Bonehamma the Ork, was happily snuggled into his hole. He called it his hole, but it was actually a shallow cave, residing within a hillside, on the lower reaches of Bos moor.
Bonehamma sat and casually glanced around, admiring his collection which adorned his dank walls, skulls, bones, rotten limbs, battered armour and broken weapons were liberally placed here and there. The grizzled greenskin was very proud of his trophies, it gave him a sense of purpose. After all there was very little to do around here, the moors were devoid of most civilisation, even by Ork standards. Yes, there were roving tribes of beastkin, Bonehamma often watched as they stalked across the horizon, searching for prey, he liked it even more when they got wind of his own scent and attempted to try their luck with him, it usually meant an easy meal and new collection pieces, without the effort of straying too far from the hole, this pleased Bonehamma greatly as he would never openly admit it, but he felt he was getting long in the tooth. Usually at this time of life, an ork of his age would either be in charge of his own war tribe or dead!
This ork however, was neither.
Bonehamma started to feel glum at the thought of this, so he attempted to distract himself with a newly acquired skull. He slowly turned it in his grip, remarking the viscous teeth it bore, and the even more viscous hole in the top of the skull, Bonehamma chuckled to himself, he remembered that he himself, was the cause of that Wound. A powerful swing of his war axe serving the purpose of claiming this prize, Bonehamma could still hear in his mind, the sudden crack of bone as his axe hit home and fell the dogman.
“Speakin’ of sounds…” The Gwer muttered to himself, “wassat?”
He could hear in the distance, a faint rumble.
“Oh goody! Thunda!” He eagerly tossed the now uninteresting skull over his shoulder, then strode towards the entrance of his home. Bonehamma LOVED a good thunderstorm, the way the Lightning angrily streaked along the dark sky followed immediately by the heavy roar and bellow of the thunder, he often imagined a battle above the clouds between 2 colossal winged creatures, clawing and snapping at each other, he’d heard stories in his youth of the Dragons battling the Giants.
When he reached outside, he was rather puzzled.
Instead of a bleak, grey sky of rolling thunderclouds, he saw a clear tranquil blue sky, he stared, confused at the view, first picking his backside, then picking his nose in wonder.
Despite the lack of clouds, Bonehamma could still hear the thunder. It was actually getting louder and louder?!
Then his eyes caught the flash of light, for a second his heart rose at the thought of lightning, unfortunately for him, it was a glint of sunlight, reflecting from something in the distance.
As he strained his eyes to better see, he realised what the glint was,
“Ooh, clanky Man! And anova, and anova, and anova, and… Zoggin’ eck, dats lots of clanky!”
Bonehamma stared in awe, as row upon row of glinting, glistening armoured warrior marched over the horizon. They stomped closer and closer in perfect formation.
The greenskin watched on as the metallic tide grew further and further still, wave after wave of armoured soldiers, appearing in vast lines, striding towards him… HIM!
“Errr, maybes I should sit dis one out eh? I iz not in da mood for a scrap today” he nervously lied to himself, he frantically turned back towards his beloved hole…
Only to see before him even more soldiers, there were at least 20 of them, not that Bonehamma would have ever known, either by his inability to count that high, or the fact that they instantly and savagely set upon Bonehamma, brutally and without hesitation, cutting him down!
Bonehamma, lay there, spluttering his own black blood and painfully eyeing his many cuts, bruises and wounds upon his battered body. As he looked on, he shot a glance upwards just in time to see another armoured warrior deliver the killing blow, the Orks last sound he heard was the crack of his own skull, caving in from the strike of a brutal mace swing, then darkness…
“COME ON SOLDIER, MOVE IT! Plenty more where that came from my lad!” A voice hollered,
“SIR! YES SIR!” Replied the mace wielder as he rejoined his unit, reforming the military formation and marching on with his allies, in the grand army of the Crown…
Lowenna’s eyes snapped open.
She had felt the prodding and shifting of her body which roused her from her slumber.
Her gaze rapidly darting and dancing, briefly locking onto an unknown face or unfamiliar wood ceiling beam, she felt the panic rise in her chest and she began to force herself upright on the bed, her mind whirling to piece together any sense of logical information, anything she could to rationalise her thoughts, this however, failed. The terror now fully taking over and she screamed!
A hand gently rested on her shoulder, to her right were three people. A greenskin female, an elf girl and a human woman, the latter being the kindly owner of the warm and reassuring hand.
“Shhhhhhhh, there there, it’s alright, you’re safe here, nothing to worry about” the human spoke in an almost motherly fashion, the human then turned away from her, “Could one of you ladies please fetch our guest a drink?”
The elven one politely smiled and nodded, disappearing through the door and returned moments later with a glass and pitcher of water,
“How is she?” Asked the elf
The human responded,
“Given the severity of her wounds when we found her, I would say it’s amazing she’s sat upright, let alone breathing.”
“Where… Where am I?” Mumbled Lowenna as she nervously but wearily lowered herself, returning to a lying down position again, ” I remember the caravan, the sun the trees… THE TREES!” Once again her eyes were wide with fear as she began to remember more details, “Meryn, Chesten, where are they? Are they here with us somewhere?”
