Kraven 'The Red Handed", brother of Dreadlord Furion The Impaler, carries out a mission to lay the foundations of an invasion of the Old World.
Standing on a beach of the Black Gulf, High Elf captain Uriel Thrane gazes in despair at the forest of death in front of him.
The hundreds of skewered elven warriors on sharp wooden spikes spread along the dunes have been there for hours. For those still breathing, it was simply too late to help. Removing them would be their death anyway. No matter how much they screamed.
‘He lives up to his name.’
Uriel surprised himself when he felt the shake in his voice. An elf of his standing rarely showed emotions, especially around rank-and-file soldiers like the messenger who stood behind him.
However, after laying eyes on an endless ocean of impaled comrades, it was hard to not be affected.
The depravity of what had happened here, and the speed of its undertaking was truly unthinkable.
‘How can they be so different to us? So cruel. So capable of such horror. The same blood of our ancestors runs through their veins. It’s almost as if they are a different species. ‘
‘They are shaped by their hatred.’ said the messenger.
‘But we have even more reason to hate them. They defile our lands at every chance and forever threaten our people with slavery and torture. But we would never go this far.’ Uriel speaks with venom, anger starting to get the better of him.
‘That is their greatest strength. They are willing to do what the Asur are not’ answered the messenger.
The tall elf Captain stabs the blade of his spear into the sand in anger.
‘Furion The Impaler.. . He has damned himself. With this act, I will be his doom. ‘
Uriel steps forward to the nearest impaled elf.
He took the warriors barely alive hand with sympathy. There is a slight grip at first, but the fingers go limp when the light in the elf’s eyes extinguish.
‘When you return with your message, please tell them to send men to take down these poor souls and lay them to rest properly.’
Uriel gently lowers the dead elf’s hand and steps back to again to review the entire scene. His anger is replaced by dark melancholy caused by exhaustion.
‘I have been hunting this monster for too long. But his army are like ghosts in the wind. Albion. Estalia. Tilea. We always arrive mere hours after their raids. After their depravities. After this. My troops are tired. I am tired. I haven’t seen my sons in… so long. I long for home. But I cannot return without Furion’s head.‘
Uriel finally turns to the messenger, realising he isn’t the only one far from home.
‘I apologise Soldier. I’m sure you miss your home and loved ones as much as I. What part of Ulthuan do you hail from Soldier? Your accent…’
The blade in the messenger’s hand was in Uriel’s neck before the High Elf could finish his sentence.
Before the body of the dead elf lord hit the ground, the Druchii assassin started to remove his stolen uniform like it burned his skin. He spat on it once it was discarded.
‘You people are just so... boring. If you just got around to killing things faster, instead of standing around spouting poetry, you pompus morons might actually stand a chance. My brother wouldn’t make a kebab out of every one of you he meets in battle. It’s your fault our manticore is getting fat on Ulthuan gristle. Poor girl, it now takes three flaps before she can take off. '
Kraven ‘The Red Handed’, younger brother of Furion the Impaler, kneeled next to Uriel’s body and checked his pockets and belt for gold.
All he finds is 2 coins.
‘And you are a cheap bastard too!’
Kraven kicks the general’s body for his thriftiness. He hoped he would at least get some gold after the mission from his brother was completed.
A rumble in the distance... The sand gentle starts to move at his feet. The rumble grows louder.
Over the horizon came dozens of Druchii dark riders and a regiment of knights riding cold ones in their centre.
Leading the knights is a chariot pulled by 2 of the most enormous cold ones Kraven had ever seen.
On the back of the chariot were two tall spikes, unlike the crude wooded versions laid out across the dunes, these were made of intricate gold and bronze.
On the left Spike was the dead body of the elf prince Uvil Thrane. The cousin of Uriel. The prince’s dead body had gone grey and was starting to mummify.
On the other golden spike was a red bearded dwarf. The miniature warrior was still alive, even with the spike through his ribs.
