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  1. - Top - End - #301
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Quote Originally Posted by LCP View Post
    "You said he was here," said Ricard to Ithelus, cutting off Pieter's question before it could get a reply. The young man's voice was terse and taut with nerves, and his hand hovered by his pistol. "Where is he?"
    "It just rode off before you arrived. Somehow it couldn't... or wouldn't... enter the shrine. So it carved this." Pieter jerked his chin at the javelin the knight had been making. "You were there just in time."

    Pieter looked at Mrs Suster gravely. So Talberg had not told them the worst of it yet, apparently. "I think Hans got away from the fighting, shortly before I did. But if he's not back..." He shook his head. "Then I have no idea where he is. But if anyone could hide from the knight when it came after us, it was Hans." He paused and took a deep breath. "There was a lot of confusion, but I'm pretty sure Lord Verloren didn't make it out. Same goes for Mr Waite and Mr Fischer. The bailiff is definitely dead. It was a massacre... I really can't say who else survived except for the five of us."

    Only as he spoke did he start to fully take in the horror of it all. He had been too concerned about staying alive to consider the harsh, cold reality of Lothar's death. The soldier was a survivor... He should have been the last of them to die.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheSummoner View Post
    Oh wow. I will never again underestimate [our characters'] ability to turn friendly conversation into a possible life or death situation.

  2. - Top - End - #302
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    I really can't say who else survived except for the five of us.
    Greta just looked at Pieter, holding silence for a long, long time. Her eyes sank to the hoofprint-trampled earth of the road, and she let out a low, keening cry. Others caught her in their arms, drawing the sobbing woman aside.

    The villagers were forming a kind of circle around the shrine, watching the woods with fearful eyes. Ricard must have told them something, by their reaction to Pieter's words – still, however, there were those on the outside of the group who seemed almost as distraught as Greta, shouting a confusion of names into the darkness between the trees. In the heart of the group, the rump of the militia that they had left behind were standing in awkward stillness. Arne was with them, watching Pieter with distrustful eyes.

    “Make a lane there,” came an authoritative voice from the back of the crowd. Aloysius Faulebrand was pushing his way to the front, having some difficulty squeezing between the shell-shocked villagers. “Make way!”

    Reaching the front, he stopped in front of Pieter and Illiiya. Taking in the scene, he took a long pause. The miller looked as if he had a dozen questions jockeying for his attention, but he put other priorities first. His eyes alighted on the crusted wound in Illiiya's shoulder.

    “This one's hurt!” he called out, his ringing voice quieting the fractured babbling of the villagers. “Come on, get these people somewhere dry.”

    Reacting to his words almost by reflex, some of the villagers began to move, gathering to escort Pieter and Illiiya back around the bridge. The spring tide of adrenalin was ebbing, and Pieter could feel all the aches of his muscles inching back as the dammed-up fatigue washed over him. How Illiiya felt he could only guess.

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    The Hour After Midnight
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    The Lord of Lost Heart
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    Ill Met By Morrslieb
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    Chapter I
    Chapter II
    Chapter III
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  3. - Top - End - #303
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Illiiya Jaelrae

    Thank you, goddess... I will spill more blood for you when I've more to spare.

    Illiiya faded out of her fiercely defiant demeanor as the knight left, and the villagers arrived. By the time they were moving her, she had gone entirely quiet, though unlike many here she seemed not to be despairing... out loud.

    Inside, she was a whirl of voice and emotion to chaotic to focus on. The pain of her wounds almost gave her respite from the knowledge that her lover was gone. She was certain he would not want her to break down... To give up on her own life of the loss of his. He had been lost fighting for her, and she would honor that.

    Her face showed pain, fatigue and a hint of fear.... but not the cracks that lay beneath. At least, not for now.

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    Heading with the villagers, and not really chatty unless someone asks her something specifically.
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Ithelus felt numb; not just from the cold and the rain. The wailing of the villagers barely registered, and now that the adrenaline was gone Ithelus began to falter. His sickness was starting to come to the forefront again. The elf followed Illiiya like a shadow, not saying anything for a long time he puts a hand on the small elf's shoulder. 'I'm... I'm sorry I ran away. Again.'
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Illiiya Jaelrae

    Don't be. Illiiya said, with no judgment or scolding in her voice, Always run, Ith. Always. I will rest easier knowing that you are safe.

    She glanced idly up into the sky, the first shimmers of tears finally forming on her cheeks as she thought of her soldier. She would never see him again. First Raffy and now Lothar.

    I was going to go with him... to see his family. She said after a long pause, her voice strained, When this was through I was... I...

    No chorus of voices rose within her to fill the silence. No dark impulses asserted themselves to cloud her despair with anger or loathing. She felt oddly alone within herself for the first time in a long time, and she turned to hug Ithelus tightly.

