Skaven Prelude Part II
The Council of Thirteen had gathered, a rare occurrence, and one wrought more with arguments and threats of death and downfall. This Council ruled the Skaven clans of the world, and should it ever actually work together and unite, then woe unto the world. Fortunately for the realms kissed by the sun, the Skaven were too busy planning ways to undermine each other and secure a seat on the Council; the thought never occurred to them to unite and rid the world of their foes, that is, until now.
In a large chamber eerily lit by green lanterns twelve skaven lords sat around a horseshoe shaped table, and lurking in the shadows were the ears and eyes of the assassins of Clan Eshin. This was the Council of Thirteen – twelve skaven lords, and the highest spot reserved for their god, The Horned Rat. Thirteen votes to bring the world of skaven together, or more likely than not, to keep it fragmented. At the head of the Council sits Lord Kritslik, the Seerlord, who holds not only his own vote, but also the vote of the Horned Rat. The disunity of the Skaven is often attributed to him and his desire to ensure that he is the most powerful Skaven. The remaining eleven seats are held by two other Grey Seers, the Warlord-General of Skavendom, the heads of the four Great Clans, and the heads of four lesser Clans. As rare an occasion as the meeting of the Council of Thirteen is, this particular meeting was made even more rare by the inclusion of a small green figure seated off to the side, shadowed by assassins eager to let loose their blades on him. Escorted under heavy protection from his lair in Karak Eight Peaks, the small greenskin was One-eyez, shaman under Gazbag, leader of the Bloody Sun Boyz. After the recent unified assault on Karak Izor by the greenskins and skaven, Gazbag realized the destructive potential of the anti-dwarven alliance of skaven and greenskins. However, the skaven’s wars stretch far and wide around the world… to ally with the skaven means to take on their enemies and their struggles.
Bringing the Council to order Lord Kritslik began, “Lords of Decay, today we gather to discuss a proposal brought to our attention by Lord Gazbag of the Bloody Sun Boyz of Karak Eight Peaks.” A series of hisses erupted followed by rapid chatter between the Council members. The skaven had fought for centuries against the greenskins and the dwarves for dominance of Karak Eight Peaks. The success of the greenskins meant the failure of the skaven – a notion they were none to keen on accepting. “Silence!” screamed Lord Kritslik. As the primary interpreter of the Horned Rat’s will, only Lord Kritslik possessed the power to bring order to the quarrelsome Council. Having no concern for the failures of weaker clans in their assault on Karak Eight Peaks, in fact delighted in their failures for they strengthened his position, Lord Kritslik continued, “Your failures to take Karak Eight Peaks from the dwarf-things and green-things are your own and the Horned Rat frowns upon you!” The presence of One-eyez served Lord Kritslik’s purposes well – an alliance with the foe of so many clans would only further serve to weaken their reputation and promote infighting. Of course an ally that could be manipulated and disposed of in due course was even of more use.
“An alliance with the green-things?! The very foes of the Horned Rat!” Lord Kratch cried out, his seat on the Council heavily weighed upon the success of his struggle for the Crookback Mountain against the greenskins.
“I do not foresee the Great Horned Rat approving of this union. These are the foes of the skaven, not to be our allies!” Lord Vittrik added, always seeking an opportunity to undermine Lord Kritslik.
Sneering from under his black silks, the Nightlord of Clan Eshin, Lord Sneek, added with a cold glare at Lord Kritslik, “You should have not let the green-thing into Skavenblight.” Quietly adding to himself, “No matter he can be dealt with swiftly…”
Taking a pause from his preening, Lord Verminkin, Packlord of Clan Moulder, asked “And what benefit could we hope to get from this alliance with the green-things?”
Lord Kritslik took this question as an opportunity to step back into the conversation and guide it in his direction, “Lord Gazbag has offered the skaven an opportunity the Horned Rat has already smiled up. We can expand our under-kingdom and rid the world of the dwarf-things once and for all! The green-things only ask for ‘shinies’ as they put it and slaves for food. The skaven will be left the vast holds and any warpstone we come upon.” An offer Lord Kritslik knew would not hold, for the greenskins would naturally want their share of dwarven holds, especially in the Worlds Edge Mountains.
Perked up at the mention of warpstone, Lord Mortskittar of Clan Skryre and the second most powerful member of the Council asked, “Much warpstone is there?”
“Much much warpstone, especially hidden in the dwarf-thing lair of Karak Azul. The dwarf-things hide the warpstone deep in their lairs away from the skaven.”
“Clan Pestilens is already occupied in Lustria fighting with the lizard-things. We alone fight for the Horned Rats greatest struggle. We have no time to toy with green-things,” Arch Plaguelord Nurglitch stated proudly. His success in Lustria was a guaranteed way of ascending the seats of the Council and his only concerns lay there.
“The dwarf-things are allied with the man-things and elf-things. You seek a great war Seerlord, will you lead it yourself?” Lord Vittrik asked sarcastically.
“The winds whisper of the lizard-things joining in the struggle with the elf-things. Their sword points at you Kritslik,” Lord Sneek added with a twisted smile.
Shocked, Nurglitch asked, “The lizard-things fight with the elf things against the skaven?”
Grasping at the hidden gift from the sly Nightlord of Clan Eshin, Lord Kritslik stated, “Your struggle for Lustria will be short if you do not seek aide from skavendom, Plaguelord.” Casting a glance at the Nightlord, Lord Kritslik continued, “The winds can send the dark-elf-thing Morathi to stab at the back of your lizard-things and aid your struggle Plaguelord. The dark-elf-things are in allegiance with the green-things.”
“You drag skavendom into a struggle across the world of man-things, elf-things, dwarf-things, and lizard-things, Seerlord. If we do not act together, if our green-thing allies and the chaos-man-thing allies and dark-elf-thing allies do not fight with our vigor… the Horned Rat will doom you Lord Kritslik,” Greylord Azarskittar added pointed a bony finger at the Seerlord.
The table erupted in a flurry of chatter and accusatory fingers being pointed in every direction. The true nature of the skaven was shown in this disorder and disunity. Behind his face Lord Kritslik smiled – so long as they remained fractured, he would remain on top. “Enough Lords of Decay!” Lord Kritslik shouted out. “The time has come for a vote and an end to the chatter! Will skavendom rise against the dwarf-things with the green-things?” One-eyez who had quietly been sitting off to the side taking in the entire scene with his eye was brusquely lifted to his legs by two assassin hands and taken into a side room away from the chamber. He was not to see the voting process, no that was not for his leering eye.
Back in the chamber the voting process was concluded with a tie vote, hardly surprising for the skaven. Lord Kritslik, his lackey the Warlord General, and the four Great Clans had voted for the alliance. Lord Vittrik, the three Grey Seers, and lords of the minor Clans voted against. The tie breaker vote lay in the paws of the Horned Rat, and as his sole interpreter, Lord Kritslik cast the vote of the Horned Rat. Thus the tie breaker was broken in favor of the alliance with the greenskins and a storm erupted in the chamber. Lord Kritslik had achieved what he wanted and the brief union of the four Great Clans worried him not, he knew that in a few months time they would be back at each others throats for one offense or another. One-eyez was brought back into the room, Lord Kritslik nodded at him with a smile, and a hood was thrown over the shaman’s head as he was escorted back to the surface.
Lord Sneek nodded at Deathmaster Snikch and the assassin scampered off after the shaman and his guard. He would ensure that the shaman and his escort made it back to Karak Eight Peaks intact and deliver his message, but after that… he had seen too much.
The fantastic work of art for this post was used with the permission of the artist, Manuel Mesones. Check out his site for some more of his awesome work and show him your support!