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Forums » Fantasy Roleplay » (CLOSED) Warhammer Fantasy: Doom Awaits (PART TWO)

Pellets of rudimentary bolts and screws sprang from the dome atrium that surrounded the core like a burgeoning stomach that could no longer contain the breach of fat. The spiteful wails from within the depths of the Ark made the crumbing chamber shudder, the gnarled furniture and gritted balconies danced in rhythm to a rattling percussion. From the newly exposed breaches emerged molten glowing slime that trickled it's way down toward the surface like a bloody ichor; flaming wounds upon the surface of the Ark. It was the gutteral wails from beneath that seemed to make the analogy so profound. The tempo only increased as the snotty substance melted the grit, soon lathering across the connected wires. An assortment of popping sounds spat from the core, accompanied by clear sparks and a veil of acrid smoke. Paltry when compared to the speeding whir that threatened to reach an explosive threshold.

Skreptch was far too heavy for the Sea-Rat - the Warlock's exoskeleton gave him the edge of being the sturdier of the two. Anglermaw went down against the metal surface with a visible rattle, and he half thought he'd been plunged through the light platform and toward the spitting wires. He still held the translucent nugget within his claw, desperately bashing it against the cyborg's metal frame while his other limbs were held down. Quickly he realised just how feeble his strikes were in the lack of space, and he held the nugget out as a shield from Skreptch's snapping jaws. Coils of warp-lightning wreathed over the grit, slowly buckling under the pressure.
"Hans!" Anglermaw shouted over, creacking his beak toward the gormless Student with second long glances. "What are you waiting for!" The Sea-Rat called out desperately, but he heard no approaching footsteps. Hans was once again locked in a trance. A heavy clang bolted the floor. To Anglermaw's horror, Hans had cast the nugget down, the Student's attention shifted to the sparking core. A large, singular strobe weaved from bright cords spun over his fingertips. He pushed the ball of energy toward the core, and as it connected, the warpstone mound shattered with a screech that could only be described as definitive, mortal agony.

Meanwhile, Zeigfied still battled with Falderan and Mokte over the mezzanine, the incessant rattling had become violent enough as to ping the staircase bolts from their mark. The way below had collapsed, the drop below was at eight feet and none of the three could simply flee now. Falderan's strike was countered by circular parry, that had caught both his and Mokte's flourish. The defence was almost too telegraphed, as if Zeigfied had forseen the attack. Their blades wreathed their respective auras of magic as the three were caught in a deadlock like a canvas of amethyst, orange and blood. Mokte had never before faced a Man-spawn that could rival the skill and mettle of his Saurus brethren, and he could see from the sapphire in the Chosen's malevolent eyes that he was unnatural, bereft of his mortality. He pressed down hard with his cleaver against the foul claymore that parodied his being, but his only reward was a glower from Zeigfied's spite-filled eyes.
"I wear my shortcomings as a mantle, I improve upon 'til they are no more." Hissed Zeigfied in response to Falderan's taunt. "That is why I am superior to my brethren, and it's why you are wrong." A hideous smile crept over his face once more. "This is the last time we face." Then the Chosen broke of his attack completely.

It half seemed that Zeigfied had anticipated the shrapnel of crystals hurled across the core, the white hot scream of pain that heated the ethereal nerves of this dreadnaught. A whipser in the Dark Tongue had been murmuring half-silent in his subconscious. He'd half flung himself across Falderan and Mokte with open arms to thank them were they not his enemies. Mokte was stunned, he reared his auric helm in the direction of blinding light, toward the crumbling core. His entire being was suddenly overwhelmed with conflicting thoughts of elation and horror, the Arks core had been shattered, and before Mokte could digest the revelation, he felt a crushing blow to his chest. Zeigfied booted him off of the balcony, and the railing buckled under the Saurus' golem like girth. He fell to the ground floor, away from the fight.

Zeigfied then turned his head back to Falderan with a conqueror's gaze, as though he'd already tasted victory. "What you saw in the jungle was a form that was neutured from winds. But here, the wards of Chaos are brought to their peak. Under my master's gaze, I am unstoppable." The Chosen protruded his open palm, manifesting with arcane hellfire that was meant to spew toward the Man-Elf like Dragon's breath.

--

Supa-kheti looked down from the Platform, elated to see that there were survivors among the Lizardmen. From the smouldering wreckage, he could tell that the Skaven presence had been quelled like a castrated pest. There would be no trouble from the Rat-spawn that terrorised Tzlipectl. Their settlements burned to rubble, their corpses decorated the hard dirt in a myriad of wretched dyes. The looming Cathedral belched flaming smoke as the surviving Skaven were indecisive of new leadership, murdering eachother for a chance to be called Lord of this forsaken Pit. And finally, the Ark that would've laid waste to the City of Nahwa was gone, but that was not a good omen. The Shaman spotted few corpses among his brethren, but the vanguard was a fraction of what it had been before the journey. Supa-kheti's heart palpitated in trepidation.

"I bring bad news, revered Qua-Zital." Supa-kheti said with a dry gulp. "The Geomantic link has been shut off, and Nahwa-mundi can no longer sense the progress of our guest adventurers. It is up to us to end this, the presense of Chaos has grown too sour for our Lord to interfere." There was doom that radiated from the tone of the Shaman. He knew that this would be the penultimate sacrifice. "I will fly those who are willing to smash the Ark." The vowel came off bitter from his lizardine tongue, like a foul tasting vegetable. His beast of flight beat it's wings in readiness, as though it's primal mind had read those last words like a sapient being. The creature was an alpha ripperdactyl, trawled from the Lustrian skies under the arcane webbings of Nahwa's consciousness. Now that had been passed to Supa-kheti himself. Despite it's domestic livery, he could feel the animal soul thumping at his mind, raving for control over it's body. He dreaded to think would happen to him were that link to be suddenly broken.

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Falderan (played by Dreath)

Fal clashed blades with Zeigfied as the mighty warrior soon threw aside Mokte and left him on his back. Before another strike could be taken Fal blocked the strike and parried back. The Champion's teasing was rather cruel as it spat Fal's insult back to him. From the side of the battle a crystalline crack rang out as the core was shattered. Fal had his attention taken to the explosion as screams of magical energy flew out. His blade received wisps of energy that hissed on it like rain on hot forge iron. Luckily for him Zeigfied was basking in the glory of magical chaos around them. Waves of pure energy seemed to give him an almost euphoric high. As he raises his fingers with crackling power flames begin to sizzle and aim at Falderan.

Skreptch snapped his livid jaws at Anglermaw. Snarling and trying to claw out the rodents eyes. Filled with a viscous bloodlust only death could tame. Celedron took up his sword as a sudden explosion and shattering ran out. He turned to see the shattering core and felt the wild energies flying. Skreptch screamed as his goal was destroyed. He pulled back his right fist and from his wrist a thin blade came out the top. With a near wave of power and magic filling the chamber he feels a deep thrumming in his head. Blood begins trickling from his ears and nose as his senses are overwhelmed. Dropping his blade and holding his head he looks to Skreptch who seems somewhat more feral. His fur standing up and muscles throbbing. It was like the rat was mutating. The generator on his back sizzled and whirred with more power. The blade struck the side of Anglermaw's cheek drawing blood as he pulled back to finish the job. Celedron could sense a tingle in the winds of Aqysh. Turning he saw Zeigfied prepare a spell to strike Falderan.

Zeigfied extended his hands as the winds of Aqysh surged around him. Fal sensed the heat and tension in the air. Sizzling embers formed around the Champion and his sapphire eyes contrasted with the orange glow of flame. Flames that sizzled and turned an unholy purple. His dreadlocks flickered about in the sizzling air and with a laugh he shot out a stream of fire. Time seemed to slow for Celedron. As the sorcerers flames shot out like a serpentine Daemon of fire he could see the concern in Fal's eyes. His body began to react. The crackling energies of the broken core left his skin feeling like it was covered in burning oil. His senses were shaken and vision tainted red. But he acted.

Forging the winds of magic he focused on the flames. As if mentally grabbing it he twisted his arms and the stream of fire swung to the side. Zeigfied and Fal looked in surprise as the flames were redirected. Celedron felt his very soul scream as in his mind he saw foul images. Strangely sensual looking beings with flowery pink skin and numerous phallic parts exposed. Some possessing slender tentacles and others large crab like claws. They danced like the most elegant dancers but when one turned to face his direction he could tell it saw him. It's pitch black eyes were voids of hatred and consumption. From pointed fangs a long tongue that seemed impossible to keep in it's mouth emerged. Lashed around and slowly moved towards him. As he got close he could feel it's hot breath on him as the tongue ran over his left shoulder and up his neck and cheek sensually. He held back the urge to scream as he felt his very essence being defiled. Still he didn't ease up on his spell to assist Fal. The Elf he at first wished to simply kill. Strange how battle can make comrades of the most unlikely of individuals.

Even as the internal war on another plane was fought by Celedron he acted. Redirecting the arcane flames and sending them flying towards Skreptch. This all occurring in barely a couple moments to everyone else. Skreptch was lost in a blood rage and ready to kill Anglermaw. Another second and he probably would have. Skreptch looked up like a feral dog. Snarling and ready to stab. But once he saw the flames heading for him his eyes widened like a scared pup. The ferocity was taken over by pure fear. He was gonna die. He barely had a moment to respond as the flames smashed into him and like a bullet flew past and sent his screaming form into one of the generators. He screamed in agony. His expression one of pure pain. His eyes widened and whole body was lost in a silhouette of soul eating flames. Whatever fire this was it wasn't regular flames from this world. With his body held against the metal generator his back sparked and sizzled. The metal bent and melted until a resounding boom went out as Skreptch was lit up by the melting generator. An amazing explosion of sparks entered the rats body and his juicier organs burst. His flesh melted away and armour burnt to a melted mass. As the flames stopped his melted and burnt skeletal form fell to the ground. The hand with the blade raised and weakly reached towards Anglermaw. Eager to kill his foe. But went limp a moment later. a bubbling ooze of black forming in the corpses sizzling mouth.

As the flames burnt Skreptch to death Celedron felt his body give in. The demonic touch started to feel physical as he snapped back to the material plane once his spell was over. He touched his shoulder where the Daemon touched as he fell to his knees. Mouth frothing with bubbling saliva and his eyes bloodshot. Hearing a sinister cackle he looked to his shoulder and saw the results of his spell. Tearing out from where his shoulder blade was, was a fleshy tentacle about thirty centimetres long made of bone and tendon. His veins were black around it and he tried to scream but couldn't as his lungs were so weak and head a mess of pain, pleasure and hatred for himself. In his mind he heard the Daemon laugh and the magic around them crackled more. The ruined reactor started a chain reaction as the other reactors of warpstone began to burst and eject their power even more violently. Falderan looked over to see Celedron on the ground with his mutation. Lost in shock that he was saved and somehow Celedron paid a fierce price. Fal knew this through some innate sense. Tears hit his eyes from emotions and the sizzle of heat and magic in the air. He raised his blade ready to end this. This madness needed to end.

