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TVC - Chapter 52 - A Pirate's Life

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Sweeney Todd

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#26
The sudden attack of the zombie seagulls added to the chaos of combat, and contributed to turning it into a complete rout for the humans. The passage below decks was packed with corpses, whilst somewhere in the cavernous interior cannons thundered. The ship rocked slightly to the rhythm of the Storm Chaser's return fire, but it was clear that the ironclad had the upper hand in that particular gunnery duel.

In the meantime, Mrs. Lovette whispered to the Wind of Chamon with blatant disregard for the melee taking place not even a stone's throw away. She breathed deep, and with her exhalation released a shimmering heat haze that swathed and melted all the guns that were on deck within moments. She frowned thoughtfully at the sight of the flock of undead birds swarming away and pecking at the retreating humans, as did Todd when the red haze upon him eased somewhat when none remained within reach to kill. Their eyes met for a significant moment. The zombie gulls could have come from only one place, and if Brower had his attention on this particular ship out of the whole fleet then that indicated its importance to him.

Sweeney Todd and his companions had barely begun to venture into the depths of the steam ship when another contingent appeared and charged headlong at them. This time round it was a much more ragtag formation armed with a gamut of weapons that ran from handguns and spears to cutlasses, pitchforks and even a few odd ones out bearing full plate and huge double-handed swords. A few of them were the survivors of the initial bloodbath and were more than a little hesitant to face Todd again, but were forced along as much by the press of bodies as the urgings of their leader, a stoutly-built warrior priest bearing a massive flanged mace.

Shortly before the two sides were to crash into each other, the warrior priest pointed his mace at Todd and yelled out a challenge.

"Face me, vampire, for by the grace of Taal your existence ends tonight!"

"Can a dog have Buddha nature?" was Todd's only reply.

"BLASPHEMY!"

"Clearly you don't understand philosophy." Todd said with a faint smile, the last thing any could speak before their duel began amidst the tide of war about them. The sudden bout of calm introspection that overcame Todd melted away in the heat of battle, and the two adversaries started the dance. Todd quickly put the warrior priest on the back foot with his lightning attacks. The cleric fended blows off with shield and mace and counterattacked, but his retaliatory strikes were parried with equal ease. Before long Todd exploited a slight opening and stepped forward to ram a knee into the man's solar plexus. He staggered back with the blow and recovered quickly to attack again. It was not quick enough for Todd was already within his guard and proceeded to knee his groin, jab him in the throat and twisted slightly to deliver a kidney shot. The man reeled, but could go no more than two steps before Todd grabbed his sword arm and unceremoniously hacked it off.

Eyes widening in pain and shock, the warrior priest gritted his teeth and roared his defiance as he attempted to slam his shield into Todd's face. His razors were a motion blur at the periphery of his vision and he found himself suddenly unable to move with Todd grabbing his neck in a vice-like grip.

"I like you. You have guts." Todd breathed into his defeated foe's face. "See? Here they are." He continued and brandished a hand bearing the human's bloodied entrails, exposed for all to see. The last thing the warrior priest saw was Todd's homicidal grin as he leaned forward to sink his extended fangs into the helpless human's neck. That very same grin did not waver as he cast aside the drained corpse and joined the slaughter. It was over almost as quickly as it began and the group were free to wreak havoc amidst the engineering crews lurking within the underbelly of the vessel.
 

MasterSpark

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#27
Helena watched Aubervillier falter in his advance as the Imperial artillery had opened fire upon their own ship. While she did silently scorn such brazen behavior that the Warrior-Vampires had displayed, the young knight had indeed made an impression on her and she was determined to avert his destruction if she could. She saw a score of armed crewmen attacking the crippled Vampire, crude and imprecise strikes hitting him now that he was unable to make use of his darkling speed.

