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TVC - Chapter 35 - The Strigoi and the Blood Dragon

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#1
Peter deeply, and summoned the winds of Dark Magic around him. He muttered a few words, and in the distance, thunder rumbled. The storm would be here before night fall, and would hover over his army, protecting it from the worst of the sun.

But now, he needed rest.
 

Onikaigo

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#2
The pull of magic draws eyes upward, bringing each and every Vampires eyes to the mastery of the Winds shown by Peter von Krahe. A smile is shown on the face of Niklaus as he tightens the laces on his new boots, gleaned from the rooms of Peters Estate. It is a mere hour before he departs, and his preparations are nearly finished.

After a few hours of precious rest, followed by meeting with his new compatriots; the Dire wolves under Peters....His command. He has an affinity of sorts, no, that's the wrong word. Once he appeared in the Kennels the creatures were driven by their remaining animalistic tendencies, putting their shredded tails between their legs, slinking forward and acknowledging the new Alpha of the pack. Niklaus is not their Master by right of Peters Gift, the Wolves through some shred of natural tendencies recognize Niklaus.

After accommodating his new found friends with his presence, he sought to find some clothes. Hence, where he is found now, getting dressed in a budoir once belonging to some long dead nobleman.

Now dressed in brown leggings and forest garb, his hands were forced to move much slower with the trappings of mundane clothing due to his new weapons, but he manages. Once he is dressed, the Winds of Magic are beginning to pull clouds together, and with that, Niklaus leaves his room and heads toward Peters Study; assuming to find him there, if not, he would find him.

Stepping into the study, he would peer at the tired form of Peter, speaking with a sense of grudging admiration. "You command the Wind well, Milord."

He looks much more presentable, now. His hair is kept in a neat ponytail, his beard is combed and cleaned and his clothing not tattered, stained or torn; Though short, Niklaus is powerfully built and it shows. Standing before the Desk, he would gleam at Peter with red, piercing eyes. "I leave in less than an hour, and before the night ends I shall look on enemy lives."

His voice changes as he speaks of his targets, his opponents. His hatred is palpable, the madness underneath the emotion as a blade, sharp and rising even further. To cause terror, who is better to send? To cause death, bloodshed, and route the enemy for the coup de Grace, who is better?

"I shall attempt to make the Sigmarites face home, face me so you may destroy them without mercy upon their backs. Allow them to prostrate themselves before their feeble god!" Moving with his emotion, he clenches his fists at his side, nails clicking together ominously.
 
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#3
"Yes Niklaus, my command of the winds is strong. But I have sacrificed much for my magic. I am outcast, the rest of my order hates my. I live here, on the fringe of civilisation, whilst my brothers tear across the battlefields of the Old World. We are not so different, you and I." Peter did not know why he was feeling so remorsful. Perhaps it was due to meeting so many new vampires.

He rose and looked out of the window, staring at the clouds.

"Go quickly, as this storm will drain my strength. And I will need all my skill and magic to defeat these Sigmarites."

Peter left Niklaus standing in the study, and descended the stairs to Firehoof's stable. A spectral attendant had tacked him up, and the Nightmare stood, eager to carry his master to combat.

Peter rode out of the stable, to the head of his army. His vampire knights took up postion behind him, followed by his Black Knights and Wights. The skeletons followed, and around the flacks of the column scampered ghouls. The force marched out the gate and followed the roud to Stirland.
 

Onikaigo

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#4
Niklaus leaves shortly after Peter, moving to the Kennels and releasing the hounds with a simple swipe of his increasingly useful talons. Feeling the urge to hunt, flying through the darkness becomes a desire that cannot be defied.
Raising his face to the storm darkened sky, he laughs aloud, echoing among the castle walls as the wolves raise their own voices to a hellish cacophony. Stone trembles, thunder rumbles in the roiling mass overhead, shielding them from the light. The sound of hobnailed bone, clinking metal and stamping of hooves rings from the courtyard, and with a howl of his own he lopes toward the entrance, seeking egress from this place that suddenly seems oppressively enclosed.

