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Fiction The Orphaned Temple City, Complete Four Part Story

Discussion in 'Fluff and Stories' started by Scalenex, Jan 12, 2013.

  1. Scalenex

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    A long time ago on the Temple Pyramid Vault, a forumite wrote a story called "A Hero to Lead Them,” but the author left it at a cliff hanger. Part One is my homage to that cliffhanger.

    As far as I know, he never finished it leaving it on a cliff hanger, so I’m rewriting his story using his part one as inspiration and writing my own ending. I'm adapting it to fit in the same universe as my other stories, Count Renliss' Journey to Lustria and The Fall of Turochitan. I also wrote a sequel to this story called Divided We Fall. Later I wrote a sequel to that piece called New Alliances.

    The Orphaned Temple City, Part One: A Hero to Lead Them

    Saurus warriors are viewed by outsiders as mindless. Sauri are not mindless. They are simple. Kaitar was less simple than most of his kind. Kaitar was troubled. Kaitar was a warrior born, and he had spent most of his waking time digging ditches and hauling large stones. This was not what troubled him. Saurus warriors are content to wait until they are needed in battle. The majority of Sauri do very little with their time but wait until needed. It mattered not to Kaitar if he spent his time in labor or merely waiting for orders.

    A Saurus is content to wait until they are needed in battle. The majority of Sauri do very little with their time but wait until needed. As a lesser temple city far from the coasts and deep in the jungle, Klodorex enjoys relative peace, rarely facing serious threats. With a “waste not, want not” mentality, the local Slann had given most of the Sauri rotating shifts into the Skink’s workforce to assist in their manual labor. Kaitar was part of his small city’s most recent spawning of Sauri and had only seen one major battle since his spawning.

    Over a century ago, Klodorex faced its greatest threat. A localized storm of magic attracted the attention of a coven of dark elf sorceresses who wanted to harness the power. They brought a massive invading army and a veritable horde of bound monsters for protection. Not without reinforcements of their own, the Slann had managed to enslave a powerful vampire, Count Renliss. With the undead positioned to absorb most of the casualties, the Dark Elf sorceresses were beaten. Once able to control the magical power uncontested they Slann eradicated the Druchi almost entirely. A single elf was allowed to return to Naggaroth alive in order to warn his brethren of the perils that faced them in Lustira. Though he was executed for his failure and cowardice, his brethren took the warning and no Dark Elf had ventured near Klodorex since. The time of the last Storm of Magic was named the Scouring by the First children of Klodorex.

    The Dark Elves were formerly the most frequent foes of the First of Klodorex. Renliss escaped as the storm of magic ebbed, but his forces were decimated. His efforts to build up his forces in the first place had come at the expense of the nearest Skaven and Savage Orcs meaning Klodorex’s other enemies were now also held in check. The losses from the Scouring and the events leading up to it were severe, but without any enemies about, this no longer mattered. Klodorex knew a longer period of peace than it had ever experienced before, yet Kaitar the Saurus was troubled.

    Peace didn’t trouble Kaitar. Though he was literally born for war, he was not an orc and had no psychological compulsion forcing him to fight. He could have hauled bricks for a millennium in perfect contentment. Some of the more contemplative skinks were bothered by this seemingly endless toil, but the Sauri didn’t mind. The Slann had ordered additional construction not long after the Scouring. After over a century of building , Klodorex was built to nearly twice the size it was before. The city was already somewhat large for its population size. Most of the Skinks knew nothing but construction their whole lives. Of the Skinks, only a few of the Skink Priests and the Master of the Watch were old enough anything before the Scouring (priests and chiefs live longer than ordinary Skinks).

    What bothered Kaitar were the visions. Visions were for priests of the Old Ones, not a lowly Saurus. Kaitar was getting visions of horrendous slaughter followed by cold emptiness repeatedly. The slaughter didn’t bother him. Sauri were accustomed to scenes of slaughter but the coldness at the end bothered him greatly. Kaitar attempted to ignore this at first, but he started seeing the visions every time he slept. The few times the Sauri of his spawning had issues, they usually went to the Scar Veteran Nurak for help. Nurak was not the oldest Scar Veteran surviving in Klodorex, but he was the one most actively involved with Kaitar’s spawning.

    “I have no idea what those visions mean.”
    “Can’t you try to think of something? You have seen many spawnings. You must have seen something like this!”
    “Memories of the Scouring, maybe. I can’t remember it very well because we all were affected by so many spells both weakening us and strengthening us. Partial memories could back later and seem like visions.”
    “I remember it clearly. It was my first real battle. I remember every attack and parry versus the elves. I remember how my spawning mates and myself were fused with the strength of a Carnosaur—each”
    “Well you seem to remember a lot better than the others do. I had a lot of complaints from your spawning brothers about NOT remembering the battle.”
    “The Slann were not present at the last three Spawning ceremonies. Have you ever known all the Slann to be absent from a Spawning?”
    “Slann are absent from the ceremonies all the time.”
    “All at once though?”
    “Never before the Scouring.”
    “The Slann were not at any of ritual venerations for the Old Ones since the Scouring either, we’ve had dozens. Have they ever been completely absent before the Scouring for those?”
    “Yes, but, never two ceremonies in a row that I can remember.”
    “I think my visions are connected to this.”
    “I’ve never heard of anyone other than a priest getting visions, perhaps you should ask a priest”
    “As if the High Skinks would take time to listen to a lowly Saurus…”
    “Sauri are known for facing impossible odds, I’m sure you can handle this.”

    Kaitar had worked on enough building projects around the city to know where everything was, including the temples. He thought he’d start with the highest ranking Skink, since he was presumably the most knowledgeable about visions. If he was sent to a subordinate priest, that was acceptable.

    It was a fairly short walk through the city as Kaitar winded around the many workers going about their business. Kaitar ascended the steps of the main temple, stopping well short of the entrance not wanting to antagonize the Temple Guard stationed at the door. He did not speak, but it was not long before a Skink came cautiously out.

    “What is your business here, Saurus?”
    “I am Kaitar of the northeast spawning pool. I need to speak to a priest for I have been experiencing visions.”
    “Visions? It is not known for a Saurus to have visions.”
    “It is not known for a Saurus to lie to Skinks either, bring me a priest.”

    The Skink paused nervously.

    “The High Skinks are currently busy, you’ll have to wait.”

    Sauri were used to waiting, but for the first time in his life, Kaitar waited impatiently. He saw the Master of the Watch, Tykornis, leave. The venerable Skink chief was seething with barely suppressed anger. Once a good way from the temple, he started snarling in exasperation, his crest fully extended and his tail waving in an agitated fashion. Kaitar caught a snippet of muttering.

    “Not worth mobilizing the Saurus warriors?!”

    The nervous Skink scribe returned…forty-five minutes after The Master of the Watch was out of sight. If speaking with Tykornis was the reason the High Skinks were busy, they were clearly in no rush to talk to Kaitar.

    “You may come in Kaitar of the northeast spawning pool.”

    The Temple Guard stepped aside slightly allowing him to pass. Kaitar entered a chamber with stone icons of all the Old Ones. He saw the Temple Guard’s war banner hanging on the wall as well as some of the tattered banners of the foes they defeated, the ones that had not decayed from age anyway. A Skink stood before him. He had gold jewelry, a cape from the skin of a rare beast and many feathers. Kaitar was fairly sure this was a priest of middling rank though the priest did not introduce himself or his rank.

    “You are Kaitar of the spawning of the most recent spawning of the northeast pool?”
    “You are currently working as a laborer in the southeast district?”
    “And you say you are experiencing visions?”
    “Please describe them.”

    Kaitar did his best to describe his vision. The Skink seemed highly unconcerned.

    “You are born for battle, so you are fixated on your last major battle. The lack of new battles is creating a feeling of emptiness. You should find contentment in the work you are doing now.”
    “That’s not it, the visions are not from the Scouring and the emptiness was from the vision, not a lack of contentment. These visions are important. Perhaps one of the Slann can interpret them.”

    The Priest looked nervously to the closed doors to the inner chamber.

    “The Slann are too busy to talk to a lowly Saurus. The Skink priests are normally too busy to speak to a lowly Saurus. You are lucky I deigned to take the time to do so.”

    Kaitar looked towards the chamber at the ceremonially garbed Saurus guarding the doors.

    “That’s not one of the Eternity Wardens. That’s a low ranking guard. I demand to see a Slann now!”
    “The Slann will never deign to speak to one as lowly as you!”

    Kaitar lost his temper and his battle instincts took over. He shoved the Skink Priest across the room bumping him into a nearby wall. Then he sprinted towards the inner chamber doors prepared to fight the guard though Kaitar was unarmed. Kaitar grabbed the shaft of the guard’s halberd. The guard struggled for his weapon briefly, then head butted Kaitar. Protected by his helmet, Kaitar felt the blow far more than the Temple Guard and went sprawling to the ground. He raised his halberd, but Kaitar bit into the guard’s ankle before he could strike. Now both Sauri were prone on the ground. Kaitar wrenched the halberd from the grip his unlikely foe and pushed himself off the ground with the handle. He kicked the Temple Guard’s helmet off then bashed his head with the blunt end of the halberd, knocking him unconscious with a swift blow. Kaitar forced open the chamber doors. He looked inside to see the chamber completely empty, except for a layer of dust.

    Four more Temple Guard had entered the room outside the Slanns’ main chamber. They had their weapons lowered and were not about to be taken by surprise. The disheveled Skink priest was hopping up and down in indignation.

    “Put this one in the Room of Judgment. He has injured one of your spawning brothers and assaulted a High Skink!”

    The First Children of the Old Ones (Saurus, Skinks, and Kroxigors) do not always see eye to eye with each other, but actual criminals among the First are very rare. Sentences tended to be swift. Even with all the excessive building over the past century, Klodorex only had one Room of Judgment, what humans would call a “jail cell”. Alone in the dark cell, Kaitar knew he was doomed. It would take weeks for the Temple Guard he wounded to be able to walk without a limp. The Skink was at worst bruised, but Kaitar knew he was in far more trouble for his “assault” on the Skink priest. Kaitar did not waste much time bemoaning his own fate. What bothered him above all was that his suspicions were confirmed: The Slann were missing and the Skink Priests had been covering it up.

    Kaitar was mildly surprised to see the Scar Veteran Nurak outside his cell.

    “They let you in to see me?”
    “Well, if anyone asks, I yelled at you for being a disgrace to your spawning.”
    “The main chamber was empty. The Slann are missing! The High Skinks have been giving us orders from the main chamber claiming they were from the Slann.”
    “It would appear so, Kaitar.”
    “Well any last bits of wisdom before I get exiled (if I’m lucky enough to be exiled).”
    “Yes, you should ask for trial by combat.”
    “Then I can go from probable death to certain death.”
    “Better to go out fighting than meekly accept a punishment. I believe you about the Slann being missing, but no one else will. No one is going to listen to me either. If you go for trial by combat, you will have most of the city as your audience.”

    * * * * * * *

    Kaitar was roughly escorted into the arena. It was not normally an arena. It was normally a gathering place for religious observances. The central platforms for the priests were moved to the side, and in their normal place was a large circle formed from a temporary wooden fence erected around it, Kaitar wondered if any of his spawning helped put up the fence. Beyond the enclosure were many raised seats with over half the population of the city in attendance. From the position where his platforms were moved. The highest ranking Skink priest spoke into a massive megaphone.

    “Kaitar of the seventeenth Saurus spawning of the Sacred pool of Tzunki. You have opted for trial by combat. Since you have shown yourself more than capable of fighting one Temple Guard, it is decreed that you shall fight TWO!”

    The scribes and other Skinks who attended to the priests chuckled at this but it was more or less drowned out by the Kroxigor roaring in excitement, eager to see a fight. Kaitar expected something more difficult to fight than two Temple Guards, but he had also expected to be given something more to fight with than a short cudgel. Little more than a rock on a stick, this was the second most commonly used backup weapon by Saurus Warriors (the first most widely used backup weapon was their own sharp teeth). His opponents were in their full battle garb. Judging by their scars they bore and the items they wore, Kaitar guessed that they were not Revered Guardians, but that they were from one of the older Temple Guard spawnings of Klodorex.

