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Moss clung to the gaps in the brickwork like fat cattapillars, forming abstract pictographs from a millenia ago. Anglermaw could smell the grassy paste as much as his rodent eyes could make out their shapes, more keen than any man, lizard-man even. Perhaps the sight was more subtle, unnoticed even to the others in this darkness, their minds drawn to far more morose business within the tomb. The Sea-Rat had learned years ago to take in all of his surroundings, that was an untaught lesson in Skaven society. The rotting scaffold in a steep warpstone mine; the shiv in the paw of a disgruntled rival, the glowing blip of an assassin's cocked jezzail. Too much time in the undercities made such paranoid thoughts as common as muscle memory. Bones of dead saurian champions sharpened into stakes in the distance, the lapping flames from the greased torches made Angerlmaw's matted fur tingle warily, their skink wielder's cerulean scales turning gold in the resonance.

He took a sniff of his surroundings. The tomb smelled of dust and age, not to mention the oily boar grease that kept the torches lit within the sanctum. Darkness permeated all about the group of lizardine mourners, as though the tomb were some living entity, the placid body of Supa-Kheti laid there upon the stone edifice as a sacrifice for the shadowy maw, cushioned under a mattress of firewood. The old skink was hidden within his panoply, belying the pain he'd suffered within his final moments. Here, the shaman slept unassumingly. Anglermaw recalled the last moments of the Ark's sinking, the disturbing threats of whatever became of Grey Seer Urechen clear as glittering warpstone while the shaman clutched at his heart before he died.

When they had returned, there were no cheers, no festivities in the names of these unlikely saviours. No sense of elation beamed among the group. While Falderan may have been content with whatever swill passed among the lizards for wine, Celedron's enigmatic attitude hadn't received a chink after the loremaster had lost his arm. Mokte had become utterly implacable the moment Supa-Kheti's heart had stopped, and he had not spoke to the gang in the days they had returned. There had not been even a mention of thanks or reward from that fat frog Nahwa, save that they were no longer under the constant surveillance by the lizardine lords. What had transpired was something not even their useless old tablets could have forseen. The party of a rat, two elves, and a saurus of questionable spawning, risking their lives to save the city of Tzlipectl from an existential threat...

...He had almost forgotten another... No... he desperately wanted to forget young Hans Brunswick, Anglermaw had never felt such horror for another being until he'd seen the poor boy twist into that emaciated thing. But he could not; in the days that passed, Hans lingered as a wraith within Anglermaw's nightmares, and he no longer saw the young, insecure face that he remembered of the boy, but as the gaunt dessicated monster he had become.

He wondered if the other attendees could wipe the sight from their minds too. Celedron and Falderan appeared stoic, both of them as though likenesses of the statues of long dead saurian heroes illuminated by the torches. A cadre of six saurus guardians encircled Supa-Kheti's body, the butts of their primitive spears planted firm on the cracked stone defacing the hieroglyphs below their clawed feet. The seventh saurus stood out from his kin, by the crimson hue of his scales, and by the nature his behaviour. Mokte was bereft of his golden armour, the contrast of the torch flames darkened his colour like blood while he mournfully leaned by Supa-Kheti's sleeping frame. Anglermaw did not recognise the words Mokte whispered, but he could tell they were rife with grief. Supa-Kheti had been Mokte's guardian, a father figure even, from what Anglermaw could remember from the villa. He watched the saurus plant the shaman's crude staff into his frozen hands. The gnarled stick, which must have been nearly as old as the shaman himself just rolled onto Supa-kheti's meek chest, waiting to be clutched.

Poor bastard. The words chittered soundlessly off the tip of Anglermaw's teeth as he observed Mokte reluctantly saunter back toward the group. No words passed between them, anything now would seem wholly inappropriate. Not that Mokte's attention had been drawn anywhere close to the Sea-Rat anyway, for his gaze, and those of their entourage, were drawn to the footsteps of an arriving figure. One venerable enough to bring both saurus and skink to kneel at a near instant, and a quiver from Mokte's usually cool face had made the Sea-Rat near squirt his musk.

The old blood's huge frame was concealed in a dye of ash and soot as the darkness spat him out by the head of Supa-Kheti's cremation pile, like it too was afraid of the beast. It's massive crest was concealed by a bleached skull of onyx stone that fully masked it's snarling countanance with a human-like mosaic. Bleached bone replaced the gold that once enameled the obsinite armour. Like the others of it's kind, it was silent, the eyes from beneath it's calm mask gazed toward the foreigners. Anglermaw shivered; this was no simple beast, more a haunter of these catacombs come to take away shaman's corpse. A chill wind fluttered through the tomb while a silibant whisper droned from behind the mask. The other beasts repeated the mantra. All save Mokte, the expression on his face had warped from grief to something Anglermaw would not have expected.


"What-who is he?" Anglermaw stuttered, he could not draw his eyes away from the ghoul, no matter how shook.

"Do not speak." Mokte returned. It was not a command, the saurus' tone was more akin to a whimper.