Wolves by his side, rotten, dead limbs creaking with the exertion as unholy magics animate their limbs. Near a score of the undead beasts lope beside him, up either side of the marching column in agile formation; and soon Niklaus himself would pass the head of the column, giving Peter only a glance as he darts past, his speed blistering even for a Vampire; his form can near out pace the wolves.

Soon, the trudging, marching column of the dead and damned would lose sight of the scouts ahead, but it would be a long, long time before they lost the sound of the unearthly howls and inhuman mad laughter that was their hall mark.

Release the wolves, release the demon with them. Stirlander, Sigmarite, and all that oppose the path of the Legion shall mingle blood into the earth, and the hungry gullet of the beasts at hand.

It truly is a night for a Storm over Stirland.
 
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#5
Niklaus flew past Peter, followed closely by the wolves. The Strigoi seemed to be becoming more animal by the second.

It felt good to be travelling again, marching to battle. Centuries cooped up in that castle had almost driven him as mad as Niklaus. Almost.

My Lord" said one of his vampiric warriors, "At this speed, we will reach the Imperial camp by noon".

"Well perhaps we can pick up the pace". Extending his arms, Peter once again summoned the Dark Magic. He let its power follow into his troops, and they began to march with unholy vigour.
 

Onikaigo

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#6
Niklaus travels with unholy speed, his Vampiric state giving him strength and endurance that only the dead can possess. Grinning with animalistic glee, he looks to the sky in a break of trees and sees only black. Howling in the night, his eyes glow a steady scarlet as the wolves keep their mournful chorus alive around them, weaving their spell around the hearts of the Sigmarites.

For, there! there stand his foe, their fires alive and well, and men on guard and not a single one of them asleep. Stopping on the edge of the treeline, out of sight of the human guards but well within his own capabilities, he reigns in his anger long enough to make a simple battle plan.

A very simple plan. Pointing to the left and right with his talons, the wolves split, howling as they head off in opposite directions to circle the camp, harrying the sentries and snarling and snapping in the darkness, even managing to drag one set of sentries to the earth amid screams and pleas for help.

Niklaus, on the other hand, opts for a more direct approach. Moving forward with his wolves, his eyes pierce the black, looking skyward; he's made good time, Dawn is just breaking. If Peter hurries, he might just make it in time to join in. Looking back to the sentries before him, he leaps, landing amid both with talons ripping through their armor, Blessed by their God to an ineffectual status. Blood spills on his face, and he drinks it in as he overruns farther into the camp, organized resistance starting to form against the Wolves and their Alpha.

Niklaus is a nightmare made flesh. His talons deflect hastily raised swords to reach tender stomachs, some armored, some not. His howls of laughter are more frightening than the havoc he causes, causing brave men to pause in fear, their insides turned to jelly which Niklaus is happy to share with the rest of the world by spilling.

Niklaus spree is short lives, for among the battered front line comes a beacon of light, burning into the circling wolves, two, three being incinerated before they could react; the chanting of Sigmarite priests in their mantras, summoning the winds of Magic in opposition. Their shapes glow to his unnatural sight; One, Two, Three....Niklaus has his targets.

Howling as his wolves perish, but continue their attack as Niklaus becomes a guided bolt of focused hate, slaughtering only those that get in his way, taking several wounds but not slowing; soon the first priest is before him, guarding the perimeter and lending his calming influence to the men about him. But not for long. With a howl of Rage, Niklaus lands upon the priests back, the Enchanted armor burning his skin on contact, but his claws make short work of the man, his lifeblood spilling to the earth.

Two more....Standing in a circle of flame, death, and covered in blood, some his own but most not, Niklaus pierces the eyes of those about him with his glowing red gaze. A howl of fury rises from his throat as he throws himself again and again at his foes, blood flying through the air; It is only a matter of time until niklaus falls, if he cannot control his hate; his entire being is bent on reaching that second Warrior Priest, though the General has not been sighted.
 