    Kaitar thought about simply shouting out that the Slann were missing, but it would have not been heard by anyone. The crowd was far too excited and noisy to hear his words. The crowd was either deliberately riled up by the Skink priests or simply noisy because they have been bored for so many years. Kaitar would have to defeat his opponents in order to talk to the audience.

    The cudgel gave Kaitar reach and something to parry blows with, but he didn’t think he could penetrate the Temple Guards' armored hides, and he didn’t feel confident in his ability to close into bite range. The Temple Guard had their full battle garb, including the shields carried on their backs to deflect missile fire. A plan was forming in Kaitar’s mind.

    The Temple Guards were advancing to Kaitar’s left and right. Kaitar was a fast sprinter, not that Sauri got many opportunities to use that ability. Kaitar ran towards the left most Guard, then at the last second ducked around him. Rather than trying to make an ineffectual blow on the Temple Guard’s thick back hide, he instead grabbed the shield he wore on his back, just in time to parry the Temple Guard’s retaliatory blow. The crowd roared its approval of Kaitar’s unexpected “attack.”

    The Temple Guard struck again and Kaitar blocked it with his shield pushing forward to keep the blade away from him, Kaitar lunged across the shaft of the Halberd and bit into the Temple Guard’s shoulder. His opponent shoved Kaitar roughly away. Kaitar had not unclenched his jaw yet, so this defensive move resulted into Kaitar taking a fairly large chunk of flesh off from what would have otherwise been a small bite. The roars from the watching Kroxigor alone were practically deafening.

    The wounded Temple Guard was staggering but his partner had arrived and was savagely counter attacking, pushing Kaitar back. Kaitar was surprised his shield could take so much abuse. His shield arm was aching underneath the blows. Whatever they were made of, the Temple Guard’s shield seemed strong enough to withstand endless abuse, but Kaitar could barely get a swing in with his cudgel for the ferocity of his enemy’s attack. Despite this, Kaitar’s instincts told him the attacks were somewhat sloppy. The barrage was meant as a distraction while the wounded Guard came up from behind. Kaitar rapidly backed up away from the unwounded guard, fending his blows off with his shield and raised his cudgel to fend off the other’s next attack. The wounded Temple Guard put all his strength into the swing and managed to sunder the handle of Kaitar’s cudgel in two, drawing a gash in Kaitar’s arm on the backswing.

    Putting so much power into one blow put a strain on the Temple Guard’s wounded shoulder. Kaitar saw his opponent showing sign of fatigue in his arms. With no weapon left Kaitar knew it was pointless to cower behind his shield. He chose to take the offensive. He discarded his ruined cudgel and flung his shield with all his might into the face of the unwounded guard, stunning him temporarily. Kaitar then lunged towards the wounded one wrenched the halberd from his slackened grip then lashed out at the halberd’s former wielder. The blade was pointed the wrong direction so the guard was hit by the blunt end of the blade but the end hit square on his bite wound. He crumpled to the ground howling in pain. For the second time in his life, Kaitar had knocked down a Temple Guard with his own halberd.

    The other Temple Guard had recovered from the shield thrown in his face and was charging. Kaitar charged as well. Soon the two Sauri were rapidly striking and parrying with their halberds. Kaitar feigned a bite attempt on the Guard’s shoulder. Having witnessed the other attack the Temple Guard was prepared to ward off of Kaitar’s jaws, but he was not expecting a punch in the gut. The punch was disorienting enough to give Kaitar an opening and let him strike true with his stolen halberd then again as the guard staggered from the first wound. Kaitar restrained himself from striking a third time at the prone guard. Kaitar wasn’t sure if the Temple Guard was alive, but he knew his opponent certainly wasn’t going to striking any blows in the arena anytime soon, so he didn’t want to slay the other Saurus if he could avoid it. The guard with the bite wound staggered to his feet slowly. He could barely walk and no longer had a weapon or shield. He lowered his head in submission to Kaitar then began limping off the field. He had failed in his duty to the High Skinks.

    After a few minutes of loud cheering, Kaitar raised his hand to silence the crowd, then shouted towards the crowd.

    “First Children of Klodorex hear me—“

    The high priest ran to his megaphone and shouted into it.

    “Kaitar has won his trial by combat. The will of the Old Ones is done, you may now exit the arena!”
    “Not yet! Hear me First of Klodorex! The Slann are gone and the High Skinks have been giving us false orders distracting us with pointless building projects”

    Some of the Skinks cried out in fear. Most cried out in disbelief. The Sauri snarled in anger. The Saurus section of the stands was blasted with new color as the Sauri revealed their tongues in their challenge expression. Half were mad at Kaitar for spreading lies against the High Skinks. Half were mad at the High Skinks for lying to them. The Kroxigor were stunned into dumbfounded silence.

    “Lies! The Slann are not gone, they are attending their own business. They told us to build. We will continue to do so until they deem our task complete and choose to give us new instructions.”
    “They haven’t given us new instructions because they CAN’T! They are not busy, they are missing! If the High Skinks refuse to look for them, I say we need Saurus leadership!”

    The High Skink stammered and sputtered incoherently before snarling into the megaphone.

    “We are in charge in the Slann’s absence not you!”

    “You just admitted they were absent!”

    All of the crowd was roaring angrily now. The Skinks were bobbing their heads angrily. Though it was hard to make out what was said because everyone was shouting at once, it was clear no one was siding with the High Skinks.

    “What’s that?” someone in the audience shouted.

    Eventually the anger subsided into curiosity as over twenty bipedal shapes with swirling colors appeared in the arena. Chameleon Skinks can actually suppress their camoflauge and alter their colors randomly to make themselves more noticeable. Most of the First were unaware of this ability since Chameleon Skinks do not make a habit of announcing their presence. It was fortunate that the odd sight had mostly silenced the crowd since the Chameleon Skink leader was unaccustomed to raising his voice.

    “The Skaven move about with increasing boldnessss and the goblins’ forays now take them far from the waste landssss. The jungle sickensss at the presence of both. We need Saurus leadership. The Chameleon Skinks pledge ourselves to Kaitar!”

    I meant the Saurus leadership of Nurak or Taresh, not me. Kaitar thought to himself, but he did not voice this thought out loud. Tykoronis spoke up next. No one had to strain to hear him, since he was accustomed to shouting orders from the back of a flying Terradon.

    “For too long our enemies have roamed the jungles unchecked while we build pointless structures the Slann could not have desired. The riders of Klodorex pledge our allegiance to Kaitar!”

    Nurak grinned and led the Sauri in a battle cry. That was as good as a formal pledge. It was quickly drowned out by the roar of the Kroxigor who made a similar pledge. The Temple Guard swore to always obey the High Skinks but they had also sworn to serve the Slann above all else. While the Skink priests slinked away quietly and the others pledged fealty to Kaitar, the Temple Guard hesitated unsure of what to do. The hesitation was so subtle and brief, none in the cheering crowd noticed the hesitation though the brief moment of hesitation would haunt each one of the guardian Saurus till their dying days. After a moment’s consideration the Revered Guardian moved to protect the departing Skink priests (not that anyone was threatening them), the others followed suit.

    Well I guess if they want me to be a leader I better act the part…

    “Mobilize the Saurus warriors, scouts, and beasts of war! We will search everywhere for the missing Slann and crush any foe of the Old Ones we find. If any of them are responsible for the missing Slann we will hunt them down to the ends of the earth and destroy them utterly!”
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2016
  2. Scalenex

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Re: The Orphaned Temple City, Part Two

    And here’s part two. Part one was a remake of a story I read long ago, this is entirely mine.

    The Orphaned Temple City, Part Two: Marked by the Lost One

    “….and we have seven Salamanders and five Razordons trained for combat according to the Master of the Stables.” Tykornis finished reading the scroll he had with all of Klodorex’s total available reserves.
    “What of the Temple Guard?” Kaitar asked.
    “They admitted that the Eternity Wardens are also missing. This is good news, since this means that wherever the Slann are, they are likely being guarded well. The Temple Guard said they will not interfere with your quest to find the Slann, but they will not cease from protecting the sacred temples, sites, and artifacts entrusted to their care until told otherwise by the Slann.”
    “It’s nice to know they don’t bear a grudge you for killing one of them Kaitar.” Naruk interjected with a grin.
    “That’s not funny! I would like to fight with the Temple Guard beside me, but if they feel guarding their charges is more important, I won’t stand in the way of their duties. Speaking of their charges, have the High Skinks left the Temple yet, Tykornis?”
    “No, they barricaded themselves inside the main temple and have not done nothing else since. I was told by a Skink scribe that their food supplies will run out in two days. Perhaps they will be more cooperative hungry?”
    “No, we are not at war with them. They acted in the manner they thought was best (stubborn as it was). Send unarmed Skink attendants with provisions and offer to bring them anything reasonable they ask for.”

    Tykornis pointed at a subordinate who headed to the nearest granary to carry out Kaitar’s order. Kaitar addressed the Master of the Watch again.

    “Meet with the head of the Chameleon Skinks (does anyone here know his name?). I’ll leave it to your judgment to decide which of the resurgent enemy groups to go after first. Whatever you think is the right amount of troops to handle the threat, double it. We don’t know who is responsible for the missing Slann, and I am not taking any chances.”

    Tykornis slapped his tail to the ground in salute and departed for the aviary. The civilian Skink leaders bowed and departed to make the necessary preparations. Kaitar was highly uncomfortable with the Skink Chiefs now bowing to him.

    “I don’t like this. Naruk, you should be in charge. I have seen barely over a century and my most impressive scar came three days ago from someone on my own side.” Kaitar quietly stated to his mentor raising his arm and pointing at the still healing wound inflicted by the Temple Guard’s halberd.

    “I disagree Kaitar. I may have more battle experience and better honed combat instincts, but you have a great talent for improvisation that does not come from age. In the arena I would have just tried to overcome the Guard with pure ferocity. I would not have thought of grabbing the shield or halberd until after one of them had fallen. I would have not brought the priests food either since I don’t see a moral problem with extorting them. I don’t like the idea of fighting without magic though.”
    “Me neither, that’s why I told Tyrkornis to double the numbers of troops”

    * * * * * * * * * * * *

    The leader of the Chameleon Skinks and Tykornis had hatched a plan. The Terradon riders and Chameleon Skinks spotted small bands of around Skaven periodically. Both the Terradon riders and Chameleon Skinks hunted Skaven that surfaced in the jungle, but they rarely coordinated their efforts. This time they scouted the same areas. After locating a band together, the flyers attacked a Skaven band with rocks and javelins killing most of them and harrying the fleeing survivors. A small number of the Skaven were allowed to “escape” So that the Chameleons could tail him and locate their nest. Once the nest was located, they would lead the army back to it to destroy it.

    The first part of the plan worked. Now Kaitar, Naruk, and Tykornis were on a hill in front of their army overlooking the dingy hole the Skaven were nesting in.

    “It’s not a temporary hole, it’s the real deal. The Chameleon Skinks spotted multiple groups arriving and leaving.” Tykornis reported.
    “I don’t think we want to charge our troops into the hole, there’d be a bottleneck and losses would be high,” Kaitar said.
    “It might work if they don’t know we are coming.” Naruk said.
    “They know you are coming,” came a whisper behind them.

    Now that they heard the voice the leaders could make out the outline with the golden eyes that was the Chameleon Skink leader (or perhaps one of his subordinates, how could they tell?)

    “How do you know this?” Kaitar asked.
    “You brought Stegadonssss. Anything underground will have heard the vibrations long ago.” The Skink whispered in reply.
    “Do they know we are here with a whole army?
    “Mahrlecht! You should have told us this earlier. They could have been preparing defenses this whole time. Naruk take in the Jade spawning Saurus and all the Salamanders, the rest of us will follow!”

    The Saurus warriors roared and charged in while the handlers goaded the Salamanders right behind them. Kaitar and his spawning kin were holding back in the first reserve block them waiting for the first wave to go through the bottle neck. Close on their heels was one of the Stegadons.