The human girl slid her hand from Lowenna’s shoulder and held her hand,
“I’m truly sorry but you’re the only one we found, the only one barely alive”
The Orkish one then spoke up,
“Yeah, da ovas was messed up good and propa, a real blood baff!”
Lowenna burst into tears as the human shot the ork a gaze of silent fury.
“Ummm… I mean…. Sorry. I’m just gonna go check on our bandages or summat really important and well distracting.”
“No! Please stay. I just want people around me, it helps me feel safe, I think” blurted the young lady on the bed, drying her eyes, her body was starting to remind her of the bumps and bruises that had occurred to her, every knock and cut was aching.
“You are in our encampment, within the forest of Tehidith. We are from the town of Chaosgate. We came here last year to aid the Heyl refugees and seem to have settled here, not sure why though, what with all the madness going on around here, probably safer back at Chaosgate town!”
“Yes… I am starting to remember now,” uttered the wounded soul upon the bed, ” I am Lowenna, my brother, Chesten, was head of our caravan. We were on one of the newly established trade routes to here when we were attacked. We were warned that the roads to the village of Newgate could be dangerous but I never thought… ” her mind drifted back to before and she fought back her emotions, ” … Never thought it would be so bad, so… Horrendous.”
The grip of her carers hand tightened in an attempt to reassure her, ” I’m so sorry, yes, we found you on the roadside, we were not completely sure you were even still alive, you were covered in blood and looked so very injured, there was your caravan but it had been ransacked and wrecked, the other …people- she had to stop herself from saying bodies- , well they were definitely beyond our aid. Can you remember what happened ?”
Lowenna paused and searched her thumping head, “We were attacked. It was terrible. At first we thought the very trees had come alive to hurt us but then in the mayhem I realised they were Plantae, but I don’t understand, I thought the Plantae were meant to be so placid and calm, I mean, they LOOKED like Plantae?”
The elven girl then spoke up with a curious voice after handing over a glass of freshly poured water, ” Yes, you’re right, The Plantae are not an aggressive race, at least not normally, maybe the rumours of us out staying our welcome are true?”
Lowenna rubber her brow, ” all I know is whatever they were, they attacked quickly and with such hatred and fury, there were screams and fighting, the horses tried to flee and were brought down to the ground by some of the creatures, my brother and the others tried to fight back, I don’t remember much else because I think I was knocked over by one of them and it started to drag me off by my ankle, one of the caravan guard stopped it and tried to defend me but… His heart, dear gods it pulled out his heart!” Lowenna was so tired and broken but a tear still crept from her fragile eyes.
The human, sensing Lowenna’s sadness, attempted to distract her,
“So, Newgate? Where’s that? Never heard of it?”
The batted frame of a girl managed to crack a pained smile at her,
“Didn’t you know? That’s what some of the people are calling this place, after all, you have a new Chaosgate here! Yes?”
“Oh!” She responded , “yes, I suppose so? Newgate eh? I’ll have to tell the council about that one, maybe it’ll stick?”
Lowenna looked at her again with a serious curiosity on her face, ” so, why did we get attacked? Why are the Plantae attacking anyone?”
I don’t know, but I have a feeling we will soon find out…”
Ranina was grumpy.
Far be it from her to try to break away from the stereotype of all Dwarves to be gruff and grizzled but… Well she was grumpy.
While she stalked through the foliage within the grand forest of Tehideth, she recalled her journey to this point. A once proud smithy in the forges of Heyl, renowned for her skills at the anvil as well as on the battlefield, then harassed out of the town thanks to the undead attacks, “bloody zombies,” she grumbled under her breath as she stomped onwards, “don’t realise a killing blow when they receive one.”
Her mind then drifted to more recently, following the evacuees to Tehideth, she considered safety in numbers but, after a while realised that she was probably actually one of the more proficient combatants in their population.
Then there were the damned ants, not diminutive insects but deadly man-ant hybrids, terrorising their camp and stinging several of them to later discover those stung were in actual fact, impregnated with their spawn.
And finally, the wretched townsfolk from Chaosgate, swanning in claiming to save the day with their posing warriors, over dramatic mages and arrogant archers. A motley crew the lot of them, even boasting maniacal cannibals, grotesque Orks and some creatures she couldn’t even name, living puppets and talking rocks?! Her head spun with disgust. She didn’t want their help, she didn’t need their help, she certainly didn’t ask for their help!
Which brought her to now.
While these ‘brave warriors’ were patting each other on the back for apparently slaying the ant monsters ‘queen’ and celebrating in the days that followed, Ranina had noticed that her fellow townsfolk were still disappearing here and there.
Before, the ants would attack directly and there would be clear evidence of their demise, but now, nothing…
Ranina stopped to check her surroundings, it was actually quite beautiful and peaceful here, the Suns Ray’s breaking through the greenery above in piercing glorious beams of light, but it was eerily silent. Her gaze slowly panned from left, to right, to left again.
As her eyes returned to the left, she suddenly became aware of someone standing there!
Someone with brown mottled flesh like tree bark and long green vine like hair.
