The Unyielding Tower (WIP)

This is a dark age, a bloody age, an age of daemons and of sorcery.

The Unyielding Tower (WIP)

Postby Razhbad » Thu Sep 08, 2011 6:02 pm

The Unyielding Tower


Chapter 1


Kneel”, declared a powerful voice of age and dread. The speech spoken was unnatural almost as if it had come from a heated furnace.

Attempting to still his shaking limbs, Methelrir sank to his knees, his red-rimmed eyes locked on the smooth, black marble slabs below. The weight upon his shoulders was not from his armour, but of the feeling of failure. Failure at the height of his power had come crashing down along with the army he had once commanded.

He intently gazed upon the floor too terrified to lift his head. All his keen eyes saw were the black marble slabs and the dim flicker of light. Candles within a chamber gave off little light, in a room he had stood only a week before when he made bold claims of victory by his hand.

You dare to fail me?” The deep resonance of the voice stirred in Methelrir's bowels.

“That was not my intent”, he weakly replied. Methelrir’s own voice sounded pathetic, it reminded him of all his enemies and rivals when they had found themselves subjected by his own power. A power that was now lost to him, in his short time as General of Naggarond.

No, was your intent then to see the Beastmen vanquished?

“To keep our people safe from harm.”

So you did not fail by design, more by lack of skill.

Few had dared to say such words to Methelrir and those who had were dead now. Despite the rage that boiled in his heart the Druchii lord stayed still, to terrified to do anything but await death that would swiftly follow.

It had gone so horribly wrong for Methelrir. In one year within his position he had invested large sums of his own personal wealth to build up a force for the glory of Naggaroth. An army that had numbered in their thousand of which now only a few hundred had lived to tell the tale.

“The Beastmen…” said Methelrir. “There... There were too many”. In truth his own arrogance and dismissal of the size of the Beastmen Horde that had descended from the Iron Mountains had caused his fall from grace. The Chaos ravagers had broken upon his army and he now had nothing to bargain with, especially as his rivals were now doing their best to claim what little resources he had left.

Too many? I make you General of Naggarond and you shame us with this pathetic excuse? You stood right here before me and boasted of sending them fleeing back into the Iron Mountains.

“Kyerior!' said Methelrir, “He... He is to blame! He gave false account of the enemy movements and strengths. He must have known I had fount out his crime.”

Kyerior? It is he that lost us hundreds of my proud Druchii warriors to these... Animals?

“Yes!' said Methelrir. 'It is his mistake, my King.”

And yet he is under your command.

Methelrir froze, terror locking his jaws closed.

You selected him, did you not? You selected every warrior fighting under your command. Are you not responsible for their mistakes, as surely as your own?

“I assume I cannot expect a quick death?”

“That depends on you”, said a new voice, which sliced into his dark heart like ice. This one came from a female who displayed the wisdom of aeons with a subtle cruel intent.

Methelrir had not realised that another had entered the chamber, yet he could feel a cold presence moving around his form until he caught sight of a long purple dress that was draped across the floor near where he knelt.

“Why do you not look upon us?” She said, “you are among friends.”

A slender female hand rested upon Methelrir’s chin and forcibly pulled it upwards with an unknown strength that nearly made the Duchii jump with fear.

He looked upon the young beautiful face of a Dark Elf who had long white hair. She bore her dark eyes into Methelrir they revealed nothing other then an age beyond her young features.

“Lady Morathi”, he said as he looked upon the face of the fabled Hag Sorceress of the Druchii.

“Have you not served us faithfully? A single failure does not forget such a loyal servant as you.”

Yet failed me you have” said the original voice and now Methelrir found his gaze turning to the huge armoured form in front of him.

The Witch King Malekith stood far taller then any Elf in a black armour. Methelrir could his black fiery orbs for eyes look down upon him and he was certain that this gaze could look straight upon his soul.

Rise, Methelrir” ordered the Witch King and Methelrir felt himself being lifted up by Morathi’s hand, clamped across his chin.

“Of course it is strange such a handsome face not gained a scar, in all your works.” Quick as a viper Morathi’s hand moved and Methelrir winced in pain as a long, concealed dagger slashed from his chin to his right ear. “There, now it looks like you were attacked during your failure.”

“What place is there for a General who has no army?” He dared ask, still expecting his death in a moment’s notice.

“Hush now my friend”, hissed the Sorceress in an almost joyful way. “You saved my life once so you having nothing to fear. For now at least.”

The Witch King leaned forwards and Methelrir was careful not to gaze on the burning sigils on his Lord‘s armour. “What do you know of the Lord Raelon?” The Witch was impossible to read.

Methelrir knew the name, it belonged to a former Dread Lord who had foolishly taken it upon himself to declare that he was the new Witch King and had even nurtured a cult of male Sorcerers, strictly against the laws of the Druchii. The Witch King would suffer no other King, history had seen that many times.

“He died by your hand”, voiced Methelrir.

Indeed he did, as did his entire Black Ark, which as we speak has sat within the Sea of Malice awaiting a new master to claim her.

“The Unyielding Tower.”

Which I give to you?

Methelrir was grateful that he had avoided death, but knew the Unyielding Tower was not a reward. It had been called the ‘Cursed Black Ark’ and with good reason as every Lord and Lady that had commanded the Black Ark had found themselves dead along with most of their occupants with them.

“I do not have the numbers to command it.”

“You need not worry”, smiled Morathi. “We have already started recruiting for you.”

Methelrir did not know what sort of Druchii would dare to tread upon the Black Ark. Only the outcasts of Druchii society; criminals, failed gangs and shamed individuals that had prices on their heads which would see them dead if they remained on the mainland. Another thought struck Methelrir their were worse that would venture onto a damned place.

“Not true Druchii”, he stammered, trying to keep his anger hidden.

At the time of the Civil War it had not only been lost Nagarythe that had joined the Witch King. There had been others from the rest of Ulthuan that had taken up arms on behalf of Anaerion’s son. They were small in number and disliked amongst those from Nagarythe yet exist they had.

“Do not be too dismissive of them. Where do you think our spies come from?”

Morathi had a point, if they could be trusted for missions of espionage on Ulthuan then perhaps they could be of use to Methelrir. Still he did not like that the remnants of his forces were now going to be forced to reside with the outcasts of Druchii society. Chances were that Methelrir would be dead within a season.

“We plan on giving your more autonomy as well”, said Morathi. “You need not return to Naggaroth as often, but still we expect shares of all your plunder.”

The massage was clear to Methelrir, they wanted him out of the way. They were not going to kill him for he could still be useful. What was more the Druchii had proven to have one of the most rapid climbs to power. His wealth had funded hundreds of savage games in pit fights which appeased the lower levels of society. If Methelrir had been executed there would be those that would not be pleased, this way he would just vanish into obscurity, all the while Naggarond would get rich on his plunder whilst he remained alive.

“I believe he belongs to you”, Morathi said, nodding to the door way.

Turning around Methelrir noticed a well muscled naked Druchii being held up by Malekith’s fabled Black Guard. The Elf was unconscious and his body bore the scars of torture and whippings. This had been the first time in well over a century that Methelrir had seen Lord Kyerior without his Blood Armour.

It had been only a single season ago that Methelrir had learnt that the head of his Nauglir riders had stolen the Armour from a prominent noble family within Naggarond. This had proven to put Methelrir in a difficult situation, the pair had worked together since Methelrir’s coming of age and it potentially put himself at risk from a new enemy.

You were wise to inform us of his transgression”, said the Witch King. “You may do as you wish with him, I will provide you with transportation to Clar Karond where your new force awaits you.

With a gesture the Black Guard stepped forwards aiming halberds at Methelrir in sinister but well disciplined motions. With a nod and bow to the King and Queen of Elves he made his way knowing that he was no longer welcome to remain within Naggarond, the sooner he left the city the much safer Methelrir would feel.

***

It was rarely warm in Naggaroth, no matter what time of year. This far north in the world all a Druchii could hope for were degrees of how cold it could get. At this time of year according this time of year it was meant to be spring. Yet for Methelrir it might as well have been winter, as he watched chilling rain keep falling amongst the Black Forest.

The Druchii noble had been pleased to leave Naggarond, yet he now found himself in a melancholy mood, which did not help that fact he had to share his wooden carriage with his wife. Hasyrs just glared at her husband whilst she held Avbrys their baby daughter. As usual Hasyrs was in all her finery, dressed in the richest red silk, whilst wearing her bronze torc adorned with a huge ruby, every part of her appearance told of a rich noble devoted to the Bloody Handed God.

“There is no need in glaring at me, it wont get us into the city quicker.” Methelrir had grown tired of his wife’s bitter attitude, she often reminded him of Druchii weather. “Once the toll keeper is adequately rewarded I am more than certain we will enter Clar Karond.”

“Well if it was not for you we would still be living in Naggarond.” Hasyrs had a voice like a hissing snake when she was angered.

“Let’s not play the game of whose fault is whose, otherwise I’ll have to raise the topic of Death Night.”

Methelrir gave a smile at the memory of the bloodiest holiday devoted to Khaine. He and his followers had been lucky to leave the city alive that night, yet it had paid off well. The most unfortunate thing was that Methelrir was forced to hand over sensitive information to the cult of Khaine on that night which had destabilised his own power, something he knew his wife would mention.

“Well now you have Illian hovering over your shoulder ready to drive the dagger in,” she snubbed. Methelrir sighed at the predictability of his wife, she knew so very little of his dealings but liked to put her nose in when she did not understand.

“So I blackmailed a Khainite Priest, it worked out in our favour”, he smiled resting on his arms. “Illian is loyal to me now, the business was sorted with.”

“Illian is loyal to the cult of Khaine.”

Methelrir ignored his wife and turned his attention to outside the window, it was still pouring hard with rain. Yet in the distance he could see the guards stand in front of the huge Iron doors that led to Clar Karond. He watched intently in the event that something would go wrong, Methelrir was now itching for a fight and wanted to kill something. At the moment, top of his list was his own wife.

It was not long before an Elf came wandering towards his carriage. This time he was not naked matted with his own blood. Kyerior was now wearing black fatigues and he had a short sword at his side. The noble had been unconscious most of the journey but had since come round. Kyerior’s hair was dank like some drowned rat and his front few teeth were missing since his torture.

“They have been dealt with, Lord Methelrir”, winced Kyerior. Talking was still painful from the torture he had received from stealing from another noble’s household.

Methelrir sized up his longest serving retainers, he had never understood what had gone on in his head. Had Methelrir resulted in any of his other retainers being tortured then he knew he would not have survived this journey. Kyerior acted how he always had, with no sign of caring, no ambition and certainly no anger. Methelrir hated Kyerior for his un-Druchii behaviour, he was cold where most were aggressive.

Kyerior entered the carriage and sat opposite Methelrir as the carriage moved onwards into the city. He was shivering slightly from the cold he had been forced to endure whilst bribing the city guard to let them in. Hasyrs grabbed a wolf pelt and laid over the nobles back and started gently rubbing the disgraced noble with her hands. Her pathetic attempts of flirting nearly made Methelrir laugh, there were advantages to Kyerior’s un-Druchii behaviour.

“It seems we are the last to arrive”, intoned Kyerior’s emotionless voice. “The guards claim that others have already arrived.”