    “What should I do Kaitar!” Tykornis called.
    “I don’t know—whatever you want!” Kaitar called just before following the rush of battle into the tunnels.

    Kaitar could hear the roars of Saurus and the squeals of the filthy ratmen ahead of him. He could smell the singed flesh from the Salamanders handy work, but he still could not see what was going on. All he could see was the backs of the ranks of Jade Saurus fighting in front of him. One of the Skink handlers pushed their way through the small gaps between in the Saurus bodies towards him.

    “The chamber’s widening, you’ll be able to be in soon Kaitar!”
    “Why aren’t you with your Salamander?”
    The Skink’s crest drooped.

    “She got away”
    “Got…away? Enemies ‘get away’, our own troops ‘get lost’. Go back and find it!”

    Gerlit the Skink Handler scurried forward once more squeezing through the tiny gaps between the ranked Sauri. Kaitar was trying to wend his way through a narrow tunnel alongside several of his spawning kin when he heard shouting from the Jade spawning ahead.

    “Smash the torchbearers now! They are trying some kind of trick” Nurak shouted.

    The noises of battle intensified as Kaitar crossed the threshold into the chamber. There was a small explosion on the ceiling and Kaitar found himself walking into a deluge of pouring dirt. Kaitar cursed or rather roared inarticulately (the Saurus equivalent of a curse). The rats were squealing curses too. Either their trap misfired or the Saurus stopped the Skaven from fully triggering the trap. The Skaven were expecting the Sauri to be buried completely, not impeded up to their torsos. This did slow the Sauri down but eventually all of Kaitar’s spawning made it to the chamber and were engaging the ratmen in a disorganized melee.

    “Where are the others! There are Ratkin everywhere!” Kaitar shouted
    “The Stegadon is stuck in the tunnel, the others can’t get it in!” one of his Spawning Kin shouted from the back.
    “We don’t need them, the rats are falling back. Keep pushing! We are stronger than them!” Nurak shouted.

    The tunnels were dimly lit by glowing fungi and the smoldering fires left by the Salamanders. Immediately after Nurak spoke, the entire room glowed faintly with veins of green light. Kaitar felt himself sickening (a rare occurrence for Sauri). The glow receded but the lingering feeling of weakness remained. Then the area glowed with a slightly different shade of green light. The second light coalesced around the Skaven who suddenly had their maws and weapons dripping with putrescent muck. The rats began surging against the Sauri flushed with their new power while the Sauri were simulataneously weakened. The muck covered weapons infected the Sauri struck with a virulent poison. Kaitar searched the dim tunnel. He saw Nurak slicing Skaven with his two swords seemingly unimpeded by the magic, but Kaitar saw the rest of the front line was being pushed back. Then he spotted something else.

    “There! The one with the staff! Get him!”

    Kaitar pulled himself out of the dirt with all his might ,and joined the rush of Sauri towards the warlock getting intercepted by one of the squeeling rat fighters on the way. The rat stabbed at him and Kaitar was too slowed down by the dirt to block it. He could feel an infection spreading from a small wound but it didn’t affect him much. Kaitar dropped his axe in a fury grabbed the Skaven’s weapon arm pulling it towards his jaws. Then he bit clean through it at the shoulder. He proceeded to dismember the foul rat creature bare handed before plucking the dagger from his shoulder and looking up to see three of his spawning kin finally catch up to the wizard. Even magically impeded, three Sauri were more than capable of making short work of the wizard. The warlock pulled an odd trinket from his robes but was bludgeoned to death before he could use it. The creature’s spells remained in effect for a few more minutes hence, but the Saurus warriors had halted the advance of the Skaven counterattack.

    Nurak was an avatar of Death. Too possessed of battle rage to shout orders or encouragement, he began surging forth into the teeming rat men well ahead of his fellows and began instinctively looking for a warrior rat worthy of his skill as the lesser warriors attempted to flee before him or fell beneath his obsidian blades.

    Though there were burned and bitten Skaven everywhere, Kaitar only saw three of the six Salamanders still fighting. One of them was badly wounded and the handlers were making an impressive defense of their charge. Another was overwhelmed during the plague enhanced Skaven counterattack and slain. Just before they could make it the last handler was taken down by Skaven who proceeded to stab the near comatose Salamander through the forehead. Kaitar personally beheaded the offender with his sword.

    The third Salamander Kaitar couldn’t see. This was presumably the one that “got away” from Gerlit. Kaitar thought it fled, but in fact it had pursued a trio of fleeing clan rats down a tunnel and had outpaced its Skink handlers. After hunting each of the three Skaven it stumbled into the ratmen’s larder and was gorging itself on the smoked meat there. The one handler that it hadn’t lost didn’t have the courage to interrupt the beast’s meal. Kaitar led a group of his kin towards the wounded Salamander, he didn’t want to lose such a valuable resource if he could help it.

    Elsewhere the Saurus Warriors were all completely free of the burying dirt and routing the Skaven throughout their many tunnels. Some fell into pit traps or other hazards left by the Skaven but most of these obstacles could do little more than slow the Sauri down. In some cases the rat men triggered their own traps in their blind panic. Still the thought of Skaven escaping infuriated Kaitar.

    “Don’t let them get away or we’ll lose them in the tunnels!”
    “Don’t worry Kaitar! The tunnels don’t go too deep, the Skaven are fleeing above ground.”
    “I told you to find your Salamander!”
    “Right, I just noticed the tunnel layout while I was looking for the Salamander and thought you should know.”

    Kaitar sometimes wondered why Skinks were ever brought into battle as Gerlit once again left Kaitar’s presence to look for his lost Salamander. The beast caste Skinks had dug the stuck Stegadon out and backed him outside the entrance and now Skinks were flooding the Ratkins den. Kaitar addressed one of the regiment leaders.

    “Search every tunnel for any hint of the Slann and any Skaven suriviors.”

    The Skink departed and began relaying the instructions to rest of the Skinks. There was a big crash a few minutes later.

    “And watch out for traps!” Kaitar shouted out to no one in particular.

    Fortunately Tyrkornis was able to redeem Skink-kind in Kaitar’s eyes. He had deployed the reserves around the area and managed to catch most of the escaping Skaven as they emerged bottleneck style from their various secret exits. There was no further sign of the Chameleon Skinks. Kaitar hoped they were stalking survivors as well.

    * * * * * * * * * * * *

    The last Skaven was thrown into the sacrificial snake pit and the Lizardmen in attendance roared in approval. The Skink Priest presiding over the offering to Sotek did a good job conducting the ceremony though it made it sound like Nurak led the attack not Kaitar. Kaitar left in haste well ahead of most of the crowd. Nurak followed him.

    “Sorry the priest gave me all your credit for leading the battle. At least they were willing to send someone out for the ceremony.”
    “If they had truly forgiven me, they would have sent multiple priests. What they did barely meets their minimum obligation to Sotek. I should apologize to you for letting them saddle you with the blame for leading that debacle”
    “We won under your leadership”
    “No thanks to me. Sloppy mistakes everywhere. You told me I was clever, but all I did was rush into their hole filled with traps”
    “You are too hard on yourself Kaitar, I wouldn’t have done anything other than rush into hole either. There were so few Skaven there they never would never have had the courage to fight us above ground. You are a natural leader, you just don’t know it yet.”

    A Skink ran towards them. His dark coloration marked him as one of the beast master caste. His necklace had an Itzl charm. That along with his slight bowlegged stance marked him as a Terradon rider

    “Sir! We have found no evidence of the Slann’s location in the tunnel. The Master of the Watch believes that these Skaven are not responsible for the Slann’s disappearance since they only had a single weak spell caster. He advises you to order the search halted so the scouts can move on”
    “Okay, do it then.”

    The Skink hastened off towards the aviary.

    “If that was a weak spell caster, I don’t want to fight a—Nurak, did you see that flash?”

    Loud thundering crashes were heard. A Stegadon was visibly tearing down a courtyard. Another beast master caste Skink was running towards them. It was Gerlit.

    “Kaitar, one of the Salamanders got into the Skavens’ food supply early and is now sick!”
    “And yet I see a Stegadon running loose.”
    “Well the Salamander has been vomiting uncontrollably—“
    “And yet I see a Stegadon running loose.”
    “The vomit is flaming and it spooked the handlers, the attendants panicked and didn’t close the door on one of the Stegadon pens.”
    “And once again, you left your spawning kin in their time of trouble to inform me of what’s going on instead of helping them solve the problem.”
    “I….thought you would want to know.”
    “I don’t know anything about beasts, I’m a Saurus!”
    “But…you are in charge.”
    “Fine, I order you to stop fleeing when your spawn kin are in trouble! Tell your kin I order them to use common sense. We have three times more stables than we have beasts to fill them with now (I helped build some of them). There is no reason for the Stegadons and Salamanders to be so close together! Get the sick Salamander in its own isolated pen now!”

    The shaking Skink ran back to the stables. Nurak could barely speak for his laughter.

    “See, Kaitar? The population flocks to you, you are a natural leader!”

    * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Kaitar had successfully led assaults on three more nests of Skaven and two treasure seeking parties of humans. They were far more successful than the first assault on the Skaven nest with no MAJOR errors, but they were no closer to finding the Slann. They also suffered losses each battle. While Kaitar normally wouldn’t have given losses a second thought before, it weighed on Kaitar heavily now that he was in charge. Nurak insured him their casualties were light, but Kaitar was imagining whatever held the Slann was mighty indeed and would require every available cold-blooded body to fight it.

    Kaitar was looking at a map drawn by the scribes based on Tykornis’ reconnaissance of the area around the Orc and Goblin infested wasteland. Most of Klodorex’s leading individuals were there, but the Tykornis, the Master of the Watch was not present. After presenting the map of the greenskin camp, he left immediately to lead another search party to the sight of the Scouring, seeking for new signs of activity from the Vampire Count Renliss (they had lost track of him decades ago). With the Dark Elves still unwilling to enter that section of the jungle, Tykornis believed Count Renliss was the most likely being responsible for the missing Slann.

    The Chameleon Skink leader was also absent, but this was normal. He rarely returned to the city. It bothered Kaitar that the city’s most well-informed scouts were so uncommunicative. There seemed to be little he could do about it.

    Kaitar was exhausted. He had just shut down the arguments that were popping up every meeting about forcing entryway into the temple vaults to get the magical weapons, armors, and talismans. Kaitar refused point blank to interfere with the Temple Guard by force or guile.

    “Why are we bothering with this map and these plans? Lets’ just go in and take them!” blurted out Taresh, the oldest Scar Veteran in the city.
    “I blundered in without thinking things through against the Skaven, and I’m not going to repeat that mistake. Apparently the smaller Goblins now have resurged greatly in numbers and the larger Orcs have not fully recovered from their earlier losses. The Goblins have somehow tamed two spiders the size of Stegadons and they are reportedly faster than Stegadons too. This requires some forethought.”

    Before being made leader, Kaitar would have felt very odd reprimanding a Saurus so senior to him. Now it only felt slightly odd.

    “I could handle these so-called giant spiders by myself, the Axe of Tzcatli’s Bite could make short work of them…”
    “No! We are NOT opening the vaults without the guardian’s permission!”
    “Did the Master of the Watch see them charging? I doubt they are truly faster than Stegadons” the head Skink of the beast handlers stated.
    “I won’t take the chance. We’ll hit from them each from one side with a Stegadon and Jirtailis and Hyrok will each lead a group of Kroxigors to flank one.”
    “We’ve never led Kroxigors into battle before Kaitar,” Jirtailis said nervously.
    Taresh interjected again. “You Skinks overthink things. It’s not that hard. Point at the spider and say ‘level that!’”

    Kaitar's impatience got the better of him, so he decided it was time to end the meeting.

    “Fine we won’t over think it. We’ll move out as soon as the Chameleon Skinks give us some sign that they will join us. I’m told the Goblins are fond of sneak attacks, so I want our own sneaky soldiers to be there”.

    Kaitar looked around hoping a hidden Chameleon Skink listening it would reveal itself. He sighed when none were forthcoming.

