Home > 1.7.x > Dawn of Destruction – Corruption from Within

Dawn of Destruction – Corruption from Within

It was well past the witching hour when Alexander Schwarzmord arrived at the decrepit fortress that served as a reserve seat for the local garrisons. This night, however, its purpose was to contain a heretic so powerful that even when downed, all of Praag’s brightest and strongest warriors couldn’t devise a means to permanently kill it. Such were the grave tidings brought to the attention of the Lord Inquisitor Schwarzmord two nights ago. He had made all haste to resolve this matter with all his zeal and fury.

Two lone guards were patrolling the bulwarks of the fortress; having noticed his approach, sigils of the Inquisition displayed, they had immediately signaled the gatekeeper. By the time Schwarzmord had made the outer courtyard, a squire bearing a lantern and a knight in plate armor with a broad, heavily feathered hat, were awaiting him.

“Evening, my lord. I am Kalyan Mavro, captain of the battalion stationed here. We were expecting you with great anxiety.”

The inquisitor motioned for the squire to take away his steed and greeted the captain with a wordless nod. He avoided Kalyan’s attempt at a handshake and glided past him not even bothering to look him in the eye. He then spoke, as the knight was starting to follow his hurried pace into the fort, “Lord Schwarzmord of the Imperial Inquisition. Considering the severity of your report, I trust you will forgive my forfeiture of all pleasantries. I rode two nights and two days without pause to reach you as fast as possible. My horse is nearly half-dead. I do hope for your sake you do not intend to delay me any further from facing a matter as dire as described.”

“Of course not, m’lord, I will bring you straight to him” the captain replied and took point. He led the inquisitor through the inner courtyard and into the main building of the fortress. Even though not in its prime, the structure was monumental and none the less formidable. Inside they dove into the lower floors where a temporary dungeon had been set up in what would have been a cellar. They passed several guards on their way, none remaining indifferent at the sight of the inquisitor’s dark coat flowing around him. Some bore expressions of relief, others – fear, others still downright disdain. One could swear they were throwing imaginary daggers at Schwarzmord’s back. Noticing the inquisitor pausing for the briefest moment at a particularly blatant look of disdain from a soldier, the captain commented with a firm voice.

“You will have to excuse our men, my lord, we’ve all been keeping watch over this abomination for several days after having witnessed how it slaughtered half our battalion. And to put insult to injury, the blasted cur refuses to die; we tried everything we could think of, but to no avail. Because of this the men were very uneasy waiting for your arrival; an uneasiness that has grown into openly displayed tension.”

“The Inquisition is loved by few, Captain. Had there been a way for me to arrive sooner, this matter would already have been resolved.” said the inquisitor coldly, continuing along the narrow path, closely hugged by solid stone walls.

The two men came upon a heavy wooden door, its hinges, albeit rusted, powerful and large – tough enough to hold off a pack of rabid beastmen. Two guards were posted at it. Upon seeing the sigils of the Inquisition, they both straightened up their postures and a faint glimmer of relief appeared in their weary eyes.

With a motion of his hand Schwarzmord dismissed them and proceeded towards the stout door, not even waiting for the captain to pull out his key to open the still-intact lock. Kalyan handed the inquisitor the key. It clicked loudly, the seemingly ancients springs and sprockets protesting to this abuse. Schwarzmord pushed the door forward and with a prolonged whimpering screech it opened the way into a smallish room. The chamber was lit with the miniscule glow of a few dying embers in a broad portable brazier, filled with charcoal. From the sharp metal tool lying in the middle of it, it was obvious what it had served for.

