Friday, 27 January 2012

The Dank Water Treaty

In the north western foothills of the Hills of Varenka lie a series of deep pits that fill perpetually with dark brackish water. Under the sheltering branches of reaching trees, the waters receive little light and remain for the most part stagnant and odious.

It is an area shunned by men but infested by insect kind. Huge clouds of midges and flies swarm while many-legged crawling things as big as a newborn baby wriggle and squirm, searching for food in the damp and stinking foliage. It is a place with little virtue to sane folk and even less strategic value. It lies not on any route from here to there and exists only as a pit from which foolish animals might become mired and quickly lost.

And yet it is not a place unknown to the goblins of the Razor Webs, as certain luminescent floating leeches can be captured and used in the broth their shamans imbibe before battle. Goblin legend tells that drinking this loathsome medicine can aid a shaman in tapping into the iridescent power of the Waaagh. Whether this is true seems unlikely. Only one study has even been taken by a travelling loremaster and hedge wizard from Nuln. His initial conclusions showed no magical element to the intestinal content of the floating leeches, but he was murdered before much time had past.

Whatever the case, only a goblin would come to this place willingly and even they would not tarry long.

Only a goblin... or perhaps those that sought to do them harm.

But as the mist fell back, from its fetid depths strode four tall figures, clothed in thick plate armour that whispered and creaked as they walked, steam coming from the narrow slits from which their eyes burned, coal-like.

From the other direction came a rustle of skittering legs and nigh four hundred gigantic spiders crawled out of the fog to surround them, outnumbering the Warriors of Dunkel Schloss many dozens of times over. Still they seemed unafraid. They neither moved, nor drew weapons.

And then the spider parted and the Spider King came to meet them, Fang Dig, the Great Spider Shaman following behind. As they came into view, the Chaos Warriors stepped aside and the sorcerers Ovidium and Virgillium passed their guards and met them at the centre, close to the edges of one of the wide brackish pools.

"Speak," said Ovidium.

The Spider King smiled, then he laid out the proposal he had hinted at in his message: an alliance - against the fell undead creatures to the south.

Close, the goblins had come to Barak Varr and soon would be the reckoning between their forces and those of the Tomb Kings. The Spider King did not wish to fight a war on two fronts at this, most critical time. He suggested a pact: in return for a cessation of hostilities, the Goblins, when Barak Varr was theirs, would not contest the land to the east currently governed by the undead.

In addition, the Warriors of Dunkel Schloss would be free to strike at their other foes without fear of their eastern front coming under attack from the Chittering Horde.

Further, went on the Spider King, their joint assault on the lands of the dead would apply pressure on the undead forces in the far east, weakening their strength against both the Skaven; allies of the Goblins; and the Chaos Dwarfs; allies of Dunkel Schloss.

There was a long pause.

Warriors on both sides grew tense, ready to spring to battle, but the leaders of each contingent remained stern-faced and passive.

Finally Ovidium looked Virgillium in the eye before turning to the stunted little monsters. Then he too smiled.

"I will allow the Chittering Horde free reign over the lands of Dunkel Schloss. In return I expect unwavering loyalty to the Gods of Chaos and daily sacrifices to be made in their honour." 

The Spider King sneered, narrowing his eyes. 

"But of course."  

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