    “Dismissed. Prepare your troops. Leave the Salamanders in the city. We lost too many against the Skaven, and I want to save them for when we identified who caused the Slann to disappear.”

    After the leaders filed out, Kaitar went to get some food. A Skink approached him as he was eating. Kaitar was surprised to find it was a priest. Kaitar was pretty sure it was the most junior ranking priest.

    “Does the High Skink have a message for me?
    “No, the High Skink does not wish any of us to speak to you. He still believes you are defying the will of the Slann. He says you cheated to win the trial by combat.”
    “If I am found to be acting against the will of the Slann, I will gladly submit myself to their punishment when they reveal themselves to us.”
    “I feel as you do Kaitar…though the other priests do not agree with me. I am Yarshen and I only speak for Yarshren”
    “So why are you here?”
    “I…I want to help. I checked the scrolls recording your spawning. There was debate among the priests at the time whether you had the markings of the Old One, Xholankha, but the priests decided the potential patterns were too subtle to be true marks of the gods.
    “I’m not familiar with the Old One, Xholankha.”
    “He is known in the Sacred Plaques as ‘the Lost.’ I believe his markings would be nothing but subtle and that you are thus blessed. I also believe the lost Old One is best suited to find our lost leaders, so I believe you were ordained to lead us.
    “I am not sure I follow you but I will not pass up your help. What can you do for me?”
    “I can access the sacred vaults for you. The Temple Guard will move aside if I ask them for any but the forbidden artifacts.”
    “Good, you can make sure all the Scar Veterans and Cold One riders are properly equipped…I suppose you can get something for me if you deem it appropriate.”
    “I will do so.”
    “During the Scouring I saw a Skink priest capture enemy spells in a dark cube. Is that cube forbidden?”
    “Can you operate it?”
    “I used it once in a training exercise but never in combat.”
    “Good enough. Get the armaments from the vaults, and then report to Hyrok of the third worker spawning. You will join his unit. Hyrok’s Kroxigor should protect you. You are going to join us against the goblins of the wasteland. Make sure you don’t die. You have a better chance of finding signs of the Slann then rest of us. We still don’t know which of our enemies is responsible for their disappearance.”

    Yarshen blinked several times, bowed nervously, and headed to the vaults.

    * * * * * * * * * * * *

    An indeterminate time ago in a realm where the laws of time and space were not always constant a section of Nurgle’s Garden was ruined. None of the Nurgle’s children were nearby, Thazerik and Darfiel made sure of it. Slaanesh and Tzeentch were on the outs with each other at the moment. Thazerik the Lord of Change and Darfial the Keeper of Secrets had been hatching a plan for ages and they were not about to put their plans on ice because their masters were fighting. Hence why they had to meet somewhere outside the reach of the eyes of Tzeentch and Slaanesh (if that was possible).

    Thazerik and Darfiel had two things in common. First they had a reputation for being failures that made other Daemons shun their machinations. Second, they had a grudge against the Lizardmen (tied directly to their history of embarrassing failures).

    Why does everyone want to fight the fragile ones so badly? If you kill a human king, another will replace him but kill a Slann and it will never be replaced.
    The others don’t share our priorities. Loklirist of the Hated Lash wouldn’t speak to me at all. He was our last chance to get any support from Khorne’s brood. Now we have no potential allies to ask and no way to bolster our armies to the point where we can take out even a lesser temple city by the time the rift into Lustria opens.
    Not directly, but I’ve brought the mighty down low with their darkest desires before….
    That won’t work on the Lizardmen! You can’t get very far subverting any of the lesser Lizards because they are too tightly controlled by the Slann.
    Then we subvert the Slann and the rest will be as sheep before the slaughter!
    How? The Slann were created to have no vices. Slann do not seek wealth, glory, or physical gratification….you have nothing to tempt any of them with. The only thing they desire is to fulfill the ‘Will of the Old Ones’ and their ‘Will’ is to keep us out of the material world
    That is still a desire. I can work with any desire with the right approach. It will require some resources on your part. Once everything is in place we just need to wait, and the toads’ little tadpoles will fall.
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2017
    Paradoxical Pacifism likes this.
  3. Pilgrim Pod

    Pilgrim Pod New Member

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    Re: The Orphaned Temple City, Part One and Two of Four

    An interesting and intriguing read so far Scalenex. I'm wondering what direction Kaitar's path will take or lead to next. I was having a gander at my army book today and noticed that Kai means ancient/forgotten/lost in the spoken tongue. I'm not sure of the meaning of Tar, if there even is one! Care to enlighten me?

    As for those Skink Priests, I don't like them one bit! I always thought of the different castes of Lizardmen society as cogs in a well oiled machine all working together in unity. It doesn't seem to be the case here however! I can't make my mind up about them. Are they just misguided or is there something more sinister going on?

    I'm eagerly looking forward to part three. :)
  4. Scalenex

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Re: The Orphaned Temple City, Parts One Through Three of Fou

    The Orphaned Temple City, Part Three: Two Places of Certain Death

    Kaitar was woken up with a start, raising his weapon. Not only did he sleep while armed now, but his weapon was none other than the Mace of the Carnosaurs. Given to him by the priest Yarshen, the staff of the holy wood was topped with hardened obsidian and studded with the teeth of a mighty fallen Carnosaur, then magically imbued with the biting power of the teeth’s former owner. Kaitar found himself opening his jaw in challenge towards a seemingly empty corner of the room.

    “Kaitar, the Chameleon Skinksss are ready to aid in your assault on the greenskins in the wasteland.”
    “Why sneak up on me in the middle of the night? You could have waited till morning when everyone else is active.”
    “We keep our own counsel and our own sssschedules Kaitar.”
    “That ends now! Without the Slann, we have to rely on ourselves. We haven’t been able to rely on you! If you were forthcoming about the Skaven’s ability to track our movements above ground our assault would have gone much smoother. Even now you report at the most inconvenient time possible just to prove your independence. The leaders of the city are meeting an hour after dawn. If someone from your spawning isn’t there telling us everything there is to know about the greenskins and their camp, I don’t want to see any of your kind anywhere near me ever again!”
    “We prefer not to be seen or near others.”
    “You know what I mean!”

    * * * * * * * * * * * *

    “If the webs of the spiders are touched, this will alert the camp. This happened to one of our scouts, they knew he was around despite not being able to see him. He barely got away. The spiders are all on the eastern side, so you should take the long route around and attack from the west to avoid the webs giving away your position”

    The Chameleon Skink Stalker consented to arrive and was now sharing what he knew. Kaitar and the Skink Chiefs consented to let him lurk in the corner and whisper from the shadows, so he could be comfortable.

    “Good we can have the element of surprise. We go around the webs and charge in, let’s mobilize our army and move!” Taresh the Scar Veteran shouted.
    “Wait, we need to plan more, this is the largest enemy army we’ve set ourselves to fight so far. When the webs are triggered, can they tell the difference between a few intruders and many?” Kaitar asked the shadowy corner.
    “I think so, they only sent three spider ridersss after my brother hit the web once. They could have easily sssent more if they felt it was necessary” came the whispered reply
    “How fast are the spiders?” he continued.
    “As fast as Cold Ones, but they don’t slow down over trees or rocksss.”
    “What about water, can they handle the water?”
    “Not well, my brother lost his pursuersss in the marshesss.”
    “Good” Kaitar said turning away from the corner and turning towards Vralic, chief of the Beast Master spawning.
    “Your Cold One is especially fast, yes?”
    “Loroq is a Horned one sir, and yes, she is quite fast.”
    “Over rocks and logs?”
    “…yes…I’ve been practicing riding in rough terrain almost nonstop for years, I didn’t have anything else to do while the rest of the city was building.”
    “Good” Kaitar then turn backed to the shadowy corner.
    “I want you and your spawning brothers to NOT be stealthy. I want each of you to tap a different web and trigger a large response. Then scatter and hide. Signal us when most of the spider riders are away.” Kaitar turned to the Beast Master Chief again.
    “You will be nearby, once the spider riders are alerted to intruders, you blow a horn and run off with Loroq as fast you can, lead as many spider riders as you can away from the others and towards this swamp. We will deploy all of our Razordons and half of our skirmishers there. The rest of our forces will be able to attack from the west without the spider riders harrying us. We are leaving the Salamanders in Klodorex for now. We lost too many already, and I don’t want to commit them to battle until we find out who is responsible for the Slanns’ disappearance”
    “And the giant spiders?” Yarshen interjected.
    “The smaller spiders avoid them, they are closer to the center of the Goblin camp.” the Chameleon Skink answered.
    “Taresh, you said you could take out both spiders yourself if you had the Axe of Tlatci’s Bite. We have access to the Vaults, so we can see if your teeth are big enough to chew what your words have tried to chew. I’m only to ask you to take out one spider. For the other one we will use a Stegadon and half the Kroxigor. That’s your task Jirtalis. Hyrok and his troops will defend Yarshen while he counters whatever the enemy wizards try to do. The rest of us will take on everything else.”

    * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Vralic shouted in exhilaration as he directed Loroq to jump over another fallen tree. He was struggling to put additional distance over the Goblin spider riders behind him, but Vralic was happy, not scared. Vralic was born to be a military leader among Skinks but he hadn’t seen a single battle since emerging from his spawning pool seeing as how the city did nothing but build more buildings and taller buildings. Now Vralic was fulfilling his purpose.

    Vralic wasn’t the only one running for his life, the Chameleon Skink leader, Preylot (not that he shared his name with any non-Chameleon Skink) was given the Staff of the Lost Sun to fire a glowing shot into the air to signal the others to attack. Most of the greeskins in the camp were far too occupied to notice a small flash in the sky. Two of the Savage Orcs were having a contest to see who could uproot the biggest trees and had drawn quite a crowd. Though Vralic didn’t know it, the new game the Orcs invented was the reason why he had so many logs to jump over or run around.

    At a close distance the light from the magic staff was far more noticeable. Preylot did not like things that made him noticeable, and he especially didn’t like the fact that one of the spider riders broke off from chasing after Vralic to go after Preylot instead. Two arrows flew over Preylot’s head as he was running. Preylot knew his danger of being shot was low, but the shots came close enough to tell him that his location was clearly spotted. He could not simply fade away and hide. He hastily fired a dart loaded in his blowpipe at the spider, but it bounced harmlessly off the spider’s carapace. He couldn’t load another dart easily holding the Staff in his other hand while moving so he chose to go into an all out sprint.

    He tried to load another dart once he thought he put some distance between him and the Goblin, but the spider caught up to him quicker than he thought. Preylot dropped the dart he was trying to load while ducking the spider’s mandibles. Preylot nimbly rolled out of the way and looked for cover, anything at all. He ran into a massive hollow out log and barely avoided having his tail bitten off by the spider. The Goblin grazed him with the spear but it was a very shallow cut.

    The spider could not fit into the log, but not for a lack of trying. Preylot doubted the Goblin would dismount and come in after him (since Goblins were generally cowards), but he got his blowpipe ready just in case. Then he heard the spider clamber on top of the log. It began jumping up and down. The log was already partially rotten and the spider would eventually collapse the log. Rather than fight him, the cowardly Goblin rider was trying to crush him!

    This is all that upstart Saurus, Kaitar’s fault. He ordered us to reveal our presence with the webs and give away our position! He ordered us to split up so my spawning brothers weren’t there to shoot the spider rider that went after me! He ordered me to use the Staff of the Lost Sun, an item above my station which ALSO gave away my position. Kaitar is always doing breaking tradition…Tradition dictates I shouldn’t even touch the Staff….

    Why haven’t I been using the Staff of the Lost Sun this whole time?

    Preylot exited the log. The Goblin was expecting this, so he and the spider were ready to pounce. Preylot pointed the staff towards the spider and invoked Chotec’s name to send three flaming bursts at the beast. The Goblin was not expecting that. Preylot was half pinned by the large arachnid, but the creature was now dead and could no longer threaten him.

