The Norse Are Coming! ~ Intro
Torches swayed from side to side as a group of Norse raiders entered a dark tangled forest on a cloudless yet moonless night. The striking of a flint a few meters ahead caused the man at the forefront of the Norse group to halt and signal the others to remain still. Another strike of the flint and a fire came to life, curiously purple in color.
“Why stop now? Your flickering torches give your presence away far more than any noise you make,” a slender figure said standing behind the fire. As the Norse approached the beauty of the figure became apparent, though only half of the face was visible while the other half was covered in darkness.
A stout Norse warrior with a peppered beard grunted, “The crone you sent said you would have words, words we could profit from…”
The strange figure behind the purple flames waved their hand and two other figures who had been crouching covered in their capes arose holding a chest between them; had they remained still no one would have noticed their presence. They placed the chest by the fire and receded back into the shadow of the glade. The figure motioned to the Norseman with an open hand, “You do not seem like the type who cares for words. The payment is yours.”
The Norse warrior stepped towards the chest grunting once more, “The same payment you gave the Sedati?” With his dagger he lifted the latch of the chest’s lid and with his other hand lifted the lid to reveal copper, silver, and gold coins. He picked up a copper coin with a look of distaste on his face, “We do not stand equal to the Sedati.”
“Do what you’ve been asked and greater shall be your reward,” the beautiful figure said with a enticing smile. “Before the next moon rises,” and before the figure could finish their sentence a pistol shot broke the silence of the night striking the figure down followed by two more shots striking the crouching figures. One of the figures attempted to run, though it was apparent his leg was wounded; a pistol shot caught him between the shoulders and brought him down.Two dozen or so warriors clad in trimmed furs surrounded the Norse band with pistols pointing at their bodies and swords at the ready.
“Cut off their heads and burn them, leave the bodies for the crows,” a tall figure with an ermine trimmed coat said carrying a heavy stave.
The beautiful figure lay panting behind the purple flames propping themselves up on their elbows. A foul smile crept across their face as it turned to reveal the half which had thus far been shrouded in darkness, revealing twisted flesh and the side of their head shaved and scarred in some ritualistic design. “Suffering is the greatest reward,” it said through its teeth looking the Kislevite in the eyes.
“Slaanesh filth,” the boyar said spitting, bring his stave down on her head sending a mist of blood spraying into the opening.
“Now how are we supposed to burn the head if you do that,” a young Kislevite said with a wide smile, a commoner by the looks of his clothing. “Think she knew that before the next moon rises she’ll be dead or do you think she had something else in mind? Hard to ask her when she hasn’t a head.”
“Burn all of this one, leave none for the crows.” He said spitting once more into the purple flames. He turned to face the Norse party which in the brief encounter barely had enough time to draw their axes and assume a defensive circle formation with shields held high, though with all the pistols pointing at them they held their ground.
“You going to burn our heads too, ice bastard,” a younger Norse warrior red with anger said bringing his sword up ready to strike.
The boyar stepped forward showing no fear waving his hand towards the chest, “Payment for…?”
The Norse warrior with the peppered beard, apparently the leader of the group, replied, “Selling furs and skins.”
The young Norse warrior pointed with his sword at the boyar’s trimmed coat, “You might be interested.”
The boyar in return motioned towards one of the shields with a crudly cut square of skin nailed to it, “Are there many squirrels and foxes in these mountains that ink their skin with the mark of Manann?”
The young norse warrior replied with a smirk, “Only the seafaring ones.”
The older warrior elbowed the young one behind him. “Payment is payment. Business is our own.”
“Was your own,” the Kislevite commoner corrected. “Seems that arrangement came to an end.”
“I know your business,” the boyar said, “and I’ll let you keep your lives for a price.”
“Keep the gold then,” the Norse warrior replied.
“The gold is not something you can bargain with…”
“Speak your words, what do you want? The Fergen do not grovel or play with words.” the warrior stated.
“I’ll give you the gold and more upon return if you use your blades and axes for our purpose.”
“And do what?”
“Raid the Kraken Coast.”
The young warrior pushed past the older warrior and burst out in anger, “Madness grips the Kraken Coast, it is no place for raiding.”
With a surprisingly quick swipe of his stave, the boyar brought down the young Norse warrior and the Kislevite commoner leaped behind him holding a pistol to his temple.
“Ferig!” a Norse warrior with an ear missing cried out, He drew his ax menacingly and growled at the Kislevite commoner, “Let ‘im be.”
The boyar turned to the Norse leader and said, “You will take your payment and raid the Kraken Coast. Return by Autumn’s end and receive the same amount. Do not return and… Ferig dies,” the boyar motioned towards the young warrior laying on the ground.
The father of the young Norse warrior tensed up and the older warrior twisted his face as he mulled over the idea. “Autumn’s end… we return and we get the gold and the boy?”
“Do not think you can simply hide away all of spring, summer, and autumn,” the boyar stated, “Janos here will go with you. If he dies, the boy dies. He will make sure you visit the Kraken Coast.”
The Kislevite commoner tapped his pistol on the young Norse warriors cheek, “Looks like you wont have to go raiding the Kraken Coast after all. Guess I will!”
The old Norse warrior grunted, visibly displeased, but he nodded. The boyar stepped aside waving his hand towards the chest, “Your payment then. The gold…. and your lives.”
The Norse leader turned aside looking at two of his warriors jerking his head towards the chest. Clearly trained to act without verbal communication the warriors took the chest and the Kislevites opened the circle allowing for the Norse to return down the path they came.
As his warriors filed out of the grove the boyar came to the old warrior’s side and said, “Your name Norseman?”
“Yarrik Ironbled of the Fergen,” the old warrior replied still with a displeased face. Though technically little had changed, he had after all gotten the gold, he was still displeased being caught between two factions in their war. The Norse do not choose sides.
“One last thing then Yarrik Ironbled of the Fergen,” the boyar said gripping the Norse warrior’s arm with an icy hand. “Any Norse ship you see sailing south across the Sea of Claws, you destroy.”
Yarrik looked at Ferig who sat by the flickering purple flames with his hands bound. His face twitched and he nodded. He pointed his dagger at Ferig saying, “Know this ice lord, should any harm come to that boy, then the waves that caress Kislev’s shore shall be bloodied and set aflame.”
The boyar smiled sadly, “They already are.”