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Fiction Skalenex's Skaven Skories...I mean Stories

Discussion in 'Fluff and Stories' started by Scalenex, Oct 9, 2014.

  1. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I wrote a Skaven Short Story piece for the Underempire May-June contest and won. I wrote a piece for the August-September contest and lost (the winning piece deserved to win but I would have liked it to be closer).

    I'm now going to inflict my Skaven Stories upon you guys (with links to the other fine stories if you are interested). Special thanks to Spawning of Bob for helping me with editing. In theory this exist in the same story world as all my LM fluff pieces, at least so far. I wrote the one below while working on Legacies so it showed my fluff fondness for ruthless beings with the Lore of Shadow.

    I plan to keep entering the seasonal Skaven contests and eventually share the stories with you. You guys can even vote, but the contests are anonymous and I won't tell you which one is mine during the voting. I want to compete fairly.

    Shadowed Secrets (May-June theme was Magic or Secrets)

    Treakil (Treeq-AL) walked almost openly through the streets of the human slums. He did not skulk or sprint as a Skaven out in the open normally would. He merely took the pace of a slightly hurried human. Walking openly was actually preferable here. Given how many petty criminals and human ne’er-do-wells prowled in this gods forsaken part of Altdorf, a sneaking creature would draw more attention than someone who looked like they were just busy. Fortunately, Treakil was fairly tall for a Skaven, and the humans often wore obscuring cloaks in this part of the city. He could pass for a filthy human fairly easily as long as he hid his tail and face.

    Treakil dug under the signpost where three days ago he buried a small pouch of gold coins he had stolen from around the city. The purse was there, but there were no coins it. Only a slip of paper with an address. Good-good. With how much value-worth humans place on gold, you’d think it could do something more-better than look shiny.

    Treakil did not like relying on human informants, but he had run out of other options. No one in the Under Empire seemed to know where the Grey Wizards had their headquarters. Correction, no one seemed to be willing to tell Treakil where it was. Absence of evidence should never be taken as evidence of absence in the Under Empire. It wouldn’t have surprised him either way. Still, it was not hard for a young warlock to find the locations of the other seven magical colleges. They were not a major threat though. The Shadow casting humans were the most cunning humans in the Empire. If any humans could keep secrets from the Children of the Horned Rat, these humans would be able to do it. Of course that made their treasures and secrets irresistible to Treakil who needed some kind of edge against his many rivals.

    Treakil scoped out the location. It looked just like any other building in this human cesspool, but that was to be expected. If the Grey College headquarters stood out in any obvious way, it wouldn’t be hidden. Treakil examined the surrounding area for two weeks though it felt like an eternity. Despite all the time Treakil spent a lot of time spying on humans, the humans still all looked pretty much the same to him. As far as he could tell, none of the humans who came or went near the address on the slip of paper looked unusual in any way.

    Treakil noticed something few humans would see, but any Skaven would notice almost immediately. The one thing that stood out here was a lack of violence. The slums of Altdorf were crawling with so many desperate pickpockets and filthy cutthroats that it almost felt like a quiet Skaven holding. The human’s petty criminals seemed to unconsciously give this building and its surrounding alleys a wide berth without realizing it. As if it were radiating a subconscious warning not to mess with anyone in this neighborhood. This had to be the place!

    After having scouting the location above ground, Treakil took to the sewers. The sewers of Altdorf were immense, even in the slums. The extensive sewers here were a relic from when the slums were actually a respectable part of the city. Centuries ago, this quarter of the city had aqueducts and pipes to bring in fresh water and take away refuse. The sewers no longer regulated the flow of human refuse. Now they regulated the flow of humans who were society’s refuse. There were clearly dens and hideaways used by smugglers, narcotics traffickers, thieves, and worse. Treakil’s superior sense of smell led him to a stash of bodies. Good-good hiding place from the eyes, but not noses. Humans never are very thorough.

    Treakil was no tunnel runner, but all rats, bipedal and otherwise, have good direction sense. Treakil noticed that the area got more confined as he got closer to the address he was seeking. The sewers became smaller here because the natural bedrock was closer to surface, and the ancient humans chose not to bother with building sewers here since it took so much effort to excavate each foot. Treakil was only mildly surprised to see that the city block he was attempting to gain access had no sewer at all, only solid bedrock. Horned Rat’s balls! These Grey Wizards are VERY thorough!

    Treakil checked the nearest buildings that he could enter from the sewers. The buildings in the slums were fairly close together, but not close enough for Treakil’s purposes. He was very athletic for a warlock, but he doubted even the best tunnel runner in the Under Empire could make the jump from the nearest building roof. Treakil didn’t dare try, the potential fall looked crippling if not lethal. Treakil resisted the urge to just use Skitterleap to reach the rooftop. He needed a non-magical means of entry. Even a simple cantrip would surely trigger any mystical wards or alarm spells the Grey Wizards would have placed. He could use Skitterleap on the way out to make his escape, but he would need a thoroughly mundane means of entry.