    I wish he had run too. She muttered softly into his shoulder, Why didn't he run?
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Quote Originally Posted by BloodyAngel View Post
    I wish he had run too. [Illiiya] muttered softly into [Ithelus's] shoulder, Why didn't he run?
    "I... I saw his anger and despair when you fell, Illiiya." There was a lump in Pieter's throat. "He died believing you'd been killed. I guess he didn't see the point in surviving without you."

    He shook his head. "I hate to speak ill of the dead, but that was... foolish of him. We can't all die for each other, because there'd soon be nobody left alive. Don't give in, Illiiya. Some of us need to go on, no matter the pain. There's no guilt to be had in living when others are dead. Lothar never wanted you to die for him, or even with him."
    Last edited by -Sentinel-; 2012-08-29 at 02:05 PM.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheSummoner View Post
    Oh wow. I will never again underestimate [our characters'] ability to turn friendly conversation into a possible life or death situation.

  7. - Top - End - #307
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    The villagers were following Faulebrand’s command, drawing back across the bridge. As the tide of people ebbed, Pieter and the elves followed it rather than be left behind.

    Leaning against the rough stones of the bridge, Pieter paused for a moment to let the elves pass, supporting each other as they did. Alone in the rearguard, he looked back across the river and into the darkness of the forest.

    When he had come to Hohlesbruck, the manor and its village had seemed old. Now that seemed wrong. The forest was old; the village was new, a brief flash of light in the ages of darkness that had passed unwitnessed beneath the trees. They had escaped from its ancient heart, but still it encircled them on all sides, a rustling ocean of leafy shadows. The narrow Marienburg road seemed like a laughably obvious lure, tempting them back into its depths.

    How could people live like this? A Nuln boy born and bred, Pieter turned back towards the village, where thin wisps of smoke were rising from the chimneys of some of the cottages. Crossing his arms to keep out the cold that had soaked through his ruined clothes, he hurried after the others.


    1

    Chapter V
    Acceptance

    The common hall of the Heartless Man was busy, but there was no sign of Hanna Hofstadter. Illiiya had overheard some fragments of conversation – she was tending to her husband, or she was sick herself. They passed her by like echoes, their sounds almost meaningless.

    The people of the village had taken over the overwhelmed landlady’s duties for her. They needed a place to gather, and they knew no other. The girls Ellie and Abi were passing out drinks, and making scrupulously sure that payment was left for what was taken. A fire was burning hot in the hearth, and the villagers had drawn the tables up before it in a crowded jumble.

    There were more women than men. Some of them had come to find what had become of their husbands; some already had, and were being consoled as best the older villagers could. In the centre of the huddle, Aloysius Faulebrand was holding court. A little way behind him, Leopold sat, looking like a drowned rat and shivering with a woollen blanket draped over his shoulders. In the shadows beside the hearth, Ricard stood, leaning against the wall and watching the proceedings with a strange kind of silent, powerless anger. It was the first time Pieter had seen the young man look so shaken.

    By now, Pieter could swear he had heard the story of the rout at the barrow told and re-told a dozen times. His body was trying to shut itself down without the permission of his brain, and he was having to struggle to follow the thread; they had brought him food, though, and given him a seat near enough to the fire. On his right were Ithelus and Illiiya, the crowding villagers giving them a slightly wider berth.

    Outside, the sunlight was growing tinged with a bloodstained red. Producing his strange pocket-watch from his mud-splattered jacket, he stared for a few seconds at the scratchy figures on its triangular copper face. From what he’d made of the Skaven device so far, he thought it was coming up to six o’clock... but sometimes the thing seemed to slow down or speed up for reasons he didn’t wholly understand. Winding the mechanism a few times – more for luck than anything else, he really had no idea how it worked – he closed it up and put it back.

    “...look,” Aloysius Faulebrand was saying, “I ain’t... I’m not saying it didn’t happen. We all saw the tracks on the road. Maybe this fellow... I don’t know, maybe that battle up in the woods sent him over the edge. Made it so he doesn’t know nothing but killing, any more. Wouldn’t be the first soldier who’s gone bad that way.”
    “Weren’t you listening?” bit Ricard, speaking up with a sudden and unexpected vehemence. “We were there. We saw it with our own eyes.” He paused. “Waite may have been a damn fool for leading us up there, but he was right about one thing. It’s black magic at work.”

    Aloysius seemed stunned that his future son-in-law would contradict him. While his father was silent, Leopold chimed in.
    “I saw his chest,” he said. “There was a... wound. His heart was gone.”

    “It’s Black Gaerovald,” said a white-bearded villager, his cracked voice rising up above the fearful murmurs. “We always knew he were buried in the north woods. His lordship shouldn’t never have let that wizard go diggin’ where things oughtn’t be dug up.”
    “Mils didn’t believe in ghost stories, Wilbur, and neither should you,” snapped Aloysius, but this time he wasn’t heard. The villagers were talking animatedly among themselves.
    “We’re safe in the village,” said the young man, Arne. “My mam always said... she always said, he couldn’t cross running water. This side of the Taalbruck, you’re safe.”
    “Aye, then what was it here last night?” rumbled one of the other militiamen who had remained behind – Kaspar. “Just ol’ Wulli, having night terrors?”

