

*​

He didn't wear a sheath on his hip, and yet his rapier sang every time he hit the deads. John knew well that it was better to show savagery than to be subtle against such a mass of brain-dead enemies, but it was not really the ideal weapon. He also knew that their fight was lost in advance if they did not stop the evil at its source. They had to find the puppetmaster, the necromancer who coordinated all these creatures.

He avoided an axe blow, which an ancient guard in full armour assented him and rose quickly to his back. The repurgator slid his blade through the rusty meshes protecting the neck gap between helmet and chest and blew the head off the skeleton. However, this did not stop him, the undead man was not embarrassed and turned to split him in two. John once again avoided the blow of a roll and bounced, a flask in his fist. He poured the contents into the animated armor and twisted his wrist aside. The detonation of the pistol concealed in its handle ignited the spilled oil, transforming the skeleton into a huge moving torch.

John straightened up and walked through the chaotic melee again, finally having enough light to appreciate the evolution of the battle. Leon held in respect an enemy whom he disarmed and plugged before carefully retreating out of reach. The repurgator did not spend much time on it, he had trained him properly. Together repurgator and soldiers fought valiantly to defend the crossroads where they stood, but their fight was futile. They would end up drowning. Already two men were lying under a group of dead men hanging on their bodies.

- We've got to move ! he shouted to make himself heard over the noise of fighting.

He then noticed on one side the captain ashore, an opponent arming his shot to finish him off. With speed honouring the order of the repurgator, John had his rope flying at the end of which he had previously prepared a noose. The lasso made a perfect ellipse, encompassing the chipped sword and closing on the wrist of bone that could not bear its blow.

- Over here dude, he squeaked as he pulled a big pull on his rope.

He literally tore off the arm of the skeleton, which no muscle attached to the body. The undead man tripped to John, who picked him up on the fly with a pommel punch andt hrew him spinning his way back over two of his fellow men. Valent, the still haggard gaze, saw under his nose the gloved hand of his savior and grabbed him to stand up.

- Let's not stay here, said John as if nothing had happened.

He was already rewinding his rope to slip it into an inner pocket while watching the other skeletons approaching. He squeezed the soldier from the elbow but he did not move.

- Valent what...

When he swung over he could only see horror. A woman out of nowhere stood on the other side of the guard and gave him a charming smile. Her eyes were surrounded and her blond hair in mess, but that wasn't what paralyzed John. She gently removed her dagger from the soldier's ear and stepped back, her short dress floating against her thighs.

Valent dropped his sword and collapsed against the repurgator who let his own rapier fall to support him.

- Valent stays with me, listen to my voice and...

He added nothing more as the soldier's head swung backwards, his eyes reflecting the sad truth. The anger suddenly exploded in John Grenaille who looked for this woman, but she had already disappeared in the shadows leaving only a few footprints in the mud.

*​

- How... alive? asked the priest, slowly regaining his spirits, the glow of a torch allowing his vision to become clearer.

- 'dragged yourself behind me, replied the vampire in a raging voice.

Brandit slowly straightened up and held a scream of pain. His ribs had been severely hit by the abomination. He was in terrible shape.

He realized that what he had taken for a torch was his precious war hammer, which lay nearby and radiated an intense and warm glow.

- What about the other one? Has it been...?

- I don't think so, Luther went ahead as he stepped forward in the light. It was too... big to pass through the pipe... and too powerful to let it... bury it...

Brandit was amazed at the deplorable state in which his ally found himself. The top of his armor had been literally compressed and oozed in multiple points. It was obvious that moving was a real torture, the twisted metal biting the flesh at the slightest movement. Any individual would have been killed in such shocks. But Luther wasn't just any individual, he was already dead once. His mouth dripping with dark hemoglobin. He approached the priest with difficulty. He critically gauged it, not saying a word.

- I'm not gonna... die, Luther said. Just... to drink and... regenerate...

His gaze was fixed on Brandit. He had fortunately avoided any open fracture, but his skull skinned and chin was stained with blood. The vampire puckered his eyes in detail, causing a chill that went down all along the priest's back. Slowly he bent over to pick up his shiny war hammer, without leaving the undead eye.

- Thirst... regenerate... and kill...

Luther, don't be a jerk.

The vampire's eyes suddenly widened and he jumped up and flare with astonishing vivacity for his condition. The holy warrior's fingers closed on the handle of the weapon and he swept the air with a violent hammer. The undead man took the punch and rolled further along like a disarticulated puppet. In his haste to eliminate the religious he had not even drawn his sword, charging armed with his fangs and his anger only, like a wild beast.

- Fucking undead, spat Brandit while struggling to get up, leaning on his hammer. I knew you couldn't be trusted.

- Confidence? Luther repeated, making him startle.

When the vampire should finally have been put out of action, he turned his back with measured gestures and unchecked a look of hatred at the human being.

- I warned you and saved you... aberration....

- You let Dave be reduced to lint, Brandit roars as he throws his hammer into his fists.

Enough was enough for the undead who, with a pitiful frowning, avoided the blow of mass and ran into the dark corridors.

- Bloody, let go of the priest by taking his breath.

He wiped his temple still wet and his jaw tightened on a new surge of pain at his ribs.

- I have to find John...

*​

The power of the blast blew most of the sheds along the docks. Several burning beams were projected in all directions. The fire immediately began to spread to other construction sites. A flaming shape in turn crashed and bounced back several meters. Painfully, it knelt on it knees and shook it head, before realizing that the flames were devouring its shoulders. It rolled to the ground to turn them off and then straightened itself. After a few moments, the person went to pick up its sword, which it had dropped when it crashed. It grimaced as it watched the flames burn down the ship, at least what was left of it. Small detonations continued to ravage the building.

- What was that light, he grunts as he folds his sensitive eyes.

It was close for him to burn in that furnace. Was it one of the Necrarch's acolytes ? He seriously doubted it. They wouldn't have sacrificed one of their creations. And probably weren't able to create that kind of thing. He grinned and turned his heels. The appearance of barrels of black powder in a flash of light was not the first incomprehensible event with which he was confronted. And there was more urgency. Another demon was still prowling on the surface. Speaking of demon...

Manesh' k leapt backwards as the incandescent blade burst through the cobblestones where he once stood. He flared while the scaly creature was releasing its weapon. It turned his face towards the vampire and threatened him with its long tongue. The abomination gathered upon itself, ready to leap. Manesh' k went into motion first. The tattoed monster parried his vertical strike and pushed him back.

- You're alone now, roars the undead. How many times do I have to kill you to join the other horror ?

The demon ignored his threats and, in turn, attempted a vertical strike that he managed to dodge by one step. He struck his enemy's weapon, driving it deeper into the ground, then went upwards, sliding his blade over his opponent's blade. He split in two the red and black face of the monster who escaped his sword under shock. The vampire did not lose a moment. He slashed the muscular body from shoulder to hip, which staggered backwards. He did not waste time however, knowing full well that the demon would continue to rise until he had an ounce of power. Manesh' k went after the unarmed creature, which was retreating step by step, advancing with each strike to support his moves.

The vampire left a dark furrow on the scarlet abdomen, then followed by cutting off almost the left arm and opening the throat again with the same movement. He turned around like a spinning top and cut again, from the left hip to the opposite knees and slammed a real slap in the face with his bare hand to the overflowed creature rolling on the ground. Any notion of honour towards an opponent had disappeared in the vampire's mind. Only the enemy, who refused to die, was to be massacred. He cut off the back of the bloddletter whose body bounced every step of the way. His blows projected sketches of bones and pieces of scales in all directions. The growth of the skull and a horn quickly cracked and rolled to the ground. The gaps between the paving stones became small scarlet channels. He finally ricocheted against the stone, the flesh having been torn so much from the body by the raging vampire that the ground was visible through its viscera.

Manesh' k breathed for a moment, stepping back a few steps to observe the remains. After a few seconds, the body stirred again and the shredded flesh braided. Manesh' k put a face. How could him finish this creature once and for all ? He scanned their improvised arena with his eyes. The stalled carcass of the vessel continued to burn while the fire was wreaking havoc on the surrounding buildings. The flames extinguished on the debris falling on the docks, however, and dark silhouettes began to approach. Alert villagers began to approach without realizing the danger posed by the two monsters. Manesh'k's eyes rested on the demon's weapon and a smile stretched over his soot-stained face. He picked it up and, with a victorious grin, decapitated the deformed body with the incandescent sword. He nailed to the ground the body which was suddenly agitated with jolts, the demonic sword sinking into the ground. With a careless kick of a boot he rolled the head over the edge of the dock, tongue whipping like a hideous snake before being swallowed by the waves.

