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Adventures of the Dark Ones - Non canon stories 
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Trainee Warrior

Joined: Sun Nov 29, 2015 2:20 pm
Posts: 42
Hello everyone.

As part of my stories, I have written two stories that have become discontinuited from the other stories due to changes in the fluff. In case that interests you, here is the first one. Consider that these stories take place just after "A first wound" but consider that Uriaeth is not the commander of the Black Ark "Stronghold of Darkness" and that Arithair is doing something else with his victims' souls rather than storing them in a ring.

Regards.

Dark discoveries

Following the series of “accidents” and strange murder attempts which had plagued them, events whose common point had been the presence of Arithair, Uriaeth and Karaskia began to suspect that Arithair was perhaps a sorcerer. Consequently, they decided to join their efforts and investigate on him.

When arriving at the door of Uriaeth’s tower, Tharnithil found Durithir waiting for him.
“Uriaeth is waiting for the three of us. Let us not make him wait” said the retainer.
“The three of us?” asked the assassin. “Who is the third one? Has it got something to do with the small investigation regarding Arithair’s slaves Uriaeth ordered me to carry out?”
“I do not know anything about this investigation. I just have my orders” replied Durithir.
As they passed the door that gave to the slaves’ dormitory, Durithir snapped his fingers. Barely a heartbeat after, an eighteen year old human sprang from the dormitory and followed him obediently. As they reached Uriaeth’s audience room, Durithir ordered his slave to wait for his summon then entered the room with Tharnithil. As they entered, Uriaeth rose.
“Greetings. I have summoned you here to prepare our investigation. I have devised a way to conduct a three-front investigation. Durithir, you will distract Arithair by suggesting that I intend to hire him and the Stronghold of Darkness’s fleet for the next summer of raiding. As for you, Tharnithil, while Durithir is busy doing this, you will sneak into Arithair’s apartments and look for anything that can represent evidence that he is a sorcerer. It is ensured that he has a young human girl from the Empire for a slave?”
“Yes, he has” replied Tharnithil, “even if I do not see how it can serve us for this investigation.”
Uriaeth merely looked at Durithir who understood at once. He turned towards the door and snapped his fingers. At once, his slave entered and came before his master, awaiting orders. Uriaeth then cleared his throat.
“I have a task for you, human” he said.

Davad turned at the order, terrified. Disappointing Durithir just meant a painful moment while disappointing Uriaeth would be something much more dangerous, possibly lethal. He stood still, awaiting orders. Uriaeth stared at him with cold, unblinking eyes before replying.
“We need you for a task that only a human can carry out. You role will be to interrogate a young girl from your homeland. You will have to make her talk about her master and his habits. We do not care what precise information she can give or how you convince her to give them. All that matters is that she gives something interesting for us.”
Davad stood motionless and nodded. Uriaeth now pointed to a table in a corner of the room.
“Come, there are tools I must give you for this mission. For you Durithir, there are these bottles of wine. It is better that you bring the drinks. It is entirely possible that Arithair will try to poison you so it is better not to take any chance.”
He now turned to Davad and pointed to a small vial.
“Take this potion and trick that girl into drinking it” he said. “It will weaken her will and make much more likely to talk.”
Davad took the vial and put into a pocket of his trousers, feeling a growing terror building in his mind. This order was unlike anything he had been ordered to perform before. This mission seemed to be of such importance. He knew enough of the druchii to know that they would not have used a slave as part of this investigation if it was not absolutely necessary. Uriaeth now turned to the assassin.
“For you, Tharnithil, take this cloak. It will enable you to fly. That way, you will be able to reach the Black Ark unnoticed.”
The assassin put on the cloak then spoke a word of power. At once, the cloak dissolved into mist then reformed as two bat-like wings that the elf seemed apparently able to move like if it was an extension of his body.

Two days later, Davad left the tower, following Durithir as they headed towards the harbour. It had been eight years since Davad had arrived in Karond Kar but during these eight years, he had never left the tower, safe from the dangers of the city. Nothing had changed, the macabre screaming corpses were still here, the druchii were still here. Nothing had changed at all. Once at the docks, the slave and his master took a ship that led them directly to the Black Ark. As he entered the threshold of the floating fortress, Davad felt trembling as he recalled the dreadful trip in such a castle but he hardened himself as his very life depended on what he had to do.

As he entered the Black Ark, Durithir felt extremely anxious as he had to distract a druchii with whom he had already had problems before. Moreover, this druchii was potentially a wizard who would certainly try to kill him if he suspected his motives even for a heartbeat. As he entered, a young human girl, barely sixteen years old, arrived.
“My master has ordered me to take you to him.” Durithir nodded and followed her.
When he arrived near Arithair’s apartments, he cast a glance at Davad who nodded and gave him the bag he was handing. He then entered the captain’s apartments.
“Well, if it is not Uriaeth’s favourite retainer” said Arithair bowing slightly to Durithir.
“Yes, I am here as a representative of Uriaeth. He would like to book the Stronghold of Darkness for the next summer of raiding”, replied the retainer.
“Well, we could discuss this over dinner. Do you agree with that? We could have dinner in the feast room of the Black Ark, what would you say?”
“I have no problem with that” replied Durithir, quietly pleased by this prospect as this meant Arithair would not be in his apartments for several hours.

Meanwhile, Tharnithil soared through the sky towards the Black Ark, no one paying attention to him, probably mistaking him for a harpy in the distance. Covering the distance between the tower of Uriaeth and the Stronghold of Darkness in less than an hour, he landed discretely on a tower of the Black Ark and cast the spell enabling assassins to meld with shadows rendering them nearly invisible. Remembering the plan he had seen in Uriaeth’s tower, he headed directly for Arithair’s tower. He found a window and picked its opening. Before opening it, he carefully passed his fingers over the wood, searching for any possible trap or sign of magic within it. As he detected nothing, he opened the window, entered the apartment and began to investigate. The lack of magical protection suggested that either Arithair was no wizard after all or that he had placed no magical protection on the window, not expecting someone to enter through it.