    The scene dissolved into a dozen cross-talking voices. There came a firm knock on the door, and they stopped.

    The door swung open, and Gundred – the cook from the manor – stepped over the threshold. Behind him was a slight figure in a drab green dress and veil.

    Esther stepped inside, and surveyed the silent crowd.

    “Rodrik came and told me... told me you were back,” she said, at last. She paused, looking around the room again. When she spoke again, her voice was very small.

    “What’s happened to my father?”

    ~


    Lothar
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    Lothar opened his eye, and the world was a still, blue-grey blur. He tried to move, and pain shot through his body – still alive, then.

    The rain had passed, but in passing it had soaked him to the bone. The links of his mail pressed through his sodden clothes like rings of ice, their weight pinning him to the slimy earth. His could only see out of one eye; the other side of his face was crusted with stiff plates of clotted blood. An aching pain, worse than the cold and the wet, throbbed from the eye that refused to see.

    The other was slowly being cajoled into better service. Still staring straight up, Lothar could see thick rolls of cloud drifting by overhead, so low and swollen that they seemed to graze the encircling treetops. Framed by their watery billows, a nebulous blur of grey slowly contracted into a pair of shoulders that bore a single head, looking down at him. A single, helmeted head; a single, visored face.

    The recognition hit Lothar like a bucket of icy water, spurring him into sudden motion. Trying to push himself back from the armoured apparition looming over him, he raised himself up on his elbows. A stab of pain shot through him from the wound in his side, and he fell back into the mud.

    The knight hadn’t moved an inch. Heart still pounding from the sudden flood of adrenaline, Lothar instinctively reached for the old regimental sword at his belt. His fingers closed around its hilt, and a conscious thought stopped him short – why was it still there?
    Last edited by LCP; 2012-08-29 at 02:50 PM.
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    The Hour After Midnight
    Threads: I, II, III
    The Lord of Lost Heart
    Threads: I, II
    Ill Met By Morrslieb
    Threads: I


    Threads: I, II, III


    Chapter I
    Chapter II
    Chapter III
    Chapter IV
    Chapter V

  8. - Top - End - #308
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Pieter removed his rain-soaked brown robe from Illiiya's shoulders and hung it to dry by the fireplace. He collapsed into a chair next to the Elves and gave Ellie a generous handful of copper coins for a cup of the strongest stuff she could find - he had no thirst for ale, but he badly needed something to numb his mind. He remained uncharacteristically silent during the villagers' fearful conversation.

    When Esther came in, he found that he did not have the heart or the strength to be angry at her for her past actions... or inaction. Alexa had paid dearly for it, but now Esther was going to suffer too and the very last thing she needed to hear was a self-righteous lecture about her bad choices.

    “What’s happened to my father?” she asked.

    Pieter closed his eyes, drank from his cup and took a deep breath. Someone had to say it. "I'm... I'm sorry, Esther, but... he fell in battle. He was trying to buy time for the rest of us."

    It was an embellished version of it, but one thing was true; Lord Verloren had never turned to flee.

    "It was a knight... A dead knight, yet he walked and rode and seemed impossible to kill. And daemons, the same kind that attacked us at the inn last night. They came from the burned remains of the tree... We were outnumbered."
    Last edited by -Sentinel-; 2012-08-29 at 05:07 PM.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheSummoner View Post
    Oh wow. I will never again underestimate [our characters'] ability to turn friendly conversation into a possible life or death situation.

  9. - Top - End - #309
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Lothar and the Field of Sunflowers

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    Lothar stared up at the blank helmet of the Knight, the leaden skies matching his mood. The adrenaline was draining quickly from him as he stared, fingers clutched around a useless sword, cold and damp pressing bony fingers into his wounds. His eye hurt, hurt worse than the loss of Illiiya that pressed into his chest.

    A sound that may have been Reikspeil spat from the bearded deserter's mouth, choked from life by pain and wet and the grinding emotions in Lothar's blood. He coughed, the phlegm dark, and spoke again.

    "Then. Kill. Me."

    The words sounded distant, and the discoloured water in Lothar's cyclopean vision seemed more real.
    Last edited by goblinpaladin; 2012-08-30 at 06:13 AM.
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    [WFRP] Ill Met By Morrslieb, as the increasingly-scarred Lothar Fischer.

    [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart, reprising Lothar Fischer.

    [WFRP] The Hour After Midnight as Lothar Fischer, former soldier.

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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Ithelus stripped down out of his wet clothes, leaving some for modesty, hanging them by the fire as well. He then proceed to pack his pipe and light it, letting the sickly sweet scent drift around him. Slowly the shaking stopped and his head began to droop.

