I like to write, so I decided as a fun side-project to write a little story (~500 words) about each career, just delving into some of their thoughts and feelings and maybe my own conjecture about how some things came about for them.
I thought I’d share the first three, see what people think. These might have typoes or minor mistakes, I just kind of did a stream-of-consciousness type thing. I plan on writing more, but I thought I'd share these now.
Tagging it as Verminart, since . . . well, that seems the closest for writing.
Witch Hunter Captain
This should have been a proud day for him.
It was a shock, to be sure. He had long ago given up on his aspiration to advance within the Order. He did not struggle for accolades or rewards, so it had never truly upset him that he had become so overlooked for advancement.
Though, that wasn’t entirely true, Saltzpyre admitted to himself. It had upset him some – not out of hubris, of course not. It had been because of the injustice.
Had others who were worthier than he been promoted, it would have been a non-issue. But he had seen fools and sycophants raised to higher status over himself. They were not pious, devout men. They were cruel men who followed the path of a holy warrior to be able to indulge their twisted sensibilities. Or at least, he had seen that spark within them.
And why had he been looked over for so long? For daring to speak the truth – that the rat-men were real, that they lived under their feet.
They could no longer truly deny it, not after Ubersreik. Yet they were trying. In the Grand Theogonist’s letter duly granting him the title of Captain, the lettering had been terse, at best. Even with what he had done, what he had stopped, they were grudging. It was not for worthiness they tardily granted him this deserved title, it was pure pragmatism.
And even within it, there had been a terse warning, hidden between the lines.
‘. . . for your great service in repelling the foul Beastman attack upon the city of Ubersreik . . .’
Do not make waves over the rat-men.
They still refused to accept reality, to see the truth. The Skaven could be gnawing upon their flesh and they’d not be willing to accept it. And why . . . ? Were they so scared that they couldn’t even consider it?
The Witch Hunter sighed, and ran a hand over his short-cropped hair. He felt a burning pain in his dead eye, a phantom pain. The mocking phantom pain of the cursed god of the Skaven. He felt it sometimes, but it was not real.
If he confronted his superiors about their cowardice in the face of reality, the outcome . . . could be dramatic. In the end, it would avail nothing; they would not change their ways.
Taking his hat up, he set it upon his head. There had been no great ceremony with his promotion. Only the letter, and a metal badge to show his new rank, a symbol of the order that marked him as a captain. He put the badge in the pocket of his coat, then strapped his sword belt on. A brace of pistols, into the deep pockets of his coats.
They needed him now – the Empire needed him. As much as the Skaven were a threat, the current threat seemed to be from without, and they were many. The rumors worried him, and he had heard as well that the Order had suffered losses already. They were tested with dark times, indeed. If half of the rumours were true, perhaps the darkest.
But he had his faith. Sigmar was with them, and if he proved himself worthy, if the people of the Empire kept their faith and were strong, then nothing was impossible.
The Skaven would need time to regroup, even their numbers were not truly limitless . . . But a worm of doubt squirmed in his mind, telling him to not rest easy. Certainly, this was only prelude, the Skaven attack upon Ubersreik.
He might be down one eye, but he could still see.
Krut, it was heavy! Bardin didn’t mutter any clear words as he moved the crate, content to merely grumble in annoyance.
He didn’t feel annoyed, though. It was hard for him to put into words how he felt, to be quite honest. Khazalid, for all its perfection, maybe sometimes wasn’t the best for expressing certain feelings a Dwarf rarely, if ever had. Of course, why would they need to put name to things so rare! Leave that kind of silliness to Elves and men, they often loved to sit around thinking of new ways to feel!
The crate had been delivered by a mule-drawn cart belonging to one of the Dwarves of Ubersreik, a wealthy merchant by the name of Gotren Goldhammer. Long time back they had been mighty warriors, but now their shields were dusty and their hammers of gold instead of gromril. And through the convoluted generations, they owed his family a favour. Not enough to have done this for free, mind. But enough that they’d do it at all.
The courier Dwarf hadn’t even given his name. Nothing about this delivery sat well with him, and from his long beard, Bardin gathered that he didn’t approve of Bardin, his ways, or his delivery. And certainly not the mules! No Dwarf in his right mind liked such bizarre and unpredictable creatures.
But he’d done his duty . . . and it was time for Bardin to do the same.
A dwarven crate was, as anyone who knew anything might expect, far tougher than a human crate. Opening this wasn’t going to be as simple as removing a few nails.