    Preylot pulled himself out from underneath and bent down to retrieve the Staff. He was exhausted and therefore became sloppy forgetting entirely about the rider. The Goblin dismounted the dead spider and leapt on the Chameleon Skink attempting to knife him as soon as Preylot stooped down for the Staff. Preylot, now prone, could not reach his blade, so he grabbed the Goblin’s knife arm with both hands to push it away, but the Goblin’s free hand was now clenched around the Skink’s neck. Thinking once more of Kaitar, Preylot pulled the Goblins knife arm closer to his mouth and then bit into the Goblin’s arm with all his might. Not having the teeth of a Saurus, the bite barely drew blood but the Goblin’s grip on the knife slackened causing him to drop the knife. Thus Preylot could safely use both hands to remove the hand from his throat then quickly turn around and reverse the pin. He saw they were above a rock, so he pushed the Goblin’s ugly head straight into it. The Goblin ceased his struggles and collapsed into unconsciousness.

    Preylot checked himself for injuries. He still had the shoulder graze and his neck would probably be bruised for a while but no injury seemed severe. He was about to pronounce himself fine, when he saw his blowpipe was crushed during his wrestling match.

    “I would have jussst killed you vermin, but after all the trouble you’ve given me I am going to see you rendered unto Sotek!” Preylot hissed as he looked about for something to bind the Goblin rider.

    Elsewhere, Sauri, Skinks, and Kroxigor were pouring past the perimeter of the greenskins camp. A few Goblin sentries shouted hasty warnings before being stuck full of javelins but the Orcs and Goblins were taken more or less by surprise. The greenskins barely had the forewarning to mass into groups. Kaitar and his spawning brothers were taking point because they were now the largest Saurus spawning remaining since the losses the Jade Spawning took in the Skaven tunnels.

    Most of the scrambling greenskins were massing into ranked units. Small groups of Goblins were huddling behind fallen trees to use as cover while shooting arrows. Most of the arrows rebounded harmlessly off the thick hides of their reptilian enemies. Some Goblins ran for crude giant bows. One Saurus was impaled with a giant spear, but the others all overshot their targets. One crude bow was rattled apart as the Goblins tried to turn it towards the Lizardmen. A pair of Skinks on an advancing Stegadon tried to fire their own giant bow at a mass of Orcs only to have the giant poisoned arrow smack into ground in front of the orcs imbedded in the ground like a crooked sign post. Elsewhere the other Stegadon crew who chose to charge instead had better luck hitting a log with enough force to pull it out of the dirt and roll it right over the Goblin archers taking cover behind it crushing them with their own cover. Kaitar saw a group of Kroxigor was hacking at another one of the logs with archers behind it, moving from chopping wood to chopping the Goblins behind it without breaking their axe-swinging cadence.

    Next to Kaitar, his old mentor Nurak was there bearing the battle standard about his back. Kaitar no longer felt awkward that his senior was technically bearing his standard. He felt confident. As they charged the mass of savage Orcs, he saw the largest and nastiest looking one push to front and bellow an inarticulate roar. Kaitar’s instincts told him this was the general and that the general wanted to fight his opposite. Kaitar raised the Mace of the Carnosaurs against this worthy foe….

    “I got this one Kaitar!” Nurak said as he ran forward and his Sword of the Hornet swung towards the Orc almost of its own volition. It was not parried but it mysteriously made no wound. The Orc’s protective tattoos glowed softly. They then began exchanging blows and parries. Both the Sword of the Hornet and whatever the blades the Orc was wielding let them strike supernaturally fast.

    “I could have handled him!” Kaitar roared angrily. Turning to yell and bob his head at Nurak almost cost him dearly, as a bone club hit his side and rebounded off his armored hide. No wound was inflicted though the struck area stung noticeably.

    “Mistake Orc!” Kaitar let loose his fury at being coddled by his mentor on the unfortunate Orc who tried to attack him. He struck three times leaving a steaming pile of red and green entrails in the dirt. Once his rage cooled down, Kaitar realized that with the power of the Mace, hitting a foe multiple times like that was wasted effort. He swung again splattering an orc’s chest with one blow, then again crushing another’s head. He fell into a rhythm, forehand swing: kill an Orc. Backhand swing: kill an Orc. This was what he was meant to do.

    One of the Orcs Kaitar struck was protected by his mystic tattoo and not struck down. Kaitar had already bypassed him expecting him to be dead, thus leaving him open to a retaliatory strike. An orcish cudgel smashed into Kaitar’s head shattering his new helmet and making him dizzy and blurring his vision. The helmet, normally restricted for Scar Veteran or Old Blood generals, was given to Katiar by Yarshen before the battle. Had he not been wearing it, the blow would have knocked him unconscious with a concussion or worse.

    “We got this one, sir!” one of his spawning brothers said as two Sauri slashed at the offending orc from both sides cutting it down easily. Kaitar looked around as his vision cleared. Both Nurak and his foe were bleeding from major cuts and he saw that while the rest Savage Orc line was faltering. A group of spear wielding Goblins had just flanked Kaitar’s spawning kin giving the Orcs new enthusiasm. He heard rumbling and saw two massive spiders emerge from two giant mounds of piled up foliage. The Goblins all cheered and some had ceased hiding and fleeing to return to the battle.

    “Now’s your chance to show off Taresh!” Kaitar shouted.

    Taresh was on a Cold One leading all seven of Klodorex’s remaining Saurus Cavalary (most were lost a century prior fighting Count Renliss or during the Scouring). Taresh halted his warriors who had been pursuing a fleeing pack of Goblins and pointed them towards the nearer of the two Giant Spiders. Taresh shouted out a praise to Sotek that any human observer would have simply called a bestial roar and led his younger kin onward.

    The many Goblins on top of the spider’s howdah attempted to shoot the approaching Sauri but their arrows all either missed or bounced off their foe’s thick hides. A green mist coalesced around the Cold One riders as they approached the massive spider. Taresh recognized magic when he saw it, but assumed the spell failed since he didn’t feel any different. Then he swung the Axe of Tlatci’s Bite missing the massive spider right in front of him and failed to connect. A human would have said something about missing the broad side of the barn. On top of the spider, a Goblin wearing a large amount of bones and feathers smiled, revealing a swollen tongue. I thought the runty priest was supposed to counter stuff like this!

    One of the rider’s spears did strike true despite the hex and pierced the Spiders body slightly. The Spider pulled its body away from Taresh, but he managed to sever the bottom portion of one of the creatures legs with a second swing of his axe. One leg down, seven to go, he thought. One of his fellow riders, or rather the rider’s mount helped bring down the leg count to six. A Cold One had clamped its jaws on one of its other legs. The spider was trying desperately to fling the reptile off. While it couldn’t dislodge the Cold One it did manage to fling the rider off both a great force and a great distance knocking him unconscious. Another rider was bitten in half by the creature’s massive mandibles. The dead rider’s Cold One was less brave than the leg biting Cold One and trotted off.

    Taresh saw the giant spider get coated in raining ice which slowed down its many joints. He had been in enough battles with Skink Priests to recognize their handiwork when he saw it. At least the runt isn’t COMPLETELY useless. The Goblin Shaman on top tried to cast another spell but failed and was knocked backwards into his Howdah by an unseen force. Some distance away, Yarshen the junior Skink Priest wrestled with a shaking dark cube in his hands.

    The Goblins hex from before had worn off and the ice was slowing the massive beast down. Taresh had the opening he needed. He sliced off the bottom of another leg causing the spider’s body to dip lower allowing him to ride under the massive spider and then struck two deep blows right into the spider’s exposed underbelly. The spider crashed to the ground thrashing about mortally wounded. Two of the other riders skewered the creatures head to make it cease its struggles. Another had the foresight to find and kill the shaman riding the shrine on top before he could recover from the Cube of Darkness sapping his strength. Taresh was right under the hole he put in the spider’s underbelly and would spend the rest of the battle cutting his way out from the inside of a dead spider.

    The second spider scattered several Skinks biting many to death while the Goblins tried to spear still more Skinks. Kroxigor intervened to prevent the spider from stepping on their little spawning brothers and soon chopped off the bottom halves three of the creature’s legs. This forced the spider to dip towards the Kroxigor which exposed a wide target on the other side allowing a Stegadon to charge right into the spider’s vulnerable body. The second spider did not last very much longer after that.

    Kaitar and his spawning brothers were routing the last of the Goblins who attacked them. Kaitar held them back as the Goblins were running right into a massive group of Skink with nets all poised to capture as many Goblins as possible to sacrifice unto Sotek. The battle was won and all that was left was mop up action. Kaitar didn’t have to give any orders here because everyone knew what they should be doing. Everyone was either hunting down surviving greenskins, tending to the wounded, binding captured enemies, or looking for signs of the missing Slann. Kaitar took his spawning brothers to the swamp ambush site to see how their other forces were doing.

    He instructed Nurak to stay behind. Ostensibly to supervise, but mainly so Nurak could rest since he was badly wounded. While Kaitar was still somewhat angry for the kill stealing before, he was also grateful. If Nurak barely beat the Savage Orc, then Kaitar would have probably lost such a fight. Kaitar and his spawning brothers marched towards the swamp past many dead Goblins and spiders. He saw that there was a huddle of Skinks looking apprehensive.

    “Did you capture a Goblin?” Kaitar asked
    “No, sir, it’s Vralic! The spiders were right behind him…and…” a Skink replied
    “...and Razordons tend to shoot all over the place” Vralic coughed. He had three spikes in him wedged deep into his torso.
    “Vralic, I’m sorry” Kaitar said
    “Don’t be…Loroq will live to carry other riders into battle…I was the only casualty, your ambush plan worked perfectly with no losses…almost no losses I guess…but I played a critical role in this ambush. I never thought I would be able to serve the Old Ones so well and I did…because of you.”

    Vralic coughed once more and let loose his death rattle. Kaitar wanted to linger and collect his thoughts, but he saw that all the others here were all posed to linger too. There was too much to do for lingering.

    “You two, wrap up Vralic’s body to carry back. You half, search the woods. The rest of you report to the camp and help them finish their search. Then the Master of the Watch is going to organize a search party of the greenskin’s original camp in the wastelands. Move out!”

    * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Several spawnings ago, a Skink Priest had attempted to learn the language of the Orcs and Goblins. While that priest was long dead, he made records. Since then a single scribe per generation made it a point to study the records. Yarshen found the particular scribe and suggested that they try interrogating the Goblin words before sacrificing them to Sotek. Kaitar was on hand, both to keep abreast of things and to look scary. Yarshen said by doing so Kaitar would make the translator’s requests seem reasonable. Yarshen called it “Nice Predator, Hungry Predator.” Unfortunately the scribe only new about two dozen words of the greenskin’s language and none of the Goblins seemed to know much of what was going on. The Goblin leaders didn’t share much and now they were all dead. No Orcs allowed themselves to be taken alive, so they could not be questioned either. Yarshen and Kaitar had just given up on the last prisoner and sent him back to the holding area to await the sacrificial ritual to Sotek.

    “Kaitar we have one more!” came a whisper.

    Surprisingly, two Chameleon Skinks in plain sight dumped a tied up Goblin in front of them with the Chameleon Skink leader trailing behind him. He addressed Kaitar and the scribe.

    “This is a ssscout, he should be better informed than the others. Kaitar, I wish you to leave the room during the interrogation. I want to play the role of ‘Hungry Predator’ myssself. This one rememberssss me…”

    After over an hour, the Chamleon Skinks came out and Preylot whispered to Kaitar.

    “The scout described two placesss as being placesss of certain death. One of them is the City of Klodorex which naturally would be unsssafe for Goblinsss. The other isss an empty spot of hilly jungle. My spawning brothers and I will investigate this area and report back.”

    * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Preylot searched the jungle. Nothing he saw, heard, or smelled looked out of the ordinary, but he couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong, something terrible. It was as if someone could see them all unimpeded by any camouflage, the secret fear of all Chameleon Skinks. He heard a series of brief screams as bright lights engulfed the Chameleon Skinks scattered about. Preylot heard the death cries of at least four of his spawning brothers. A brightly colored Daemon larger than a Kroxigor with four clawed limbs began moving supernaturally fast from one hiding place to another rapidly killing the Chameleon Skinks on Preylot’s left flank with surgical precision.