    'I'm so tired'

    And yet he would not move from Illiiya's side.
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Illiiya Jaelrae

    What little solace there was in Pieter's words, Illiiya seemed to take. She moved into the village quietly, keeping close to Ithelus the entire way. She participated in none of the gossip or conversation there... instead simply sitting down someplace reasonably warm and shivering slightly. She seemed to frayed to have any more outbursts... or perhaps she simply had no more tears in her. She took Ithelus' hand tight and stayed by his side, only glancing up when Ester arrived.

    She said nothing to the woman, but the harshness in her eyes was almost palpable. At the moment however, she had no angry ranting left in her.
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Lothar

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    The knight looked silently back. He could be sticking his tongue out like a two-year-old behind that visor, and he’d still look as solemn as a statue, Lothar thought. That was what he looked like – the carvings of dead noblemen they put on coffin-lids, all stillness in carven stone. Fresh bandages, torn from the shredded remains of his riding-cloak, had been wound back over the shrivelled wound Lothar had seen. Only the faint, sweet smell of decay betrayed what lay beneath.

    “Nurgle’s children saw fit to spare you,” he spoke. The words almost came as a shock – Lothar had seen the man’s lungs, withered and adhering to the walls of his ribcage like old scabs. Still his voice was human, though muffled and metallic beneath the closed helmet. “Who am I to cheat them?”



    1

    Others

    Esther looked back at Pieter.

    “No,” she said. Her voice was quiet and blank. “No, that’s not true.”

    She looked across at the others. Leopold looked down at his boots, while Ricard only gave an awkward grimace.

    “Ricard,” she said, “it’s not true.”

    “Look, Ettie, I didn’t really see if...” he began, trying to put a comforting tone to his words. He seemed to realise the impossibility of the task about halfway through his sentence, and let it die. “I’m sorry, old girl. He didn’t make it.”

    Esther looked down at the floor. For a moment, Pieter saw the wobble – the same flicker of grief he had seen in Greta Suster when she heard the news. Next would come the tears.

    They never came. Instead, the hints of emotion vanished, replaced by a sudden, stoic mask. That was the Verloren blood for you: breeding. Showing weakness in front of the commoners just wasn’t done.

    “We need to organise a rescue party,” she said. “We need to go back for him.”

    Ricard shook his head. Leopold looked up at her apologetically.

    “The knight’s still waiting north of the brook,” he said. “We five barely escaped.”

    “Then we need to post sentries,” she said. “Men to keep watch for anyone coming out of the forest.”

    “You should go back to the manor, miss,” said Aloysius, with an air of gentle condescension. “Everything’s in hand here. Mils wouldn’t want you killing yourself with worry.”

    “You say my father is dead,” she said. “I can’t think of anywhere he would want me to be but here.” She looked round, her face unchanging. “Kaspar, how many of the militia are left?”
    “Five,” said the villager. Without breaking pace, they fell to discussing how best to defend the boundary. Aloysius was watching in something like amazement, his assumed dominance suddenly usurped as the villagers turned attentive ears towards Esther’s quiet instructions...
    Last edited by LCP; 2012-08-30 at 06:56 PM.
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    The Hour After Midnight
    Threads: I, II, III
    The Lord of Lost Heart
    Threads: I, II
    Ill Met By Morrslieb
    Threads: I


    Threads: I, II, III


    Chapter I
    Chapter II
    Chapter III
    Chapter IV
    Chapter V

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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Lothar

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    Lothar made a noise, lost somewhere between a snarl and a sigh. "Then..." He shifted, attepting to half rise. "What do you. Want?"
    Games:

    [WFRP] Ill Met By Morrslieb, as the increasingly-scarred Lothar Fischer.

    [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart, reprising Lothar Fischer.

    [WFRP] The Hour After Midnight as Lothar Fischer, former soldier.

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    I did writings for it! Read them here!

    =

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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Pieter was somewhat surprised when Ricard first tried to soften the blow of Lord Verloren's death for Esther. He started to wonder if the lady's disfigurement was his actual reason for not marrying her; he did not seem quite that callous and shallow. Maybe it was Alexa's even worse disease that made him realize how cruel his treatment of Esther had been. Or, more cynically, maybe he was thinking: Well, Esther's ugly, but Alexa's even worse now... Is it too late to settle for Esther?

    When Esther spoke, coolheaded and regal despite the circumstances, Pieter made the decision to trust her. No matter her past mistakes, he was fairly sure she did not want the knight to slaughter the villagers; her villagers. Someone needed to lead, and Mr Faulebrand was too obstinately skeptical to do what had to be done.

    "I can do some sentry duty later," he intervened, "but I'll need to take a short nap first. It's been a trying day."

    He finished his cup. He felt a bit woozy, but he refilled it all the same. It's my last tonight, he promised himself. Can't do sentry duty drunk.