"No, answer me, for Sigmar-Rat's sake." Anglermaw argued. "You've not even spoke to us of 'ere, didn't say a word of this monster-thing." His whispers were full of venom as his chittering snout loomed by Mokte's taut face.
"...Chichime..." Mokte hazed.
"What?! Speak up for god's sake." Anglermaw demanded. "You weren't so afraid of him when he sized you up before. Why now?"
"Chichime, but not as the roaring gloryhound I had presented you." Mokte stammered like a panicked child. "This is his true face. Those scales of black and white? They are said to symbolize the dead of the city. When the masses saw him in the courtyard from before they had revered him like a god, but not as they would see him now. In his war armour, he is named 'Arch-Wight' by the scar-veterans, for the city's ghosts are said to follow him to war. Tzlipectl has a dark past, Znammy. I will tell you one day, but not in the presence of him."

"T'only dark place I've seen is this boneyard... ...We're here for a funa-cremation, so what's the fear all about?" Anglermaw probed, curious yet perturbed as he hid his own trepidation.
But Mokte would not aquiesce; the prayers had ceased. Chichime's stare did not.
Falderan (played by Dreath)

Time always felt off after battle. The following night of grief and merriment for a victory felt to last forever even if it merely went on for a few short hours. Much like the tense moments in a battles conclusion. When beast, savage and ghoul retreat from the battlefield back to their dark dwellings to hide and lick their wounds. Those seconds as you await further attack feel like a lifetime. And what to say after the battle for the Ark? Nothing that could be compared with a Beastmen ambush or Greenskin raid. Horrors witnessed within that place brought to mind the Daemons and mutants of the Dark Gods. Things not of this world and more vile and twisted than even the vilest Goblin or Troll. The aftermath was something that felt like a new nightmare in itself.

As the group somehow survived the battle against what could only be described as a Daemon and it's 'mortal' associate of some form, adrenaline faded and the pain of the great battle sunk in. Celedron felt the pain of a missing arm and upon reaching shore Skinks presented him with healing balms and remedies to alleviate the pain his body was swimming with. magic drained and left in a state of limbo he was as if caught by a fever. Rambling and unable to form many full sentences his body seemed ready to give in and die. Yet the same will which sliced through Skaven, which fired arcane powers to wash away regiments, and fierce determination that any Imperial General would find commendable kept him going. And in the time that passed he made a recovery. Falderan stayed by his side for the majority of the time. A connection to blood he thought he'd never bond with forged in fire. The curious disdain that started between them at first now faded to a sense of comradeship and admiration.

Fal's recovery was more in his own mind over physical. His body was bruised and bled from all over but compared to a lost limb for Celedron he was virtually unharmed. The full damage rested in his mind. Avoiding sleep where he could until exhaustion took him he kept awake at nights staring over his friends and the city he found himself in. Everytime his eyes closed he could hear the voice of the bastard Ziegfried or the abomination spawn, or the bones snapping and flesh stretching from that unfortunate boy brought along for their mess. Hans. It wasn't the first young man of the Empire he had seen brutalized by otherworldly forces. Not even the youngest. But it was one of the more personal. It was lucky for him he could find a similar comfort as he did back in the Old World. The Lizardmen of Lustria could brew a wine that was far from perfect. But to drown his senses would work.

A short time after they had been nursed back to health. About three days by Fals count. The group were attending the funeral of the Skink Priest Supa-Kheti. Since their return Fal had not seen anything of their Skink allies from the Ark but it did him no favours to ponder how post war beurocracy worked for these alien reptiles. Despite the odd perk of curisioty he stayed mostly in his own head. But now dresed in surprisingly new imperial clothing, something that Fal found suspicious but he knew of the numerous colonists and traders that 'went missing' in these lads. The group watched the ritualistic proceedings in silence. Celedron stood beside Falderan and shared his drow expression. He wished to return to his people, to inform them of his side of events. But he couldn't pass up this curious display. A philosophical and professional curiosity about the Lizardmen society taking hold. The underbreath exchange between Mokte and Anglermaw snapped him from his focus. He still couldn't believe he was working with a Skaven, a half-Druchii and some rejected Lizard. He honestly begun to wonder if he'd be accused of heretical deeds as the Empire would call it, upon his return. The garbs he wore made the comparrison almost comical. Wearing some Imperial traders shirt and coat got him to long for the days of Elven silk on his skin once more. But it was a small thing that made him and Fal seem more alike than he'd want to admit. If nothing else in terms of garb and a recent shared trauma. The two watched as the dark scaled Saurus continued his rite.
Captain Sunami Anglermaw (played by KingofHaddock) Topic Starter

The ghostly saurus gesticulated his large arms toward the lizardine statues above, his troupe of black daubed kin following suit.

Then Chichime recited, in a crude silibant drawl that only the native saurians could comprehend.

"Oh, venerated servant. From ruin you came, and ruin you found in this place. Though you lay here in this tomb, be not afraid to share the womb with the neverspawned. When you, and so many others fled to the silent city, you had already met death, for the foundations of Tzlipectl are built upon the ashes of the unborn spawn. Before, you were a vagrant, an unshackled slave to the Old Ones, but in death you are accepted. So rest, spirit, stay vigil no longer. You are home."

