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TVC - Chapter 52 - A Pirate's Life

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#1
Brower stood at the helm of the Storm Chaser. The banks of the Reik were a distant smudge in the green moonlight. The mask creaked, and all was well upon the ship.

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

Below deck, Peter sat around a table with the Council.

"The Captain intends to to sail his vessel to the docks that used to service Drakenhof," explained the Blood Knight to the other Vampires."

"It is likely that the Carsteins have fallen back to the keep. However, the question remains to be answered; what are we to do when we get there?"
 

Sweeney Todd

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#2
"Chill them all, raze their keep, skin them alive and send their heads on a platter to the Sigmarites?" suggested Geralt. He was immediately answered by a chorus of Ayes from Todd, Lovette and even Toby doing their best scurvy sea dog impression. Geralt's scarred face twitched in a snicker.

Todd's mind was not entirely on the matter on hand however; he could not shake off the thought that the captain of the ship had an uncanny resemblance to himself...
 

MasterSpark

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#3
Dismissing the light-hearted comment from Geralt, Helena let her concerns be known,
"I think it's safe to say that we will be gravely outmatched if we approach them and they are hostile towards us. It might be appropriate that we send out scouts in an attempt to glean some information about the von Carsteins' current situation. If Count Simon did indeed go forth with his great plan during this geheimnisnacht I am sure that it will not have gone uncontested by the Dark Lord - perhaps they are just as shattered as the rest of the Council is?"
 

Disciple of Nagash

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#4
"As much as I would like to agree with you, we are in a difficult situation," the Duke said to Geralt, "the damned Carsteins have the armies to hold us at bay for a very long time if not indefinitely. We all have various forces, but summoning them into battle against the Carsteins under the current situation would be very tactically unsound."

His fingertips drummed on the wooden table as the Duke considered things,

"I believe Lady Helena's suggestion would be most sound. We need to know how they currently stand, whether the Count's plans came to fruition, and also whether there any still loyal to the Council. We still don't know what happened with the Mistress or her daughter, and perhaps there are some Carsteins who disagree with their lord and can be of help to us?"
 

Sweeney Todd

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#5
This time it was Todd's turn to speak, though he seemed slightly more distant than usual

"As much as it pains me, I understand the necessity of having the Carsteins around. However, if you want a Carstein to enter their ranks and report back to us information I can think of only one candidate." He said, turning to look at Lucia.
 

Disciple of Nagash

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#6
As he turned to look at Lucia, did the Duke, Victarias, and even Auberviller who was stood by the door as guard.

"Would that work?" Victarias asked, "the Carsteins must know Lucia was captured. If they know anything about her relationship then they will guess instantly her reason for being there. She could be putting herself at risk."

"It may be a necessary risk," the Duke said, "we need to find out how things stand before we can decide on what action to take." As he noticed Todd's vacant expression, the Blood Knight looked at him, "Lord Todd? Is something amiss?"
 
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#7
"Of course I will do anything I can..." began Lucia, before Peter sammed his fist down on the table.

"No, I refuse to allow you to risk yourself like that," he stated, "You have been locked away for many years and have no influence amongst your family."

"Besides," continued the Blood Knight, "We do have another potential ally amongst the Carsteins. Saul despises Simon for his arrogance. Perhaps he could be persuaded to aid us?"
 
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#8
Jason Spoke as he sat in the corner his features shadowed as he broke his silence after much thought about the von carsitens
"To once again, ally ourselves with the Von Carstiens is to invite this same treacherous situation we face now. It seams to me that all the power In this council is handed over the the Von Carstiens. I would rather a truce until this war is over then we will part company, unless they give us incentive to stay that is."
_________________________________________________________________________________


As Jason and the other council member's spoke down in the captains chamber Harrindir was looking over the ship. He recalled days when he and Jason, fared the seas of the new world recalling the memories fondly. As he walked the deck and looked to the country side the terror the ship had caused made him smile slightly as he turned to thoughts of the council and his bloodline and wondered where Rick and Markus were.
 

Sweeney Todd

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#9
Todd blinked as the Duke's words brought him crashing back to reality.