    "Now... this may be a strange concern at a time like this, but do make sure the doctor remains under watch. Not just under guard, but under watch. I have... good reason to think the knight works for or with him somehow. And when daemons and the living dead enter the picture, you can never be too cautious."
    Last edited by -Sentinel-; 2012-09-01 at 09:01 PM.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheSummoner View Post
    Oh wow. I will never again underestimate [our characters'] ability to turn friendly conversation into a possible life or death situation.

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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Ithelus finishes his pipe in silence. 'I'd like to slit his throat myself if he is behind this. If he isn't he's probably in the safest place to be right now.' he says as he packs up his things.

    'Illiiya, time to get you to bed.'
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Lothar

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    The knight looked down at him in silence. Lothar could hear the wind soughing in the trees, the crows still squabbling somewhere far-off.

    Stirring from his statue-like stillness, the knight reached down with the point of his sword. Lothar flinched, but no blow came. Instead, the sword-tip nosed under the sleeve of his mail shirt, turning out a sliver of faded old Nordland blue.

    “For an infantryman, you fought well.” Somewhere nearer the clearing, a crow croaked loudly. “Where did you learn to use a sword?”



    1

    Others

    “He's under guard,” said Kaspar. With Axel and Matthias gone, he was the oldest of the five who had been left behind. He seemed to be taking on the post of unofficial spokesperson fairly reluctantly. “Where's he goin' to go, anyway?”

    Hovering to one side of the discussion, Ellie chose this moment to stick her oar in. She never seemed to be hesitant to volunteer information.
    “There's seven people sick now. Eight, if you're countin' Hanna.” She looked around defensively as some of the others glanced disapprovingly at her. “Well that's what I heard! I heard she was coughing something dreadful when she went back.” She paused. “If they get worse, who's going to look after them? It was Mr Waite who said we should lock him up. Mr Waite's gone.”

    “Hold on,” said Ricard, cutting in over her, “what is it you mean, Hagen?” He looked at Pieter. “What good reason?”
    Last edited by LCP; 2012-09-02 at 09:38 AM.
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    The Hour After Midnight
    Threads: I, II, III
    The Lord of Lost Heart
    Threads: I, II
    Ill Met By Morrslieb
    Threads: I


    Threads: I, II, III


    Chapter I
    Chapter II
    Chapter III
    Chapter IV
    Chapter V

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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Eight people sick. Not as bad as I feared, thought Pieter. He immediately felt guilty for thinking that - was he turning cold and calculating? If the disease was contagious, as Hanna's condition suggested, the number would rise. And they still did not know how lethal it was.


    “Hold on,” said Ricard, cutting in over her, “what is it you mean, Hagen?” He looked at Pieter. “What good reason?”
    Pieter gave his answer to Esther rather than Ricard: "It's related to what we discussed this morning."

    His tone suggested that he would say no more in public. Not a very subtle way to keep secrets, but he was too tired not care. People were already suspicious of these strangers who had come to their village; one more mystery made little difference.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheSummoner View Post
    Oh wow. I will never again underestimate [our characters'] ability to turn friendly conversation into a possible life or death situation.

  18. - Top - End - #318
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Lothar

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    Lothar's fight had been beaten out of him. First Illiiya, then the sword's poison in his mind, and now his eye would stop feeling hollow and painful. He lay back, and stared up at the metal mask opposing him.

    "Th' infantry. An' some run-ins with mutants. In Delberz. I learned by cuttin' an' dodgin'."
    Last edited by goblinpaladin; 2012-09-03 at 01:52 AM.
    Games:

    [WFRP] Ill Met By Morrslieb, as the increasingly-scarred Lothar Fischer.

    [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart, reprising Lothar Fischer.

    [WFRP] The Hour After Midnight as Lothar Fischer, former soldier.

    =

    January 19-25 2014 is GOBLIN WEEK!

    I did writings for it! Read them here!

    =

    sext: take my hand as the bombs fall. we will engrave our affectionate shadows on the walls in dush and ash, to last a thousand years. [my twitter]

  19. - Top - End - #319
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    Pieter, Ithelus & Illiiya

    Pieter gave his answer to Esther rather than Ricard: "It's related to what we discussed this morning."
    “Oh?” said Ricard, not giving up. “And what's that?”

    Pieter saw Esther stiffen. A dozen other voices joined in at once, Faulebrand rising to his feet to try to restore order; it was a futile mission.

    The old man Wilbur rose to his feet, moving to the front of the circle. Pieter had never been berated by a white-bearded peasant before, but it wasn't a pleasant experience.

    “You say 'is Lordship's dead. You say Axel's dead, you say Hans is dead, you say Hern's dead, you say a dozen good men and more is dead, 'cos of some black ghost out of the forest. Now you say that doctor's raisin' it up, when he's locked in 'is Lordship's own cellar, and you won't tell us nothing about why?

    He spat on the floor to clear his mouth. A swell of voices, many of them women's, voiced their assent.

