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Ashes Of Middenheim Chapter Four (Ic Thread)


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#181 Avaris

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 12:46 PM

"A pleasure to meet you Monsieur Julen," said Orderic, bowing in what only Julen and Anna would recognise as mock deference, "Any friend of Anna's is a strictly buisnesslike relationship of mine."

As Anna started to quickly explain the situation to Julen, Orderic looked around the room, reassessing the locations of Markus and the potential Pascal's. His observations were however interupted by a flurry of activity as a women speaking excitedly in what he could only assume to be Estilean grabbed Julen.

"Another old friend Julen?" he asked, suppressing a laugh.

OOC: I fear I must concede the firefly game to Eldy. As advanced warning, I am away this weekend and for the first two weeks of August, after which I am back for a week and then away for another. Blame my family :P

#182 Hyarion

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 03:39 PM

"I number 2 men of the Empire among my friends and since you, Templar, are still alive you cannot be them since they have been slain. If you are so short of men yourself, then I have no need to weaken you further by reducing your number more. As for my friend and I, we...suffice." said Maeglin before turning and leaving.

#183 Orcslicer

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 08:25 PM

"I will ignore your slight against me," says Benedict, cooly. "Though that could be reason enough to indict you." He prowls forward, fishing a black lacquer mask from his cloak. "Perhaps I was not clear enough. You either remain with an escort, or I will have no choice but to have you detained. I will not risk the Graf's safety by allowing a couple of loose cannons wandering about."

#184 Hyarion

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 09:20 PM

Maeglin managed to conceal his laughter well, although the corners of his mouth may have creeped up a fraction before the normal elvish unreadable expression returned to his face. The thought of anybody comparing an Asrai to one of those gunpowder monstrosities was something he found hilarious, even if he didn't understand the human expression. It wasn't until a short time later when the elf was re-arming himself at the guardpost that he broke his silence.

"Gurni, after these false priests realize the events of tonight they will likely move their operation somewhere else to strike again from the shadows. We may be able to find their storehouse from the map we took earlier, or we can wait until we catch this one in the act and hope that he lives. What do you think we should do?" he asked speaking Eltharin.

#185 Ashnari Doomsong

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 11:50 AM

Gurni shrugged, replying in the same language, attempting to steer their patrol through areas as sparsely populated as possible.
"As you say, though I do not expect one of our enemy to give anything away, no matter the interrogation. Much better to simply slay them all and hope to find reactions among people - hopefully, after this evening our alliance with the powers that be should be strong enough to convince them to help us investigate these things."
He turned to observe their "escort".
"So, Herr Templar, what is it that makes you accuse one of the Elder Race of being a loose cannon? I mean, beyond the metaphor being obviously hopeless given the immense superiority of our cannon, it represents a really quite significant insult that I would have thought a man of the Empire as better than. And even this is laying aside the point that we, at least, have consistently been successful in our activities thus far."

#186 Orcslicer

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 04:44 PM

Benedict watched coolly as the elf and the dwarf were escorted from the room, expression impassive underneath his masquerade mask. Beneath, his mind was calculating quickly. This group of oddballs was consistently proving to exceed their uses. How much did they know? Who was helping them?

Benedict approached a looking glass positioned above an ornate Drakwald Oak mantelpiece and examined his reflection, fussing with his hair narcissistically as he contemplated. Staring into his own ice blue eyes he found the solution staring back at him, the simple genius of it surprising even himself.

“My lord,” he said, turning to the Graf and indicating the door. “Your adoring public awaits.”
_________________

Maeglin and Gurni, their fanatic minder in tow, began to make their way to the ballroom, unsure exactly what their next move would be. The dwarf remained characteristically impassive and silent, but Maeglin’s expression betrayed the pair’s reeling surprise. The poisoned well trail had led them back into lion’s den, a corrupt Witch Hunter now aware of their presence in the building.

Hasseltein prodded the obese scholar in the back, steering the party down a narrow spiral staircase.

“We wish to investigate the ballroom,” said Maeglin, pausing at the crest of the stairwell.

“As you wish,” growled the fanatic, “but you’ll be using the servants entrances. You aren’t getting into the hall dressed like that.”