Qua-zital took the words with a somber look despite his reptilian features usually blocking emotion. He stared out to the faint flicker in the distance. The sparking remains of the Ark as it left the dark Undercity and made its way to the surface to threaten all life. When the elderly shaman told his plan the leader of the Knights looked to him with shame.
"I am all that remains. I know not the fate of Chi-noee or his retinue. As such I fear I am all that remains." He looks to the flickering Ark. Arcane sorcery sparking across it like a firefly of malice. He looked to the Ripperdactyl and shivered. "If you permit me. I shall join you as the last of the Knights." He stroked the side of his Cold Ones muzzle. The fierce predator gave off a tentative growl as it cautiously watched the Ripperdactyl.
A second of confusion dawned over Zeigfied, the expression of his curled lips blatant as he observed the stream of hellfire swirl opposite of Falderan, swaying through the cursed air like an infernal shoal that descended of it's own accord. He reeled his armoured palm away to douse the flames, curious to see if the Man-Elf's strange weapon had somehow parried the cast. To his surprise, Falderan appeared as dumbstruck as he, and they seemed to exchange a glance of enmity before yet another shriek of agony thundered across the room. Yet this voice was far less ethereal than the howls that rang through the bowels of the Ark. Zeigfied recognised the caress of two seperate winds stroke the goosepumps across his skin; a static zap nicked at his lip like an invisible pinprick. He did not even need to look down to recognise how his handiwork had been hijacked. A second sight to the realm of Chaos was unveiled to Zeigfied like the discordant layout of a lucid dream. In the split second that he'd exchanged glances with the Man-Elf, apparitions of rubbery, ruined flesh swam through the invisible aether like faceless tadpoles. They encircled the mezzanine like pirhanas of the void, ghastly raptures and giggles vibrating through their sealed mouths. And as they descended in the breach of the core; to gestate and obtain form upon the physical plane, Zeigfied knew just how hopeless the cause of his enemies were.

The Champion swerved in a defensive stance, his sword horizontally pointed toward Falderan as he exited the dreamsight of his master. The hull of gromril surrounding the core was beginning to rust on a level that was inconcievable for the powerful metal, until the decaying sheen became awash with the texture of stretched, bright flesh that wriggled under the shocking stimulation of the Ark.
"You don't see it do you." Began Zeigfied, his tone oddly sincere, his swordarm relaxed, the blade kneading the buckling grit beneath them both. "Take a look around you; observe how the touch of the Pantheon corrupts like natural entrophy. Know that what you see is a minute taste of the world yet to come."
Zeigfied could feel the emotions of his enemies course through his soul like a torrent. A delectable mixture of negative primal anguish from a plethora of races, while he was controlled. He was incapable of such animalist whims; he was immortal!
"Drop on your blade now, Elf." Zeigfied demanded, raising the gurgling weapon in Falderan's direction with an almost apologetic stare. "Perhaps you'd do yourself benefit of avoiding the Hell yet to come..."

Mokte had risen from the ground on the eve of Skreptch's demise, the scream that announced the Skaven's departure from this world stirring him in kind. A ball of sizzling pain enveloped the middle of his spine; his fall had not been a pleasant one, landing atop a pile of shattered warpstone like a mast of gnarled spikes that dug into his scales. He clutched his wreathing cleaver tightly across his left arm, grinding the billowing blade across the buckling latticework below. He stalked toward the burning wicker of fur and metal, holed within a breach with molten, yellow veins that pronged like a bright star in the night. Mokte took a scent of the crackling fur like an incense - it was like turpentine; sweet but deadly in large amounts. He gave a parting gesture with a gobule of spit at Skreptch's corpse, flustered almost that he was not the one to kill the keeper of the Ark. The race against time now felt oddly arbitrary, even as he meandered from one corner of the core to the other, Mokte felt no sense of urgency; the flow of time ceased to exist.

Mokte's attention reared in the direction of Hans, who stood blankly, unconsciously, like a derelict ship in clear sky. He lurched curiously to the Student, whose gaze remained dangerously close to the spewing mouth of the core, emptying it's luminescent essense over the melting surface. Anglermaw remained prone, oblivious to the world as he stroked a wound upon his face that stained his black fur with a scarlet hue. Mokte did not gesture to Hans, inclined that he would receive no response. He dragged the Student away from the stream of sanguinary fluid that pooled over the floor like molten pus. The expression upon Hans' face sent a shiver down Mokte's tailed spine. The Student's eyes were rolled backward into his mind like bloodshot pearls, his mouth shaped in a disturbing grin, soundless incantations pouring over his tongue. Hans' head still faced suicidally toward the breached core. Mokte shook his head hopelessly, unable to divine what was so paramount.

Then he ambled in the direction of Celedron, and like a dulled mind brought to a powerful high, Mokte finally comprehended the danger they were in. The nerves across his body zapped like a newfound rush of energy, the pain surrounding his back became non-existant, and the concept of urgency became foremost. Mokte looked upon the swaying tumours with horror. He pulled Hans away from the core, lightly tossing him back to the ground like a ragdoll before gripping the haft of his cleaver with rekindled vigour.
He watched as Celedron writhed; as the walls around him changed their texture like a fast spreading cancer, former etchings and abrasions upon the metal surface quickly became toothed orifices and bruised rashes. The machinary wail became slurred and real, a joining accapella from the newly made maws. Human eyes watched from the ceiling like a legion of spies. Mokte could feel the presence of the enemy all around him, brandishing his flaming blade nervously, but not fearfully, Under his auric helm, he brandished his dagger-like teeth an enemy he could not see.

"Mokte!" A shrill voice pierced the Saurus' eardrums amidst the disturbing cacophany, he reared his head to the direction of a struggling Anglermaw, who pointed his furless claw in the direction of a moving lump journeying downward. "What the Hell is that?!"

A rumble passed through the fleshy chamber, like the gurgling of a stomach. With a heavy swell, the moving lump swam down to the core. A large figure had been birthed from one of the toothed orifices, tearing away at the amniotic web with two pairs of crustacean-like claws. In seconds, the hairless centaur rose, towering atleast a head and a half above the Saurus, it's height manipulated by a pair of chattering jaws upon the monster's chest that made it's torso bob up and down. It's flesh was sinuous, laden with exposed, pulsating vessels as though the creature had been born on the inside out. A mosquito's tongue reeled uncoiled down a pair of flaccid lips; two huge eyes observed Mokte with killer instinct, bloodshot sclera twitching to register the prey offered. The Saurus knew full what this creature was: A demon, laid bare.

He wasted no time, charging headlong with a downward slash that was parried under the crablike pincers.

--

Supa-kheti digested Qua-zital's words, and he felt his heart sink ever further. The sacrifice the warriors of Tzlipectl had paid to stop the Ark was quickly becoming a disturbing notion. He observed his totalled surroundings yet again, accompanied a deep breath. A wave of grief enveloped his meek form, he thought of Mokte, and what horror he had been bound to witness in that dreadnaught. He uttered a silent prayer for his friend's good health. "Then we cannot afford to let their deaths be for nothing, lest Tzlipectl itself joins them in Nahwa's vision." Snapped Supa-kheti, reeling over the railing of his platform toward Qua-zital and his steed. "I dread to think then that we are that last hope of the city. Take a place upon my steed and we shall fly to stop this evil."
Falderan (played by Dreath)

Though Fal couldn't begin to comprehend the true level of madness unveiling around him. The entire room began to change. Flicker and form like a scene from a dream. Not quiet real but ungodly disturbing. Twisting faces and figures began to appear in the shadows around him and morph from the warpstone tainted metal. The large reactors that sparked energy seemed to throb and the sounds of a heartbeat emerged around them. The room began to feel sickeningly warm and moist. An every growing feeling of dread washed over the hybrid as he felt something like warm breath over his skin, even parts covered by clothing. The chamber was changing. Mutating into a twisting mockery of life or more so the belly of a great beast. The area felt like something's interior. Warm and moist with tumorous growths forming all over and eyes opening across the walls. Mouths with various teeth. Some needle like, some beaks and even some with sickeningly humanoid mouths.

Seeing Zeigfied's twisted glee and acclimation of victory let Fal begin to put it together. The growth that burst from Celedron's arm, the pulsating form in the now shattered core and the mutating chamber. It was just like tales of hellish nightmares he heard from his youth. Hearing whispers of the madness of Chaos. Before the true horror could be thought of by him the answer was thrust in front of him. From the core like a fleshy sack of afterbirth came a twisted Centaur looking monstrosity. Looking like a malformed Beastman Fal felt a singe of fear over his body. Daemons. Chaos was truly powerful here and he had to take on Daemons. He recalled the demonic hybrids he fought earlier in the Jungle but this was something else. A hellish mix of impure flesh and chaotic power giving form. Was this thing made of flesh? Maybe as the Ark mutated it took in Skaven around and used their flesh to form such a hellish form. As the beast rose up and Fal saw Mokte move in to engage it he focused back on Zeigfied. He mumbled a soft 'Sigmar protect me' under his breath and looked to his foe with determination.
"So this hell is what you want? This is your victory?" Fal stares at the Champion and changes stance. "If this a taste of what's to come I plan on not letting you live to see it. Besides. I have my own goals in mind before the End Times approach." Fal hears the roaring of war from his blade. Sensing the contained spirits eager desire to feed and shatter the blade of it's foe. "Now then, channel your pathetic excuses for gods and face the first real challenge of your miserable life." The two stood ready to clash.

Celedron bit through the pain and used what strength he had to keep himself up. He looked to his arm and saw the Chaos born tendril. He felt it move with a will of it's own and gently caress his skin. His veins felt thick as if full of ichor and his left hand began to lose feeling. Growing purple and feeling infected. Pain ran through his body as the magical assault around him hit him had. He could feel the world around him changing. Going from physical matter to daemonic corruption. The chamber turned to flesh and as the roar of Mokte went up he rose his head to see the abomination and Saurus clash. Feeling a deep pain run through his body he honestly desired death. Hoping to have his life ended for a moment and the pain to end. A voice behind his mind whispered for him to end it himself. Grab the nearest shard of metal or warpstone and end his life. As Celedron reached weakly for a shard of sizzling warpstone he stopped.
"Out of. My. Head." He says clenching his eyes. He managed to figure it out. These desires weren't his own. They were the force in the winds. A daemonic power trying to push him to ending his own existence. To throw his soul to the Dark Prince.

As the tendril squirmed and felt it's 'hosts' resilience it wrapped around his neck. A tendril not of his own control but rather another entity parasitically trying to use him as a conduit. In pain and weakened he collapsed. The tendril was weirdly powerful. Using the Elves own blood to course through itself. Fal could feel it's touch as it strangled him. Like a numb feeling when the tentacle touched. He had both sensations of being choked and choking someone. As he grasped at it he tried fighting it off to little avail. He felt his airway close as it was held but with his now free hand he grabbed the shard of warpstone. It felt hot like metal fresh from a forge. His hand was burnt by the heat but he moved on a sheer will to survive. Stabbing the shard into the middle length of the tentacle he felt a coursing pain through his body. Thick blood that was red mixed with a black tar like substance poured out. In the back of his mind he heard a inhuman scream.

"You won't. Take me!" He cries as it's grip weakens on his throat. Pulling the shard out he stabs it in again and and the tentacle pulls back. Rolling over to pin it Celedron hacks at the middle part between his own screams and that of the Daemon hacks the top part off. The tentacle flops to the ground and goes limp. Covered in the red and black ichor he fell back. His boy wracked with pain. Dropping the shard of warpstone his hand was blistered. As his vision blurred he looked over to his handiwork and had a moment of pride that he fought back the other presence. But a pain shot through his arm as he felt the tentacle begin to twitch. Consuming muscle from his now dead arm it began to regenerate. Celedron began to cry out as he felt it react. His blurry vision moving over to his sword several feet away.