Methelrir had expected as much, his remaining forces had no doubt been dispatched first by Naggarond, that way Methelrir would have much less protection on his journey to the city. Still, Methelrir was alive, he was thankful for that at least. He casually ignored his wife and focussed on the coming city and the haunted noises that filled the air as they entered.

***

The rain was hard and cold, it had been unrelenting for the past few weeks. This weather had put everyone in a foul mood, in times like this it was not good to be a newcomer, it invited trouble. Or so the mugger had thought.

He paced through dark streets riddled with pools of mud and water, the treacherous conditions underfoot slowing his journey considerably. He was being, hunted he knew it. It had to be that jumped up gangrel thing, the one with the big dog. Ever since he left the flesh house that evening he realised they had been tracking him, he recognised the mutts smell. He had ran until his legs could not run anymore and still he could smell the wet fur.

Why did he have to attempt to mug him, he was new to the city it should have been easy, now he was pacing through the city for his life. Desperation had taken hold of him and he was now certain he would board a ship, any ship to get away from this place. The docks were near, he could hear the yells of slave masters working their slaves to build fresh vessels no matter what time of day it was.

A crash behind him broke his concentration and he turned, only to see nothing. The alleys were silent, there was no sound, only the heavy downpour of the rain. Not even a rodent stirred, that was the most horrible feeling, it was the silence. He nearly breathed a sigh of relief when something heavy smacked into his back forcing the Elf to the ground.

Turing in terror he saw a huge animal looming over him. He realised that it was not a dog at all, he had only briefly seen it before, he was not certain what it was. Huge and muscular the beast perched, drooling, on his chest was too small to be a bear and yet too large to be a wolf..

“Finish him, you stupid ball of fur”, hissed an unseen voice and the bear-wolf dived upon the would be mugger, ripping so quickly apart that the Elf had no time to scream. His entrails were torn from his body, just as blood spat onto the spike collar of the creature.

“You can have your share later”, barked a Gangrel Elf who nimbly dropped from the roof of the building above. He kicked his pet in its rear leg, the creature replying with a simple growl.

The Elf was far paler then mos, and adorned with tattoos of a curling snake up his neck and throat. He wore a brown cloak which was rimmed with black feathers, he just gazed down at the Elf that had attempted to mug him. Taking a thin knife he cut away the flesh and placed it in a leather pouch. With a twisted smile he felt satisfied that he would have at least some Elf flesh before he left these lands.

“That’s it your turn now”, he laughed as he stood away. The animal growled and dived once more onto the body eating the elf, there was barely any meat on it to satisfy the creatures hunger, he knew he would have to feed it again soon.

The Elf moved away from his pet knowing it would soon follow him. He had never named the creature but other Elves had given it a title and since then it had been called a Vorannun, which meant Furred-Terror in the Druchii tongue.

, he moved out of the alley and smiled at how close his attacker had got to the docks, he always savoured the hunt until the very end, the Goddess Anath Raema would smile upon the hunt that he had enjoyed.

Just before the sadistic Elf was a series of carriages which were pulling up towards the dock. Most were carrying luggage by the appearance of things, the final one though brought different delights as three Elves left, one was holding a baby. With an arrogant swagger the gangrel Elf walked towards them.

“Fersomain”, hissed the female. “I see you survived, nothing ate you along the way then.” In a mocking gesture Fersomain bowed before lady Hasyrs, but his eyes fixed upon Methelrir his master.

The Druchii noble had a defeated look about him and a fresh wound around his chin, one Fersomain knew had not come from the battle. His hair was tied back into a pony tale and his piercing eyes always had little trouble to look into Fersomain’s own.

“If it is the will of Moraig-Heg for me to live then that his her will”, he smiled back.

“How long have you been here then?” Methelrir was almost vacant with his question.

“A day at most my lord, I wanted to entertain myself before I left this place.”

“I see”, Methelrir gestured to the blood soaked Vorannun as it strode closer to Fersomain. It kept its gaze straight at Methelrir almost looking at him like he was a meal. “Who has arrived so far?”

“I have only seen Draethen so far, he was as talkative as always.” Fersomain enjoyed mocking those he was associated with. The executioner of Khaine was a mute due to some attack on his throat, “Now it is time I left as well.”

Fersomain strode past Methelrir, he did not care that he had not asked his leave of his master. Fersomain had always been the most hated of all of Methelrir’s retainers it was something he had greatly liked, yet so far none had dared move against him and that was largely thanks to the huge Vorannun that was striding next to him.

Fersomain came to one of the boats close to the dock. The creaking wood was drenched, just as everything else was. It made things slippery, despite his lack of experience with anything sea related Fersomain managed to get himself onto the boat without falling over. Whereas is animal companion simply leapt over and ended up sliding across the deck. The foolish creature nearly fell off at the other side, which caused the small Elf to shake his head.

“Stupid creature.”

“That it is”, declared a voice with no emotion.

Fersomain turned to see that Kyerior had joined him. The warrior noble looked somehow defeated without his huge armour. What was more he was limping and there were exhausted breaths coming from his body. Fersomain nearly gave a wicked smile, he recognised the signs of one who had been tortured, after all Fersomain had done it enough times as well as being on the receiving end fewer.

“Perhaps it is like its master”, intoned Kyerior. Despite all pretences Fersomain knew that the noble was not completely void with his feelings, he at times had a superior way of things, the only truly disturbing thing about him was a lack of vicious streak.

“Well in that case if it was you who were its master it would be rolled on its back waiting for the lash”, smiled the small Elf. Fersomain had a great talent of annoying Kyerior, one that no other possessed. He knew that Kyerior would do nothing, he did not have the stomach for true Druchii behaviour, he was good enough on the battlefield, but that was as far as Kyerior came to with his use.

“You stay out of my way Autarii and I’ll stay out of yours.” Few remarked on Fersomain’s heritage anymore, it had not mattered after years of service together. Yet Fersomain had come from the mountain folk, he cared not that other Druchii distrusted his kind of people, he distrusted all, life was simpler that way.

Fersomain took a seat on the boat and awaiting his clumsy Vorannun to move in closer to him. The visible presence of the huge beast being on close proximity to the Shade obviously unervered Kyerior. Once more Fersomain smiled at his fellow retainer, this time it was more sinister. Kyerior was all talk and never followed on his threats, everyone under Methelrir’s employ knew that. Where as Fersomain on the other hand would have no qualms with slaying anyone he was associated with, it made no difference to him, everyone he had met were all dead in his eyes, it was only a matter of time.

He turned from Kyerior now bored with the insults and threats they had made to each other, it was Fersomain’s biggest flaw, he bored easily. Instead the Autarii gazed out into the storm seas looking for the Black Ark which would be his home until he died. In the heavy rain and thick gloomy clouds he could see nothing, he was not even certain if it was close to the shore. At this distance all he could see was the river leading out into the begging’s of the sea.

He smiled to himself, there were those who would fear the place they would be calling home. Cursed they thought it to be, Fersomain never believed in curses he put his fate into the hands of the only two things that mattered to him Anath Raema and Moraig-Heg, if these Goddesses had deemed his life was to end then Fersomain did not care, he lived in the present. He made a silent prayer to his two Goddesses that he would trust in his destiny and hunt whatever he wanted.
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Re: The Unyielding Tower (WIP)

Postby shadowhawk2008 » Sun Sep 11, 2011 5:33 pm

Really nice piece. Loved reading it.

Your premise and the way you executed it is really nice, drawing in a lot of really powerful and characterful characters. Methelrir is quite the interesting protagonist given his past and the way he handles himself. He is somewhat reminiscent of Malus, a comparison which in my opinion does not do Methelrir any injustice.

Other than that, you've handled the twists and turns in this piece quite well, some of them expected, some unexpected. That strikes a nice balance overall so that it doesn't feel like the story is heavy in one direction.

Finally, I'd recommended a full read-through to catch some really odd sentences and phrasing which jar the flow of the entire piece.

There is one right off the bat,

Kneel”, declared a powerful voice of age and dread. It came from no normal sound, it was more like a heated furnace trying to speak.


The way you wrote it instantly jarred the beginning when I read it, and I had to spend a few moments thinking how to phrase it better. If something like that happens a little too often in a piece, then the fun factor drops.

The above phrase should be,

The speaker's tone, a powerful voice filled with age and dread, was unnatural and powerful, as if a heated furnace bellowing steam was attempting to speak.


This works better for me. The following sentences could also be slightly reworded.

The Dark Elf hung his head in shame and fell heavily to his knees, not from the weight of the armour that enclosed his tall, lithe frame, but the weight of his failure. Failure that had caused his downfall from the lofty heights of power he had reached, and the near destruction of the grand army he had once commanded.
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Re: The Unyielding Tower (WIP)

Postby kurisawa » Mon Oct 03, 2011 12:48 am

Hi! I'm your newest Ruin chappy here to give some crit. I did have lots of technical/grammar points to make, but I see others picking up on them, so I'll cut to the overview. I've only properly read the first section so far - the meeting with Malekith and Morathi.

I liked this opening scene to set up the "problem" of the story, and meet the protagonist under tense circumstances. I can see you tried to keep your infodumping in short lumps, but I still think you could use the dialogue for this. In fact, this conversation is crying out to be used as characterful exposition. It's the old exhortation - show, don't tell. Also, focus more on what the Druchii general is feeling, hearing, smelling, right now in the chamber.

Secondly, I think you need to work more on Methelrir's character. He seems to suffer from arrogance, but is acting very humble in front of the Witch King (and who can blame him? :lol: ). However, I would think an arrogant - and typical backstabbing - druchii would try very hard to deflect the blame of the big loss from himself. Would he not try to blame bad intel from a subordinate (or, even better, a shade outside his emply)? I think he accepts the shame of defeat too easily. Next, he seems to get off very easily, even with the notoriety of the Unyielding Tower explained. I would think the deep wound to his pride should be brought out more.

So, I had a stab at rewording this opening, below, to try and show you what I mean...


'Kneel!' the voice rumbled, the hissing and spitting like a furnace roiling beneath its ancient tone.

Attempting to still his shaking limbs, Methelrir sank to his knees, his red-rimmed eyes locked on the smooth, black marble slabs below.

'You dare to fail me?' the deep resonance of the voice stirred in Methelrir's bowels.

'I... I... needed more men,' gasped Methelrir, trying to keep his shoulders from slumping further. He hoped the dim flicker of the candlelight within the huge throne-room hid his trembles. He loathed this weakness in himself, having seen it in the eyes of countless vanquished foes begging for mercy beneath his drawn blade.

'You assured me of victory.'

'The beastmen...' said Methelrir. 'There... There were too many...'

'Too many? I make you General of Naggarond and you shame us with this pathetic excuse? You stood right here before me and boasted of sending them fleeing back into the Iron Mountains.'

'Kyerior!' said Methelrir, 'He... He is to blame! He gave false account of the enemy movements and strengths.'

'Kyerior? It is he that lost us hundreds of my proud Druchii warriors to these... barbarians?'

'Yes!' said Methelrir. 'It is his mistake, My King.'

'And yet he is under your command.'

Methelrir froze, terror locking his jaws closed.

'You selected him, did you not? You selected every warrior fighting under your command. Are you not responsible for their mistakes, as surely as your own?'