At the last syllable, the saurus guardians encircling Supa-kheti's corpse uluated a synchronized groan, their voices like a troupe of haunting spirits wailing within the shadowed necropolis. Anglermaw shuddered, the hairs on his matted ears pricked with anticipation. He watched the looming form of the ash dyed saurus creep forward toward the group of foreigners. Although his heart quickened, he was not afraid. There was no threat of violence from the Old Blood in his stride. The creature beckoned Mokte with an open claw, and he hissed a sentence that once again only the red outcast could understand. Reluctance for something welled within Mokte's lizardine eyes. He stood vacant for a moment in the glittering tomb, as statuary as the stone hewn reptiles which observed the funeral from above, like gargolyes mounted upon the arches of a gothic church.

Mokte took the torch from Chichime's ashen claw. No words escaped his grieving mind as he cast the flame upon the bed of firewood. In moments the shaman's corpse was enveloped in a whirlwind of flame, his body consumed until it became ash. Chichime clasped Mokte upon his shoulder, and grunted into the younger saurus' ear. Anglermaw could not understand a word within the Saurian lexicon, but he saw Mokte become visibly reassured. Their gutteral voices were near-incomprehensible over the popping of firewood. The two lizardmen nodded at eachother solemnly, and Mokte returned to the group once the Old Blood had relieved him. Anglermaw scrutinised Mokte with a curious gaze. He wanted to ask what the Old Blood had told him, but the situation made him keep his tongue. The scent of the skink's burning remains was appetizing to Anglermaw's senses. His stomach churned in anticipation for a meal, and if he were still with the clans, he would not of thought twice to have Supa-kheti's corpse made into a roast. But once again Anglermaw did not voice this desire. It seemed his long foray among the no-furred had twisted his skaven understanding of manners.

"Is it over?" The Sea-Rat chittered. "We done? Don't think-expect we're wanted anymore anyway, yeah." Anglermaw cracked the wrist of his regenerated hand as he waited for answer. The newly-grown limb was hairless and pale, and he'd relied on his hook for so long he'd had a hard time getting used to it.

"The Arch-wight has asked for us to remain here for now." Mokte replied, shaking his lizardine maw. "The funeral rites are almost finished. My lord would prefer to speak with us before we leave."

Anglermaw was stunned by Mokte's show of deference toward the Old Blood. The trepidation made him feel uneasy. He looked curiously to the forms of the elves, their faces wraithlike within the shadows of the tomb. "Alright then." Anglermaw conceded. "So long as I'm not the next one on a flaming spit."

Moments passed like hours before the flames conceded to the haunted womb of these catacombs, almost unaturally. All trace of the shaman's corpse was gone, his ashes scattered into the void. The Old Blood finally stared face to face with each member, the eerie facemask Chichime wore made his mood indiscernible. He spoke, but this time, curiously, in a language they could all understand.

"Honour to you, saviours of Tzlipectl. We meet again as friends, and not rivals with aligned interests. I have not brought you into the catacombs as an act of intimidation. These halls were once the birthplace of my kin, and I was spawned with the icon of Quetzl marked on my scales." He beckoned the group to walk with him, the glimmering lights of rowed torches and fluorescent fungi clung to the illustrated plaques marked their road ahead. A stone collonade of various rooms and chambers were separated left and right from the hall, their interiors hidden by the veil of pitch darkness. "Although, that was many, many years ago. The lagoons of Tzlipectl dried when the great enemy first came, and those children yet to spawn were the sacrifice for our city's right to exist. No prayers to Quetzl have brought them back, nor have our pleas caught the ear of the Pantheon. There is no place for their worship here anymore."
Falderan (played by Dreath)

The way the flames flickered and danced over the funeral pyre reminded each Elf of a similar display from their home. Fal was at first taken back to the funeral pyres used to destroy the bodies of Beastmen, Orcs and similar monstrocities of the world. In such times the air smelt of a vile rot. A smell that mixed smoke with the apprent essence of those burnt. Put to flame and returned to ash where they could no longer prey on the innocent. Another scent that came to mind was somehow more sombre. When the enemies of good and order would ritualistically burn, sacrifice and dare he say cook the people of the Empire. Smelling so many types of burnt flesh left Fal with an ability to notice faint differences in the scent. Almost like the emotion behind the burning was part of the scent. And this one felt more melencholy. Not malicious but more in memory for the elderly Skink. This was more akin to a comrades burning and honor than that of destroying a taint. Keeping his face low, covered behind a popped collard coat he now wore. He didn't want to disturb the proceedings. But to himself, in his mind he gave a prayer to Sigmar. Hoping that maybe in this land he could still be heard.