Helena launched herself towards the offending humans. Emboldened by the deathly energies that permeated the Geheimnisnacht, she snared their very souls with her hands and ripped them free with a contemptuous gesture. She hurled the immaterial matter at those who were still alive, like a chilling wind of undeath. Ethereal soldiers rose from their broken flesh-cages and engulfed their terrified former comrades with shrieking wails and relentless vigour. This night was truly a Vampire’s playground.

Having formed a perimeter around the wounded Blood Dragon, Helena approached Aubervillier and extended a hand towards him.

“You will have to excuse my violation of your kind’s stance towards using magic to benefit yourself,” she said in a tone of light mockery, tendrils of revitalizing arcane essence seeping from her own smoke-like form to his, “but I am sure that you would ultimately prefer to face a less… ignoble end in battle.”
 
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#28
As Brower observed his deck, he saw that the battle was not going well for the Council. His Zombie Piates were out classed by the Imperials, and the other Vampires were fast being surrounded.

"Time fer a song lads," cried the Captain to his crew.

He walked slowly down thesteps to the main deck, leaving one of his crew to take the helm.

Two Imperial marines charged him, swords drawn, but before they took more than a few steps, they fell, smoking bullet holes between their eyes. Brower drew his blade and laid into the mortals storming his ship. As he fought, he began to sing a shanty and soon his crew began to join in;

Yo, ho, haul together,
hoist the colors high.
Heave ho,
thieves and beggars,
never shall we die.


The booming chant of the Undead rang out across the battle. All who heard it felt a shiver run down their spines.

Slowly, the dead that littered the decks of the numerous vessels involved in the engagement began to twitch. They pushed themselves to their feet and clawed at their former comrades. Soon the battle began to turn in the pirate's favour.

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

As the shanty died down, Lucia was figting on the deck of the Storm Chaser. She stood on a pile of boxes, using the height to her advantage and shooting over the heads of her comrades.

She saw Peter fighting on board one of the crashed vessels. He was fast getting surrounded. Behind him, a Warrior Priest of Sigmar strode towards him. Lucia grabbed a discarded musket and drew a bead on the advancing holy warrior. She squeezed the trigger, and a heartbeat later, the Priest slumped on the deck. Peter turned and saluted his thanks, before charging back into the melee.

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

As the Priest fell, Peter remembered why he loved Lucia. He also realised that he need he need to get back to the pirate ship, as it was fast moving off. He grabbed a rope that was tied tight, holding up some gun powder. With a swift movement, he cut the line and was pulled off the deck. However he had misjudged the strength the falling crates would have, and he was launched much further than he had intended. He fell with a clatter on the deck of the ironclad.
 

Sweeney Todd

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#29
As Peter rose to his feet he suddenly found himself in an oasis of relative peace and calm. The roar of guns and the clang of sword on shield seemed to come from another world. When he visually scanned the deck he found the reason why. He was obviously not the first vampire to board this ship, judging by the fact that no one alive remained on deck. A trail of corpses leading below deck clearly indicated the other vampire(s) whereabouts. The guns had not been left untouched either. While at first glance the Helblasters remained intact, upon closer inspection the metal had fused and melted together as if it were made of bees' wax.

All of a sudden, Brower broke into booming song. Peter's back tingled, whilst the corpses around and before him began to slowly push themselves to their feet...

**********

In the bowels of the very same ship, all of Todd's cadre, even Geralt, had felt the pulse of Dhar as much as heard the song.

"Hold your horses." Mrs. Lovette murmured to herself as she thought of something. Taking control of the zombies brought to unlife by Brower's shanty, her mumbling continued as a continuous, unintelligible incantation. Before any of the walking dead could rise fully, they were caught in the hold of an unnatural wind and sucked towards Mrs. Lovette's position. Todd watched as the flesh and bone of the risen dead melted and ran under the influence of a churning vortex of magical force. Lovette began her work while more and more zombies added themselves to the grotesque putty-like creation.