In a mere hour, Bardin proudly surveryed his handiwork. That human barkeeper had offered to help him, but while he liked Loehner, this was far too personal.
Taking the lid off, he kept all of the precious and perfect screws he had removed, putting them in a pouch. Never knew when they might come in handy, even if just for trading to another Dwarf.
Reaching in, he sifted aside straw and cunningly-designed wooden bracers that kept the overall weight down while keeping the contents from shifting in transport.
Finding the first piece, he took it out.
It wasn’t dusty, the gromril helm. Someone had maintained it perfectly. His keen Dwarf eyes told him that it wasn’t just a recent thorough cleaning, either. This had never been dusty.
The thought helped his deeply-set feelings of shame come bubbling forth in his mind, though he showed nothing on his face. Regardless of how he had been a disappointment, his family still cared for him on some level. That this armor had been kept at all was a great sign of that. That they had maintained it so well . . .
He struggled with the thoughts and feelings, not knowing how to put word to them.
It didn’t matter. He was ready to take up the mantle again, the one he had discarded years ago.
With great care, he removed every piece of the gromril armor from the crate, setting them on the bed.
Then he began to put them on.
The armor of an Ironbreaker was a mighty thing. Crafted by the greatest of smiths, the metal gromril was the strongest wrought by living hands. It was not given out lightly.
It still fit him. He had been worried that his middle might have grown a bit too much or gotten too thin for it to be comfortable. But with the issues that had weighed on him back then, he had forgotten just how comfortable a good suit of Dwarven metal even was.
Pulling on the last pieces, he then put the helm upon his head.
He was Bardin Goreksson, and once again he donned the mantle of an Ironbreaker. Let his enemies beware, and his friends take heart. Aye, even the Wutelgi . . .
He would not fail again.
The fire flickered, crackled and popped, consuming the wood. Her eyes stared, unblinkingly, as the flames consumed her inside.
Her blood was molten iron, her skin barely containing it.
What power! What beauty! She could imagine that she could see the Winds of Magic as they flowed through her body. Thin, yet so strong, the tendrils of magic fire wound through the sky from the far north, swirling, winding, making their way.
Just for her. She knew they were for her, because the strings came from miles around to seek her out. She was like the eye of needle, the point all the strands of power sought for.
There was a mirror, old, dirty, and cracked. In its reflection, she could see her own eyes, glowing in the darkness of the blackened iron helm she wore. She hated it – a confining, cold thing, but without it she would become as immaterial as the fiery winds she so loved.
And then how could she burn them all? The filthy ratmen, the pusculant Rotbloods . . . the only thing sweeter than the winds was seeing the real fires formed from her will and their power.
Oh, yes, she wanted to see the ratties blacken and scorchen, the thick black blood of theirs and the Rotbloods heating up until it boiled inside their skin, hear their screams and the crackle of their skin . . .
Something about staring into her own eyes in that mirror bothered her. They never used to glow – but then, things had just never been like this.
After Ubersreik . . . nothing was the same. Aqshy had been rising for a long time – but so had all the other winds. Now, it was beyond even that. More than she could ever have hoped for.
And Gods it felt good.
She had heard of other sorcerers and wizards and mages who glutted themselves so much on the power of the winds that they didn’t just mutate, they dissolved. That wasn’t going to happen to her, no no! Her will was so strong that not even the fires could melt it.
Looking at her hands, she quietly knew that that was only so true. The fires danced under her skin. She normally only saw that after a period of intense casting – she hadn’t used to see anything like it, not when she was younger. Was it a mark of mastery, of pushing herself beyond her old limits? Or was it a sign of her body weakening with age?
Putting on the heavy bracers, she slowly wrapped the chains around them. They were only a little special, not Bardin’s special gromril or covered in Sigmarite purity seals. But something about them still struck her as special. Perhaps they had once been part of something magical that had been melted down, or a blessed weapon.
It didn’t matter. Not even a little! They would do, yes.
They were more symbolic than anything, the chains. Yes, but they would hold her together a little while longer.
Yes, her days were numbered, it was true. But everyone died. Not everyone truly lived, not like her. The rush of the power was better than any lover, and delicacy, any wine.
Her hands shook, but it was with happiness. The flames caressed her soul of iron, and she wanted to laugh at the irony as she chained herself up, for she was finally free.
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© Post "Some Short Stories" for game Warhammer: Vermintide.
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