Celedron watched the flames with his bandaged arm. The dancing and smell of burning meat and incense reminded him of his own Fathers funeral proceedings. Young by Elven standards his Father died defending Yvresse from a violent Greenskin incursion. The foul fungal beasts slaughtered thousands before their defeat. His father was one. Taking a crude blade into his leg before his throat was cut by the Goblin filth. The only condolence, if it could even be called such, was that his Father was given a warriors farewell like many more in the following days. Prayers given for Asuryan to welcome him to his divine lands and live on safe from the pains he suffered in his final moments. This service for the Skink didn't hit him as hard. But the same tinge of regret was there in his gut. A sorrow and bitterness he was well adjusted to hiding. Something he could see on the faintest expressions of Fal. But he did not address it. Simply he watched the flames flicker and fade before the procession ended.

The resulting aftermath was what felt like a tour of the tomb by the grim looking Chimchime. The stonework was facinating. Different from Elf, Man or Dwarf and of it's own unique beauty. Across the walls were text in the Lizards hieroglyphs that the Elves suspected told stories of those buried within. It was something very similar to both their own cultures. It would stand to reason pride in ones life was shared even by these alien creatures and their jungle nation. The description of the cities history was one of loss. Of great cataclysms and world ending distasters. Such things were known to Celedron but from his own people's perspective. Of a great war against legions of Daemons when the Elves where one people and the world flourished. A great horror that seemed like the very End Times had come. But it did not. Through the Elves efforts, at least they thought so. But a fate the world may one day still face.

Fal had only heard loose ideas of this time. From the odd wizard he met would tell of great things in the Empires archives. Of tomes from the Elves and Dwarfs that spoke of such things. He always thought it too grand. Possibly embelished like some of Sigmar's mighty legend. Though with everthing he had see in recent months. He was more inclined to believe in such things. The Elves nodded as they took in the oraltation from the Saurus. Both silently hoping they could soon make their trips home and back to a form of comfort in this mad world.
Captain Sunami Anglermaw (played by KingofHaddock) Topic Starter

Chichime strode beneath the flickering torchlight like some macabre automata; the characteristic savagery of his kind seemed utterly alien to the grim defender. He left his vigil retinue in the darkness, for one reason or another, they had not followed, content to remain stationary in the great tomb cloaked within a miasma of darkness. Anglermaw did not look back at them, content to follow the guiding flames, nor did he give thought to the ghouls. His rodent eyes, far more acute in the absence of light had caught sight of a multitude of peering, vertical eye slits staring toward him. Incorporeal headless eyes. Whispers in a dead language that came from no speaker. Threats? Questions? Anglermaw didn't know, he just followed on, unquestioning even as the groundwork of the catacombs became less paved.

Chichime stopped at the end of a cavernous stairwell. Standing before the group was a gaping atrium of dirt and bones, illuminated by the soulstuff of unspawned lizardmen. Souls flittered to and from the group like buzzing fireflies as they swirled beneath the ossuary. some were the size of specks, insignicant in their part to play in the world denied to them, while others were engorged, large enough to fit into Mokte's own palm. These were the souls marked for greatness before their time, great thinkers, valiant warriors. Blessed by the Old Ones themselves, and in death the touch of the gods had meant nothing but an eternity of limbo. They danced around great pillars of bonework, remains of the long dead loomed in great towers, the skulls adorned like eternal sentries. Many were of the brave Saurus breed, others sleek and razor toothed like the Skink. But most strange of all were the oddly familiar shapes of man-skull that leered toward the gang, balefire glazed within the sockets of their rictus stare.

"These are the souls of the Neverspawned." Said Chichime, watching the group as they surveyed the dazzling patterns above. "Thousands of these children swim through the channels of the tomb, ignorant of what life they may had lead if the catastrophe had spared them. They are the last aspect of this city untouched by the taint of chaos, and in times of danger I have hefted the Sun Cleaver to vanquish any devil that sought to consume them." The little strobes fell onto their protector like children to a guardian, nuzzling him for warmth and safety as they coos echoed within the cavern of bones. Curiously, they had fallen also upon Celedron and Falderan for comfort, the two elves shone as luminous half-deities among the charnel house, whereas they had scorned the touch of Anglermaw and Mokte. The Sea-Rat pouted, but Mokte was indifferent, and did not care less for validation from the long dead.

"And it is in this lair that those who sought to protect the Neverspawned are housed as heroes, be they cold blooded or not. Even few among my own kind above ever see what lay here, but you have risked your lives for my city's safety and it's residents, and for that I am in your debt." The Arch-Wight continued. "To you, great Elves, I give you my city's eternal friendship. I open my gates to the allies of order should refuge ever be sought. To you, Znammy, I dub you 'the redeemed.' Others may find it awkward to champion the name of the Xa'kho, but I will not. I will guarantee your safety out of Tzlipectl, so long as your destination is within reason. As my final gift to you, travellers from beyond, I will also grant you the right to take any artefact from the catacombs as a token of friendship. I would not have it on my conscience that I send you out unrewarded. The caverns before me hold the sarcophagi of Tzlipectl's dead champions. Choose carefully from this treasury, and be sure not to disturb the spirits."