    “I heard what the doctor said, 'bout you people. Easier to pick on one old man than a wizard an' his pet elves, is that it? Now here's some new monster, and you're sayin' that's his fault too, but I ain't hearin' anythin' like proof.”

    His voice shook, the old man glaring so hard at Pieter that his beard practically bristled like a cat. There seemed to be more feeling to his words than he chose to express.

    “What's your business here, anyhow? Eh!? You led 'em out there! Who did you lose?”


    1

    Lothar

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    ”Delberz,” the knight repeated, an empty sound. Could it be he hadn't heard? “I never heard they reached Delberz. The town was hardly garrisoned.”

    For a moment, the voice behind the visor sounded faint and faraway. Crows croaked at the edge of the clearing, and he looked round at the sound.

    Silently, he unclasped the shredded, muddy remains of his riding-cloak, bundling it up and tossing it at Lothar's chest. It was only when he caught it that Lothar realised his teeth were chattering.

    “You owe your drill sergeant an ale, soldier,” said the knight. It wasn't a common soldier's voice, behind that metal mask – it was the kind of voice to which Lothar had bowed and saluted his whole life, brusque, patrician and authoritative. The kind of voice Marius von Brucker should have cultivated, the kind of voice you'd expect in the Knights Panther. You just had to ignore the muffled syllables of the closed visor, and the slight hoarseness that seemed to tinge his words. “He trained you well enough to save your life.”

    The knight turned and walked away, clinking with every footstep. Now looking up at only the leaden sky, Lothar propped himself painfully up onto one elbow to look around.

    The clearing was worse than he remembered. Bodies lay where they had fallen, scattered across the muddy field like the toys of a spoiled child. There was no sign of the daemon imps, but the black horse stood a few yards away from the edge of the barrow. Over the broken stones of the entrance, the blackened shell of the tree stood sodden and twisted amidst the ashes of the fire.

    The knight had sat down on the edge of the fallen gateway stone, leaning forwards against the hilt of his sword with its point still pressing down into the earth.

    “Which regiment?” he called out. A tiny, survivalist part of Lothar's brain was weighing his options – the armoured killer seemed to be staring into the middle distance, not looking at where he lay. How fast could a man run in that armour – even a man with a hole for a heart? If he jumped to his feet right now, made one desperate dash for the trees...

    The horse was watching him. He knew there had been times where that mangy street tom Illiiya had adopted seemed to understand Reikspiel – at least when it concerned food – and Waite had always been so insufferably proud of his damned dog, but right now the bloodied stallion seemed to be reading his mind. Go ahead, its dark, animal eyes seemed to say. Let's race.
    Last edited by LCP; 2012-09-09 at 05:15 PM.
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    The Hour After Midnight
    Threads: I, II, III
    The Lord of Lost Heart
    Threads: I, II
    Ill Met By Morrslieb
    Threads: I


    Threads: I, II, III


    Chapter I
    Chapter II
    Chapter III
    Chapter IV
    Chapter V

  20. - Top - End - #320
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    Every movement made the soldier hurt. He somehow managed to pull himself into a sitting position, wrapping the tattered cloak around his shoulders.

    Lothar slid his eyes uneasily away from the horse's, back to the steel-clad figure of the master. He opened his mouth to answer, then closed it. He took another look around, at a field full of dead and the dying, and remembered again why he was not at his mother's fire. He was a deserter, surviving where others perished.

    He bowed his head, and gave the answer. "Nordland 11th."
    Games:

    [WFRP] Ill Met By Morrslieb, as the increasingly-scarred Lothar Fischer.

    [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart, reprising Lothar Fischer.

    [WFRP] The Hour After Midnight as Lothar Fischer, former soldier.

    =

    January 19-25 2014 is GOBLIN WEEK!

    I did writings for it! Read them here!

    =

    sext: take my hand as the bombs fall. we will engrave our affectionate shadows on the walls in dush and ash, to last a thousand years. [my twitter]

  21. - Top - End - #321
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Lothar

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    "Gausser's men," replied the knight. His attention still seemed elsewhere. "Our company were supposed to clear the roads, so you could relieve Middenheim."

    He nudged a fragment of yellow Beastman bone with one steel boot.

    "I take it you made it without us."
    Last edited by LCP; 2012-09-09 at 05:44 PM.
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    The Hour After Midnight
    Threads: I, II, III
    The Lord of Lost Heart
    Threads: I, II
    Ill Met By Morrslieb
    Threads: I


    Threads: I, II, III


    Chapter I
    Chapter II
    Chapter III
    Chapter IV
    Chapter V

  22. - Top - End - #322
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    Lothar hesitated, the long moment drawing out. What did the knight want? To be justified? To say that it was worth it? He killed Illiiya. The flash of anger and bitterness was momentary, cleaning away a lot of the pain - but in its wake the despair returned, tasting like ash in the soldier's mouth.

