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Jotnotes

[Skarr Clan] Mouths to Feed

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On 11/6/2019 at 8:15 AM, Jotnotes said:

"It is a good start."

It was about the answer the raider had come to expect, especially from the elder skaven. Vito was sure the wise old one had definitely seen his fair share of looting, knowing how it would source the town. Properly preserved, the carcasses alone would last a good while if rationed. The day was finally coming to an end, even tho much more work was to come. Vito spend the rest of the daylight loading the wagons, finding himself drenched in the blood of the civilians he'd killed. He watched the wagons slowly roll their way towards Nesthome, the sound of rusty wheels heard from far off.

"Well, that signals my retiring for the day." He mumbled to himself.

Once off, the skaven warriors took little rest. Within what felt like seconds the hunting and partying had begun, a large ruckus erupting with kegs of mead being shared around. Vito took the chaos as an opportunity to slip away, retreating once again back up to the abandoned barracks. The bodies had all been removed, the trail of blood and body parts like a trail of bread crumbs down the hill. Even from high up, the noise somehow managed to make its way to him. The raider lit a fire and began trying to wash the bloodstains from his armor. The mixture of blood and rust was never a pleasant one, nor one he desired. 

Once clean he looted what had been left behind of the kitchen, cooked himself a stew and watched the party from his wooden seat. Floki had slowly followed him up the hill, curling up by the warmth. On every street was a brawl, the skaven fighting like packs of dogs. A cold breeze shook the flames, bellowing the smoke back towards the open crop fields. The many fires had died out, leaving charred frames of houses just barely standing. Their contents all but gone, whether that be people or their items. With a bowl of food and roaring fire, he began searching through the content of the nobles journey. Learning of nearby towns and what they offered, he'd remain there till morning.

Edited by Rabbit

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IC Ambience

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OOC Music

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Around the firelight of the roaring bonfire, little shapes of grey, black or brown danced for the naked flames, as though they were the dying embers that the inferno had spat out. It wasn’t an entirely inaccurate likeness; the Skaven of Nesthome were a poor and ragged bunch; the remnants of a dying world. Sickly, hungry, dirty—a sorry sight for eyes if they ever dared to glimpse upon the faces of plague and decay. They capered about and banged their instruments on pots and pans and armor and shields, drunk more on the spirit of feral revelry than the spirits from kegs and goblets. Their ancient rags and tatters swayed from their bodies beside jingling mail and straps of leather, and arms and legs that had no purpose but to swing and flail. Some of those paws found fellow faces, tails intertwined like confused lovers in embrace, and mouths opened to the stars for shrill cries amid the chittering of yellow chisel-teeth.

As the Ratmen twirled and toasted to themselves in victory over the village of Kinsmeet, one Shkei watched them all. His hands were placed upon the railing of a balcony, his one eye given ample view of the bright and brilliant fire. Tendrils of red, orange and yellow danced toward the starscape as though to scrape across the sky. Beside the orchestra of chaos that rang out with perverse percussion from the Skaven, rage roared upward from the flames in the middle of the market square. The watcher’s eye mirrored those flames, glinting with the torchlight of the handful of buildings that burned around the bonfire. Plumes of dark smoke were coughed out into the night, grey melting into black, while sparks flew above roofs in a breeze that carried the aroma of ash and charred wood, death and destruction. The Shkei breathed in, savoring the scent and the sight of the Skaven beneath him. 

Few there were tonight, not many more back in the labyrinths they hailed from, but few could become more like pieces of wood to feed a fire that could burn indefinitely. These small creatures that celebrated beneath him, they were as much survivors as they were scavengers. Their way worked, at least for a while, but for how long? You were lost, but I have found you. You were cast off from the world, but you are its scions. Everything in time, everyone with space, and nothing without chance—the code would carry. The Skaven of Nesthome, and in turn their allies, had won a victory tonight, but theirs was just the beginning of many more. From the depths, you will rise. A lone black eye blinked, firelight dancing in the pupil. One more step. With that, Veron Blacktear turned from the railing to cross the balcony. The chamber of the late Lord Iggo Richmond waited for him, along with a woman whose hair was as black as the night, and whose tongue made no movement in the moments that followed. 

 

The Ratmen had sent out some of their own to hunt, but they were not alone. At Veron’s command, Sandy had taken a party of goblins to assist the hunting and gathering. Meanwhile, Slayer had been tasked with leading a group of former Brave Spears to the outlying farms that surrounded Kinsmeet, where he had already been. This land, the sellswords knew well also, given that they had formerly been commissioned to serve the lords who once owned it. What prizes could be taken to fit inside the morrow’s convoy were just so, stashed within wagons more, while other plunder was marked out for a future raid if ever the occasion was called for. Farms promised food and livestock greater than the central village, and other things that might have been hidden away. 