    “Retreat, I’ll draw it off! Someone must tell Kaitar what’s here!” Preylot hissed to his compatriots on his right.

    Preylot yelled louder than he thought he was physically capable of doing, then prepared his blowpipe as the Daemon sprinted towards him. He made a silent prayer to Tzunki as he steeled himself and aimed his blowpipe. A dart was sent right through the foul creature’s eye. The Daemon began shifting colors and screeching while Preylot stood transfixed by the unearthly sound and watched. The Daemon recovered from his shock and pain before the Skink could recover from his trance. Darfiel the Keeper of Secrets of the Siren Call, picked up Preylot and raised him to eye level.

    “Old Ones protect me!” Preylot gasped.

    The Daemon plucked the dart from its injured left eye. His right eye took the golden hue and general shape of a Skink’s eye, but the wounded eye constantly changed colors and shapes (though none of the changes hid the fact it was clotted with blood). The Daemon’s body gradually shifted as he spoke to that a very large lanky reptile vaguely resembling a giant Skink.

    No little tadpole. The Old Ones have abandoned your kind millennia ago and they never would have bothered to listen the prayers of those as lowly as you even back then. The Slann have abandoned you a century ago and you were likewise too insignificant to be worthy of their attention as well. Humble though you are, you shall be delighted to know that I have deemed you worthy of my full attention.

    Darfiel gently stroked the Chameleon Skink’s cheek and lowered his voice to a hissing whisper identical to how the Chameleon Skinks normally spoke.

    Do you have a prayer for me?
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2016
    Paradoxical Pacifism and Bowser like this.
  5. Pilgrim Pod

    Pilgrim Pod New Member

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    Re: The Orphaned Temple City, Parts One Through Three of Fou

    We want part four! We want part four! We want part four!
  6. Qupakoco
    Skink Chief

    Qupakoco Keeper of the Dice Staff Member

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    Re: The Orphaned Temple City, Parts One Through Three of Fou

    ^^ I second this.
  7. Scalenex

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Glad to know I have two fans at least. This took me a while to finish because of real life issues. Also part four kind of grew in length to accommodate everything I wanted. It also required a lot of editing to make sure the special fonts were how I wanted them. Enjoy.

    The Orphaned Temple City, Part Four: The Conclusion

    Desserex pondered the strange writing on the cave wall. He could not yet make any sense of them but he was sure they held the key to defeating Chaos once and for all. He only needed more time and he’d solve it. The secrets to the completing the plans to the Old Ones were here…their purpose would be fulfilled. He was telepathically linked to his kin in the cave but he had not spoken with them in years for their understanding of the writing was inferior to his.

    All the Slann felt the siren call to investigate the cave and had not left since. Elsewhere in the cave, Deserex’s kin pondered the writing and thought as he did. Translating this will end the threat of Chaos forever and only I can do it. Gradually their concerns with all other things outside the cave were fading….

    A short distance outside the cave, just out of sight and earshot of the Eternity Wardens guarding the entrance of the cave, Darfiel the Keeper of Secrets walked up to speak to Thazerick the Lord of Change.

    How long until the Slann are enraptured enough that we can kill them?
    Merestar is fully enraptured, but he pretty much arrived that way. Desserex still has the presence of mind to maintain a spell that frees the Slann and their guards from the need for sustenance, but I can sense his concentration on that magic lapsing. Within a year they will start wasting away in body and not just in mind."
    What would happen if we attacked now?
    The Eternity Wardens would fight us. In the time it took us to beat them with weapons, the Slann would notice the noise and break from their trance. If we use spells, their mystic awareness will spot us even faster. We MIGHT be able to kill one of the Slann before the others recover and strike us down.
    That’s unfortunate, since we need to kill them in the next few days.
    We’ve been here decades, what hardship a few more years—wait what happened to your eye?

    Darfiel threw down the flayed skin of a Chameleon Skink, it was still changing color with its surroundings because Darfiel believed it would make a better trophy that way.

    Their damn leader put a dart in my eye. I made sure he suffered for it. I killed most of them, but it only takes one scout to alert the other reptiles. The Slanns’ little tadpoles are coming and they are coming soon.
    If you didn’t stop to play with your food, you might have managed to kill ALL the scouts
    I’m going to pretend you didn’t say that for your sake. We need to mobilize our forces through the rift and stop the tadpoles far short of the cave.
    It should be fairly easy, a hundred years without guidance can’t have left them in very good shape.
    It won’t be that easy. I pulled some information from the scout. They follow the leadership of a Saurus of legendary ability named Kaitar. Apparently Klodorex still has a living Oldblood after all.

    * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Kaitar was visiting the Healer’s Quarter and speaking with a Skink scribe about how the wounded were recovering. He wondered if an Oldblood general would waste time on logistics like this. While Katiar was briefly distracted by this thought, five Chameleon Skinks ran in not bothering to be stealthy in the slightest. All five were moving so quickly that their color change ability could not keep up with their changing backgrounds.

    “Kaitar, the area we investigated was patrolled by a massssive Daemon! We are all that is left of our spawning…If Preylot hadn’t drawn it off we would all be dead! It came upon on ussss from out of nowhere. It was bigger than a Kroxigor and wielded terrible magic!”
    “Tell your story to the High Skinks. This might convince them to leave the temple and actually DO something. If that doesn’t work, tell the Revered Guardian” Kaitar then turned to the scribe.

    “Get me Yarshen, now.”

    The Scribe hurried off and returned ten minutes later with Yarshen.

    “There are Daemons in Lustria.”
    “You believe they are responsible for the missing Slann?”
    “It’s less than a week’s march from the city. It would take a lot of power to hide their presence from us and a lot of power to defeat a Slann. There is no doubt in my mind that they are responsible”
    “Wh-what do you want from me?”
    “If the elder priests do not consent to help, can you operate the Engine of the Gods by yourself?”
    “I was told how, but I never used it before”
    “Can you operate it or not?”
    “I don’t think I…no, I can do it. To save the Slann, I can and will operate the Engine. It will take a few days to prepare…and a few hours to bless our poisons to harm Daemons.”
    “Good, I will mobilize the rest of our army. We leave as soon as you say you are ready.”

    Kaitar convened his war council as quickly as he could. While discussing options with the Scar Veterans and Skink Chiefs, a Chameleon Skink entered, again making no attempt to be stealthy.

    “The High Skinksss say engaging Daemons is unacceptably risky and that we should not fight them without the order of a Slann”

    The Scar Veteran Taresh picked up a chair and threw it, smashing to kindling against a wall shouting.

    “Do they do ANYTHING without an order from the Slann! We are the First children of the Old Ones and don’t need orders to fulfill our duty! We—”

    A second Chameleon Skink entered and Taresh paused his tirade.

    “The Temple Guard believe it is likely that the Slann are there, but they will not commit themselves fully without absssolute proof”

    Taresh shouted louder than Kaitar ever heard any Saurus shout before.

    “A Saurus shouldn’t need absolute proof before acting…they are no better than the cowardly priests!”

    The complaining gradually degenerated into inarticulate roaring and tail shaking. Kaitar waited for him to stop before speaking.

    “You said they wouldn’t commit themselves fully. What do they offer?”
    “They offer to bring twenty troops to follow your forces and they will join the battle once a sign of the Slann is found” whispered the Chameleon Skink
    “Twenty is a pittance of troops! It’s doubly insulting that they won’t take the front lines” Taresh interjected.
    “I will take whatever they offer. You are right though, Taresh. We don’t need an order and we don’t need absolute certainty to do our duty. Tykornis, how fast do you think one of your riders can make it to Klodorex from the Daemon’s location at top speed”
    “Five or six hours depending on the winds.”
    “Okay, the moment we DO get undisputable proof that the Slann are there, send one of your riders back—no send THREE of your riders back. They can inform the other Temple Guard and High Priests. If we fail, the High Priests and Temple Guard can make their own attempt to save the Slann. I’m not planning on leaving them much to use though. I plan on taking every Saurus warrior, every Salamander, every Razordon, and every Stegadon we have that’s fit for duty.” He turned to the Skink leaders.

    “I’ll leave it your judgment precisely how many Skinks and Kroxigor to bring, but the answer better be ‘lots.’ Any poison you plan to use needs to be brought to the Temple of Tepoc at least two hours before dawn so Yarshen can properly bless it against Daemon kind. Yarshen also says that you need to thoroughly clean any existing poison off of your weapons beforehand as well.”

    * * * * * * * * * * * *

    After the Chameleon Skinks left with the news, the High Skink sat still in his chamber brooding for hours before one of the other priests entered. The Slann’s last order before departure was to expand the city’s structures. Koralis, the High Skink had told himself that the Slann would return once the city was built up to the Slann’s satisfaction. That was why most of the city’s resources were put towards construction.

    As the decades passed it seemed less likely that the Slann were merely waiting for the construction to be finished, but he felt he had to continue with the course he set. If he admitted that the large amount of construction was in error not only would he have to admit being wrong, but he would have to admit to doing nothing while the Slann is in grave danger. Koralis hated Kaitar for being the embodiment of Koralis being gravely wrong. He still wanted to believe that if they continued construction the Slann would return, but construction had all but stopped since Kaitar usurped him. Can I still afford to stay the course? Can I afford not to?

    “Honored One, Yarshen is preparing the Engine of the Gods for battle, should we try to stop him?”
    “No, we couldn’t stop Kaitar and the others if we wanted to.”

    The Skink began heading towards the exit.

    “Wait. Go with Zoctail and help Yarshen prepare the Engine of the Gods for battle.”
    “Honored One?”
    “If the Engine is damaged due to improperly being set up and used, an irreplaceable treasure of the Old Ones will be damaged. The Slann will not tolerate this when they return.”

    The High Priest removed the amulet from around his neck.

    “Give this to Yarshen for protection. Make sure he knows if he lets anything happen to the Engine, he will answer to me. Tell Hashold to go the Temple of Tepoc to bless the poisons for use against the Daemons. I don’t think our army should go fight the Daemons. But if we can’t stop them, we might as well make sure the blessings are performed properly.”

    * * * * * * * * * * * *

    After days of marching the army was nearly at their destination. The unexpected help from the Skink priests had resulted in them being ready to depart a full day before Yarshen’s estimate. Like Taresh, Kaitar would have preferred much more help than that, but he knew better than to dwell on things outside his control. The army was under his control and that’s what he would use.

    “Daemons straight ahead” shouted Tykornis from the air.

    Less than a minute later echoing unearthly screams were heard ahead as the advance forces of the Daemons engaged the Skink scouts screening the main force. Kaitar ordered a tightening of the ranks and the readying of weapons. Hundreds of tails slapped the ground, but there was relatively little other movement as most of the force were already expecting an attack any minute and already in tight formation. A dozen or so fleeing Skinks ran through the Lizardmen’s main lines. The Screamers of Tzeentch took some losses due to poisonous javelins but the first sortie of the battle ended in the Daemons’ favor. Kaitar ordered an all-out advance.

    Thazerick had taken to the air and was hovering behind the Daemonic main lines to give him a vantage point for his magic. Most of Thazerick’s troops were on the east flank and most of Darfiel’s troops were on the west. They mixed a few units with each other’s lines as a sign of good faith to each other. Darfiel was leading the center and still wearing the form of a grotesque giant Skink. His wounded eye still shifted uncontrollably but the changes were slowing down. He could not remove the bloody tint from his eye. He made a mental note to find out which pool the Chameleon Skinks were spawned from and personally poison it.

    Many of the Darfiel’s Deamonettes had taken the parodies of Skinks or Saurus as their current forms. A few parodied Skaven. The cleverest parodied Skink/Skaven hybrids, the better to enrage their foes. Most of Thazerick’s troops were unconcerned with these kind of displays (or incapable of that level of controlled shapechanging). Thazerick took the form of a mockery of a Coatl in order to show solidarity with his ally. Darfiel and Thazerick were telepathically linked.

    No Carnosaur, I’m going to have to go looking to find the Saurus called Kaitar.
    Don’t over-complicate this Darfiel, just kill every reptile you see.