Perhaps seeing the wisdom in this point, the elf and dwarf began to descend the stairs.
_________________

Light, aimless chatter drifted through the ballroom as the elite of the north dined, danced and entertained themselves. The swell of string music, the colourful masks, the whirl of dresses upon the dance floor; it was all like something out of a book. Anna found herself lost in the moment, wondering if this is what her life would have been like if Julian, Weiss, Hans and she had all made it to Altdorf as planned.

Facing her, Sir Orderic Langar moved in carefully executed steps, as at ease on the ballroom floor as on the battlefield. A few figures down, Julen was with some pretty young girl from his own native Estilea. Not quite as versed in dances of the empire, but a competent improviser at any rate.

From amongst the crowds, Allaen watched everything with a kind of easy interest, a stem glass of wine in his hand. He ignored the curious glances and looks he received, readily aware of the rarity of elves in the presence of humans.

As the music finished, a polite smattering of applause reverberated around the room, cut harshly short by the blare of a fanfare.

“PRAY SILENCE FOR HIS HIGHNESS THE GRAF.”

In ones and twos, the crowd turned expectantly to face the second floor passageway that overlooked the ballroom and the buzz of conversation faded to silence. Flanked by Teutogen Guard, Deputy High Priest Klaus Leibnitz and an unidentified Sigmarite, Boris Todbringer appeared, smiling and waving. Tall, powerful and wild looking, his expression was moderated considerably by his temperament.

“My honoured lords, ladies and gentlemen,” began the Graf, raising a hand in greeting. “It has been a long six months since I stood in this city last. When we made our stand against the forces of darkness…”

Allaen continued to sip his wine, eyes flicking to the Sigmarite by the Graf, only to find that he had gone. To the Graf’s right, Leibnitz’s bulky frame stood calmly looking over the crowd. He and Allaen’s eyes met for a second as he scanned the crowd.

The Graf’s speech continued in the same vein for a while, speaking of the campaign following the broken armies of Archaon. Of the hard marches and sleepless nights, and of his regret having to leave his beloved city. His praise for Leibnitz and Schutzmann in his stead.

Allaen watched in some mild fascination the human’s political oration. It wasn’t bad, of course, but there were some significant difference to that of the courts in Ulthuan. The political analysts would of course be picking up on some of the more subtle indications and double meanings, the messages to particular lobbying groups, but Allaen saw them as rather clumsy.

“… and now,” said the Graf, “we drink to remember their fallen. To those that have given their lives in the service of Ulric and the City of the White Wolf.” He raised a chalice in toast. “Lest we forget.”

“Lest we forget,” echoed the crowd. Allaen raised his glass to join in, only to be jostled hard by someone passing through the crowd. He turned, a mild frown on his face. He caught a glance of a beaked lacquer mask looking back at him, a flash of blond hair, and the figure was gone.

Urgently, Allaen stepped towards Orderic and the others. “Benedict is here,” he began, but was interrupted by a rolling gasp and a woman’s scream.

As one, the group whirled round. Somewhere, a glass tumbled to the ground and shattered, sending tinkling glass over the marble. The Graf was slumped over the balcony, heaving. A concerned Leibnitz was leaning over him.

“Call for a physician!” he boomed, voice audible over the rising commotion. “And seal the palace. No one is to enter or leave!”
_________________

Gurni was becoming more and more concerned as they descended further down the stairwell. A glance shared with Maeglin confirmed he was not alone. Unable to communicate without being overheard, they were nevertheless thinking the same thing.

“Long way down, this servant’s entrance,” commented Gurni dryly, as the passage levelled out.

“We’re taking a little detour,” replied the fanatic, with a nasty grin.

“Like that is it?” growled Gurni, pulling his trusted mace from his belt and raising it threateningly.

Maeglin, bow already in hand with arrow notched lowered his weapon. “It’s no good Gurni.”

The dwarf was about to reply, when from the shadows a couple of temple guards emerged. The sound of several more clattering down the stairs soon became audible even to the dwarf. “Bugger.”