    Treakil scouted out a window that was screened from the street and low enough for him to enter fairly easily. Treakil waited for dawn. An ordinary thief would have called him foolish. The best time for surface world burglary is generally midnight on a moonless night. “Breaking-entering in somewhere when it was light out is dangerous-foolish,” they would surely say.

    Treakil was no fool. He was sure that the masters of Shadow magic would be at their strongest in total darkness. They might even sleep during the day. Early dawn would give him some darkness to hide in, but not enough darkness for the Grey Wizards to manipulate. Whether these humans slept by night or day, they should be groggy in the early dawn.

    For added safety, he waited until after a human festival for one of the so-called Empire’s stupid gods. They have no deity near-close to the power-magnitude of the Great Horned Rat, so they try to make up for this by worship-praising DOZENS of gods. Pathetic. As much as he would have liked to daydream about destroying all the blasphemous works of the humans, Treakil needed to focus on his short term goals. Mankind had to be taken apart one piece at a time. He would make the Grey College yield its secrets.

    In this part of town, the window was naturally barred. Silently, Treakil loosened the screws around the bars and gently placed the metal on the ground. He could have opened the window in seconds with a small and theoretically undetectable cantrip, but he didn’t want to risk even minor magic this early on if he could help it. He dropped in quietly and braced himself. His whiskers quivering as he tried to sense for hostile magic, but the window held no booby-traps, mystical or otherwise. He passed dimly lanterns and closed doors with snoring behind them. Sleeping quarters may hold humans he could easily murder, but they would not yield many secrets. Humans tended to put their best secrets in bound books.

    The hallways were a little disconcerting. Most of the humans in the city had gotten very drunk in their celebrations the night before. He didn’t know whether or not wizards would partake of such things, but all the humans here seemed to be asleep. The lack of opposition was somewhat unsettling, heightening his paranoia. Every shadow that flickered in the lantern light made Treakil twitch. Eventually he found some stairs and descended. The humans had carved a small basement into the solid rock. Surely this was where the best treasures lay. He found shelves and shelves of books. At last! But what should I steal, I only have-brought two sacks with me? He figured he start with the books with gold embossing as humans tended to value gold and wouldn’t waste it on unimportant texts. He quickly scanned the titles to make sure he wasn’t stealing something worthless like The Royal lineages of the Elector Count Families or some other puffed up piece of garbage. As he was stowing away his fifth book a voice behind him made him jump.

    “May I help you young man?”

    Treakil turned slowly letting his sleeves fall over his furry paws and hiding his face under his hood. He saw an elderly gray haired human male wearing a dark but thin silk robe as if he were just sleeping. He held a completely blank scroll in his right hand and a very large feathered quill in his left hand.

    Treakil could speak the human’s tongue, but he couldn’t speak the human’s tongue without his Queekish accent immediately giving himself away. Fortunately this human was not armed or carrying any obvious magical foci. He drew a poisoned knife from his sleeve and prepared to throw it.

    “You can tell me where you want to be buried!”

    Before he could throw the knife, a shot rang out. The human shot-hit me with a QUILL?. He staggered and dropped the knife clutching his bullet wound. Shadows melted away from the quill as the illusion cantrip faded. Treakil saw that the human was actually holding a pistol, not a writing implement. The scroll was also under an illusion. It was not blank, but clearly held magic spells. The human read an incantation off of the scroll and a miasma of misery and darkness overwhelmed Treakil’s sight, hearing, smell and touch muting out all sensation—except for the pain of his bleeding wound which was intensified a hundred-fold forcing him to black out.

    He woke up bound to a chair inlaid with obsidian dampening Treakil’s ability to perform magic almost as much as the ropes binding his hands. He was surrounded by humans in grey cloaks.

    “Awake at last little rat? It took you a long time to wake up. It took you even longer to break in here after we gave you our address.”

    The Grey Wizards WANTED me to come-come here? Just when Treakil thought he couldn’t be any more confused. One of them raised a wooden staff. It had the insignia of the Jade College. Why would they have that? Treakil thought.

    “This was payment for services rendered to our colleagues in the Jade College.”

    The human raised the staff and spoke a short incantation. Treakil’s abdomen dislodged the lead ball from the pistol and his wound sealed instantly.

    “Healing can be a very cruel power, little rodent. It allows a single person—or rat—to be harmed again…and again…and again.”

    The humans torture tools were not nearly as frightening some of the implements Treakil had seen (or used), but Skaven did not have the ability to instantly heal victims between administrations.

    “For too long your foul kind has been hidden from us. Your numbers, your locations, your goals, your powers. Your torture will continue until you yield all of your secrets to us or you die. Oh, is that escape closed to you? We better make ourselves comfortable brothers…we will likely be here a while”
     
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  2. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Here's my piece for the August September contest the theme was (Trapped, Cave-In or Fear) I tried to use all three themes.

    Twelve…

    There had been another inconclusive battle between the Skaven and Goblins of Eight Peaks. For the dozen bewildered rats who had been cut off by a new wall of boulders, it no longer mattered. Presumably, the battle continued to rage on the other side despite some hundreds of Skaven and Night Goblins lying dead and buried beneath the rock. When the dust began to clear, the implications of their new situation began to sink in.