The Korr warrior within Ranina leapt into a fighting stance, a pair of hand axes draw ready, she mentally noted that disputed the gentle Plantae’s appearance, it also bore rows of visceral looking thorns growing along its forearms and hands,
“Do you always sneak up on people like that?” Ranina growled,
The feminine tree creature before her showed no emotion, “Why are you here?” It asked, cocking its head to one side quizzically,
“Get lost, you overgrown dandelion, I ain’t got time for chit chat with you, there’s lives at stake here!” Ranina motioned to shove past when the plant lady replied, “yes, including yours.”
The dwarf, hesitated, shooting an aggressive stare at her potential adversary,
“You threatening me shrub? Last time I checked these axes were good at cutting down trees AND enemies, you could be both…” She spat the last word with purposeful intimidation, twirling each axe with a flick of her wrists to hint at her martial prowess.
“I do not threaten you, I give you warning, there are things drawing close within these trees, things far deadlier than the Pryv, the Plantae, even you mighty dwarf” it spoke in a calm monotone drawl.
Ranina lowered her weapons and shrugged,
” I beg to differ, there’s nothing I’ve yet to encounter that can endure one of my axes to their skull.”
Ranina brandished the afore mentioned blades with a grin, almost cockily.
The Plantae still displayed no emotion at the boast,
“Then you should be aware that… “
But before it could finish its words, a large, ominous blur shot out from behind a nearby log and struck the plant person with such speed and strength, it completely swept them off their roots!
“BY DUR’S ANVIL!” The Korr cried out in shock, the sudden attack fully caught her by surprise, the attacker’s movement being so fast and powerful that it had carried the tree lady in a terrifying whirl behind a bush, beyond Ranina’s vision. The bush shuddered and shook in a visceral suggestion of what might be happening behind it, bizarrely no screams of pain or fear were heard but it was very evident that someone just got brutally murdered as pools of green sap like blood crept out from under the leaves.
Ranina was stood frozen, taking in the scene that had actually just taken seconds to happen, then silence again.
The bush in front of her juddered twice more, just to confirm that ‘ something’ was still very much alive behind there. The Korr warrior maiden mentally slapped herself, regaining focus on the situation. With renewed steel, she cautiously stepped once… Twice… A third step towards her target…
Ranina heard a snap of twig behind her, she spun to engage her enemy to see in fact several,
Her attention was drawn to the figure in the centre, as he drew closer she heard the gentle tapping of metal in his gloved hands…
A soul was being pulled through a void with the ferocity and speed of a meteor.
The mind within reeling from the sensation of it all, it’s entire being felt stretched, twisted and crushed as it sped through the swirling vastness of energy.
As it travelled, there were flashes of memories.
A golden citadel with veins of blood weaving and cascading its way down the walls to join the ever widening lake of blood that surrounded the vile keep. Above, malicious winged creatures soared and shrieked, diving between the highest of the towers.
Another memory appeared of bone laden caverns… A woman, no a demon… A queen? Standing before them and holding their hand to guide them through the nightmares within the hive of stone and corpses.
Other flashes in the mind included, terrifying colossal beasts with teeth and claws, hideous forests with trees alive and reaching out for living flesh … other souls manacled in the darkness, wailing in pain and suffering… Then… Nothing.
With a sudden explosion of red, raw, magical energy, Rei’lak burst through the long dormant Chaosgate, he was pitched violently through the air before landing heavily on his chest, several feet away from the ominous doorway behind him.
His ears were ringing and he pushed up on his hands, shaking ŵhis head, only to realise that the ringing in fact came from a bell clanging at the other end of the square as a soldier dressed in black and white, hammered away furiously at it, his eyes wide with fear as he witnessed the surprise appearance from the Chaosgate.
Within moments, dozens more of the soldiers appeared from various directions and formed up before Rei’lak baring their halberds at him in a tight, well rehearsed formation. The formation then started to close menacingly towards him.
“Woah, woah, woah lads! Stand down eh?” Rei’lak the mighty warrior was still slightly dazed from his arrival but knew well enough to assess potential danger, “easy now boys, no trouble ‘ere!” As he spoke, he raised his hands before him in a gesture of calm and reassurance,
that’s when he spotted it.
One arm was its usual self, the same arm he’d always had and been quite happy with… The other arm however he did not recognise at all! It had become reddened and contorted, the hand was viscous and clawed, the whole thing a twisted parody that resembled the arm of the demons that Rei’lak had himself slain on many an occasion. The sight of his arm, caused him to temporarily forget his would be attackers as he stared in horror at his new limb, ” WHAT THE HELL?!” he yelled in disbelief, staggering back.
A soldier from the back of the formation began to yell further instructions to the rest of the unit, the others preparing the smite the new arrival in a crushing advance,
when a guttural voice called out from behind the men,
“Oi! Pack it in, NOW! ‘Es one of ours, one of us!” From beyond the unit there arose a commotion, a brief yet loud exchange of words and some shoving, then a familiar Green face appeared, pushing and elbowing its way through the once organised men, Gutrot the Orc.
