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Attention! Since it took me nearly a year to continue this story, recent events have overtaken me. Therefore, this story part takes place before MassEditor's prelude story that is linked below. All links are in chronological order. Make sure to (re-)read it! Glance into the future Three Ravens At the Black Knight's Inn The Resistance Unites (by MassEditor) When you ran out of coin, get out of here! the host had said. “Always the same sad business. No one treasures the value of a wise old man anymore.” Perry Ratchett mumbled into his grey beard, while he stumbled out of the Black Knight’s Inn. Aye, that old hoax of the heroic black knight defending a bridge against a king and losing all his limbs, one by one. That was a popular tale here in the East. The old wizard wondered how the people would react when they were told that this very story served as a shining example of chivalry and ideal courage in Avalonia. “I’m too late again! Foolish old dunderhead. “ Ratchett thought. He had never been an excellent wizard. Often he had proven himself not even an average wizard. But, after all, he was one. It was not a matter of the prowess as magician at all, he was just unfortunate enough to live in a wondrous world that offered as much kinds of ale, vine and liquor as it housed magical miracles. But now he was on a quest. He had witnessed what may would be and no it was on him, Peregrine Ratchett, the purple wizard, to prevent this city and its lord from ruin. He could see his course clear, the first time for years he felt the weightiness of his role in the world. He now had influence on the lifes of many. And although he was well aware of the immense threat to come, Perry silently enjoyed the feeling to be of some importance again. This wizard was back into business. As soon as he set a foot on the rough cobblestone the wizard had found for whom he was looking. Several armed men surrounded him, ensuring there would be no escape. A tall rat furred with brown and white hair approached. His look was strict and hard. But for those who were able to listen, his eyes would tell stories of grief and sorrow, deeply immured in an will of iron. The wizard recognized him immediately from his vision. “What is thy business in this town, old man?” the rat lord said. “I was told of a wizard arriving, speaking of great matters; dark menaces toward. Now all I see is a drunken vagabond, maybe hoping to be kept by my household in return for palmistry and other legerdemain. Do not dare to waste my time by trying to fool me.” The old wizard had expected mistrust. But this rat proved to be amongst that kind of stubborn beings who wouldn’t believe in dragons unless they recognised the smell of their burnt skin, or fur in such a case. He had to take care of what to say:”You may take me for a drunkard an impostor. And whilst I cannot deny my flaws I affirm you that serious wizardry is my business. I am Peregrine Ratchett. And I am called the purple wizard. And not only for the colour of my hat, I assure you. That is just frippery.” The lord of Skavenport kept his straight face, while his companions bandied inquiring gazes. A very uncomfortable silence spread and lasted far too long. Perry realised that this lord was still waiting for his explanations, either to be convinced or for having a reason to throw him into the deepest dungeon of the city; “I have come to assist you by the quest that lies ahead of you. For I have seen what may will be, and I say you there is no time to lose!” Osric Isentooth’s face became even more sceptical: “And what quest shall this be? Gathering my troops, march out with all the banners of red and gold waving in the wind? Many souls in Nocturnus call for this. No day that I do not receive requests for assistance from this lord and that village. I have no need for another supplicant to tell me about the sorrows that plague this land. I know them. Call the town watch and chase this vagabond out of my city!” The wizard rushed towards Osric:”The Lord of Shadowmere is calling for you! Will you deny his request?” The lord’s face turned angry: “You should have heard the rumours on your pub crawl. It is told in every tavern; Vladivus is dead.” Ratchett’s lips formed a grim smile: “He is alive. At least as much as his kind can be. You will see. Assemble Skavenport’s army, my lord. March out and engage the Black Spire. You are not alone. Raavage’s craft is to cloud his enemies’ awareness. The resistance is still strong. But you must unite your forces. Separating the last strongholds of the Darklands, destroying the remaining free peoples of Nocturnus one by one is the very intention of the Spire. Unite your armies, reclaim the East