Qua-zital calmed his panicked Cold One and dismounted. Whispering something in an odd tongue he raised his hand as the creature began to run off. With swift speed it made it's way out and began moving the way it came. Into the tunnels above to leave. The Skink Rider took the hand of the elderly Shaman and mounted his beast. It twisted its hide as the Skink mounted before flinging itself into the air and making it's way to the Ark for the final attempt to stop devastation.
Anglermaw could hear the curdling moans vibrate upon the fine hairs of his ears. An inhuman choir ululating incomprehensible hymms without a second of break, no gasp for air, just a variety of aggreived thresholds of suffering, not unlike sounds that echoed from the 'engineering laboratories' within the ashen stalagmites of Hell Pit. An aspect of him struggled to comprehend the onslaught of emotion; he pondered as he rose, that he was in truth dead, and Skreptch had struck where he lay upon the grit. The distortion of sounds that were twisted in an amalgamation of ecstacy and agony, the transmutation of hard gromril blistered into loosened tapestries of battered flesh seemed to bolster this idea. He pinched the dribbling wound by his face to confirm his notion. A white hot throb engulfed his face like the glowing end of a branding iron.
Anglermaw chuckled amid a short yelp of pain. How fortunate had he been to make it this far, envisioning his fate like an ouroboros that surrounded the journey of the Ark, no beginning, no end. It seemed no matter the danger, so long as the Ark stood, so would he. Like an actor upon a stage, he could not take the parting bow until his role been played out, not even Stromfels could relieve him of that. Not even Skreptch or Zeigfied.

It humoured him. If Anglermaw were the pilot of the ouroboros that turned, it would be he that would ironically destroy the Ark. He lifted himself upon the grit, then he clenched his fists until his retracted claws bit into his flesh, still unconvinced that he was still alive. The anger that drove him upon the shores of Sartosa was gone, what Anglermaw could not now believe, his previous attitude would refuse to. Like a forlorn ghost observing a lost battle, he watched Mokte battle with the Demon. Zealous intuition fought against warped instinct that attacked on the basis of instilling dread.
This the Demon would struggle with, for Mokte was Saurus; he did not feel terror.
Mokte tore through the centaur's carapace, golden billows of flame melting through the shell of blood-stained bone until the cleaver reached the floor with a bang. The clang was however superceded by a gurgling whine from the Demon in the likeness of a mortally wounded animal. It had been vertically halved save for it's hind, yet still it struggled against the cauterising flames as though it's seperated mind was governed by different entities. Four serrated pincers massaged at the exposed innards, a parody of viscera laden with staring, contemptuous eyes and purple, fatty lips that spat in protest of the Saurus.
But before Mokte could feel any sense of achievement, the scream of pain stopped, now replaced by a spasm of distorted, lusty gasps while fleshy needlethreads knitted the creature whole again. Perhaps it had escaped Mokte, who brandished his cleaver in defiance and attacked to repeat his successful stroke, that the powers of Chaos were far too rich in this small environment. Perhaps he could not see that every injury he made upon his foe would be anulled by the raw arcane power that brought the creature into being, before eventually becoming a morsel for the Demon.

Sigmar-Rat only knew what sort of Hell awaited for them after that, mused Anglermaw. He had a plan, one that his old spiteful self would never had stomached. Not even in the council of Nahwa had he brought it up, not there being a slither of chance that he may pilot the dreadnaught again. Perhaps Nahwa had known all about it, concealed as a last resort incase the entire plan went wrong, which it had! He gave his neck a twist in contemplation, feeling oddly comfortable amongst the excesses of Human misery. Only now could he comprehend that the Ark was doomed. There was one thing that could stop this: The Fail-safe. Urechin's last hurrah commisioned after his death. A component that would forcfully eject Urechin's soul through a pre-recorded Queekish hymm. It would remove the Ark of it's own power source, rendering it nothing more than a still hulk of metal.
Anglermaw half-wondered why Nahwa had avoided this when he possessed the Ark, then the obvious consequence came to mind.
The Fail-safe did not exorcise Urechen, it freed him from the shackles.

A gulp of cold spit revertebrated in Anglermaw's throat. He reminded himself as he meandered upon the rusting grit that the Ark was gone. He lurched over to the main console, marred by incandescent white goo belching from the exposed core. Marred by a hairline scratch was the glassy casing of a big red button. Upon the side of the button was an annotation etched in Queekish, much of it now melted away by the silver goo that solidified over the interface. Anglermaw still remembered what it read, if only on pain of old nightmares:
'WARP-CORE EJECTION!'
'CAUTION-WARNING! NULLIFICATION OF ARK WILL OCCUR!'

Once upon a time, The Sea-Rat would've retched his stomach at the thought even lifting the case; the button staying only to spitefully keep mutineers at bay. But how times had changed, how different his life had turned out. Never would he have imagined that this was how it ended. He pressed the button down on impulse. A few seconds later, the surrounding moans were accompanied by a different tone, exasperated by an eerie prayer that sounded like a voice that had been smoothed over with sandpaper. Anglermaw had no idea how Clan Skryre had managed to replicate a Skaven prayer with technology, but it was barely intelligible. From what he could make out, the rodent voice was inciting the Horned One from the sea in the shape of a great shark, like an appeasement to two polarising Gods.

Zeigfied grunted, cracking his neck with an expression of concentration, far removed of his usual arrogance. "This is not victory I'd ever wish, Man-Elf." Said Zeigfied in exhasperation. "But it's the fate that your folk deserve. You are the Cat's paw of weaklings and deviants far removed from the death that lurks in the wastes. They are thankless, greedy and are an indoctrinated commune of cowards who are the antithesis of the Order they claim to serve. Man, Elf, Dwarf! Even the haughty Lizards of the jungle squabble amongst themselves, ignorant of the future!" The Champion yelled, frustration mounting upon his face, and clutched his claymore as though ready for Falderan's next attack.
"What do you think will become of you if you survive? That you would be heralded as a Champion of good?! You are no better than the conniving Rat below, because neither of you will be able to shed the skin of what you both are, renegades. The dogma of order will supercede your valour, which is why I myself am too forgone. I give myself to Chaos because I know who will claim victory on the day of judgement."

The claymore spun toward Falderan. With no more words to say, it was time to put the Man-Elf out of his misery. There was no turning back now.
Falderan (played by Dreath)

The Queekish prayer began to echo out of the metal horns laced with fine wires and strange metal devices now slowly being covered in a fleshy membrane. Almost resembling ears. The words were a muffled mess like someone speaking from having their head in water. The poorly orchestrated Queekish language only added to any confusion those not fluent in it would hear. Though Fal cared not. By the time it erupted he and Zeigfied clashed blades. A sudden echoing boom rang out as two Shyish infused blades clashed. Their souls clashing as fierce as their wielders. Bang, bang, bang. The sounds of metal rang out. A cacophony of noise reverberating in the room. The fierce cries of Mokte fighting his beast, the cries of pain from Celedron as he reached for his blade, the skittering whispers of Anglermaw as he enacted whatever plan he had in mind. As the two parried and broke away from each other Fal snickered.

"You think I want glory or to be a hero from this? Are you really that vain that you assume everyone is a glory hog like you? I don't care if I'm forgotten by next week. What I do is for me and my own accomplishment. Besides." He flourished his blade in a manner like a master swordsman would to tease a student. A small twirl towards the ground and gentle raise. "I'm not as much of a coward as you to run crying to Dark Forces because I'm scared." He rose his blade and his expression changed. "Face it Zeigfied. You're simply a cowardly sheep. Little more than a foolish child trying to appease daddy." Something else came over Fal. Maybe it was knowing this was the end and knowing he would likely die in a painful manner. But he felt free. Free to deliver a verbal beat down on his foe with confidence even the Emperor could admire. But either confidence or mind numbing fear Fal would fight. He had seen enough egos be broken to be not bad at reading his foes. Maybe he was way off with what he said. But if nothing else it felt good to torment the Champion. Why have fear when it would only boost his foes confidence?

But little did any of them know a new attacker was approaching. Someone else to join the fight. With club in hand Chi-noee entered the Chaos laden room. Sickened to his core he went to go for Zeigfied, to avenge his fallen brethren by killing a tainted Champion of the Dark Gods. But then he saw something equally sickening. The agonized form of Celedron reaching pathetically for his blade. The painful tentacle eating away at his arm to regrow and the black veins moving further up and down his arm. Soon to reach the shoulder. He notes the Elves fate and shakes his head with some soft clicks. Possibly a prayer to the Old Ones to protect the Elf. Then he noticed the one he feared for most. Mokte. Seeing the Saurus fighting the Daemon he had to choose. With a clicking snarl he leapt for the back of the Daemon. On it's back he clubs the pointed part of his weapon at the beasts eyes. Trying to blind it and distract it for Mokte to make his move.
"Noi! Natar!" He cries when atop the monster.

Celedron coughs up thick blood as the tentacle moves some more. The blackened growth in his veins moving up his arm till they were merely two inches off his shoulder. As Anglermaw engaged the device he cried as best his good.
"Angle." He manages to get out. "Please." He manages to wince. "Help me." He indicates the sword with his good arm and then nudges his head to his arm. His words failed him but the meaning from his eyes was clear. He wanted the corrupted limb removed. He mumbled something under his breath. The blade started to sizzle with heat. A simple spell to infuse the blade with a great heat. Hoping to cauterize the wound. The corrupted winds around him seemed to laugh but the Loremaster's willpower was stronger. He pushed back to taint that tried to enter him as he cast. He felt his arm was dead by now. The bone eaten away at and broken around the shoulder. Now the limb was similar to that with a severe illness. Rotten and festering, needing to be removed if the host had any hope of survival.
A petulant, mocking frown curled across Zeigfied's lips at Falderan's verbal assault. He endured the taunts in the manner he would allow the last valediction of a conquered enemy. To him that's all they were; the last desperate flails of bravado from a foe unaware of his own death throes.
"Such pent up spite you carry, Man-Elf," Said Zeigfied, his silhouette half camouflaged under the kaleidoscopic display of eldritch colours circulating across their blades. "Juicy seconds for the Demons as they peck upon your soul."
Beneath them both, the grit was beginning to take new shape, from the rowed latticework of metal shifting into arteriel tendrils, pulsating beneath the feet of both figures like the bobbing valves of a steady heart. The archway that had led from the Captain's quarters now jutted with calcified spikes that hung from the ceiling like fangs, it's moulding staircase subsuming into a steep slide in the likeness of a quivering tongue. Each passing moment spelled further mutation, like an aggressive cancer that multiplied with killer intent until it's tumours were at least laid bare.
Eventually, the outer hull of the Ark would be awash with rashes until the vessel was unrecognisable as it passed into the void.

The Champion had enough of toying with the morsel of his master. The fight had tested his nerves and gauged his already quicksilver reflexes, even if the matter of the vanquished was already a forgone conclusion. Zeigfied would be a liar to say that Falderan had not tested him. That would be arrogance.
Arrogance was what costed him his life at the Ziggurat, and he knew he lived only because his master pitied him, in the same manner a cruel toddler remorsefully pities a defenceless animal it had abused.
That bitter memory was enough to awaken a drive to destroy that had remained latent inside the Champion. In Falderan, he saw his weakness given form and personality. He needed to be removed.
Zeigfied broke off his attack, his lips silently articulating a forbidden prayer in the Dark Tongue. Within seconds of recanting the rehearsed vowels, his blade came alive with an infernal sheen of billowing purple fire, coalescing with the Shyish borne glow that resonated across his claymore. His living hilt protested against the torment, it's gargles pitiable as the gaunt scales across it's faces became enshrouded by hellfire.
Zeigfied was uninterested in it's cries for mercy. He held the screaming claymore upward, ready to hurl the glittering torch at his enemy. As he swung the blade at Falderan, he cockily had no doubt that this was it. The arcane woven heat was unimaginable, even for it's wielder.
Vampire blade notwithstanding, he imagined that Falderan had no chance.