“None of yoo lot touches ‘im, or I’ll bloody cut ya me’self! ”
Rei’lak began to relax yet still stared at his arm as the greenskin approached and slapped a merry hand upon the warriors shoulder, “Ello mate! I figured you for a gonner, you’ve been in there for bloody months!”
Rei’lak looked confused, “Months? Days aye, weeks maybe but never months, this can’t be right? Where is everyone?”
Gutrot nodded his head towards the town entrance,
” everyone has all gone a rescuing in the Forrest of Tehidith, summat about the Heyl folk seeking refuge there and getting into a spot of bother. I stuck around here to keep an eye on things, don’t trust these bloody mercenaries see. Then again it’s been boring as hell around here, you’re the first thing that has appeared through the Chaosgate for months! ”
As he spoke, there was an almighty audible crack, as the Chaosgate began to shift and crumble behind them, the two fighters span and joined the Wolfsburg company, braced ready for the gate, one of the mercenaries even tossing Rei’lak a spare blade.
“What’s happening? Quizzed one of the men, after a moment, the violent rumble of the gate ceased and a jet of steam hissed from various cracks around the gate, the Warriors backing up, “bugger, that can’t be good” , commented Gutrot.
Eventually however, everything stopped. The soldiers and warriors still stood, braced for action.
“I think it’s broken? ” queried Rei’lak as he cocked his head, Gutrot pointed at Rei’lak’s arm,
“Nice Tan, what ‘appened?”
Rei’lak solemnly looked down at a malevolent fist,
“To be Honest lad… I can’t remember.”
The drinks were flowing freely in the makeshift encampment at Tehideth woods, there was even a small amount of merriment, although not TOO much, there were still things that lurked in the dark trees, things that would get hungry if they could hear the presence of man flesh.
And yet, the band of survivors who had fled from their war torn town and had endured many trials upon the way, finally felt that for once, just once, they could let their guard down.
Besides which, they had a handful of men on the edge of their clearing that evening, plus word had it that help was on its way from the mighty warriors from Chaosgate town.
“If them lot at Chaosgate can handle the likes of Demons and Necromancers, then we’re good as saved already!” Said one bedraggled yet happily swaying man as he threw back a wine skin and allowed its contents to pour down his throat.
“Aye,” called another, “but they ain’t here yet so don’t get too complacent, ye aren’t a damsel in distress are ye?”
The others around the smouldering fire guffawed and jeered at the comment
” ‘Ere if I put on a pretty dress, ‘reckon they’ll come any faster?” The swaying drunk blurted out with a grin to more howls of laughter.
A voice from the darkness responded gravely ” Depends on if you intend to summon every possible beast in these accursed woods with your moronic noise”
At this, the men gathered around the fire spun in surprise, grabbing what ever makeshift weapon was at hand, “wassat?! Who’s there?”
Again, the darkness replied, ” You know who this is, do you have the money for the job?”
The men, nervously looked around, some attempting to stare into the night to better see their new visitor, while others swept the area with their eyes to ensure none other from the camp was aware of the meeting.
“Yes, yes,” one stood up, cautiously raising a hefty coin purse in his grasp, “It’s all there, we’ve all chipped in, like we arranged, you do the job and no one need know where the payment came from yeah?”
The shadows spoke once more, “when the job is done there will be nothing left of them to worry about anymore, it will be brutal as you requested. The money, if you please? Throw it to my voice.”
The purse bearer had to steady his nervous hand, with a final glance around, he tossed the bag into the night…
Oswald, the self proclaimed “Grand Magus” was high up within a tree lazing happily upon a sturdy branch as he listened to the serene birdsong. The rest of the Chaosgate Warriors had ‘encouraged’ him to take some time for himself.
“Life was good” he grinned to himself, at least if he had a face he could grin, his ‘unique’ situation of being a soul contained within an animated sack body meant that his facial expression was rather limited, fortunatley he had decided a while ago to stitch a happy go lucky smile onto his hessian head so he always had a grin, however this wasn’t necessarily good for all occasions, such as when he tried to apologies and explain his actions to his friends. Oswald loved to play harmless games and tricks on them in an attempt to boost the morale and spirit of his fellow adventurers, and yet, they didn’t always see the funny side of it,
“Humour is such a personal thing” he spoke, to the tree, or birds, even he wasn’t fully certain,
” not everyone ‘gets’ me do they, poor buggers, some just aren’t as clever as me, eh? Eh?” He chuckled again, “you think I’m great though don’t you…. Are you listening to me?” Oswald became aware of a sudden lack of birdsong.
He cocked his head sideways as several birds burst forth from a nearby bush and fled into the greenery beyond, “Fine! Get lost then, you were rubbish conversation any ways!” He yelled with a mock raised fist.
It was at this point that he spotted the crossbow bolt flying towards him!
He rolled to avoid its bite but it struck home in his shoulder, with a cry of pain, Oswald spun flailing and hit the ground hard.
With a roar of agony, he willed himself to his feet, clutching at his shoulder, head whirling to see his attacker but could see no one.