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#7
Peter’s army made good time on the march from Swartzhafen. His magic, and the fact the dead needed no rest meant that they arrived at the Imperial camp not long after dawn. They were camped in a large field. Peter heard the howling of wolves ring out from somewhere behind the enemy camp.

Peter could see that Niklaus’ attack had initially caused panic and confusion amongst the humans, but as the Strigoi and his wolves had driven deeper in to heart of the foe, they had lost momentum and been surrounded. The wolves were being dragged down one by one, and now only a handful and Niklaus remained alive.

The column spread out, forming up ranks behind him. The Blood Kinghts took up their custom place at his side, with his Wight Guard on his right, and Black Knights on his left. Either side, hundreds of skeletons stood in silent anticipation. On the flanks, his pet ghouls foamed in anticipation. Hopefully, the loathsome creatures would surround the army of the Empire, and harass their flanks.

Above, the clouds swirled. Opposite, the Sigmarites formed into hasty lines, spear points glistening. In the heart of a regiment of knights, Peter could see the Warrior Priest, mounted on a barded warhorse.

“Foul beast,” cried the Priest, as if he was standing in a pulpit, “Sigmar has sent me here to rid this place of filth like you. By his hand, and with this hammer, I shall strike you down.”

“Foolish Priest,” replied Peter, “Your God is dead. Only death is constant. Make piece with Moor”.

In answer, cannon fired from the rear of the Empire force. The range was poorly guessed, and the ball whizzed high over the ranks of the undead. Peter gave the order, and in unison his force marched forward, bony feet tapping softly on the ground.

Peter kicked Firehoof into a gallop, the Blood Knights forming a wedge behind him. He levelled his blade at the enemy general and cried, “Today Priest, you will meet your God”
 

Onikaigo

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#8
Peter has arrived! The beast within Niklaus pays little heed, the wolves, the handful that are left, are frenzied. Their efforts are redoubled, pulling down armored man, horse, and squire alike in their thirst for blood. Niklaus is in the same state, his motions furiously fast, swords striking him and leaving open wounds to bleed into the earth, but he slows not.

His claws take the throat of one soldier, his pike embedded in the earth well past Niklaus, his arm halfway to his sword as his last breath gurgles from the new hole that was his throat. Another Warrior priest stands his ground, a hammer aloft in one hand glowing with a Blinding Light, burning the undeads eyes near the baned weapon. Leaping through the air, narrowly missing the tip of one spear, Niklaus deflects the hammer with a forearm, his bone cracking with the force of the Priests blow. Beyond rage, beyond words or communication, Niklaus wastes no time in sending his remaining good hand at the priests vitals, tearing through armor and flesh with ease to disembowel the Sigmarite before his men, the enchanted light fading, but leaving Niklaus virtually blinded.

A wounded animal, Niklaus stands amid the eastern fringe of the battle, having eliminated two of the three warrior priests, leaving only one subordinate and the Leader Himself alive; The magical punch is surely much weaker now that Sigmars hands are cut. Roaring in bestial fury and guided by his precise vision, Niklaus acts as a cornered bear, striking this way and that, hemmed in by dozens of spear points, taking minor wounds time upon time again; his strength will not last the morning. His jaw is distended, his arm (The one functioning one) seems to have become massively muscled, tossing armored men to the left and right with ease, blood spilling in crimson arcs as he holds his position against his innumerable foe.

Tossing his chest forward, he breaks the haft of a spear with a swift motion, leaning his head back to roar in animalistic fury at the sky, even to Vampiric ears it is not natural. Not even Vampiric; something more base, more primal. The men surrounding him are stunned to silence, their spear points held still in terror, their eyes not believing the number of their own dead piled at the beasts feet, the blood that soaks him from nearly head to toe....and the glowing eyes that peer from bloodied brow.

First, not a soldier moves, then, the speartips begin to shake as they remain leveled at him. Finally, amid the din of battle, a voice, human, comes over the air. A priest of Sigmar, one of the last two leading this band of zealots, circles his hammer above his head, reviving the fighting spirit of the men.