from Raavage, and the other guilds will join you. Because this fight is not the mere battle for Nocturnus. If you fail it will conclude the fate of all Historica. Tis the quest I have foreseen, the quest you will have to face up to.” Osric seemed to stare into an abyss, when he finally spoke: “All what you say... it either makes you an egregiously able wizard, or an equally able agent of my foes. Either way, I will learn the truth. Into the dungeon with him!” Perry felt that everything had gone wrong. While he resigned himself to a longer phase of soberness, a black hooded messenger arrived, bowed shortly before lord Osric, giving him a small piece of parchment, before heading away in a hurry. The rat lord looked at the sigil in surprise, broke it and unfurled the writing. It took him a moment to come to terms with it. Then he looked at the wizard and spoke: “Bring him to the castle. Host him in the keep, but do not let him leave it. And keep him sober.” He turned to his two captains, a rat and a grim looking sturdy human: “I have to leave the city. Lord Vladivus is indeed alive, or correctly: undead. A council will be held in Shadowmere. A council of the Resistance. I have to go.” “Alone? My lord! Every swathe of land between Shadowmere and the Grimwoods is occupied by the Spire. Damn it! Every single bloody stone in the Moruth has a Spire soldier guarding it!” the human said indignantly. “I have to go. And no time to lose. But I am well aware of the dangers such a journey involves. Therefore you will escort me, Dunstan. Why shall I fear a thousand Spire soldiers with you roaring at them?” Osric responded. Visibly amused the other captain began to speak: “I rest assured that you will make the journey without harm, my lord. My dear Sir Dunstan is no doubt the loudest man in Skavenport. But what are thy orders to me?” “You, good sir Aethelrat, will procure that an army in readiness will await our return. Gather supplies, lade war machines and keep the city’s fortifications operational.” Lord Isentooth commanded. Then he turned back towards the purple wizard: “I am still in doubt about your intentions. I will concern myself with you when I return. But for the time being I shall not call you a liar; war is to come. Allies are calling. And Skavenport shall answer.” ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________- So far, thanks for reading! And I am deeply sorry about the low photo quality. It's impossible for me to get the right lighting for such a weirdly angled build.
Finally the next chapter of my story in the Nocturnus Resistance. Make sure to read this one first: Glance into the future "Our board council prefers to keep a sceptical attitude towards your youngest plans, my lord." So many words for so less content. Osric wondered if the Strigoi enjoyed steeling time of their mortal clients by pointless statements. "These plans are yet not firm. The situation is changing from day to day. But we must take action soon." Osric could see the lifeless eyes of the vampire lurking out of their deep and dark holes:"Time lessens indeed for your cause. And so does any confidence. Our institute demands securities. While your success in the Kaliphlin war was with no doubt highly gratifying, this campaign offers very few capital gains." The rat's tail was winding in anger by that last comment:"It is not about profit. My cause is nothing other than the survival of the east. And for your business' sake this should be your request as well. What future will your it be for the Royal Bank of Nocturnus when the Spire triumphs? Do not forget that.". The Strigoi began to stare in a menacing way at the lord of Skavenport. His voice was now unconcealed in its snarling nature:"My lord... the Bank of Nocturnus has seen countless dynasties rise and fall. We have outlived wars like rainy seasons. We were always there. We have always been. Doubtless there could be found an agreement with lord Raavage. We are not bound to every day politics. For now, we rate your credit worthiness higher than that of the Black Spire. But evaluation can be changed. You better do not forget this. I will report your request to our council. Good even, my lord rat." It was late in the night, when Aethelrat and Dunstan arrived in the council chamber, finding their lord in deep thoughts. "I greet you, my bolt captains." Osric enjoyed the presence of these two, although not the reason for it. "My lord, whatever your decision may be, our men can be ready for march within two days." The man with the harsh lineaments stood ready to attention, as always. "I still haven't decided now, Dunstan. Things have changed as you will be aware soon." Osric went to the end of the long table, and made a gesture to follow him near