The pair relinquished their weapons, and marched on, flanked by guards. Both the dwarf and the elf kept looking out for some opportunity to take their captors by surprise. None came.

Hasseltein led them to a network of damp, musty cells somewhere in the bowels of the palace, and with an encouraging prod from the swords of the guards, forced the pair into a cell and slammed the door with a sombre clang.

“Enjoy your stay at the honourable Graf’s hospitality,” growled the fanatic with a feral grin. “Your friends, wherever they are, will soon be joining you.”
_________________

The ballroom had remained sealed now for the best part of an hour. The guests, one by one, being questioned and searched. Orderic and Anna had taken the opportunity to speak to Torsten Hoch when Markus was taken for questioning. They had returned successful, though Orderic was entirely unhappy.

“The man is an ill mannered pig,” he began, “his behaviour towards Anna was lewd and dishonourable, and were it not of paramount importance to keep him happy, I would have challenged him then and there.”

“It would have livened things up, no?” said Julen, lounging against a pillar and wishing he could get out for a smoke.

As though granting his wish, the garden doors opened and a palace guard approached the group. He pointed at Allaen. “You next.”

“May I ask what you expect to find?” said Allaen, politely.

“You may not.”

“It seems a fruitless activity to engage in. Would expect the assassin would have waited around with incriminating evidence? A cynic would argue you were doing this to coerce the public into believing you know what you are doing.”

The guards ignored Allaen, insisting instead on patting him down. Within the robes, one pulled out a bundle; a small scrap of paper and a vial of green sparkling crystals. A kind of grim triumph emerged on the palace guard’s bearded features as he read the scrap. Another found the silver hammer icon given to him by the Temple of Sigmar.

“Those are not mine,” Allaen said, indicating the scrap and the vial.

“Warpstone,” muttered someone from nearby.

“Sigmarite scum,” he said, spitting on Allaen. “You’ll hang for this, and that’s if you’re lucky. Arrest him!”

Markus, overlooking the proceedings, saw an opportunity and took it. “She was with him!” he shouted, waveringly, pointing at Anna. “And those two!”

“Sieze them!”

Julen and Orderic both instinctively reached for the swords, grasping nothing, as, of course, they had not been permitted to bring their swords into the palace.

“Your conclusion is rudimentary, and your logic is questionable to say the least,” said Allaen, a touch of exasperation in his voice. “We were searched on the way in, were we not? If we were responsible for a covert murder attempt, would it really make sense to smuggle incriminating papers? Or to wait around afterwards? May I at least know what the note says?”

The arrival of Deputy High Priest Leibnitz prevented the guard from responding. “Silver tongued words won’t get you out of this, elf,” replied Leibnitz with a scowl, after being informed of the situation. Guards, detain them!”
_________________

The cell door clanged open, and Allaen, Anna, Orderic and Julen were shoved unceremoniously into the room. Gurni looked up from a forlorn looking stool that was buckling quite badly under his weight.

“You took your time,” said Gurni, from the next door cell. “Hope you gave ‘em some trouble,” and, to Allaen, “I hope someone’s told you… that’s a ridiculous hat.”

Even this deep in the palace complex, there were windows letting in slanted shafts of moonlight. Outside, there was the sound of angry mobs in the distance. Word had gotten out that Sigmarites had been responsible for murdering the Graf. That it was Sigmarites poisoning the wells. Even through the scant available light, the orange glow of fires over Middenhiem was beginning to make an impression.

The ashes of Middenhiem had been reignited, the Ulricans were rising up, and there were riots in the streets.

Edited by Orcslicer, 10 December 2010 - 04:50 PM.


#187 Eldacar

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 02:31 AM

"Only to those without a sense of fashion," Allaen remarked. "Or without good hygiene."

OOC: Incidentally, Allaen actually sold his hammer talisman to the jewelry store, so a new one would have to have been planted on him. How was he so close to warpstone without having to suffer from any side effects? Dramatic license?

#188 Orcslicer

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 08:24 AM

The sale of the talisman is an oversight (although irrelevant really, that could have been planted on you too), and regarding the warpstone... well it's in a sealed vial. Stop picking holes, my work here is done. I'm guessing Hyar is going to start a new thread?




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