Methelrir wracked his mind for a reply, when another voice spoke.

'Why do you not look upon us? Are you not amongst friends?'

He had not noticed her enter, but the smooth, alluring female voice brushed his ears from close by. He spotted from the corner of his eye the hem of a long purple dress of exotic silks swish at his side. Smooth, long-fingered, ivory pale hands idly twirled a razor-sharp sacrificial dagger. Sensing her circling behind him, Methelrir dared not lift his eyes from the ground, knowing the viperous woman could change her mood in a heartbeat.

Her hand took his chin and he repressed a shiver at the icy touch. The hand pulled his face up to hers and he dared not resist. Oval eyes like dark, bottomless pools of malice stared into his. Lustrous locks of ice white hair tumbled across her slender shoulders, framing the perfect face that was immortally young yet witheringly ancient at the same time.

'Lady Morathi,' he gasped.


And so on...

I like that Morathi is playing good-cop to Malekith's angry outbursts, so keep that up. The ritual scarring by Morathi should be the climax when he is finally cornered into admitting his shame. Use the hot blood dripping down his cheek as a metaphor for the hot shame seeping into his heart. I would have them both gradually ratchet up the pressure on Methelrir until he is almost begging for any assignment to atone for his defeat - then spring the Unyielding Tower surprise on him - another trap.

The danger of being sent to this Unyielding Tower needs to be profoundly unsettling. It needs to be a real punishment, so that Methelrir does not treat it as a lucky escape: His only other option would have been a horrible death at the hands of Morathi, so let's not make the choice easy!

Hope some of this is helpful. :? Ignore any and all comments at your leisure...


K.
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Re: The Unyielding Tower (WIP)

Postby The_unchanged » Mon Oct 03, 2011 3:42 am

Razhbad wrote:

The Elf gaz(ed) downwards dropped to his knees (feet) ever with a heavy weight. Not the weight of the armour he was enclosed in, but of (with) the feeling of failure. Failure at the height of his power had come crashing down along with the army he had once commanded.

He intently gazed (intently at) the floor(,) too terrified to lift his head. All his keen eyes saw were the black marble slabs and the dim flicker of light that the candles created within a chamber he had stood only a week before when he made bold claims of victory by his hand.

You have failed me” the voice said.

“That was not my intent”, he weakly replied. Metelrir’hs (his) own voice sounded pathetic, it reminded him of all his enemies and rivals when they had found themselves subjected by his own power. A power that was now lost to him, in his short time as General of Naggarond.

Few had dared to say such words to Methelrir and those who had were dead now. Despite the slight rage that boiled in his heart the Druchii lord stayed still, to(o) terrified to do anything but await a death that would swiftly follow.

It had gone so horribly wrong for Methelrir. In one year within his position he had invested large sums of his own personal wealth to build up a force for the glory of Naggaroth. An army that had numbered in their thousand(s)(,) (of) which now only a few hundred had lived to tell the tale.

“Why do you not look upon us?” She said, “you are amongst friends.” A slender female hand that felt cold to the touch rested upon Methelrir’s chin and forcibly pulled it upwards with an unknown strength that nearly made the Duchii jump with fear.

I REALLY LIKE THIS PARAGRAPH IT'S AN EXCELLENT WAY TO INTRODUCE MORATHI

He looked upon the young beautiful face of a Dark Elf who had long white hair and dark eyes that revealed nothing other th(a)n an age that Methelrir could not possibly imagine.

The Witch King Malekith stood far taller then any Elf in a black armoured form

YOU NEED TO EXPAND AND ELABORATE ON THIS, HOW HUGE IS HE? WHY IS HIS ARMOUR IMPORTANT


Rise Methelrir”, ordered the Witch King and Methelrir felt himself being lifted up by Morathi’s own hand whilst across his chin (which still held his chin).

“Have no fear my friend”, hissed the Sorceress in an almost joyful way. “You saved my life once so you havingnothing to fear. For now at least.”

What do you know of the Lord Raelon?” The Witch King (said), impossible to read.


“The Unyielding Tower.” (I LIKE THIS PREMISE AND A GOOD TIE INTO THE TITLE)


“You need not worry”, smiled Morathi. “We have already started recruiting for you?


At the moment top of his list was his own wife. NICE WAY OF SHOWING THE CRUELTY AND DARK HUMOUR OF THE DRUCHII

Methelrir sized up one of his longest serving retainers, he had never understood what had gone on in his head. Had Methelrir resulted in any of his other retainers being tortured then he knew he would not have survived this journey. Kyerior acted how he always had, with no sign of caring, no ambition and certainly no anger. Methelrir hated Kyerior for his un-Druchii behaviour, he was cold where most were aggressive. THIS IS GOOD, IT GIVES US A LITTLE INTEREST IN KYERIOR AND ALSO SHOWS A POSSIBLE VOLATILITY BETWEEN HIM AND METH.



Tur(N)ing in terror he saw a huge animal looming over him. He realised that it wasn’t a dog at all, he had only briefly seen it before, he was not certain what it was. Huge and muscular(,) a brown hairy beast drooled over him(,) it was not quite the shape of a bear, nor was it a wolf, it was some hybrid crossbreed of the two.

“Finish him you stupid ball of fur”, hissed an unseen voice and the bear-wolf dived upon the would be mugger ripping (HIM) so quickly apart that the Elf had no time to scream. His entrails were gutted from his body, just as blood spat onto the spike colour of the creature.

“You can have your share later”, barked a Gangrel Elf who nimbly dropped from the roof of the building above. He kicked the bear-wolf (ON) it's rear leg, (TO) which (THE BEAST GAVE) a simple growl.


Fersomain took a seat on the boat and awaiting(ED) his clumsy (Bear-Wolf - PERHAPS AN ELVISH WORD TO DESCRIBE THE BEAST WOULD BE BETTER HERE?) to move in closer to him.


A sight (SOUND?) caught Methelrir’s attention and guessed that this was what his wife had indicated. As one sleek vessel left the dock another one was approaching. It was filled with warriors with grim looks on their faces, ones that Methelrir recognised. Clad in chain mail with green scaled cloaks they came, the corsairs who enslaved the races of the world, only these were his corsairs.

Methelrir laughed and was pleased the Celodaen joined in, the rouge would keep his dealings away from Methelrir he always had and the Highborn was certain that once more Celodaen would find ways of robbing Methelrir without him notching.(NOTICING?) Right now he did not care, for he felt just that little bit safe, of course Galfin and his Corsairs were another issue. They may not betray him without Celodaen, but perhaps they might just be less then accommodating in the seasons to come.


I LIKED THE ENDING BUT IT SEEMED A LITTLE ABRUPT, THOUGH I SUPPOSE THATS THE BEAUTY IN IT, INTERESTING TO SEE WHAT CELODAEN GAINS FROM THIS ACTION AND WHETHER METH WILL SURVIVE.

Overall though I think you need to give each paragraph a read through after you've finished, this will help you smooth out any errors and also help you improve your writing, A little bit of self editing is an excellent way to keep on top of what your doing. I'd also advise you to use more comma's, again you'll see what I mean when you read through.
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Re: The Unyielding Tower (WIP)

Postby The_unchanged » Mon Oct 03, 2011 3:47 am

Overall the story is really interesting, I'm really glad you chose the Druchii as I haven't seen much Dark Elf fan fiction and this adds to the uniqueness and appeal of the story.

Your characters are interesting and diverse, though Meth could do with a little more fleshing out if he's to be your protaganist (if he survives that is). You tell us more about what Druchii are supposed to feel instead of what he feels.

The rest of his retainers are good, as is his wife, though perhaps I would create and elvish word to describe the wolf-bear as calling it a wolf-bear will become annoyingly repetitive.

I enjoyed this, and once you've re read and ironed out the little flaws i'll most definitely be following it.

Keep up the good work dude!

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Re: The Unyielding Tower (WIP)

Postby Mauthos » Mon Oct 03, 2011 9:24 am

Considering that I am not a great fan of the Dark Elves and in that case I do not really know much about their history etc, so regarding whether this is how the characters would act, I will not comment on.

However, as most of the previous comments deal with the grammer, jarring sentences etc I will just echo the sentiment that maybe a more detailed read-through once you have finished would benefit your writing greatly.

Overall, I enjoyed the piece and thought you handled the story well, it flowed nicely and never appeared slow or dull. Your characterisation could improve by fleshing out your protagonist, but other than that I think you accomplished the tale well.

So, keep up the good work and I look forward to more :)
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Re: The Unyielding Tower (WIP)

Postby Razhbad » Mon Oct 03, 2011 11:49 am

Thanks for all the input guys its really helpful stuff and once more of the WtR have posted up their criticisms i'll make some changes to this. As you have all guessed perhaps from reading this or other stuff I have done my greatest enemy is Grammar (CURSE YOU).

The changes I look set to alter so far are the main grammar issues that both the_unchanged and Shadow pointed out. I plan on slightly changing the first section taking on some of Kurisawa's advice especially with how to describe how Methelrir is feeling and acting when thrust in front of the Witch King. Whats more i'll be taking on board what most of you say about fleshing out Methelrir a bit more in this entire sequence of events, as I want him to become more of an individual character as I possibly can.

P.S I have created a word for the Bear-Wolf in sort of Elvish, I was thinking either Vorannun or Haiyasai.
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Re: The Unyielding Tower (WIP)

Postby Tyrant » Mon Oct 03, 2011 2:01 pm

First off, it was a looooooooot of text to read in one go. I recommend that future chapters are broken up into smaller parts, it wouldn't detract from the story and would help get more readers I think. Now, on to the main event.

There are quite a few instances where you use the wrong words, or poor grammar creeps in, and it snaps the reader out of the story a bit. Example:

"“Kneel”, declared a powerful voice of age and dread. It came from no normal sound, it was more like a heated furnace trying to speak."

"Came from" should be "was", for instance.

"He intently gazed upon the floor too terrified to lift his head"

Gazed at, not gazed upon.

Your sentences have a tendency to be a bit long, so you need commas to break them up. Try reading them aloud to yourself, that's a good way to work out how the sentences should be split.

" Despite the slight rage that boiled in his heart the Druchii lord stayed still, to terrified to do anything but await a death that would swiftly follow."

A "slight" rage? Something slight wouldn't boil within his heart. Also, it should have been "too", not "to". That's something to watch out for.

The idea that your character saved Morathi is interesting, I hope you'll expand on that.

The rest of your characters have been well-introduced, they seem like quite a diverse bunch which should make for some interesting interactions between them.

I agree with the others that "bear-wolf" needs to be changed.

Overall the story has lot of potential, I'll be interested to see where it goes from here!
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Re: The Unyielding Tower (WIP)

Postby kurisawa » Tue Oct 04, 2011 9:07 am

Ok. Crit part 2! I read the next section and this time I am going to talk about technical points because it is severely detracting from your story.

The rain was hard and cold, it had been unrelenting for the past few weeks. This weather had put everyone in a foul mood, in times like this it was not good to be a newcomer, it invited trouble or so the mugger had thought.

Don't be afraid of short sentences. They make reading simple, allowing your reader to get more into the fictional dream, and actually can heighten your tension (and this is a tense moment!). The short, sharp cracks give pace to the story. So, I would re-write like this...

