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TVC - Chapter 42 - Ashes to Ashes

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Trevy the Great

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"And there can always be the safeguard of the might of your forces within the von Carstein's very fortress, Lord Walach." Vekarin counciled, "We can cut them down from within if they turn."
 

Gree

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Walach’s lip curled in contempt at this cretin’s arrogance. ‘’I see,’’ he said slowly,. ‘’I expect her to recover fully then, there should be no complications?’’ he asked somewhat suspiciously.

Serpino meanwhile was looking over each of the vampires in turn.

The von Carstein on the horse was hardly worth his time, his sword and ring however where another story entirely. If he was correct that was indeed the legendary von Carstein Ring, which meant much to him. He mentally smiled, he would give much to study it. The newly arrived Vampire warlord was also insignificant, Serpino had studied his kind before and saw nothing of value.

The Blood Dragons where also unintresting, he had studied their kind before and knew they where simply unthinking brutes who only knew how to swing a blade, as such they where useless to him. However the lady being carried one the largest of the brutes was fascinating to him. Serpino had a healthy love for all things beautiful, both man and woman, and he liked what he saw. Beyond her beauty Serpino’s witchsight revealed a hidden magical aura.

She looked so tempting in her wounded state, Serpino licked his lips but forced himself to turn his attention away to observe the others.

One was a mechanical looking girl, Serpino detected so signs of a heartbeat within her, his witchsight however, detected another magical presence within her, he promised himself that he would check that out. There was a Strigoi, even more boring than the Blood Dragons, another Carstein vampire, and another Vampire with a black cloak, he also had an odd magical presence. There was another vampire with razors. He was unable to identify his bloodline.

The last was what Seprino was able to identify as a werewolf, Serpino was surprised, he though they had all killed themselves, however it was no matter, who would have their bodies soon enough and the secrets of their creation would be his.

''Might I inquire who this fine Lady is?'' Seprino asked smoothly, referring to Lesa.
 
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Peter glanced at Mircea as he approached. It was unlikey that the Marshall would apologise for nearly killing him, that just wasn't his style. Peter smiled warmly anyway. They had known one another for centuries. It wasn't worth falling out over a stab in the stomach.

Peter stood beside Jason as the newcomer introduced himself. Despite still being angry at the fact this whelp had dared cross swords with Nightware, he extended his hand.

"Brave of you to introduce yourself like that Saul. I'm Peter, pleased to meet you."

As he spoke, he again glanced at Jason, and the pair shared a grin at Saul's lack of manners. Still, it wasn't the newcomer's war Peter thought. Maybe I should cut him some slack.
 

Knightofni

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First I shake hands with a Lahmian, now I'm shaking hands with Blood Knight... I must be going soft. Saul shook his head once to try to clear the thoughts from it. His day so far was definitely ranking right up with the weirdest..

"A pleasure to meet you Peter. It's fair to say that my temper gets the better of me sometimes.. and I'm not really all that good at first impressions anyway."

Now I'm being polite to a Blood Knight.. bloody hell.
 
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Sensing Saul's unease, Peter almost laughed. He was beginning to like the whelp.

"They aren't the friendliest bunch, I will give you that. It is not in our kind's nature to trust anyone. I had to get my home destroyed before the Count would even begin to trust me," he explained.

"We fight like cats and dogs, but most of us are there for each other when we need it. Well, if there is something to be gained from helping each other," chuckled the Blood Knight.
 

Gree

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'''I see you are of my bloodline'' Mircea said to Saul, studying him, '' I don't exactly recall you, who was your sire?'' he asked.
 

Knightofni

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Woah.. this new guy is nearly as good at first impressions as I am.. Bastard. The vampire didn't know it yet but he'd touched a nerve.. Saul had no idea of the name of his Sire, only that he was of Von Carstein lineage. Perhaps that was why he disliked the other vampires' arrogance about their own heritages, because he had none of his own.

"It would seem that we share a common ancestor.. though unlike your good self, I know not the name of my Sire.. I have spent many years trying to track him down but without a name my quest has so far proved fruitless."

Saul's tone has sharper than perhaps he meant it to be.. this new face and caused offence with out knowing it. Heritage and Lineage were not subjects Saul liked to be drawn upon.. he felt like an orphan when it came to them.
 
