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Posted: Feb 6 2009, 03:07 PM
Touched by Slaanesh and pressing charges
Member No.: 1
Joined: 15-February 05
The Brotherhood, Skaven Civil War.
A Message For You, Lord – Hoofed by Khornesone co-Pawed by Vang Three Claws**:
**The line "Pawed by...” graciously on loan from Khilkhret Foe-slayer.
Khorneson stared at the two scraps of blue cloth for a long, long time. The Dark Maul hung from his belt, but he could feel it throbbing against his thigh as it fed on his rage. He stood in a chamber filled with rocks, paths pushed out amongst the gravel to replicate the tunnels of the Underempire. Once, two gold coins marked the territories of Vang Three Claws, and now blue fabric marked the lands for the Children of the Warp.
Skritch could never have mounted such an attack in secret ... which meant that Vang hadn't been conquered, he had defected.
The beastlord kicked out at the gravel of the map and sent debris flying about the room. He slammed a fist into the wall and swore revenge before all the gods of chaos. Rats and beast scurried out of the room or poked their heads in the door to witness the tantrum -- no doubt, whispers and rumors of his anger would spread to all four corners of the realm by sunset.
"Why?" He called out to no one in particular. "Why would I ever trust some... some rat!?!"
Khorneson slammed his head into the wall and took some meager relief that the walls shook from the assault of his horns. From the recesses of his primal mind, an answer unfolded to his own question.
"Vaprak," he whispered. "Vaprak swore on his life that Vang was true and trustworthy."
"I will hold him to that oath."
It would not be an easy quest. Vaprak had ever resided in the same dens as Vang, and now those dens were behind Brass Keep lines. He could never siege it as an army, but as an individual, he might have a chance. He still had connections within the Children of the Warp, and they had only become stronger as Khorneson's own reputation had grown. The Brotherhood was deep in bickering, and certainly no one would miss the beastlord for a few days.
Rather than heading directly for Clawhome, Khorneson took a less direct route. He left behind his armor and shield, taking nothing more than a loincloth, the Dark Maul and his own pelt. He left through the Fang Archway as nothing more than just another beastman, hardly recognizable to the Skaven of the area. He made his way to Strudehlspahn, where some of his Kharnath zealots had intermingled with the other fanatics of the area. They would have to get him close enough that his natural stealth could keep him hidden until he entered Vaprak's camp.
His contact was very informative, for he had witnessed a rather surprising event firsthand. Vaprak had been "evicted" by the Children of the Warp, forced to leave or die before their massed armies. Outnumbered a dozen to one, the beasts naturally took their leave and marched southwest along the surface. Khorneson cursed and left the area immediately, running throughout the day and night after his quarry. The trail was not a hard one to follow for one who knew how beasts moved through the woods.
It had been two days without sleep when he finally found them. He could feel the dark emotions of the herd before he saw them, loosely gathered around a small bonfire. Some drank, some sulked, some fought each other in a rage without an outlet. The more brutal ones would be his way into the camp. If he beat them, then he could leave the brawl with his conquest as a short-lived form of reputation and recognition -- long enough to get him to Vaprak.
Khorneson skulked through the woods until he came across a particular brawl involving four Gors. No one was paying it more than a casual bit of attention, so the beastlord leapt into the fray himself. He grabbed one at random by wrapping his left arm around the throat and snagging a horn in the right fist. He pulled the Gor back from his fellows and gave it a sudden twist, snapping the thick neck. He could hear the Dark Maul sing and feel the blessing of Khorne build within him. By his will, he fought both of them back ... he needed to keep his head clear.
The other three turned on him, sensing a newcomer that was too strong to handle alone. Khorneson threw his right fist at the leftmost one, catching him directly in the chest. The blow did little more than cause the gor to stumble back, but it gave just enough room for Khorneson to slide betweem the other two. He pummeled one in the head, ignoring the blows from both that were raining on him. Predictably, the Gor behind Khorneson grabbed at his throat, trying to duplicate his own move. Khorneson grabbed at the arm and bent at the waist, sending the one Gor into a collision course with other. The falling mass was enough to knock the one Gor out, even as his own horns sliced open the back of his herdmate. The last Gor watched the entire thing, but had his fists back and ready to fight.
The Gor looked up surprisingly, and then obediantly let his arms fall by his sides. When Vaprak commanded, he knew to obey. Khorneson kept his guard up, resting one hand on the grip of his magic weapon. The daemon inside it begged him to crush the traitor's skull.
But Vaprak wasn't the traitor, that was Vang. Vaprak was just another beastlord... and another victim of Skaven machinations.
"Why are you fighting my beasts?" Vaprak asked. "Why have you come?"
"Vang." Khorneson replied. "You swore for him. I believed you."
"And now you seek to kill me for that?" Vaprak asked. "I suppose I can understand, we were both fools to trust him. He, of course, is beyond your reach and mine, at least for now. Naturally, I'd be the next outlet for your vengeance. I will not go quietly though, Son of Khorne. I may kill you and take your herd as my own."
"KILL HIM!" The maul's daemon seemed to scream in his head. "He threatened you! Take me and cave in his lying head! KILL HIM!"
Khorneson let go of the maul, and bowed his head ever so slightly. He straightened his back, not even realizing that it was doubled over to a fighting position. "I'm not here to fight you," he said. "Brotherhood is mad, crazy. Others will kill you, but swear herd to me and we kill Vang together. We will make him pay."
Vaprak considered the idea for a moment, the turmoil evident in the creases of skin along his face and the fire in his eyes. He ran a calloused hand along his chin, and regarded Khorneson carefully. "The White Hand of Haastur is mine and mine alone," he said finally. "I will not swear it to you, Son of Khorne, not now. The gods call me to other, more important things."
"Even if the Brotherhood would take me, I would not return. I will have my revenge on Three Claws for his betrayal in due course. When the time is right, perhaps we shall speak of this again."
Khorneson sighed. Batal, Vang, and now Vaprak, it seemed his allies were steadily leaving him. The beastlord wondered if the betrayals would ever stop. There was nothing else to say, so he simply turned to leave.
"Khorneson," Vaprak said. "You bested three of my warriors unarmed. You've earned a place at our fire. Eat. Rest."
The fatigue finally swept past his anger, and Khorneson gratefully agreed. The beasts had caught a stag earlier, and the juicy meat slid down his throat easily. Before he even realized he was laying down, Khorneson fell into a deep sleep by the fire.
When he awoke, he was alone.