"Drop of wyrdroot juice...pinch of hellebore...a bit of wolf's aloe..." She kept mumbling as she added reagents to the unholy dough made of bone and gristle "some sewant mushroom...blood of innocents...dash of powdered warpstone...And VOILA! But wait.." Lovette wrinkled her nose at the stench. She threw copious amounts of various perfumes and fragrances before continuing.

"Now for the Dhar." Her voice echoed in the holds as she began her incantation proper. The mix began to take shape, molded by the vortex into a massive hybrid abomination composed of around a hundred zombies fused together. It towered lifelessly above the group until she drew in the raw force and with an outstretched finger, sent it as a lightning bolt of Dhar into the creature. It roared from more than twenty rotting throats in response, as the thing fully came to unlife. The air pulsed faintly with residual magic in its wake. Its many bloodshot eyes, some of them glowing green turned to look at its creator

"BRAAAAAAAINSSSSSS...."

"SIT BOY, SIT!" The creature rolled down stickily onto what passed for its haunches. "STAND!" Upwards of a hundred legs and misplaced arms pushed it to standing position. "HEEL!" The abomination clumsily complied to the best of its abilities again "Good boy!" She gave the creation an approving smile, and many fly-ridden heads panted and gurgled whilst giving her a puppy dog look. Mrs. Lovette whipped out her 'cookbook' and furiously scribbled the results of her new experiment onto it. She beamed at Todd, who grudgingly smiled approvingly back, whilst Geralt looked at the fragrant abomination with a mix of utmost disgust and curiosity. Despite the time they had been working together, her spontaneity could still surprise him sometimes.

The group proceeded on with Lovette's newest pet in tow. Any sporadic opposition they encountered was easily dispatched. Upon finding the cannon deck, Todd strode purposefully to the doors before pulling them wide open and sticking his head in. Murderous frenzy was on his face as he shouted

"HERE'S SWEENEY!" He yelled. Almost immediately he withdrew back into cover, chased by a salvo of repeater handgun fire. Mrs. Lovette turned to her pet and pointed

"HUNT!" The perfumed hybrid creature broke into a lurch, smashing through the doorway with its raw bulk. The massive, unholy thing was made all the more horrifying by the fact that it was strangely fragrant, and many engineers were too entranced to keep themselves from being torn to pieces by many grasping hands and gnashing teeth. Todd and his companions charged into the fray as well, and with abomination upfront they began to tear their way through the massed engineers. The firepower raining down upon the Storm Chaser began to slacken and die down in response.
 

Disciple of Nagash

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#30
"I think in this case, I will indeed not be upset that magic was used," Auberviller replied as the wound in his chest knitted together, "I am in your debt milday," He stepped closer, "and I hope when we we finally have time to rest, that I have the opportunity to show my appreciation." He smiled, before brandishing his sword and disappearing once more into the fray.

Suddenly the was a crack of timbers as the small boat crashed into another with a sickening crunch. The Duke grinned mercilessly as he ripped the wheel off, destroying any chance of steering the vessel. Satisfied his task was done he vaulted down to the deck, his armoured weight snapping the spine of one unlucky sailor. He saw Auberviller killing with deadly precision, though he noted that a hole had be blown through his armour somehow. Further ahead he saw Lady Helena conducting the detested winds of magic expertly, and he knew that they had won this part of the battle.

However he could see the other ship they had crashed into was trying to break free, and glancing at the main mast an idea came into his head. Holding his master forged blade in both hands he whirled it round his head, building up momentum, until in a feat of monumental strength he drove his sword straight through the main mast. For a second it wavered before the Duke pushed as hard as possible, slowly toppling it onto the other vessel. Shrieks of pain could be heard, but more importantly as it hit it cracked the other ships mast, wrapping in their sails and entangling the two vessels together.

"I think we have done all we can here Milord," Aubervillier called as he gutted the last deckhand, "perhaps we should return to Browser's vessel?" Nodding his head in agreement, the Duke realised that the pirates desk was much higher than their own, and it would be no easy task to get back on-board.......unless.....