    "Aye, s-sir." Lothar stumbled over the honorific, the soldier's instincts of deferment coming to the fore. "Most of us."
    Last edited by goblinpaladin; 2012-09-09 at 05:53 PM.
    Games:

    [WFRP] Ill Met By Morrslieb, as the increasingly-scarred Lothar Fischer.

    [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart, reprising Lothar Fischer.

    [WFRP] The Hour After Midnight as Lothar Fischer, former soldier.

    =

    January 19-25 2014 is GOBLIN WEEK!

    I did writings for it! Read them here!

    =

    sext: take my hand as the bombs fall. we will engrave our affectionate shadows on the walls in dush and ash, to last a thousand years. [my twitter]

  23. - Top - End - #323
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Lothar

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    The knight only nodded, looking down at the earth.

    "It all seemed... very important, at the time," he said. It wasn't an old man's voice, but he sounded like he was struggling to remember. "Something worth fighting for. But the world didn't change. Just us."

    He looked around at his surroundings, at the bodies. "These were not the Nordland Eleventh. You should not have brought them here."
    Spoiler: My Games
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    The Hour After Midnight
    Threads: I, II, III
    The Lord of Lost Heart
    Threads: I, II
    Ill Met By Morrslieb
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    Threads: I, II, III


    Chapter I
    Chapter II
    Chapter III
    Chapter IV
    Chapter V

  24. - Top - End - #324
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Lothar. We lost Lothar.

    But Pieter suspected saying this would not have much effect, as their losses were out of proportion with the village's. He was not surprised by the old man's outburst. In fact, he had been expecting it sooner. It was easy for the peasants to blame their troubles on the strangers, whose arrival had coincided with what were no doubt Hohlesbruck's worst troubles in living memory.

    "Not to get technical, but I didn't lead them out there... I followed," he explained calmly, looking at the old man in the eyes. "I knew Mr Waite for barely a day when I came to Hohlesbruck and only learned two days ago that he was from the Orders. Like all those who went with him today, I let him convince me that a great evil was threatening us. And I saw he was right. I'll do everything I can to stop it, but from now on, how far you're prepared to go is up to you. We can't ask more sacrifices of you, not after today."

    He drained the rest of his cup. "This wasn't the first time my partners and I met the knight. We'd seen it before, when it slaughtered the bandits single-handedly and didn't spare us a second glance. And... suffice to say it clearly knew things it shouldn't have."


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    Pieter had never been berated by a white-bearded peasant before,
    "Not true. There was the father of that lovely young shepherdess in Averland..."

    Quote Originally Posted by TheSummoner View Post
    Oh wow. I will never again underestimate [our characters'] ability to turn friendly conversation into a possible life or death situation.

  25. - Top - End - #325
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Lothar:

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    Lothar coughed, shifting in his pool of injuries. "The Empire's still here, Sir Knight. We. We mighta changed, but we kept Sigmar's Empire alive. An' lots of people, too."

    He swallowed, or tried, and then spit something streaked in red-and-green.

    "We came here t'try an' save Hohlesbruck. From you. Nearest regiment is days out, so we're all we had."
    Games:

    [WFRP] Ill Met By Morrslieb, as the increasingly-scarred Lothar Fischer.

    [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart, reprising Lothar Fischer.

    [WFRP] The Hour After Midnight as Lothar Fischer, former soldier.

    =

    January 19-25 2014 is GOBLIN WEEK!

    I did writings for it! Read them here!

    =

    sext: take my hand as the bombs fall. we will engrave our affectionate shadows on the walls in dush and ash, to last a thousand years. [my twitter]

  26. - Top - End - #326
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Illiiya Jaelrae

    Who did you lose?

    Who did you lose?

    Who did you lose?!


    A spark lit behind Illiiya's eyes, as she released Ithelus' hand and stepped between the old man and Pieter with barely checked anger in her voice.

    What have I lost? She said, the harsh bite of her word cutting through the empty air between them, I have lost a man I loved! A man who came to see me and treat me as a person and not some thing to be feared because I am different than you!

    Her eyes burned as she glares into Wilbur's, her voice teetering between cracking into full-out shouting or uncontrolled sobbing.

    We were just passing through your town. We had no reason to stay here and do... this... save a desire to prevent YOUR suffering! Is this how your village shows it's respect for those who come to aid without expectation of reward? Perhaps we were wrong in how we dealt with this trouble. Perhaps the doctor is simply an innocent fool. But I will NOT stand by and have my man's loss be stained by the words of the very people he fell to protect!!!

    She shook for a moment, almost as if the last few traces of her emotion were sloughing off of her. Then with a long, slow breath, she regained her earlier composure... despite the slight spark of anger still burning behind her eyes. No tears would fall. No further outburst would come.

    I understand your loss more than you know, human. She said, her voice controlled and even, if somewhat weary, Let us not turn on each other in our grief...
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    Ithelus moves behind Illiiya, a strange mix of concern and disappointment on his face.

    She loved him....