The corpse finally came to a standstill and before Manesh'k's eyes, the flesh removed itself from what it was likely the skeleton of the defeated. The scarlet fluids spread in a dark puddle that reflected the flames all around. Manesh' k then had the surprise of contemplating, for the first time, the body that served as the creature's structure. Although having a multitude of broken sections, he could admire the work done on each bone : meticulous arabesques and drawings had been carved from the skull to the phalanges of the feet, the ungodly symbols blending in with the Lahmnian scriptures that he was able to recognize. He retreated and, after observing this horror for a few more moments, turned to the city.

The two creatures weren't the one he faced the day before. They had proved to be formidable but slower, less skillful. Above all, he had killed the third more often than the two deceased put together. He had to join Luther and Gilnash.
 
Last edited:

Count Vashra

Lord of Shadows
True Blood
Joined
Sep 29, 2013
Messages
1,554
#20
Very good, as usual. I could cetainly imagine a vampire-demon battle taking forever due to both regenerating.

As for the translation...no real glaring errors, although I think the first sentence should be "He parried the first blade with his own sword..."
 
Joined
Oct 5, 2017
Messages
39
#21
Indeed. I'll correct this sentence right now. Ty.

To be exact, here Manesh'k don't regenerate at all. He just don't take any damage since he parry or dodge every attacks from the demons.

It's overpowered i can't disagree but still, if i remember right my own text, he got two major hit. One on the back of the leg and the other on torso, both more or less saved by his armor.
For a son of abhorash himself who travelled since the fall of Lahmia... i see really few guys who could handle him 1v1 without magic. A big guy need big opponents to make great stories ;..;
 

Count Vashra

Lord of Shadows
True Blood
Joined
Sep 29, 2013
Messages
1,554
#22
And that's the whole point, isn't it? Become a good enough fighter to kill something that will cure the blood thirst. Or just rack up credit. And a daemon would certainly be credit.
 
Joined
Oct 5, 2017
Messages
39
#23
Allright, let's keep going !

Fire & Blood
Chapter 9


Tristofan had followed the light air stream for what seemed like an eternity to him. He was still trapped underground, crumbling in the water and darkness, an ancient grid separating him from freedom. He couldn't see her, but he felt under his swollen fingers the bars devoured by rust. He clung to it and pulled as hard as he could, bowing his head under the water. The metal protested but did not give in. He bumped into the vault as he went up and breathed in stale air from the tips of his lips.

The magician knew that he could not make them yield, but refused to give in to despair. Tightening his palms against the bars, he tried to relax in spite of his painful position and sought within himself. Tristofan gathered his strength and channelled it into his wrists, which immediately warmed up. He squeezed his teeth as he also felt the water warm up. He couldn't make it. Trapped in the darkness, surrounded by water, the fire refused to come to him. He hadn't even managed to make the metal blush.

A scraping suddenly pulled him out of his defeatist reverie and he bowed his face in the water, sticking his ear to the grill. A new scratch came in from the surface. His heart went out of control and he could hardly help himself. He didn't know if it was a soldier or an enemy, if it wasn't just a rat... So he listened, silent in the darkness. The scrapings came closer, becoming steps that stopped above him. Then nothing more. Silence. The individual or creature above him remained invisible and motionless, which made Tristofan understand that the other person was also aware of his presence.

- Help...

- What a sweet irony... to find ourselves in these conditions, said a voice both breathless and mocking.

Tristofan felt his veins froze and swung in the water with a light flapping. He scratched his nose and felt his moustache rubbing against the rust, but ignored these details. Only the two red lights, almost two metres higher, mattered.

- If you knew... how happy I am... to find you there... said the vampire.

Tristofan was thinking fast. He had no way of knowing which undead man stood above him, but his intentions were clearly not warm. As a last resort, he concentrated the flow through his body once again. In vain. The water temperature rose slightly and that was it. He was completely at his mercy. He tried unsuccessfully to convince him to help him, but he barely opened his mouth when he drank the cup. In his panic he had not noticed the obvious pain that his interlocutor had to express himself.

- Claster was just my cousin... but I loved him like a brother.

Another movement suddenly caught the attention of the undead and the two glistening sloes disappeared for a moment.

Who goes there ? Questioned the vampire with authority, asking the question that had come to Tristofan's lips.

- Quiet Luther, it's just me, answered another voice, calmer, more laid back.

The two individuals exchanged a few words above the sorcerer whom he could not grasp, his already held hope crumbling with every heartbeat. Finally, two pairs of red eyes glistened above him.

- Wizard, you are lucky if I dare say so, said the newcomer whose gloved fingers scratched Tristofan's forehead through the gate.

He reflexed back and found himself underwater again. He stood up in panic and breathed a breath of fresh air. It took him a few seconds to realize that he was standing, no longer any grill holding him back. Looking bad, the sorcerer turned to the two liberators invisible to his eyes.


*​

With John Grenaille in the lead, the five survivors of the ambush were rushing down narrow corridors. They heard behind them the slow and mechanical steps of the bitter undead, unable to run but invading each corridor behind them. Every dead end would sign their death warrant.

- But how can a city like Grissenvald have larger sewers than Nuln?

They seemed to wander in the underground for an eternity, crossing without ceasing new intersections. Not to mention that they were probably circling around in this maze...

- This city was built on ruins themselves covering ruins, Leon estimated in response to his mentor from the tail of the group, eyes laid on different layers of bricks composing the walls.

John nodded. A crystalline laughter echoed in a corridor on their left, so John immediately popped right.

- But... laughter....

- It leads us to our loss, said John.

He stopped at a new cross. One more. The glow of the torches revealed beyond a room punctuated by columns of bricks crumbling under the weight of the vault.

- Go straight ahead, he ordered while backing back into the shadows.

The first one blinked and after a second nodded. A few seconds later, the lights of their torches disappeared at a new turn. John remained alone, hidden in the darkness and quickly caught his breath. This masquerade lasted too long and he was more determined than ever to put an end to Grissenvald's nightmares. He slipped his oil flask into a pocket and with an unheard rattle his two pistols stuck in his palms, and waited.

But silence remained his only companion. John grimaced. If the bone and iron puppets had stopped, it only meant one thing...

- Jooohn...

He made a flip-flop and fired, the bright flash engraving the woman's surprised face on his retinas. She had stood less than a meter away from him, even though he had hidden himself to surprise her. With his ear on the lookout, he looked into the darkness and hoped to detect movement.

- That wasn't very nice John, said Castille near his shoulder as he was shooting again, her face this time cracked with a big smile in his field of view.

Without waiting John swung and struck the darkness in his back. The grip of the pistol hit her with a dull noise. The woman hocked with pain and he heard her fall on her knees into the dirt. A further detonation towards the ground ignited the oil, and immediately a circle of flames surrounded them both.

The repurgator kept silence, the black look of Castille slipping on him without reaching him. Her temple was skinned where he hit her.

- The alteration of the senses is a capacity proper to the Grey Order, he declared when raising his pistols. It would have taken me a long time to notice this trick.

- And this one did you saw it?

The force of the blow propelled John through the arch. He curled up, his ribs on fire and completely stunned by the sudden assault.

- I like your explosions very much, said the deep voice of a mocking tone. Very handy to find out where you were.

*​

Leon stopped the three soldiers who, despite his young age, obeyed him. Both shots had resounded in the hallway, and no undead were approaching.

- He got it, he allowed himself to smile.

- Uh... Leon...

The boy turned and followed his companion's gaze. A soft glow illuminated the corridor, moving closer.

*
The naked man trampled the flames as if they were nothing. He walked towards John and stretched out his shoulders, ignoring the necromancer on the ground. However, several dry mosses had been licked by the oil and the fire spread rapidly between the misaligned columns. He saw with a smile that the ceiling was higher and rose above John. The repurgator suddenly rolled aside and with a sharp gesture, he plugged the man with his rapier out of nowhere. Morisburg looked down at the weapon stuck in his abdomen, then slapped the repurgator from the back of his hand. The warlock snatched the weapon with a grimace, then broke it in half as if it were just a needle.