The Sea-Rat crooked his head to the side, intrigued by the Arch-Wight's gifts. "Ain't ever been offered anything from a lizard before save a skin-flayin', yeah." Anglermaw chittered. "Do the dead-things mind us pluckin' at their toys?"

Chichime shook his head. "Any gift I bestow is one in good faith; the dead would prefer to see their keepsakes serve the common good."

Just as Anglermaw was about to chitter in delight, Mokte strode forward in an act of challenge, his blood red crest elevated. Scores of spirits parted before his approach to the Arch-Wight. "And what would you make of me?" Mokte said bitterly, his claws clenched into scaled balls of muscle. "Would you have me return to the reject I was before, my Lord?" The earlier defference Mokte had shown toward the Arch-Wight had vanished.

Chichime loomed like a wraith over Mokte, but there was no wrath in his demanour., and his tone was that of reassurance. He made no attempt to dominate the younger Saurus. "You are no such thing, my son. I'd had greater things in mind for you. You are a champion now, the nature of your spawning cannot change that. No matter what those from beyond our walls may perceive."

Mokte chuckled. "Son? Champion?! Truly? Is that how you percieve me when you snarl at me in the presence of refugees above? This, Supa-Keti's death, it has changed nothing. I will still be marked by foreigners as a blight-spawn. What give you the right to pretend? My father died from shock in the middle of the sea. No one will remember him. Where were you?"

"My behaviour above is nothing but a facade, my son." Chichime said. He tried to place his claw upon Mokte's shoulder, but the red saurus shrugged it off. "I had faith in you, Mokte. But my purpose is to defend the city, and so I could not compromise. This animosity you feel, I assure you it is misplaced. I give you more than just acceptance, my son. I would protest your innocence to the Slann themselves."

"I have risked my life for the sake of acceptance all these years, Arch-Wight." Mokte spat, uttering Chichime's title with a snarl. "And for what? For my brothers to reject me out of instinct? They despise me, my mark is tainted. I do not want it anymore, I choose exile. If you would grant me anything, it is that I may also be given passage out of the jungles."

"Grief clouds your mind, my son." Chichime broke in. "It is grief you shouldn't need to bear. Supa-kheti is still here."

"My master is dead." The words wretched out of Mokte's maw as though they'd been forcefully pulled from his mind. "There's nothing left here for me anymore. Let me leave."

Chichime was solemn, his emotion unknown from within the rictus mask. He stepped back as the mewling souls dispersed from his body, somehow aware of his heartbreak. "I will grant your request." Whispered the Arch-Wight. "Take what you want from the tomb and then return to me. I have already arranged transport from the city at dusk."

Mokte nodded without a word. He stepped within the confines of the treasury alone, leaving the rest of the gang behind.
Falderan (played by Dreath)

The Elves eyes were more trained than a Human. The simple yet proactive race would be lost without a torch here. But the Elves keen eyes kept them going. They couldn't see to the level of Anglermaw or even the Dwarfs of the mountains. But they could make out forms and shapes. Enough to not trip or be caught off guard. The area was a macarbe sight. Skulls and bones or long gone Saurus and Skinks covered the walls not unlike the Empires temples of Morr. There was a similar feeling to this place. A sense of finality. A feeling that short of the end of days these halls and graves would not be defiled. A twisted comfort fell over Fal as he took in the area. Approaching the large chamber.
Celedron felt the nature of the area. The wards in the walls and arcane magic older, yet familiar to the Elf. Something of the more ancient form of weaving the winds as though it were barely a concious choice. Something otherworldly and regined about the way the place was guarded. As if the will of the cosmos kept it stable.

The oddly bright atrium was something to gawk at. Celedron broke his practiced composure at the sight of spirits flying around in a faintly visible wisps in the air. Dancing like the playful and mischevious sprites of Athel Loren, or so he read. There was a taste of undeath in the air. But not unlike Necromancy. The feeling of energy that lingered like a mist was somewhat smoother. It felt more akin to Qhayash but with a noticable strain of Shyish. Celedron spared a glance to Fal as he too responded. He Imperial Elf didn't seem to notice as much. But he did have a physical response. The hairs on his body stood up. Like the response of an animal sensing a disturbance in the air. But he couldn't quite put his finger on it.

Chichime explained the room and the duo finally understood the importance. It wasn't a tomb as much as a sanctuary. A place to rest and be content, to be safe from the vile perversions of the enemies of Order. Celedron gave off a small smirk. This changed everything. This was proof, as far as he knew from the lizards speech that the Lizardmen of Lustria did have souls. That there was more than flesh automata manning these cities of gold and secrets. This could bring a new profound theory to the academic world on Ulthuan. If anyone would believe him.