    The survivors did not know the cause of the calamity. It could have been Night Goblin treachery or a Skaven scheme which factored in some acceptable losses. For that matter, a pragmatic Dwarf could have engineered the cave-in. The source of the rock slide hardly mattered. A smashed skull is fatal regardless of its source.

    The escapees were the cleverest, the fastest, or the luckiest of the rats under the avalanche (naturally no slaves were among them). Twelve of them: a number which was incomplete and very ill-omened. The dusty dozen compromised of three Tunnel Runners, two Storm Vermin, six Clan Rats, and one Jezzail gunner who had opted to drop his weapon (and partner), so that he could run faster.

    Even if they wanted to return to the battle, the wall of rock made doing so impossible. A wide unknown tunnel represented the Ratmen’s only path of escape.

    Though many of the survivors had jettisoned their equipment to ease their flight, there were enough accessible replacements available from the Skaven that had almost made it that most of them were now better equipped after the rockslide than before it.

    A pawful of Goblins had been confused enough to run in the same direction as the Skaven. Those few who were fast enough to survive the rocks were not fast enough to avoid the Skaven.

    The rats were able to vent their initial fury off on the Greenskins. As tasty as they were, the Goblins were a sobering reminder for the uneasy brotherhood that they were in unknown territory now.

    Unknown territory is always enemy territory. While each rat would gladly sacrifice the other eleven members to save his own hide, none of them wanted to deplete their ragtag unit before they knew what they were facing.

    The twelve survivors anxiously sized each other up. There was no clear leader. This could have been a disaster if the Skaven tore themselves apart to establish a new hierarchy, but the paradox of Skaven life is that they will seek strength in numbers even as they scheme to betray their own kind.

    Baleck the ex-Jezzail gunner considered his future. A jezzail is hardly the rarest weapon in the Underempire, but it was still worth considerably more than Baleck’s own life. The quartermasters would likely seek recompense in blood. This emboldened him to act, using his own fears to play off the fears of the others.

    “Brave heroes of the Underempire! With no more Goblins to fight-fight our leaders clearly would desire-want us to return-retreat home safely to report back on the effects of this booby trap and to map out this tunnel. We will unite as true children of the Horned Rat. I am—we are not expendable, our mission is too important. All of us are needed.”

    The Storm Vermin bristled a bit at being commanded by an inferior, but the clan rats seemed to buy his speech. They didn’t want to deplete the number furry bodies between them and the unknown, but determining who was of use and who was a helpful meat shield is a fine art. Thus, Storm Vermin Locrot decided to both support and belittle Baleck at the same time.

    “Well said-squeaked noble Baleck! No doubt the Tunnel Runners caught most of your speech before they sneak-scuttled ahead of the pack!”

    There were mixed reactions at this: amusement at Baleck’s embarrassment and concern about splitting the group.

    “The tunnel only go-moves in one direction. We should go quick-quick while the Tunnel Runners scout ahead for us.”

    The Skaven collectively shrugged and foraged for the remaining Goblin bones with some meat left on them before proceeding down the tunnel in the a slight variation of the time honored Skaven traveling formation.

    Normally a small group would space out just enough to be out of easy stabbing range from their fellows, but this time the Clan Rats and Storm Vermin formed separate tight packs and kept their distance from both the other clique and from Baleck. The unspoken message was clear. We will accept you as leader for now, Jezzail rat, but you must lead-lead into the dark unknown from the FRONT. Baleck reluctantly marched head of the Storm Vermin and led the small party down the tunnel.

    There was very little air flow in the tunnel, so they heard the hurried approach of the Tunnel Runners before they smelled them or caught the whiff of blood that came with them. In the darkness they saw two Rats scurry towards the group. Locrot squeaked first.

    “Where’s the third Runner? Ummm Dalish?”

    Eleven…

    One of the Tunnel runners held up a furry arm soaked in blood.

    “We didn’t smell-hear anything till it was too late-late! There was a ‘whoosh.’ On the…um… tactical withdrawal back we found this.”

    He brandished the arm for emphasis, then his shoulders sagged. A clan rat named Seekit put a comforting paw on his shoulder, then relieved him of the grisly relic. When he took a bite from it, he drew several sharp looks.

    “What!?! I eat-eat when I’m nervous, and my goblin bone is empty-spent…Want some?”

    Baleck snarled and snatched the arm away. He sniffed the severed end filling his nostrils with the all-too familiar smell of Skaven blood then began passing it around.

    “Anyone smell-notice anything other than Skaven blood (or Seekit’s filthy spittle)?”

    After everyone took a whiff and shook their heads. Jelat, the last rat to get the arm, began gnawing on it. I like-like this better than Goblin. No nutty aftertaste.

    The party still only had one direction to go. They continued forward, this time in a tight pack though the Clan Rats and Storm Vermin positioned themselves to force Baleck and the surviving Tunnel Runners to take point once again. As they proceeded they found some pools of water letting them fill their empty flasks. The water was pooling slowly from a narrow fissure in the wall. Seekit spoke up first.

