Monday, 21 February 2011

The coming of war

2 months ago

Jean D'noir the necromancer entered the room and took in the scene before her. The man she called Master was sat at his large ornate desk constructed from the bones of some long dead beast surround by piles of scrolls,books and maps deep in concentration. The room was lit by several black candles each set in a human skull hung on the walls. In front of the desk was a rug of human skins sewn together in a macabre patch work. She moved swiftly into the room "You summoned......." the words died on her lips as the man raised a hand to indicate silence.

She studied the man more closely as she waited for him to speak. When they had first meet he had still been young, handsome in a dark way with thick black hair and those deep purple eyes that had sent a thrill through her every time they meet hers. Now many years on the study of dark magic had taken it's toll. His hair was now gone leaving him totally bald, his once perfect skin was aged wrinkles forming around his eyes and mouth. Once they had been lovers but her master had long stopped caring about such things a fact she was truly grateful for as she regarded his now aged body.

Her thoughts were interrupted as the man looked up at her. She was caught in the gaze of his purple eyes and realised that despite his appearance her master wielded massive power. His body had suffered under the ravages of time and dark magic but in return his ability to control and use magic has increased beyond measure. Jean was a powerful sorceress herself but she new compared to her master she was like a child compared to a giant, there was still much she could learn from this man she thought.

Her master spoke his voice thin and reedy again much changed from the rich mellow voice he had possessed in the early years of their relationship. "I have located the item we seek" he said waving a hand across the map on his desk. Jean bent forward to look closer as she did her master brought a long bony finger down onto the map. Jean gave a sharp intake of breath "do you think the towns folk will just let us walk in and take it?" she said. "Why would I care what such insects think who are they to dare challenge me?" said her master angrily.

Hearing the danger in her masters voice Jean moved to steer the conversation on "A couple of regiments of skeletons should do. I can be there within a week". "No" said her master "we need an army". "I hardly think that will be......" Jean started to say before her master silenced her with a look."We are not the only ones looking for the treasure we seek. Others of our kind desire to posses it and their spies are everywhere" said the master " we need a diversion something to focus eyes away from our true intentions we need a...........war"

The conversation continued Jean listened carefully as her mastered outlined his plans for an invasion south into the petty kingdoms of the border princes to fight a war that was nothing more than a diversion aimed at securing a powerful treasure.

1 week ago

Heinrich Gotlieb chancellor of Baron Hendrik of Gelderland entered through the massive wooden double doors and into the throne room of the dwarven hold of Khazd-Norn. The dwarf herald next to him launched into a long introduction that involved giving Heinrich's family tree back at least ten generations. Heinrich studied his surroundings "say what you like about dwarfs" Heinrich thought to himself "but by the gods they are the finest craftsmen". He looked up to the high vaulted ceiling and then down the perfect block work walls everywhere he looked there were magnificent stone carvings of dwarfs inlaid with gems and precious metals.

A loud cough broke Heinrich from his thoughts the rather disgruntled dwarven herald raised a bushy eyebrow "You may proceed" he said in a gruff voice waving his hand towards the other end of the room.

As he proceeded towards the high dais at the other end of the room Heinrich got his first site of King Durak Flamebeard of Khazd-Norn. Sat upon the famous Iron Thorne of Khazd-Norn sat a dwarf in a suit of highly polished steel plate, a red fur trimmed cloak clasped with a huge ruby hung around his shoulders upon his head a crown of gold inlaid with more rubies and in the centre a rare fire diamond.

Heinrich bowed low "Your highness I come with a message from my liege lord of the up most urgency. He begs that you come to our aid we........" Heinrich was stopped short by the sound of loud tutting. From the shadows to the right of the throne stepped a an old white bearded dwarf wearing long blue robes covered in silver stars. "You manlings are always in such a hurry, before the king can discuss business the proper protocols must be observed...........

Heinrich opened his eyes slowly, his head pounded and his throat was parched. Dwarven ale was stronger than anything he'd ever drunk including Kislevite vodka and some very fine Tilean wines. He comforted himself with the fact that the ale drinking had been necessary to seal the oaths of alliance. It hadn't been easy the dwarfs had bargained hard and had managed to negotiate some very good trade deals. In the end though the dwarfs knew that if they didn't support the human kingdoms to southwest against the army of undead pouring out of the mountains they could well be next "not that they would admit it thought" thought Heinrich sourly.

The agreement had been struck the dwarf king would send a small force through Durin's gap to join with the human armies gathering on the plain of winds. Then as soon as the full might of Khazad-Norn could be raised the king would lead the host west himself to crush the army of dead threatening them all. Heinrich raised a small smile the balance of this war had just changed dramatically, then as if smiling had been to much effort he sunk back into his bed to nurse his hangover.

4 days ago

Thane Gudnam looked around at the small army he had been given the honour of commanding. His own clan warriors stood still waiting for the order to march most were armed with the traditional axe and hammers of dwarf warriors but full one third, the best shots in the clan carried crossbows.

Behind the warriors came the baggage train and the artillery crewed by the engineers guild and acting as rear guard where a group of engineers armed with those dangerous newfangled black powder handguns. Around him Thane Gudnam was accompanied by a detachment of the kings personal bodyguard of Hammerers the finest warriors of the dwarven army equipped with their deadly two handed hammers that could crush an enemies skull like an egg.

Just as he was about to give the order to march. A dwarf stripped to the waist, clad in a rough bearskin cloak, his hair dyed bright orange and spiked with pig fat appeared. As he got closer Gudnam could see the many scars on the dwarfs torso and the fine axes hanging at his belt. Thane Gudnam let out a soft curse "alright laddy" the newcomer said smiling to reveal several broken teeth."I hears there's fighting to be had?" Gudnam didn't answer the dwarf shrugged his shoulders and head towards the baggage train. Gudnam sighed but knew there was no point trying to stop the slayer joining his command. With a last curse he turned to his command "Forward to Durin's gap".

3 days ago

Jean D'noir careful picked her way across the debris of battle heading for the town centre to pass on the news her master was waiting for. After the din of battle hours early the quite crackling of burning buildings and the odd squawk of a carrion crow seemed oddly quiet.

As Jean reached the town square she saw her master waiting flanked by his skeleton bodyguards the last week of death and slaughter had agreed with him. The old, shuffling and rag adorned man of the mountains of a few weeks ago had been replaced with a man seemingly in his prime his purple eyes, the only thing visible behind his steel war mask glowed with an intense inner fire that Jean had not seen for years.

"What news" said the master. "It is as you expected the princes have allied. Their armies muster on the plain of winds as we speak" Jean replied. Her master nodded slowly but said nothing. After what seemed like hours but could have been only minutes her masters head jerked up and he fixed with a stare. "I want you to take a third of the army. March east through Durin's gap then south. With our enemies armies here facing us their homes are defenceless destroy them! Then march north and fall on their armies from the rear while I hold them in place with the main army."

As Jean headed away from the burning town with her army she smiled. She had always been a sadist at heart. When she was younger she had fought such urges but these days she excepted them, embraced them even. The thought of a dozen defenceless towns at her mercy gave her a thrill it was time to indulge her urges..........

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