At a lack of any visible opponent, he began to dart forwards to flee, when he felt another sharp pain and again dropped to the leafy floor, as a wiry looking man cut low with a sword, the slashing strike removing one leg below the knee in a flurry of Oswalds stuffing and hay.
The grim attacker nodding approving at the damage he’d caused to the ‘Grand Mage. “Heyl sends their regards” he chuckled with a broken toothed leer.
With a burst of fury, Oswald dove forwards on his good leg, barrelling into the man, as he did so he scrabbled for a viscous looking dagger he had spotted on the assailants belt.
The pair thudded into the floor and Oswald clawed his way onto the man, then repeated drove the dagger into the opponents chest, again and again until the target was a blooded mess.
Oswald slumped exhausted, wearily rolling off the body and splayed facedown in the earth, ” you’ll need to do better than that, sunshine, if you wanna put me down.” He scowled.
“Will this do?
Another voice from behind asked and before Oswald could react, the second brutish attacker slammed a mighty claymore into his back with such force that it pinned his body to the forest floor. Oswald howled in utter suffering and his vision blurred. He began to moan for his comrades, murmuring their names for help, but his cries were too weak to be heard.
The second attacker stood over Oswald triumphantly, ” You killed my partner, I’m gonna enjoy this” he growled as he tore the sword away from the sack body with his muscular swirl etched arms, Oswald almost felt a sense of release and freedom, the sense quickly vanished as the red haired savage began to drive his heavy boots into Oswalds wrecked physique, send more and more internal filling everywhere. The last kick flipping Oswald onto his back, he noticed the warrior was wearing a kilt and boots, nothing more, He coughed out a chuckle thinking if he had more strength that we would have defiantly made a hilarious yet cutting remark about the brutes attire.
More kicks and hacks followed as Oswald flailed his arms in a poor attempt to defend himself, as he flailed his thumb caught onto the chain around his neck, the chain which held his soul gem bound to him. The pendant flew from his grip and whirled into the foliage, Oswald felt the life force draining from his already vandalised body and his senses became dull and sluggish.
“Pity,” said the attacker, ” I quite fancied that trinket, no matter, I’m here to end you not to rob you”
And at that moment he removed a scroll from his boot, unrolled it and spoke eldritch words, as the last word was uttered, Oswalds body erupted into flame, strips of fabric, cloth and hay danced into the air on the heat until there was a dark smoulder on the ground.
The murderer, stooped down, grabbing a small book which had fallen from Oswalds body in the struggle, he flicked through the pages, a journal. “Proof enough I suppose.” And skulked off.
Moments later, a new voice called out,
“Oswald? Oswald! Come on, we’re moving on towards the encampment, Osw…” The voice cut short as they saw the scene before them.
Astandord of the Wolfsburg mercenaries stepped forth to survey the evidence before him, he crouched low and pinched a piece of smouldering sackcloth between his gloved fingers. Slowly rising up, he looked far into the trees but could see nothing, he glanced over at the body of a stranger, laying butchered on the floor, then stared back at the embers.
Bran’s heart was pounding,
It seemed like he and his children had been running forever from the nightmare.
Even now he saw the flashes in his mind, first the mercenaries attacking Heyl, then the dead rising,
next the exodus of the Heyl townsfolk to gods only knows where.
Then for a while peace.
They had all arrived at Tehidith forest, safe from the soldiers, safe from the undead, safe from everything… Or so they thought.
They had stumbled onto a new battlefield, one between the green tree folk and vicious man sized, insect things.
The tree folk were saying that the land was sacred to them and them alone, while the insects also had claimed rights to the trees as their new habitat.
Obviously bloodshed had ensued. Not out right warfare like the land had seen between Claw and Crown, more like a sadistic game of hide and seek, with each opponent cautiously picking off their targets one at a time.
The Heyl townsfolk huddled in a clearing, tired, hungry and beaten, while Plantae and Pryv stalked each other amongst the trees with fang and blade bared.
Last night, an attack happened.
Bran shuddered, at the memory.
His people, his family sat wearily around the campfire, when out of the darkness they came, silent and without warning.
He could hear the screams of his friends as they were clawed and bitten by savage mandibles and multiple limbs.
Bran had hurriedly grabbed his wife and children to flee, when he felt his arm almost pulled from its socket, his terrified wife was desperately attempting to hold his hand when she was dragged screaming into the night.
He looked on in despair at the massacre around him, the people were being butchered by the Chitinous horrors.
Then gathering his mind, he snatched up his children under his arms and ran… and ran… and ran.
“Father, I can see lights ahead!”
Bran’s mind returned to the present, his daughter Molly pointed ahead to the flickering torchlight of
the town before them.
David looked up desperately at him, “is that Chaosgate father?
“Aye, it is. Run!”
With renewed energy, they rushed toward the gates…
Lexi and Boldric lazed under a beautiful evening sky, they were sat, gazing through the town entrance, towards the ominous structure that was, ‘The Chaosgate’.