"Death to the hellspawn! Crossbows, forward! Second, third, and fourth companies, form the battle line! Pikes to the front, swordsmen at the ready! First company, finish the hellspawn in our midst! Ready yourselves, Sigmar be merciful! The beast approaches!"

As Peter advances, a wall of sharpened steel would be leveled at his troops, a chaotic maelstrom of blood and death slowly being pushed tighter and tighter around niklaus, behind the enemy front lines.

Battle, at least for Niklaus, is rejoined, and it appears to be a losing battle.
 
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#9
By now, the gunners had found their range, and their shots tore great gaps in the ranks of skeletons. Crossbow bolts and handgun shot rained scythed down dozens more undead warriors.

But Peter’s charge was unstoppable; he and his knights were like a force of nature. They slammed into the front ranks of the men of the Empire, shattering spears and splitting shields. Peter could no longer see where Niklaus was, but howls of pain and anger told him that the strigoi was not doing well.

Peter sliced through one soldiers arm, and cantered on, leaving the man screaming in the dirt. Magical wight blades cut through Imperial steel with ease. But the charge was losing momentum. Peter needed to cut off the head of this army, so the rest would die.

A blast of golden light knocked him from the saddle of Firehoof. The magical runes on his armour burned with pure darkness. As Peter raised himself from the dirt, he saw the Warrior Priest charge him, two handed hammer at head height. The vampire side stepped easily, and hamstrung the Priests horse. The man landed in a heap on the ground.

“Stand holy man. I will not let it be said that Peter von Krahe is a coward,” shouted Peter.

The Priest stood, and took up his hammer. Golden simples flashed across its head in the half light. He spat on the ground in front of Peter. “What does your kind know of honour” he said. With these words he lashed out, faster than any mortal man Peter had ever met. The vampire barely had time to parry the vicious blow that would have caved in his skull.

Peter launched a lightening counter, and scratched the enemy leader’s breastplate. Only the enchantments in the Priests own armour saved him from being disembowelled. The pair exchanged blows and magic, Peter’s Dark spells counter by the magical prayers of his enemy. The Sigmarite fought like a man possessed, whereas the Blood Dragon fought with still and control.

Just as Peter was being driven backwards by the Priest’s bestial strength, he saw his chance. The holy man launched an attack at the vampire, but overbalanced and embedded his hammer in the ground. Peter lashed out like a viper, cutting the Priest’s hands at the wrists. He cried out in pain, and collapsed to the ground. Blood pumped from his stumps.

“So holy man, your god as abandoned you,” mocked Peter. And with another stroke took off the man’s head. Seeing the death of one of Sigmar’s chosen shocked the Imperial army, who with the death of their leader, broke before the sorm of the undead.

“Run! Flee mortals, back to Altdorf. The Wars of the Vampire Counts have begun again” cried Peter, drunk with victory. He continued to attack the fleeing troops, eager to emphasise his message.
 

Onikaigo

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#10
Nikluas lashes again and again, using a spear shaft broken in two as his weapon, giving him the extra reach needed to bypass the soldiers weapons, disemboweling man after man, blood covering his form in a crimson deluge as the screams of the dying and damned rise about him like a cacaphony. Never has the Empire of Man seen such carnage wrought by a single creature, living or dead. Moving as a guided whirlwind of slashing limbs and gnashing teeth, Niklaus heads to the main battle line, intending to disrupt it from the rear. This would allow the undead legion a hole in the otherwise stalwart line, and break the battle.

Ho! What is this? A gap in the fighting, the man falling from a slashed throat, shows a golden hammer extinguished. Howling with glee and rage combined, Niklaus leaps over the heads of the men before him, almost seeming to have grown wings to land near the corpse, looking to his Lord like a dutiful hound, still clutching the broken spear in his functioning right hand.

