Life is unpredictable. That’s what makes it so exciting. There are times, I will admit, when I would like to settle down and raise a family like my parents did. But then I ask myself if it’s worth giving up petting flying cats, exploring crashed ships and bonding with talking weapons. The answer is obvious to anyone who knows me; not bloody likely.
Our latest outing is a perfect example of what I’d be missing. There we were fleeing from a cult of Slaanesh worshipers that we’d just royally pissed off when we were rescued from near certain death by a two thousand year old dead dwarf. How fucking cool is that?
Okay, I’m getting a little too excited. My mother would not approve of my use of such language, at least not written down for posterity. I’m also getting ahead of myself. Master Architect Thorgrek turned out to be telling us the truth. We were indeed being chased by a major demon, sent after us by Slaanesh for removing the warpstone from his/her statue. The reason the dwarf knew so much about us was because he’d been watching us through the eye sockets of skulls placed throughout the tunnels. It turns out Thorgrek was a high ranking dwarf official some two thousand years ago. He was commissioned to build Middenheim, but he was betrayed. A warpstone dagger was used to kill him and it kept his spirit from leaving his body. It took him a couple of centuries to learn to move his dead body. After doing so he started building his own city from the stone of the caverns below Middenheim. After two thousand years the city was quite impressive. The details in the stonework were simply amazing. It’s a shame nobody lived in the city. All that magnificent workmanship and there was nobody around to appreciate it.
Thorgrek also learned to animate other dead remains and created an army to defend himself and his city. And it was this army he used to help us kill the demon. A small army of skeletal dwarves in plate armor blanketed the stone bridge to the city. The demon would have to fight its way past them to get to us and hopefully it’d be weakened enough for us to kill it. And that’s exactly what happened, more or less.
The demon appeared on the far side of the bridge as expected, standing over ten feet tall and looking like, well, a demon. Then it made some kind of gesture and two mounted riders appeared at its side. If a demon summons minions I would expect them to look demonic. But this Slaanesh cult is just strange, even for demon worshipers. They have this one breasted theme that just doesn’t make any sense to me. The female riders had only one breast each while their mounts had several breasts but only on one side of their bodies. What possible purpose does that server?
Anyway, strange or not these were still demons and very deadly. And they possessed some nasty powers. Instead of having to fight their way through the small army of skeletal defenders, the minions simply vanished and reappeared in front of us. We had to destroy these things before the demon smashed its way to us or we’d really be in trouble. I’d rather hoped that Thorgrek could help us out, but he needed all his concentration to keep his army attacking the demon. So it was up to us.
Markus and I faced one of the mounted riders while Felix and T&T took on the other one. As expected, these were not easy opponents. Markus and I concentrated on the rider, hoping that killing the rider would leave the mount without direction. In the course of the battle I chopped off the rider’s left arm, but it didn’t seem to slow her down very much. As Markus aimed one of his pistols the mount shot out its long tongue and wrapped it around him, immobilizing him. I chopped at the tongue and Markus worked his way free. He then took aim once more and shot the rider in the head. That was enough to send her back to whatever hell she came from. And without a rider the mount did indeed abandon the fight. I quickly checked on Felix and T&T. They had also managed to kill their rider and that mount too ran away. We’d managed to take out the minions without taking too much damage ourselves and we did so just in time. The demon had almost reached out side of the bridge.
The demon was much more terrifying up close. I hate to admit it, but fear gripped my mind and I wasn’t able to move. Markus also felt the fear and was rooted to the spot. Somehow Felix and T&T overcame their fear and attacked. Felix attempted to fill the demon full of arrows while T&T rushed up to the creature and started slicing into it with his two handed sword. I managed to throw off the fear and I too rushed up to the demon and attacked it with axe and teeth. Markus continued wrestling with his fear as the battle raged on. The demon’s battle with the skeletons across the bridge had taken its toll, but it was by no means ready to fall. Its attacks against us were brutal, but so were ours against it. With each of our attacks I expected the demon to drop, but it battled on. I was soon no longer certain which side was going to win. Then a blast of energy came out of nowhere and took out half the demon’s head. The demon fell. The battle was won.