    'Illiiya, it has been a cursed day, we're all tired and our nerves are frayed.' He says as a protective hand is placed on he shoulder.

    She actually loved him...

    'You need to rest, I need to rest... We all do.'

    But he's gone now...
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Illiiya Jaelrae

    Illiiya turned to Ithelus with a weary nod, taking his hand in hers again.

    Yes. I... I do need to sit and rest for a bit. She told him in a soft tone, I've said... all I wish to say here.
    Anyone looking for awesome art, look no more! Check out my stuff here! I do comissions, for those interested. Catch me at this site: http://www.furaffinity.net/user/rukis/

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  29. - Top - End - #329
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    Pieter, Illiiya & Ithelus

    Illiiya's outburst commanded a sudden silence. Pieter could see some sympathetic faces, but the old man seemed unconvinced.

    "That right, is it?" he asked, belligerently. "You lost your soldier boy? Your pet human?" There was a snarl under his words, the snarl of a wounded dog. "There's wives here lost husbands. Fathers lost sons." His voice shook. "What you had, it weren't natural! Weren't right."

    An uneasy silence surrounded him. He glanced around himself, frustrated by the sudden lack of support.

    "Everybody was thinkin' it, I'm just sayin' it. Men and elves - that won't never end well for men!"

    "This is getting us nowhere," said Ricard, speaking with some frustration of his own. The old man stood down for him, at least - blood spoke. "You," he said, looking straight at Pieter. "You knew about that... thing, and you didn't tell a soul? Gods damn it man, if you're so concerned for this place's well-being, when are you going to stop being so bloody mysterious?"

    He paused, staring at Pieter in exasperation.

    "If you won't tell us, I say we go up and ask the doctor for his side of the story." He looked round to the assembled crowd. "Maybe he won't answer us in damn-fool riddles."


    1

    Lothar

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    The knight didn't reply, just staring straight ahead into the middle distance. One gauntlet gripped the sword a fraction tighter, and he looked slowly up, like a man waking from a daydream.

    "Guilt is a weakness I left behind. I liked you better with a sword in your hand, soldier."

    Armour plates clinked as he stood back up.

    "You think these people can be saved, and so you choose to save them. You tell yourself a story, and cast yourself as the hero." The visor turned to look straight back at Lothar. "You deny to yourself that all stories have endings."

    "Hohlesbruck has been slipping back into the forest for centuries. It makes no difference if it ends here or a hundred years from now." Sheathing the sword, he walked over to his horse, beginning to make some adjustments to its saddle. "Twenty Knights Panther rode into this clearing, as full of valour and duty as any sons of the Empire should be. They died as all men die, in fear and in pain, soon forgotten and left to rot."

    Stepping back, he looked back to Lothar.

    "You can fight, and you can join them. Or, you can take your friends, and leave this place behind. Put off the ending for another day."

    He walked over to where Lothar stood, and extended a gauntleted hand downwards. Lothar realising he was offering the hand to help him back to his feet.

    "I have business in Hohlesbruck I have promised to see through. I promised no-one I would kill a soldier of the Nordland Eleventh."
    Last edited by LCP; 2012-09-14 at 07:17 PM.
    Spoiler: My Games
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    The Hour After Midnight
    Threads: I, II, III
    The Lord of Lost Heart
    Threads: I, II
    Ill Met By Morrslieb
    Threads: I


    Threads: I, II, III


    Chapter I
    Chapter II
    Chapter III
    Chapter IV
    Chapter V

  30. - Top - End - #330
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    Lothar blinked, staring up at the hand. He was in so much pain. Illiiya was dead, her figure sprawled in blood and mud. His head throbbed, the wound in his side still stung as the rainwater pooled around him. The deadening effect of the rain and the mess of his eye and, worst of all, the aching nothing of the sword lanced through him.

    What was the point? He was a deserter, a failure - a coward. He hid under the bodies of his friends, under the bright blood of Nordland men. His father would be ashamed of him, his bright-haired mother would make that face. His brothers would mock him - and his sister! His sister would turn away, would not be glad to see him.

    Their actions in Delberz had restored some measure of honour, but what did that matter? He was tainted and fallen, a soldier no more. Just some ragged mercenary, clad in the pieces of regimental honour because he had none of his own.

    One more piece of dishonour was nothing now.

    The metal-sheathed hand was still there, hanging before him like the iron fruit of a tree of war.

    Lothar took it.
    Last edited by goblinpaladin; 2012-09-14 at 07:28 PM.
    Games:

    [WFRP] Ill Met By Morrslieb, as the increasingly-scarred Lothar Fischer.

    [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart, reprising Lothar Fischer.

    [WFRP] The Hour After Midnight as Lothar Fischer, former soldier.

    =

    January 19-25 2014 is GOBLIN WEEK!

    I did writings for it! Read them here!

    =

    sext: take my hand as the bombs fall. we will engrave our affectionate shadows on the walls in dush and ash, to last a thousand years. [my twitter]

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