“Hey, wait, wait” shouted Davad as he hurried after the slave girl as she was heading back towards her master’s tower, carrying a tray of food for herself.
“What is your name?” he asked. “Helta” replied the girl with a fearful look Davad recognized as the same look that had become his usual look ever since he had become a slave in Naggaroth.
Part of his mind could not believe he was doing this. Back in the Empire, a free boy would be running after a girl as a reply to his body’s urges. Here, he was only doing this because he had been ordered to do it.
“Would you mind if I wait with you while my master is talking business with yours?” he asked trying not to look too afraid. “I have no place to stay. And to stay in the open in this fortress would be dangerous with all these corsairs around.”
“I agree”, she replied, “Come, My master has given me a room at the bottom of his tower so that I can attend to him at his merest whim. I suppose you can stay there until our masters have finished their business.”
“Well let us go then” said Davad.

As he poured a glass of wine for Arithair then for himself, Durithir carefully revised his plan of attack. His role was essentially to distract Arithair while Tharnithil and Davad were carrying out their parts of the investigation but this did not prevent him to carry out his own interrogation. After he had poured the drinks, he raised his glass.
“I suppose we should begin by a toast to your appointment as captain of this Black Ark” he said. “That for sure is a promotion.”
“Well, I suppose we should also compliment you for your successes. Look at you, you are not even a hundred and seventy years old and you have already singlehandedly killed a powerful ogre and become a retainer of one of the most powerful highborns in this city. You have also helped in killing that gigantic bat whose skull is now adorning the top of Uriaeth’s tower. You have been lucky” replied Arithair with a neutral tone.
“Well the Lord of Murder smiles upon some of us. He has certainly smiled upon both of us, has he not?” said Durithir.
Arithair coughed up on his wine then replied with an uncertain voice as if he was afraid of displeasing someone.
“Well, the god to whom we are devoted certainly rewards us with his favours” he said.
Durithir had said his last sentence casually, believing indeed that Khaine had favoured him, but Arithair’s reaction seemed suspicious to him. He had not said “Khaine” but “The god to whom we are devoted”. Why had he said that and above all why had he said with such an air of worry like if he feared of sounding offensive? If his main god was another of the Cytharai, why had he not said the god’s name? It was clear it was not Atharti, the goddess of dark magic and goddess he would be worshiping if he was indeed a sorcerer, or he would have said “the goddess”. Even as he sipped more of his wine, a disturbing thought came to Durithir’s mind. What if Arithair’s main god was not one of the cytharai?

As he inspected Arithair’s bedroom, Tharnithil wondered if he was not losing his time. He had inspected almost every room in the tower, only stopping when Arithair’s slave had returned to her room, Durithir’s slave accompanying her. So far, he had found nothing; no magic icons or amulets, no books dealing with sorcery or magic, nothing. As he pondered over this, a thought occurred to him. Instead of searching for something that should not be here and was there, maybe he should search for something that should be there but was not. He went back to each of the rooms he had visited and looked again through Arithair’s desk and his cabinets. Something struck him as strange. Almost every druchii kept small icons or amulets of Khaine, or of another cytharai based on their preferences, on them or in their things. But here, there was not a single icon or amulet of this kind. This was no evidence but this was something suspect.

“So, how long have you served Arithair?” asked Davad.
While Helta was eating her ration of bread, he was discretely pouring the content of his vial into her carafe of water.
“For a year I think” replied the girl, “What about you?”
“I have been serving Durithir for eight years” he replied.
He then served her a glass of water, which she drank without question.
“Good”, he thought. “So, what can you tell me about Arithair?” he asked her.
“Well, he is cruel and sadistic like any druchii. He enjoys torturing his victims for entire hours then he usually recites a litany before executing them. Then I have to get rid of the corpses. The strange thing is that with every execution, he seems to become more deranged and sadistic.”
“I know what it is to get rid of a corpse” he replied. “Are they torn in several pieces?”
“No. They are just covered in cuts. Moreover, they usually have a strange symbol carved on their flesh.”
“Really, what kind of symbol?” asked Davad, supposing Durithir would find that interesting.
She drank more of the drugged water then carved a sketch of the symbol on a piece of parchment he handed her, Durithir having provided him with it in case it could be useful. He then quickly left the room.

“Sir assassin?” he quietly called.
Barely a heartbeat after, the assassin appeared and asked the reason for the summons.
“I think this could be of use to the investigation” he said handing him the piece of parchment.
“Good. Now get back with that girl and distract her. I want no disturbance while I am investigating”. Davad quickly returned into the room to find the shocking sight of Helta lying naked on her bed.
“Come” she said with a drugged voice, “I am hungry but not for food”.
These very words shook Davad to his core.
“Are you mad?” he asked terrified, “Our masters would kill us if they caught us doing this.”
“They will kill us anyway sooner or later. Better that we reap what we can before they do” she replied.
Davad stood motionless for several minutes, pondering over this unbelievable situation. What she was offering him was probably the only opportunity for this he would get in his entire life as a slave but it was the most dangerous thing to do. If Durithir caught him in the act, he would certainly kill him. But then Durithir would kill him anyway whether it was the following day or in a few decades. Was it not better to steal what pleasure he could before dying? As he thought this, a rush of defiance coursed through his mind and he let it take hold.
“You may have stolen my freedom and my life, druchii” he thought angrily as he took of his clothes and joined Heta on the bed, “but the experience I am going to live will leave a memory that you will not be able to steal.”

“So, how did you manage to become captain of a Black Ark?” asked Durithir while serving Arithair another glass of wine.
“Why do you ask that question?” replied the captain, eyes frowning in suspicion.
“Well, I am always keen on tips for advancement” replied the retainer, feigning an innocent smile.
“You are greedy young elf. Any other lowborn would kill or betray even his closest relatives for the position you now enjoy and yet you want more?” asked Arithair with a drunken voice.
This was good thought Durithir. The drunker someone is, the easier it is to make him talk even about subjects he would normally avoid. But something was quite disturbing. Both druchii had drunk the same number of glasses and yet Arithair seemed much more drunk than him, like if the wine had more effect on him. Durithir doubted the wine had been drugged otherwise Uriaeth would have warned him not to drink it. Putting Arithair’s reaction to alcohol in the back of his head, he replied.
“I am merely thinking about my future” he said. “Besides, I would be considered a fool if I sated myself with my current position.”
“You would” replied Arithair, “but I will keep my secrets to myself. I will only reveal that unlike you, I did not gain my current position only out of luck”.
“Fine”, replied Durithir, “If you do not mind, I will take a small stroll for fresh air before we begin to eat”.