    “We have a new path we can use-take.”
    “Too small-small. We have to move-move through sideways. Too vulnerable. No room to move-dodge. Easy for foes to ambush-slay us.”

    Most nodded at the rebuttal of the Tunnel Runner Zazl and motioned to keep going, but Clan Rat Jalat got angry and hissed.

    “You Tunnel Runners were not-not so smart-lucky before! Why should we follow-listen you!”

    Some stepped towards Jalat in support. Others hissed at him. Rats began drawing blades, Baleck cautiously moved between the two forming groups.

    “Too few! Too few! We can stab-kill each other AFTER we avoid-slay the enemy and get back. We go-creep forward now, no bottle necks!”

    The group proceeded with more spacing between individuals. Some time later they heard a large thud behind them.

    “SQUEEeeee”

    Ten…

    The group turned and found they were now down another party member. Everyone began chattering at once.

    “It got-got Teelik!”
    “That was behind us!”
    “Did you see-smell what it was?”
    “How’d it get behind us!”
    “I wasn’t looking-smelling behind! The last attack was before-up the tunnel!”
    “Always check your back! I can’t believe you escaped the weaning chamber without becoming someone’s first solid meal!”
    “You weren’t watch-watching the rear either!”
    “It must have exited-come from the side tunnel!”
    “Too small-small. We could barely fit through. This thing was big-huge!”
    “How can you tell-tell its size when you were look-looking forward?!?”

    After several minutes of arguing, Baleck ordered them to shut up and keep moving. About twenty minutes later they came across a furry severed left arm. More nervous chatter followed.

    “The arm is Teelik’s, I know-know the scar pattern.”
    “Give-give it! I’m hungry.”
    “We should go-go back!”
    “To the impenetrable wall of boulders?”
    “No! The fissure?”
    “That’s where the monster came out of, you weanling!”
    “No it isn’t—AACK!”

    Nine…

    “Shut up!”

    Baleck and Locrot yelled simultaneously, then their words diverged.

    “We need to keep go-moving”
    “We need to stand and fight-kill!”
    “Move!”
    “Fight!”
    “Move!”
    “Fight!”
    “Vote!” yelled Zazl.
    “That’s stupid!”
    “But we—”

    WHOOSH

    “AAARGH! choke”

    Zazl, who was up front, was snatched into the darkness followed by rapidly diminishing choking sound.

    Eight…

    “I’ll kill-slay you!”

    Locrot and the other Storm Vermin charged forward, followed reluctantly by the others. They ran until they got tired. A tail floated down on them from the ceiling in the middle of the charging Skaven as one stumbled over a severed leg.

    “The leg is Nolk’s, I recognize the smell-stench.”
    “No-no. Don’t eat it!”
    “Why?”
    “The creature-killer is leave-giving us body parts!”
    “So?”
    “Those are all separate-new parts!”
    “So?”
    “Back-back to the narrow tunnel!”
    “That’s where IT came from!”
    “Then how is IT in front-before us?”

    WHOOSH

    “DIE-DI-urk!

    THUD

    Seven…

    “Where is it! Wh-”

    SQUELCH

    Six…

    In the shocked silence and the smell of blood and fear, the surviving Skaven nervously jerked their heads around peering into the dark, listening and sniffing. They hadn’t caught enough scent to identify their mystery enemy due to the overpowering stench of blood. Now they could barely smell past the musk of their own fear.

    Baleck spoke up, very quietly and very slowly.

    “No more arguing. We move cautiously. We’ll go through the fissure. It’s too narrow for the creature to fit.”

    Baleck led the way followed by the Kazl the last Tunnel Runner, Locrot and Zet, the Storm Vermin, and the surviving Clan Rats Jalat and Seekit. The group proceeded cautiously back the way they had come.

    Nothing attacked them by the time they made it back but neatly piled in front of the fissure was a right leg and a bloody chest. That almost distracted the survivors from the fact that a large boulder was moved in front of the fissure.

    “It blocked the fissure, it doesn’t want-want us in there!”
    “Why the body parts?”
    “Who care-cares! Move the stone fast-fast!”

    There was enough space for five of the Skaven to push the boulder, but Jalat could barely reach in. His paw jerked away suddenly.

    “Get-get back here AND PUSH—oh….”
    “Thirteen Hells!”
    “Where it’d go! Track-find it!”

    Five…

    From deep in the darkness, Jalat’s head came flying at them.

    “That way! Kill-slay it!”

    The survivors ran towards the direction the head came from. Seekit tripped and fell behind. He never caught up.

    Four…

    “I think I found it! Do you smell-smell that.”
    “That’s…Seekit’s….abdomen…in front of us somehow. He was kill-slayed behind us…”
    “By the Horned Rat’s hairy ba—urk!

    Three…

    A severed limb went flying towards them. The survivors had been so afraid for so long that their bodies couldn’t register any more fear at this time. Fear gave way to curiosity.

    “We already got-got a left arm. A repeat?”
    “But we ate the first one.”
    “Oh, but that means…it sees-knows.”
    “I think I’ve heard of this before!”
    “What good does that do-do us?”
    “Because I think it’s a—”

    Kazl disappeared in a flash of movement.