Lexi, a slender Piski mage starred intently at the portal while Boldric, the warrior Dwarf and self styled bodyguard to Lexi, was casually sat by her side, sword drawn but resting on the grass while he held aloft a large barrel of ale, releasing the small tap at the base and allowing its contents to pour down his throat and a large portion of his beard, “what troubles you my Lady?” Boldric quizzed as he cleaned his beard of foam with his sleeve, “it is a wondrous evening, the stars shine and the drink is flowing. Why are we not in the tavern with our fellows?”
Lexi, didn’t break her stare from the gate,
“what’s going on with that bloody gate? It’s always churning out damned daemons on a regular basis, then a rejuvenated Lord Scythe strolls through it and… Nothing! Naff all! For nearly half a year now we’ve had nothing out of that thing, why?”
Boldric shrugged and readied himself for another dose from his barrel,
“You say it like its a bad thing. Scythe gone, daemons gone, tavern still here, what’s the problem?”
“The problem dear dwarf is that this place has always has some sort of ‘argy bargy’, it’s like this place just draws in the bad and the nasty, probably because of that soddin’ gate, but now nothin’ , it just ain’t right.”
Lexi stood up with a stone in her hand and hurled it at the Chaosgate, the stone clattered loudly off of it and fell to the floor, at the same time Boldric leapt to his feet, frothy booze erupting from his lips,
“ARE YOU MAD?! why would you tempt fate like that? Come, rest, drink with me, rejoice in our time of quiet.”
“See? Nothin’!” Lexi slumped to the grass beside a relieved Dwarf,
“Ahh, nuts to it all Boldric, let’s go to the tavern and get wrecked!” Declared Lexi,
“I like your plan my lady, but are you forgetting something? Your unborn child may not appreciate your idea.” Boldric gestured to her swollen stomach.
“Well considering the daddy is in fact a dragon, a ruddy old one, I think it can handle it!” Lexi announced with friendly confidence, she slapped her friend on the back and they turned towards the rabble within the bar, ” Come my brave Boldric, I’m gonna drink you under the…”
“PLEASE, HELP US!”
Lexi and Boldric snapped around to see a tattered ruin of a man rush toward them accompanied by a boy and a girl.
As they came closer, the pair at the entrance could see a frenzied look in their eyes, was it fear or malice quizzed Boldric mentally as he stepped in front of Lexi, sword and shield at the ready.
As the haggard trio entered the lamplight, their injuries and anxiety could be clearly seen, especially when the man, fell to the floor before reaching the town boundary, the children dropped beside him, both crying out “father!” With tears in their eyes.
Lexi dove forwards, her hands already glowing with mystical energies as she knelt beside the man, the 2 children recoiled back from the Piski’s strange light,
“relax,” Lexi said in calm tones, ” I’m here to help ok?”
The tiny pair nervously nodded but there was a comforting sparkle in the Piski’s eyes that the children felt safe within.
At the same time Boldric, dove for the gate bell and swung with great urgency, the ringing, shattering the quiet of the town, causing dogs to bark, lamps to flicker on and people to come rushing with weapons at the ready.
Moments later, everyone was gathered in the tavern, the new arrivals were sat at a table, centre stage, with blankets draped on their shoulders and clinging onto warm drinks before them, a pair of apostles worked their magic on them to restore them. All around stood the peoples of Chaosgate,
“Well?” Someone called from the back, “what’s goin’ on then? Is it daemons?”
“Shaddap and wait!” Scowled Lexi, she then focused on the man,
“Ok, in your own time…”
“My name is Bran, I am… Was from Heyl, and we need your help”
The man then went on to tell his story and the events that occurred in Tehidith.
The surrounding townsfolk, listening with a mixture of curiosity and interest.
“So… What can we do?” Enquired Boldric,
“Our people are dying, innocent families, women and children, we are farmers and metal workers not fighters, you are all warriors, archers and magic users, please help us!”
The Piski, turned to the audience, “Gather the council.”
After a while of great debate, bordering on argument, the council were still sat around a table in a private room,
Lexi, was pacing impatiently, “what’s not to get? They need our help!”
The other council members sat, unconvinced or uncertain, “we have enough problems here, Lexi” one of them spoke,
“She blurted a ‘hah!’ Like what? No daemons, no Scythe, no nothing, don’t tell me you lot don’t have men spoiling for a fight?”
The others mumbled a weary agreement,
“Look,” Lexi leant forward, ” there’s absolutely nothing going on here of late, they need us. Someone once said, ‘ all that is needed for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing’.”
Then, after a pause, one of them looked up, ” OK, let’s do it.”
One by one, the others nodded in agreement.
The following morning, a cast majority of the townsfolk were packed and ready for the quest, weapons and rations packed and eager.
“What about this place?” Asked Boldric,
“Leave it to me, I have an idea…” Smiled Lexi as she wandered over to a group of armed men, who were pointing and chuckling and the assembled adventurers,
“Vas ist das? Ein mighty varband ya?” Laughed Astindord, a mercenary warrior from the ‘Wolfsburg free company’.
Lexi strolled towards them, “What? Not joining us, not got the sack for it?”
Astindord and his men laughed together at her question,
“Ya we haff, ‘de sack for it’ but where is the profit in dis?”
As if on cue, Lexi produced a coin purse and lobbed it at him, the scarred, eye patched soldier snatching it from before his face,
“Ooh, money! Dis ist ein better conversation now, ya?”