"Yes...there is something I must find out. I'll be right back, but until then Mrs. Lovette will represent me. Excuse me." He rose, giving Lovette a reassuring squeeze on the shoulder as he headed up onto the deck. Her smile in return was entirely ignored.

**********

Todd found Brower at the helm of the ship, and soon his constant pacing around the captain got to the point where it couldn't be ignored

"Oi mate, what ye lookin' at?"

His only response was to lunge in quickly. Brower shrunk back in alarm, and one hand drifted to the pistols on his belt but Todd halted with his face a hair's breadth from Brower's own.

"Don't you think we look alike?" He breathed into his erstwhile ally's face.
 
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#10
Brower shrugged.

"Aye, maybe, but what of it lad," replied the Captain, his hand still on the butt of his pistol.

"Where were ye born?" he asked the barber.
 

wraith

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#11
Markus stood at the front of the ship, draped in his black cloak. He did not feel the need to go to the meeting, Jason was his voice in everything anyway. he looked over the waters at the dark horizon that lay before him, like his future it was uncertain.
/And somewhere out there she is... Queen of our bloodline... Vile wench.../ he thought of the lahmians and how entranced he was of their beauty and of a distant memory now a hundred years past.
He was brought back as he remembered the challenge ahead, this for him was all a precursor to his vengeance, /Jason must have a good reason for all this.../ the air around him grew colder.
 

Sweeney Todd

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#12
"While Todd and I believe that your suggestion is ideal, I think it may prove nigh on impossible to win this war without the sheer numbers that the Carsteins will provide. We may have no choice." Mrs. Lovette spoke for the first time amidst a proper gathering of the Council, however diminished in size it might be.

"As for the informant, I can loan the Black Albatross for any long range correspondence needs."

**********

"Marienburg." Todd answered. He backed off somewhat to stay about an arm's length away from the captain before continuing.

"By the way, do you know why a raven is like a writing desk?"
 
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#13
Vaskatchi walked up behind Markus as the ice radiated through him. Markus welcomed it, his sword at his side and his armor strapped at his back there was that could frighten him, but he knew better than to denounce fears uses. Vaskatchi spoke quietly as he joined Markus at the Bow of the ship looking out wards to the night before them.
"Markus, it is good to see you again. I feel like we haven't talked in centuries. Please tell me your troubles, I feel as through we are strangers to each other and this can not do, among brothers"
Vaskatchi's voice was cool and felt easing, but Markus was not one to be smooth talked and retained his cold stance as he looked out before them. Ghosts haunted his vision like demons,grasping out towards him, which was met with a cold stare.
 
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#14
"I thank-you for the offer of your mechanical creature, Lady Lovette," said Peter with a nod, "But I fear such a contraption may be a tad conspicous. I shall dispatch my raven to carry any message to Saul."

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

"Marienburg eh?" mused the pirate.

Just then a distant boom rang out across the river. Browerdived to the ground, pushing Todd over with him. A cannon ball whizzed over their heads, before hitting a Zombie crewman who was tightening a rope. The undead sailor's torso exploded in stinking cloud of blood a rotting inards.

Qucikly getting to his feet and dusting off his frock coat, the pirate began issuing orders.

"Ready the cannon, prepare the boarding pikes. And hoist the colours," he yelled.

Behind the ship, two Imperial river patrol boats were coming up fast. Both were larger than the Storm Chaser. The closest vessel was flying the flag of the Templars of Sigmar.

The rest of the Council quickly appeared on deck, and prepared for battle. The crew raised the flag, and the black skull and cross bones snapped in the wind.

Brower turned to Todd and grinned.

"Because they both have inky quills, my distant cousin," he said calmly, as if they were taking a tour on a boating pond.

The captain took the helm, and turned his vessel hard to port. The Undead gunners let of a few lack luster shots, but they fell short of the Imperial ships.

"Hold fire, ye scurvy dogs. Wait for my signal," Brower yelled to his Zombie sailors, before turning to the other Vampires on deck.

"If ye have any tricks up yer sleeves, now would be the time to use them," he told them.
 

