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Fiction The Fate of Haernost (Mar-April 2021 Story comp entry)

Discussion in 'Fluff and Stories' started by Y'ttar Scaletail, Jun 15, 2021.

  1. Y'ttar Scaletail
    Ripperdactil

    Y'ttar Scaletail Well-Known Member

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    The Fate of Haernost


    Cometsday 3rd of Shiverblight

    News has reached me in Brightspear of the mysterious plight of a fishing township further to the south. Fanciful tales of fish men dragging its people to a watery grave. At first I had scoffed at the notion, local superstition being what it was and besides, chances are it was a raiding band of Idoneth Deepkin. However, life in Brightspear has grown duller for myself of late. I see myself as a scholar and a solver of puzzles, so why not travel and take a look for myself?

    We are in the colder months (not that it means much in the realm of Aqshy!) so travelling that distance should not be too arduous. I will speak with Laer and see what he thinks.


    Zenithus 5th of Shiverblight

    I joined a caravan heading southwards from Brightspear today. Laer did not join me, being far too busy preparing for the arrival of some Duardin brewer. We were blessed to have one of the Stormcast from the Celestial Warbringers join us. Though the lands have been largely purged of the forces of Chaos, they are still dangerous at times, so it is good to have a little extra muscle.

    The village is called Haernost and is located near the mouth of Passion’s Gate. I may have to pick up some more fine vellum from the region.


    Moonsday 11th of Shiverblight

    We have made good time across the Parch, fortunately the trade roads have been clear of any obstacle or foe. I am almost disappointed.

    I spoke with the Stormcast whose name I learnt is Arlek. He is a cheerful fellow who really does seem to live in the moment. He assured me our trip should be danger-free, something to do with it not being his day to die yet? I wanted to press further but something in the way his eyes seemed to harden persuaded me otherwise.


    Zenithus 12th of Shiverblight

    We finally arrived at Haernost. It is a strange village of cured and proofed wood and clay. The caravan stopped briefly to trade some dried crops and materials with the locals before moving onwards. I bid farewell to Arlek and made my way further into Haernost.

    I was able to obtain bed and board at a shabby tavern called the Efreet’s Fire. I will begin investigating about the disappearances tomorrow.


    Sunwane 13th Shiverblight

    Where do I begin?

    I spent most of the morning combing the coastline and speaking with the fishermen and smokers. The stench of gutted fish and the tangy scent of smoked daggereel was nauseating. I thought the village had a pungent aroma as it was, but compared to the shoreline it is practically pleasant!

    The men and women there gave me a number of names of persons who had gone missing. Many cases it seemed the missing person had been alone, but more of the recent cases had been groups and one case of a household that had been broken into and its occupants stolen away.

    A couple of fishermen described seeing a scaled fish-like creature that walked like a man. It’s strange though, for the most part the people here still carry on as if they were not besieged by some kind of monsters of the deep.


    Horizonday 15th Shiverblight

    Another villager was taken last night. His house, though I would call it more of a hut, was found broken into. Of the man there was no sign except for a trail of webbed claw prints in the dirt. The people had no interest in following them and continued on with their daily lives.

    All my imploring fell on deaf ears, so I followed the trail myself. The trail ended before the churning sea.


    Voidsday 16th Shiverblight

    I have seen them.

    I was angry at the indifference of the village people and decided to comb further around the coast when the tide had retreated. After about an hour I discovered a hidden cave in the cliff face. I foolishly ventured inside, pistol drawn. Through the beam of my lantern I followed carved glyphs and pictures etched into the walls. I saw the image of a great toad-like creature banishing smaller lizard-like creatures to the deepest seas. There were other carvings showing the banished creatures falling into the maw of some great shark-like being whose fins writhed with tentacles. The lizard creatures then re-emerged altered into something between fish and lizard. A final image showed the great shark-like being perhaps dead or slumbering, it’s new children multiplying and preparing.

    I finally entered a larger cavernous space and beheld a group of scaled fish-like men seemingly at rest. Bones of fish and other creatures were scattered about. Strangely none seemed to be human. It was at that moment I noticed that some of the creatures wore the clothes of the people of Haernost. To my horror I realised that several of these clothed creatures seemed blurred between human, lizard, and fish.

    I ran. The village must be told.


    Zenithus 19th Shiverblight

    I am hunted.

    A taint has infected the people of Haernost. When I spoke of the cave to the village elders a strange light seemed to gleam in their eyes. That night I was attacked. Not by fish creature but by man. They were chanting the name of some creature. Stromfels. I managed to escape and fled the village, but I was followed.

    At first when the fish monsters arose the people had reacted with fear and yet as time wore on and the infection spread they became passive, embracive, twisted. Even now I can hear the chants on the wind in both the voices of man and the wet rasp of fish. I can only pray to Sigmar that I can keep ahead of them. I must make it to Lumnos and tell them.



    I see now


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


    So, apologies for the lateness of the re-upload.


    This was an interesting one to write. It was pretty much written in a single day in a feverish mind.
    The original concept was a nugget of a memory of there having been a rumour of fish-like lizardmen somewhere off of the coast of Lustria. One of the sunkern temple cities iirc.

    I've been writing a lot more horror of late (ironic since I was originally more a comedy writer) as well as playing in a monthly AoS Soulbound campaign (I was dared to play a Stormcast, who might now be one of my favourite PCs...huh.) And so I decided to put it in the AoS setting, give a more Lovecraftian twist (despite having only actually read the Renanimator, Dagon, Nyarlahotep, and a couple other short stories), and potentially give my GM an extra plothook for our campaign. :p

    The months and days are also apparently incanon accurate as well as all the other non-Haernost locations and references. For example Passion's Gate is renowned for the vellum production, a number of the Celestial Warbringers Stormhost are based in Brightspear, Arlek's comment of it not being his day to die is a reference to the Celestial Warbringers being blessed/cursed with knowing how/when they will die.

    Lastly, I figured combining Stromfels (a minor Chaos god whose power is felt in the audio drama Slayer of the Storm God) with Dagon would make for a nice hinted twist. Stromfels' most common form is that of a very large shark and he tends to bless his followers with tentacles and fishy mutations. The lack of much info (that I know of) of Stromfels in AoS gave me the idea to go all Lovecraftian and have him slumbering and/or dead.
     
  2. Y'ttar Scaletail
    Ripperdactil

    Y'ttar Scaletail Well-Known Member

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    Thank you kindly. I probably did rely a little bit too much on little nuggets of lore and easter eggs that could have been better spent on the actual plot itself. But, it was a diary which in my defence can be filled with unrelated things and red herrings. Pardon the pun. :p

    I mean, I don't know what their end goal was. I'm not even sure they actually know either. :p
    I guess there's the almost apathy that grows, a detached cold-bloodedness that seems to be a threat to humanity. Who knows what might happen if they spread further...

    Sorry, I couldn't help but go literal. :p
    In my defence I did write it feverishly in a day. :p

    Hm, I probably ought to do a story that isn't in diary or vox script sometime...
    I'm glad that his paranoia was palpable enough. :)
     

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