    Two…

    “Back to the fissure!”
    “Why?!? All your leadership has done—OWW! You bastard!”

    Baleck had stabbed Locrot in the ankle and sprinted back towards the fissure. Ignoring the stifled scream that followed.

    One

    You don’t have to be faster than a monster. Just fast-faster than eleven of your friends.

    Maybe there are enough severed body parts to make-build a whole Skaven now, maybe the creature is done-done.

    The boulder was moved away from the fissure now, not that Baleck noticed. He stared at Storm Vermin Locrot’s mangled corpse impaled on a stalagmite. He smelled his blood drenched tormentor behind him. Baleck shut his eyes before turning around.

    “Make it fast-quick.”
     
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  3. spawning of Bob
    Skar-Veteran

    spawning of Bob Well-Known Member

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    I read them over on the Under-Empire, and didn't really notice them here till now.

    So the score is one win for 2 entries in the UE short story comp? Well done!

    I wonder how this would go here. My silliness and your desire to kill everyone would make it hard for a true anonymous scoring system...

    I know you wouldn't want to miss a chance to write, so a neutral 3rd party would need to choose the theme.

    I could offer an illustration as a prize (but seeing as how you can get an illustration just for the asking, that might not be an incentive to other writers.)

    If we could crack n810's Player Type Survey to find the other 3 mystery writers we would have enough for a bit of fun.
     
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  4. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    The November-December Skaven short story contest is underway. Feel free to continue the Lustrian invasion of the Under-Empire forums and vote for your favorite. Given that L-O forumites have written two of the five stories, our forum members should make up two fifths of the voters!

    Lustria-Online is going to create our short story contest. Either a January-February contest or a February-March contest depending on how unrelated forum issues pan out. I plan to set up a near identical format to the Under-empire's contest, and Arli has volunteered to come up with mystery themes.
     
  5. spawning of Bob
    Skar-Veteran

    spawning of Bob Well-Known Member

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    Excellent!

    May I suggest the theme, "Eggshell Helmet" ?

    Just something out of the blue I thought of...
     
  6. VampTeddy
    Terradon

    VampTeddy Member

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    every story is about Bob squashing mighty foes!
     
  7. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Not quite the context VampTeddy meant, Bob tied for first place on the Under-Empire November-December contest, but because this is my self indulgent thread, you need to follow the link to read the winning entries (story two and four).

    No bitterness here, Both the winning entries were better than mine. I had a hard time deciding between them which one to vote for. Also, the Lizardmen infiltration of the Under-Empire continues on schedule.

    On a related note, I hope we can get better voter turnout four own story contest.

    Scalenex Inflicting a Horrible Fate on a Non-Reptile for Once

    Dralik bristled at how long it took him to reach the outlying outpost. He noticed sturdy garrisoned towers with ramshackle hovels leaning against their foundations. Like many smaller Skaven above-ground holdings, this settlement was an odd blend between a fortress and a shanty town. Long as the journey was, Dralik refused to let his impatience rule him. Dralik had a nickname for impatient assassins: dead-dead assassins.

    The streets were clogged with traffic. Dralik stayed in the shadows until he could find an isolated slave. Dralik “disappeared” him. Once dressed in the attire of the dead nameless slave, Dralik replaced the slaves bundle with his own regular supplies. Some assassins refused to disguise themselves as lowly slaves, but Dralik had a nickname for prideful assassins: dead-dead assassins.

    All Skaven have keen noses, but some are keener than others. The Skaven’s slave’s scent lingered on his clothes as did a bit of his blood. No one would question a slave who smelled slightly of blood with all the beatings slaves commonly received. The various odors from the dead slave would hide Dralik’s foreign scent. Dralik knew he couldn’t be too careful about scents. He had a nickname for careless assassins: dead-dead assassins.

    Dralik stepped out of the shadows and took the posture and pace of a loyal but tired slave. Dralik figured he could have probably stayed hidden in the shadows, but some Skaven do occasionally raise an alarm when they spot someone clearly sneaking around. Even in little holdings such as this, slaves were both numerous and anonymous enough that no one more lowly dreg. No one raises a fuss at one more slave carrying one more burden. He blended into the crowd until he got close to the main citadel. The groups entering were not quite big enough to hide in anonymously, so Dralik chose to sneak in rather than trying to continue to hide in plain sight. The citadel was even more poorly lit than most Skaven dwellings and there were relatively few occupants scurrying about, so Dralik changed out of his slave garb and donned his preferred mottled black and grey fatigues.

    Dralik did not know exactly where his target was, but he had a good idea how to find him. His target was a Stinek, a rogue warlock fond of breeding grotesque mutants. Dralik sniffed the air and headed to the direction of the foulest stench he could find. Sure enough he found the monster breeding pits.

    Dralik had seen many twisted monstrosities in his life, but the many caged beasts unsettled him for a reason beyond their foul appearance and smell. Most of the creatures appeared freshly dead. He figured a rogue transmuter dangerous enough to warrant the Council of Thirteen sending an elite assassin would be skilled enough to keep most of his subjects alive. While deaths of subjects were to be expected, it seemed sloppy to occupy valuable cage space with lingering corpses.