Freezing hail knifed down, stabbing at the streets. The assault had been unrelenting for weeks. Everyone was ready to pull their dagger at any slight provocation. Being a newcomer at such a time was fatal. Trouble stalked newcomers, or so the mugger had thought.

I've also played with your words a bit and... how can I say it... made it more. I think a good guide for trying to write in the Warhammer universes is to take every idea you have, then make it ten times worse. BL likes their grimdark hyperbole taken to the absolute extreme. Your opening here could be in any modern Western city. I don't feel Naggaroth in this at all.

There also seems to be a POV glitch here. We are learning what the mugger thinks here, right? Or is it the newcomer? Who is who? Is the mugger a newcomer?


He paced through the dark streets that were riddled with large pools of mud and water that only slowed his journey.

He crept through the dark streets, pools of mud and water grasping at his heels and slowing him down.

Here I've tried to add the feeling that city itself is working against him. By the way, I've not been there, but would the DE capital have dirt streets?


He was being hunted he knew it, what was more it was by that jumped up gangrel thing, the one with the big dog.

He was being hunted. He knew it. That gangrel thing with the huge canine beast. Yes, he'd seen the bastard somewhere at the dock.

Ever since he left the flesh house that evening he realised they had been tracking him, he recognised the mutts smell. He had ran until his legs couldn’t run anymore and still he could smell the wet fur.

Ahh, "mutt's smell" - don't forget those apstrophes of ownership, and "had run". I know these are nitpicky, but it's really a pain to read when I keep hitting these grammar roadblocks for my eyes. :(

Why did he have to attempt to mug him, he was new to the city it should have been easy, now he was pacing through the city for his life.

Why did who have to mug whom? I'm getting confused with POV again, and this again looks like it should be four separate sentences.

Desperation had taken hold of him and he was now certain he would board a ship, any ship to get away from this place. The docks were near, he could hear the yells of slave masters working their slaves to build fresh vessels no matter what time of day it was.

Ok, this is cool. I wonder if it is a snap decision taken because of his impending mugging, or if he had been thinking about it for a while. Again, I would take those slavemasters and slaves, and make it ten times worse. Let's see blood, torture and dying slaves being picked off by harpies. Let's see the legendary cruelty of the Dark Elves.

A crash behind him broke his concentration and he turned, only to see nothing. The alleys were silent, there was no sound, only the heavy downpour of the rain. Not even a rodent stirred, that was the most horrible feeling, it was the silence. He nearly breathed a sigh of relief when something heavy smacked into his back forcing the Elf to the ground.

You know, I kind of forgot that he was an elf. It all seems a bit too human - the sights, the sounds, his feelings. Even the word "mugging" seems faintly un-elfy. Wouldn't an assassin with poisoned homing dragonflies be more characterful (and effective!) than easily smelled dogs?

Turing in terror he saw a huge animal looming over him. He realised that it wasn’t a dog at all, he had only briefly seen it before, he was not certain what it was. Huge and muscular a brown hairy beast drooled over him it was not quite the shape of a bear, nor was it a wolf, it was some hybrid crossbreed of the two.

I would look at how you construct your sentences, and also review every single verb you use. Try to cut out simple verbs like "see", "look", "stand" and "walk", and replace with stronger, more descriptive verbs such as "glimpse", "spy", "loom" and "creep". Like this...

Whirling in terror, he witnessed a huge animal looming over him. He realised it wasn't a dog at all. He had only glimpsed it earlier. He had seen nothing like it before. Huge and muscular, the beast drooled over him. Not quite a bear, it was more than a wolf, too. A hybrid. A bastard crossbreed, all muscle and fangs and malice.

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Re: The Unyielding Tower (WIP)

Postby Robbie MacNiven » Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:10 pm

Coursework has made me late to the party so I fear a lot of what I had to say has already been said by our dedicated WtR lot. I’d echo the statements about grammar and character development, but as you’ve clearly already taken them on board I won’t go into detail. I will, however, comment on certain aspects I particularly enjoyed. Critique is a delicate balancing act – whilst it is true that mistakes and problems should be pointed out and we should all be encouraged to work harder, we also have to remember to praise the praiseworthy. By doing that we don’t just let people know what doesn’t work, but we also let them know what does work as well. So…

Firstly, my DE lore is a tad rusty, but I loved some of the background you’ve used. The “non-Druchii” elves in particular left me thinking “oh yeah, of course” and the fact they are used as spies is just frankly awesome – you should do a story on one of them separately!

“The Chaos ravagers had broken upon his army and he now had nothing to bargain with, especially as his rivals were now doing their best to claim what little resources he had left.”

“There now it looks like you were attacked during your failure.”

“this way he would just vanish into obscurity, all the while Naggarond would get rich on his plunder whilst he remained alive.”

“Fersomain enjoyed mocking those he was associated with.”

“he distrusted all, life was simpler that way”

“If he killed Celodaen quickly there would be a chance that Galfin would not do anything”


^ I thought all of the above lines were great, mainly because they all, in one way or another, really get across the DE feel of the story. These are Druchii (or, in Fersomain’s case, Autarii) you’re writing about, and it shows. A lot of people, myself included, would probably lean too much towards describing our characters in human terms, but in this story they’re always clearly Dark Elves – their society and mindsets are all utterly alien to us, and you did well to portray this.

I think underlying this is a really excellent and exciting plot. As everyone has said just clear up the grammar and the exact wording and you’ll have a very fine piece of WFB indeed. Keep it up!
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Re: The Unyielding Tower (WIP)

Postby Raziel4707 » Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:28 pm

Not all done yet, but I didn't realise there was this much! Will complete and post the rest in due course. I've done it bit by bit, but will conclude and give personal impressions etc at the end. I've tried to be quite critical but that does not mean I don't like the story, quite the opposite in fact.

“Kneel”, declared a powerful voice of age and dread. It came from no normal sound, it was more like a heated furnace trying to speak.

As an opener, this is a touch flat. The imagery is there and I see what you’re getting at but it lacks a certain eloquence. A voice does not come from a sound, it is a sound. Perhaps “”Kneel”, declared a voice laden with age and dread. The sound was grating and unnatural, a guttural noise as of a heated furnace trying to speak.

The Elf gazing downwards dropped to his knees ever with a heavy weight. Not the weight of the armour he was enclosed in, but of the feeling of failure. Failure at the height of his power had come crashing down along with the army he had once commanded.

Perhaps simply “dropped heavily to his knees. The weight upon his shoulders was not that of his armour, but that which came from his feeling of failure.”

He intently gazed upon the floor too terrified to lift his head. All his keen eyes saw were the black marble slabs and the dim flicker of light that the candles created within a chamber he had stood only a week before when he made bold claims of victory by his hand.

Fragment, that sentence is huge.

“You have failed me” the voice said.
Leave off “the voice said.” You don’t need it, the italics do that for you.

“That was not my intent”, he weakly replied. Methelrir’s own voice sounded pathetic, it reminded him of all his enemies and rivals when they had found themselves subjected by his own power. A power that was now lost to him, in his short time as General of Naggarond.
Subject to, not subjected by.

“No, was your intent then to see the Beastmen vanquished.”

Question mark after no and vanquished.
“To keep our people safe from harm.”

“So you did not fail by design, more by lack of skill.”

Few had dared to say such words to Methelrir and those who had were dead now. Despite the slight rage that boiled in his heart the Druchii lord stayed still, to terrified to do anything but await a death that would swiftly follow.
Slight rage? Slight diminishes it. TOO terrified, not to terrified, and I would go for “the death” rather than “a death.” Death is, generally, the most definitive of articles, so as he can only expect the one, I’d say go for the.
It had gone so horribly wrong for Methelrir. In one year within his position he had invested large sums of his own personal wealth to build up a force for the glory of Naggaroth. An army that had numbered in their thousand which now only a few hundred had lived to tell the tale.
Perhaps “of which only a few hundred had lived to tell the tale.”
“I needed more warriors”, he attempted to say. In truth his own arrogance and dismissal of the size of the Beastmen Horde that had descended from the Iron Mountains had caused his fall from grace. The Chaos ravagers had broken upon his army and he now had nothing to bargain with, especially as his rivals were now doing their best to claim what little resources he had left.

“Was it not in this chamber that you told me of how you would win glory and how you did not need my might.”

Question marks!
“I assume I cannot expect a quick death.”

“That depends on you”, said a new voice. This one came from a female who displayed the wisdom of aeons with a subtle cruel intent.
How is this displayed? Perhaps mention an effect that the voice has on him, perhaps how it cuts into his soul and makes a cup of tea with his blood or something. Not too overboard but you know, show don’t tell and all that.
Methelrir had not realised that another had entered the chamber, yet he could feel a cold presence moving around his form until he caught sight of a long purple dress that was draped across the floor near where he knelt.

“Why do you not look upon us?” She said, “you are amongst friends.” A slender female hand that felt cold to the touch rested upon Methelrir’s chin and forcibly pulled it upwards with an unknown strength that nearly made the Duchii jump with fear.

She said. “you are among friends.” Also, break up the sentence that follows.

He looked upon the young beautiful face of a Dark Elf who had long white hair and dark eyes that revealed nothing other then an age that Methelrir could not possibly imagine.
This does not immediately make sense. I see what you’re getting at but it doesn’t quite scan. Allude more clearly to how her eyes compare to her face, what it is that makes them noteworthy and what this means for her as a character.
“Lady Morathi”, he said as he looked upon the face of the fabled Hag Sorceress of the Druchii.

“Have you not served us faithfully, a single failure does not forget such a loyal servant as you.”

Question mark after faithfully.

“Yet failed me you have” said the original voice and now Methelrir found his gaze turning to the huge armoured form in front of him.

The Witch King Malekith stood far taller then any Elf in a black armoured form that hurt the eyes to look upon for long. His black fiery orbs for eyes looked upon Methelrir and he was certain that this gaze could look straight upon his soul.

Not black armoured form. That is his form, he’s not standing in a form. Perhaps “taller than any Elf, in black, vicious looking armour, his eyes soon beginning to hurt as he looked upon his king.
Second sentence makes it sound like it is Malekith who was certain his gaze could look upon his soul. The switch in subject is there because we can work out what you mean, but that’s not technically quite what you’re saying. Perhaps re-write that sentence more clearly from Methelrir’s point of view.


“Rise Methelrir”, ordered the Witch King and Methelrir felt himself being lifted up by Morathi’s own hand whilst across his chin.
Comma after “rise.” Perhaps “Lifted up by Morathi’s hand, still clamped a it was across his jaw.”

“Of course such a handsome face as yours is strange to see that it has not gained a scar.” Quick as a viper Morathi’s hand moved and Methelrir winced in pain as a long concealed dagger slashed across from his chin to his right ear. “There now it looks like you were attacked during your failure.”

Maybe “of course it is strange to see that your handsome face has not gained a scar, for all your bravery.” It just needs a little tightening. Comma between long and concealed. Remove “across.” Second piece of dialogue – comma after “there.”

“What place is there for a General who has no army?” He dared ask, still expecting his death in a moments notice.
Moment’s. Possessive apostrophe.

“Have no fear my friend”, hissed the Sorceress in an almost joyful way. “You saved my life once so you having nothing to fear. For now at least.”

Repetition on “fear.” Perhaps something a bit like “Hush now,” instead.