Forty seconds had passed since the recorded prayer groaned from the coiled horns across the core's atrium, and Anglermaw already begun to imagine that this 'fail-safe' was a dud. Nothing more than a sly fabrication to keep the lesser Rats from getting ambitious. The material across the control panel was becoming infected like the rest of the ship. Flayed skin became woven over the plethora of sunken, toothed orifices that once held the button springs in place, their Queekish annotations weeping like infected wounds until the words faded into meaningless grazes. He took note of a strange pumping sound that began to resonate across the core like a heartbeat, and Anglermaw quickly realised that the pulse not his own. A blood-red mass of vines squirmed from the vestige of the exposed core like a germinating plant. The crimson tendrils lengthened with each thud like spindly limbs.
That's what they were. The Sea-Rat thought. Nothing but nasty, emaciated limbs that streched from the soul of the ship, and he knew that they weren't Urechen's either.
Anglermaw turned his head at the sound of his name. It was Celedron, the suffering in his voice carrying none of the regal tone his folk were known for.
He was calling for help, his arm little more than a pink mass of changed flesh. Anglermaw pinced the matted fur across his lips with an incisor, his heart knotted at the display, wondering if the same fate awaited the rest of them.

"I don't know if I can." Anglermaw muttered ruefully, passing over the weapon indicated by the Loremaster. He didn't say anything more than that, silently wondering what sort of plan the Elf had this time. Not even Nahwa was going to get them out of this one. He looked over toward Hans with a sense of pity. In the chaos that happened around him, Anglermaw wondered just the boy had come this far. He'd saved them with magic a few times, of course, but that wasn't truly Mister Brunwick was it. It was the Slann using Brunswick as a proxy.
Now Nahwa was gone, the evidence of that permeated all around him.
He lurched over to the Student. He was hopeful that the magic that had brought them this far wasn't squeezed out yet. Anglermaw was blind to the arcane. If he had any potential for spell-casting, he'd never had been a Claw-captain, that's for certain. Maybe a Grey Seer in training, or, more likely, dead.
Hans sat up from the gnarled mess of wood, bedecked in a leaf-pile of schematics. He was surveying the area aimlessly, as he did. But Anglermaw noticed something strange that was half concealed by the wreathing masses that slowly enveloped the core. The embedded eye upon Hans's forehead was blinking.
Anglermaw scampered over, wondering if the sight was simply an illusion of his panicked mind.
To Anglermaw's horror, the eye wasn't simply blinking. It had taken fleshy form upon his head, bulging with red capillaries and an iris of amethyst.
"Holy Sigmar-Rat." He whispered, wondering if the pain Celedron endured was not long for Hans.

No matter how many wounds Mokte inflicted upon the Demon, it would simply reform. Injuries that would have rendered even those among his kin a quivering mass of flesh were paltry in this insidious environment. With each battering, it drew upon a well of untapped energy that permeated across the atrium like noxious smoke from flame. Purple mist hung over the fight like plankton adrift upon the sea. The mist was succoured within exposed innards, weaving the carapace back into form, hardening the armoured shell of the Demon.
But Mokte refused to relent, each moment he remained unblemished by chaos was blessing, and he relished every moment of purity.
A high of surprise and elation swept across his scales as a chameleonic figure sprang across the creature's slobbering probiscis. It's whine of frustation was like flight of an angered wasp, buzzing while it's quivering pincers wrestled against the form of Chi-Noee.
Mokte felt his morale soar as though Lord Nahwa was gazing upon him at this moment. He was going to capitalise upon the interference. Before now, his killing blows were fierce slashes that lashed like grazes upon the Demon. This next strike would not be anything of the like.

The Crimson Saurus charged the Demon with an emotional roar, hurling his flaming cleaver in an upward plung toward the abomination's groin. The Demon jolted in shock as the blade chewed deeply at it's insides. Purifying arcane fire spewed uncontained within the organic machinaries that gave the creature life, rupturing from the inside as the flames desperately sought escape. Within seconds, the beast's parted hind was melting away, juevenile creatures took their own independent form, fleeing from the lost cause they had once fused to. More fled the dying husk, and it's broad form rapidly decreased. Mokte stayed his hand during the agonising display. He did not want to harm Chi-Noee, nor was he sure that his attack was simply another delay.

The sudden chime of a bell made sure that was not the case, the Demon crumbled into nothingness, the misty air above strangely impotent.

It pierced Anglermaw's mind like the subconscious nick of a blade. He turned away from the glaring third eye of Hans, rearing his beak to the origin of the sound.
An angelic being, wreathed in jade emerged from the organic core, it's incorpereal form little more than a blur to Anglermaw's keen eyes as it whizzed toward the ceiling, ironically exorcising the mutated collection of maws and eyes that colonised the core. A rising tower of eldrich matter zwoomed upward. An electricity bound pillar that fissured the ceiling of the core until the electromagnatic chimney was deatomised.
The Demonic taint retreated back into the chinks of the Ark, their egregious shapes relegated to nothing more than black nerve endings, and the melody of forbidden ecstacy had been muted.
But the angelic figure was gone, replaced by a clear view of the night sky.
Falderan (played by Dreath)

Celedron watched as Anglermaw turned to him. He saw the rats recognition of him and his plight but he turned. Looking back to the boy Hans. As he took a step past the heated blade and made his way to Hans as the boy looked elsewhere Celedron felt a growing spite within him.
"You bastard!" He cries between winces of pain. "Any other of you. Would jump to cut me. For the love of your vile god or whatever." His words were oddly more focused. As if the rage of being left helped him focus. He noticed the Rats strangely concerned eyes. Something unseen before in a Skaven. "You can't help him as you are." The tentacle starts to squirm with increased vigor. He grit his teeth. The tentacle began to crawl back to his neck. The lack growths spreading up his arm more.

Fal took his blade and swung it up. The magic encased blade of Zeigfied slammed into his own with a vile clang as two weapons of death radiated energy. The Champion's strength was on full display now. Clashing with Fal's and pushing him back. Fal felt muscles strain and his very bones creak as they locked weapons. As his foe pulled back Fal went for a slash. Deflected he noticed something that brought a look of terror to his eyes. A crack in his blade. Zeigfied took control with a grin. swinging his blade down and Fal narrowly blocked it. This time both saw dark metal shards chip off. The blade howled out, a sound noticeable by both. But before either could respond Zeigfied was moving. Slamming with a shoulder charge and swinging up Fal narrowly blocked the strike but was quickly blown back. The full weight sent him flying and once their blades connected again his own shattered.

Crashing into the ground Fal was dazed as he looked to the blade in his hands. It was broken off about mid way and the splintered metal remained dotted in front of him with the main upper part of the blade was flung to the side. It didn't seem real. The demonic mutations, unheard of technology and strange spells. That seemed real but for some reason this. Having his blade broken was something else. Something unheard of for him. He felt an almost kinship with the blade and now it was broken. Zeigfied said some words that Fal failed to hear as he approached. Ready to strike him down. As he did and Fal looked to his blade a bright flash came from the core. All within looked over to see a strange angelic being of green step out. Roughly humanoid in shape they looked up and power burst off them. Washing over the chamber like a wind. Like a storm blowing thick snow from a field the chaotic flesh seemed to let out a shriek as it was blown away. Fading to particles like dust before the figure faded as quickly as it appeared. The entire area had been cleansed of taint. Everyone remained frozen. Stunned by the ordeal.

Chi-noee crawled from the remains of the Daemon. Mokte's fierce strikes proving enough to vanquish the beast and like spiderlings the small forms fled the now dead 'mother' as they fled for safety. The Skink spat and stood from the mass of mutant flesh. He looked over to Mokte and to the fleeing spawn ready to pursue before the ethereal form appeared. The flash blew away the tainted body and destroyed the smaller spawnlings. In the bright flash the Skink had a look of pure confusion as he glanced around.

As the light washed over the panicked Celedron the Elf nearly fell unconscious. He looked to the figure and wondered what it was. His first thought was the guardian of Elves and mother of healing Isha. He let this feeling of hope wash over him as a wave of light erupted. The pain in his arm and the tentacle increased. The chaotic growth went stiff before cracking. Once fleshy meat now went hard and brittle like dried mud. The tentacle had a faint twitch and shattered. Crumbling apart and before Celedron could respond his whole arm seemed to dissolve. Fading into a painless dust and leaving him with a cauterized stump. Pain quickly resumed to his arm and he bit his lip to hold back a scream. Whatever happened, it vanquished the taint from his arm. Taking it. But leaving him alive.

Fal could see the unease from Zeigfied. This was expected to say the least. Though in the confusion something else caught his attention. His blade howled. The same howl he had heard for years now radiated out but this time everyone including Celedron looked over to it with surprise. Fal looked to Celedron and saw his arm now gone. He was surprised but a glow of warmth drew his attention to the blade shattered form. Purple tendrils came out of the shards. A mist of pink, purple and green tendrils crawled across the ground. Remnants of magic after the Chaos taint was purged. It all crawled to the blade as another cry was let out. A fierce roar that left Fal's ears bleeding. Yet he trusted it. As Zeigfied looked back to him confused and dazed as the chaotic taint wrapping him was brushed back he would be greeted by another threat. With his magical abilities at least weakened a new form seemed to crawl from the blades stump. Whipping it's head around like a serpent a skeletal form began to manifest. Fal held the blade in front of him. A fierce shriek that hit Zeigfied with a strange amount of force came out like a shockwave. From one side a large bat like clawed wing then a second out the other. The serpentine head began to take the form of a dragonic beast with a shortened bat like snout. The form was massive and screamed. It's body looked ribbed and boney like some strange hybrid. The spirit within the blade was unleashed.

Absorbing much of the residual magic in the air the form let loose a viscous cry at Zeigfied. The blade that 'freed' it was held in the Champion's hands and drew ire from the beast. With jaws wide it let out a war cry and charged forwards. Zooming out of the blade with a ghostly tail and large bat like wings it roared. Before the Champion could have a moment to come to terms with the change in the room the spirit collided with him. Ethereal jaws wrapped around his torso and went through his armour. Cold teeth cut into his flesh beneath as the spirit took him into the air. The overwhelming energies of Shyish that once bound it unleashed. Reacting with Zeigfied's own sword as the Champion was lifted. Flying up the form seemed to leave no desire for direction. Slamming Zeigfied into walls at great speed. Grinding him against one and grinding sparks as armour and metal rubbed. Slamming into a now dead generator and finally turning into the ground in the center of the room. Flying with great speed and a final shriek it impacted Zeigfied into the ground with great speed before the magic that formed it broke. Breaking the spirit faded like mist leaving the man handled form of Zeigfied on the ground. Fal was frozen with the blade raised. The energies and sounds within gone. The spirit faded and left this realm. His blade now truly dead. Holding the damaged end he stood and looked down to the Champion. Approaching with blade ready.
The corruption that had masked the core had abruptly evaporated, the rippling tapestries of flesh subsuming back into a sheen of corrugated gromril. Writhing veins filled with blood faded in complexion, the squelching valves of blood calcifying like rotten bone, reverting back to the rusted colour of the gritted floor. What had once comprised the carcicatures of snapping orifices and bloodshot eyes had slowly closed shut, and their torment ceased forever.
The coruscating heart of the Ark and the metal plinth upon which it had sat had vapourised out of existence. A small pile of flittering ash and a multitude of torn wires curled upon the floor like decapitated snakes were all that remained of the potent warpstone mound. A bedazzling kaleidoscope of twinkling beads swam through the velvet night, beatific starlight blurred in the motion of the Arks movement, long since abandoning the pit. Whatever the tall ghost was that had emerged from the destroyed core, it had torn through multiple layers of reinforced gromril as though it's dead engineers fashioned it's defences with thin paper. Dangling, sizzling scraps of metal hanging in the twilight betrayed the presence of whatever spewed out, and Anglermaw knew for certain that it was no angel that emerged.
Urechen had been freed at last from the Ark, and an emotional concoction of satisfaction and trepidation swam through the Sea-Rat's conscience. They'd escaped one shark, only to find the dorsal fin of an even larger beast looming in their direction. Zeigfied's cause for the Ark was lost - it wasn't simply inert anymore, now simply a swaying nugget of smashed gromril upon the still seas.