As the retainer left the room, Arithair pondered his options. If Durithir took his stroll on a battlement, he could easily use his powers to make him miss a step and fall overboard where he would drown or he could manipulate a corsair, or some harpies, into killing him. Both courses were tempting but no. It was clear that Durithir had come to spy on Uriaeth’s orders. If he died now, it would only arouse the highborn’s suspicions. No, he would not harm the youngster. He would treat him as he should treat a representative of a highborn while making sure he would have nothing to bring back to his lord. For a moment he laughed. What could Durithir hope to discover by interrogating him? Maybe he was not as clever as he had supposed.

As Tharnithil pondered about his lack of discoveries; he had looked everywhere and sounded the walls and floor for empty spaces without discovering anything, he heard a whistle, Durithir’s call, coming from outside the tower. Activating the magic of his cloak and turning himself invisible, he flew outside the tower and found the retainer waiting on the battlements, gazing at the city in the distance. Approaching discreetly, he asked if something was wrong.
“No”, replied Durithir. “Did you have any luck?”
“Not much. I found nothing betraying him as a sorcerer into his tower” replied the assassin.
“Then I may have an idea. He just told me that he did not gain access to his position through luck. He was insulting me by saying this but in doing so, he revealed much more than he intended. There were certainly at least a dozen more suitable candidates for the position of Black Ark commander. And yet, a mere ship captain with less than a century of experience was appointed. Perhaps, it would be a good idea to ask some high ranking officers for the exact circumstances regarding Arithair’s ascension. I have a feeling we would learn interesting things” replied the retainer.
“Very well, I will do that” replied the assassin, “Now do not make your host wait for you”.

“Wow” thought Davad. This was better than he had imagined. “Well. I suppose Durithir will kill me now but somehow I do not mind” he said with a smile.
“If I believe what Arithair says when he is drunk, then your master is nothing to be worried about” replied Helta.
“Really?” asked Davad, “Have you not seen the scars on my body. He is the one who inflicted them”.
“I do not know anything about your master, what I know is that usually, after a battle, Arithair gets drunk and raves about how Uriaeth and Karaskia are too much lucky. Regarding Durithir, the only thing he says is that if it was not for his intelligence, he would not even be a nuisance.”
Davad pondered over this for a long time. Apparently, this kind of thing made women more willing to talk, enabling him not only to please himself but also to carry out his task.
“But why does he get angry in case of victory?” he asked, “Usually that just means more slaves, treasures or victims to torture for these elven fiends.”
“Why should I know” she replied, “I am not privy to his thoughts. All I know is that he says that the sorceress and the higborn’s luck cannot last forever. I think he is quite crazy. Sometimes, I can hear him talking aloud in his room as if he was talking to someone but there is never anyone with him at that moment”.
As Davad smiled, pleased with all the information, Helta pursued in a suggestive voice.
“I am still hungry. Stab me again” she said.
“Always happy to obey that kind of order” replied Davad with a smile.
This was the first time obeying his druchii masters provided him with pleasure. At least, the information he had obtained this way should allow him to avoid punishment.

As he flew between the Black Ark’s towers, Tharnithil gazed everywhere, looking for potential prey. He quickly spotted a high ranking officer within the hierarchy of the Stronghold of Darkness. As the officer returned to his apartments, the assassin picked the door’s lock and entered quietly. As the officer was undressing, Tharnithil quickly advanced and put a dagger against his throat.
“I want information and if you give me convincing answers, I will spare you, perhaps. I want to know how Arithair became the captain of this Black Ark?” said the assassin, whispering into his captive’s hear. The officer trembled but mastered himself.
“The previous captain of the Black Ark had a lethal accident” he said. “While patrolling on the battlements, harpies attacked and killed him”.
“I see”, replied the assassin. “But why was a mere ship captain appointed as the new captain when there were several more suitable candidates like yourself for example?”
“Well, I do not remember exactly what happened. I remember feeling terrified and oppressed at the prospect of becoming the new captain. I felt like it would be too many responsibilities and that every other officer would try to kill me to get the position. So I refused it” replied the captive
“And why was not another officer appointed if you did not have the guts to accept the position?” asked the assassin.
“This is the strangest thing. Every other officer and ship captain was affected by the same fears, until Arithair became the only eligible candidate.”
“And no one found these events suspicious?” asked the assassin.
“We were all so relieved to have escaped the appointment that we said nothing” replied the officer.
This was extremely strange thought the assassin. All druchii yearned for advancement. The fact that several officers had so refused the prestigious position of captain of a Black Ark was aberrant and was evidence that something was amiss. Drawing a vial from his pocket, he resumed talking.
“Now, I want to you to drink the content of this vial entirely” he said. “Drink this or I will kill you.”
The terrified officer took the vial and drank its content. At once, he lost consciousness and fell heavily on the floor. Tharnithil turned to leave. In other circumstances, he would have killed the subject of an interrogation once he had obtained the information he wanted. But regarding the current investigation, it was imperative that Arithair had not even the slightest suspicions that someone else than Durithir was carrying out investigations. The poison he had given the officer would just make him unconscious for an hour or two and give him a blurred memory of the past few hours, something he would probably impute to wine.

As he was sleeping, the sound of snapping fingers woke up Davad.
“Let me sleep Helta” he dared to say. “We will do it again when I am ready”.
As the sound continued, he opened his eyes. His expression of anger turned to one of terrified surprise as he found Durithir standing near the bed.
“Am I disturbing you?” asked the druchii with a cold voice full of anger.
Unspoken terror filled him, banishing all his previous defiance. Durithir suddenly bent and grabbed him by the neck and slashed his throat with a knife, blood pouring from his neck before stabbing him again with a second dagger. Darkness rose to engulf him and he fell in it.