“What do you know of the Lord Raelon?” The Witch King was impossible to read.

That came a bit out of the blue! Perhaps lose this and replace it with Malekith leaning forward towards him, add a bit more dialogue or description so it doesn’t seem so random at first glance.
Methelrir knew the name, he belonged to a former Dread Lord who had foolishly taken it upon himself to declare that he was the new Witch King and had even nurtured a cult of male Sorcerers, strictly against the laws of the Druchii. Naturally Naggarond would suffer no others leadership in this harsh world.
It belonged, surely? “This harsh world” doesn’t really scan, it alcks a certain drama.

“He died by your hand”, voiced Methelrir.

“Indeed he did as did his entire Black Ark, which as we speak has sat within the Sea of Malice awaiting a new master to claim her.”

Comma after “he did.”

“The Unyielding Tower.”

“Which I give to you.”

Methelrir was grateful that he had avoided death, but knew the Unyielding Tower was not a reward. It had been called the ‘Cursed Black Ark’ as every Lord and Lady that had commanded the Black Ark had found themselves dead along with most of their occupants with them.
perhaps “and with good reason” after “Cursed Black Ark.” Might I also suggest “Accursed” instead of cursed? It’s a bit sexier.

“I do not have the numbers to command it?”

Not a question.

“You need not worry”, smiled Morathi. “We have already started recruiting for you?”

Neither is that.

Methelrir did not know what sort of Druchii would dare to tread upon the Black Ark. Only the outcasts of Druchii society, criminals, failed gangs and shamed individuals that had prices on their heads which would see them dead if they remained on the mainland. Another thought struck Methelrir their were worse that would venture onto a damned place.

Semi-colon after society, it’s a list., and another one between Methelrir and their, as the two parts of that sentence can stand up on their own as individual sentences.

“Non true Druchii”, he hissed. At the time of the Civil War it had not only been lost Nagarythe that had joined the Witch King. There had been others from the rest of Ulthuan that had taken up arms on behalf of Anaerion’s son. They were small in number and disliked amongst those from Nagarythe yet exist they had.

Non true Druchii? Did you mean “not”, or non? Where did he summon the bollocks to hiss at Malekith? He wouldn’t look at him a moment ago. Perhaps put in an insult here aimed at those parituclar elves, and have him mutter it under his breath. After his balls up I shouldn’t think that Malekith would tolerate insolence.

“Do not be too dismissive of them. Where do you think our spies come from?”

Morathi had a point, if they could be trusted for missions of espionage on Ulthuan then perhaps they could be of use to Methelrir. Still he did not like that the remnants of his forces were now going to be forced to reside with the outcasts of Druchii society. Chances were that Methelrir would be dead within a season.

“I plan on giving your more autonomy as well”, said the Witch King. “You need not return to Naggaroth as often, but still we expect shares of all your plunder.”

That’s quite word for Malekith, isn’t he the s**t-scary silent type most of the time? Perhaps switch this to Morathi, she seems to historically be the gob of the two.

The massage was clear to Methelrir, they wanted him out the way. They were not going to kill him for he could still be useful in ways. What was more the Druchii had proven to have one of the most rapid climbs to power. His wealth had funded hundreds of savage games in pit fights which appeased the lower levels of society. If Methelrir had been executed there would be those that would not be pleased, this way he would just vanish into obscurity, all the while Naggarond would get rich on his plunder whilst he remained alive.
Out of the way, not out the way. “In way” is a repetition of way and the sentence functions perfectly without it.
“I believe he belongs to you”, Morathi said nodding to the door way.
Comma after “said.”

Turning around Methelrir noticed a muscled naked Druchii being held up by Malekith’s fabled black guard. The Elf was unconscious and his body bore the scars of torture and whippings. This had been the first time in well over a century that Methelrir had seen Lord Kyerior without his Blood Armour.

Perhaps “well muscled.” Black Guard should be capitalised if it’s a name of a group or whatever.

It had been only a single season ago that Methelrir had learnt that the head of his Nauglir riders had stolen the Armour from a prominent noble family within Naggarond. This had proven to put Methelrir in a difficult situation, the pair had worked together since Methelrir’s coming of age and it potentially put himself at risk from a new enemy.

Armour on its own is not a proper noun, so no capital.

“You were wise to inform us of his transgression”, said the Witch King. “You may do as you wish with him, I will provide you with transportation to Clar Karond where your new force awaits you.”

With a gesture the Black Guard stepped forwards aiming halberds at Methelrir in sinister but well disciplined motions. With a nod and bow to the King and Queen of Elves he made his way knowing that he was no longer welcome to remain within Naggarond, the sooner he left the city the much safer Methelrir would feel.
I love that you refer to them at the end as the King and Queen of Elves, making no distinction for them being Druchii. That fits so well with the Dark Elf mindset, that sense of rampant entitlement and Malekith’s belief that he should have passed through the flame unharmed and become Phoenix King. I really liked this section, it’s a great scene setter and has me wanting more, what with me being a great lover of Elves dark and high, though the forest ones don’t do much for me usually.
***


It was rarely warm in Naggaroth, no matter what time of year. This far north in the world all a Druchii could hope for were degrees of how cold it could get. At this time of year according to the change of seasons it was meant to be spring. Yet for Methelrir it might as well have been winter, as he watched chilling rain keep falling amongst the Black Forest.

Change of season… perhaps instead refer to it being according to a calendar or something, as if the season’s were actually changing it wouldn’t be constantly cold.

The Druchii noble had been pleased to leave Naggarond, yet he now found himself in a melancholy mood, which did not help that fact he had to share his wooden carriage with his wife. Hasyrs just glared at her husband whilst she held Avbrys their baby daughter. As usual Hasyrs was in all her finery, dressed in the richest red silk, whilst wearing her bronze torc adorned with a huge ruby, every part of her appearance told of a rich noble devoted to the Bloody Handed God.

“There is no need in glaring at me, it wont get us into the city quicker.” Methelrir had grown tired of his wife’s bitter attitude, she often reminded him of Druchii weather. “Once the toll keeper is adequately rewarded I am more then certain we will enter Clar Karond.”

Won’t. Ha, reminded him of Druchii weather, I like that! More THAN certain, not then.

“Well if it was not for you we would still be living in Naggarond.” Hasyrs had a voice like a hissing snake when she was angered.

“Lets not play the game of whose fault is whose, otherwise I’ll have to raise the topic of Death Night.”
Apostrophe in let’s.

Methelrir gave a smile at the memory of the bloodiest holiday devoted to Khaine. He and his followers had been lucky to leave the city alive that night, yet it had paid off well. The most unfortunate thing was that Methelrir was forced to hand over sensitive information to the cult of Khaine on that night which had destabilised his own power, something he knew his wife would mention.

“Well now you have Illian hovering over your shoulder ready to dive the dagger in,” she snubbed. Methelrir sighed at the predictability of his wife, she knew so very little of his dealings but liked to put her nose in when she did not understand.

Drive the dagger in?

“So I blackmailed a Khainite Priest, it worked out in our favour”, he smiled resting on his arms. “Illian is loyal to me now, the business was sorted with.”

“Illian is loyal to the cult of Khaine.”

Methelrir ignored his wife and turned his attention to outside the window, it was still pouring hard with rain. Yet in the distance he could see the guards stand in front of the huge Iron doors that led to Clar Karond. He watched intently in the event that something would go wrong, Methelrir was now itching for a fight and wanted to kill something. At the moment top of his list was his own wife.

Comma after moment.

It was not long before an Elf came wandering towards his carriage. This time he was not naked matted with his own blood. Kyerior was now wearing black fatigues and he had a short sword at his side. The noble had been unconscious most of the journey but had since come round. Kyerior’s hair was dank like some drowned rat and his front few teeth were missing since his torture.
Fatigues? They make me think of baggy combat clothes, not a particularly Elven image to be fair. Something skin tight, perhaps? Though not a leotard, could that would be sh-

“They have been dealt with Lord Methelrir”, winced Kyerior. Talking was still painful from the punishment he had received from stealing from another nobles house hold.

Comma between with and Lord, otherwise it sort of reads as though they have been given Lord Methelrir. Maybe replace punishment with torture to remove the alliteration, noble’s needs a possessive apostrophe and household should be one word, not two.

Methelrir sized up one of his longest serving retainers, he had never understood what had gone on in his head. Had Methelrir resulted in any of his other retainers being tortured then he knew he would not have survived this journey. Kyerior acted how he always had, with no sign of caring, no ambition and certainly no anger. Methelrir hated Kyerior for his un-Druchii behaviour, he was cold where most were aggressive.

I’d change that first bit to “Methelrir sized up his longest serving retainer.” Also, “Has Melthelrir’s actions resulted…”

Kyerior entered the carriage and sat opposite Methelrir as the carriage moved onwards into the city. He was shivering slightly from the cold he had been forced to endure whilst bribing the city guard to let them in. Hasyrs grabbed a wolf skinned pelt and laid over the nobles back and started gently rubbing the disgraced noble with her hands. Her pathetic attempts of flirting nearly made Methelrir laugh, there were advantages to Kyerior’s un-Druchii behaviour.

Wolf skinned pelt? Should probably just be a wolf pelt, or for a bit more fun refer to a pelt that he had personally stripped from the back of a wolf. Oh, and “laid it.”

“It seems we are the last to arrive”, intoned an emotionless voice. “The guards claim that others have already arrived.”

Whose voice is it? Reads like it’s a newcomer.

Methelrir had expected as much, his remaining forces had no doubt been dispatched first by Naggarond, that way Methelrir would have much less protection on his journey to the city. Still Methelrir was alive, he was thankful for that at least. He casually ignored his wife and focussed on the coming city and the haunted noises that filled as they entered.
Comma between Still and Methelrir. Noises that filled? Filled the air?
***


The rain was hard and cold, it had been unrelenting for the past few weeks. This weather had put everyone in a foul mood, in times like this it was not good to be a newcomer, it invited trouble or so the mugger had thought.

Make “Or so the mugger had thought,” an independent sentence.

He paced through the dark streets that were riddled with large pools of mud and water that only slowed his journey. He was being hunted he knew it, what was more it was by that jumped up gangrel thing, the one with the big dog. Ever since he left the flesh house that evening he realised they had been tracking him, he recognised the mutts smell. He had ran until his legs couldn’t run anymore and still he could smell the wet fur.
I’d change the first line to “He paced through dark streets riddled with pools of mud and water, the treacheour conditions underfoot slowing his journey considerably.” Or something. Comma between being and hunted. Possessive apostrophe in “mutt’s”. He had run, no ran. Try to avoid using contractions in the narrative if you can, so I’d change couldn’t to could not.

Why did he have to attempt to mug him, he was new to the city it should have been easy, now he was pacing through the city for his life. Desperation had taken hold of him and he was now certain he would board a ship, any ship to get away from this place. The docks were near, he could hear the yells of slave masters working their slaves to build fresh vessels no matter what time of day it was.

Question mark after “mug him,” then perhaps alter that sentence to “He was new to the city, it should have been easy but now, he was running for his life.

A crash behind him broke his concentration and he turned, only to see nothing. The alleys were silent, there was no sound, only the heavy downpour of the rain. Not even a rodent stirred, that was the most horrible feeling, it was the silence. He nearly breathed a sigh of relief when something heavy smacked into his back forcing the Elf to the ground.
Comma between forcing and Elf.