MasterSpark

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#15
"Oh, I think I could manage a few... tricks as you call them, captain. How foolish of these humans to give pursuit to us, surely they must know of the powers bestowed on the world's nocturnal beings on this, of all nights? Nevertheless, their recklessness should not go unrewarded..."

With a gesture and an uttered incantation, Helena began to set the water in motion. There rested an untold number of corpses in the depths of the river and they answered swiftly when beckoned, rotting remains and spirits rising from the darkness to assail the vessels of the Witch Hunters.
 

wraith

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#16
As the events unfolded Markus turned to his brother "I'm sorry brother it seems we will have to continue this later" he said unsheathing his sword. He smiled and wraith spoke in his mind /Show them what we can do, feed me the humans blood!/ he stepped forward "If ye have any tricks up yer sleeves, now would be the time to use them," as the ships got closer he leapt, he hurled through the air a few meters until he was over the ship and came crashing back to earth, the crew were busy fighting off zombies and spirits with their silver blessed weapons and did not think to look up.
He landed on top of one unlucky soldier who had just killed a zombie with a smug smile on his face. His armored legs and the weight of him crushed the mans spine as they burst through the deck into the gun deck, the gunners looked over shocked at the grisly scene
/KILL THEM ALL/ the candles went out and all that could be seen below the main deck was the faint blue glow of his eyes. He moved quickly running to the nearest two gunners turning and slashing his blade across their throats, he proceeded to massacre the cannon crews screamed for mercy and for help but neither would come or be given, his killing frenzy left them all as bloody corpses, that eventually raised themselves of the blood soaked floor, "By sigmar fell demon I will banish you for your sins" came a loud yell, Markus looked to the stairs, their stood a warrior priest holding a hammer and a shield, both with the twin tailed comet.
Markus raised his sword in challenge to the man and with the power of wraith and the winds of magic he shot a bolt of pure darkness at the priest, the priest quickly raised his shield which deflected the spell but the force made his arm numb. Markus rushed at him, the sound of the mans ever increasing heartbeat was all he could hear as they clashed the priest raised his hammer to meet his sword but was not quick enough to block his sweep.
The priest lay on the ground hammer and shield to far to reach, markus raised his sword and plunged it down, severing the mans head from body.

He pulled his sword free, helenas spell was obviously effecting the newly dead but he doubted it could effect a headless priest, he turned and proceeded upstairs, were he kept hacking and slashing he reached the middle of the ship when he felt a sharp pain in his back, a silver bullet was lodged between his plates, penetrating the skins slightly he turned and dispatched the Templar with an angry vertical slice, he felt more dark energy as wraith let of another dark blast destroying the mast of the ship, which fell back onto the rear of the ship, crushing the helm and a few unlucky templars and some very slow zombies, but also served the purpose of hiding Markus from more templars.

the deck was utter chaos, Markus knelt under the flag as he took a moment to gather himself, he reached around and grabbed the bullet from his side, the wound healed and he snarled "Damn these men" he dropped the bullet and picked up the pistol.
He cut himself from the sheet and shot at the nearest witch hunter he could see, moving with the speed of a vampire he slashed at the bodies as he passed them, he reached up and grabbed at a lit torch, as he felt more bullets ricochet of his Armour, he quickly turned and with a long sweep of his sword, aged his at attackers till they were withered husks, he ran forward to the hole he had made and dropped the torch through, it didn't take long for the fire to grow and for him to move to the nearest life boat.
he was stopped shortly by a man he figured for the captains feeble attempt to stop him, Markus grabbed the man and through him up into the air. He climbed into a boat and cut the ropes holding it as it crashed into the water, he paddled a few meters from the boat as the captain hit the deck and broke his screaming body, he headed back for the storm chaser as the witch hunter ship exploded outward, the fire meeting various containers of black powder. Debris flew every were.
 

Sweeney Todd

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#17
Sweeney Todd made the leap back onto the Storm Chaser shortly before explosions gutted the witch hunter vessel.

