Saturday, 9 June 2018

Thy Soul to Keep, Part 10

The Night of the Comet

'Why did you come up here, Soulchemist?'
Kalyustar ignored the Skull's wispers and turned his eyes to the night sky. From the top of Deathwatch Hall, he could see the underside of the Sky Dock platform and past it, millions of starts, for once looking bright over the Harrowmark.
'What are you looking for, Soulchemist?'
He did not know, not any more. Ever since he had come to Wörtbad, he had felt a power like none he had experienced before. He had used it, and the more he used it, the more he wanted of it. And yet, he felt as if he was forgetting what he needed that power for.
'You need to put it at the service of something greater, Soulchemist! Let me guide you...'
Movement in the sky seized Kalyustar attention. Two sparks had appeared. One close, and moving slow. The other far more distant, and way faster. The two converging on Wörtbad.
'Can you feel its power? I do. It is coming. And look! Others are drawn to it! Will you be able to fight all of them? Wouldn't it be wise to seek the alliance of a great warrior?'

An'sec and his retinue coalesced around the grim statue in the village main square, a pale female form bathed in their unnatural glow.

The Rotmoons moved through the alleys, their apeish shapes dimly lit by the light pouring from half-closed windows.

Kalyustar shouted down the trap door, sending the Free Companies into a scramble to take defensive positions around Deathwatch Hall.

The wizard leaned over the crenellations, holding the Skull high. As a wave of almost solid fear spread from it, Kalyustar latched onto the soul of the closest creature. It smelled like the sour water of a swamp, and yet he stole it. Down in the streets, the Rotmoon's Troggoth fell to the ground.

As Kalyustar run out of the tower, the Marksmen shot down the boyz that were goading the Troggoth and then, on the heels of one Curassier, they charged Kaitán Da Leeva.

An'sec's riders sprinted forward, schytes hungry for human and ogor souls alike. The lights in the sky were now even closer.

Da Leeva made short work of the men that had charged him, but then Kalyustar turned the Skull towards him. Screaming skulls erupted from the soil around the Warboss, sending a clutch of his boyz in a panicked flight.

Yuri led the surviving Cuirassiers in a running battle against the Hexwraiths. The Marksmen levelled their crossbows at Da Leeva, but the brute shrugged off the bolts. Fernando and his Fencers moved out of the Hall yard, taking defensive positions around Kalyustar.

Behind the orruks, the closest light resolved in the shape of a Kharadron vessel. Endrinriggers and Skywardens floated down from it and opened fire.

With the ogors still pinned down by the Hexwraiths, Da Leeva turned his attention from the Free Companies to the duardin.

Kalyustar turned to see the White Lady glaring at him. He turned the Skull towards the vampire and suddenly skeletal claws grabbed her ankles.

An'sec offered his hand to the Lady. She turned into mist and the two figures advanced.
See, Soulchemist? There is no winning against such power. Think! Think!

The Skywardens and Endrinriggers, having hammered down Da Leeva and his boyz, took position to open fire on the ogors.

The second light, now clearly a comet trailing purple light, came increasingly close. An'sec floated to the Sky Dock platform, ready to meet it. Watched over by a Hexwraith, words of power streamed out of his helm. A party of duardin reconsidered their priorities and powered their way up.

Embroiled in the fight, An'sec lost his grip on the comet. Although he emerged victorious and restored by the souls he had taken, the blazing body came crushing down just were the Marksmen had taken their position.

The White Lady sprung forward, almost beheading Kalyustar with a single strike. Fernando's Fencers countercharged, giving the wizard the chance he needed to run for the protection of Deathwatch Hall.

Kalyustar emerged on the ramparts just in time to see the ogors smashing their way onto the Skydock platform, bellowing at the gheist.

Once again, An'sec's ring flared, saving him from the ogors' onslaught. As he rematerialised next to Fallow's End House, the surviving ogor lept from the Sky Dock platform, ready to vent up his frustration on Kalyustar.

The second Kharadron party circled around Fallow's End House, their aethershots finally cutting the thread keeping An'sec in Wörtbad.

With the help of Fernando, Kalyustar pushed the ogor back. The Marksmen, recovering from the comet impact, stared at the lump of translucent rock.

'The comet is in your hand, Soulchemist. But how long can you hold it? Do you think you can keep using the orruks and duardin to fight your battles? Wouldn't it be easier to share the comet with those to whom this land belongs?'

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