Turing in terror he saw a huge animal looming over him. He realised that it wasn’t a dog at all, he had only briefly seen it before, he was not certain what it was. Huge and muscular a brown hairy beast drooled over him it was not quite the shape of a bear, nor was it a wolf, it was some hybrid crossbreed of the two.

Contraction again in wasn’t. After that it goes a bit wild and needs a tidy. Perhaps more “The beast that perched, drooling, on his chest was too small to be a bear and yet too large to be a wolf. A foul hybrid of the two, perhaps?” Either crossbreed or hybrid, but not both.

“Finish him you stupid ball of fur”, hissed an unseen voice and the bear-wolf dived upon the would be mugger ripping so quickly apart that the Elf had no time to scream. His entrails were gutted from his body, just as blood spat onto the spike colour of the creature.

Comma between him and you, another between mugger and ripping. Ripping him apart rather than ripping apart so quickly. Entrails gutted from his body. Hmm, perhaps torn? It doesn’t quite scan. Spiked collar, presumably?

“You can have your share later”, barked a Gangrel Elf who nimbly dropped from the roof of the building above. He kicked the bear-wolf it is rear leg which was replied by a simple growl.

Second sentence, a comma after leg and then perhaps “the creature replying with a simple growl.”

The Elf was far paler then most, and adorned with tattoos of a curling snake up his neck and throat. He wore a brown cloak which was rimmed with black feathers, he just gazed down at the Elf that had attempted to mug him. Taking a thin knife he cut away the flesh and placed it in a leather pouch. With a twisted smile he felt satisfied that he would have at least some Elf flesh before he left these lands.

No comma between most and and.
Raziel4707
 
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Re: The Unyielding Tower (WIP)

Postby Razhbad » Thu Dec 01, 2011 4:06 pm

Ok here is my second chapter, I have made some adaptions on my first chapter also based on things said by others, including ideas and texts, thank you all for the comments




Chapter 2


Heat and humidity, this was their world. A world of horrors and treasures in equal measures, few were brave enough to enter the depths of the Green Sea that surrounded as far as the eye could see. Fewer still returned alive, those that did spoke of a terrible place where those with low wit would die quickly. For this was Lustria, home to the servants of the Old Ones, and their cold blooded servants the Lizardmen.

A small wiry Lizard creature stood within the first city of Itza, surrounded by huge pyramids and a labyrinth of temples within the sea of green. Xla’cuaq as the small skink was known had deep blue hue to his scaly skin, a huge quill of flesh of turquoise absorbed the sun light like a mirror. Xla’cuaq was a priest entitled to interpret the will of the Slann, those chosen by the Old Ones. Xla’cuaq knew there would be no understanding of the Great Math in his limited brain, but he could see it brought about.

Xla’cuaq looked upon the script he had received from Lord Chanxl’s attendant from the night before. The Slann of the honoured 5th spawning had seen an unusual star within the sky, using the Geomantic Web even Xla’cuaq had known that this new star hovered above the southern most part of Lustria. Since then Lord Chanxl had entered the trance like state that effected most Slann and this was a recording of the patterns that had formed on Lord Chanxl’s body.

Xla’cuaq leaned heavily upon a golden staff, though age was not the reason, more an attempt of understanding. The equations and variables within the world were too advanced, his mind was too archaic even for a priest. Where a Slann would see the intricate details of the hundreds of different equations and be able to manipulate to the finest detail, Xla’cuaq could only see a few understandings. If only the advanced sciences of the Slann were not left in the hands of superstitious tribal Lizards, but it was.

One variable was clearly repeating itself and that was the Itz’xa’khanx, one of the unpredictable warm-blooded races that came from beyond the World Pond. These warm-bloods had been part of the Old Ones plan that had been clear, such a race had received great insight and as such had become a more advanced society. Yet within these warm-bloods was an unknown variation in their creation, was it design, was it a flaw. Xla’cuaq did not believe this, if anything it was the result of the Great Catastrophe, when darkness had spread forth only the Old Ones truest servants could escape its touch, as such now all races that were part of the plan had become complicated adaptations of what they should have been.

The Itz’xa’khanx were prime examples of this complication. On the one hand they seemed content to remain where they were meant to remain, on the other they were slaves to the extreme variable that all warm-bloods felt, emotions! Lizardmen were not immune from emotions, yet they had not been slaves.

Xla’cuaq studied the words in greater detail then ever before, it was clearer now. There were twin realms of Itz’xa’khanx, these realms were similar and yet the variables were also different in degrees, Xla’cuaq did not understand how but he knew that these realms would attack one of each other soon. In the southern most point of Lustria stood a warm-blood city, built upon a great magical warding of the Old Ones. The words seemed to indicate that should the new warm-bloods take the city then the magical warding could be used for dangerous means, perhaps even risk the cities of Lustria itself.

Xla’cuaq stood up straighter and gazed outward towards the sun light and let its heat warm his body. Breathing deeply the skink priest grabbed the feathered cloak that rested on the ground. It was clear now that an expedition would be needed, for the time being the studies of the Slann would need to be maintained and the cities must remain safe. Others would need to be gathered such as Qu’kai the chosen of Sotek and Gor’rok the Scarred One, for the city of Itza would be going to war.

***

The freezing rain of Naggaroth was only just letting up, but still the thunderous clouds hovered above the city of Clar Karond, ever threatening to renew the storm and fill the inhabitants within with more woe. Methelrir was pleased that he no longer had to endure the harsh weather of this realm, yet he somehow thought it was only a brief respite. More than this he was pleased that his retainer Fersomain had left to make his route to the Black Ark they were soon to call home. Fersomain was the least trust worthy of all of his retainers and whilst he kept the company of the strange Bear-Wolf creations he had created then his position was one of the safest.

Hasyrs had taken it upon herself to load the latest vessel with all of hers and her husbands belongings. With the amount of luggage she had insisted on taking with them then there would be only room on the next ship for herself and their daughter. Not that Methelrir minded being parted from his wife, it was more that he did not want to be alone in this city. A powerful noble with no body guards should never walk alone, and those were the ones who had not become shamed and created enemies.

“Looks like you have company my love”, sneered his wife as she boarded the boat that was now filled with all the possessions she had acquired in a centuries of living.

Methelrir was not sure if he was relieved or disappointed, for he did not trust being a long, nor did he want the company of others at the moment. The shame of failure was still raw in his thoughts, he was still not protected enough from a death at the hands of his rivals or those he had failed.

With a sigh Methelrir moved closer onto the wooden dock whilst the sleek vessel carrying his only living family left. It was moving slowly and would soon venture out of the river onwards to the Black Ark. Just thinking of the cursed place sent a shiver down his spine, it would be his home now and he would make do with what he got came the sickening thought into his twisted head.

A sight caught Methelrir’s attention and guessed that this was what his wife had indicated. As one sleek vessel left the dock another one was approaching. It was filled with warriors with grim looks on their faces, ones that Methelrir recognised. Clad in chain mail with green scaled cloaks they came, the corsairs who enslaved the races of the world, only these were his corsairs.

He reminded himself that they were not his they had never been, they owed their loyalty to Galfin a murderous pirate who had once commanded a fleet of vessels. With thoughts of his Corsair retainer did Methelrir notice that he stood at the front of the vessel alongside Celodaen a criminal who wore rich furs, he smiled at Methelrir as his lank brown hair drifted below the leather skull cap he never took off. Galfin on the other hand had the look of some human Wildman, his dark hair was curled under his fattening form.

Methelrir shuddered with the thoughts of both Druchii they had been his greatest prize, his most powerful retainers. Elves who in their own right had risen in great power despite their low born status. Yet out of all his retainers it was these two that had lost the most alongside Methelrir.

Images of the battle surged into his head, memories of his failure. The hordes of Beastmen sweeping through his ranks of experience Corsairs troops as they ripped them apart with savage glee. At least one third of the army had been Corsair pirates, Elves who were more at home on the seas then on land. Most of these Elves were now dead and they had owed their loyalty entirely to Galfin. The horror of the battle did not end their when bull head Minotaurs had burst from the trees behind the army bellowing in their blood thirsty hate, they reached the supply camp first and ripped everyone inside a part. This camp had been almost entirely financed by Celodaen which saw much of his great wealth destroyed in single moment.

“My Lord”, called Galfin. He took an arrogant swagger off the vessel that had now docked and Methelrir was brought swinging back the present. There was a time when he trusted Galfin more then most Elves, yet all three of them had gambled their power and wealth on the battle which had failed. Methelrir now felt extremely unsafe.

“Galfin, Celodaen”, smiled the Dread Lord as he took his steps closer towards the two Druchii taking steps off the dock. Methelrir deeply wished that he had his armour and Morning Star close at hand. “How is The Unyielding Tower?”

“It is Unyielding, I am surprised that the Black Ark could have fallen so many times.” Galfin often gave the pretence that his intellect was great, Methelrir knew this to be arrogance, in truth his only use had been his Corsair fleet.

“We should leave my Lord”, ventured Celodaen.

Methelrir looked to both his retainers, to see if they were armed. Galfin had his battle axe tied at his back and Celodaen appeared to be unarmed. Methelrir knew that Celodaen would be armed, a concealed blade somewhere, just as Methelrir did. The problem was if both Druchii wanted to kill him he would have no way of surviving.

Methelrir accepted his fate and boarded the sleek vessel. He moved far from the Corsair’s towards the vessel’s prow was. The wood was wet and slippery and as if this was not enough the tiny drops of rain started to fall once more, just as the early sun would be rising behind the dark clouds did Methelrir once again feel the bitter chill of the freezing rain, though it was much lighter then earlier. Turning around Methelrir was careful not to present his back to any targets and he gazed upon his fellows as like their Lord they boarded the ship.

Once more memories flooded into his mind, only this time it was not of the recent battle. These images had come nearly two centuries earlier when Methelrir had completed Hakseer, the time when youths reached adult hood. It had been a very successful time for Methelrir which had made him and his father very rich on the spoils of the slaves he had taken.

Methelrir smiled at those simpler times, when all he wanted was to make a name for himself. Back then he had taken his entire wealth and his father had claimed that he wasted it on flippant investments. Methelrir had known differently for what he had done was secured over twenty five retainers from different backgrounds all with various talents that would guarantee his rise to power. The best investments had been Celodaen and Galfin.

Even at that point the two were old friends, one a leading Corsair raider the other was a business Elf of Karond Kar, the slave port. To call Celodaen an honest employer was far from the truth. In reality he had been a smuggler and gang leader who had used his slaving business to make sure that a sizable amount of Gelfin’s plunder had not been taken in tax as was done with all of Naggaroth. As a result his criminal empire had swelled to a point where its presence was felt in no less the two cities, which both profited from greatly.

“Thinking of the past”, said the voice of Celodaen. The criminal was always good at knowing what others thought and he was the real brains behind Galfin. The Corsair was fierce and would decree his independence, but in truth he would only act if Celodaen acted first.

“Do you remember when we were young?” Methelrir actually liked Celodaen despite his devious streak that flowed through him.

“When we met I was still not young. Yet much has changed, our fates amongst them.”