“I sincerely apologise for the behaviour of my slave” said Durithir as he dragged his slave’s corpse behind him, heading for the nearest battlement.
“He cannot even manage his slave. How pathetic” thought Arithair before replying with a smile.
“Well, he is a human. What did you expect? Mating is the only thing at which humans are actually good”.
“At least, he will no longer be able to do it again” said Durithir.
As they arrived on the battlement, the retainer lifted his slave then tossed him over the wall. As he fell, a harpy suddenly appeared from nowhere and grabbed the falling corpse before flying back towards the city.
“So ends your slave, in a harpy’s belly. I hope Uriaeth will not mind lending you gold to buy another. One of the ships goes back to Karond Kar in an hour. I suggest you take it.” said Arithair with a cruel smile before leaving.

As he arrived in his room in Uriaeth’s tower, Durithir found, like he expected, Tharnithil waiting for him. In a corner laid the unconscious form of Davad.
“Everything worked out as planned. Arithair did not have any suspicion” said the retainer.
“Yes it has” replied the assassin.
“I must congratulate you for the idea of faking my slave’s death” said Durithir, remembering how a few hours before leaving, while Davad was preparing himself, Tharnithil had come to him.
“I am not the intellectual here. I leave that role to you but I have devised a plan that would allow us to get your slave away from the company of Arithair’s without arousing any suspicion” had said Tharnithil.
“I am listening” had said the retainer.
“In the morning, you will go to the slave’s room and feign to be furious that you slave is cavorting with Arithair’s” the assassin had said. “Take these daggers with you. This one is marked with a rune that makes it seep blood when it touches something. Merely touching your slave with it will make it look as though you have severed an artery. Now, this other dagger is coated with a powerful poison that will make your slave unconscious. The combined use of these daggers will make it look as though he is dead.”
“Good” had replied Durithir before adding, “And how do you plan to take my slave away from the Black Ark?”
“I had hoped you would come with a plan regarding this” had replied the assassin.
“I think I have an idea that will allow us to evacuate him unnoticed” had said Durithir, smiling, “After having faked his death, I will drag him to the nearest battlement and throw him overboard. Then you will pluck him from the air with that magical cloak Uriaeth has lent you and bring him back here. Any who sees that will probably mistake you for a harpy. No one will give it a second thought”
“I will do that” had replied Tharnithil.
“And I have to congratulate you for you plan to get your slave away from the Stronghold of Darkness” replied Tharnithil before adding, “He gave me a drawing that Arithair carves on his victims’ flesh.”
“I hope he has more to provide, given what he spent his night doing” replied Durithir with a look of anger.
Seeing Tharnithil’s incomprehension, Durithir added, “I found him naked with the girl in her bed. Mating with her when he should have been interrogating her, typically human” he said with a voice full of scorn. “Now time to see if he has enough information to stay alive” he added.

Davad regained consciousness with a scream as his face was plugged into freezing water; someone maintaining his face under the surface with an iron grip. Just as he felt that his lungs were about to collapse, whoever held him dragged him away and pinned him against the wall, his hand clasped tightly against his throat. As he opened his eyes, he found himself face to face with Durithir whose face was twisted with rage. Drawing a dagger, he spoke with a voice of iron.
“You were ordered to interrogate that girl not to mate with her” he said. “Now, I hope that you gave her enough pleasure to make her say a lot while she was still ecstatic. Tell me everything she told you, human vermin, or I eviscerate you right now”.
Taken by terror, Davad gulped then quickly repeated everything Helta had told him. For several heartbeats, he hesitated about repeating what Arithair had said about his master but had no choice than to say it. After that explanation, Durithir looked at him for a long time with eyes burning with anger. Davad almost sullied himself with fear but then his master let go of him.
“This information is good for me” he said. “But do not think yourself saved. Uriaeth will have the final decision about whether you deserve to live or not” said the druchii with a dark look.

A week following the investigation, Karaskia came to tell Uriaeth about the results of her researches in the sorceress coven for the signification of the symbol discovered by the slave and told them that the symbol that matched the drawing was the symbol of Slaanesh.
“How can we be sure of this?” asked Uriaeth, “This information comes from a slave. We have no means of being sure he did not lie so as to avoid punishment.”
Tharnithil and Karaskia nodded but Durithir remained silent.
“Do you disagree with that assumption, Durithir?” asked Uriaeth with a cold voice.
The retainer looked up then replied.
“Yes. I disagree for two reasons. First my slave comes from the Empire and was barely ten when he was captured. I doubt he even knows anything about Slaneesh and even if he did, how would he know what is the correspondent symbol? And then, if we consider that Arithair is in fact a Slaaneshi worshiper, every strange little thing we discovered during our investigation takes a new signification.”
Uriaeth had first felt anger at his retainer’s tenacity but then his explanation had become more interesting.
“Carry on” he ordered.
The retainer bowed then continued.
“First, when I said that Khaine had smiled on us, he coughed on his wine then spoke of the god he worships but did not say his name” he said. He just said “The god to whom we are devoted”. From what I read, the chaos gods are extremely jealous gods, capable of killing their worshippers if they even speak of another god. If he was worshipping Slaanesh, he would not speak of one of our gods. Still in compliance with this, Tharnithil has found no icons or amulets of any of our gods, which would be logical if he was worshiping a chaos god. Then according to his slave, he becomes more sadistic and cruel with each sacrifice he performs which is, I read, an habitual thing with Slaaneshi worshippers. His slave also heard him talk alone in his room. She may have thought he was talking alone when he was in fact conversing with daemons. Then, his senses seem to be extremely sharpened. I realised it when he became extremely drunk with only a few glasses, another effect induced by the worship of Slaanesh. Finally, there is the way each high ranking officer within the Black Ark refused the promotion by fear of the responsibilities. This hints strongly at the use of magic and especially at the use of Slaaneshi magic.”
During this long explanation Karaskia and Tharnithil had hung on every word Durithir had said. Uriaeth over this for several minutes then spoke.
“I admit your logic is good but mere logic will probably not be enough to convince the Witch King” he said. “We will need steel evidence if we are to convince him of what we advance.”
“So all we have done is for naught?” asked the retainer.
“No”, replied the highborn. “We now know that Arithair is not just a sorcerer but also a Slaaneshi worshiper. We also know that he is the shadow enemy that has plagued us lately since your slave has reported that he usually raves about how I and Karaskia have survived murder attempts. However, we must be careful. If we spread the information, Arithair would hear about this and pretend we are just attempting to discredit him. Unless we find material evidence of what we know, we cannot act” said the highborn.
“You cannot act” said Tharnithil with a cold voice. “The Temple needs no evidence to deal with that slaaneshi scum. I am perfectly free to go kill him right now.”
“You would be free to do so in other circumstances” replied Karaskia with a voice of iron, “but do not forget that you are still at my service for more than a decade. We could kill Arithair right now but we would receive no reward or credit from it. Until we can expose him as what he is, I forbid you to kill him or to share our discoveries with the Khainites. Is that understood, assassin?”
The assassin looked at the sorceress and at the highborn with murderous eyes but replied calmly.
“Very well, I will do nothing...for now”.
“Do not worry. I have the feeling that you will have opportunities for assassination soon enough” said the highborn.