"Lady Helena," the Duke finally said, hating having to ask for such help, "perhaps your...arts could assist in returning us to the pirate ship before this one finally sinks?"
 

MasterSpark

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#31
The moral pain that plagued the Duke was all too evident despite his efforts to hide it, and Helena could only barely suppress a snickery laughter at the mighty warrior's plight.

"Certainly, master knight. The darkness of the Reich will carry us high before finally consuming this vessel."

As if on command, the black waters around them began to churn and boil ominously. Through some unholy means did the sinking ship start ascending slowly until it had reached the same level as Brower's. The three of them leapt swiftly over to the neighbouring deck and as suddenly as it had risen did the Imperial ship resume its sinking, now at an accelerated rate.
 

Disciple of Nagash

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#32
Now aboard the pirate ship the Duke nodded stiffly in thanks to Helena before striding off.

“You will have to forgive my father,” Aubervillier murmured from Helena’s side, “he detests magic and to have even contemplated asking you took a great deal from him. The fact that he asked you shows a great deal in how much he trusts you.”

Around them the battle was starting to wane, most of the human ships floundering, the ironclad mysteriously silent. Realising there was not much else he could do, the young Blood Dragon decided to stay with the current object of his affections.

“If I could be so bold Milday,” he finally spoke, “I am curious. I have never seen a vampire afflicted in a way such as yourself. How was it you came to be…..incorporeal?”

*******************
A scowl on his face the Duke whirled round as someone tapped him on his shoulder plate. His expression changed in an instant when he saw who it was.

“Lady Victarias,” he said, smiling warmly. He could see she was covered in the filth of battle, blood and other liquids splashed in her armour. From the look of her she had been in the thick of fighting herself, “I am pleased to see you have not been harmed, but them I would imagine these mortals would be little match for one as swift was you. Perhaps-“ He suddenly broke off as he saw something in the distance, a ship heading towards them from the direction of Altdorf. For a moment he thought that further human reinforcements had arrived, but as he looked a second longer recognition showed in his face.

“Mistress Lesa’s vessel approaches,” he said, a bitter tone in his voice, “I can only assume Ashlotte, the lizard creatures and your husband is onboard.”
 
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#33
Vaskatchi cleaned his rapier with a silk handkerchief, as he stood silent and looked to the carnage out on the water. The smell of burning flesh and blood caught his scenes and filled is nostrils with the tang of battle. In truth Vaskatchi was not accustomed to combat but a good feast and a bit of slaughter always filled him with a sick joy.
"How nice of the imperial's to sent us a fair well bit of laughter" Vaskatchi said as he folded up his enchanted long bow and glanced around to see the coming imperial vessel of Miss Lesa.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Meanwhile down in the lower area of the ship Jason sat and contemplated the tomb before him sensing the battle was over he thought he may as well look at the damage with Vaskatchi and Markus if they were still standing.
 

wraith

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#34
Markus landed on the stormchaser and keeled over his wounds
covered his body, two silver rounds in the small of his back were causing him immense pain and stopping his regeneration he hoisted himself on his blade and went to move but it was no good the rounds were making everything feel worse, as if his nerve endings were being burnt.

He looked out at the carnage and closed his eyes, the blood covered his face and armour, wraith was silent in his head and he felt at peace in mind alone.
 

MasterSpark

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#35
Aubervillier's question about her condition made Helena pause before replying in a distant voice.

"I dearly wish that I knew to the answer to your question myself. I should rightfully have been destroyed on that black night when I was first defeated by one of our own vampirekind and then subsequently consumed by fire. For some reason I'm denied my final rest and now I've been cursed to persist in this world as a shadow of myself.."

She could see that her words had a strong impact on Aubervillier, his features a mask of sympathy. "However, I would rather not have your pity." she added, "This world is fortunately an interesting enough place to witness and influence."