    He crept along until he heard a discussion.

    “Moreek, I do not-not think it can-can be done.”
    “Persistence will get us there, Stinek we have nothing but time-time.”

    Dralik felt a surge of fear and excitement. He had located his target, Stinek. Even better, Moreek was a rogue warlock who was supposedly slain by his rival Eshin, an assassin named Fibik. He could advance himself and discredit a rival at the same time if he could eliminate Moreek and bring back proof of the deed. The problem was that now he had two potent warlocks to assassinate. If he slew one the other would retaliate magically. He would have to wait until the two rogue warlocks separated.

    The two warlocks continued to argue for some time. Something esoteric about regenerative abilities of necrotic tissue. Then a piercing voice whispered behind him.

    Who skulk-skulks there?

    Dralik was amazed that someone could sneak up right behind him. He was even more amazed that a being cunning enough to sneak up on him would refrain from stabbing his unguarded backside. He turned and saw a bluish translucent figure. He had heard of wraiths before, but he never heard of a Skaven wraith before. He was dressed as an apprentice warlock. Dralik’s curiosity got the better of him.

    “Who-what are you?”
    I was bound-slain here. master moreek says-squeeks i am to guard the chamber-halls and raise the alarm-shout if foes enter. i cannot-not disobey
    “Rules that can’t be broke-broke can always be twisted-bent.”
    This is true
    “Did master specify-squeak whose foes you should look-look out for?”
    No.”
    “Then you can interpret-hear his words to mean your foes. Do you like that Moreek make-turned you into a bound dead-thing?”
    No-no! It is boring-paintful.”
    “I am going to kill-slay your master. That will free-free you. I am not-not your foe.”

    Dralik had no idea whether or not that would free the ghost, but the ghost was too hopeful to care. The rat specter grinned and bruxed.

    Well squeak-said. I can show-bring you where Master sleep-sleeps. He will likely go-go there in two or three hours.”

    Dralik followed the shimmering ghost to a sturdy reinforced door with a complicated lock with a wheel of numbers and symbols. The ghost apprentice gave the combination sequence to Dralik. Dralik very slowly and carefully opened the door. He crept in hoping to find a good hiding place to set his ambush from.

    Too late, Dralik realized the chamber was empty but for a few bones littered on the hard packed dirt floor and some shackles on the wall. The door slammed shut. Dralik couldn’t open it from the inside.

    Sometime later, the door opened and a dozen Storm Vermin rushed in. Dralik fought like a (literally) cornered and dispatched three of them with his poisoned blades before being forced into the shackles.

    Stinek entered with a grotesque rat who was presumably Moreek. Moreek looked even worse than most Pestilens monks Dralik had seen. His fur was mostly gone only sticking on in ugly patches. He had many disgusting scabs on his pale sickly skin. It made perfect sense that Fibik could think him to be dead. Dralik didn’t the rigor mortis-like grin that the rogue warlock had. The ghost who led him to the trap was also there, floating behind the two warlocks. He wore the biggest grin of all. Dralik rounded on him angrily.

    “You said-squeaked I wasn’t your foe!”
    Lord Moreek was more clever-thorough with his binding instructions than that! I toy-toyed with you.
    “Why?”
    It's the only fun-fun I can have as a dead-thing.

    The corpse-like Moreek spoke next.

    “An Eshin who kill-slayed three when sorely outnumbered. He has a strong-strong will. I think he may be the subject we need-want, Stinek.”
    “Yes-yes Lord Moreek!”

    Stinek injected Dralik with several unknown serums. His blood felt like it was on fire, cooking him from the inside out. Then the warlock stabbed him through the heart with a large knife.

    Dralik woke up. At first he was relieved to still be alive and conscious. Then he noticed that his heart wasn’t beating, and he panicked. Dralik was still shackled, but he was in new surroundings. He was surrounded by unusual looking warpstone instruments and items that looked like they came from a human cemetery. The two warlocks were watching him. Moreek spoke first.

    “The re-animation of the test subject is successful. The items we stole-grabbed from the vampires did the trick!”
    “It will only be successful-good if he can heal-heal wounds. Let’s see-test his regeneration.”

    Dralik’s abdomen was slice opened, then the wound sealed shut. Than the back quarter of his tail was amputated, but it grew back in minutes. After the Skaven necromancers determined that Dralik no longer needed to breathe, they decided to sew his mouth shut. Unable to even scream, Dralik lost count of the injuries that he had healed. He could only measure the time by when his torturers got tired and rotated new staff in, but their faces became hard to distinguish. Every torture blurred together. He could have been there for hours, weeks, or decades.

    Dralik thought of the impatient, prideful and careless assassins who had come before him and suffered short ignominious ends. He thought of the dead-dead assassins and envied them.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2015
  8. spawning of Bob
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    spawning of Bob Well-Known Member

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    Yep. That's two scaly victories for 3 competitions. (If you count an equal first)

    For the record, I killed Skaven. Scalenex kills everyone. Then he brings them back and kills them again.