John spat a scarlet molard and looked up at an unrecognizable creature. His wound was closed and his size had literally... doubled. The grotesque head of Morisburg touched the vault. With his shield-sized hands he lifted John up and threw him violently against a column. The repurgator fell to the ground like a disarticulated puppet.

- I think he's had enough, said Castille as she stepped right next to the colossus.

She dusted her dress and dropped the mud from her bare legs. But Morisburg ignored her and moved towards the immobile body of a heavy step. The necromancer sniffed. She knew what he was doing with the bodies and didn't really want to see it. Suddenly a violent blow hit her in the head.

Morisburg turned to watch her fall.

- I have a few more words... to tell you, you fat lug, said Brother Brandit as he passed the inanimate woman, followed by Leon and the last three soldiers.

Totally forgetting the repurgator on the ground, the mastodon threw itself on the priest who managed to pass under his opponent's arm. Immediately Leon and the three men dispersed into the room, which was increasingly lit by the flames. The war hammer crashed on the chest of the monstrosity with a crackling sound that everyone perceived. But this did not stop it and the force of his blow lifted the religious from the ground. The shiny hammer fell on a pile of lichens that went to ashes. Morisburg grabbed the priest's head and threw him in his turn against a column with a bestial roar.

Leon tried to keep his nerve despite their precarious situation. How to overcome this horror that was now looking to the nearest soldier. He shivered with terror. Brandit and John could no longer protect him. His unrestrained heartbeat was tearing his chest apart, but he tried to stay calm and swept the room again. The monster had just isolated his prey, which shouted a cry of fear. The other two men hid behind their columns, not knowing what to do. His gaze fell upon the shining hammer, which was covered by a rain of dust.

He rushed to the weapon, which he lifted with difficulty, and walked through the columns of the room. If they didn't have the weapons to kill this aberration, they could take it to the grave ! The apprentice struck the mortar with a raging blow, but despite a cloud of dust, the bricks held firm. A glance at them taught him that there were only three of them left, one of them now reduced to blood-stained lint. He swore and again arrogated.

- Try this instead, said a voice behind him.

Leon jumped and almost hit his mentor, supported by the last soldier. He handed him a dark leather purse that he knew only too well. A smile illuminated his eyes.

*​

Morisburg grabbed his arms in one hand and his legs in the other. The wretched man screamed as much as he could, but that did not change anything. The warlock tore him in half and left him there, screaming and bathed in his own guts. He looked for his next victim and his attention fell on the kid in the middle of the room. The metal barrel he had in his fist reflected the flames that devoured the walls.

- Go die ! He spits when he shoots.

He had not targeted Morisburg but the nearest column. The black powder bag exploded in an explosion that took half the brick column away. Time then elapsed as if idling for each of the occupants of the room. The vault trembled and collapsed on the fragile pillar and the stones that supported the immense mass of earth and rock gave way. The three survivors rushed out of the scene as the monstrosity rushed behind them. But the landslide blocked his way and in a chaos of bricks and dust, Morisburg disappeared under the tons of rocks.

*​

The sword of the undead split only air. With a pitiful frosting Scleras had rolled out of reach of the vampire reels. Immediately a soldier plunged into the opening, excited by the wound inflicted on the necromancer. But Gilnash grabbed him by the neck, preventing him from going any further in the cross.

- Stay behind me if you want to live, he squeaked between his tight fangs.

- That...

Scleras was immobilized a few steps further, watching them with a glimmering look of anger. He was croocked on his stump and held it with his remaining hand.

- You're going to pay for that, beast, he spit out obviously more disturbed by the affront of being mutilated than by pain.

The warrior returned to his guard and proceeded cautiously, ready to react to the slightest sign of incantation. A shiver rose up his back and instinctively he jumped forward. The incandescent blade whistled behind him and the creature tattooed snarl of rage. During the whole altercation with the necrarch it had been lying there, patiently waiting in case its creator needed reinforcements. How could he keep control of such a monster, curb its murderous thirst, while facing him ? He didn't have the slightest idea, and he didn't really had the time to dig in.

The two swords fell on the undead like real clubballs, making him bend under the shock. Some more strikes and his own guard gave in. He did a backward step so as not to end up stabbed but a sudden pain torn his lower back.

- Your bloodline is a disgrace to our species, but you... you're reaching new heights ! Whistled Scleras by spinning his dagger in the wound.

Gilnash grimaced first but could only accuse the blow and screamed as he lifted his face to the rock vault. With measured steps the tatooed demon approached while the puppeteer moved back cautiously, leaving the blade stuck in the flesh of the vampire. His wrinkled face, aged before the hour by years spent studying away from the surface, clears up as he savoured his triumph. One of the humans tried to encourage his comrades to help him, but what could they have done ? Did they even wanted to risk their lives for the undead ? Rechald coughed while agonizing at that moment, which did not encourage them to move forward.

Gilnash's scream suddenly fired in the highs, twirling the temples of the soldiers. Scleras' smile froze and even the aberration held back his gesture. With a circular motion, the vampire pushed back the incandescent blades, which held on while ricocheting on his blade. No, not his blade, realized the necromancer by seeing that it lay at his feet. Gilnash's body was agitated with visibly uncontrollable tremors as he folded in on himself. A new cry tore the galleries, inhuman, even worrying to the warlock's ears. A raptor cry.

The vampire's leather armor broke apart as he stood up, stretching his arms along the length of the hallway. His fingers ended in sharp claws and a dark skin membrane linked his wrists to his bare hips. He turned towards Scleras, staring at him with his bright, scarlet eyes.

Scleras had already seen a vampire giving in to the beast in him, he had already met a warghulf. This, with its silvery beak and tapered ears, was not one of them. And it wasn't leather but dark feathers that covered the two wings that he spread there. How did he succeed in such a metamorphosis?

- Kill him ! he fervently commanded the devil who leapt the two blades forward.

Immediately Gilnash flip-flopped and jumped to meet the demon with the swords that he managed to outspeed. He passed between the arms and, with a shoulder stroke, threw it back. But he did not stop there and continued his momentum. The winged creature stuck the demon to the floor with a boot torn by sharp talons and clubbed his opponent's face and shoulders. In spite of its slutty face, however, it managed to raise one of hits weapons and tore the flank of the unrecognizable vampire, which retreated, shouting like a hawk in hunting, releasing the demon. They threw themselves on each other again.

Dumbfounded, humans did not dare to interfere in the bloody struggle between the two monsters. They both showed reciprocal violence and hatred that the humans could hardly understand. However, when the vampire bird poked himself on one of the swords to put his enemy against the wall, only so that he could tear its throat with big beak hits, they understood that the fight was coming to an end. The necrarch arrived at the same conclusion and began to psalmodize quickly while drawing a glyph in the air. Immediately the raptor's head turned towards him and shouted sharply, but the sorcerer was faster. A wave traversed the wall on which the two creatures were leaning against and the instant following the tattooed and unrecognizable thing disappeared in the wall, leading the undead into his fall. But the beast that Gilnash had become could not hear it from that ear, and by shouting a new cry, both human and animal, he resisted the deadly attraction.

It was with a laugh that Scleras stopped his fate, leaving Gilnash's wrists and ankles trapped in the stone. He shouted a new cry of distress this time, powerless. The necrarch approached much more quietly this time, appreciating the monster's hopeless efforts to get out of his jail. He had the dagger in his fist but came to a standstill, stunned. Two soldiers sneaked between him and Abhorash's son, threatening him with their swords. He remained silent, merely critically observing them while the metamorphosed vampire continued to struggle. There were the first two, as well as a third squat near the poisoned one, whose head he held upright so that he could see what was going on.

Scleras shrugged his shoulders.

- Anyway, he simply said amusedly. Hatch him until he spreads your guts on the ground.

The two men immediately turned pale, swapped eyes and turned to the furious creature, whose wounds hardly seemed to bother him. Satisfied, Scleras turned his heels and disappeared in one of the corridors.