It was then that the two of them caught sight of the approaching vessel that was indeed crewed by the second half of their earlier party.

"So they've finally made their way here, have they? I was hoping for a more timely arrival..."
 

Sweeney Todd

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#36
An unnatural calm now smothered the charnel house that the steam ship's gunnery deck had become. An approaching figure in the distance caught Todd's eye mere moments after the slaughter ended. Peering out through a murder-hole, those standing on the deck of the incoming vessel were familiar sights.

Disappointment invaded his face, forcefully evicting the bloodlust he still hadn't fully satiated. Todd's blood still sang in his ears, and he found it hard to force himself to turn around whilst trying(and failing) to keep his face a blank mask

"Reinforcements have arrived. Let's finish this, then we can meet up with them." He said to his cadre, his voice still heavy with murder-lust. Any further attempts at clearing his head were interrupted when Peter walked in with several crates of gunpowder in tow.

"You're late for the party, but I see you brought the beer." Geralt quipped with a raised eyebrow. Todd cut in before anyone else could say more.

"Well met. You've got just what we need. Shall we mop up?"

**********

Peter, together with Todd and his small entourage quickly scrambled back onto the Storm Chaser from the portal Mrs. Lovette had opened. They watched as scant seconds later, the gunpowder stores and the steam turbines of the ironclad simultaneously detonated, rupturing the ship from within. The waters of the river flooded in and very quickly the vessel of Nuln began to sink.
 

Disciple of Nagash

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#37
There was bang as the forward cannons aboard Lesa’s fired. The salvo reduce one of the smaller ships to splinters, following in the same path as the ironclad. As it drew closer the massive form of Vekarin could be seen stood on the deck, Ashlotte stood to one side, both having obviously watched the battle as they approached. With a tortured creak the pirate ship brought itself round and alongside, the Duke finally catching the name of Lesa’s ship, the Constellation.

“Friends o’ yers?” Brower asked?

“Unfortunately,” the Duke muttered, too low for anyone to hear.

“Yes, they are our allies,” Aubervillier spoke up, “part of the Council.” From the other deck a sudden roar could be heard as two lizard men appeared on deck.

“Unusual allies,” Brower said before shrugging his shoulders, “but then who I am to judge. If yer have any plans to make, I suggest you do it soon. A few more hours will see us at Drakenhof…….”
 

MasterSpark

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#38
The two ships were drawing closer to each other and on the Constellation, Ashlotte was becoming more and more eager to rejoin her mistress' side. She even vaulted herself over the side of the boat once she deemed the distance to be right - though the stern-gazed Vekarin paid it no heed. Boards cracked and splintered where her feet landed on the Storm Chaser, but in no time at all had she found her mistress and fallen before her in adoration.

"I wouldn't have thought it possible," mused Helena, "but it seems that she has become even more attached to me after she has served as a vessel..."

She then turned to Aubervillier, the Duke and Brower.

"Now that we've dealt with our pursuers and are heading towards castle Drakenhof, how about finalizing our plans to approach the rest of the Council?"
 

Disciple of Nagash

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#39
"You are right Lady Helena," the Duke agreed, "we still have not decided on our course of action, and considering what may be awaiting is, we must a decision and quickly. I think the most prudent course would be to send ahead a scout, see if either Saul or the Mistress can be contacted, and find out exactly was has taken place. The only question in my mind is who to send?"
 

wraith

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#40
Markus limped up to them, he was still wounded "I volunteer my services..." he bowed even though it caused the silver to burn his innards even more
 

Disciple of Nagash

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#41
"I do not think you are in any shape," the Duke replied with a shake of his head, "your words appear grievous. Brower!" he called over to the ships captain, "do you have any mortals onboard? This vampire needs to feed, and feed soon or his wounds will go gangrenous."
 
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#42
Brower gestured to the dead and dying humans littering the ship.

"I think I can spare ye a few," he said sarcasticly.