As the chariot pulls to a stop in front of Kraven, a renowned killer steps off the back of it.
Furion, Dreadlord of the Eastern Druchii fleet, smiles coldly at his Younger brother.
Kraven did not return the smile. It was his job to complete the assassination and he knew exactly how this conversation would have gone if the High elf still lived. Family doesn’t mean much for the Druchii. Only power.
‘Two coins. That’s all he had.’
Kraven gave the High Elf Lord another kick for good measure.
‘And what will you spend this newly found fortune on?’ asked Furion.
Kraven looks down.
‘How about some clothes?’
Furion laughed at the nakedness of his brother from discarding the High elf uniform.
‘That can be arranged.’ Furion clicks his fingers.
One of his warriors carries over Kraven’s armour and weapons. The assassin puts on the silver and black uniform with pleasure.
‘What now brother?’ said Kraven as he tightened the straps on his armour.
Furion turned and raised a finger to the dying Dwarf on the chariot.
‘Have you met my stunted friend here? He talks of Karak Eight peaks and its riches.’
Kraven laughs at his brother’s zeal.
‘Eight Peaks? We all know it is brimmed with the gold of these little idiots. But when I’m single-handed fighting the thousands of dwarfs trying to take back their homeland and you and you entourage here are fighting the countless skaven coming up from the caverns below us, who will be fighting off the hordes of greenskins coming down on top of us from the surface? This guy?...’
Another unnecessary kick of poor old Uriel.
‘I love gold as much as the next Druchii. But I’d like to be alive to spend it. Call me old fashioned’.
Furion chuckles at the bravery of his sibling. No one else talks to him like that and lives.
'I am not simple enough to attempt that broken mountain. I just appreciate this stunted ones attempts at diversion.'
'Diversion from what?'
'Real treasures. This stunted thing is a merchant. After specialist persuasion, It explained it has been trading with an army built of former naggaroth slaves.'
'Ah...The slave king.' replied Kraven.
Furion raises a eybrow.
'You have heard of them?'
'An uprising years ago. Hundreds of them escaped at once. Fought their way out of Naggarond. stole ships and sailed across the ocean. A lifetime to humans I suppose. The Asur mentioned them around the mess table during my time with them. All very impressed in their evasion of our kind. I later cut out a tongue of one that chuckled. They are a nomad people who live in filthy tents. No one knows where the army is based. '
'This one does'.
Furion tugs on the leg of the Dwarf, pulling him even further down the spike and the dwarf lets out a scream.
Kraven smiles but is hesitant. ‘The hold of the fleet is brimmed with gold and slaves brother. Any more weight would sink them at this point! How many more slaves can we actually sell?’.
‘Eventually, it’s not about selling them. It’s about using them. We stop this campaign when we have enough to build our own colony and live as kings. To keep what we take instead of living off Malekith’s scraps in Naggaroth. I still feel the blasted cold of that land in my bones. We will rule in the sun of the south brother. With a slave army to build our city for us and a fleet to protect it from Malekiths wrath. With Uriel no longer on our tail, we can choose our targets more carefully, taking our time. Head deeper inland.’ Explained Furion.
‘But why travel far to find them when we can just raid a few more villages across the coast? ?’ asked his brother.
‘What are the types of slaves we prefer? Which are the strongest and last the longest under the whip?’ asked the Dreadlord.
‘Warriors’ answered Kraven correctly.
‘Exactly. What would be even more valuable than warriors?
'Warriors experienced in the work of slaves.'
Furion smiles at his smaller brother for not being a simpleton.
‘He just gave up this information? I’ve never heard one of their kind to be particularly chatty with ours.’ Said Kraven.
‘Never underestimate a witch elf with a scalpel. Or a sorceress happy to keep someone alive as long as I wish.’ said Furion.
Kraven smiled. It sounded intriguing.
TO BE CONTINUED