Slayer had entered Kinsmeet from these very farms, having sampled some of the goods beforehand. By this token, Veron granted his lieutenant and the humans under him to relish at their leisure. Brave Spears, these men no longer were, now an official unit within the Lost Scions, and though they had lost their tongues their master wanted them to know that he was no less generous. The farmland, rich with pickings, was given them—food, drink, beds to end the night, along with what women Slayer had since kept hidden to save for an occasion like this one.

IC Music

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Tightening his belt, Veron exited the hall house to walk across the fires and listen. The night was still young, and where the greater lot of Ratmen still danced around the bonfire, a few had taken to smaller cookfires to roast their meat and keep warm. The Lost Scions were not left out. Veron halted his tour at one of those fires, where hobgoblins sat around and played their stringed morin khuur. A one-two stroke accompanied a longer glide, and amid the bowed rhythm came pockets of singing. It was a deep whistling, like wind coming between two mountain peaks, and deep, guttural pitches from the throat. This throat singing was harmony to hear, almost animalistic, and quite fitting for creatures who otherwise had no tongues to sing with.

The hobgoblins paid no mind to anyone or anything else, including their master, as they played and sang and sat by their fire. Veron looked away from them and at the Scourge, silent and still by a market stall. A figure was stumbling beside it, a fist pounding against the metal, then a large hammer. Maul was drunk and to himself, and that was for the best. At the bonfire, he spotted Rattleneck, her axe over a shoulder as she paced toward a Rat who Veron squinted to recognize. The Rat sat beside a banner of Skarr Clan and had a glaive. His name was Zhot, if Veron could recall, and either Rattleneck had just asked him to spar or how many lives the Rat had claimed during the raid. 

Throughout the market square, Veron did not sight Midnight. That was no surprise. The Commander was not immune to noise or other beings but he just as much preferred his silence and seclusion. “A peaceful land, a quiet people”, Wruzree had once echoed as the code by which his Qos’quellarin was governed, while it once existed. Veron smiled at the notion, the idea quite alien to these Skaven and their wild ways. A rowdy bunch, my Ratmen. The survivors of Kinsmeet, not so much. They had been herded into a makeshift pen, courtesy of Vito’s stone spikes, their sobbing reduced as despair set in. An elderly woman reached between them, begging one of Veron’s newest recruits for a bite of bread. Instead, the man gave her a fist. Veron searched further, his eye scanning the scene, but he did not see who he was looking for. “The hall-place”, directed a rat. Veron paid him with honeyed cashews for the tip and made to enter the village hall.

OOC Music

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Khrol Skysplitter read from the pulpit of the empty hall as though he were counseling an audience of ghosts. The image wasn’t lost, what with the death that had fallen upon the building, there where the Grey Seer had ordered Veron’s hostages to be rounded up so that some might be slain. That was well and good, the villagers were by no means vital, but to Veron it was something like damaging the merchandise instead of selling it. The hall was alive with activity then, filled with beings, ratmen and goblins and humans and more, Kinsmeeters and Skarr Clan and Brave Spears and Lost Scions. Now, there were only two souls with which to grace this tomb: Khrol Skysplitter and Veron Blacktear.

“Grey Seer.” Veron acknowledged as he walked toward the pulpit, a goblet in either hand. They were identical cups of gold, embedded with rubies and engraved with black patterns. Khrol’s manner would not deter the smile on the Shkei’s face as he approached. “What are you reading?”

Khrol might have answered him by the time he reached the pulpit and extended a cup. “Drink with me, Khrol.” The two cups were as identical in contents. The liquid within each was deep blue, like a sea at night, with a flow like that of honey as it moved in the cup when passed in offer. Reaching the face, the liquid that might pass for wine would smell like spoiled meat or rotten flesh. Whatever Khrol’s immediate reaction, Veron was not shy in placing his own cup to his pale blue lips and tipping some of the liquid down his throat. A bitter taste greeted his tongue, thick and inky, then sour, then sweet. He tasted honey and wine, honeyed wine or spiced wine, anise or licorice, milk or cream, salted nuts or sweetened nuts, red meat far from spoiled and hot blood. Different things that Veron had personally tasted before, and all these tastes now and then and all at once. With the tastes came the feeling of tendrils touching down his chest, like fingers coiling around the heart, as firm but gentle as a woman’s hand around one’s member.

Veron lowered his goblet, a dark blue residue lingering on his lips like lipstick. Whether Khrol had decided to drink with him or not, Veron spoke. “Fancy cups, no? I took them from Lord Iggo’s bedchamber. Yet they pale in comparison to what they hold. Shadow of Night, the drink is called. Also known as the wine of warlocks. When we began our journey, I mentioned such creatures, and the price they paid for threatening me.” He chortled. “They paid with their blood, not just their flesh, along with some herbs and spices, bolts of silk, and more.” He lifted his goblet. “This wine, for instance, and the secrets that come from drinking it. Things that were, things that are, things that are yet to be. Signs, and one sign in particular.” With that, Veron placed the cup to his lips once more, drank deeply, and smiled.

Edited by Die Shize

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