The room was alive with magical energies as Arithair activated a small window between his world and the chaos realm to speak with his god.
“My lord” he said, “I know I am certainly not in the position to make demands of you. But the lackeys of the Lord of Murder are closing around me and I need your generous assistance to hold them back.”
He felt anger radiate from the pink frame that had appeared on a wall.
“I see your problem with my demand. You do not get anything from it. Well, I may have something to offer. As soon as I have seized full control of this fortress, it would be easy for me to weaken it and make sure an entire army of your mortal servants could invest it. That way, you would have one of the fabled Black Arks of the druchii at your control, an unassailable fortress at your command. Your troops could be carried across the seas with ease and no one would be out of your clutches.”
As he had said this, he felt the anger replaced by satisfaction and pleasure. A terrible voice, strong and light, male and female issued from the frame.
“You will have what you ask for, little druchii. Even now, some of my daemonic servants have materialised in the Chaos Wastes north of the Land of Chill and are scouring them for my mortal followers. They will order them to join forces with you, to gather and then to sail to this fortress. However, I demand something more. Once the army has joined you and this fortress is entirely yours, I want the souls of your enemies; Uriaeth, Karaskia and Durithir. Their souls will be the price to pay for my help.”
“It is a deal my lord”, said Arithair bowing deeply, “I could imagine no more fitting end for these interlopers. They may suspect my true allegiance but they have no means of proving it to the armoured buffoon they call their king. They cannot act against me yet and when they can, they will rush to attack me but I will trap and execute them” said the slaneeshi worshiper with a widening smile.


Sun Jan 24, 2016 8:26 pm
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Corsair
Corsair
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Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2008 10:00 pm
Posts: 8642
Location: Hag Graef
Entertaining as usual.
I like also much the conclusion, when I was wondering how come Arithair had been so naive to remain defenseless.

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Winds never stop blowing, Oceans are borderless. Get a ship and a crew, so the World will be ours! Today the World, tomorrow Nagg! {--|oBrotherhood of the Coast!o|--}


Mon Jan 25, 2016 12:06 am
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Trainee Warrior

Joined: Sun Nov 29, 2015 2:20 pm
Posts: 42
Hello everyone.

Here is the second of my non-canon stories "What if Arithair was a Slaaneshi cultist".

I hope you will enjoy it.

Regards.

The mask falls

The night was bitterly chill thought the corsair Althric as he peered over the battlement of the Black Ark the Stronghold of Darkness. The Black Ark had been setting anchor for a week on the other side of the island on the west of which stood the city of Karond Kar. As he was once again wondering why their captain had stopped the Black Ark right there and not left Naggaroth to lead the rest of the Black Ark’s fleet toward the Old World for the summer of raiding, he sensed a small movement of air behind him.
“Blessed Lord of the seas!?” he exclaimed.
“No, just me” replied a cold voice.
Althric whirled around drawing his swords but the figure, a druchii clad in black clothes and wearing a hood and a mask, parried them effortlessly with his owns blades then counterattacked with uncanny speed slashing the corsair’s cheek. Immediately, Althric’s body went numb and he lost consciousness.