But all this was for little compared to the revelation of their prize. Nodding sagely as they recieved comendations and promises of friendship from the lead Saurus the promise of something from the area was enough to take pause. The Lizardmen where known to wield powerful artifacts. Some with arcane power the likes of which could rival even the Loremaster Teclis of Ulthuan. Celedron couldn't help but follow to their choices. Precious weapons and talismans covered the walls. Finely etched runes left a protective barrier on the doors. Celedron noticed them throughout the halls. Each one gave each doorway a buffer for the foul and daemonic. Likely destabalising any lesser Daemons that dared tp emter these halls before they could consume the souls within. The arcane presense in the air was nearly too much. The whole room felt like a steamy bathhouse. Filled with promise and a heat that nearly put him on his knees. He focused. Narrowing his mind he walked towards an engraved talisman. It measured around twenty centimeters. It was firm, made of some metal like bronze, at least the outside. The icon gave off a mix of energies Celedron failed to identify. It seemed to be masked in a haze of confusion. and deception. Hiding something or simply a method of magic he ad yet to understand. He admired it in the dim light. Taking in every aspect.

Fal found himself gazing upon a series of items. Small daggers to great war clubs, likely belonging to warriors or priests of the cities. Everything had the scent of magic. It lingered in the air like smoke long after a fire. A lingering sensation he couldn't shake. He went to touch a wide headed mace but pulled his hand back. It felt wrong to take a weapon like this. Much less one he would fail to use properly. He looked around. Over to a rounded medallion resting upon a surface. It resembled the mosiacs he had seen across the city. A rounded head seeming a mix of humanoid and reptilian with a solar crest around it. Small runes circled it and something about it told him it would be fine. He clenched his hands around the cold material. This felt right. But he couldn't answer why.
Captain Sunami Anglermaw (played by KingofHaddock) Topic Starter

Anglermaw scuttled into the great hall, the charnal pillars gazing down at him like he were an intruder. No Skaven had ever walked these halls; none would likely ever again. The Sea-Rat knew that his presence here was one out of convenience, no matter how much the ashen old blood lauded his actions. He witnessed the forms of Falderan and Celedron perusing the chamber, the panoply of long dead champions hung upon walls, settled upon altars of crumbling rock like funerary gifts. Some were adorned to their corpses within their open charnel holes, safeguards and strong omens for the dead as they passed into the next world. It were these artifacts that Anglermaw had chose to avoid, some superstitious, rodent fear that even nearing the earthen sarcophagi would compel the lizardine skeletons to spring alive in defense of their grave. Not that Anglermaw was fussed, clubs, cudgels and heavy armour, no matter how decorated in gold and prehistoric runes was simply not his forte.

He carried himself along, humming through the intestinal cavern while the souls of the neverspawned acted as mobile flares. The stream of absract ghosts gave clear illumination to what would have been pitch darkness. He followed the stream like a river to its end, until by chance he came to what he guessed was the 'skink quarter' of this crypt. There was of course no such desigation to prove he'd found such a place, if Anglermaw could decipher the worn hieroglyphs above. The gifts within this chamber were far more befitting of his size. Daggers, spears and staffs all teeming with luminous energy, their handles clearly meant for the smaller cousins of the saurus. Light armour far more practical than the great blocks of obstinite he'd spotted before shimmered beneath the stream. Unlike the skeletal remains he'd seen entombed previously, this chamber housed no such cadavres. Instead the deceased were confined into canopic pots of communal ash, stored in ancient dig-outs which once upon a time acted as life giving ponds, long since evaporated. Was this a symbol of lower status, wondered Anglermaw as he eyed the wafting vests.

He did not dwell on the thought, he felt unwelcome enough around regular lizardmen, let alone their death worshipping kind.

He plucked a scaled vest from above one of the funerary pots, scrutinising the material with his sharp claws. He was surprised at the durability. It hardly looked as sophisticated as arabyan lamellar, but the leaf-like segments were stone hard even after millenia, each obstinite leaf painstakingly enamelled with a golden trim. He admired the armour's flashiness - practical, yet prestigious. It made a shingling sound as he wore the vest over his ruined overcoat. With his brimmed crown scattered in the sea, the Sea-Rat needed something that made him look important.

He made his way back to the atrium, only to find that the group had already beat him. Anglermaw curiously eyed the finds of the Elves. Their rewards seemed more subtle, but the talismans wreathed with energy in the presence of the stream of neverspawned. Mokte's reward was a far more blatant tool, his left claw gripping a decorated club of wood, smoothed stones of obstinite blades knotted into three segments upon each side. The carved wood wreathed with energy that was not altogether familiar even to the lizardmen themselves. It drew Chichime's gaze, interest in the weapon hid his disappointment.

"That blade is made from the corpse of Asurenil, the Savage Tree." Chichime commented. "Not all of Tzlipectl's menaces are borne of chaos. My retinue and I were held to siege when his host of spirits sought to raze our city to the ground. We cast them back to their ancient groves when we burnt them to cinders, and scattered the branch-whores back to their roots." The Old Blood's reminiscent tone soon turned to melancholy by the memory. "But in that day, our city was derelict, and there were no skinks that could translate the jungle's tongue. Perhaps then things would have ended different. We only sought to defend ourselves."