*​

Castille stumbled out of the magical passage, but a triumphant smile stretched her lips. She had managed to eliminate more than half of all humans alone. Morisburg could well be killed, he was only an obstacle to her ascension. The necromancer slowly caught her breath and then straightened herself by stretching. She began to rub the mud that was smearing her dress but remained forbidden. The scarlet gaze that plunged into hers nailed her on the spot. How could she not have noticed ?

- How... did you get here ! she cried out.

The lahmian bowed his head aside, astonished.

- It's more like me to ask that question, lady, you just... came out of the wall.

A painful and contemptuous laughter at the same time came to her aside as Manesh' k pronounced these words. Castille turned her head in this direction, discovering the second vampire and the ginger human. A first glance taught her that the undead was in bad shape, completely arched, the armor in a pitiful state. The second one was dripping and his orange and white clothes had visibly seen better days. However, she shifted her attention to the former. Despite his courteous manner, a deaf anger shone in his eyes, like two sparkling rubies.

- Who are you and why don't you leave the way you arrived ? He questioned her in a more serious way, setting aside all gallantry and approaching a step.

Castille noted, however, that he had his hand on the knob of his weapon. He'd take her down before she even tried to sneak out. Keeping her self-control, she looked into the vampire's eyes and did not say a word. Its orbits were two pearls full of life and spirit, nothing to do with the promise of power that was brooding in those of Scleras. She knew who she was dealing with. He had nothing in common with Gilnash : Manesh' k.

She blinks in spite of herself and twitched, barely holding on to her legs. Her interlocutor raised an eyebrow by pleating heis eyes. Castille immediately unravelled a look of anger, hatred and... helplessness.

There was no need for words between them anymore. Without a winning smile, Manesh' k stretched an index finger gloved with a sharp point and slightly cut the cheek of the human being. She remained impassive despite the burning pain, as straight as she could. It was out of the question that she would give him the pleasure to weaken in front of him, not even when he carried his finger to his lips and tasted her blood. He closed his eyes and his gaze became dreamy.

- What... you're not going...

- Silence, order Luther with authority to the human who observed the scene, amazed by the behaviour of the undead.

He didn't understand. But Castille was well aware that life, her memories, her hours of study, her most intimate sacrifices and secrets were now passing through the mind of the undead. Scleras taught her that a long time ago, when he asked her for the same macabre ritual to test her fidelity. When a vampire absorbed the essence of a person, he also captured her knowledge and memories. And when Manesh' k opened his eyes again, he knew. He knew how much she was a threat to him but also that she no longer had an ounce of power.

- Luther, it seems... we won't be leaving empty-handed.

The human gaze widened as the second vampire approached, already ready to jump to her throat.

- This... woman, he began hesitating on the exact term, knows things... things that neither you nor I suspected. And she won't defend herself, she's incapable of it.

The lust glowed in his eyes as he smiled at his brother in blood.

- What do you intend to do? Questioned the fire sorcerer, crossing his arms while keeping a certain containment.

- They will devour me alive, this is what they will do, she declared with disarming naturalness.

- What...

- I couldn't have said it better, Manesh' k said, suddenly taking her at the throat.

He lifted her from the ground without difficulty and glued her to the wall. Her bare feet were floating in the air. She did not try to struggle and kept her arms softly on the side of the body. Why bother ?

- You... you're not going to...

- Shut up mortal, spat Manesh' k with a dark look that made the sorcerer hesitate, a look that promised a quick death if he uttered one more word.

He was usually the one, Tristofan Tisseron, who dictated this kind of behavior. But this creature had... something extra, something that even had an effect on the second undead man. He pulled his arms down but did not dare to stop them. He was unable to understand why, but in spite of all the revolt inspired by this scene... he could not act. As if some macabre authority told him to let it happen. To be a silent witness to it.

Closing his eyes, Manesh' k inhaled for a long time the perfume that emanated from the human being, the scent that her skin emitted and the slight sour trace generated by anxiety. This was not flagrant, but made it all the more desirable. Finally he was no longer holding on to it, he put his second hand against her breast and violence broke out, tearing off her light dress and she drop a cry of fear as he scraped her abdomen. Luther was not to be outdone. He stroked her leg before raising her knee, smelling in turn. It was with morbid coordination that they took action.

The show Tristofan attended was the most terrifying of all the shows he had witnessed while travelling with John. Paralysed by a dark authority, he was unable to stop them. For him, the vampires were only monsters that had to be shot down, but now a visceral fear bound his stomach. He understood when he saw the quarry, when he heard the screams of terror and agony of the woman, how the mouse was feeling surrounded by a group of cats. The sorcerer was facing his true predator.

*​

- Where are Abhorash's sons?

The vampire burst into the room as the bluish mist came off the ground. He swept several vials of his valid arm, looking for glances among the viscous fluids.

- Gilnash is still with humans, began the ghost in a monocord voice by taking shape behind Scleras. The others...

The vampire came to a standstill as the rest of the report was slow to arrive.

- The others? He repeated again as he kept looking. Where are they? Where's Manesh' k?

- Manesh' k is... he is... he is...

The child danced from one foot to the other, unable to say more. The vampire took a look over his shoulder. This kind of behavior wasn't really in the ghost's habit.

- I don't know where they are,"he finally admitted.

- Unnecessary slave, spit out the necromant after a few moments. And what about Castille and Morisburg?

- They're dead.

Scleras raised an eyebrow.

- Dead ? What happened to them ? Who killed them ?

Swept away by a breeze the child of smoke dissipated. The fog quickly re-formed, drawing in space a miniature version of Morisburg, however much larger than the people who faced it. One of them, a child, proudly defied him. The next moment, the disciple of ruin was crushed under tons of rubble. Trembling with anger, Scleras saw the fog change shape. Castille was leaning against a wall, facing the other two vampires. Then they threw themselves upon her. When they finally rejected her bloodless body, the unknown vampire of the Necrarch turned to Scleras with a euphoric smile and immediately the imitations of smoke dissipated. Their companion's gaze faded last, as if the mist imitation could actually see Scleras.

*​

The flows. They flowed around him, pulsing from a life of their own. Deeply black, they swirled between his arms and surrounded him like endless ink cascades.

- It's unbelievable, he says. Now I understand what Gilnash was talking about....

From the day he woke up in that jail in Lahmia until today it was there. He could not see it but he felt it, palpable, just beyond his perception. The memories and the ounce of power he had just stolen from the human being had finally allowed him to lift the veil.

- The winds of magic... he murmured, following the most important trend as a carefree child.

On his heels walked Tristofan. He was not easy to impress, nor did he shrink from any challenge. Quite the contrary. But what he had just seen... It wasn't that a murder, it wasn't two animals feeding, it wasn't an unhappy agony, it wasn't rape... it was something much worse. He had always hated the undead and especially vampires for what they represented. But at the time of the parish priest, he had felt the suffering of this woman. His gift had allowed him to feel his flame wobble like a dark simulacrum, burning the bodies of the undead, until it went out. With a big scarlet smile, Manesh' k then stared intensely at him and his world had finished capsizing. Vampires were the only ones responsible for his catatonic condition. He would not have been able to explain it as he walked forward contemplating the back of the undead, but it was... as if his gaze were still on him. Intense, compelling, scarlet and never screaming. A look that did not admit any discussion.

- Come with me human, he said. We have a necromancer to kill.

He had simply obeyed. He followed the vampire, always deeper and deeper into the corridors always olders. He could not divert his gaze from the shoulders of Manesh' k, remaining in his wake illuminated by the small burning sphere flying around him.

He guessed them more than he saw them, but somehow he knew they were there. A multitude of dead bodies, stiff, immobile, keeping the corridors around them, or even moving away from them. His world plunged into darkness...

*​

John screamed out loud before he collapsed on the soldier.

- Are you sure you'll be okay ? he worried with a terrified mine. With your shoulder we... we should go back to the surface and....

- No, cut off the repurgator with a dry tone.

With stiffness he stood up straight and wiped away the tears running down his cheeks. He made a few reels while gripping and almost collapsed again when the pain struck him.

- The necromancer is still alive, as far as we know, Léon said in a grim way. Even if the girl has disappeared she is weakened while the other horror is definitively neutralized. We must not lose our advantage.