When he regained his senses, Althric realized he was lying on cold floor and opened his eyes. What he saw filled his heart with terror. He was situated at the top of a tower in Karond Kar. Looking around, he noticed that a gigantic bat skull was adorning one of the pikes that girded the rim of the tower’s top. Only one highborn had such a decoration at the top of his tower; Uriaeth. He then noticed the two druchii standing before him. One was a woman wearing a dress that both concealed and disclosed her slender body. In her hand she carried a staff of iron and bone. On her left stood a male druchii fully armored and carrying a halberd seething with dark energy; Uriaeth.
“Why am I here?” he asked with a fearful voice.
The higborn took a step forward raising his weapon.
“Silence wretch, you are not here to ask questions but to answer them” he said. “Why is it that the Stronghold of Darkness has set anchor instead of going slaves hunting like the rest of our fleets?”
“I do not know why, dreadlord” exclaimed the terrified corsair, “our commander, Arithair, has ordered us to drop anchor but gave no reason for it and as it was not our place to question this decision, we remained silent”.
“Arithair!” exclaimed the sorceress, turning to the highborn. “Now we have evidence of what he is”.
At that moment, both druchii turned their gaze eastward. Althric followed their gaze and saw a dark shape moving through the clouds toward the tower upon which they stood. As the flying shadow approached, the corsair saw that it was a druchii, two enormous bat-like wings sprouting from his back. When the druchii landed, his wings evaporated, forming tendrils of smoke that coalesced into a long black cloak. Althric recognized him as the druchii who had captured him on the Black Ark. Now he understood how he had been carried to Karond Kar so quickly and offered a silent prayer to Mathlann for having been unconscious during the flight.
“What news do you bring, Tharnithil?” asked the highborn.
“Ill tidings I fear, lord Uriaeth” replied the assassin, “I saw a chaos fleet bearing the colors of Slaanesh converging on the Stronghold of Darkness”. I think it is safe to say that we now have evidence of what we were thinking. Arithair is indeed a Slaaneshi cultist” said the assassin.
Althric found the courage to speak.
“This must be the reason why he sent so many of us on the fleet, so that the Stronghold of Darkness would be defenceless against this betrayal” he said.
The highborn, Uriaeth, turned to him and for a heartbeat the corsair thought he was about to die but Uriaeth simply nodded.
“Indeed” he said. “He dispatched so many corsairs so that those that remained would be powerless against his betrayal. How many of you remain on the black ark?”
“Barely two hundred”, replied Althric.
“If we could free them, they would be of use” said the sorceress.
“If they are still alive”, said the highborn.
He then turned to the door, where stood an armoured warrior.
“Durithir” he said. “Gather my personal guard and have my ships prepared to leave in the next hours. Once you have done this, Tharnithil will take you to the Black Ark and you will free its crew. With luck, the Black Ark’s bolt throwers will still be functional. Set the crew to man them and destroy this fleet. I will join you with my guards once the chaos fleet is destroyed”.
The assassin then also turned to the retainer.
“After you have given out these instructions, send someone to the temple to warn the Hags about this, the executioners will be needed to destroy this Slaaneshi traitor. I have to warn them” he said to the highborn. “This is also a temple affair now, you cannot ask the Khainites not to interfere”.
“As if I were stupid enough to come between Khainites and their prey, your help will be welcome” said Uriaeth laughing.
“I will do as you say, my lord” said the retainer “But if I may ask, how will Tharnithil take me to the Black Ark from here?”
“By flying of course” replied Uriaeth. The retainer was gone for half an hour then returned. When he arrived he spoke at once.
“I do not mean to be offensive but are you sure we can act my lord?” he said. “After our investigation, you said we could do nothing without steel evidence. Can we really take the matter into our own hands without the Witch King’s authorization? Will he not see it as a threat to his authority that we act without warning him?”
“We have no choice now” replied the highborn. “If no one acts, Arithair will be able to secure his position by picking up more and more chaos warriors and it will become almost impossible to retake the Black Ark by strength. We must act now while his forces are few. If we are lucky, the Witch King will reward us for having saved one of our Black Arks, if not, well, let us not worry about that now. We first have to deal with Arithair before dealing with the Witch King. Now come, Tharnithil and you must leave now”.
Obeying his master’s orders, the retainer advanced to put himself back to the assassin, arms extended.
“Relax” said the khainite, “You are not the first one I carry by airway”
“No but I am the first to be conscious during the flight” said the retainer with a wince.
The assassin merely chuckled before locking his arms and legs around the retainer’s owns. He then spoke a word and his cloak dissolved into smoke then rematerialized into bat-like wings he apparently moved as easily as his hands. He rose in the air, lifting the retainer with no apparent efforts. He then turned east and disappeared into the night.

All went as Uriaeth had said, after having flown to the black ark, Tharnithil and Durithir had freed the captive corsairs who, miraculously, were all unharmed as the humans had planned to sacrifice them during the next days. After having recovered the corsairs’ weapons and set them to man the bolt throwers, the two druchii stood waiting on the highest battlement towering over the chaos fleet. Less than half an hour later, everything was ready and Durithir shouted to the waiting corsairs to open fire. Immediately several flaming bolts flew from the walls, each one of them striking a single ship. As the marauders appeared on the decks of every ship like ants emerging from their nests, the other bolt throwers fired hails of spear-sized bolts that slew them in their dozens. Years of practice saw the corsairs reload the bolt throwers and fire again and again. Within minutes, all the ships were ablaze and the humans were all but exterminated. After the chaos fleet was reduced to ashes, Uriaeth’s ships reached the Black Ark, allowing the druchii to disembark at the fortress’ small harbor. The small army of warriors and executioners led by Karaskia and Uriaeth joined the corsairs led by Durithir and entered the bowels of the Black Ark.

The druchii kept descending down the castle’s corridors until they reached one of the chambers located deeply within the Black Ark. As they entered the chamber, Tharnithil saw that it was made of two levels joined by a stair. As he approached the edge, what he saw was frightening. At least five hundred chaos warriors stood in the chamber, facing a dais near the opposite wall. At the dais stood Arithair dressed in scarlet robes with his hair cut short. In front of him stood what looked like a giant purple frame. Arithair, who had not yet seen the arriving warband, addressed the frame.
“My liege!” he said. “I have done as you asked, and now beseech you for your blessing!”
A terrible voice came out the frame to reply.
“What you did is a testament to your obedience” said the unnatural voice. “Indeed you are worthy of this charge. Arise, and forever be known as Arithair the scion of Slaanesh!”
Suddenly an aura of power circled the elf. His magical powers were now so great that Tharnithil could easily sense them through his magic sense.
“The sensation is... beyond my imagining” said the sorcerer. “I am yours to command, my god.”
“Your first test awaits you” replied the voice. “Destroy our uninvited guests.”
The magic frame then disappeared. The sorcerer turned to the other druchii, along with the chaos warriors and spoke.
“I will be happy to slaughter them in your name!” Arithair said. “Come, lackeys of the Witch King! I will show you the might of the Dark Prince! The enmity you have shown towards me has amused him and he now wants your souls as payment for his aid”
“Traitor!” bellowed Uriaeth, “It is us who will show you the might of the druchii.”
“And of the Lord of Murder” shouted Tharnithil.
Arithair only laughed before replying.
“Always talking of killing and torturing” he said. “Why do you blind yourself to all the other joys in life? What about you chosen son of Khaine? Why do you chain yourself to your bloodlust and hatred? There are other things you could experience, other sensations you could enjoy. Do you not dream of touching the flesh of women with your fingers and not your blades? Would you not like to insert your flesh dagger into a woman’s sheath?”
These words shook Tharnithil to his core.
“Is he right?” he thought. “Why do I blindly follow the rules that forbid the Khainites from mating, or doing other things than killing? The only pleasure I feel comes from killing and torturing. There must other things in life. Blessed murderer, I have not even drunk wine or tasted elaborate food in my six hundred years of existence. Surely, with all the beings I have slain in Khaine’s name, he could surely allow me to take a break from his service and enjoy the pleasures of life, would it be so bad?”
All around him, the druchii were looking at each other, taken aback by the sorcerer’s words. Suddenly Tharnithil felt a magic whose signature he knew, Karaskia.
“Awake!” she shouted. “He is using his magic, trying to confound and eat at your resolve. Remember, we are the druchii and we are slaves to no one, not even our feelings and sensations.”
As her magic pushed back the sorcerer’s insidious spell, Tharnithil realized he had been tricked and let his hatred surge, banishing all his doubts.
“For the Lord of Murder” he screamed and the cry was repeated by every druchii.
“FOR THE LORD OF MURDER!”