Methelrir reached behind his back and felt the blade that was concealed under his robes. If he killed Celodaen quickly there would be a chance that Galfin would not do anything. He dismissed the notion as Celodaen walked beside Methelrir and gazed out towards the sea as the ship left the river.

“Of course I am not finished”, smiled Celodaen. “Despite recent incidents I was able to secure many supplies, investments and trade deals with a few, select individuals which will be of benefit to our new circumstances.”

Methelrir gave a smile pleased that out his few retainers that had survived the past two centuries that this one always had a way of making money. “So tell me about these business operations you have managed to make.”

“My Lord its all logistics, names and countless numbers. I do not want to concern yourself with these dull, boring and long winded business deals that I have made for the good of our venture. Be content that not all is lost.”

Methelrir laughed and was pleased the Celodaen joined in, the rouge would keep his dealings away from Methelrir he always had and the Highborn was certain that once more Celodaen would find ways of robbing Methelrir without him notching. Right now he did not care, for he felt just that little bit safe, of course Galfin and his Corsairs were another issue. They may not betray him without Celodaen, but perhaps they might just be less then accommodating in the seasons to come.

“There it is my Lord, the supposed Cursed Black Ark.”

Methelrir turned around gazing out of the boat at the bequest of Celodaen’s words. With a twitch of paranoia he realised his mistake. He had now made himself vulnerable to potential assassination. He went to reach for his knife once more but then he stopped as a break in the clouds brought a greyish light across the Sea of Malice.

Floating not far from the sure it stood, his new home. The Black Ark that had been some famed as a cursed place and what was called the Unyielding Tower. Its size and huge walls shocked Methelrir to his core, he had only seen two Black Arks before in his life and yet this was far larger then either.

Like a huge mountain it stood only it was not so, for this was a hexagonal keep with high walls and Eight solid towers connecting the walls. These were made of the darkest stone ripped from the ground of lost Nagarythe and by far these walls and towers were far larger then Methelrir had expected. Even the huge Iron Gate was impressive, of course the gate was rarely used for most of the Black Ark would the huge caverns of rock that was on the water level or lower. There would be no doubt some cavern entry way that the ship would head too.

As they got closer towards the Ark, more of it was revealed and Methelrir could see a further four towers that were further into the sea fort and appeared to be arranged in a diamond shape around one of the largest towers that Methelrir had seen. Not as impressive as the towers in central cities but for a Black Ark it was huge. The smaller towers seemed to connect with curving black bridges that arched into the central column.

With a hiss Methelrir found he had to look away, his eyes were stinging he gazed back to look closely and he realised their were fell runes inlaid upon the surface of the rock and walls, warding away magic and strengthening the walls.

“You’ll get use to the runes”, whispered Celodaen. “At least that’s what I was told. What do you think Dread Lord?”

“It is Unyielding”, he gasped feeling the life of power. The heavy burden of defeat seemed so far away when he saw this citadel.

So awed by the sight was Methelrir did he not hear the gasps of shock from the Corsairs, nor the sounds of running feet. He was only dimly aware of someone yelling his name, yet the piercing knife that plunged into his side he was aware. He hissed in pain as the blade was pulled free and sank into his back and side repeatedly.

Methelrir’s vision blurred but he had enough time to see Corsairs all running towards him and one of the Pirates was smiling whilst holding a bloody knife. The last thing Methelrir noticed was Celodaen pull out a concealed dagger, after that Methelrir fell from the ship and sank into the cold waters below.

***

Shadows and silence, these were the tools of the best killers. Shadows so the enemy could see the blade approaching, silence so that victims could not hear the steps of their impending doom. He had spent a life in those very shadows, carrying the unseen blade into his enemies throats. It was a blessing to the God of Murder to live by any other means, murder and death were praises given to Khaine and Illian saw no reason to not praise his god with sacrifices.

Times had changed in the centuries that had seen Illian in the service of Lord Methelrir. The Dread Lord like to babble on that it was a rise to power and glory, yet Illian knew the truth. Methelrir had brought disorder and hardship wherever he stepped, he had created more enemies then he ever had allies.

Now he was in this so called Unyielding Tower, a Black Ark with a fearsome reputation for bringing further woe upon all who stepped foot onto its surface. Illian had no desire to be the next Elf spoken of being a faded memory, nor of remaining on this cursed place for too long.

Of course it had its advantages, for such a place with its high towers and thick walls placed large sections of the tower in shadow. Illian had noticed this when he first entered when the sun was high, before the storms had hit it with its freezing rain. Illian had spent his first moments exploring the various routes that moved throughout the various places, especially from tower to tower. He knew that sooner or later he would be killing someone.

It was the highest central tower that Illian found himself in now, near the top. The highest part was reserved for the Sorceress the would direct the Black Ark, Illian cared not for magic only to feel his enemy die beneath his hands. He leaned out of the window gazing to the ground below, the Black Ark was bigger then he had suspect, protected by an eight sided wall and the first towers. There were a few buildings below, most of which were ruins and were now being maintained by wood cut from the forests to the south. Make shift tents depicting allegiance to some warlord or the next dotted around the place some closer to towers depending if they had some allegiance to Methelrir and his warriors.

“What do you see?” The seductive voice behind Illian neither aroused or shocked him. He had heard the foot steps of Hasyrs for several minutes and knew of her approach. What was more he was comfortable in the knowledge that if she tried anything he could have killed her in a heart beat.

“It seems that the crook and the pirate have already set up a flesh house”, hissed Illian.

“I assume it will become some makeshift temple to Arthati.” Hasyrs did not even attempt to hide or anger towards it and Illian quite agreed with his hatred to the pleasure Goddess. For an Elf devoted to Khaine, worship of Atharti was far to close to worship to Slaanesh, Khaine’s most hated enemy.

“If I find them to be worshipping the Dark Prince I will cull them, just like the last time we came to that city we just left.”

Illian turned to see Hasyrs standing before him, she wore a very sleek dress that curressed her body. Illian could not fault her attempts of seduction for she was an attractive Druchii, yet such attempts would be lost on Illian for he had no desire for her. In her hand however was a knife, it glistened in the dark but Illian could still make out its sleek shape.

“Have you come to kill me?” She would be foolish for trying Illian thought. She would not be quick enough and any attempt would see her falling from the highest tower.

“The thought crossed my mind”, she replied brazenly.

It was at this moment the chambers third occupant made himself known, with a gutteral growl like some animal of hell did a suit of armour move. Before it had stood perfectly still in the darkest corner but now could Hasyrs see the heavily armoured form of Draethen, Executioner of Har Ganeth and the only other Khainite retainer under Methelrir’s employ.

Hasyrs took a step back almost moving towards the door as the armoured warrior moved silently to stand beside Illian. The two of them were not friends, yet they had come from similar backgrounds and both were devoted to Khaine only in different ways. Draethen was not tall, yet he was heavily built and his armoured form of dark steel made him forbodding especially with his bronze death mask of a screaming she Elf.

“I mainly came to see your intent towards my husband”, smiled Hasyrs with less confidence then before.

Draethen growled and thumped his chest twice in some display of power in front of their Lords wife. After years of service Illian had learnt to study the sublte movements and signals of his counter part to know what he was saying, as such Illian was the only retainer that fully understood what Draethen ever said.

“Black Throat is correct”, smiled Illian with no joy. “Our loyalty is to Khaine and as long as your husband does not work against the Cult then we have no reason to wish him harm.”

“Despite his blackmail of the cult and now his lack of protection from Naggarond.”

“It matters not”, growled Illian. He wanted that ugly business forgotten.

Illian had known his former master could not be trusted and had been ordered to kill Methelrir for blackmailing the cult. Of course Illian could never get his hands on the evidence and during all the ugliness at Har Ganeth he had given the evidence straight to the Hags as some desperate hope of fealty. It had been that day Illian had plotted to kill Methelrir for his brazen attitude, yet the noble was cunning and extremely knowledgeable, for Methelrir had greater information and had managed to blackmail Illian himself into staying loyal, information which was best kept secret.

“So you both survived the battle I see.”

As if under some kind of order Draethen thrust out his left arm showing stringy bits of rotten flesh that were tied around the wrist. It was a sign of his battle prowess and his cruel nature. Something that only Illian was dimly aware of had taken Draethen ability to make speech other then a few grunts and growls. Since that day the one nicknamed by the pirates as Black Throat had taken it upon himself to take the vocal cords of his enemy, no doubt these ones had once been inside a Beastmen throats‘.

Lady Hasyrs had slowly made her way to the door. She kept the fear from her face but Illian could read it in every gesture of her body, she had gambled and now she would be praying to Khaine that neither Draethen or Illian would kill her.

“Have you both explored this place?” The question was a deliberate attempt to get the Khainites focussing on something other then her initial arrival.

“I have Dread Lady, quite a place. One of the central towers is already displaying banners devoted to Ereth Khial and a building bellow it has been converted into a temple.”

“Yavandir has been busy”, sneered the Highborn. Illian had to agree that the high priest had been quick in his movements.

Yavandir was another of Methelrir’s retainers yet he was far more independent then the others. For Yavandir held a position of power within the second largest cult in all of Naggaroth, only the Druchii’s studies had stopped him from any real power. Whatever it was that Yavandir studied into known knew for he wrote everything in his leather bound book in some language that none could read.

“Well let him do as he pleases”, replied Illian. “He has already moved the Nauglir riders most devout to the Goddess into the tower.”

“We must do the same then.”

Illian nearly sighed, Hasyrs was now trying to make herself look like a trusted friend. Indeed she was a noble devoted to Khaine, but she was not a true Khainite, that’s all that mattered to Illian.

Draethen tensed up and rose his left hand to the side of his helmet, almost gesturing for all to listen. Illian knew that the Executioner had heard something with his keen senses. Illian strained in silence trying to ignore Hasyrs who had grown impatient, with how the Khainites were behaving. Illian took a deep breath and closed his eyes intent on the noises around him.

He could hear the noise of the soft patter of rain, of the wind blowing into fabric, of the mingled voices below and then he thought for just a minute he caught another noise. Illian strained further knowing that an Elf’s senses were keen but even these were not limitless. Illian waited for what seemed like hours but then he heard it again, it was clear and recognisable sound, one he had heard many times.

His eyes snapped open and he looked towards Draethen, the warrior simply gave a small nod of his head, confirming what they had both heard. Turning his head Illian noticed once more the form of Hasyrs, this time she was not an alluring feature but one of some child on the verge of throwing a tantrum.

“What in the name of Khaine is going on?” Her anger was clear for both the Khainites to see let alone hear, it was foolish for even one in her position to speak to Illian and Draethen like this. Yet both ignored it now having more pressing concerns.

“There is quite a commotion going on below us, it seems we could all be in danger on this day.”
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Razhbad
 
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Re: The Unyielding Tower (WIP)

Postby Razhbad » Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:40 pm

Chapter 3


Black Arks were more then floating castles sailing across the sea, but more like floating islands filled with chasms and tunnels. The vast majority of a Black Ark’s size was below the surface of the water as the huge rock of lost Nagarythe sunk into the depths of the ocean. Parts of this rock was opened up into caves and underground lakes, what was most intriguing were the strange creatures that inhabited the deepest and darkest parts of the Black Ark. For all of this Fersomain was thankful.