Picking up the head of the Priest, his wounds covered in a deep layer of blood, some his own but most not, he'd spit in the priests eyes. Looking to Peter, he'd give a short bow, the Wights moving to surround them both from the fleeing blades of Man.
"I am not done with them yet!" His fangs bare, his hatred knowing no bounds, and yet he is not the same man you set loose like a hound of Fate. His arms are larger, more muscled. His eyes are sinking back into his skull, and his mouth is becoming more of a Wolves snout, elongated and fanged. Becoming more and more like the beast he is, his hatred drives him forward still.

Leaping over the backs of the Wights and their wickedly glowing blades, he crashes to the backs of man like a living thunderbolt, tossing a man to the right with a vicious back claw. His useless left arm is clutched to his side, cradled as his right arm thrusts the spear into the spine of the man nearest him, leaving him alive for his remaining pet wolves; relentlessly hunting down man after man.

This battle is a route, and it is well known to the men that flee. Barely a third of their number survives, and they are hounded by the Wolves, and Niklaus. A few pockets of Fierce fighting remain, but the spine of the force is broken, they shall flee to Altdorf. Flee to their walls, their City which shall soon burn.
 
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#11
As Niklaus lept away, Peter turned. The red mist had descended, and now Peter could not stop himself butchering everything around him. The Templars of Sigmar, made of sterner stuff than the State Troops, had launched a counter charge right towards the vampire general.

With little regard for his own safety, Peter let out a roar and ran towards the galloping knights. Just as it looked like he was going to be skewered on the leader's long lance, Peter dodged, grabbed hold of the horse's reins and pulled himself into the saddle behind the knight. He grapped than man's helmet, and yanked it off.

Peter could smell the fear on the knight's breath.

"Your Priest is dead, your army broken, yet you still fight on. That is courage almost worthy of a Blood Dragon. Almost worthy." chuckled Peter. With these words, he sank his teeth into the man's exposed neck, and drained his veins dry. He pushed the empty corpse from the saddle of the still galloping steed.

Sensing the danger of the knights behind him, he kicked the horse to go faster. But the animal was running through fear of what unholy creature was now on its back. Peter tugged the reins, but the beast did not respond. Letting out a long high pitched whistle, Peter tried to summon an escape. A few seconds later, a huge black horse galloped along side him. Peter jumped into Firehoof's saddle, and sped away from the charge of the knights.
 

Onikaigo

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#12
Niklaus is, simply put, a weapon. His claws descend upon the naked backs of his foe, his teeth tear into exposed throats and limbs with wild, gleeful abandon. his roar carries the weight of madness, groaning underneath the strain. A near perfect killing machine.

Standing amid the fallen, blood dripping from his tattered clothing, he is a changed creature. Seeming more bestial than ever before, less human (I.E Vampiric) than before, he seems to have completely released whatever facsimile attempt at imitating humanity that he had held. His jaw is becoming more and more elongated, his arms longer and more muscled, his shoulders are becoming more and more broad. Heavily muscled limbs and torso stretch the material of his jerkin and breeches, his boots have split in the front and rear due to the claws extending like talons through the leather.

Glowing red eyes look toward the remaining men, fleeing for their lives; nare a quarter what they were before they met the undead host. The sound of battle still rages?

Turning his eyes quickly, they focus with Raptor like clarity; Templars still stand? Peter is barely keeping ahead of the lance tips! Exhaling through his nostrils like an enraged bull, he snorts with rage and cries out his challenge to the mounted warriors, soon to be mired in the ranks of skeletons that are moving to protect their lord. Giving a bestial roar, his injured arm twitches back and forth, the wounds on his form healing with unholy speed.

Leaping forward, running on all fours, then on two legs, then back again he charges the remaining men of the Empire. Beside him run three remaining dire wolves, each of them monstrous, an impressive specimen of their kind.

With a sound like a crack of thunder the four monstrous forms crash into the ranked flank of the knights, carrying two from their saddles with the sheer momentum of their charge. Battle is not yet over, it seems, for the Men of the Empire. It soon shall be.
 
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#13
Firehoof galloped quickly awy. Behind him, Peter heard a mighty roar. He turned and saw Niklaus, more Varghulf than man, tearing into the flanks of the knights.

