Aef-Grimnir's Trials: The Cleansing LightAef-Grimnir woke up suddenly upon a sigil-etched floor. How he had come there, he could not recall. He remembered the press of orruk bodies around himself, his ur-gold runes throbbing, Kaptain Mogrum's Waaagh! building up, then a flash of purple light. And the nightmares.
It was then that the Gaunt Summoner's visage loomed above him in a blaze of unearthly light.
"Should you wish to regain your freedom, son of Grimnir, best my trials!"
With this the Summoner faded from sight, leaving only his echoing laughter, and a glowing portal leading onto the Silver Tower's labyrinthine depths.
Beyond it, Aef-Grimnir could see a corridor, its floor made of interlocking and churning cogs. At its center, a blue daemon and a masked human taunted him to came forward.
The Runefather cracked a broken-toothed smile. If that was what the Chaos filth wanted, he would be happy to oblige them. He would hack his way out of the Silver Tower, no matter what. Working himself into a ur-gold fuelled frenzy, he charged forward.
He cut the Blue Horror in twain, his return swing turning the Brimstone Horrors that had replaced it in a scattering of smouldering cinders, before being deflected by the cultist's shield.
A screeching imp with an avian head emerged from a pulsing portal, shouting orders at the Acolyte. The man's blade flashed, but Aef-Grimnir locked it into the teeth of his axe, broke it and then decapited the cultist. He made to move and capture the imp, but the creature evaded him, curses streaming out of its beak.
As the imp disappeared into the portal, the shadows around Aef-Grimnir stirred and shifted. An ancient presence moved within them, whispering promises of power. Enthralled, the Rune Father followed the voice into the next chamber where a cackling Blue Horror ambushed him. Quickly recovering his wits, Aef cut the daemon down, only to be engulfed in flames as the Brimstone Horrors that emerged from it spitefully detonated themselves.
Calling onto the power of the runes studding his body, Aef waded through the cloud of pink fire to find the next room was a dank and smelly Tzaangor den. The avian beastman charged forward and found the Rune father's axe waiting for it.
Again the ur-gold runes flashed deflecting the Tzaangor's blows and propelling Aef forward, the beaked head rolling on the floor behind him. Amid the debris littering the den lay a scroll inscribed with words of power and images of a basilisk's tongue. The Rune Father grabbed it and started to look for any other valuables the Tzaangor had hoarded. As he searched, Grotling Scuttlers emerged from a dark opening in the floor.
Working himself into a berzerker fury, Aef whirled around the room, killing the grotlings as fast as they emerged from the darkness.
As more Grotlings came screaming into the den, a shiny mirror appeared, drawing Aef-Grimnir towards the beckoning figure within it. As the Fyreslayer stumbled for the mirror, the Grotlings were upon him, their crude weapons biting deep into his muscled frame.
Aef-Grimnir shacked off the mirror's glamour and felled the greenskinned creepers. While he summoned the power of his runes to hel himself, a vial of shining liquid caught his attention. As soon as he grabbed it, a moon-faced homunculus appeared, asking for it. The Rune Father managed to grab this one and forced it to grant him its services. The creature promised great riches will come to the duardin and disappeared into thin air.
The strangeness of that place was starting to wear heavily upon Aef-Grimnir, so he resolved to plunge deeper into the Silver Tower. Crossing a glimmering gateway, he found himself upon a windswept, narrow ledge leading to another gate from which a completely different, more wholesome light was pouring.
As he made to cross it, the unnatural wind sent him slamming against the wall. Brushing off the minor injury, Aef stepped into the next room. There, a throng of Acolytes and Horrors chanted at the feet of a golden statue in the likenesses of a Lord of Change. Beams of the purest light darted towards the walls from prisms on either sides of it.
Aef-Grimnir could see that was the light of Hysh itself and was sure it would have banished the daemons and burnt the acolytes. Thus, he moved towards the closest prism and tried to rotate it. Alas, the prism didn't move.
The daemons and acolytes rushed around, their chanting turning into syllables of power and multihued fires filling the room. Among them, the moon-faced homunculus reappered, accompanied by the horrid stench of a fish walking on bird legs.
Singed and on the verge of collapsing, Aef-Grimnir braced himself against the wall, his hand reaching for the scroll hanging from his belt. As he read it, a score of dameons and all the acolytes turned to stone.
Still, two daemons came for him and though his runes gave him the strength for a last push, they had the best of him.
Through the eyes' of the statue, the Thief of Wits glared over Aef-Grimnir's demise. With glee, the daemonic enchanter plucked at a tiny strand of fate and kept the Fyreslayer alive, images of his pain travelling through the aether to reach Lady Laelanyel in Ulgu.
This was proving to be quite an entertaing way to pass the time before the Prime Dominon was ripe for war, thought the Gaunt Summoner.