the fireplace: "Three ravens, three messages. One is bad, one is good, and one is probably worse than the first. I haven't decided on this as well. Choose what comes first!". Dunstan was a soldier as loyal and brave as the most honoured Avalonian knight, but he jsut was a soldier. He could easily be overwhelmed by too much choices. "May I suggest, my lord, to act chronological." Aethelrat was more of a gambling nature. He loved to act in a posh attitude, but nonetheless as reliable as Dunstan. Osric tried to remember which raven had arrived at first. He was sure it had been the one carrying the bad news:" So be it. This one arrived in the morning. It came from a spy in Port Wrath. He reports the death of Lord Vladivus." His captains didn't seem surprised too much. Aethelrat spoke first: "I hear this rumour in every tavern from the Northern gate to the harbour. Our spy probably spent his pay on a beer in Port Wrath and picked it up from someone." The rat captain looked pitying:" I still don't believe it, my lord. How often did one hear word on the street that Raavage had been seen plugging your head on a pike. And you are still enjoying our company." "Our spy reports he saw one of Vladivus' own men selling his master's skull to a witch clan." It took his captains a moment to digest. "It...could still be anyones skull. It is said that most skulls in Historica are nearly identical." Aethelrats voice proved his self confidence a liar. "Perhaps. But it is fact that the lord of Shadowmere vanished, and until his return, may it be from exile or grave, he cannot help us. And this questions our whole campaign." Osric took the second letter, when Dunstan finally had found words to comment on the first one: "Lord, even if we lost lord Vladivus, there is still Shadowmere. We have pacts that must be fulfilled. I can not counsel you to remain in Skavenport." "Then hear now the second message, from Sultan's Gate: Pharao Ankh Mora'Raa gathers his forces in Kaliphlin and prepares for a march to the Darklands. He calls for every loyal man in the South to join in our fight." "Wonderful words, in my ears, although I wonder how many 'loyal' men he may find in his own realm." Aethelrat had found back to his regular cheerfulness. Lord Osric knew he now had to destroy this silver lining with the last raven: "I made a decision. After discussing the first two messages I am now certain that I find this last one even worse than the first one. While the lost of lord Vladivus is a great tragedy for Nocturnus, he is at last only one man. And this letter is about armies. The Drow have returned. In inestimable numbers. A plague upon these lands, they are spreading out of the ground from Scarborough to the Claw Breakers, And from the eastern sea to the Rakath." The two captains of Skavenport stood there with aghast faces, struggling for words. This time, Dunstan was the first ready to reply: "Is there any sign that these hordes are an ally to the Black Spire? Unlikely that so many of them would care about what is going on on the surface." "No, we have no information about their intentions yet. But there has never been something other than the lust for war. You know my position in this. There is no peace with the Drow. No coexistance. Only a decision: freedom or slavery. Survival or Extinction. Anyhow, we must..." "Mylord!". Osric was abruptly interrupted by an entering rogue and the impact of the door. For a second one could have seen the exp<b></b>ression of astonishment on Osric's face. But it changed immediately in calculated disapproval: "It seems that I missed out the council meeting that declared council meetings open for everyone to rush in and interrupt. What is this all about?" The rogue seemed embarrassed, struggling where to begin: "My lord...it is your law that every wizard, mage, sorcerer, witcher...every harnesser of magic must be recorded and reported to you." "So it is. I demand a weekly report. Weekly, soldier. So, for your own sake explain what makes this wizard such a special being that you felt the necessity to interrupt my small council? And unless it is Victor Revolword himself milking ale out of a two headed unicorn, I will be hard to convinced." Dunstan and Aethelrat had bother to hide their smirking. The poor rogue was certainly sure that he had done his duty exemplary. He responded: "I know, sire, but that wizard... when we found him, he immediately demanded being brought to you. He tells many weird things. About the Black Spire, lord Vladivus, and things about your fate." __________________________________________________________ As always, thank you very much for having a look. And of course for reading! Oh, and for those of you who did read all of it, here are overall pics!