I turned around to a scene I would never have dreamed of seeing. Markus had conquered his fear and had preformed a desperate act to fell the demon. I’d dropped the warpstone rod and a few other items before the battle had begun. Markus had slit his palms, taken up the rod and gripped the warpstone directly against his slit palm. With his other hand he’d gripped and shot his pistol. And somehow he’d managed to channel the energy of the warpstone through himself and out through his pistol. The results had been spectacular. And while it was a very brave act, I was afraid it was likely to have grave repercussions.
The battle was over and we were all alive, at least those of us who started out that way. And this was due in large part to Master Architect Thorgrek. If he had not stepped in and warned us about the demon we very likely would have unwittingly led the evil creature back to our village and that could have been disastrous. A great number of Thorgrek’s undead solders had been destroyed before the demon reached us. How many villagers would have fallen to it in their stead? We owed Thorgrek a great debt. He was undead and he was a necromancer, but as far as I was concerned he had also proven himself a friend.
We all thanked Thorgrek for his help. In the course of our conversation it became obvious that he was not happy with his current unlife. He’d been alone for the past two thousand years. I couldn’t even begin to imagine how lonely that must feel. Perhaps I was overstepping my authority, but I invited Thorgrek back to our village. We were already a family of misfits. Thorgrek would fit right in. And as far as I was concerned he’d more than proven himself. Much to my relief, none of the others in the group had a problem with Thorgrek coming home with us. But if Andon had a problem with my invitation I’d just have to deal with it then. Whatever happened I was not going to leave this dwarf to live alone again.
We rested up until nightfall and then headed back to the village. The journey was, thankfully, uneventful. Even I’d had enough fighting, at least for the moment. All I wanted to do was to go back to the village and have a beer or three. I was surprised when Andon contacted us, as we were still far outside his mental range. He explained that he’d moved into the metal ship and that it somehow expanded his mental range. I told him about Thorgrek and that I’d invited him into our village. I then invited Andon to look into my memories to see exactly what had happened to us. He did so and he said he didn’t object to Thorgrek becoming a member of our village. That was a relief. Andon did mention something interesting. Though he could see Thorgrek through our eyes, he couldn’t look into his mind.
Our safe return to the village and the story of our defeating a Slaanesh demon turned out to be cause for an impromptu celebration. We introduced Thorgrek around the village and then I started passing out the beer, lots and lots of beer.
Mornings come far too early in the day. This is especially true after a night of drinking one’s weight in beer. Someone woke me up. I don’t remember who it was. I also don’t remember getting dressed. By the time my brain caught up with my body I was outside in the very bright sunlight and being led to some kind of meeting. Felix, Markus and T&T were there, as were Raymus (and thus Andon), Carlina, Felix’s mother and my mother as well. It seems that while the rest of us were partying Andon and several others were examining the papers Markus had taken from the Slaanesh cult. And that’s what had prompted this meeting.
My head was still a bit muddled from the night’s most excellent party. So the first part of the meeting was a bit hard to follow. There was something about someone seeing some old maps the Slaanesh cult had kept hidden that led the way to some mysterious key. I guess the cult was afraid that someone would get their hands on the key so they sent a group of cultists out to get it first. And there was something about killing some beast if they had to.
Whatever led up to it, it comes down to this. This key the Slaanesh were after could help free a trapped god of law named Arianka. So if we could get the key before the Slaanesh group did and hand the key over to the gods of law they might look more favorably towards Malal.
If we could give Slaanesh another kick in the tenders by taking this key back then I was all for it. And if helping free a god of law would weaken the other chaos gods while strengthening Malal then I was all for that too. Besides, it sounded like one hell of a fight and I was all for that as well, especially after being fortified by a long night of drinking.