"Good work, lad." He said as he clapped Markus on the back with one hand, idly flicking away some of the blood on his razors with another. The get of Jason Nightwere might not have known it, but his assault on the witch hunter ship had not been alone and unsupported. Todd did not bother to raise this fact though.

Turning away, Todd strode over to Brower to speak with him. He got no further than "Very witty of you, -" when a loud scream cut him off.

"OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!"

**********

Anger flooded into Mrs. Lovette as the debris sent flying by the exploding ship, and the incoming fire from the other ruined several of her perfectly manicured nails and chipped at the thin layer of makeup on her face. The fires of Aqshy she channeled in her hands was a perfect embodiment of the rage she was feeling. As she gritted and gnashed her teeth the flames in her hands seethed and expanded until it took on a form that exactly imitated her own angry face, except that the burning simalucrum was several times larger than a man. With a swipe the burning head streaked across the distance like an avenging spirit before tearing out almost a quarter of the enemy ship in a massive explosion.

Lovett was not content with dooming the enemy ship in one stroke. Muttering expletives and arcane syllables alike, the air around her seethed with magical power as she pummeled the enemy into oblivion with a continuous barrage of spells from her respectable repertoire.
 
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#18
Jason stood silent looking over the destruction of the fool hardy witch hunter who had perused them. In truth he had not bothered to fight them knowing that markus needed the victory more than he did so instead he looked towards his get as a smile spread across his features and he returned into the ship to rest.
 

Disciple of Nagash

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#19
The Duke and Auberviller had watched as the other vampires swiftly destroyed the other two vessels. In close combat they were perhaps the most deadly on board, but at range all they could do was wait with the swords in their hands.

"Over before it even began," Victarias said from from his right, sheathing her twin blades, "but we are not far from Drakenhof. Whatever we are going to do, we need to decide now."

"Agreed," the Duke said, looking at the rest of the Council, "have we reached a course of action? Are we to send a message to Saul, to see how the land lays?"

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

"That was very impressive," Auberviller murmured as he sidled over to Helena, "you are powerful indeed Milady."
 
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#20
As Brower turned the ship about and resumed his course, all eyes were drawn towards the prow of the ship. Rounding the next bend was nothing short of a small armada. At least a dozen river patrol boats were heading straight towards the pirate vessel.

But that was not the most pressing matter. A towering, clanking ship, its deck a good ten foot above that of the Storm Chaser was bring up the the rear of the Imperial fleet. The ship had iron clad sides, and was powered by two huge water wheels, like those on a mill. They churned and frothed the water. The strange contraption was bristling with Hellblaster volley guns and other stranger weapons. The ship was flying the flag of the College of Engineering in Nuln.

"Prepare to board," cried Brower as his ship approached the Imperial boats.

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

As the Council's vessel neared the enemy, Peter grabbed a boarding rope and swung to the nearest patrol boat. Without his armour, he was far more nimble in battle than usual.

The landed on the deck with a thump, and drew his blade. He hoped that he could disrupt the front ships enough to hinder the ironclads progress. He charged towards the helm of the ship, hacking at sailors as he ran.

The captain of the ship saw the approaching Vampire and drew his own blade. He also leveled his pistol at the Undead knight.

I realise why Wallach hates those things so much, thought Peter with a wry smile as the lead ball passed through his left thigh.
 

MasterSpark

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#21
Helena noted Aubervillier's remark with soft laugh.

"My diminutive stature belies my age and knowledge.", she said before concluding with a wry smile, "A dangerous underestimation to make. However, it seems that the humans are not willing to let us leave in peace just yet."

Turning towards the oncoming watercrafts and steered that which lurked beneath the black surface of the river to beset the Imperial crewmen.
 

Disciple of Nagash

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#22
“Enough talking!” the Duke bellowed as he ran towards one of the enemy’s vessels. Sighing Auberviller gave Helena a wry smile before following his master, sword held at the ready. Having spent so may years training in their plate it was no obstruction to them as the leaped across the small gap, crashing down onto the lower enemy vessel with enough force to bite into the hardened wood.