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"Excuse my friend Saul," intervened Peter, seeing where the situation was going, "Mircea is one of my oldest companions, yet today he welcomed me back by stabbing me. He is just a bit of a grouch sometimes."

He knew that mocking Mircea was perhaps not the best plan, but the older von Carstein would slay this younger family member without a second thought.

Plus, Mircea owes me a few favours after today, thought Peter. Although Mircea did not show it, Peter was sure he was glad to see him.
 

Ghouly

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Graveclaw glared savagely at Seprino "That issssss Lesssa and if you touch her..." he paused to sniff the air taking in Seprino's scent "Nerarch, Graveclaw issss going to pull your entrailssss out of your mouth sssswine!" Graveclaw thundered ,jabbing a jagged talon towards the newcomer "That goessss for you too...Mutt" he growled at Muller.
 

Knightofni

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Eager to change the subject away from his lineage, Saul nodded towards the strigoi and spoke to Peter .. clearly he was the more sociable of the two vampires in front of him.

"Who's the cheerful chappy with the fetish for intestines.."
 

Gree

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Serpino snorted. ‘’Me? A Necrarch? Have you had your eyes checked lately?’’ he examined his hands, then his feet then felt his face. ‘’I’m feeling quite beautiful this night, don’t you agree?’’ he mentioned to the other vampires.

‘’Lesa is a complete and utter whore, as well as trash’’ Mircea replied to Serpino. The other vampire merely raised an eyebrow.

‘’A complete whore you say? Excellent’’ he grinned wickedly.

Mircea felt like facepalming before he turned to Saul. ‘’Yes, I understand your plight, nonevertheless you are welcome to stay with your kin’’ he mentioned.

‘’As for Peter, we have had our differences in the past, hopefully we are all on the same side now’’ he nodded to the Blood Dragon.
 
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Peter nodded back to Mircea, knowing it was the closest thing he was going to get to an apologiefrom the Marshall.

"The Strigoi is Graveclaw. He is quite harmless in his own way," chuckled Peter, "Although don't tell him I said that. The charming young lady is Lesa Cromwell. After the Count, she is probably the closest thing we have to a leader, although I fear that her last battle may have cost her dearly."

Peter sadly gazed at Lesa. Unlike the rest of the hot blooded males on the Council, Peter simply could not bring himself to lust after her in this condition. He knew what it was like to lose someone close.

With a shake of his head, he turned again to Saul.

"So, your another von Carstein. I assume you have'nt heard the news then. You have a new Count. The blonde with the cheeky attitude took over in Drakenhof not long ago. Don't be fooled by him though, he is just as cunning as the old Counts."
 

Knightofni

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Saul actually smiled.. He found it amusing that the Blood Knight found it important to point out the new Count's 'cunningness'.. surely it was a given that all of the Von Carstein's should be cunning. The blonde was unlike anything Saul might have expected from the Count Von Carstein.. in as much as he was blonde. To be honest, the only thing that Saul did expect was that he'd have black hair to match is black heart.. apparently stereotypes didn't mean much these days.

"Count Von Carstein is he? I should probably introduce myself at some point then.. Oh I do love family reunions."
 
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Zaak cackled wildly as he observed the reptile's futile attempts to escape. It was extremely entertaining, to say the least. However, Zaak's mind wandered and his eyes followed.

They came to rest on the equipment, which suddenly began to hum with otherworldly energy. The blade burst into holy flames, and a resonant magical energy bubbled up within the others. The warmth of the blade did not set the saddlebags aflame, but they did stir up some movement within. His interests piqued, he opened the bag, only to have some winged reptilian spring at his face.

He quickly warped his armour into a helmet once more, which the snake clattered off harmlessly. As it poised to strike again, Zaak uttered a brief spell. As the incantation was completed, the serpent levitated into the air, squirming and wriggling in place. He examined it carefully, before flinging it with his mind into the cage where the Lizard stood.

Now that the triple set was complete, he considered what to do with them. A thought struck him, and he approached the cage. Speaking clearly and reasonably loudly, he said, "Can you speak?"
 