Mokte seemed to digest the information in silence. Then Chichime gestured back through the pitch darkness, and the stream of the neverspawned dimmed into the nothingness. They passed the crumbling altar that once held Supa-kheti's remains; the ash dyed guardians they had left seemed uncomprimising. They had not budged from the moment the group had delved into the tomb. Now they followed Chichime and the strangers back up the stairwell, albeit not toward the entrance from which they had entered the tomb. The troupe of saurus lead the gang through a darkened capilary, concealed by a colony of vines. Soon they emerged to a grand view of the green hell below, by which their escort had awaited on a cliffside just outside of the city.

A red crested skink who called himself Weetziluweet greeted the group, his bloody cockscomb unfurled in more of a show of pride than dominance. He was muscular, more raptor-like than most of his ilk. A controlled ferocity belied his dimunitive stature in the presence of his saurian cousins. Behind him was a menagerie of slavering cold ones, rendered subservient by the rune of Ghur branded on their crests so that they did not attempt to savage their warm-blooded riders.

Weetziluweet was among the few outsiders privvy to Chichime's alter ego. He bowed to the entourage with respect.

"Everything isss packed, ssstrangers." The red crest began. "It will take many days, but Nahwa as my witness, I will lead you to the Tarantula coast. From there you will find your own way from Lussstria. Sotek willing, the journey shall be calm."
Falderan (played by Dreath)

The selections of his companions was to be expected but equally curious to Fal. To Anglermaw a scaled vest. Or similar garment made out of some reptilian beasts hide. Lashed over his shoulders it almost looked good on him. If not heretically out of place. Mokte was more reasonable in look. The weapon he took was of ancient make. Something about the wood felt lively and curious. Like once it held a benin conciousness. Only to now be reduced to the handle of some great weapon. The shimmering head made it clear. Anything short of proper Dwarven gromril or mighty chaos plate would be shattered in by the fierce weapon.

They were then brought out. Paraded through the darkness with only the faintest light of moss to guide them. Moving through corridors of ancient runes and even older bodies the walls felt to be watching. Eyes carved in stone seemed to turn to look to them. Simply an illusion. A trickery of sight that would be used to entertain children at a fair. Or maybe there was more to it. It wasn't worth worrying about. Fal fondled and looked to the medallion around his neck. Difficult to see he felt the engravings. On a glance it felt basic. Little more than a benine piece of jewlery. But there was an ever present nagging in his mind. Telling him there was more to this. He pondered over this until the group was greeted with the flaring sunlight of outdoors.

Greeted by a Skink with a vibrant quest as well as a pack of viscious Cold Ones both Celedron and Fal were hesitant. The large reptiles were something neither felt comfortable about. Celedron could remember seeing simlar beasts, though darker and with different sized teeth, ridden by the Druchii of Naggaroth. The beasts were fierce and their hungry eyes stared at them with interest. The fact they weren't jumped on exting the cavern meant these creatures were not their foes. Least for now. Celedron took note of a carging in their crest. A sigil of Ghur. Faint curves the same as how the Asur write it back home. It was fascinating to see how magic followed the same base rules no matter where you where from. He then turned to the Skink.
"And what will we do to leave Lustria once we reach the coast?" His tone contained faint traces of arrogance. It was almost genetic for the Elf. No offence met but the faintest feelings still laced the words. Fal approached and looked into the eyes of one of the Cold Ones. He backed off as it let out a faint, rumbling growl. Even if they were for them they were still animals. And ones he'd prefer not to anger. A disgruntled horse was bad enough. But this felt like angering a great Bear Rider from northern Kislev.
Captain Sunami Anglermaw (played by KingofHaddock) Topic Starter

Weetziluweet raised himself from the bow, crossing his scaled arms as the Loremaster asked. The cerulean skin was decorated with a wreath of old scars and pockmarks like hastily made tattoos, and fang-laden bracelets dangled from his limbs, all trinkets of bygone conquests against a multitude of beasts.

"The Tarantula coast is from whence you'd came, no? Or so the council had told me." Weetziluweet hissed. "I will keep you sssafe from the jungle, but I cannot guarantee your leave from Lustria, that isss for you to arrange." He brook no room for arguement, Weetziluweet's tone was decisive.

"I'm sure the rest o' them Elf-things are camped by the coast." Anglermaw interjected, his words more a hazy thought made aloud. "Dunno if they expected us to come back. Least not me anyway, I'll show 'em, yeah." The Sea-rat chuckled. The sight of Weetziluweet's frilling crest hushed his laughter however. He wondered just how much hatred for him must be concealed under that all that squamous muscle.

The red-crest stifled a hiss, his eyes bearing down on the skaven like prey. He had been briefed on the wretch by the skink council who governed the city in Nahwa's absence, themselves no friends of Anglermaw. To kill him would bring honour to Weetziluweet's name among the legions of Sotek. But Anglermaw was an unsung hero of Tzlipectl and to strike him would instantly incur the Arch-Wight's wrath. In that knowledge, he raised his head toward the looming Elves, desperate to avoid any eye contact with the hated rat. "Do you remember where to find this encampment? I will take you to your kin, as is my oath to the Dead City and it's protector." Weetziluweet said. "Climb upon the cold ones and we may yet be quick. Do not fear their growls, the priests have seen to dulling their instincts. In the wild, they would attack you on sight."