But Anglermaw doubted Grey Seer Urechen would take kindly to the news that his prize was now as useful as iron moulded scat, splattered and ready to disperse back into the earth.

Zeigfied was visibly startled by onslaught of brightness, and for a second it seemed like he'd entered a realm comprised only of jade inferno. The pillar of lightning enveloped his vision, and his eyes burned before the display. His face contorted into an expression of despair, the Chosen stretched his free arm toward the pillar like a sinner on the day of judgement, and his flurry against Falderan was cut to a sudden halt. If the weak God the Southerners called Ranald was real, then then he must have blessed Zeigfied's foes, for it seemed that misfortune loomed over him like a dark cloud. A sensation of lethargy swept across his form like imbibed poison, yet he had been dealt no wound in the fight. Neither foe had managed to nick the other; that would be certain death.
Falderan's blade was rife with vampiric energy that would melt Zeigfied's immortal flesh like tar.
All it took was one slight wound from Zeigfied's claymore to spill the soul of his rival into that gurgling maw upon his blade's hilt.

Then as clear sight flew back into his eyes, a petulant fury pounded his head as he savagely reared his fluttering dreadlocks from side to side. The walls had cleared, the influence exorcised, his master's presence gone entirely, taking the untapped well of energy he drew upon with it.
Zeigfied did not give Falderan the enjoyment of his visible frustation any longer. His sound, tactical mind gone like the last vestige of his sanity, he charged at Falderan as predictable as any northern madman from the wastes.
It was a manuever that he would've visciously mocked had it been from anyone but himself.
Falderan's Vampiric blade impaled directly through his armour, which liquified before the evil energy hidden deep inside it like concealed poison before connecting with his flesh. Agony flared across Zeigfied's entire nervous structure, his gaping face locked in a soundless scream of disbelief. It was only when the ethereal fetish of the Vampiric blade took form that a semblence of sound finally erupted from his mouth, gurgling like the mindless claymore in his free hand before the weapon dissipated into the ash surrounding the core, unable to contend with the domineering wind of Nagash like a desperate boar torn to pieces by a predator.

He did not wrestle with the monstrous fetish as it flung him across the room like a metal ragdoll, marring the single note of defiance curdling from his voice. Perhaps he had contented himself in his last moments that it was a lost cause, just like the capture of the Ark. Zeigfied did not beg his master's forgiveness as the apparition threw him onto the ground under a small cloud of resonating, bloody mist. His last thought before his skeletonization was to see Falderan in Hell, thoughts of sadism consuming his psyche as the red cloud rapt his flesh.
His senses quickly fluttered away one by one, until all that was left in his wake was a blackened pile of bones hidden within the fortress of chaos made armour, penetrated by the shattered remains of an unholy rapier.

Zeigfied the Kurgan was dead. Anglermaw - who had witnessed the ordeal - gave the boney frame a slight nudge of his claw for any signs of a trap
He wasn't coming back either.

"It's over then." Mokte said, his and Chi-Noee's lizardine frames casting a shadow over the decrepit remains. "Sunami, is the Ark finished?" He asked, as though certain all Skaven were as knowledgeble in warpcraft as the Skryre Engineers.
Anglermaw shrugged in the serenity of the twilight above, the bombardment of senses just moments ago seemed like a practical joke now. All they could hear were the patterings of a still ocean.
"Dunno." The Sea-Rat answered. "The Ark is gone, yeah. The warp-power generators been destroyed, this ship's nothing more than lump 'o metal now."

Anglermaw caressed the matted hairs of his chin, oblivious to the plights carried by Hans and Celedron as he brooded in thought. Luckily for the Loremaster, his writhing tentacle had disappeared with the rest of the cancer infecting the ship. That noted, the unblinking eye upon Hans's forehead had yet to melt away alongside, and he still continued to stare into the void, his lips articulating a prayer to some unknown God.

"We'd er, best get to surface, then." Muttered Anglermaw, putting the thought of Urechen to the furthest dead end the back of his mind would allow.
Falderan (played by Dreath)

In the aftermath of the ethereal Terroghiest's fierce assault on Zeigfied everyone watching was left shocked by the outcome. The Champion that caused them so much trouble, had such great power and even more to say silently faded. His flesh faded away as if burnt to ashes by unseeable flames and his darkened bones remained. Either scorched by Chaos or some unknown heat he was down. Fal looked over the corpse. The skeleton, apart from being blackened showed no signs of deformity or mutation. It looked like any number of the thousands of Beastmen or Greenskin victims he had seen in his time. Corpses burnt to charred bones after having flesh ripped off by the foulest beast. Almost made Fal pity him. Almost. Fal gave the body a poke with the shattered end of his blade. There was no response as he saw Anglermaw do the same. Fal knelt down to it.
"Enjoy your reward." He said softly and smirked. Cruel satisfaction in knowing that Zeigfied did not have a pleasant afterlife for the path he chose. Fal then turned to Celedron who was looking over in shock. His arm now missing but seemingly cauterized. "Looking better." Fal smirks.

Celedron took the sight with a mix of horror and satisfaction. Seeing what he took as necromantic energies ravage Zeigfied let him see the true nightmare of Necromancy in action. The damage it, should it have been that, could do to a living man was disturbing. But seeing such a fate befall Zeigfied brought the faintest bit of satisfaction to him like Fal. Though he didn't show it. More content to move on and leave this now purged hell. He looked to Fal at his comment.
"I've been better. Didn't expect that from that blade of yours." Fal looks at it.
"Neither did I." As he looked past Celedron he saw Hans. He noticed the third eye and direct stare. "Kid?" He a says concerned as he approaches. Celedron looks over to Hans and his expression turns to unease.

"Keep your distance." He says to Fal as he picks up his sword. The lack of counterbalance from his missing arm and pain through his nerves forces him to use the weapon to balance himself akin to a walking stick. He looked to Hans anxiously. "Something's very wrong." Off to the side Chi-noee stood beside Mokte and looked over the aftermath before his attention too was drawn to Hans. Anglermaw's words of heading to the surface though were a relief for everyone.
'Get Hans, we'll see how he is up top. I can't stand to be in this chamber of horrors another minute." Fal says as he indicates to Mokte. Hans seemed to be in a comatose state like before so the Saurus would be best to carry him. Fal kept close however. Not feeling right about leaving Hans.
A dry gulp panged in Anglermaw's throat as he lay his eyes over the prostrate figure of Hans, and he stifled a breath that was rife with anticipation. His stomach felt strangely uneasy, like the phantom pain of the Black Hunger, but he could not put it into words. Empathy was hardly an emotion he'd experienced in his past life, and his concern Mister Brunswick's own carried with it an unwelcome and alien sensation. Whatever caused the unblinking eye to open upon Hans's forehead, it had to be benign, Anglermaw thought. The fleshy tendrils that wove across the Ark were gone, the voices were gone. Zeigfied was gone, and judging by the still expression of anguish upon the skeleton's open jaws, the Chosen was gone for good.
Yet still Hans continued to articulate his lips in a prayer of gibberish, nor did he stir from the ground as he was keenly surveyed by the Elves, hardly aware of their looming presence.

Mokte wanted to kill the Student outright, his gnarled figure looming over the little man with a concealed glower and his cleaver drawn in both claws like an executioner ready to give the protracted chop to the afterlife. By the time Anglermaw and the Elves began to nonchalantly meander their way up top, Mokte had remained statuary, wrestling with a subtle dissonance that prevented him from ending Hans's pain then and there. He'd already made it clear to the others through his body language that he did not share in their plight for the little man, out of touch with this environment from the moment he'd stepped on the shore of Lustria. This gibbering creature had paid the price for his insolence with insanity. His death would be mercy.
But Mokte could not find the will within him to grant the little man that peace, held back by a stifling sense of compassion that was observed as a weakness in the eyes of his Saurian brethren. He saw in the jeweled eyes of Hans a figment of himself, a innocent inadvertably molested by Chaos, comradery for a creature so alien, so primitive.
Supa-Kheti would not have wanted him to do this. Nahwa, in his pragmatism, had spared the warm-blood. But Nahwa was not here, and Mokte noticed the binding threads upon Hans's soul were being willfully unravelled. Even if he lacked the capable mage-sight, the writing on the wall was obvious.
Mokte lowered the cleaver down until it was level with the gritted floor and let go the haft. His free hand plucked the student uncerimoniously until he was slung over the Saurus's left pauldron. The boy stank of aging soot and poisonous sulfur, and Mokte's nostrils flared in discomfort as he felt a drip of ichor from his snout like flecked tree sap. He knew instantly that it was not mucus pooling over his helm, but he could give it no thought right now. There were far important matters to be attended to.

He and Chi-Noee would catch up with the others and their head start back to the outside. The way they had entered the core was unreachable, the staircase leading up the mezzanine was now a conglomerate of creased scrap tossed across the room. The path Anglermaw had led the Elves through was toward a derelict hall once known as the nursery, which had ceased operations after Anglermaw's mutiny. The 'nubile' breeders that birthed Skurvy's replacement sailors had been removed from their troughs by skavenslave eunuchs during the siege of Sartosa. With no breeders, the nursery had been remade into a makeshift mess hall for the lower castes of the Skryre host. Filthy sties of straw dotted the wide hall, each draped under a quilt of linen stained in a myriad of ugly colours. The room was filled with hundreds of the piles, but there were no Skaven that lay upon them now. The only ratmen beside Anglermaw the group had found were horrible mangled corpses, lacking heads and limbs and bearing wounds that opened their mangy bodies like wide crags in a mountainside. Others bodies were clung upon the gromril walls like shadows fashioned from flesh, their dessicated claws hurled toward the wide expanse, as if the Ark itself had sucked the Ratman within it's solid walls.
Mokte felt it safe to assume they had faced the taint just like the group, only they had paid the ultimate price. He heard an audible cringe echo through the hall, recognising the origin from Anglermaw's sillhouette as he directed the Elves to a balcony that lead to the open flank of the Ark. The sudden, but welcome, gust of wind gleamed over Mokte's ruby scales. He felt becalmed, the grip upon the haft of his blade relaxed. It was almost over.
But the insipid natterings from the mouth of a little man slung over his pauldron was a constant reminder that something was still very much off. The whispered chants hissed from Hans's tongue like a snakes rattle was certainly not the soothing mantra of Lord Nahwa, nor was it anything Mokte recognised from his limited vocabulary in Reikspiel.

He turned to Chi-Noee to shrug off the poison clouding his mind. He had not known the Skink much during his life in Tzlipectl, but it mattered not. Their mutual role as Tzlipectl's chosen warriors was an unshakable bond in itself.
"How did you manage to reach the Ark?" Mokte casually asked the Skink as they both followed through the outer balcony, his words concealed in their native tongue. "When that Human and his terrible weapon greeted us, I assumed the worst; I thought that everyone had died."

Anglermaw took a prolonged, elated whiff of the cool ocean air, rushing toward the makeshift railing to greet the brackish waves. He reared his beak backward in awe as the wind lapped across his whiskers like he had been enveloped in the arms of a long lost lover. Not that Anglermaw had experience in such an emotion, until recently all the Sea-Rat had known was self-gratification.