The low light outlined the figure of a chained man in what appeared to be rags. He had stayed silent and motionless since the moment they had entered. The inquisitor came closer to the man and told Kalyan to fetch a torch from the hallway without turning away from the heretic. Lit by torchlight, the would-be rags were revealed to be long strips of paper, intricately scribed with Chaos runes. These paper ribbons intertwined with what had once been normal clothes and chains attached to hidden places in the man’s attire. It was obvious that a large portion of the iron he was surrounded by now, he had worn on him before getting captured. His shackles had been bound with wax seals bearing similar scribed pieces of paper, however, written in the language of the Empire and set upon the chains by a priest of Sigmar. When the captain brought the torch closer, Alexander could clearly see the man’s face- two familiar dark eyes gazed into him, and a familiar smile formed on a scarless, bearless face. If not for his wicked expression, one could call him beautiful.

Schwarzmord beheld this sight with a mask-like face. His appearance would rarely give expression to whatever was happening in his mind- this was no exception. As he beheld the shackled man before him, the captain interrupted his silent scrutiny: “It has to be some sort of wicked magic- nay, my lord? This couldn’t possibly be the Tzarina’s favorite artist! He has been gone for over a year, and he was a man of age- nowhere near this young, not to mention a blasted heretic.”

The inquisitor’s face shifted into the most subtle of smiles: “I bet to differ, Captain. Before you stands Gregorius Volff himself.”

“By Sigmar! How could such a travesty have come to be?! He was the Tzarina’s favorite! What does that leave for her then? Does that make her a heretic as well?!”

“Nay, Captain Mavro. She is of no use to the Dark Gods.” Having said that, Schwarzmord turned back to face the knight in the blink of an eye. He held a pistol inches away from the captain’s face. “As are you.”

The inquisitor shot Mavro between the eyes at nearly point-blank range. As the soldier’s lifeless body collapsed to the floor, Schwarzmord had already turned back to the prisoner.

“Volff, the Great Architect appreciates those who heed his call, however, he has little patience for blundering indiscretions such as this.” He broke the seals of purity and undid the restraints holding the heretic. He then produced a small stone from his coat and handed it to Gregorius. “It was clever of you to take the power of the Immaculate Wyrdstone into yourself, yet insufferably moronic to not conceal yourself better on your way to the Inevitable City. Take this portalstone- it will take you directly to the Monolith within the city. From there make all haste to deliver the Wyrdstone power to Tchar’zanek, so that he may bring forth the Harbingers with it. Now begone!”

Gregorius did not reply to the inquisitor- instead, he bowed low and activated the stone, grinning.

He was gone in a flash of warpfire before the guards who had heard the shot had even gotten near. When they arrived at the small chamber, horror and shock were evident on their faces at the sight of their commander slain, the heretic gone and Schwarzmord standing in a pool of Kalyan’s blood. Disbelieving their eyes, angry and lost, they assaulted him with questions. What had transpired? Be he in league with the daemonspawn?

He replied with a grim smile on his face: “I’m afraid I have arrived too late to save this fort from corruption. For collaborating with the heretic to evade imperial justice and succumbing to the foul depravity of Chaos I declare anathema on your persons.” He drew his weapons, a grim smile on his face, his eyes receding into two flickering lights drowned in the shadow from the rim of his hat. “You are all to be purified in flame! Burn, heretics!”

With this triumphant decree, he lunged into battle.

Walking away from the blazing fortress, accompanied out by the sounds of mortar cracking from the intense heat and the stench of burning flesh, Alexander Schwarzmord pondered on his personal worldview. He believed that all, men and gods alike, were invariably bound to the will of the Schemer. In his eyes, even Karl Franz and Sigmar themselves had their parts to play in Tzeentch’s theater eternal and, therefore, were nothing more than mere pawns in the long term. He also believed that those willingly submitting to His service would reap the rewards for their cooperation. This night the Architect had affirmed his beliefs yet again.

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  1. September 18, 2011 at 12:30 AM

    This post written by guest author Archexecutor of Karak Norn =)

  2. Georgi Valchev (@Archexecutor)
    September 18, 2011 at 5:58 AM

    That guy again? Seriously, I don’t know how you put up with him. 😉

    • September 18, 2011 at 8:07 PM

      I heard he won the “Liechtenstein’s Got Talent” show, so… =\

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