- Our advantage ? The soldier cried out, anger giving him back some strength. We came here at more than fifteen and there are only three of us left ! And Morr knows what happened to the other three vampires !

The hunter ignored the emerging dispute between the man and his apprentice. He felt his flank with a feverish hand. He had two broken ribs. At least... It is with resignation that he swallowed the contents of a flask drawn from a fold of his coat. He suffocated as the liquid burned his throat and fell to his knees, interrupting the other two.

- That...

- Even he, the so-called "Great Repurgator" is dying there at my feet, continued the soldier in an increasingly defeatist tone, starting to lose his temper.

- The repurgatorsays shit to you my boy, he answered suddenly in a deep voice.

The soldier hoquered as he frowned. Under his hat, which had remained screwed to his skull by a few miracles, John's eyes were filled with unfailing determination. He straightened up again, slowly. Took the time to stretch his neck and shoulders. Some joints cracked but he remained impassive. The apprentice gave him a disapproving look, but remained silent.

- We have three hours to find this son of a bitch, John said as he adjusted his coat, any pain from his shoulder obviously gone.

- Three hours before what? You can't fight and...

- Three hours before the sedative ceased to work, Leon cut off with a dark tone.

Somewhat lost, the arms man watched the repurgator do some reels and shake his legs vigorously. For him, who was unable to take two steps a few minutes ago, it was quite a transformation.

Suddenly, a crash sounded in a nearby hallway, drawing their attention together. Leon lifted up the torch as a metal sound that bounced off the ground came to them. His glistening sloes signaling his approach, the undead gratified them with a scarlet smile. Leon as the keeper wavered at the sight of the dripping throat of blood and pitiful armor.

- I have never liked iron grids, commented Luther without getting rid of his expression.

John lowered the pistol that he had raised as he approached the vampire. However, he pleated his eyes.

- Where are the others?

- The mastodon was just one bite away from the others. Only the priest and I survived.

He tilted his head aside, thoughtful, and then added.

- The other kid didn't survive.

Leon turned to his mentor with a face distorted by horror, but John remained impassive. He never looked out of Luther's sight for a moment.

- The creature you're talking about is dead, the soldier told him with a nonchalant look.

He tried to hide his fear behind arrogance, which made the immortal smile.

- Brother Brandit is dead, John added with gravity.

- The priest is dead?

The disappointment was legible on the face of the undead.

- What a pity...

Where were you when he came to our rescue if, as you say, you faced the damn warlock together ? questioned John with gravity.

Luther froze in his expression. Although it was difficult, his smile stretched even more.

- We had a slight different, admitted Luther.

The detonation went off in the hallway, but missed its target. Luther swirled forward so fast that his entire silhouette blurred. He plunged his blade through the bewildered teenager's torso before reversing his rotation by extracting his blade. But a rapier with a broken blade barely hits him a few inches from the guard's throat. A light rattle warned the undead of the explosion to follow, and he retreats as shot cribbed the walls. With a mocking laugh, the undead vanished into the hallway that Leon's torch on the ground lit only a few metres away. John swore by throwing his broken weapon and rushed to his apprentice. The diagnosis was quick : the blade had crossed the chest with surgical precision, slipping between his ribs to the heart, freezing a surprised glance in his eyes. John breathed in slowly and full lungs. Without a prayer he closed the eyelids of the corpse.

- That... Why... That... That...

- Shut up, John said in a broken voice.

The other one had picked up the torch. His gaze went from darkness to the body. Everything had gone so fast that he didn't even realize that without John, his head would be off his shoulders...

But the child's eyes suddenly opened again. John leapt backwards as he escaped the body that fell back. Leon waved his arms awkwardly before the amazed eyes of the two men.

- What... what's going on with him? Tell me...

But John was too incredulous to answer. His apprentice stood up on his elbows before his eyes and turned towards them without seeing them.

- Iii... Iiiiiii.. I wouldn't have believed... so funny...

The bullet pierced his skull before he said no more.

- Luther ! John shouted as he engaged the hidden mechanism on his wrist to store his weapon. You'll pay for it!

- But... he... He...

- I told you to shut up, cut John with a murderous look.

He pulled the torch out of his hands before he went into the darkness. He was here somewhere. Leon and Dave's killer. And he was determined to track him to his last breath if necessary. He and all his fellow humans. The anger that...

- It came from over there ! Another voice said, coming from another corridor in this underground maze.

*​

A flamboyant explosion projected a chaos of fire, smoke and wood fragments through the room. The explosion swept through a desk and some furniture and bookshelves. Slowly the incandescent wrecks stopped whistling. Vampire and human entered the devastated room, which they wandered through with a sharp eye. If the explosion had set off most of the magic traps and caused quite a mess, there was no trace of the undead in this room. A next, however, was behind another door from which the sorcerer approached, while Manesh' k looked at the volumes spread out on the ground. Tristofan raised his hand and gazed at the door, guessing that it too would be protected by a few spells. He moved back a few steps and gathered his energy in the palm of his palms.

The new acuteness of the undead allowed him to feel the power that flowed in these pages, a new power for him that waited to be gathered. The girl's memories, Castille, showed him how to manipulate the flow of magic. They also told him that Scleras had not wished her to consult these grimoires which he now held in his hands. In the same way they indicated to him...

Manesh' k straightened his head just to see the human being thrown back by his own explosion. The dust raised by the flames somewhat masked the vampire's vision, but he did not need his eyes to determine where the human being was. He approached the body marked by burns, sniffing the fluid seeping from his wounds. The human would probably not go much further...

- How can someone like you, a son of the traitor, do... that?

The voice came from the other room. Manesh' k turned to his enemy and grimaced in disgust with his hand on the pommel of his sword. The dust from the two explosions finally fell off and he could again see through his eyes. There he was, Scleras, the Necrarch that he had discovered by the look of Castille, in the doorway.

- How did you manage to control mental domination? You have no talent for witchcraft!

- I learn quickly, Manesh' k replied with a smile. And... you were an excellent teacher.

In doing so, he pulled out his weapon. He focused on the winds as Scleras had so often repeated to humans. "Trust what your mind sees rather than your eyes." And what he saw made him laugh.

- So... that's everything? He's gloating. Is that all a descendant of the terrible W' Soran can do? Honestly I expected better, he made fun of it by taking his seriousness back as Scleras was scowling. I see the winds now, he continued. As surely as Castille saw them. I know, Scleras. I know... you've exhausted that little girl to raise dead bodies in those crypts, over and over again, to bring them here. I know that you have burned her power to create these abominations of Khorne, mixing necromancy and demonology, a feat that I am more able to understand now. Very impressive. Only... Only why have you exhausted your two powers to create these soldiers and leave you as empty as the flesh and bone puppets you love so much?

In doing so, he stepped forward with a sure step. He saw it, he knew it. The winds were blowing back around the Necarch so much so that it had drawn from its reserves. This one was exhausted, mutilated. And he wasn't a fighter. He was no longer a threat to the blood dragon.

- Did you really thought these creatures would be enough to defeat us?

- You ally yourself with... humans... spat out the crowded vampire.

- They possessed more resources than I thought they would have, Manesh' k conceded who allowed himself a look at the moaning sorcerer. But they're still humans.

- Humans who killed Morisburg. You knew him if you have the girl's memory, said Scleras. And these humans hold the ungodly son.

Manesh' k stopped one step from the frail creature. He looked at the Necrarch with a hateful gaze, which returned him uncompromisingly.

- What do you mean by that?

- Look...

Scleras took a few steps to move away from the vampire in armor. He raised his valid arm and the mist invaded the room. Manesh' k remained impassive. He now knew that this was a spirit held by the necromancer, who considered him to be a sort of pet. The ectoplasm condensed and quickly took shape. The shape of the repurgator and three soldiers from Grassenwald appeared, surrounding a fifth person to the limbs visibly immobilized by a few sorceries.

- Gilnash... murmured Manesh' k as he approached the ghostly lines.

- Your third friend deliberately attacked the man with the hat. And they are currently thinking about...

- What do you demand? Growled Manesh' k who grabbed the other undead man by the rags that were used as clothes.

He lifted hom from the ground, crossed the foggy stage and forcefully tackled it to the wall. His shoulders twisted by frustration rattled his armor. His face was nothing but hatred.