"Gimme a moment," Anglermaw said as he embraced the cathartic breeze. "Two weeks in a brig and prance-dancin' round death's door-way makes ya just cherish freedom."
A moment of serenity passed, and Anglermaw stirred from his lookout toward the horizon. Aside from the group, the mast of the Ark was utterly deserted, an eerie trail of fresh blood, brushed across the Ark's metal surface in vein of the ocean waves were evidence of the corpses that had been tossed from the mast during the passage through the tunnel. Now the Ark was stationary, adrift upon the waves like a titanic buoy. Only there was nothing keeping the Ark afloat now.
The Sea-Rat made an audibile, soul searching hum as he gazed toward the rudder of the ship and the cavernous maw from where they had emerged. He'd barely noticed the membranous creature flying in the far distance when he turned his back from the cavern and faced the Loremaster.
"Y'know any magic-spells that can get us off'a this ship?" Anglermaw wondered, his tone almost comical, belying a deep sense of trepidation for what might be headed their way. "Like, err, I dunno. Can you summon a boat-ship, or maybe we could walk on water?"
Falderan (played by Dreath)

Making their way through the aftermath of the Chaos taint was an eerie feeling. Fal and Celedron took on the environment that seemed relatively normal. Normal by Skaven standards anyhow. The twisted metal that formed the walls used to be a thing of Dwarven pride and admiration. Now used for something that would make the Dawii sick to their very souls. The forms of Skaven like stains on the metal gave the area a more unnatural feel. Looking like water or oil stains to most but the faint expression from the twisted forms told a different story. As if before being cleansed the walls themselves consumed and absorbed the Skaven nearby. Maybe Fal and the others were spared by being in the eye of the storm so to speak.

As they moved to the surface Chi-noee informed his Saurian fellow.
"Me and one of my other brethren made it aboard. We were all that remained and through a sickening accident with the movement of the Ark my fellow was lost. Vanquished and only I remained to assist." He sniffs at the cool air. The sea air a welcomed smell from the fouls odors below. But the lingering scent of Skaven and death remained to sicken the Skink like the foulest of rot. Gazing up at the night sky the moons beams harassed the Ark. The Arks stained surface was awash with chill and the Ark creaked as it slowly began to wobble on the surface of the water. Only a matter of time before the sea would claim it.

Celedron leaned on his blade and looked about. Taking a slow breath as Anglermaw spoke.
"For shallow water maybe. We're in the middle of the ocean. The waves may be calm but those beneath it wouldn't be so soothed. We'd be picked off within moments even if I could." Celedron's voice was aggravated and tired. He sounded like a man fed up with everything he had seen and done the last few days. His recent injuries proving a severe hindrance. "Would this vessel have any form of escape craft? Any life boats to get us back to land?" He looks to the creaking metal below them. "I doubt this will remain up for long."
Mokte pinced a slither of skin by his scaled maw in a concoction of both dread and contempt as he digested the last sentence of Chi-Noee's reply. "Pray no more valiant souls need sacrifice themselves this day." He said with an exhale of his snout.

The battle had taken a grave toll upon the Champions of Tzlipectl, that was no doubt, and Mokte had made his own premature peace with death before the healing aura of Nahwa had cured him of his injuries. But there were most certainly those whom Nahwa could not save despite his great and terrible power. Those whom had been likely felled by evil magic; a fusion Rat-spawn dabbling and Demon-work. Their passing was one of abject horror, and Mokte snuffed the images of their death throes from his mind as a frightened scholar would slam closed an ancient grimoire, terrified by forbidden truth laid bare. His experience in the core had been his first foyer in Demon presence, and his armoured chest cringed with anticipation, it was not over yet. The serenity of the claret tinted sea belied the next dance with death like beating war drums revertrabing upon the soil of a verdant vista.
The little man's articulations were no longer silent sputterings upon his dry lips. They played upon Mokte's ears like the obnoxious buzz of a large dragonfly, and he reared his head away in instinct. His heart cringed deeper, the sensation upon his scales like legitimate pain as he shouldered what he considered to be a flesh woven time bomb. He could not bear the trepidation as Hans's chants grew subtly louder into gutteral parodies of intoned prayer.

He turned again to Chi-Noee with a deep breath. "I sense looming danger from the little man." Mokte muttered, once again in the security of Saurian. "Like bot-grubs under blackened scales, something is eating him from the inside, but I dare think that it is too late to save him."

Mokte sat Hans down upon a corrugated wall that embedded a turret nest which had been laid waste to. There the little man could observe the stars before they'd found some way of getting off the drifting ship. The group had not approached this area previously, Mokte presumed the splintered mass of gromril to be the result of the shuddering blast before they had reached the core. Much of the surrounding mast was stained in a hue of rotting bone, the folds of gromril not already devastated by the rapture within the core slowly decomposing into a putty of excrement. It surrounded the left flank, the stench near unbearable were it not for the aroma of brackish foam.

"Oh Sigmar-Rat, that is some dirt-nasty work, definitely Pestilens magic-spell there." Mokte heard Anglermaw complain in the distance along with a chittering tut. "Seems they wanted to destroy what they couldn't get their paws on." The Saurus digested his tone. It was mournful, suspiciously so, thought Mokte, like the last passing words of a Scar-Leader's obituary plaque. He reared his head toward Anglermaw, standing there beside the decaying goop along with the Elves like he was one of their own, as if he were not counted among the hated Ratmen. A systemic buzz of killer instinct conflicted with Mokte's rational thought. Under any other circumstance, he would have killed Anglermaw where he stood, gargling in his strange accent about how his treacherous thralls must have made off with the escape craft during some mutiny. But Nahwa had seen fit to protect the Rat, to heal him of his wounds like he were a defender of Tzlipectl. And though the thought made Mokte wretch, it was true.

Did almighty Nahwa truly absolve Sunami of the sin of simply being Skaven?

He lurched toward the conversing group, the question sifting through his conscience like heated coal upon his brain.

"Bored o' hefting Mister Brunswick I see?" Chuckled Anglermaw, his jovial tone a defence for the soft fabric of fear in his mind.

Mokte raised an open, gauntleted claw above his left side to voice his displeasure, and the soft chittering faded from Anglermaw's incisors.
"The Elves speak true, Sunami." Said Mokte, gesturing to the rotting mast with his open palm. "We are on borrowed time, none of us need mention that."
Anglermaw digested the words carefully, then nodded in agreement. His eyelids flickered lazily, and his incisors bit into his beak.
"We have no way of getting off." Confessed Anglermaw, his tone oddly blunt, unspoiled by the usual rodent stammer. "We have to find someway to restore the link t' Nahwa, otherwise we're dead."
Mokte looked back at the blank gaze that sat by the corrugated wall, the sitting figure sprawled like a discarded marionette.
"We cannot." Mokte replied, there was no arguement laced in his voice. "The mutation is not exorcised from the Man-Spawn, I fear something is very wrong indeed." He looked to the Elves for support of his stance. Surely they felt the calm before the storm. There was rank evil concealed by the salty air surrounding them; the Being from the core was still out there.

A shrill wail lacerated the night sky, the last echoes of the alpha ripperdactyl leaving a parting ripple of noise through the cave. Supa-Kheti and Qua-Zital had passed through into the open air, following the single artery of muddy water until the Ark was finally in view, the fading vision of the Shaman relieving him of it's full rotten granduer. It was even worse than Lord Nahwa had envisioned it, a metal castle upon sea, now a cavernous shamble of fluorescent rust, painted in a wild stride of rotten hues. There were figures upon the exposed mast, standing forlornly by the decomposing hull like ghosts of the dead. He knew instantly that these ghouls were not his enemies; only one of them accounted for the Ratfolk.
Supa-Kheti loomed over the golden bannister surrounding the platform, his ancient body sprang with adolescent excitement once he saw Mokte and Chi-Noee among the survivors. As a matter of fact, all of Nahwa's strange champions had persevered, yet he withdrew his disbelief. Nahwa's faith in them had not been found wanting, and he wondered for a split second if his presence here was truly necessary.
He tossed the question away as soon as it came. Of course his presence was needed. The geomantic link was broken, Nahwa's will was comprimised.

The ripperdactyl lowered itself toward the figures with a howl that was comparable to a greeting almost. It beat it's membranous wings in stationary flight, goading a reaction from Mokte, and upon his maw was contorted the equivelant of a jubilant smile.

"Look'a that then, seems like we're not drowning, come think of it." Anglermaw said, followed by a laugh of surprise.
Falderan (played by Dreath)

Celedron made his way over to the slumped form of Hans. The boy mumbled his prayers softly he didn't recognize but could notice pieces of forbidden script. Tiny sounds a phrases of the vile dark tongue. Leaning on his blade next to the boy he began to look at his mutation. He noticed that it too remained. Burnt onto his head like a permanent part of his form.
"The fact it wasn't purged like the rest of the taint is concerning. I fear it may be permanent and." Celedron takes a pause as he feels a tingling burn in his cauterized wound. Something was off. It felt aggravated unlike mere moments ago. Fal's face was plastered with a look of concern.
"And what?" He says looking to the Elf who was noticeably having some discomfort.
"I suspect whatever gave him that mutation wasn't the same force that tainted the Ark. Why else would it remain while all other taint of it's type be destroyed?"

Fal looked and listened to Hans. His words were that of the dark tongue. Something he could be burnt for for simply knowing in some parts of the Empire. Identifying the tongue of Beastmen, cultists and Daemons put you at risk of gaining the attention of something far more otherworldly. But Fal knew of it. He recalled many details and learnt much in his long life so hearing it from Hans and seeing the likely permanent mutation on him drew a heaviness in his chest. He knew if he returned Hans like this to the Empire he'd be executed and burnt at the stake. At best he could live in the underground with other mutants and foul monsters. Likely falling prey to one. Or maybe in the woods and the Beastmen may take him on as a lesser servant. None of those were pleasing outcomes.
"Something feels off." Fal says noticing an oddly metallic taste in the air. Something bringing a tingle to his tongue and the taste of metal and ash like the inside of a forge. Fal takes out his blade and has it ready. Damaged as the blade is it would be better than being unarmed.

The shriek of the Ripperdactyl brings an immediate defensive stance and panic from the Elves who turn. Seeing the darkened form flap down they ready to strike until Mokte and Chi-noee's gleeful responses, or what came as glee from the lizards shot up. Chi-noee bowed upon seeing the elderly Skink and the Elves took a minute to see past the viscous predator they rode in on to see him.
"Isn't that Mokte's friend?" Fal says as they watch the Skink's lower down. Qua-zital leaps down and his frills flutter in delight as he see's Chi-noee. The Skinks exchange a gleeful chitter and flicker of frills upon seeing one another alive.
"The others?" Chi-noee asks in their native tongue, the dialect of Skinks being slightly different to Saurian and more finesse. Qua-zital shakes his head. Qua-zital asks the same and seeing the same response the two sit silently for a moment in acceptance. The sky above slowly shifting as clouds begin to sway and swirl. Thin grey forms growing dark as they circle around the glow of Mannslieb's gentle moonlight like circling sharks.
Mokte outstretched his arms upward in a welcome gesture toward Supa-Kheti, the ripperdactyl furled it's wings and prostrated obediently as Qua-Zital dismounted the platform. The Shaman had remained aboard the golden disc, one wrinkled claw gripped upon the gilded railing while another caressed the mottled, discoloured crest atop his crown. Mokte called over to Supa-Kheti, the saurian word more akin to a gutteral bark that was far removed from his sonorous, baritone voice, but Supa-Kheti made no response save a frill upon his crest. Mokte's arms lowered solemnly to his side and he sauntered toward the ripperdactyl in concern, the plight of the Little Man far from his mind now as the Elves had taken custody for his fleeting wellbeing. Their conclusion was similar to his own, though perhaps the magesight of Celedron would deduce a clearer prognosis.
The ripperdactyl stared him down like fresh prey, it's pouched maw salivating like a soggy bag laden with teeth the length of human arms, but it did not antagonise him any further than this, perhaps thanks to an invasive synapse from it's rider. Why else would the Shaman bow his crest in concentration, uttering an ancient mantra to the Old Ones endlessly. Supa-Kheti's maintained control required constant mental synergy with the beast, any lapse in this and it would pull the Skink into it's gullar and swallow him like a seagull's quarry. The exertion appeared more trouble than it was worth, Supa-Kheti's eyes squinted shut and the fibres of his body tensed as the mantra repeated, each sentence more strained than the last.