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

A few minutes later, Peter had gathered the Council, along with the newcomers from the other ship, below in Brower's cabin.

"So before we were so rudely interupted, we were discussing our plans for returning to Drakenhof," began the Blood Dragon, "I agree that getting in touch with Saul would be the best plan. He has no love for the Carsteins, and would be a most useful ally."
 

Sweeney Todd

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#43
"The thing is, are we going to hold off on going to Drakenhof itself until after we have managed to contact Saul and ascertained the current circumstances, or will we just head there anyway?" Todd said slowly to all assembled.
 
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#44
"I would advice progressing to Drakenhof a quickly as possible," said Lucia to the Council, "This vessel is near the scuppers and if we stay here we are likey to be attacked again."

Peter nodded his head in agreement.
 

Disciple of Nagash

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#45
"I would concur with that as well," the Duke said, "if the Empire bring more to bear on us we do not have the numbers to resist. However I would prefer to find out more before disembarking at Drakenhof. For all we know after Nuln the Carsteins could now consider the Council their enemy. Whatever we do, we need to do it now."
 

Sweeney Todd

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#46
"I second the Duke. We need to find out more before we enter Drakenhof proper, and we need to do it immediately. For all we know, the Carsteins' might just draw their blades and turn on us the moment we arrive." Todd said. He gave his right hand woman a quick glance, and she immediately stepped forward with the Black Albatross perched on her arm

"Tell me how this Saul looks like and I'll get word to him quickly." Mrs. Lovette said to Peter, readying the Albatross for takeoff
 

Trevy the Great

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#47
Vekarin entered the cabin slowly, ducking to avoid the low door, his eyes sweeping the council members present. He cut a formidable figure, moonlight shining through the cabin's hatch, his great cloak blowing in the strong, salt breeze and his eyes burning balefire in the darkness. Victarias eyed his ominous form, her brow furrowed and her thoughts unreadable behind it.
"Perhaps we should not give them the chance." The massive Blood Dragon growled, his eyes fixing on Sweeney Todd. "They have shown no small amount of hostility and mistrust, so why should we allow them to continue to thwart our designs. We should not approach their citadel with a diplomatic intent for we have shown them enough leniency in the past. They must be taught that they cannot defy us again."
 

Disciple of Nagash

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#48
OOC: Vekky we are onboard Brower’s ship, in his cabin.

“Yet how do you propose we do that?” the Duke challenged his brother, “it will take our combined strength to stand a chance of success, and whilst we are warring with the Carsteins we leave ourselves open to assaults by the Dark Lord, or after Nuln and Atldorf, the Empire.”
 

Trevy the Great

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#49
OOC: Whoopsies! It's all fixed now!

"If we assault with all of our combined strength, we can win, and should we sail to Drakenhof, as the von Carstein's will no doubt naively expect us to, waving our snapped branch of the olive tree, this little conflict can be over before our other rivals have the chance to take advantage of our momentary weakness." Vekarin boomed, "Perhaps we can enter their citadel under the pretense of peace and strike from within, while our armies attack from without."
 

Disciple of Nagash

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#50
The Duke stared at Vekarin, before shaking his head in disgust,

"Pretense?" he snarled, "you have truly forgotten father's teachings. Suggesting to sneak around like a.....a....well like a damn Carstein! On top of that you stand there garbed like some creature of chaos, with your daemon infested artefacts. I may never have liked you, but all those years ago you would have never stooped so low......what has become of you?" The last part was said rhetorically as the Duke carried on,

"I disagree with Banespike. Tactically it is unsound. They are at an advantage at Drakenhof, the accursed magic of the place lends them strength and as well as their many dead we will have the human fanatics to deal with. None of us have a sizeable force nearby. I suggest if it is possible to ally with the Carsteins we do so, if only to destroy Nagash. If we manage to defeat that threat, then if necessary we can bring the Carsteins to justice for their treachery."
 
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