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"Family reunions eh. Thats my sire sat up there on the warhorse. He was not pleased to welcome the black sheep back into the fold," explained the Blood Dragon.

"So, you seem like you are Brettonian. If you don't mind me asking, what are you doing so far from home, picking fights with the most power alliance of Vampire the Old World has ever seen?"
 

Knightofni

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"Indeed I am brettonian.. In life at least. I am an illegitimate child of a Noble House of Gisoureax; since my recruitment into this life I have lived under exile from my homeland.. self-imposed.. that and a band of Questing Knights saw fit to give me a decent send off in the manner that they would treat our kind.. so I haven't returned. I have spent my life travelling the Old World as a mercenary looking for new challenges and bigger beasties .. then by what ever enchantment laid my bloodline to the will of another I have been brought here to this Council."

A shortened version of the truth was required as this obviously wasn't the time nor place to launch into a full and detail history of himself.. the moody one might get bored, so Saul settled for the abridged account.. giving enough information for Peter to know a little bit about him but not giving the whole game away.. where would be the fun in that.
 
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"I have had a few run ins with the nobility of your homeland myself. I must say I was not a fan."

Then, sensing a need to tell Saull a little bit about himself, Peter continued, "As you can tell, I am a Blood Knight. After the fall of the Keep, I fought as a mercenary, until I fell in with good old Mircea over there. We then spent a few centuries fighting our way across the Empire until the Counts were finally deafeated. Since then, I've been kicking my heels, and helping the Marshall out a few times when he needed someone to do his dirty work. Upon hearing of the new Count, I set out to Drakenhof, and then got caught up in this mess."

Peter new that Saull was hiding something from him. However he didn't press the issue.

He is learning to keep his thoughts to himself, Peter said in his head. He is learning fast.

"So, since you are here, do you intend to join us in our quest to slay Nagash. Or die tryng." he added.
 
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Müller ignored Graveclaw, he wasn't in the mood to fight and he wasn't really intimidated by him.
Müller could tell much by scent, he smell the difference in the fibers that made up clothing, the natural dies used to color it. He could pick out the pheromones released by bodies, and when applied to experience, pick out what they meant. He could smell the winds of magic that followed and coalesced around those with mystic powers. Sometimes he could almost smell intentions...feelings.
He had the scents of the Council now, he could track them down through the corners of the world.

He had a mission to accomplish. He would return to the bodies of the slain and burn them before heading to Norsca and awaken the sleeping Elders.
Without another word, silently, Müller turned and departed, heading back to the hill where he had laid the bodies, tracking them in the darkness from their distinct smell.
The wind shifted, blowing from the hill down towards him.
Müller paused. There was a different scent in the wind.
"Ghouls" thought Müller, "Come to pick the corpses clean."
He transformed and galloped up the hillside.
 
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Jason looked to Serpino His eyes glazed over as he stared into him he was indeed a beautiful Vampire worthy of being called a Lahmian to the untrained eye but there was the blood of W'soran was flowing through his undead veins. Jason fixed onto his eyes the amber shades showed a troubled mind underneath the beautiful exterior the great pain of losing your self completely... Jason remember the feelings and the blood he had split as he sought freedom for the last time in his life and the cold harsh reality that smacked him back to his prison. Jason reeled from the thought and stepped forward to introduce him self.
"Jason Nightwere a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Serpino" Jason said before he looked to Müller running back towards the hill of his fallen brethren.
"Tell me, whats brings you hear on this, most lovely of nights"
 
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Fight! Fight, Mon-ti and we shall be avenged!

It was not to be though, as the snake was forced through the bars. Huakroataxa rushed, or tried to, his movements made sluggish by the temperature. No inspection was needed, as the snake presently arose, stretched out its feathered wings and hissed, the stench of death emenating from its virulent maw. It poised to strike, but with a forked tongue darting from its mouth, scented the danger of the bars and elected to remain passively outraged.

Huakroataxa checked himself, straightened his back and rose to his full height; well over the tiny death-nexus. In the old days he would barely have blinked if he even lost a whole unit of warriots, war always had casualties...but...
The cold one and the serpent were all he had now. His only connection to his homeland, the only connection to his god...three wanderers in lands unknown and forsaken but of those they hunted.