Chichime strode forward abruptly to the red crest, he spoke in the native tongue of the jungle. "The Lot'Kha are not your only guests, oathbound." He said, his ashen claw gesturing toward a lone Mokte.

Something within Weetzliuweet's mind hesitated. Not fear by any sense, but an abstract feeling of immediate disgust that he could not describe with words. He was repulsed by Mokte's crestfallen figure, and saw not a champion of Tzlipectl, but a mutant in the shape of a saurus. "The council spoke nothing of this." He protested, hardly realizing that he was bearing his dagger-like fangs at the Old Blood's direction.

Chichime's tone was absolute, and the ancient beneath the death mask stared the skink down. "Nahwa sleeps; I decide what the council decrees in his stead. Let him go with the Lot'Kha. He is as much a hero as they are. Should they reach this encampment the Xa'khota speaks of, I will relieve you of your oath, and you may return to your raving legion."

Weetziluweet's crest relaxed, his aggressive stance quelled by the sight of death incarnate. Some part of him wanted to refuse the blightspawn's company, but he already knew how Chichime would have likely answered, and so he remained silent. He nodded reluctantly, and the Old Blood's gaze retreated. Weeziluweet then beckoned Mokte with an open claw to share a Cold One mount that Anglermaw had already climbed upon. The Sea-Rat studied Mokte as the red Saurus saddled behind him, an exhale of humiliation escaped the beast's throat.

They were ready to leave the city once and for all, the canyon before them lead back into the green hell; to the outside world.
Falderan (played by Dreath)

This region of the jungle was not familiar to him. Celedron wasn't the greatest with such traversing. Especially in unfamiliar lands. He was most surprised by learning of their specific route. If it was to be believed they woudl once more arrive with the expedition. Given the time that had past they would presumedly be out at sea. Mostly watching in with a small garrison if they hadn't been fought off the beaches. If the Lizardmen launched an attack they would be positioned off shore. Aethalia wouldn't let them leave. In all this time and chaos he nearly forgot about her. Though at this stage protocol would dictate the mission would be deemed lost. A small force kept for several days to ensure no survivors. But that would depend on outside sources. The seas around Lustria where known for having beasts. Staying alone in a small vessal would proove troublesome if one of the deeps beasts came up. A Dragon Ship would be safe. But a smaller vessel could have trouble. These thoughts ravaged Celedron's thoughts as he mounted the Cold One. With the thought of being back to his people, back to comfort and those he trusted. He completely disregarded the reptilian beast he rode.

Fal listed himself onto the back of another of the mounts. It turned its head up and sniffed. Cold, reptilian eyes twitched in his direction. Fal gave it a pat on the back of the neck. It grumbled and shook. Across it's back were thick scales and hide. Far different from a horse and more alien than anything he had ridden, 'safely' or as safe as he could be, before now. He tried to feign interest in the social dilemma between the reptiles. It didn't take a mage to see the distaste in Weetziluweet's eyes. Mokte was clearly not popular. He mounted the same Cold One as Anglermaw. The beast they rode and stood beside nipped at the rodent. Animal instincts kept at bay to do little more then teasing bites. Though Anglermaw seemed smart enough to keep his limbs away from their mouths. Magic wasn't perfect and all it took was a moment for the rune to flicker for the rodent to be shredded scraps.

As they took off outside the city Fal got the gist for riding. Not unlike horses he could click the sides of his mount. It sped up. From the previous riders he saw on their mission he gathered how they moved. Moving beside Celedron the two mounts exchanged a grumbling greeting. Fal's sniffing Celedron's as it snapped back. He leaned over.

"You think they'll still be there? Your fellow Elves?" Celedron snapped from his focus.

"I do not know for certain. The hostility of this region would limit the time we spent here. We had supplies for remaining about a week plus the travel back. Lets say they held down. By my count it's been close to a week. About five, maybe six days. I would think we may catch them on the end of their stay. At least I hope. It could take weeks to reach the nearest Imperial settlement. That's assuming we don't die of thirst along the way." He shrugged. Fal rolled his eyes and looked about the jungle.

"Aren't you the optimist." He looked back to the shallow Elf. "Do you have any idea what you plan when you return?" Celedron shook his head.

"Outside of detailing down my findings with a scribe, and beginning my studies on this artifact. Nothing comes to mind." He couldn't help but smile. "Could be worth taking a few months to rest. Maybe a little clerical work could be effective." He gazed over to Fal who too seemed fading off to thought. "You? Where do you plan on going?"

"I've been thinking of that. The Empire will be too risky with well." He nudges his head towards Anglermaw and Mokte. "Them. I'm weighing my options. I have had a thought though. I figured I haven't been to Kislev for some time. May be the ideal place to hide out for a bit." He brushed back a streak of hair. "Or I just throw it all aside and join a convoy over East. The Dragon Empire can be quite hospitible to traders."

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