The Streets Of Skavenport Skavenport Furrier The great miracle of large cities is what holds together the jumble of dirt and noise and lunacy. Despite the heartfelt closeness between its inhabitants and their love for the city, the one thing that held together Skavenport was beer. And the finest beer to be found was the Skaven Ale. But only a few larger breweries were allowed to call their mixture Skaven Ale, strictly regulated by purity laws and selection of only the finest ingredients. Brewing day always followed baking day, when yeast still filled the air in the houses. The workers were in good mood and many a song could be heared throughout the city: The houses are filled by taste of bread so every man can tell its time to malt and cook and brew to have our Skaven Ale it keeps your heart warm and means you no harm our finest Skaven Ale! Once an old king layed down to die his devious heir enjoyed a jug full of ale and marrow came back made him raise and speak to him "there is still time to make a new son more worth to be a king!" And when my lady the day has come for me to say farewell slaughtered by axe, or stabbed by sword enchanted by a spell keep your last kiss cause all I miss will be the Skaven Ale! Such and many other ribald verses they sung, and they became very popular not only in Nocturnian taverns.
"Damn ol' man! This was the last time!" Cedryc the Innkeeper came running out of the Leaking Barrel. "Where me coin? I've got enough dopey boozers here, I don't need a bilking wizard!" The old man mumbled an unintelligible song and tottered along the path. "I swear it to you, Perry, Coin now, or that door will remain closed for ya." The wizard stopped his waving walk immediately, pricked up ears and eventually turned around:" Cedryc? Is that you? Ah...my old ears. I thought I heard someone. What can I do for you?" "Don't take me for a fool- You heard me. Just foot the bill." Peregryn Ratchett, the purple wizard straightened up, trying to pose with great dignity, and said:" You are in luck today, Mister Barliman. For I am a wizard, and not one of those smirking charlatans, who try to confuse the more simple men with their conjuring tricks. Nor I be one of those who speak with somber voice, moaning and talking of dark things to come, only to frighten the good rural men. I am a real wizard, and real wizardry is my craft. So speak, how can I serve you?" "Oh no! Not again! I know your wizardry. What's with that 'enchanted frying pan` you gave me last time? You transfigured my daughters cat. Every time I put it on the fire it starts screaming miserably. And I cannot lay a fish in it without it vanishing." "Meeeoow", the frying pan made a purring sound in Cedry's hand. "It takes great knowledge to cast such a spell. You should be aware of my skills. Once kings asked for my advice and many a noble lord beseeched me to grant him a glimpse into his fortune." "Ha! Fortune! say you what: If you really can let me have a look into future, then I forget about the bill." Perry made a meaningful expression:"So be it. But you shall be warned! Even a small glance into a man's future could drive him mad. Neither do I have the possibility to destine the time and place of the vision, nor can I influence what you will see. Now we need something...a looking glass, ah, the kitten will do. Hold up the pan." The purple wizard held his hand upon the frying pan, mumbling spells in a obscure deep voice, his eyes closed. Suddenly the bottom of the pan seemed to dissolve, and a sallow green light shimmered through. Then the vision came: "Meeow!" The frying pan flew away and hit on the ground, now being the kitten again. "What? Where? Why??..What?" Cedryc, the poor Innkeeper cowered on the ground, still starring into the pictures, which now were burned into his mind. "Hm...That was not right. The effect was by far too strong. My poor Cedryc, I am afraight these things were not destined for your eyes. I warned you that I have now influence on it." Perry felt very sober now. He sank into deep thoughts about what he had seen:" Great things are about to come. War is coming to these lands again. The Black Spire's forces are on the rise. And the fate of the East, and maybe of all of Historica now depend on very few who are still bolt enough to challenge Lord Raavage. I must hurry. It seems that I have a part to play again in the greater story." "What are you talking about?? What did you do to my eyes? Just get out of my head!" "I feel somewhat guilty for your current condition, though I did warn you. Maybe I can effect some other magic to help you out? But hurry, I' am busy now. I have to care about greater things than an Innkeepers daily worries." "Leave, just leave for king's sake! Forget about the bill- just go! What insanity to open a tavern in the bloody Darklands! I'll go back to Albion!" Cedryc ripped of the door and stumbled inside. "You are right, my dear friend. There is no time to waste. I must go now. Hopefully it is't too late." So this is my first contributin for our collaboration about the Nocturnus resistance. I hope you will like Perry Ratchett, the purple wizard. He will have a lot of screen time in future stories. I'm not so happy with the pictures of the vision. Originally I had something more nebulous in mind, but I wanted to finally post the story. Enjoy!