- Become my new slave, blew Scleras to his face by showing an astonishing daring, their foreheads a few centimetres apart.

- Your... slave?

- Drink my blood, become my servant, continued the necrarch, lifting up his stump. You...

Manesh' k burst out laughing. A contemptuous and barely controlled laugh.

- Seriously... dropped him between twitches.

Carrying his free hand to his lips, he pinned a finger of his glove between his fangs and used it to remove it. With his bare hand he plunged the fangs into the flesh of his wrist. The proud Scleras mine panicked when he understood what the fighter intended to do.

- No, wait, we could...

- You talk too much, cut Manesh' k by striking him suddenly in the jaw.

He struck again despite the panicked wizard's scratches. At the third blow the jaw gave way despite Scleras' kicks. Manesh' k forced his counterpart's dentition and ignoring his strangled pleas, Manesh' k slightly reopened his mouth in a new crack. Without mercy he forced him to taste the wound of his wrist, binding it to his own will.

*​

- You are going to make... a grave mistake, hardly declared the undead hampered feet and fists in the wall.

His armour and most of his clothes were nothing but shattered as a result of his transformation. He was a target of choice, thus blocked and suffering the repercussions of his metamorphosis.

- My death will burn down the whole region.

- I would smother the flames myself, said John with gravity, a pistol appearing in his hand.

- We should not

- Quiet ! He barks to the guards. I didn't trust you at any time, undead. But I would have thought you'd have the honor of waiting until we cleaned these galleries to betray us. You're a disgrace to your bloodline.

Gilnash laughed, not surprised by the knowledge he revealed about Abhorash and his sons in the no-life. It was not common to meet humans who were aware of what honour meant to them.

- Luther has a very special conception of honor, he said.

- He will be the next to perish, assured him the repurgator by placing the revolver on the temple of the undead.

- Are you sure about that ? A voice resounded in the darkness.

John flip-flopped and opened fire in the hallway, with flashes of detonation blinding the soldiers. Luther's mocking laughter reached them despite their buzzing ears. As he swore, John hurriedly recharged his weapons and in a matter of moments raised them again, ready to fire.

- If you knew what I'm capable of, the human... whispered the voice coming from across the hall.

- Witchcraft ! cried one of the soldiers, holding a charm under his chain mail.

Even Gilnash contemplated the darkness with amazement. How did he mislead their senses ? He had no mastery of such gifts and... his thoughts were interrupted when he felt he was sinking. Without warning, the flows around him became blurred and before he reacted, he was half twisted in the earth.

- But what...

- No ! Roars John by opening fire on the undead who disappeared, swallowed by the ground. No no no no no ! That's not possible ! he shouted as he plunged his arms into another solid ground on which he twisted his wrists. NO !

*​

- Tell him how to get out of those pipes. Then he passes it on to the other moron to get out of there as soon as possible. I'll meet them outside.

Unchecking a raging look at him, the jaw arranged according to an improbable angle, Scleras... obey. The curse of blood did his work and he could not even oppose it. W' Soran himself had discovered that when a vampire transmitted the kiss of blood, he unconsciously formed a mental bond that prevented his son in the no-life from threatening him or even bending him to his will. Sometimes a son managed to blow this lock, but it was rare and time-consuming. The same process existed between immortals, as powerful as with subraces. How the warrior had heard of it, he had no idea. He never told Castille about it...

He nodded his head to indicate that the ghost had correctly relayed Manesh'k's orders. He quietly put his glove back on and ignored the mutilated and broken necrarch. He pretended to slip aside. Anywhere but away from Abhorash's son.

- Stay where you are, I'm not done with you.

If the pain hadn't restrained him, he would have dropped a torrent of curses at Manesh'k's address, but he had to content himself with a look full of hatred. He saw Manesh' k rotate, leaning over Tristofan who, despite the burns of his own explosion, regained consciousness.

- Now you are no longer useful to me, declared the warrior in a false understanding voice. And it's time for me to avenge my first son...

Passing his hand under the wizard's red hair, he lifted it up and carried it to his lips...

*​

Its pupils glowed with an incandescent glow. It walked through the doorless gap and watched the scenery with a combination of anger and joy. The destruction had already been planted here. The death harvested. Shaking its head at each step, it approached both bodies, but lingered much longer on the one in the middle of the room. Thoughtfully it materialized one of its flamboyant blades and severed the vertebral column of the calcined body. It lifted up at eye level and studied for a few moments the skull blackened at the broken fangs, the jaw hanging at the temples by a few tendons burned by the flames. Its creator was dead. It lifted its grim trophy towards the sky, several layers of rocks higher, exulting its freedom.

This creature, an affront to the god of blood, had made it more powerful than any other of its kind. It could not return to the bloody kingdom against its will, no matter how much damage was done to its physical body. Studying its muscular arms covered with dark tattoos it growled joyfully. Very few were the bloodletters happy outside the battlefield. But for it, this whole world had just become ITS battlefield. And it meant to cover it with a scarlet tide.
 
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#25
Abhorash's offspring are soo powerfuls ^^
So, here the next chapter after this month of silence. As always, if you spot some evident translation mistakes, feel free to notify me about them.





Fire & Blood
Chapter 10


- Dave! Leon !

John straightened up abruptly, rejecting his bedsheets. He breathlessly screamed in pain as his broken ribs brought him back to reality. He was no longer in Grissenwald's underground but in his room. At the inn. One of the soldiers had to bring him back.

When the pain finally dissipated, he looked at his clothes and coat. They lay on a chair, carefully folded. His armlets and the mechanism for holding the revolvers were on the desk, next to a plate of bread, cheese and the candle that lighted the room.

The repugator growled as he rose, slowly. The slightest breath was a torture, but he had seen more. And he had to know. His hungry stomach would wait.

Silence fell in the main room as he carefully descended the last step. All the customers had their eyes riveted on this man who hid his gaze under a hat and moved like an old man. But he didn't care. He put his elbows on the bar and immediately the bartender faced him.

- You wish to...

- Where are the others, he cut with a hoarse voice.

- The o…

- The priest, the red sorcerer and the soldiers of Nuln !

If his tone was weak, the light burning in his apple literally melted the poor owner.

- I... you're the only one back, sir.

- ... How many days ago?

- Three days ago, answered a rough voice in his back.

With a black look, John turned to the dwarf who had just interrupted the two men. Immediately the innkeeper went to look after another client.

- C'mon to my table, said the bearded guy.

After a moment, the repurgator followed in his footsteps. He made a sneaky grin as he sat down, then looked down at the plate of steaming vegetables that the dwarf was holding out to him.

- Eat, you'd prefer to listen I think. I'm just from this dwarf camp on the edge of town, he continued as John finally gave in to the call of his stomach. When we heard the boat explode, me and my bro...

- A ship exploded !? Strangled John by drawing general attention again.

- For sure. All that's left are blackened beams.

The repugator grinned but then just listened. He learned that there was not a single survivor of the troops that came from Nuln by his side. Except him. Again...

- My brother and I explored the... underground, when we heard some kids were missing.

Dubitative, John let him continue. If they had both come out of there alive, there was not much left to fear underground. As for Dave and Leon, their absence at that table spoke for themselves.

- I told him to keep quiet 'til I talked to you. We found your ginger. And he wasn't pretty to look at. But I think he still got that crap you came looking for.

With a simple glance John encouraged him to continue, slowly chewing the food. He felt that what was to follow would not please him.

- He was in some kind of underground place, with a laboratory, a library and a lot of things I prefer not to think about anymore. But it wasn't the only body. Another calcined body was also in the room.

The dwarf leaned forward and, after checking that they were not being heard, continued in a conspiratorial tone.

- To be honest with you, I think they weren't alone under there. The burned one had his head cut off while your friend, Morr keep him, his throat was completely torn off. How could the two of them have done this ? No... should not be alone.

The repugator took the time to swallow his bite. He rested his cutlery and wrinkled his eyes. Whose second body was that ?

- This body, John said after staring at the dwarf in silence. Was he dressed in armor, guard, soldier of Nuln or... something else ?

- No, nothing but clothes that burned with it.

Lowering his voice again he continued.

- I told you, we didn't repeat what we saw. But for sure, your vampire is dead for good. I even brought back some souvenirs...

