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The Adventures of Darius Fontane III, Witch Hunter. Chapter 3


Hello all, sorry this installment has taken so long to do. I don't know what you lot thought of the last one cos no-one left any feedback. Hope you like this chapter a bit better emoticon



‘Impressive’ is not a word I use often, the large majority of people sicken me by their need of praise for completing fundamental tasks, praise is earned by going above and beyond your calling, to do what others will not, to rise to the challenge and go further every single time. Only through sacrifice and faith in your actions can evil be cleansed…and I have sacrificed. Victor has impressed me this night.

It was the Troll Slayer, Thorgrim Longbeard, whose apparently insatiable thirst for alcohol led us to the Landlords body, the owner of the Broken Knife Tavern was found in his wine cellar, murdered, his assailant having fled through the rancid sewers that flowed underneath Middenheim. It was in this basement as we investigated the crime I noticed the change in the Priest of Sigmar, his irritating deep laugh gone, his body as rigid as stone, his teeth clenched as he identified the murderers tracks…”Skaven”.

Victor Vile always struck me as someone who was hiding something, barely perceptible over the pompous gayety he always exudes, but it was there. It’s hard to place unless you have been trained to spot the slightest irregularity in an individual’s persona as I have. Thus I was already aware of the suppressed anger, having dismissed the idea he could be a heretic daemon worshipper when I first met him, although I did not know what angered him, nor did I care. He needlessly appealed to me that such chaotic rat filth needed to be eradicated, and with having to avoid the attentions of the City Watch in mind I quickly agreed. It would seem fate had been kind to us, something that worried me gravely for fate is the calling card of the Changer of the Ways and attracting the attention of the Chaos God is a hazard not many are able to repeat.

The movable stone slab revealed the entrance to a series of roughly hewn tunnels that seemed to connect like a bee-hive underneath the city. Victor pressed us on, following the paw marks in the dust that covered the tunnel floor. Occasionally the trail went cold, the tracks wiped clear by our prey, but Thorgrim managed to bring himself round from his drunken stupor for long enough to distastefully pronounce himself as “Lord of the Underground” and proceed, unwittingly it seemed, to find the Assassin’s tracks again. The Ranger, Talion, was mostly preoccupied with the futile task of keeping his clothes clean.

After about an hour or so the tunnel widened enough for Talion, Victor and I to stand upright and the roof began to be supported by crude wood and stone buttresses. The air began to smell unnatural, it tinged the nostrils like a spice would but it was unmistakably magical, “Warpstone” was Victor’s quick reply when the Elf asked. My studies in Nuln had acquainted me with the word; Warpstone was, in effect, a physical manifestation of the realm of Chaos, raw magic so concentrated it cannot be diffracted into the eight colours of magic commonly, wrongly, used by wizards and instead it condenses into material form.

My thoughts were interrupted by a number of rats, far larger than any I had seen before. Their eyes glowed red and they had obviously been trained to kill intruders as they lunged at our throats. Thankfully my ensorcelled blade helped me to make short work of the vermin, having countered their attacks before my companions could prepare themselves. The priest began telling us of Skaven experiments with Warpstone as we scragged the survivors of my assault, his revelations staggering even myself at what evil ambitions the ratmen had. The anger inside me was seething, not only were these abominations thriving beneath a city of man but they were trying to alter nature in their own image. My suspicions about the involvement of the Elector Count and his council and their knowledge of the Skaven threat ever deepened. From that moment on I resolved to hunt these creatures down, placing their extinction as the highest priority short of only my own quest.

Victor led us down a series of passageways, the lantern illuminating the small, dark tunnels. Our group was ambushed several times by patrols as we pushed onwards, the smell of Warpstone in the air getting ever stronger. One group in particular threatened to overcome us, they were rank with disease and had a ferocity equal to that I had seen of the most zealous flagellants. The priest led by example, crushing the Plague Monks with his warhammer, carving a bloody path through their ranks leaving none alive, a situation of which Thorgrim complained bitterly.

We chanced upon what appeared to be a dungeon cell. Eager to save the innocent and be the hero, Talion burst through before I could remind the fool that cells are made to keep things in rather than keep others out. He was met by another of the Warpstone experiments. Chained to the wall was a Skaven the size of an Ogre, which howled with rage at the sight of us and tore free from its bindings. It attacked the Dwarf with a fury matched only by our hammer-wielding priest. I managed to cause what appeared to be substantial wounds on the beast thanks to my Amulet of Alcadizzar but not before it struck Thorgrim, tearing away armour, flesh and bone and leaving him on the brink of death.

I headed off the reinforcements that poured through the opposite door, cleaving a Jezzail team into pieces with two quick slashes of my sword. The Rat Ogre was finally silenced as Vile’s bloody warhammer smashed into its face, rupturing its long jawbone through the back of its skull. Thankfully our enemies had seemed to be driven off for the moment, giving Talion the much needed respite to heal Thorgrim of his wounds. While his condition was stabilised I worried if he would have the strength to wield his axe again until we got him to a practised healer. The stubborn Dwarf pushed our offers of aid aside and limped through the door ahead of us. His foolhardy dream of a glorious death is not far off I would wager but I will be damned if he takes me with him before my job is done!
6/Sep/2006, 9:22 am Link to this post Send Email to Evil Hypnotist   Send PM to Evil Hypnotist
 
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Re: The Adventures of Darius Fontane III, Witch Hunter. Chapter 3


A soft green light emanated through the gap of a wrought iron door at the end of the next passageway, the audible hum of power unmistakable. Exercising more caution this time we prepared ourselves for the upcoming fight. As the priest began another blessing, which seemed to help him if not anyone else, more of the rat devils came from behind. They carried what appeared to be incense braziers, though the fumes they emitted were noxious, making us wretch and heave as we tried to defend ourselves. Talion was forced to call on the power of the very earth itself, an earthquake that swallowed up our enemies but which also collapsed a number of the tunnels around us, undoubtedly announcing our presence to those in the room ahead.