The Autarii had spent his first moments aboard the Black Ark exploring the depths. Fersomain had decided long ago that this would be his domain, in the deepest parts that most Druchii would not dare tread. Though most of the occupants of the Black Ark would live below ground none would venture as far into the deep that Fersomain did.

Fear had taken hold within the heats of all Elves when Chaos had been unleashed. Druchii dealt with that fear better then others, but once an emotion takes route into the soul of a race it can never be dislodged. Fear had been Fersomain’s greatest friend that and the creatures he had bred in his long years.

The Vorannun led the way sniffing the ground. Its big wet nose glistened in the dark depths whilst its golden eyes reflected the torch that the Autarri held in his hand. Fersomain did not need the torch, he could see well enough, but even he did not trust the creature he had bred enough. Any advantage it could take it would and he would be dead.

Fersomain followed his pet as it veered left and right smelling out various tunnels. Together they weaved left and right avoiding unstable rocks and huge pools. They moved for what could seem an age until the Vorannun stopped by a door. It was made from some dark wood that was nearly rotted away. The walls around it were scratched in markings of some crazed individual, Fersomain did not care.

Pushing past his pet the Autarri moved into the room give the beast behind him a stern look. “If I need you I will call” he hissed and the creature sat down with a defiant look on its furred face.

Within moments of entering Fersomain realised he had found something ideal, a place he could call home. Inside it was like a huge cavern with areas boardered with stalactites and stalagmites. With each spire of rock was a spiked metal wire crossing ways which gave the appearance of a prison or some kind of holding pen. The smell of damp rock was evident, but there was also a faint smell of decay.

“Surely this is where my plans will be realised”, he whispered himself. He dreamt of all the creatures he would house here. His lack of concentration ignored the shape that moved in the corner.

“What plans might they be?” A young voice with hidden sweetness awoke Fersomain from his dreams and he now saw the shadow in the corner.

“Beast to me” he growled.

Within moments the Vorannun stalked in moving closer to Fersomain. Its huge bulk found it difficult moving through the rocks but still it came and growled towards the shadowy form. The shadow made movements in any regard despite the huge creature that was poised to kill.

“Oh no I am in terrible danger”, replied the voice in a mocking tone.

“I could send this thing to kill you” he smiled.

The shadow now moved showing a very young female Elf with long white hair. She wore very lose purple silk robes that barely covered her lithe and supple form. “Then how will you move the Black Ark”.

Fersomain did his best to push down all thoughts of desire and wanton destruction. The Autarri deeply desired her and to kill her aswell, yet he knew the dangers of a Sorceress and knew that he should keep well clear of such Druchii. She moved closer in the very well thought movements, each one was designed to be alluring and intimidating in equal measures, whilst her dark red eyes bore deep into Fersomain’s heart and it could feel her malice of all things.

“My appologies” he bowed in respect though he had none for her. “I did not realise our guide would lower herself to be within my presence, for alas this should not be so.”

“Lies and flattery in equal measure how lucky am I?” The question was left hung in the air for a few minutes, forever unanswered.

The sorceress moved in closer and the Vorannun growled again, though this time it was more out of fear. Even Fersomain could feel fear mounting in his own chest. A rare feeling but one that such a Druchii could effect him.

“You may call me Pellasarwen, tell me why are you down here Fersomain.” The Autarri ignored her use of his name, no doubt she had been informed who everyone within Melthelrir’s employ was.

Fersomain gestured to the pens and to the creature beside him. “I am the Dread Lord’s Beastmaster, I must do his work.”

The Sorceress moved now so close to Fersomain he could touch her. The Vorannun moved back in fear snarling but likewise looking for ways to escape. She was more alluring then he realised and her full black lips seemed to be calling to him, he resisted with all his strength and just stayed still.

“I know you” she smiled. “Just take what you want.”

Fersomain felt a chill down his spine and ignored all the warring feelings in the pit of his stomach and just breathed deeply thinking back to his home. Such memories always centred his thoughts. “You have no idea what I am.” His voice almost sound mournful.

She moved past and her hand lightly brushed his chest with the gentilist of touches. “Do I? When I was but a child I would hear of the Autarri warlord that Ghrond feared, how I knew I had to have that Druchii one day.”

“Why are you telling me this?”

The Sorceress gently guided along the floor and gave him a hard look that made the Autarri feel like stone. Such stares could end lives and yet Fersomain endured and did his best to ignore everything about the Sorceress,

“All in good time Beastmaster.”

The torch flickered and briefly all went black, when the light returned she was gone and Fersomain gave a sigh of relief. Such magic users were necessary but dangerous, and yet somehow this one had made hints regarding to Fersomain’s own hidden past to a life long left behind.

Soon anger festered in his heart and he cursed his foolishness. He turned looking for something to attack and his eyes settled on his Vorannun. He smiled remembering how useful his pet had been with the Sorceress.

***

The screams would echo down the tunnels, like the wind itself. Even the candles upon the wall side blew this way and that. The force of such a scream was pain beyond anything most in the realm of the living could ever know. Illian instinctively moved with caution, the screams had put his alertness up. Even Draethen who was moving slowly behind him was poised to strike.

Illian’s eyes darted left and right, always looking for escape routes or hidden attackers,. Illian was no coward but he always preferred to strike the unseen blade, it was just more fun that way. Up ahead he could see a door dimly lit by the candles, yet a brighter glow was shining from beyond the door.

Draethen was not as patient as the assassin, the huge armoured executioner brazenly walked up towards the door and banged on it several times, The echos of the impact resounded and yet not even they could cover up the screams that came from behind the door.

Eventually the door creaked open and a small face peered out, Draethen seemed to be in no mood to wait and the warrior pushed his entire bulk into the door with a speed that would shock most who did not know him. Illian darted like some agile rodent straight into the door. He even leapt over the form of a Druchii that was tumbled onto the grown. Draethen swiftly followed bringing his sword to bare just in case.

Illian found the room to be like some large cavern with a huge open fire in the centre of the room. On a table near it was a pale naked Elf that was shaking violently and the source of the screams. On a chair near was another Elf with short white hair. Illian instantly knew it to be Addasil, their doctor if he could be called that. The muscular surgeon was inspecting the screaming Druchii whilst preparing some kind of liquid in a bowl. His robes were matted in sweat and his eyes look solemn.

“Some idiot made an attack on the Dread Lord”, said Kyerior as he picked himself off the ground. He staggered a bit and then came to fall height. Both Kyerior and Draethen were similar in height and build yet Illian knew which one was capable of killing him and it certainly was not Kyerior.

“How did this happen?” Illian had heard their shouts calling for Addasil and his master’s screams and naturally assumed the worse.

“Lord Methelrir has received seven stab wounds, three to his lower back, one under the left arm, a further two which have grazed his ribs the last one impacted just below the ribcage missing vital organs”, breathed out Addasil without turning his head. “All wounds have had frozen water seep into them likewise our Dread Lord initially swallowed a large amount of the frozen water, no doubt doing more damage.”

Illian got angry and all around him could see that on his face, this was not the answer he was after. Illian centred his thoughts and ignored Addasil’s cold assessment of his masters case, it was only now did the assassin see the faces that surrounded the room. As well as Addasil and Kyerior, were two others Celodaen and Galfin stood towards the back looking onwards, both were clearly wet and there was blood splatted across Galfin’s form.

Celodaen caught Illian’s look and held up his hands in supplication. Though almost too late for Draethen had taken up an attack stance towards Galfin, the plump pirate growled but made no moves to defend himself.

“Please would we drag his wet form from out of the Sea of Malice if we wanted him dead”, smiled Celodaen, though it was clearly forced.

“You had the most to gain”, Illian folded his arms yet in his left hand he tightly held his knife.

Illian caught in the corner of his eye that only now had Kyerior had realised that the both Galfin and Celodaen had the most to gain from their master’s death. The dim witted retainer rested his hand on the pommel of his sword.

“Take your hand of your sword before you hurt yourself” hissed Galfin.

A heart shrieking scream came from Methelrir in his delirious agony which silenced all arguing. The Dread Lord started violently shaking more and more. His features were pained and his eyes were darting around the room but focussing on nothing. Illian wondered how aware was the Dread Lord.

“Hold him whilst I administer this”, sighed Addasil, as he gestured to his bowl.

Both Kyerior and Draethen walked towards the Dread Lord putting their hands and wait upon him. They grappled his arms and body into a tight embrace doing their best to stop the shaking, yet still the Dread Lord was violently moving.

“This will hurt my Lord, I am afraid that I will enjoy it”, smiled Addasil. Addasil may have acted like a doctor to all the retainers but in truth he was a torturer and some crazed maniac that had enjoyed stitching slaves into a variety of forms.

Addasil leaned forwards and violently grabbed hold of Methlerir’s cheeks forcing his mouth open. Forcing the Dread Lord’s head upwards the medic started to poor the oil like medicine down his throat. Methlerir tried to struggle more but it was futile and eventually the Dread Lord’s from went slack and he seemed to enter a deep sleep.

“It was one of my Corsair’s”, Galfin showed no pride in it. “Celodaen brought the weakling down whilst I dragged our Lord from the sea.”

“The fool lives, though I do not know for how long, Galfin’s corsairs are dragging out any information from him now.”

Illian turned from his master and looked Celodaen in the eyes, he could see no deceit their, yet the crime lord was always a master at masking his emotions. Illian did not trust him, yet he saw no reason not to disbelieve the crime lord, it did seem pointless to save Methelrir if you wanted him dead.

“Here is my master”, declared a new voice.

Illian turned sharply knowing that only a single retainer could ever move silently enough without Illian noticing unless his full attention was on it. The Autarii Fersomain approached with a smile on his sadistic face.

The assassin noticed that Fersomain had not brought his strange beast yet Illian was certain that it would not be far away and if called then there would be blood and death in quick succession.

“Leave foolish Autarii”, growled Kyerior.

“I have a better idea, how about you take your sword and cut off Methelrir’s head.”

With those words the room suddenly got a lot tenser. Most Druchii desired to kill their Lord many times in their lives yet few were so open about it. Fersomain was like that whereas Kyerior was the perfect opposite.

“Never, how dare you.” Kyerior took a step forward, once more bringing his hand to the sword pommel.

“He had you tortured you idiot. To be a Dread Lord of a Black Ark all it would take is one thrust of your blade”, Fersomain gestured with his arms to everyone in the room. “Be honest would any of you really miss him.”

“I would not”, came the flat reply from Addasil. “I could make it painless if needs be, of course that is no fun.”

Every retainer stood silent thinking for a minute. It was clear Illian that each was thinking of the benefits of Methelrir not waking up. Even Illian could not deny that it was greatly tempting, even his secret would stay buried forever, yet part of him desired to actually travel upon the Unyielding Tower with Methelrir as its Lord.

Eventually it was Kyerior who took action the noble simply slunk his shoulders and stormed out of the room. There was a haunted look in his eyes as he limped out and slammed the door shut. Soon after came a bellowing vicious laughter from the mouth of Fersomain. No doubt the Autarii had enjoyed tormenting his fellow retainer.

“Will he live”, he said.

“I believe so”, replied Addasil.

“Good, I think that we havent finished with his uses yet”, Fersomain’s smile even put Illian on edge.
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