Drawing from his bag, he checked once again that they were not being watched anymore. The dwarf discreetly placed two long fangs on the edge of the plate. With a trembling hand, John carried one of the teeth at eye level.

- Boy, pursued the bearded. Why didn't you come looking for guys from my kind to go to this hell ? There would have been a dozen of us to come and open the road for you !

John took a fresh look at him. The dwarf repressed a shiver. It was not the look he expected to see from the wounded repurgator : it was a look with a blazing ember he had just revived.

- You spoke to me honestly. So I'll do the same, but I'll need your discretion. From you and your brother.

Faced with the dwarf's silence, he continued:

- There were probably other forces involved when Tristofan and this creature died. Go get your brother. We have a job to finish.

*​

- You're a pain in the ass ! They fucking killed Claster ! Your own son !

Raging, the undead turned around and repeatedly struck the already unrecognizable body that lay there.

- And I avenged him, Manesh'k replied calmly. The fire wizard paid with his life. Even if you couldn't get the priest or the hunter, remember that one died and the other lost the two kids who were with him.

- Claster was worth a lot more than them, Luther spat. Much more.

Without taking part in the debate, Gilnash remained silent, sitting away from the charnel where Luther was moving.

- That girl... you're saying that by drinking her memories you took her powers ? he asked after long minutes, pushing aside the argument between the two vampires.

- More or less, Manesh'k tempered by casting a black glance at their youngest. Let's just say it was there, we didn't notice it. When we tasted, we also read each of Scleras's lessons, as he called himself.

As he nodded, Gilnash watched the human's head roll to him as Luther continued to pound his torso.

- It's the same as with Varison if I understand correctly.

- Except I have no intention of losing my powers ! Luther shouted, his face streaked with blood. I intend to practice that art and not let it go along with that bitch's essence !

Joining the gesture to the word, he became totally motionless, almost squinting as he intensely scrutinized the ravaged corpse. Manesh'k's skin tingling slightly as he watched him do it. The dead man had a first jolt. Then blood spurts out of the rib cage.

He could see what was going on. The wind was wrapping itself around Luther like it did around the necrarch. And the whirls followed his upright arm to meddle in the carcass. The leg trembled. The shoulders tightened. In a laborious cracking, the beheaded and eviscerated soldier straightened up.

- A real puppeteer, Gilnash commented without sounding impressed.

- If you could only see what that scoundrel taught the girl, Luther chuckled as he released his grip.

The body fell backwards with a flabby sound.

- I prefer not, he said as he turned to Manesh'k.

In front of Gilnash's insistent gaze, the vampire had the smile of a child who can no longer refrain from hiding his secret. He raised his hand and snapped his fingers. In a crackling spark, a tiny flame trembled at the top of his index finger.

- My friend Tristofan paid the blood debt he owed me, he said with a smile.

As Luther looked at him with an envious look, he closed his fist and dissipated the flame.

- Speaking of fire, Manesh'k continued, you still have no idea what made those... barrels appear in the boat ?

- If the warlock and the girl are not connected to this, and you know it from a reliable source, only Scleras could have enlightened you.

Luther laughed mockingly, but Gilnash kept his serious attitude.

- Perhaps he is not himself at the origin of this, conceded Manesh'k. Finally. I think the rain has stopped and we have a few hours till dawn.

- It was about time. It is true that our guests were just in time, considering the state in which the beast was, he declared while attracting a black look of Gilnash who put on the outfit of one of the soldiers. But they're not very talkative.

Manesh'k looked up, but did not deny it. Gilnash was in pitiful condition when this group of soldiers, who had also come to shelter from the rain, entered the cave where they had found refuge. And as a reward, he had clothes again, his leather stitch having flown in shreds during his transformation.

Tasting the humid air without feeling the need to breathe, Manesh'k followed his two companions outside. But one detail kept confusing him. Nowhere in several centuries of wandering had he been confronted with a phenomenon of this kind. Yet he had seen some surprising things alongside the former commander of the Lahmiannes troops. The mystery of this purple light, which had almost killed him, remained intact.

*​

- The repurgator is on our trail, Gilnash said as the owl left his wrist to continue its night hunt. He found the cave near Dunkelberg.

It had been four days since they had left Grissenwald behind. Luther reflexively glanced over his shoulder before he growled.

- He has two dwarfs with him, they weren't there before, added the vampire, looking for the bird in the dark.

- And what do two midgets change? Luther let go with a touch of contempt.

- Not much, granted the ornithologist. Now he knows we're going up the Grissen, but there are only three of them...

- They therefore do not represent a threat, Manesh'k concludes by quietly observing the stars above them. Especially since they'll be looking for us in Dunkelberg... let's stop worrying about them...

- Threat or no threat, who cares? Let's go kill him, let these humans know that our business is not theirs!

- No Luther.

Turning away from the clear sky, Manesh'k gave him an authoritative look, but the youngest did not blink.

- We came here because we didn't know where to go, what to do with our... lives, Manesh'k reminded him in a grave tone. We could have gone to Kislev or back south. But these humans heard about our presence and even saw us at work. It is time for us to make ourselves forget, to disappear for a while.

He let the soothing silence of the night fall for a few moments, and then took it up again:

- We do not spread death as humans harvest wheat. Our coming to Grissenwald and this... skirmish with them is just a coincidence.

- Meh... They are worthy to be killed ! They deserve it ! A thousand times more than the puppets from the other night ! Father would have agreed with me !

- I don't think so, Gilnash intervened as he returned to their conversation. Walach would have approved of our choice.

- And what do you know of my father's will ! Luther suddenly exclaimed as he caught up with the ornithologist.

Grabbing Gilnash by the shoulder, he forced him to turn around and glared at the other vampire's scarlet eyes.

- You don't have his memory in your damn bird skull, you don't know what he wants!

- Luther…

But Gilnash signaled his friend not to intervene. Looking for his words, he answered calmly:

- Maybe there's a reason your father asked you to come with us. Even if you don't see her.

The younger one sighed exasperatedly as he looked up to heaven without letting go. Gilnash continued, relentless:

- Walach wanted to build something, to spread his own vision of Abhorash's teachings. You know that better than I do. You also know that's why you're not with him.

- Beware Uncle, Luther threatened him by looking into Gilnash's eyes again.

He had meticulously underligned the family bond between the two lundeads.

- You was too fiery, too present for him to dedicate himself to this task, ignored Gilnash. Your presence was not a burden to him, as you seem to think.

Luther let go the vampire's collar, but he held it by the shoulder, preventing it from fleeing. For too long his anger had annoyed the ornithologist. Now that he had opened this abscess from which his nephew was suffering, he intended to empty it completely.

- If he wanted you to leave it was because he knew that the love he had for you would have prevented him from devoting himself body and soul to the mission he had imposed upon himself. And you know it, Luther, don't pretend you don't, Gilnash pushed him while all anger deserted the younger's face. Why would he give you no-life more than anyone else if he didn't care about you ?

- Shut up, intimated Luther.

- You still have a lot to learn, Manesh'k said sympathetically as he rose to their height. We know you're in an uncomfortable situation. And, as for Claster who was like a brother to you, don't think I'm insensitive to his disappearance. I also suffer his departure. But I believe we have both sufficiently honoured his memory, even though one of his murderers is still alive. The sorcerer and the apprentice were close friends to this man who lost many more companions. He will suffer enough in the days to come. Let him out of our lives.

Silently, Luther nodded.

Manesh'k and Gilnash. He appreciated these two elders that he had been following on the roads of the old world for several years already. They had always been honest with him, much more than the living from whose his undead father had snatched him. And he knew it was for such reasons that Walach Harkon, Abhorash's first son, had advised him to accompany them. Not just because he was close to Manesh'k's son. But because they shared the same bonds. They were a family.

*​

Siping from the bottom of his bottle, the soldier cast a last tired glance at the silent darkness. These patrols eroded his morale, but he still had a smile on his face as he thought he would soon rest. His watch was soon over and perhaps in the land of dreams - he would have the chance to find his wife and little daughter. Both had to sleep peacefully, far from here, at home in Dunkelberg. And this thought gave him back a little balm in his heart.