Satisfied that her counter spell had worked, Karaskia turned to Arithair and spoke.
“Is this it?” she asked with contempt. “Is this all you can conjure Arithair? Little mind tricks? No wonder Slaanesh is the weakest of the Chaos God if this is all can he can provide his worshipers with”.
“He is the weakest of the great gods… for now” replied Arithair with amusement. For he feeds on all emotions, whether they come from mortals, daemons or the other dark gods while each of them feeds on one emotion alone. Every sensation and every emotion felt are dedicated to him. Even as I speak, your hatred and defiance fuel his power. His power will grow until even the combined power of the three other gods cannot best him. And as his power grows, so does the power of his followers”.
He then hurled a bolt of dark magic at Karaskia, who had barely time to conjure a shield of darkness to protect herself. She counterattacked with an icy wind she hurled at her opponent who dispelled it with ease. He extended an arm towards her and she suddenly felt ecstatic.
“Is this what utter happiness looks like” she thought, falling slowly into utter bliss.
She then realized with muffled horror that she had to break free from the sensation or being trapped in a prison of bliss forever.
“NO!” she screamed, gathering all her will and bursting through the ecstasy like a shark bursting out of water.
As she broke free of the spell, her mind touched the mind of Arithair. The contact lasted less than a heartbeat but both druchii fell to their knees, disgusted by the mind of the other, Karaskia by the utter depravity of Arithair, Arithair by the iron discipline of Karaskia. As the sorcerers recovered from their shock, the warriors of both side met.

The chaos warriors were fearsome opponents but the executioners’ elevated positions on the stairs gave them an edge allowing them to strike at the humans with ease as they tried to reach them and preventing them from attacking en masse. Also, fifty elves armed with repeater crossbows positioned themselves on the upper floor’s edge and opened fire on the humans, their dexterity and keen sight allowing them to fire their bolts in the gaps in their opponents ‘armours. As there was no room for him to move, preventing him from efficiently fighting the chaos warriors, Tharnithil decided to go directly for Arithair. He spoke a word of power and immediately his cloak dissolved and coalesced into wings. Soaring into the huge room, he drew his daggers and dived for the sorcerer. Realizing the danger, the latest ordered a towering warrior to kill the sorceress and then raised his eyes upwards and shouted.
“My god” he said. “Help me, protect me from this lackey of Khaine and I will offer you another hundred souls in return”.
As he said this, one of the chaos warriors close to him exploded like a husk and a huge shape burst from him, a shape Tharnithil identified with horror as a greater daemon. The daemon’s body was similar to an elf’s body but broader, more muscular and so beautiful that it was maddening to look at. It had four arms, two ending in humanoid hands carrying swords as long as six elves, the others ending in pincers. The daemon’s head turned towards the assassin and smiled.
“Your soul will make a fine offering for the Dark Prince, chosen of the Blood Handed God” he said.
He lunged forward, too fast for the eye to follow, his movements quicker than those of elves. But Tharnithil’s unending training throughout his centuries of existence had made him far quicker than most other elves, to the point that compared to him; they all seemed slow and clumsy. He avoided the reaching pincer, dipping to the right. As he passed near the huge arm, his blades sliced the air cutting the daemon at his wrist. The daemon let out a wail of pain and pleasure, the poison covering the druchii’s blades eating at the sorcerous flesh. Tharnithil passed behind the daemon and turned. His blades flashed again as he flew across the daemon’s back, the blades sinking into the flesh. As he gave the monster a wide berth to prepare his next attack, the daemon gave another scream. As he moved, Tharnithil saw that Uriaeth had struck him with his magic halberd, wounding him deeply at the ankle. As he rose again, the assassin saw that more than two dozen chaos warriors lay dead throughout their ranks. Obviously the highborn had cut a bloody path through their mass, their skills useless against his and their armours powerless against his weapon. For now the humans had stopped trying to stop him and seemed content to let the daemon battle their opponents’ leader. Tharnithil smiled as Uriaeth landed another blow on the daemon, wounding it at the arm. Together, even a greater daemon would be no match. As he prepared for another attack, the daemon lunged out again aiming for Tharnitil with one of his swords and for Uriaeth with one of his pincers. Both druchii avoided the blows aimed at them...and realized too late they were mere feints designed to prevent them from avoiding his next blows. With his remaining pincer, he seized Tharnithil in his flight, the pincer closing around the assassin’s chest, breaking several ribs. At the same moment, the sword he held in his last arm struck Uriaeth head-on. As it struck him, an aura of darkness surrounded the highborn and saved him from being instantaneously cut in two. Even though he survived, the impact catapulted the druchii more than a dozen meters away and he landed heavily on his back. With Uriaeth now neutralized, the daemon turned to Tharnithil, and spoke with a pleased voice.
“Now it is time for you to die” he said.
He then opened his jaws wide. Just as he was about to be swallowed by the daemon’s maw, Tharnithil extended his arms and threw his vials of poison in the open mouth. The daemon recoiled screaming as the vials broke in his jaws and as he accidentally swallowed their contents. Each poison was lethal for a humanoid creature at even a small dose, in such high quantities and mixed, they were lethal to all beings, even unnatural creatures. Moving madly, the daemon let go of Tharnithil who barely managed to glide towards the upper floor of the room.