Mokte gripped upon the railing, bending the platform ever so slightly toward himself, snout to snout in direction to his friend and mentor.
"Supa-Kheti, it is done." Mokte said in Saurian. "Tzlipectl is safe. The Ark will sink and we can go home."
Supa-Kheti's eyes sprang to life, his pupils vertical and fiery like an angered cobra. The repeating mantras ended abruptly, and he pawed a frail hand upon the clotted sheen of Mokte's helm, shaking his frilling beak from side to side.
"No Mokte," Supa-Kheti hissed, his language of choice oddly enough Reikspiel, which made Mokte crook his snout in curiousity. "Rank magic lurks here still, the air around us quakes with unseen aetheric energy. I know you can feel it, Mokte. It's concentration is still too sour for Nahwa to intervene."
A few seconds of silence passed. The emotions of the Lizardmen were often hard to decipher in the ignorant minds of most warmbloods, but Mokte knew from the tone of Supa-Kheti's voice that there was horror that lurked behind his venerable eyes.
"But the evil inside the Ark is gone." Mokte mentioned, breaking the silence. "There is nothing here but metal and rot on the sea. I do not understand, Supa-Kheti."

A sudden wail of shrill agony broke the conversation like a death whistle's call to the hunt, the eyes of both Lizardmen turned to the origin of the noise, but it was the sight that made Supa-Kheti visibly wretch and Mokte's skin crawl. The Little Man clutched at his face, screaming into the heels of his palm as a faint glow emanated from his forehead like the bioluminescent fungi of Nahwa's chamber. Blood pooled over his fingers, the rivulets dripping like ruby shards as they splattered across the metal canvas of the Ark. Within seconds his arms were gloved in sanguinary paint, spewing from His bloodshot eyes until they were nothing more than ruptured, dripping pouches in their sockets. A curdling screech desperation parted from a newly elongated row of fangs while he writhed in seizure, ululated from his stretched gullar with such force that the bloodstained gromril creased below the group's feet as they desperately plugged their ears to withstand the sonic onslaught. Rotten linen stretched and tore as the student's body mutated within the span of minute, his milky limbs distending like a mantis's claws while his body thinned until his figure resembled that of a Nehekharan mummy, the constricting of his organs causing his wails to falter into pitious barks.

Hans Brunswick was gone, the emaciated figure in his place familiar to that of the late Lanky Pete.

Anglermaw watched, his jaw drooped downward in shock, his mind shook with the unbelievability of Hans's unwarranted fate. The gathering stormclouds a bygone flutter in his dread-filled mind.

Mokte brandished his cleaver yet again in both claws, racing toward the Demon clad in Human flesh.
"We have to kill him, there is nothing left of him now but Chaos magic!" Mokte shouted.
Falderan (played by Dreath)

The sudden shriek from Hans and the shock wave that followed forced the Elves back. Celedron was knocked back and his sword flung from his grasp. Clamoring to the ground nearby several feet from him as the crippled Elf fell to the floor. He used his remaining arm to push himself up and looked down his chest at the wailing Hans. Falderan was more fortunate. Stumbling back several feet as his mattered boots scraped across the gromril deck. He shielded his face from the blast and shook off the disorientation in time to witness Hans' horrific transformation. Bones and flesh stretched and cracked. The boys mouth turned to a fang filled crevice and bloody tears ran down his face as he spasmed in pain. His body reshaping by the most unholy of methods. Fal looked in pure horror as a new beast stood before them. An inhuman form that slavered with wide jaws and flailed around in a sickening and recognizable form. Fal was lost staring at the beast. It took all he had to come to terms with the fact that Hans. The innocent young scholar he met in Sartosa several weeks prior was gone. Replaced by an abomination.

As Hans rapidly changed Qua-zital and Chi-noee stumbled back and bore witness to the horror. If possible of sweating they would be drenched in fear. If they were Skaven they'd wreak of the commonly stated 'fear musk'. As Mokte roared in defiance and brandished his weapon so did the other two. Drawing their clubs, despite having little potential to harm the beast to fight. They would defend Supa-kheti and their fellow Lizards till their dying breath and this was no exception. They kept their distance and waited for Mokte to act. Ready to reinforce him.

Celedron couldn't believe what he saw, Hans had been possessed or corrupted in some way to rapidly mutate. A foul sight indeed but one the Loremaster recognized the only solution for. Seeing Fal pull out his damaged blade Celedron indicates his sword.
"Fal! Take my weapon and fight back. It. He's beyond saving now. Take my weapon and put him down before he does any harm." Celedron said in an oddly pleading manner but the same tone of authority he carried with all his orders. Fal turned to see the blade. Celedron mumbled something under his breath. Words of power that let the sword flare to life. The blade sizzling with head. Fal sheathed his destroyed blade and grasped the firm handle of Celedron's blade. It was oddly light and he flourished it, feeling the heat of the blade. A determined glare in his eye he looked back to the former Hans.
"How many more do I have to lose?" He says under his breath as he makes way to the beast.
Whatever spirit was housed in Hans's contorted frame, it did not recognise the racing Mokte. Even if a semblance of the creature's fleeting sanity did, the sight of the rod of billowing fire raised above his shoulders was enough to stir a frantic sense of self-preservation upon the already warped mind. Within half a second, the creature rose upon it's stretched legs, far receded in girth. It crooked it's head toward the charging Saurus with a leering snarl of it's angler-like teeth, savage growls escaping the maw of jutting knives from it's ever thinning lips. With a flick of it's outstretched claw, it swatted Mokte back with a strength that belied the creature's emaciated frame. He was sent flying backwards, accompanied by a groan of pain before his body buckled against the flimsy railing of the Ark, the cleaver of Tzlipectl still clasped within his claws. Scraps of worn metal fell into the water below, gliding away from the flank of the sea-borne castle until they fluttered a hundred feet from the mast. Mokte counted his blessings as he rose, it would've been a long, deadly fall into the open sea were it not for the weak wall of rails. Pain flared across his arms, blood dripping across both triceps like fresh war paint. If the sensation unnerved him, he did not show it; he'd already come close to death's door this night. The sensation he felt now was paltry compared to the cleft in his arm that had been sculpted by a jezzail's projectile.
Mokte shrugged off the pain and prepared to charge again, far more prepared for any sudden movement from the creature while the eyeless sockets leered toward Falderan, somehow observing him as though he were a succulent meal. Mokte could not pass however, his path was blocked by a barrier of translucent jade. His attempts at dismantling the barrier were met sizzling crevices within the newly made wall, mockingly healing itself like flesh reknitted across a wound. Clearly, they had not entirely exorcised the Ark of it's dark magic, as Mokte was keen to discover.

Anglermaw was crippled by alien emotion, his body ruled by sensations that he'd never experienced in his self-centered life. Chief among them grief. Not even two weeks ago, the deaths and defections of his trusted claw-captains had ever been enough to raise an iota of sympathy from the Sea-Rat. What was about Mister Brunswick's 'change' that had disturbed him so much, he demanded? Was it because of how he'd become so profoundly twisted this moment, or was it because of the strange companionship they'd held for eachother since they'd met? Not even Falderan had taken pity on the Sea-Rat when he wallowed in the brig of the Siren, but Hans would display empathy, he would talk to Anglermaw about his life in Altdorf, about fairy tales that involved Anglermaw's ilk. But most profound of all, he spoke why he chose not to leave for the mainland when Vanderbarzen had given him the chance.
'Altdorf is boring, Sunami. You'd never like it there.' The memory flickered briefly in Anglermaw's subconscious, the Student's face spoilt by the shadow of latticework in the dusk, concealing the faintest of smiles. 'Falderan's been teaching me how to use a sword, I might as well make good on it.'
"Hans!" Anglermaw shouted, sauntering over to the glaring figures with little regard for what danger awaited. "This-this ain't you! Snap outta it! For Sigmar-Rat's sake man!" Despite his wails, Anglermaw knew that his words fell on deaf ears. Hans had been half-dead once they'd left Tzlipectl, whatever was staring down Falderan was not the friendly student, but a Demon that parodied his flesh. The revelation distilled the rage from Anglermaw's misery within seconds, and his sauntering became a frantic scamper to join Falderan. A gelatinous barrier blocked his path and threw him backwards. He raised himself upon his backside and rubbed his snout in spite, but his reverie was abated by a corona of sickly green hanging from the sky, as though Morrslieb had been hurled down toward the atmosphere.
It was not Morrslieb, it was a figure; a creature. A Skaven, many paces high and cloven-hooved with a barbed, skeletonised tail dangling toward the inert hulk. It had many heads, half concealed by the ethereal glow of magical wind. One was pus-ridden and furless, eyeing the trespassers with frank indifference. But the other Anglermaw recognised instantly, goat-horned and wreathing with baleful eyes filled with hatred. A queekish rune daubed upon the Grey Seer's skull spewed forth iridescent energy. Anglermaw had never counted the day he would see Urechen again.

"Traitors! Vile nasty-things all! I see my murder-killers, the evil-doers who stole my Ark! You all die this night!" A wretched voice shuddered from the glowing firmament, the many headed demon swam from the skies, two barbed hooves hovered a few feet from the gnarled remains of the crow's nest.
"These creatures are not the usurpers of the Ark, Seer," Gurgled the oddly sonorous voice of the head of Plaguelord Jujue. "Rather, they are the machinators of your Ark's downfall, and I have my own cause for vengeance." Jujue chuckled.

Meanwhile, Hans's husk paid the appearance of the Verminlord little interest. It pounced toward Falderan like a grasshopper, calcified, metre-long claws spewing where fingernails once sat as it lunged for his neck.
Falderan (played by Dreath)

Above the battle clouds with the blackness of oil began to circle. An unnatural scent fell upon the area. One of ozone, rot and rust. A twisted mix that grew stronger as the clouds above did. Light seemed to be absorbed by the unholy clouds that were not simple storm clouds but something far more sinister. Jade bolts of lightning darted between them like the static from the reactors. It seemed to move like jaunty snakes striking at one another. A deep rumble came out that radiated through the Ark. Creaking and shaking the form of the once great ship now a sinking wreck waiting to be reclaimed by Manann or now Stormfells.

Fal watched as Anglermaw was knocked back by a crackling barrier of energy. Seemingly imitating a gelatinous form it jiggled as it reformed like a parted waterfall. Fal kept the blazing sword of Celedron in hand as he watched Horror of Hans in front of him gaze and move around him like two predators waiting to strike. He heard Anglermaw's futile attempt to communicate and despite knowing it was hopeless he wished he could have the level of hope the Skaven had to try. As the two watched onward another form made itself known. Above the battle was the mighty form of the unknown Verminlord. A twisted chimera with three heads each with noticeable forms. Fal noticed the abomination as it spoke. It's voice echoing and forceful like a sonic boom. An endless feeling of dread overcome him. Something Celedron felt stronger.