    Who is the nice guy? You be the judge.

    As you'all may (or may not) know, I wouldn't be here at all if I hadn't started reading Scalenex's stuff. I had made the leap from drawing stickmen, to establishing recurring characters by myself, but it wasn't until I read about Skalenex's Doomed of Klodorex that I thought to myself, "I can write too!"

    My personal threshold for writing anything is: if one person in the world appreciates it, I'll be happy.

    An example is this:
    Figure Skating - Maunto flawlessly performs the compulsory "Double Axolotl" from Spawning of Bob - Winter Olympiad 2014
    ygcc.jpg

    (Axolotl - if he ever returns to the forum let me know - fiction AND art AND pet lizards - he is a bonafide cool dude)

    Some times the one person is Son of Bob (age 14), sometimes it is Monberg (it is his real name, and only he will understand the significance of the cameo - but it is still two novels away. Patience, my precious. You are planned to appear in at least 3 stories) n810 is still waiting for his second cameo. Mahtis, Rychek and Caneghem are stuck with me forever. Mwah ha ha ha!

    Strangely enough, the one person is never Daughter of Bob (age 12). I don't even kill anyone. I just maim them slightly and she says, "you are so mean!".

    Summing up: Read official GW fluff. Get your pencils out and start filling in the giant gaps they leave. Share your unique view with somebody (preferably us!)

    It's possible I might not like it, but Daughter of Bob will ! *

    WRITE SOME STUFF!!!!!

    3 weeks until the end of the L-O fiction contest.



    * If there are ponies, unicorns, ducklings and hugs.
     
  9. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Daughter of Bob would not like where I was thinking of going with this. I was reading up on TV Tropes article on unicorns. "...the fact that it started off as an incredibly wild and violent beast that was completely untameable before evolving into one of the softest and child-friendly motifs. After all, it is the national animal of Scotland".

    Perhaps it's time unicorns go back to their roots? I'm afraid to do that, all little girls in the world would hate me...that and my nine year old niece knows how to shoot a bow fairly well and is going to learn guns pretty soon.
     
  10. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    The current U-E contest is underway. Voting Ends on March 30th. It's anonymous but Bob and my pieces are distinguishable from radiating awesomeness from every sentence. I'll post my piece here when the contest is over.
     
  11. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Here's my piece. I didn't win and nor did Bob. You can read the rest of the pieces following the link in the post above this. Bob's was story four. We had stiff competition. Also, I do not think U-E was a good target audience for our unorthodox pieces.

    I didn't really try to hide my authorship, as Kreela is a character in my cross posted L-O and U-E story "New Alliances," but I do not think anyone is familiar enough with my work on U-E to notice except Ratty (who was moderating the contest anyway and Bob who I had help me with proofreading.

    Bechdel's Test


    “I prefer the reach-length of straight bladed swords.”
    “I don’t see why, Mora. I think Curved blades are good-better, at least for kill-fighting in tight spaces. That is what we are going to do more often than not-not.”
    “How do you figure-squeak that, Mako?”
    “The same amount of metal is put-used in a shorter blade. You can make-make the same force with a shorter arc of swing. A longer straight blade will just bash-hit into a tunnel wall without hit-slicing your enemy.”
    “That might be true, but we don’t slice-slay that often. We stab-slay more.”

    The other Skaven demonstratively brandished a knife at the female talking to her.

    “We use-switch to daggers in extreme close quarters for stab-slaying.”
    “Maybe so, but I prefer to use-use one weapon. Straight blades stab through armor and thick hide better-good. Real thick-thick armor needs an overhand chopping motion. Straight blades do that better too.”
    “Overhand chops are not-not practical in tunnels!”

    A third speaker interrupted the argument.

    “Stop-stop this! The initiation will begin soon.”

    The third female was a few years older. She had ritual decorative scars carved across her muzzle, forehead and arms. The scars signified to all that she was a “non-breeder” though the non-breeders preferred the self-referential term of “Warrior Sisters” or simply “Sisters”. The non-breeder movement hadn’t caught on widely, but their numbers were growing despite the high cost.

    Most female Skaven did not have the will or desire to reject the biological and cultural imperative set by the Horned Rat and the Council of Thirteen. This condemned them to a lifetime of being surrounded by squealing whelps. The few who chose to join the non-breeders decided suffered from scarring and scorn but deemed this unpleasantness to be a lesser cost.

    Many females who tried to join the non-breeders were beaten into submission or killed outright. Only a few minor clans on the outs with the Council of Thirteen had declared themselves safe havens for non-breeders. This was done originally out of desperation for gaining more trained soldiers, but it was later found that non-breeders had another use as beyond mere battle fodder. It was quickly discovered that non-breeders were unusually loyal to their adopted clan leaders, at least by the standards Skaven typically measure loyalty. The Warrior Sisters know that after a coup, a new leader would likely outlaw non-breeders in order to try to gain favor with the Council of Thirteen.