As he saw Tharnithil almost crash on the floor then collapse, Durithir’s hope that the assassin would come to his aid vanished and he realized he would have to defeat his fearsome opponent alone or die. Indeed, not long after the daemon had appeared, a huge warrior, taller and broader than all the other chaos warriors, had leapt from the lower floor and landed on the upper floor, killed all the darkshards who had tried to stop him and then rushed at Karaskia. Durithir had intercepted him, thinking the magic sword he had been loaned would be enough to defeat his opponent but the chaos champion was far more skilled than he was and far quicker. The retainer had barely avoided the first strike of the gigantic axe, the human wielding it as easily as a feather, and seen all his counterattacks easily avoided or parried. He now fought entirely on the defensive, giving ground before the human. He would not best him, he knew that. Just as despair threatened to engulf him, he remembered that his martial skills were not his only weapon. He also had his mind. Just after his opponent’s following swing, he counterattacked; his sword aiming for the champion’s left leg. The champion parried the attack laughing, but the sword strike was a feint. Taking advantage of his distraction, Durithir leapt forward and slammed his shield into the human’s face. Momentarily stunned, the human staggered and the druchii thrust at a gap in his armour at shoulder level, his sword biting deeply into flesh. Roaring with pain, the human dropped his axe and punched the elf in the face, breaking his nose and sending him to the ground. Before Durithir could recover, the champion rushed at him and seized him by the throat, lifting him as easily as he would have picked up a child.
“Pathetic elf” he said, “Did you truly believe you could best a champion of a Dark God? You are nothing, your skills pitiful against mine. You are weak like all of your kind”.
The champion then raised his fist but before he could complete his attack, the druchii stabbed him in the mouth with a dagger, severing his tongue. The human let go of him, his hands flying to his mouth. As he tried to withdraw the dagger, Durithir recovered his sword, still embedded in the human’s shoulder. Thrashing around, the champion exposed his back to the druchii who immediately thrust forward with all his hatred and strength, burying his sword to the hilt in his back.
“What the druchii lack in skill, they make it up for in hatred and cunning” said Durithir defiantly.
As the human agonized, Durithir looked around. The executioners were still fighting against the chaos warriors, piles of corpses from both sides steadily rising although for each druchii slain, at least three humans were killed. As for Karaskia and Arithair, they were still locked in their duel, like two dancers dancing face to face with spells instead of arms.

Grunting with the effort, Karaskia channelled more of the dark magic that saturated the air in Naggaroth and shaped it as a dark bolt she hurled at her opponent who dispelled it. Since the daemon had appeared, she had cast spell after spell at the chaos sorcerer who had dispelled them all. Her attacks had not gone unanswered, Arithair trying to kill her with bolts of dark magic or to destroy her mind with hallucinations or feelings of ecstasy. Each time, only her iron will had saved her. Even as she dispelled another attempt at plunging her into an ecstatic coma, she knew she could not go on like this forever. Sooner or later, she would lose control of the powerful but dangerous magic she wielded or succumb to her opponent’s powers. Even as she thought about this, a plan took shape in her mind. So far their duel had followed the same pattern. One of them would cast a spell; the other would dispel it then counterattack and the circle would begin again. It was time to break that deadlock. She hurled him another black bolt and as he was dispelling it, she immediately spoke another world of power, inducing an unbearable pain in his body and mind. As he grunted in pain, his concentration broken, Karaskia raised her staff and cast another spell. Dozens of swords materialized around her and with a word, she sent them flying at the sorcerer. Incapacitated by the pain, Arithair was powerless to stop the swords which cut at his arms, legs and torso. As he fell to the ground, blood flowing from his numerous wounds, he spoke.
“I have not gone so far to...”
But the rest of his sentence was lost as the last sword struck him in the neck, beheading him. Panting with effort, she turned around. She saw that the battle was almost won; barely a hundred chaos warriors remaining of the five hundred that had been present at the beginning. Behind the humans, the daemon was laying on the floor, destroyed from the inside by the poisons of Tharnithil. As she watched, Uriaeth jumped on the daemon’s chest. Seeing his slayer, the daemon hissed.
“I am a daemon. I will live forever” he said.
“But not here”, replied the highborn with a snarl.
He then struck the daemon in the heart with his halberd. The daemon let out a long groan of agony and stopped moving. Almost instantaneously, his body dissolved into magic particles, his spirit banished back to the hellish ream from which it had spawned.

Laughter echoed in the room as Uriaeth, Karaskia, Durithir and Uriaeth were celebrating the positive outcome of their expedition. After having disposed of Arithair, Karaskia had directed her powers at the remaining chaos warriors, obliterating them. She had only spared half a dozen of them so that she could steal their life force with her magic and use it to heal her companions’ wounds. After, they had joined the rest of the fleet for a summer of raids and were now just arriving back in Naggaroth. A retainer then entered the room.
“A messenger from Naggarond has just arrived bearing this” he said.
Uriaeth took the letter marked with the seal of the Witch King, opened it and read it aloud.
“Uriaeth, I have heard of what happened at the Stronghold of Darkness. I summon you along with the sorceress Karaskia, the assassin Tharnithil and your retainer Durithir to Naggarond. Come or risk my wrath.”
Uriaeth breathed deeply before speaking.
“Go and prepare for the trip” he said.

As he heard his name in the letter, Tharnithil merely nodded. Either the Witch King would reward them or punish them but they had no choice but to answer his summon. The three other druchii rose to prepare what they would need for the trip and left the room. As Tharnithil was rising, he noticed that a glass of wine had been set for him but he had not touched it. He looked at it for a long time, pondering what he should do. Finally, he extended his arm and took the glass in his hand. He watched its content for a long time then lowered his mask and sipped the wine. It was good he thought.


Last edited by Durithir on Thu Jan 28, 2016 7:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Wed Jan 27, 2016 8:37 pm
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Corsair
Corsair
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Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2008 10:00 pm
Posts: 8642
Location: Hag Graef
Good reading as usual.

Two details could be improved:

The corsair "offered a silent prayer to Khaine": well, most corsairs are not known to be worshippers of Khaine: they are slavers, and the loot is better sold than sacrificed. Better praise Mathlann, or even possibly Ladrielle when in time of dire need.

"seized him by the throat"... "replied Durithir" => I would not expect Durithir to be able to speak with a colossus seizing him by the throat.
May I suggest you moved this reply after he defeated his opponent? A good time to give this explanation is when the said opponent is slowly dying.

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Winds never stop blowing, Oceans are borderless. Get a ship and a crew, so the World will be ours! Today the World, tomorrow Nagg! {--|oBrotherhood of the Coast!o|--}


Thu Jan 28, 2016 12:42 am
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Trainee Warrior

Joined: Sun Nov 29, 2015 2:20 pm
Posts: 42
Hello Calisson.

Thank you for your feedback and for the two points you mentioned. I had not considered them and have now corrected them.

Regards.


Thu Jan 28, 2016 7:47 pm
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