Wide and fearful eyes looked back at the two Blood Dragons, taking in their crimson armour and all the horrible legends that went with it. One human with more sense that most fired the ships bolt thrower, the massive length of metal flashing towards the two. Something moved, a clang was heard and moments later the men looked round to see the bolt stuck deep into the deck, vibrating wildly.

Stepping back Auberviller returned to his master’s side, lowering his sword back to his guard position. The Duke nodded his approval at his son’s swift actions, before wordlessly they attacked. The combat was nothing short of butchery, the men onboard vastly outclassed. Against the other vampires it may have been different, but in combat, against the Red Duke and his son, there was little they could do but die.

The Duke carved a bloody path with little effort, his blade punching through armour and bone with equal ease. From his direction it clear he was heading to the rear of the ship, to try and reach the helm, where he could take control of the ship. Suddenly there was a roar, followed by the smell of gunpower and Aubervillier felt like something had torn him in two. He fell on one knee, vision swimming as he coughed up black blood. It too a moment for him to realize that the men around him were also dead, and even further to noticed they had all been blown apart by some weapon. Looking down he saw the hole in his midriff where something had punched straight through him and then finally realized that behind him was the ironclad with its hellblaster volley guns. The gunners must have decided it was worth the lives of their comrades to kill the vampire and had opened fire, but it seemed their gambit had not paid off. He could smell the hot metal even from this distance, and he knew the contraption would have jammed, though possible for not long.

The thud of footsteps brought him back into focus, and he looked around as the remaining crew drew closer, revenge clear in their eyes. The Duke had battled his way nearly to the helm now, unaware of his son’s plight, and as Aubervillier struggled to stand it seemed that perhaps the young Blood Dragon’s luck had finally worn out.
 

Sweeney Todd

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#23
Geralt's eyes widened slightly as he spotted the enemy fleet that had now fully rounded the bend in front of them, before he sighed. Beside him now were Sweeney Todd, Toby and Mrs. Lovette, who had just finished blowing the smoke off her fingers and was reapplying her makeup when the enemy resurfaced.

As the other vampires began to perform their own boarding actions, Todd's group held back. He watched with growing bloodlust as the ironclad bearing the colors of Nuln opened fire on the ship that the Duke and his get had boarded with its volley guns.

"Can you get us aboard that vessel?" Todd asked Mrs. Lovette softly, pointing to the ironclad.

"No problem hon." She replied nonchalantly. However Todd had not bothered to wait for her reply, knowing her so well that he more or less knew what she was going to say. Instead he gestured to Geralt and Toby.

"To me. Ready yourselves." He said just as softly as before. The hard edge in his tone could not be mistaken for anything else, just like the glimmer that appeared in Todd's eyes in anticipation of bloodshed. As Lovette began her incantations, arcs of lightning leapt forth from her cupped hands, spreading out to carve a bubble of unreality from the part of the material world the group stood in.

"Here we go again." Geralt managed to sneak in the last word just before the portal closed with a loud snap and a blinding flash. With an equally blinding flash and the sound of splintering wood they were deposited onto the decks of the gunnery vessel, the stench of ozone pervading the air. Unsurprisingly Todd was the most eager and the first to recover, leaping forward into the human crew whilst they were still coughing from the rapidly dissipating miasma. He was quickly followed by Geralt and Toby, and the slaughter commenced. None of the humans were a match of any of the four, and the gunners were soon butchered in an extremely one-sided melee.

A moment of quiet descended upon that ship as all of the gunnery crew had either perished or jumped into the river in order to avoid their comrades' fate. Taking the initiative, Geralt was examining the guns in order to permanently put them out of action. He had just placed the first explosive when he heard the sounds of rapidly approaching footsteps, and barely managed to channel the Sign of Quen when a storm of gunfire engulfed them. The hastily raised magical shield could not hold against such a density of firepower and it broke with a sound like tinkling glass. Geralt grunted as a bullet bit into his shoulder and grazed the side of his ribs, whilst rounds ricocheted off Toby's sandwich board and stung Mrs. Lovette, ruining her makeup. The human reinforcements spilled onto the deck, and immediately Todd charged at them wordlessly, death lust all over his face. He was greeted by sporadic gunfire as most of them were still reloading, but Todd was moving so fast that most of those who could still fire couldn't get a bead on him. He didn't seem to feel the scant few rounds that did impact him, and very soon a bloody whirlwind was driving through their ranks, joined by Geralt and Toby and a barrage of spells from Mrs. Lovette behind. Up close and personal with a supposedly mythical character from their own tales of horror in the flesh rapidly massacring those before him, the mortals' courage broke faster than it would have otherwise and they were quickly unmanned.

