Mordheim: Lodge of the Damned

Game 2: Undead (Jake) vs. Skaven (Jason)

Over Before It Began

Old Streicher sometimes spends hours muttering and staring into the empty eye sockets of that skull he carries around.  Last night was no exception.  This time, though, when he finished whatever he was doing, he announced that a pack of those rat-things were guarding a wyrdstone find in the coppersmiths' district.

Well, our mistress wasted no time, and soon enough we were working our way through the ruined city, spread out into a few groups in a plan to outmaneuver the rat-things.

As it turns out, the wyrdstone was in the old Temple of Verena, a relatively solid and well-defensible building.  Our mistress sent two zombies with me to creep up from the rear of the building.  Normally, I'd be a little uneasy at the isolation, as zombies are poor fighters and worse company.  But I was heartened, at least, by the fact that she'd placed me as far away as I could be from those horrible corpse-eaters.

It may at first seem odd that I would carry an aversion to ghouls.  After all, I follow the commands of a vampire.  I fight alongside zombies and a dark magician, and I often turn around to find that the rotting corpse of a gigantic wolf has silently crept up behind me.  But the creatures three streets to the south — the beasts that live in the catacombs beneath our mistress' manor house — fill me with horror.

Generations ago, these depraved men and women descended into cannibalism; raiding graveyards and charnel houses, and devouring whatever putrid meat could be found therein.  Their offspring, marked with the forbidden hungers of their ancestors, evolved into twisted and terrifying creatures of raw hunger.  I'm often kept awake at night by their endless scratching from underneath the floorboards.

At least the wolf and the zombies don't do anything without a command from our mistress or Streicher, and so far, those two are satisfied with my performance.  The ghouls, on the other hand… they have an unsettling tendency toward independent action.  I'm terrified of them catching me alone; I know full well that they wouldn't hesitate for a moment to fall upon me and tear the meat from my bones… if our mistress weren't watching, anyway.

As it turns out, though, I never saw a single one of the rat-things.  We waited for the signal from Ludovic — he was with Streicher and Casimir and the rest of the zombies) — in the building across the street from me.  Finally, the signal came, and we started forward.

The wolf, Omen, flashed past, and then, just for a moment, I caught a glimpse of our mistress moving silently — and swiftly — through the city to the southwest.  There was a glint of her sword, and a gasping screech as she ran through some unseen foe.  Around that same time, I heard a shriek of rage and pain coming from somewhere among the rooftops that could only have come from the throat of one of those accursed ghouls, but I couldn't see what happened.  Whatever it was, it must not have been fatal, as both ghouls returned with us as dawn approached.

By the time I got to the Temple, the rat-things had apparently fled.  We searched the deserted structure, but we found nothing but for a long-forgotten entrance to a stretch of the Mordheim catacombs.  Streicher maintains that the rat-things must have cleaned the place out before we got there, but Ludovic says that he thinks the necromancer is just a fraud. After all, it doesn't take magical power to stare at a skull, and as far as Ludovic, Casimir, and I go, nobody's ever seen him actually cast a spell (Ludovic says that Streicher spent some time peering out of concealment at a rat-thing while mumbling harsh syllables and waving his fingers in the air, but nothing happened).  At least we found a few shards of wyrdstone on our way back to our mistress' "townhouse", so the excursion wasn't a total loss.

I don't really know if Streicher is a fraud or not.  If he is, though, he's playing an awfully dangerous game… our mistress isn't exactly known for her forgiving nature.

— Excerpt from "The Black Diary of Rüdiger Holtz"

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