    Nearly all Skaven leaders feared the possibility of the Sisterhood’s heretical notions spreading widely among the breeding population. If that happened, the Under-empire would collapse from lack of numbers. The idea of having so few minions to no longer be able to slay their underlings with impunity was a chilling notion to clan leaders across under the whole world. Even Skaven clan leaders who allowed non-breeders into their armies wanted to keep these warriors as far away from their brood mothers as possible.

    For this reason, nearly all Sisters trained as Tunnel Runners. Their work kept them a good distance away from their adopted clan’s breeders. The combination of combat and stealth training was good at dealing with hostile males as well, both within and outside their clans. The non-breeder Tunnel Runners of Clan Ostrel used much of their free-time to liberate females from other clans. Since this depleted rival clans breeders, Clan Ostrel’s male leaders naturally held no objections against the poaching of females from other clans, even if the stolen females couldn’t serve as breeders. Clan Ostrel’s Warrior Sisterhood was readying to initiate almost two dozen new members.

    “You two can squeak-debate about blade attributes after you pass-pass the initiation test. Sister Bechdel will begin your test soon.”

    The younger female shivered and loosed a small amount of musk.

    “I am worried we do not-not have what it takes to pass Bechdel’s test.”

    The scars at the corner of the older female’s mouth twitched.”

    “You have practically pass-qualified already, judging by your conversation,” the older female said.
    “How-how could a conversation pass-qualify us for Bechdel’s test?” Mako asked.
    “Maybe if we talk-squeaked about our personal background that would help-help more…” Mora added

    Their elder bristled slightly then contained herself.

    “We don’t expect miracles from our initiate-sisters. We just need-want all sisters to demonstrate basic competency with weapons which you have just squeak-shown.”

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The chieftain Zetril had told Yusarl, “kill-slay the non-breeders and that will clear-remove the cancer weakening our great clan and pave the way for me-me to lead our clan to greatness. Or rather, it will let me-us lead our clan to greatness. Kill-slay the blasphemous so-called non-breeders and you will rise-rise quickly.’

    Quicker than you think-know,

    Yusarl boggled so much in anticipation of what was to come; one would think his eyes would leap out of his skull. Once he led the clan rats to ambush the so-called non-breeders, Zetril would be able to seize the leadership of Clan Ostrel, and Yusarl would be his right paw. Then Yusarl would be one betrayal away from the claiming the clan leadership himself. All he had to do was destroy the non-breeders first. That would earn his so-called master’s trust and win him popular support across the clan at the same time.

    The one they cornered, Kreela, gave up their location easily enough in exchange for amnesty. As if “amnesty” would matter once she had no sisters to defend her. Did Amnesty ever mean-mean anything in the Under-Empire? It was only a short distance to the heretics’ supposedly “secret” meeting place. As if stupid breeders could keep-hold secrets from males…

    One of the clan rats turned to him.

    “Do you hear-hear that noise?”

    The floor crackled then buckled sending the clan rats tumbling down a very steep slope. They landed in a tangling of tails and cursing. About half the rats had dropped their weapons during the fall. Some had minor injuries from the loose flying weapons. Most had aches from the hard landing. Yusarl was uninjured as he had landed squarely on one of his soldiers.

    Yusarl got up from the cursing clan rat and examined the slope of tightly packed dirt that they just slid down. It was so steep that an athletic rat with sharp claws would have probably been able to make it back up, but he’d probably have to discard his armor and gear to do so. He looked around him and saw that he and his warriors were at the bottom of a fairly shallow depression at the base of the trap door’s slope. The depression was barely as deep as a fully grown Skaven standing upright. The slope out the other end of the depression was not terribly steep either.

    No stab-spikes? Who makes-digs a pit victims can escape-leave this easily.

    A scarred female looked down at them. Yusarl recognized the face of the rat Zetril told him to collect the head of: the heretic’s leader, Bechdel. She was quickly joined by several more females ringing the shallow pit. Far more than Yusarl was lead to believe were down here. Zetril’s clan rats were not only battered and disoriented, but they were surrounded and outnumbered by soldiers with the high ground. Bechdel addressed the females around her as the males desperately scrambled to try to pick up their lost weapons.

    “Sister Kreela did well make-setting up the test! Initiates, show how you kill-slay!”
     
  12. spawning of Bob
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    spawning of Bob Well-Known Member

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    Dear reader,

    There is a GIANT in-joke behind the last story. Google the "Bechdel Test" if you don't already know.

    For the record, Scalenex is the only L-O author to have passed it.

    For the record, I think writers of fiction about genderless lizards should get an exemption.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2015
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  13. Slanputin
    Carnasaur

    Slanputin Well-Known Member

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    More please.

    Fanks.
     
  14. spawning of Bob
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    spawning of Bob Well-Known Member

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    More genderless lizards, exemptions or obscure in-jokes. Or feminists?
     
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  15. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    The new Skaven contest has just begun. The theme is ascension and/or leadership. I am not 100% sure I'm going to do this one. I don't have a brilliant story idea yet and all these short story contests are drastically slowing down my writing of my Verrick novella. Perhaps I am bitter tha both Bob and my brilliance was ignored last time. I'll keep thinking about this.
     

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