Upon seeing the hybrid Verminlord Celedron froze. This was beyond anything he could have thought. Some form of Daemon. But to call it simply such as the mutants they fought earlier or the large beast in the core would do it no justice. This thing stank of magic so foul Celedron felt like his very soul was trying to claw away from his body. His magical blood felt thick and as if the beast breathed on him a thick haze. His eyes stung to look at it and the power it radiated was unimaginable. Truly, he realized this was a Greater Daemon. Something he only heard legends of but knew they had fought many great Elven Heroes even on Ulthuan itself. But now he faced down one of a god unseen by the Elves like the Dark Brothers. As the three headed form landed one head, the leftmost one twisted and looked over to Celedron. It grinned. An expression from a face fused with metal but the eyes gave it away. Skreptch's head grinned over to him.
"Yes." It says with a echoing copy of his voice. "They have wronged us all. Each of us as a quarry to slay-slay." He chuckles a tone that illicit horrors greater than any howling beast. "They shall all die-die for doing this to our Ark. We-us shall rule-dominate all! We are the masters of the Ark." A Skreptch talked the smell of burnt rust in the air increased as the lightning above grew brighter. But despite the heads calls for unity the look in his eyes spoke only of domination and control. Celedron crawled backwards unsure what to do as he met the gaze of the abomination he thought he killed.

As the form of the Verminlord gave it's declaration to the group the Horror of Hans lunged at Fal. The bone like limbs flung forward like the legs of a massive spider. Fal brought his attention from the daemonic abomination and to the other ghastly form before him. He parried the first hit with his flaming sword and nimbly dodged the other unthought blow. Luckily the beast was dumb. Not thinking and striking like an animal, which if Fal could keep his stance ready he could deflect. But such power would likely overwhelm him. He swung back wit the flaming sword as a slash was mad on it's arm. Burning magical wounds formed and sizzled but to what effect he'd need to see.

Chi-noee and Qua-zital immediately took to the defense of Supa-Kheti. Defending the priest from the Horror of Hans. Though as Mokte was thrown away the Verminlord made itself known. A being the Lizardmen had heard of but knew little about. Though through name alone it was known as one of, if not the greatest abominations in the immaterial realm.
"Chit toe nami. Cherri nomu berat." Chi-noee yells to Mokte. A phrase translating to 'get up, a foul entity is here.' Though his tone was more fearful than angry. He knew they'd need Mokte to stand even the faintest chance.
Mokte stared at the Rat-like effigy, and immediately he felt a flavour of revulsion wash over the inner walls of his throat. It hovered barely a few feet from the gnarled pylon that was the crows nest, gesticulating it's boney limbs under erratic throes, like a bug casting away the dead crust of it's larval cocoon. The Verminlord's seemingly malleable height was huge, rivalling the saurian titans that wandered the Lustrian savannah, each flicker of the arcane lightning above exaggerated it's height further to the fear-stricken eye until the goat horns of the centre head protruded above the low clouds. Mokte felt an awkward sensation of disbelief; the longer he gazed at the hydralike demon, the further he came to believe that it was nothing more than a clever fabrication, another contrived defence of the Ark that Anglermaw would likely have knowledge of. A nebulous hologram fabricated by same engineers responsible for the dreadnaught's creation. After all, how could something so transparent do harm?

But from the fear-locked gapes from Celedron, Anglermaw, and his lizardine companions, Mokte ascertained that they were all still in mortal danger, no less so than the encounter with the Chosen. From the distance he heard Chi-Noee call to him, and with response he slammed the burning cleaver across the translucent barrier with many ferocious strokes. Slashes that would have clove a stone troll's adamant figure in half, or wreathes of arcane fire that could violently pop the carapace of a bastiladon were not enough to dispel the rancid magic. Upon his seventh strike, Mokte realised the hopelessness of it and paused, almost mistaking the sizzle upon the ethereal wall for laughter as it quickly reknitted. He snarled petulantly and bashed his fist against the barrier, creating ripples upon the surface.
Then he stumbled, his scaled knuckles penetrating the diamond hard integument. The jade hue of the barrier shifted to the colour of turquoise before dissipating entirely. Meanwhile, Supa-kheti lurched drunkenly over the railing of his saddle, collapsing upon the metalwork as the ward preventing Mokte's rendezvous was shattered.
With no link to keep it's bestial mind under heel, the Ripperdactyl gave a parting screech and rode off toward the clouded firmament. A charge of jade lightning zapped it just metres from the mast, it's roasted corpse sifting amidst the angry tide.
Their only method of retreat from the Ark was now gone.

"How dare you, how dare you!" Urechen snarled, distending his head forward to the hopeless group. None save Anglermaw had seen the Grey Seer before he became suffused with the core, but it appeared his fasination with the sea had left a lasting touch upon his ghostly form. Urechen's snout was a strange fusion of both skaven and shark. Between his horns was a huge dorsal fin that crested his furless skull like a mohawk, exaggerating the overall size of the Verminlord. "Petty vandal-slaves, the lot of you. Worse than usurpers methinks. You destroyed my legacy, it is justice then that you all sink with my Ark!"
The right head spat a glowing ooze in substitute for saliva, a cloud of acrid smoke plumbed in the puddle's wake, metal liquifying like the enzymes of a flys meal. "This game has gone on long enough. Just kill these mortals and be done with it. Or do you intend to bore them to death with impotent reprimands?"
"Who are you?!" Urechen snapped, reeling his head left and right toward the forms of Skreptch and Jujue. "You are both rival Clan-rats, that's what you are! Usurpers yourself! You both plotted for control I bet, thinking I wasn't aware of Skaven treachary. But you should both know, the Ark served none but me!" Urechen laughed manically as the essense of Skreptch pulled his left arm forward to combat the Loremaster, under the impression that he alone was responsible for the slashes and parries while the two combatted.

Jujue sighed. "Let us agree to disagree." He flexed the right arm of the Verminlord, his arm. Arcane entities of pox and plague enshrouded the decomposing limb, a hive to malignant familiars that took the form of flies, grubs and various unknown parasites that distended from bloody crevasses upon the limb. He protruded one clawed finger and spewed a vortice of buzzing locusts in the direction of the hated Lizardmen. Mokte stood by the prostrate figure of the Shaman, and thrust the cleaver upward in defiance of the living cloud. The incessant buzz was stilled by a polygonal barrier of glowing cyan. Mokte was astonished; Supa-Kheti was still able, evident by a grunted mantra that escaped his wrinkled snout as he lay there. A faint chuckle rumbled across the firmament like thunder, clearly amused by the desperate display.

Anglermaw gripped the gantry railing that separated him from a slow fall down toward Stromfels's aquatic tomb. His balance swerved, dizzily almost. It was the coast of Lustria all over again, except this time there were no Elves to save their hides, not that the pointy ears could contest with a Verminlord. He hobbled over to the Lizardmen out of instinct. Falderan and Celedron were comprimised, Mokte and his kin were oddly the safest bet, even if they would've preferred him dead. Benign daggers of rain levelled the mast, cascading down the Ark's flank. Anglermaw slipped and skidded, short breathes escaped his rodent lungs with each near fall toward the sea. He'd already entered Stromfels's court and had escaped by miracle, he would avoid a second visit if possible.

Supa-Kheti rose upon his webbed feet, his balance assisted by Mokte, who held him under his arms like a parent teaching his infant child to walk. he frilled his crest and spoke an instruction to his Lizardmen brethen, the words masked by their native Saurian dialect. Anglermaw could tell they were important from the heavy tone. He lurched toward them, his balance lolling against the fury of this jumpstarted tide.
"What's the plan?!" He shouted to none of them specifically.
"Sunami, our fates are almost sealed." Croaked Supa-Kheti with all the strength he could muster. "But there is yet hope to escape. The winds of magic are strong to stir the Sea-beasts."
"What are you on about?!" Shouted Anglermaw, incredulously.
"Our voices will call upon the serpents below." Mokte continued for Supa-Kheti. "Our prayers will awaken them."
Anglermaw struggled to understand, as the Shaman began to recite some strange phrase in a chirping, alien tongue, Mokte soon leading his own voice alongside.

A scream of agony broke away the Sea-Rat's concentration, the sonic force searing the drums of his ears. Falderan had managed to wound Not-Hans, arcane fire erupting across the mutant like he'd already been lathered under oil. He flailed madly, his arms distending upward in desparation while his gullet spewed a terrible shriek that somehow did not disuade the Lizardmen from their alien mantra. The cleansing flame did not douse for anything however, not for the abrupt snakes of rain that lathered across the emaciated figure, nor the shrill wail erupting from the fanged gullar. Eventually the flailings brought the creature over the railing, and Hans Brunswick tumbled down toward the sea to either drown or be torn apart by the familiars of the Sea God. Whatever fate was in store, the Student was dead.
Falderan (played by Dreath)

Much like within the core the winds of magic were in high supply on the Ark. However, in the same sense they were volatile and chaotic. Twisting rays of pure power that surely would kill any who sought to take full advantage of their abundance. The Verminlord spoke to none in particular as it addressed them all. Calling out to everyone with threats and anger before beginning to speak to itself. Each head talking to the others and strangely not getting along. Celedron was able to notice this as they argued. But once the left arm rose towards him and Skreptch's metal infused features focused upon his form he froze. The crackling of warp lightning brought forth the energy of the air itself and it shot to him. A brief pull by the right arm controlling pestilence lead to the lightning flying off center and fragmenting. Several thin strands that shot the ground several feet from the Elf.

Skreptch frothed from the mouth and glared as best he could to Jujue.
"Filthy plague-rat! You siphon-steal my magic and throw me off aim! I kill-slay Elf-thing and you wait for me-me!" He snapped at the air as his left arm and shoulder thrust to the left throwing off Jujue's concentration enough to mess with his familiar spell. A move done purely out of spite but something Celedron could notice. Intentional or not the Skaven were given split control of the body and this included magical ability. As the missing arm burnt with a fierce phantom pain he rolled over to try and get away as the heads were distracted. From the corner of his eye he noticed the form of the former Hans hiss in pain and tumble over the edge. Falderan wielding his sizzling blade and panting as heavy raindrops hit his face.

Having dealt with the mutated Hans Fal turned to the massive form of the Verminlord and stared it down with the look of a man who had lost everything. His stare was cold and barren of fear or concern. Only a solemn hate remained. A look that his Druchii blood likely gave him in ample supply. His dark eyes gleamed like the foulest night and he rose the blade. It's magic infused metal sizzled as the raindrops hit it. Magical energies from the wind sizzling and sparking around it as he roared a challenge and pointed at the Verminlord.
"Daemon!" He cried as his hair was brushed down from rain and wind. Crackling energy sent small strands standing. "You foul beast from the deepest pits of Hell. You've lost. The Ark is destroyed and your prize is gone. Now it's time for you to meet the same fate as this Ark and the thousands you lead to the deaths of. Hear me when I say, by Sigmar's light I will send you screaming back to whatever Hell you crawled from!" Fal's voice cracked in the air with the same ferocity of an Arch Lector would give on the dawn of battle during a sermon. Drawing back his blade he was determined to fight. Hans was dead and by this point he saw they had no other choice. They'd likely die no matter what. So Fal was determined by Sigmar's holy hammer to drag this Daemon screaming back to Hell with him.

The heavens above seemed to crack and scream as winds of magic stirred. An oily aurora formed around the clouds in an imitation of beauty. A twisted feeling of tranquility and unease was felt upon looking at it as the raw power of Chaos gazed down. Through the veil between worlds something watched. Daemons, undead spirits, ancestors watching over them or stranger entities watching from their unknown realms. Whatever was the case. A veil to witness a great battle or simply the radiation of Chaos tainting the world. It couldn't be said. But as the fabric of reality slowly began to warp around them Chi-noee and Qua-zital obeyed the Shaman. Eyes shut they joined in the mantra. Hoping to the greatest of the Slann and Old Ones themselves for salvation as they spoke. Their tongues synchronizing in a strange almost robotic way.

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