The laboratory seemed empty at first, the raised walkway in front of us blocking any view of the other side of the room. Access to the walkway was to the left and right, Thorgrim and I made left to find a lone clanrat who managed to shriek a warning to its master before I skewered the spawn of chaos to the wall. Its master, I quickly learned, was a dark magic user, twice the abomination in a single miserable body! It was working some kind of machine that gouted green flame in a similar fashion to the flame cannons of the Dwarves. The unmistakable whine the machine created before it was fired made the attacks easy enough to avoid and I managed to wound its controller with my pistol before Thorgrim scored the fatal blow with his axe.

It wasn’t until I focused my attention elsewhere that I realised the battle being waged across the room. The Elf and the Priest were struggling against some sort of mutated monster, bigger than the Rat Ogre we had encountered earlier and bristling with large pieces of warpstone. It was bipedal but had three arms, one of which was armed with a cruel looking fist-spike and it bellowed a blood-curdling roar at its two attackers. I rallied Thorgrim and made ready to test myself at such a talisman of evil, only to see Talion knocking the beast to the ground with an invisible blow allowing Victor to move round and crack the bottom of it’s spine with his warhammer, now thick with Skaven blood.

We confronted the foul warlock that Thorgrim had felled and I whispered in its ear and wished the barkeep’s soul an eternity of revenge on his murderer. The wounded rat started a strange hissing I took for Skaven laughter before it said “Fool-foolssss I am not your prey…one murder is nothing compared the Chaos I will bring-bring to the surface” and vanished before our eyes, reinforcing my belief that magic users are nothing but cowards. The priest told us there must still be a murderer to catch and we followed him back into the catacombs we had come from.

After another hour of searching, including the discovery and quick submission of a pack of slaves, we finally caught up with our quarry. He ambushed us as we moved through a door into yet another passageway, wounding Thorgrim with some sort of metallic disk he ricocheted off the tunnel roof. His blades were covered in a venomous slime that burnt a hole in my metal gorget as he struck me, the fumes making me ill in a similar vein to the censer bearers we faced earlier. A thunderous warhammer strike knocked the assassin off balance and as we closed in for the finishing blow he activated a nearby trapdoor and rolled through before it closed behind him, dropping two vials of liquid as he did so.

Vile and the Troll Slayer searched for a way to activate the trapdoor so we could follow the fiend but the “Lord of the Underground” eventually had to admit defeat. I was more interested in the vials Talion was now identifying. A simple spell was all that was required to reveal the liquid as a deadly poison, with enough to decimate Middenheim if added to the city’s water supply. The assassin’s agenda became clear to me; entering the Broken Knife’s basement was for reconnaissance, trying to find the safest and most hidden way to Middenheim’s aqueduct. With the knowledge that the assassin might have more of this poison I ushered our party quickly to one of the many routes to the surface we had passed by during our time down here. We emerged in a storeroom of one of the many butchers in the city, disturbing a mongrel dog which barked a warning to its master who, at that early hour in the morning, purposefully chose to ignore it and went back to sleep.

After informing Boris Todbringer, the Elector Count of Middenheim, of the plot we had uncovered he immediately ordered a guard detail for the aqueduct and, seeing the potential of increasing his public appeal, arranged a ceremony in our honour. I did not attend. I know his secret, I know what he knows; what lurks beneath this city. Chaos can have my soul if I will willingly be seen in the midst of such corruption. Thorgrim and Talion did not share my feelings, nor did I expect them to. The dwarf took the plaudits grudgingly, using the fame to get as much ale bought for him as he could. Talion, Elf though and through, absolutely revelled in his new title as ‘Protector of Middenheim’ and even took to wearing his key to the city around his neck! Arrogance is the favourite trait of Slaanesh they say. The corrupt City Watch was even content to leave the previous charges against him as a case for mistaken identity.

Victor spent much of the next few days in a small chapel deep in prayer. He found me earlier today and informed me Todbringer had been to see him and wanted us to go back for uncover more information on the Skaven threat, perhaps his corruption does not run as deep as I first thought. So “Skavenbane”, as we are now known, once again prepare to pierce the veil of evil that covets a city of man.

6/Sep/2006, 9:23 am Link to this post Send Email to Evil Hypnotist   Send PM to Evil Hypnotist
 
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Re: The Adventures of Darius Fontane III, Witch Hunter. Chapter 3


Excellent.

For some reason I hadn't read Chapter 2 but I have done now. I laughed several times (at the appropriate bits!) I like the group you've assembled. Always good to see plenty of healthy contempt on the surface.
I look forward to their next adventure. What BL are they at?
6/Sep/2006, 9:41 am Link to this post Send Email to thecustodian   Send PM to thecustodian
 
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Re: The Adventures of Darius Fontane III, Witch Hunter. Chapter 3


quote:

thecustodian wrote:What BL are they at?



Still on BL1, everyone seems to have a habit of spending as much money as possible when they get to town! Thanks for the comments btw
6/Sep/2006, 10:40 am Link to this post Send Email to Evil Hypnotist   Send PM to Evil Hypnotist
 


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