    The Screamers had melted back into their main line after routing the Skink advance party and lesser Daemons made up the first main attack wave. Lacking as many proper troops as they would have preferred, Thazerick and Darfiel summoned as many Furies as they could. Darfiel was in overall command but Thazerick was controlling the Furies and directed them into the largest unit of Skinks and Kroxigors. They were so small and fast that very few javelins struck true despite the large number of both javelins and furies in the air. Most Skinks were not accustomed to shooting at small targets dive bombing them. The Kroxigors were too slow to hit many and the Skinks struggled to make an accounting for themselves as the furies mercilessly tore into them.

    Yarshen summoned up the icy winds and blasted as many Furies as he could hit. Some of them had their wings frozen solid in place causing them to plummet to their deaths. The rest were slowed down considerably letting the Skinks and Kroxigors turn the tables on their attackers. Yarshen prayed to the Old Ones for guidance and turned the arcane mechanisms of the Engine. The Engine consumed several more Furies in white fire. Tykornis and his flyers had finished dropping rocks on the nearest unit of Daemonettes. Next they flew into the Furies to disperse them and aid the worker caste soldiers in their mop up action against lesser Daemons.

    The neophyte is surely proud of himself now. Let’s see how he reacts to a real wizard, Thazerack mused. He reached out into the Winds of Magic to form the energy to conjure a ball of mystical flame to throw at the neophyte and his pet Stegadon only to have the flame snuffed out unexpectedly. Thazerick felt a weak mystical tugging at him. Yarshen struggled with the Cube of Darkness trying to sap all of the Daemon’s magic. The ambient magic was strong, and magic was coursing though the two Daemon lords and the several pink horrors of Tzeentch.

    “It’s too much!” Yarshen gasped having to deactivate the Cube before he was overwhelmed by the mystical power coursing towards him.

    He dares to try to steal MY power. Let’s see how the neophyte likes it. Thazerick outstretched his arm. Though a great distance away, Yarshen felt as if there were icy fingers closing over his heart. He gasped in pain and shock and then watched in horror as Thazerick called down a blizzard on Tykornis’ Terradon riders. Two Terradons went plummeting to the ground out of control hitting the ground with a fatal crash. The others were less impaired and were able land safely but this blunted their offensive against the Furies. It was too late to save them since the Furies were almost wiped out by that point.

    Why did you waste magical energy stealing that weakling spell? Darfiel asked over their telepathic link
    It amuses me. Look.

    “Watch your aim runt!” Taresh yelled towards Yarshen’s howdah.
    “It wasn’t me!” the young priest yelled back.

    Thazerick next aimed a magical bolt at the Cold One Rider, but Yarshen managed to disperse it.

    This is how I aim Daemon! Yarshen centered the ice shards completely on the Lord of Change’s wings and the mighty Daemon ignominiously crashed into ground. Thazerick’s mind was filled with the telepathic laughter of Darfiel.

    If you hadn’t stopped to play with your food, you might have managed to remain airborne.
    I’ll pretend you didn’t say that for your sake.

    Yarshen followed up his second activation of the Engine. He was able to hit many more Daemons since the two main battle lines had finally reached each other.

    The first warriors to connect on both sides were the reptilian war beasts and the Flamers and Screamers. As they practiced through countless drills the Razordon crews moved to intercept the enemy shooters (even those these shooters were technically not shooting anything). This provided the Salamander free reign to burn several Daemonic troops just before the Saurus line crashed into them.

    Darfiel pushed through his own lines where Taresh and Klodorex’s Cold One riders were facing off against some Seekers of Slaanesh. He stared hard at Taresh reading his history briefly. Far too young to be the Old Blood . He eviscerated a Cold One Rider and walked away

    “Too scared to face me?” Taresh yelled.

    Darfiel snapped his fingers and the champion of the Daemonettes rode up to face Taresh. Taresh brought his axe down and cut the champion in half vertically down to the torso. Then he beheaded the Daemon’s twisted mount just before his Cold One began shredding apart both corpses. The small number of cavalry with him roared their approval. Darfiel directed his battle standard bearer to fight the upstart Scar Veteran before resuming his search for the Old Blood named Kaitar.

    Another jet of white fire raked across the Daemon lines. Darfiel ducked gracefully, narrowly avoided being hit.

    You’ve let the Skink live too long, Thazerick! End him now!

    Thazerick, now ice-free, took off into the air again, and dispersed Yarshen’s third attempt at summoning a magical blizzard. He casually dipped his head to avoid a shot from a giant bow from another Stegadon and then directed his pink horrors to swarm the ancient Stegadon and kill the priest. He unleashed the Gift of Chaos felling more Sauri than his Horrors were. Undaunted the Saurus warriors of the Jade Spawning were not about to surrender the Engine. The few Daemons that got past their wall of obsidian and bronze blades were stomped flat by the Stegadon.

    Darfiel sighed inwardly and directed his Fiends to withdraw from the Skinks they were fighting to assault the Stegadon. For good measure Darfiel tried to sap the courage of the entire Lizardmen army with a spell but the neophyte managed the concentration necessary to disperse the spell before it could take effect, despite the distraction of swarming Fiends. The crew in the howdah fought off the creatures bravely but one still had climbed into the Howdah and was single mindedly clawing his way towards Yarshen. The first two strikes were blocked by the talisman that the High Skink had loaned him, but the third attack sorely wounded him.

    Running on pure adrenaline, Yarshen willed the pain away and realigned the Engine once more. White fire incinerated the Fiend. The Fiend was so close that Yarshen and the surviving Howdah Skinks had blisters from the heat but they could only watch in awe the power of the Old Ones up close. Unfortunately, Thazerick managed to aim a magical ball of multicolored flame at the howdah during their momentary distraction and hit Yarshen with just barely enough force to finish him off.

    Meanwhile, things were not good for the Lizardmen on the outer flank either. Daemonettes had moved to engage the Salamanders to prevent them from being able to aim their spouts of flame and were carving up the ferocious beasts. Gerlit watched in horror as his own Salamander was beheaded. He considered fleeing along with many of the Skirmishers that had already broken on their flank.

    Mahrlect! What will Kaitar do to me if I lose my Salamander again, this time permanently? He raised his crest and shook his tail angrily.

    “For Kaitar!” he screamed and leapt at the nearest deamonette piercing the abomination through the neck with his obsidian tipped prodder. The other handlers echoed his cry and came at the Daemons with a ferocity not seen by Skink since the time of Tehenhaun. As more Skinks took up the cry of “For Kaitar” those who had fled rallied and rejoined the fight. The body count was high on both sides but the First Children of the Old Ones were no longer giving up a single inch of ground.

    Darfiel was looking for Kaitar and had crossed across the length of the whole battle line seeing no sign of any Old Blood, only Scar Veterans. He turned back to find the first Scar Veteran he saw which seemed to be the oldest. (He had unknowingly walked by the real Kaitar twice).

    Taresh, the oldest surviving Saurus of Klodorex was bleeding from several small cuts, but he had finally felled the Darfiel’s Herald and then took out the remaining Daemonette cavalry (all the other Cold One riders were now dead). He was chewing on Darfiel’s champion’s banner in contempt as the Keeper of Secrets approached him.

    Is your name Kaitar?"
    “My name is Daemon Slayer you piece of filth!”
    So be it

    Taresh struck at him four times with the Axe of Tlacti’s Bite. Each time Darfiel twisted out of the way of the blow before it struck dancing mockingly.

    “Fight back you coward—“

    Darifel gracefully drew a blade without Taresh realizing it and slashed his throat before he could react.

    As you wish.

    Darfiel sliced off Taresh’s (in his mind Kaitar’s) head and lifted it high intending to demoralize the Lizardmen with the death of their leader. Darfiel receivd none of the shock and despair that he was hoping for. He felt a faint stirring of magic that wasn’t Daemonic.

    I thought the Skink was dead. The Slann aren’t alert to us are they?
    No that is far too faint to be a Slann, that ripple was from a bound spell.

    From a blank of Shadows an albino Saurus emerged from a pool of Shadows wearing a jaguar fur. He headed straight for the largest group of Daemon troops and began cleaving them with his giant axe. Two minutes behind him another Saurus champion rode forward on a Horned One impaling two Horrors at once. The beleaguered Lizardmen forces cheered. The Eternity Wardens had noticed the Daemons and sent the fastest two of their number to join in the battle.

    “There is the proof the Slann are here! We are joined by their champions!”

    The call went down the line until a Skink chief in the back fired the Staff of the Lost Sun into the air. This signaled the Temple Guard to join in the battle and the Terradon riders waiting in the back to fly off to Klodorex to inform the city. The Skink chief rode the Horned One Loroq towards the battle eager to join in himself.

    Darfiel withdrew from the battle and sprinted towards the cave.

    Where are you going? We can still win this!
    We only need to slay a single Slann to win, and now they are down to a single guardian!

    “Stop him!” Kaitar roared. Tykornis flew out to intercept the Keeper of Secrets but Thazerick took down all the remaining Terradons with a magical bolt. Tykornis had survived the death of his mount before and managed to land safely this time. The other riders were less lucky. All the Lizardmen’s mounts were dead except the two Horned Ones. Loroq and her new Skink chief rider were too far away and the Eternity Warden Jorthalis and his Horned One were completely surrounded. Kaitar broke from his ranks and went into a full sprint while his spawning kin kept the Daemons away from him allowing him to break away.

    Fast as Kaitar was, he was nowhere near as fast as Darfiel. The Daemon was soon out of Kaitar’s sight. Darfiel did not even notice that he was pursued. He did notice when he was hit by several darts.

    Seriously? The five Chameleon Skinks had all shot him and were attempting to waylay him. One even penetrated his hide. Darfiel could feel the blessed poison making his hip go numb.

    “For Preylot! For Kaitar!”

    They continued firing until Darfiel let loose a magical screech striking four of his attackers dead. Darfiel remember his promise to himself earlier. He put an enchantment on the surviving Chameleon Skink and lifted him to eye level.

    Which pool were you spawned from little one?” he asked softly.

    The Chameleon Skink shook off the trance and spat in the Daemon’s face. Darfiel cursed himself for allowing himself to be distracted by extremely petty revenge and for not noticing the Chameleon Skinks in the first place. If it worked for them, it may work for me

    Darfiel carefully removed all the darts the Skink was carrying and then distended his jaw and swallowed the Skink alive. A moment’s concentration and a tap on his belly later, Darfiel’s skin was blending with the background perfectly as a Chameleon Skink (more perfectly since even his weapons and clothes changed). He ran to the cave and slowed down to a graceful slow creep as he approached the last Eternity Warden. He aimed his blade to decapitate the warrior in one sweep…

    At the last second the Eternity Warden blocked the blade, not relying on his hearing and vision, but using instinct. He struck at the Daemon who weaved out of the way, not quite far enough. The guardian’s giant axe had drew a very shallow cut. Darfiel’s series of attacks were all parried. The Warden’s instincts were too good to be fooled by the Keeper’s misleading telegraphing. Darfiel chose to focus on raw speed and volume and simply overwhelmed the Warden with numerous attacks finally slaying him, but not until after he had taken a large axe wound to the shoulder. Kaitar had caught up with Darfiel as he was finishing up.

    “One obstacle left.” Kaitar called out.
    A lowly unranked Saurus with the helm of the general? And with the Mace of the Carnosaurs too?

    Kaitar couldn’t help himself.

    “How do you know what the Mace or helm is?”

    Darfiel grinned as only a lizard can, then walked softly towards him.

    I know more about your kind than you do, mighty Kaitar. You are so young you probably have not finished drying off from emerging from your Spawning pool, lowly tadpole.

    Darfiel exhaled in an exaggerated fashion. As Kaitar breathed in, his mind was filled with images. Images of him being recognized by the Slann for his excellent service. Statues of him being raised. Kaitar becoming the youngest and greatest Eternity Warden that Lustria had ever known.

    Darfiel was sneaking up on him to strike. Kaitar ducked and brought his mace down hard into Darfiel’s chest.