Peter saw his vampire knights in battle against a few Imperial Greatswords. The slow humans, who were hindered by their heavy weapons, were no match for the armoured might of the Blood Knights. Peter's warriors had dismounted to feast on the dying. Peter cantered across the now emptier field to join his men. He dismounted in the midst of the feeding frenzy.

As Peter strode across to join his bodyguards, he heard a gurgling laugh. At his feet lay an Imperial sergeant, with a great gash across his chest.

"Creature of Darknees, for all your cunning, you are undone" wheezed the man.

The vampire picked up the dying soldier by the throat.

"Tell me what you mean, and I will grant you swift passage in Morr's realm" demanded Peter.

"Ha, do you think the Church would send such a pitiful force to crush you, Raven of Swartzhafen. You have long been a thorn in the side of the Warrior Priests. An army, thousands strong, led by Arch Lector Otto Wilhelm himself, marches now to retake the monastery in Swartzhafen" the man gulped a painful breath and continued, "From their, the Witch Hunters will cleanse the this cursed province once and for all."

Peter roared and snapped the man's neck. Overhead the magical storm clouds rumbled onimously.
 

Onikaigo

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#14
This battle is won. Leaning his muzzle back, Niklaus gives a roar of triumph, echoed by his two remaining wolves as they lean down to feed upon the dead and dying. Tearing open the breastplate of a knight, ignoring his gurgles of pain as his lifeblood escapes the gash in his throat, Niklaus feeds as the wounds in his flesh close before the fading eyes of man.

Niklaus can almost not be called 'Human', in shape or form any longer. His wounds disappearing before your very eyes, his muzzles draped in entrails, blood, and the remnants of his foes, he seems....wrong. His arms are too long, his snout is too long, he's far too heavily muscled for a human being; even for a Vampire!

The sound of tearing metal stops, and Niklaus looks to Peter von Krahe with a feral smile, reaching into a man next to him and pulling out a still beating heart. Loping toward Peter, he would offer the choice tidbit, attempting to speak.

"G-...Grisht. Grisht ffor.." Giving up, not quite understanding his own condition yet, he would continue to hold the heart forward, looking about him at the continued bloodshed, Vampire and ghoul alike feeding on the flesh below them. He is apparently very anxious to return to his feeding, but some sense of servitude or gratitude had sent him your way with this offering. Whatever this beast is, or was, its loyalties are apparently obvious.

Though a long way from the beasts of Legend, Niklaus is turning more and more fearsome by the day; The beast within is becoming the beast seen.
 
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#15
Niklaus appeared before Peter, carrying the bloody remains of a knight. He had now fully given in to the beast within.

"Thank-you for your help friend. But I fear the battle is not over yet." Peter told Niklaus the whole story. The beast nodded and growled.

"We must make haste back to Swartzhafen. But first, time to replenish my forces." The vampire turned, and pulled Dark Magic to him in a swirling vortex. The corpses that littered the battlefield twitched to life, and slowly stood. Flesh melted from the dead like wax, revealing polished bone. Peter gasped with the effort of raising so many dead, but he had doubled his ranks of skeletons. And he needed as many men as he could if he was to defend his army.

With a rest, he mounted Firehoof, and began the mach back to his keep.
 

Onikaigo

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#16
Niklaus looks back to the direction of the Keep, his eyes narrowing into red slits. Grunting, he begins a slow march with the army; if he is going to do any good against so many humans he must have support.

Looking over his right shoulder, marching next to Peter, he gives an unearthly howl to pierce the twilight gloom. Answering him are wolves, scores upon scores of the beasts rising from their graves. Drawn by Peters Magics and Niklaus' will, they rise to lap around the edges of the undead host like some foul tide.

Looking to Peter, Niklaus' eyes glitter red once; there are too many men for him to delay long enough to reach the castle in time, but if they march quickly enough to forces still in the keep can hold them off long enough for help to arrive. If.

Tearing furrows in the earth with every step, Niklaus marches on.
 
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