Huakroataxa berrated himself inwardly. This tactical manouvre was poor, to say the least; he had grown ill of picking off the dead one by one, he yearned for true slaughter. His thoughts were clouded by vengeance and he had acted in an inefficient and foolish way. How they had lauded him back home, honour after honour bestowed upon him. Were they to see him now, they would be ashamed and embarassed of their own conduct. How could a great and noble mage preist like Gargoq give him direct orders!

None of this inner turmoil strove through his cold, slitted eyes. If the creature before him beleived that the eyes were the windows to the soul, he would have to come to the conclusion that lizardmen have no souls.
It blurted the harsh syllables of the human tongue, neither artful and pure of form like the skink-tongue nor truly efficient and utilitarian like the saurus-tongue. Gibberish, nothing more or less, was returned only with an unbroken, unblinking stare.
 

Simon von Carstein

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The vampires stood aside as a black coach pulled up. Simon opened the door then moved away from it calling out "WOLF!" From the von Carstein lines Jerek padded over his hammer strapped to his back. Seeing Graveclaw and Muller he growled before moving towards Vekarin. "Put Lesa in the coach." Simon ordered. Jerek took Lesa from Vekarin and ever so gently placed her within the vehicle before leaping up on to its roof. Simon casually remounted his nightmare tapping the coach with the words "Drive on." The coach moved away and Simon followed joined by his get Aurelius and Gabriel and the black knights. The von Carstein army began moving away westwards towards Nexeternus.
 

Get of W'soran

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As Marc strode off with a whispered word from his master Karl limped back to his horse, turning the Baron glanced at Micrea
"I'm going to follow the Coach with the Lahmian woman inside" he told the marshal his voice filled with distaste.

After a moment Marc returned holding a sword, strange blade the Baron couldn't place, walking up to his master he murmered something causing Karl to grimace.
"This belongs to her? Oh very well bring it with you then." Karl replied.

Karl and Marc then rode off followed by Black Knights after the Coach, it took a short time for them to catch up the Count and his gets before riding at a more leisurely pace.
 

Gree

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Over by the hillside Calverni watched as the first half of the carts disappear in the distance, he was pleased at the hard work he and his fellow vat-grown clone-ghouls where doing.

Of course Serpino had made him to feel only pleased at that. But if the ghouls had free will he most likely would have been pleased anyway.

Large corpse carts had been piled with as many werewolf corpses as they could fit reasonably. However Serpino brought only six carts, not enough, however cleverly the vampire had also brought along several specially modified fell bats, their bodies bloated to enormous lengths as they picked up a body each in their hindclaws and flew off.

**************

‘’Research Sir Nightwere, such a battlefield has many bodies which I could use in my research, a man like myself cannot ignore such a calling, you do understand that?’’ Serpino replied politely. He glance out of the corner of his eye at the werewolf who was galloping away.

‘’Tell me, do you follow science as your profession?’’

**********

Mircea nodded to Karl. ‘’Very well, I shall depart with the army, I may arrive later than you’’ he said.

Meanwhile Walach slipped after Simon’s coach with his Blood Knights, before giving orders to Leon to regroup with the main army.
 
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Jason Began to walk with Serpino, as the council began to move forwards to Nexeternus trailing behind as they conversed. "Well I have been know to dapple, Of course I tent to focus on the more magical side of things than the physical, but never the less I hope that in my years i have come to be a more than potent alchemist, and please call me Jason. I do find it so much more relaxed to refer to people in there first name don't you." Jason Grinned slightly as he walked, he seemed to feel a strange connection with this Vampire.
"What do you tent to focus on? if I may be so bold. It is rare and far between that I meet some one passionately devoted to the ideologies of science and magic such as yourself" Jason continued to examine the Vampire. He knew there was something amiss with him, the glow of his eyes told him there was still more to find out.
 

Trevy the Great

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"Very well." Vekarin said, looking out after the rapidly departing coach and turning to Zosz. As he turned, his eye fell upon the still weeping Requarah, and a sneer spread across his face.
"Shall we depart, Necromancer?"
"I believe that it may be your turn to travel on your own, facechanger." The Necromancer replied, turning away from the massive warrior, "I will look after the queen of blood."
He then disappeared.
 
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