With panicked cries and screams involving 'Sweeney Todd', 'the demon barber' and 'Morr's own aftershave', a mass exodus to escape the flashing razors began, sending men scrambling to get below decks. For once his unasked for infamy had come in useful, but Todd was in no state to care. The moans of the dying and the screams of those too slow to get away in time were not loud enough to drown out the laughter Sweeney Todd could not contain as blossoming flowers of crimson and scarlet streamers of ichor painted a most pleasing vista.
 
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#24
Brower grasped the helm as the Engineering ship unleashed hell upon the Council. His own ship and crew did not get off lightly either. Many off the Zombie Pirates had arms and legs ripped off in the crossfire. His own gunners replied, but their volleys did little to dent the huge iron clad. Off the port side one of the smaller enemy vessels exploded in a shower of body parts. One of his cannons must have hit the powder store.

Round him the Imperial fleet was in chaos. He had managed to steer the Storm Chaser past most off the patrol boats. However, the ironclad still loomed ahead. He saw Todd and his companions fighting Imperial soldiers on its deck. He needed that ship taken out of action.

With a thought, flocks of rotting gulls took flight from his mast. They swarmed the mortal warriors, doing little harm, but hopefully distracting them enough to give the Council a chance.

As his ship neared the huge Imperial ship, he heard a series of thunks from his own deck. Dozens of grappling irons gouged across the deck before pulling tight. Imperial troops swarmed over the railings of the ship and soon the deck was a melee.

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

The pistol shot barely slowed Peter's charge as he ran towards the Captain. A skilled duelist, the mortal parried the Vampire's weapon, but after a few more exchanges, Peter's strength began to tell. He forced the human backwards, before grabbing his sword arm and twisting. His opponants arm snapped and hung limply. Peter them punched the Captain overboard.

The Blood Dragon turned and quickly took the helm. He had no experience of sailing, so hoped it was as easy as it looked. He spun the wheel, and slowly the boat began to drift off course. It rammed into one of its allied vessels, and soon the decks of both ships were in chaos.
 
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#25
Jason lay down in a hasty bed of hay and linen. He looked out the window at the imperial fleets as a cannon ball shot through the ship. Jason merely glanced at it as he looked to the sunrise over the mountains to the east and was reminded of simpler times as he, for the first time since he joined the council truly felt at peace as he moved his bony fingers over the cover of the tomb from the cathedral.
Geheimnisnacht had ended and the new day had begun, 'what a terribly eventful night it had been' he thought quietly to himself as the cries of men and vampire alike greeted the new dawn.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Vaskatchi watched as the fleets drew closer and closer towards their ship and as the first boarding party of the smaller ships leaped forward Vaskatchi's enchanted bow cut right through the men as he let fly a dozen magical shards which disintegrated on impact. He smiled as the men fell and let fly another dozen before he was surrounded by the remaining men of the ship as the struck out towards him. The zombie crew latched onto the imperials and Vaskatchi drew his rapier and sent a volley of jabs and slashed into the imperials they were well trained and few fell, yet Vaskatchi did not let up his defence assault.
The zombies were doing a good job distracting the imperials and allowed Vaskatchi time to rig up the cannons to fire of the ship to their side, he recalling his days as a pirate in a crew with his master he pressed the powder and ignited the fuses as the cannon ripped the lower deck to shreds.
As Vaskatchi smiled with victory, he noticed the sunshine as called out "Bring the darkness or Burn in the day!" calling to who ever could hear him as he continued to cut down the men on the councils ship.
 
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