“Here’s the deal. We go and save the day, you soldiers, sit on your arse here and keep an eye on things for us, in particular the Chaosgate.”
“Ya, dis ist gut, what about the rest of the money, after this down payment?” Astindord queried with a wry smile.
A crackle of energy wrapped around Lexi’s fist, ” don’t push your bloody luck! Rumour has it that it’s your mens fault that the Heyl townsfolk have no homes in the first place!”
The mercenary raised a hand in a gesture of calm as his men leapt to their feet,
“Hey, hey, there ist no need for your magics here, relax, we can discuss the terms after your little adventure, ya?”
“Fine.” Growled Lexi as she marched away from him, “just do your damn job or you’ll be VERY concerned about me and my ‘magics’!”
She rejoined the others,
A Chaosgate Fairytale
A long time ago, before men, elves and Dwarves roamed the land, the world was full of fire. One day the fire become so large and hot that a special gold flame shot out at the top of it.
This flame grew…
Until it burst!
And inside of it there was a giant golden egg,
bigger than a horse,
Bigger than a house,
Bigger than a mountain!
The egg broke open and inside was a beautiful and powerful dragon.
The dragon pushed the top off of the egg and opened its wings which broke the rest of the eggshell.
It’s wings were so big they reached past the ends of the ocean.
As it stood up it unwrapped its tail which became longer
It was so long that the end of it would be too far away to see!
The Dragon had gold scales and diamond claws, all of these shined brighter than the sun.
Then as the dragon started to stomp around, it laid an egg,
And more and more and more eggs!
Soon there were hundreds of eggs that started to hatch open, inside were dragons of different sizes, different shapes and different colours.
Other lizard and reptile things started to hatch out, lots of lizards that walked on 2 legs with 2 arms and the same size as you and me!
All of these dragons and hatchlings loved their golden dragon mother and they all called her Bryntin.
Bryntin made a giant nest at the top of a Mountain Called Bronn Wennili where she could see everything and everyone so it was easy to look after all of her children.
One day however, Bryntin was looking around and she saw something she had never seen before, in the distance she could see a flash of light and a strange purple crack hanging in the air like a giant floating rip!
From inside the rip, horrible smelly creatures came out and these creatures straight away started to fight and bite her dragon children.
Bryntin was so angry, she flew down and roared at the tiny mean creatures, but they didn’t care, in fact, more…
And more came out of the magic rip!
Bryntin had had enough of this, she roared and bellowed and growled, flapping her tremendous wings which made the creatures fall over and roll backwards.
But they still kept coming,
Bryntin was very angry now, do she grabbed all of the horrible beasts in her gold and diamond claws and she threw them back through the rip!
She could hear them laughing and teasing from the other side of the rip, which made her more angry than she’d ever been before! So with her great claws, she pulled
And pulled the rip open and climbed inside to chase away the mini monsters.
No one ever saw her ever again.
If you ever hear thunder,
Or ever hear a loud rumble,
Or are ever hear the Chaosgate
Listen carefully, you might hear Bryntin roaring at the monsters that tried to hurt her children.
Brother Taran happily strolled along the dusty road, either side there were rich, green trees full of birdsong, he looked up and smiled at the glorious sunshine above and noticed a happy lack of any clouds; ‘By the Celestial ones, it was going to be a beautiful day!’
As he walked, he reminisced on his life. Born in Port Essa at the Far East fringe of Kernow, he and his family then moved to the south east outskirts of Cardinham forest, where his parents tireless volunteered their time and efforts to initiate a relationship with the Plantae that lived there, creating and overseeing one of the first treaties between Den and Plantae, the scroll itself is on display in the Crown City of Truro’s cathedral, Taran knew he shouldn’t show pride but he often remembered the scroll and secretly beamed within.
Before long, his thoughts drifted to him joining the monastery at Lanherne, just North of Tewynblustin, he chuckled to himself, remembering all of the times he visited the Piski town, especially during one of their numerous celebrations, many was the time that he had to be at the aid of an inebriated reveller whilst spreading the celestial word of the Holy Council.
Which brought him to today.
The road he travelled on was headed to that infamous town of Chaosgate, notorious haven of bloodshed, depravity and fear.
He first became aware of Chaosgate while visiting the ancient site of Hellsmouth three years ago, he was researching the history of the city that once stood there and the disaster that struck, when he observed a mass of Morvoren at the base of the cliff.
As he ventured closer, he saw they were dragging large slabs of masonry from the sea and onto the beach. The tired sea spawned greeted him upon arrival and as they recovered from their task, happily conversed with him about the apparent magic stones and their being moved to Chaosgate, this conversation was unfortunately cut short when a brash, aristocratic dressed man bearing horns appeared bellowing at him and demanding him to leave immediately. Brother Taran didn’t like the red fellow nor his attitude, he also caught a glimpse of the esoteric runes that appeared on the seaweed dotted rocks. The mere glance causing an unnatural cold shiver to run through his body.