    “If you really knew the First, you would know you can’t tempt a Saurus with glory. Looks like first blood belongs to the lowly tadpole”
    A magic mace and a fancy helmet do not make you a hero. Only the Slann matter. Your kind can do nothing to the likes of us.
    “So you meant to make your eye look like that?”

    In his rage, all grace as lost and Kaitar was able to avoid the greater Daemon’s clumsy blows and hit him once more though this strike rebounded off the Daemon’s innate mystic protection. Darfiel took a step back to regain his composure and then charged forward and cleanly sliced off Kaitar’s weapon arm. Both arm and mace hit the ground with a thump. The rest of Kaitar soon followed.

    Last blood belongs to the champion of Slaanesh.

    Darfiel walked carefully into the cave entrance carefully not to make a magical ripple when he heard heavy footsteps rapidly closing behind him. Kaitar had gotten up, dropped his shield and was now wielding the Mace of the Carnosaurs with his off-hand. When Darfiel turned to face him Kaitar let lose a mighty roar of battle only to have it cut short. Darfiel through a rapid act of legerdemain had tricked Kaitar into impaling himself on Darfiel’s outstretched blade. Kaitar slumped to the ground gurgling blood. Darfiel stabbed him several more times just to be thorough.

    You see little tadpole, your actions never matter in the grand scheme of things.

    He proceeded deeper into the cave.

    * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Do you hear that? A Saurus is daring to interrupt us with that noise.

    I could ignore the noise far easier than I can ignore you.

    The Eternity Wardens know we want total silence.

    That wasn’t an Eternity Warden, brother that was a rank and file Saurus.
    came a third voice

    How do you know that?

    Both of you be silent! I’m trying to concentrate!

    Do you sense that? Daemons.

    The three Slann ceased their telepathic bickering struck by shock. Merestar had not spoken, even telepathically, in over a thousand years. When he spoke now, the others listened.

    As soon as Darfiel crept around the corner he was slammed telekinetically into a wall and pinned there while two other Slann marshaled their power to obliterate the Daemon.

    No, do not destroy him.

    Darfiel worked hard to suppress his laughter. The breaking effect seemed absolute on this particular Slann, perhaps the others would be similarly pliable.

    Yes indeed, noble Slann! I can help you interpret the riddle of the cave!
    No, I solved it. It is a prison, not a riddle. You three go help our charges they are fighting a Daemon army not far from here. I will handle this one myself. The witch Kayishen had the stink of this Daemon all about her.
    So you want revenge for your Turochlitan? Are you going to torture me now? I’d be curious to see what a Slann can come up with. There is no way it will amount to a fraction of a tithe of what I endured in the Chaos Realms.
    I am not going to torture you.
    You want to destroy me personally? I’ll just come back to Lustria and destroy all you hold dear—again.
    You are not coming back to Lustria
    As if you can keep me out!
    You are not coming back to Lustria because you are not leaving Lustria. You created a perfect prison out of your own essence and by that essence you are here by bound.

    For the first time in an eternity, Darfiel screamed in genuine fear.

    The other Slann were willing to give deference to Merestar’s first action in a millennium but they didn’t want to take the chance that Merestar would lapse back into a semi-catonic state, so two Slann split their focus to keep an eye on Merestar while simultaneously funneling a portion of their power into Desserex. Desserex flew towards the nearby battle on his palanquin with the speed only the mystical power of three Slann could provide.

    Thazerick was throwing down as many spells as he could desperate to keep the Lizardmen in place to help Darfiel succeed in his assassination. The lesser Daemons pressed on as well heedless of their own safety. Meanwhile Nurak was equally desperately encouraging his fellows to hold the line.

    He suspected the greater Daemon had gotten control of the ice shard spell again as every Skink, Saurus, Kroxigor, and surviving dinosaur was covered in a strange cool substance. It was uncomfortably cold but it was not constricting. It was also stickier than an ice shard spell. Nurak and the other Lizardmen were confused. The Daemon army was elated by the sudden new spell seemingly in their favor…all except Thazerick who sensed what was coming and tried to fly away.

    A tidal wave of white fire swept over the field incinerating every Daemon and every plant, leveling the landscape. The Lizardmen only lost their mysterious cold coating though some sustained very minor burns. Nearly the entire Daemon army was banished back to the Chaos Realm. Thazerick alone survived the spell, severely wounded but still alive. He looked up at Desserex defiantly daring him to strike again. Desserex (still linked telepathically to his kin) decided a good idea was a good idea.

    He bound Thazerick in a net of light and dragged him back to the cave. His essence helped build the prison along with Darfiel and by his own work, he too would be imprisoned by it. An unsolvable riddle both Daemons were certain that solving would allow escape. The Slaanesh Daemon unable to decipher the eldritch code. The Tzeentch Daemon unable to concentrate due to his obsessive desires being brought to fore.

    It is good to see you active again brother.

    I have been contemplating imprisoning Daemons rather than destroying them for some time. These Daemons just did some of our work for us. I have come up with one hundred seventeen threats to such a prison we must guard against. That was based on the assumption that we would imprison them inside a temple city or kahoun. Outside a city, twenty-nine of the threats I identified no longer apply, but it has surely opened up new ones. I must ponder these.

    Time for that later, we have to look after our charges. It is long overdue

    * * * * * * * * * * * *

    The First children of the Old Ones rarely conduct lengthy funerals for non-Slann. By tradition all Old Bloods received a ritual as well as any Scar Veterans of exceptional worth. The worthy martyrs of Saurus kind have their bodies returned to nourish the spawning pools from whence they came. This is said to suffuse future generations with their ancestor’s wisdom and strength.

    Usually this was done en masse but Kaitar’s ceremony was performed for him alone. Kaitar was the youngest Saurus ever laid to rest with such honors. The high Skink personally presided over the ceremony. All the city’s Slann were in attendance.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2018
  8. Qupakoco
    Skink Chief

    Qupakoco Keeper of the Dice Staff Member

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    *sniff sniff* Poor Kaitar. His defiance and stubbornness were his downfall, though it saved the all-important Slann.

    Great story Scalenex! It reminds me of one of the stories in the 5th edition book. Very well done.

    Mace of the Carnosaur... +1 Strength and D3 wounds? Haha.
  9. n810

    n810 First Spawning

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    Amazing story, you had me at the edge of my seat right up to the end. :smug:
  10. Scalenex

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Thanks for the compliments guys. I was worried this story was too long. Each part was slightly longer than the last. I'm glad I kept your interest (feel free to give my other stories some love, I'm vain).

    I figured the Mace of the Carnosaurs was the Ogre Blade (Strength +2) and the Axe of Tlacti's Bite was the Pirahna Blade. Not that it really matters what the game stats are. I clearly played it fast and lose with magical items, Yarshen had 85 points of magical items which is of course illegal. Saurus unit champions don't normally get light armor and 40 point weapons either. I believe most magical weapons should be named, particularly when they outlive their users and are passed down like I imagine most LM weapons are.

    The blue one is Kaitar (after he lost his helmet fighting the O&G in part three). Once I get some more old school Saurus I plan to kitbash a new Kaitar using an old school Saurus with a new Saurus style spiked mace and a spikey Temple Guard head for the helmet of the general.


    Real life issues are giving me less time to model these days and I can write stories anywhere. I guess since I seem to have fans I'll try to come up with something else, but it will be a while. The GM for my upcoming campaign wants us to write fluff pieces but I'd be constrained by having to work around GM events and other people's army. Perhaps an Alternate Universe where Kaitar lives (in this campaign unit champions CAN be legal generals). It can't possibly start soon enough for my tastes!

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  11. CaptainKirk

    CaptainKirk New Member

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    Great story :) My hero of the story though was Yarshen! That lonely Skink Priest put a world of hurt on the magic of two Daemons and their fiends :smug:
  12. spawning of Bob

    spawning of Bob Well-Known Member

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    Nice one, Scalenex.

    I'm finally up to date with your Neck-of-the-Jungle, and I'll echo some of the other comments - this one is a compelling read that drew me in.

    As you know, I'm some way through my own fluff story. A fair degree of influence comes from your depiction of just how Bad-ass Slann can be. I particularly like the variety of tools that your Slann have in their tool boxes. Raw power, illusion, tricksy deception - and they are masters of everything they use.

    If my guy ever wakes up and comes anywhere near his full potential, the Forces of Darkness had Better Look Out!
  13. Scalenex

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Speaking of up to date, I just edited this peace. I haven't changed anything major. I fixed some typos. I also redid the formatting for my demon speech so all demon quotes are colored like in my other stories. I also changed Darfiel's font from red to magenta. Can't have Slaanesh and Khorne demons using the same font now can I? So if you are a careful observer of my work, Khorne demons talk in red, Nurgle demons brown, Tzeentch demons purple, and Slaanesh in magenta.

    More importantly I tried to incorporate some of the non verbal lizard communication discussed in this this thread and I threw in a few "mahrlects" upping this story to rated "R" for scaly language.
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  14. spawning of Bob

    spawning of Bob Well-Known Member

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    So tell me what Mahrlecht means, since I've adopted it.
  15. Scalenex

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I don't know if you ever read the Artemis Fowl series but it's inspired by Dav'rit. Basically fill in whatever naughty four letter word your imagination tells you it should be. Probably not the s-word though, I'm pondering adding a colorful Saurian word for excrement in my next story. Or maybe a Skaven word for excrement (my main character in the next story is going to get a universal translator).
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  16. Kcibrihp-Esurc

    Kcibrihp-Esurc Well-Known Member

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    Re: The Orphaned Temple City, Part One and Two of Four

    Lizardmen names are half word and half not 'Kai' is the word part of his name 'Tar' has no meaning, Kroq-Gar, Gar means Attack Kroq means nothing Mazda-Mundi Mundi means Natural or Of The World Gor-Rok Gor means Rend, Slash, or Strike etc.
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  17. Scalenex

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Re: The Orphaned Temple City, Part One and Two of Four

    Kaitar was named randomly, the fact that Kai means lost was a fortuitous coincidence. "Renliss" doesn't mean anything as far as I know though I do like to think of him as being relentless. With all my later stories, all of my main characters and most of minor characters have a name chose with a character description of some kind (either from the old LM army book or from an internet baby name site for humans), though I will add a "nonword" or alter a spelling a bit to make something roll off my tongue better.

    I figure "tar" just means "part of a name." Same with Lat, which I use as a suffix for Skink names sometimes.
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  18. Kcibrihp-Esurc

    Kcibrihp-Esurc Well-Known Member

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    Re: The Orphaned Temple City, Part One and Two of Four

    if all the name meanings are coincidences they're really funny as Preylot's name works as well as Lot means Brave or Hunter :D

    Also Tykornis is kind of ironic for a skink as Kor means Mighty, Impressive or Majestic
    These coincidences or do you pay much more attention than most to Lizardmen fluff than most? I usually try to name my heroes using lizardmen names and the same with the more 'Kor'* 'Tli"* in the army like the Carnosaurs and Stegadons

    *Yes I just said stuff in Saurian, deal with it

    Oh and very good work with the story and Tactica index they are EXTREMELY useful anyone who plays lizardmen must read them
  19. Scalenex

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Re: The Orphaned Temple City, Part One and Two of Four

    I hadn't even considered Preylot as a hunter who is prey, I guess that fits, for this one anyway. In the sequel. I give this name to a new Chameleon Skink Stalker is named Preylot (I figure names get reused over generations just like with human names and names of prestigious people are more likely to be reused)

    Tykornis lead the Terradon riders into battle. As the Master of the Watch, he also coordinated and lead all small scale guerrilla battles for the temple city. That's about as "mighty" as a Skink can get. Also, he was one of the very few named NPCs that actually survived this story, that's very "impressive."

    And thanks for the all around kudos.
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  20. spawning of Bob

    spawning of Bob Well-Known Member

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    Re: The Orphaned Temple City, Part One and Two of Four

    Finally I've got it! The second syllable is dross!

    Now translate Bob and Joe for me, Smartypants....

    Seriously, nice to get another fluff nerd on board!

    Looking forward to your contributions, Mr "So dyslexic, can't spell forwards."
    You'll fit right in...

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