With a lighter step he slipped between the other guards' beds, looking for the one who would take over while he rested. He knelt down when he found him and gently shook him to wake him up. The other grumbled for a moment but finally opened his eyes.

- Your turn dude, he said with an amused smile.

Grumbling, his comrade growled in his beard but eventually left his blanket.

- Anything to report ? he interrogated him by reflex while the first one spread some stones from a place on the ground to lie down in his turn.

With his head he gestured that he did not, then positioned his bag to make a pillow out of it.

A shrill yelp made them both startle. In panic, a wild feline crossed their clearing like a bullet, disappearing into the night as fast as it had appeared, without ceasing to shout sharply. The two soldiers, suddenly perfectly awake, exchanged a look and jumped on their legs.

- What the hell was that ? stammered a third awakened by the heckling.

Neither sentinel was able to say. They both scanned the undergrowth with their eyes, looking for what had frightened the animal in this way.

- Wake up, the first man timidly told his companions, slipping to the embers of their campfire. He closed his fingers on the staff of his gun.

- Wake up guys...

And he saw it. Still at the edge of their clearing, in front of the tide of ferns. It looked frail but the illusion was misleading. A long bony protuberance at the back of its skull surmounted its pair of spiral horns. Between these danced an oversized tongue that one would have sworn to be an angry snake. And its look. It shone like two wells of molten metal that pierced the humans skin.

- What the hell is that ?! exclaimed one of his companions who fought for a moment with his sheath to draw his sword.

Bowing its head to the side, the creature kissed the camp that came to life before its eyes. It squeezed its long tongue for a few more moments and sniffed the scent that was shaking in front of it. Then it bent back slightly on itself, its muscles covered with red and black scales shining faintly under the reflection of the torches lighting up.

They all jumped when the creature suddenly threw itself forward. It howled like a tiger leaping to the throat of the first man within reach and both rolled to the ground in a tangled mixture of cape and scales. A neighbour, not completely awake, was blinded by a splash and terror deformed his face as he carried his hands to his cheeks stained with scarlet fluids.

- By Sigmar ! exclaimed the sentinel, which rushed with the help of the unfortunate, halberd ahead.

He violently embroiled the creature that was thrown aside with a growl of rage. Rolling on its belly like an insect, it lifted its head up and grumbled in his direction, again threatening this reckless human with its long tongue. Its skeletal face and arms were dripping fluids it had just spilled. The blow that would have knocked down a boar only seemed to have hardly affected it.

With a certain form of majesty, the monster rose slowly and stood up with all its stature, staring at the guards with its incandescent gaze.

- Together, guys ! We are going to make this...

Interrupting the human, the demon suddenly raised its arms. In a muffled rustle it made its two orange blades appear from nowhere. That was enough for the little courage these men still had to crumble. The creature pushed one last wild rumble before throwing itself at the slaughter.

*​

There is something wrong with this rock, Luther said, laying his hand on the imposing piece of granite. It's like... power, flowing in.

Their altercation was several days ago now. All three had left the empire by crossing the imposing mountain range of the Grey Mountains, without crossing any sign of civilization since Dunkelberg.

- Can you see it ? Gilnash looked surprised.

- No, nothing visible. Just... a feeling.

Standing slightly back, Manesh'k was just observing. He did not perceive anything particular, unlike his two companions. For him, it was an imposing megalith, a stone that culminated more than three meters high, planted on the side of the road. A symbol half erased by time, engraved at man's height, vaguely held his attention. But he wouldn't have dwelt on it without Luther and Gilnash.

The youngest took a few steps on the way into the woods, then shrugged his shoulders.

- Whatever it is, it doesn't have much influence...

So they passed the imposing stone without being more interested in it. There were many forgotten secrets in the world and it was common for them to encounter the remains of them through their decades of wandering. This monolith did not appeal to them too much.

*​

Two charnel only a few days apart. More than 30 dead in total. John remained silent in front of the flames, just watching the smoke from the bodies.

He would have liked to do more for these poor men, to offer them decent graves. But his prey wouldn't wait for him. It was cremation or letting the bodies decompose and risk attracting predators. And too often scenes like this were the starting point for epidemics. It was a hard choice to make but it was not the first time he was forced to make it. And certainly not the last...

- We were not the only faction interested in the missing, he finally confirmed without taking his eyes off the flames.

The brothers turned to John. Since the beginning of their "hunt" he refused to give them the details he had promised to the eldest. However, this second funeral pyre seemed to justify revealing more about their prey.

- Four vampires from another group arrived in Grissenwald at the same time as us. The more I think about it, the more I think they probably would have cleaned the corridors under the city alone if they could have. Why I don't know. I eliminated one of them without trying to find out more... and yet they offered to help us purge this town.

- You didn't....

- I accepted, yes, he answered, looking into the dwarf's eyes he now knew the name : Runtnar. I thought I could approach them, eliminate them and just settle this thing. But that demon they were facing in the street proved there was something else. When things got out of hand with the warlocks. Why did they fight them ? Old quarrels ? Territorial rivalries? Greed ? Or just by challenge ?

- You give way too many principles to the undeads, the bearded commented darkly. You should have let them kill each other and finish off the winner...

- Probably. But the more I think about it... Why leave us this bloody trail, in Dunkelberg and here ? Wouldn't it have been easier to wait for us at the cave and ambush us ?

Runtnar shrugged. That kind of scheme was a little too complex for him. When in doubt, he preferred to slice with his big gun.

- They probably know a lot more about what was going on under there than I would ever know, John continued aloud. All this doesn't make any sense... They weren't waging a territory war either, otherwise... why would they go away like this ?

He growled. So many shadows, so many questions, so many inconsistencies...

"I feel like I'm playing with only half of the cards in my hand," he thought. "Necromancy, demons, vampires and dead-things... what's the connection between all this ?"

- Whether it makes sense or not, you freed the city from the evil that was devouring it, Boy, Runtnar told him with a friendly smile.

Thumb-scrubbing the butt of his blunderbuss, he turned towards the flames. He did not look away, engraving those burning faces in his memory.

- True, but at what cost... all those men would never have died without it.

He sighed and grinned. Even this made him suffer...

- Those vampires... I don't know why they came and helped us. I understand that they then betrayed us, we knew that our parody of alliance would end long before the end of the night. But why did they run away like that once this was over ? They could have picked me so easily, but they didn't....

- Why did they kill those guys then ? posed Runtnar for him. These two Dunkelberg patrols were obviously not threats to them.

He was putting his finger on something John didn't notice. He encouraged him to continue.

- For this second massacre, he indicated with a chin movement. The bodies have been shredded, but there's nothing to indicate they've fed. Not like the cave where they clearly had a party.

He could not hold back a chill when he thought of the bodies. All, without exception, had had their throats shredded...

- Do they really need to justify themselves ? said his brother, Hrugnir, with a knife-cut accent. These monsters are sowing death everywhere.

John turned away from the blaze to take a look at the "little bro" who had finally broken his silence. He could easily have passed for a slayer : with such a stature he only lacked the red dye. Added to this were the two crossed hatchets on his back and the mallet he was carrying by hand. Perhaps if such one person...

The repurgator shook his head and pushed these dark thoughts out of his mind. Whether someone like Hrugnir was present under Grissenwald or not would not have changed the massacre that took place there. All were dead and it was not his remorse that would avenge them or bring them back.

- Where do you think they're gonna keep going now ? Taken Runtnar, pulling him out of his mind. So far these dogs have killed men and women, soldiers, without distinction. Up the Grissen and past Dunkelberg. But on the other side of those mountains... it's the wood.

- The wood? John repeated, frowning.

- Yep. Not for nothing were these guys patrolling the area, Runtnar explained, pointing again to the fire. The wood over there is cursed. Green skins or animals come out from time to time. And in general they're not pretty to see. It's to make sure that they never reach the other side of the mountain that there are patrols here. Even Grimaz's guys are watching those passes.

- The wood... John repeated, thoughtful.

He was not without knowing the geography of the region. He knew what Runtnar was talking about : a huge forest, a wooded area stretching as far as the eye can see. A true ocean of greenery stretching from the roots of the Grey Mountains to the hills, miles and miles away. A wood that concealed far more things than the two dwarfs seemed to realize.

The question was indeed worth asking : would the undeads risk themself into Loren's forest ?
 
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