But that time was but a distant memory, for since then the reputation of Chaosgate had rapidly perpetuated suffering and horror. From assassinations to warring borderlines, daemons, public depravity and butchery, he even heard tell of some of the locals worshipping gods from fairy tales ! That was the final straw, by the powers vested in him by the Lanhearne Monastery, also the Grace of the Celestial Council upon high, he would bring his beliefs and save the townsfolk with his holy scriptures, his blessed teaching and his eternal soul.
Brother Taran’s heart soared with purpose as he marched on, ahead he saw the gate guard still sobering up from last nights sins. Taran gripped his holy scroll, whispered a prayer under his breath, then approached…
Upon receiving your orders, I have made great speed to the town of Chaosgate, all is as you fear; the town is in disarray.
Lord Scythe is here in person and has established a stranglehold upon the place, supported by the many minions of the Claw army; there are filthy undead and Vile green skins everywhere!
Lord Scythe has all but eradicated any trace of your honourable Crown here, although There is a glimmer of hope; I am hearing whispers of a secret Crown resistance.
My observations indicate that Lord Scythe is spending a great deal of interest towards the gate itself, this in part due to a recent daemon attack resulting in the loss of many townsfolk.
The current Duke of the Crown here has vanished, rumours include – death at the hands of the daemons, deserting his post due to the threat of Lord Scythe, or that he has gone underground as part of the resistance, I have yet to confirm any of this.
The assassination of the First Duke has yet to be investigated also, mainly due to the lack of an established lawful presence, I will attempt to probe further these findings, the tavern folk have loose tongues late at night.
I shall endeavour to maintain my position here without arousing suspicion and shall continue to be your eyes and ears here for as long as I am needed.
My next report will hopefully be sent to you by the next full moon. If you do not receive this, please assume I am dead… Or worse.
Your ever faithful subject,
A Chaosgate Piski-tale
Once upon a time, there was a man called Shamus. He lived with his mother on a farm, he wasn’t very strong, he wasn’t very clever but he was always very kind. The people who knew him called him ‘Simple Shamus’.
One day, he was feeding the chickens when a sneaky and strange looking man appeared from behind the chicken coop,
“Hello” said the man, “can you help a hungry traveller? I’ve been walking for many days now but I’ve run out of food!”
Shamus felt sorry for him but didn’t know what to do,
“Ummm…I don’t have anything to eat here but maybe back at the farmhouse there is food? I shall call for my mum to help”
The man quickly stopped him, “no, no, no my dear fellow, don’t bother your mother, I’m sure she’s very busy, what about one of those chickens?I bet they’re good to eat, yes?”
Shamus wanted to help the man but didn’t want to get into trouble with his mother,
“I’d love to let you have one but I don’t think My Mum would like that?”
The strange man smiled, “How very wise indeed, good sir! What if I…”
The man turned and showed Shamus a big sack, covered in stars and moons,
“… If I swapped a chicken for something from my bag of magic items that I sell!”
“WOW” Shouted Shamus, “magic! Wait til I tell mum, she will be so excited to see it!”
“Now, now,” grinned the strange man, “if we tell everyone, they’ll all want something, I only sell to the very rich and clever, like you”
Shamus frowned, “I don’t know if I’m clever and I KNOW I’m not rich.”
“Not to worry,” smirked the stranger, ” I’ll find something cheap and magical, just for you.”
He rummaged around his bag and Shamus could hear the rattling and clattering of lots of things, then the man pulled out… Not a wand… Not a spell book … But a pair of old smelly socks!
Shamus looked confused, “I’m not sure how magic they are? What do they do?”
“Oh!” Yelled the man, “what do they do? What do they, errr, do..? They…”
The sneaky man saw a wilting flower by the road, “They make you very strong, watch.” The man walked over and started to pull up the flower, pretending that he couldn’t do it.
The stranger then passed the socks to Shamus who put them on and sure enough, pulled the old flower out of the ground.
“Yippee!!” Shouted Simple Shamus, he was very excited, “What else can they do?”
” I can tell you but I’ll need another chicken.”
So Shamus gave him a chicken.
The man looked around and spotted a hill,
“They can make you run fast!”
Shamus looked amazed, “Really?”
“Oh Yes,” declared the stranger, “I’ll let you prove it too. I’ll give you the socks and first you run up that hill, then put the socks on and run back down again, I am certain that you’ll be faster when you are wearing them.”
Shamus did as the man said and sure enough, he was faster running down the hill than running up the hill.
“Yippee!!” Shouted Simple Shamus, he was very excited, “What else can they do?”
“I can tell you but I’ll need another chicken.”
So Shamus gave him a chicken.
The sneaky man looked around and noticed it began to rain, he looked up and saw it was only a very small cloud,
“They can stop the rain!” Said the man, “you quickly run into your house, throw them onto your mothers fire and pray to the great sock God”
Shamus ran as quick as he could, into the house, running past his confused mum and tossed them onto the fire, then on his knees he cried out,
“OH GREAT SOCK GOD, MAKE THE RAIN GO AWAY!”
Simple Shamus looked outside and sure enough, the rain cloud had now passed…
And the Sneaky strange man had disappeared and so had all of the chickens!