Armello Bestiary – Plagueling
Due to the holiday period I could not focus on my novel all too much, so I decided to write something a tad different. The Plagueling. Now, Armello does not have an extensive Bestiary (it’s a board game after all) so I thought I would throw in a new creature into the mix, if people ever wish to use it for their own ideas.
Plaguelings are small humanoid “Imps”. Affiliated with the Corruption and Rot, they tend to take the form of goats or rats. They are spirits that either come to be when a plague is especially deadly, or when summoned by a warlock. Their bodies lack any internal organs, instead they are goo-like in being, held together only by their own magic. Plaguelings sole purpose is to spread disease and plagues. There are stories of the creatures running through the countryside, traveling from village to village with that aim in mind. When one village falls they head to another. The victims of their countless plagues usually die, but the few unlucky ones who remain alive become Shamblers. Shamblers are plague-ridden, much like the Plaguelings, but greatly weakened and frailer than they were once, when healthy. It even seems the Plaguelings can control the Shamblers, capable of giving them the simplest possible commands.
While the Plaguelings themselves are not tough or strong it is folly to try and fight one up close, since their own bodies are the weapon they so gladly use.
And now, time for a little tale. Enjoy!
The witch hunters slowly reached the heights of the hill, where the ruined church stood. A relic left from an old war, long abandoned by the faithful. Yet through its roof that was largely gone, one could see the crown of a magnificent oak. Or, once could see, for now it was dead. Its leaf-less branches, cracked and dry. The hill itself, once green, lush, alive, now a mud pile.
Villagers concerned that almost overnight all life around the church withered away set a notice, calling for aid. It was dully answered.
August, the leader of the group, was once a sergeant in the rabbit clan’s armies. He still wore his old breastplate as a token of old days past. The sword and crossbow were his weapons of choice.
His companions; Beatrick, feline Priest of the Sun and Asgerd, lupine War-Priest of the Moon, or so he called himself.
They have seen their share of heresies, both large and small. From older women being branded sorcerers, to small cults attempting to bargain with forces unknown.
This, however, was different. Previously they faced threats there were merely budding, and were quickly cut at the stem. For the first time before them stood proof of some vile ritual, or something worse?
Though it was mid day, when it was said evil spirits were weakest, August felt weaker as he approached the church. It was an ominous sign.
“What do you think?” August asked, looking back to the two priests.
Beatrick spoke first, studying the ground beneath them.
“It seems like some manner of illness that spread through the flora. You see? The few strands I see are withering away, rotten, though I admit I have never seen any plant succumb to illness so quickly, if we are to believe the villager’s claims.”
Asgerd remained silent. Out of the trio he wore the most steel. One could only hear him sniffing loudly, searching for a scent.
“Halt.” he spoke abruptly, looking right at the church.
The group stopped and gazed at the wolf.
“I smell rotting meat.” he hefted up his axe and looked to the others. “Something… long dead.”
They were close to the church, but although the doors were wide open the gloom within made it impossible to see what was inside.
“Come out!” shouted August, his crossbow drawn and loaded. Beatrick only reached for his sun symbol and held it closely to his chest.
A loud moan came from within, then another, the shuffling of feet. The moaners came forth, the shamblers, those so riddled with plague that they no longer seemed alive, could be alive. Their flesh and limbs hanging loosely, at places missing. Writhing maggots wiggling from their skin. They were both a tragic and terrible sight, and a sign of something terrible within the church.
August released a bolt into the horde, the sound of breaking bone came from within it. The poor beings were frail like ice in spring, but if one came too close all their plagues and disease could pass onto you.
They were a walking, still breathing danger.
Asgerd lifted both of his arms up and howled, a beam of light striking down at the shamblers, seemingly coming from the sun, making their bodies fall apart, disintegrate, leaving behind piles of rotten flesh and bone.
Yet still more continued to pour out. It seemed impossible that for so long so many could had hidden here.
Beatrick, tried as he did, chanted all manner of verses and prayers, but they did not seem to have any clear effect upon the horde. One by one the shamblers fell, yet when one fell another took his place.
Then they heard the goat-like bleat, coming from somewhere down the hill. Ignoring their slow moving opponents the trio looked to its source and spotted a trail of dying tall grass that continued to approach them. From it leapt a hideous being. At a glance it looked like a goat, small in size, but its skin was unnatural, dark, purple, dripping onto the ground as if it were oil. And wherever the creature’s ichor fell the ground became twisted and cracked, anything nearby rotting away in an instant.
The creature’s two sickly yellow eyes looked at the Witch Hunters, and he bleated again, as if an order, or command. As if vigor was granted to their brittle bones the shamblers gained haste. Those that could moved faster, their arms extended to grasp, tear, bring down any living.
“A Plagueling.” remarked Asgerd, looking from the approaching horde to the monster. “We must act quickly, or we will perish here.”
The plagueling began to leap around, much like a goat would, grabbing handfuls of itself, throwing them at the Witch Hunters. Its aim was terrible, but intent clear.
“Do not let it touch you!” shouted August. They spread out, August trying to hit the plagueling with his crossbow, while Asgerd tried to muster his focus to cast forth another spell. Beatrick chanted louder, and prayed to the Sun and Moon to deal with this abomination, but no answer came.
Time was running out. The shamblers were close, too close. Asgerd lost his focus and ran at the monster, roaring, axe swinging. August tried to stop him. The sound of an axe cutting through mud, of steel being covered in the fiend’s ichor. Loud shrieks for aid as the shamblers caught Beatrick’s robes.
After a while, silence. August pulled Beatrick away, the monster was a shapeless puddle, but Asgerd was lying in the mud, coughing and sputtering, as countless plagues and illnesses were devouring his body.
They could do nothing to save him.
With their master dead the shamblers returned to their largely passive state, some of them retreating to the confines of the church, away from the bright sun.
August sighed, hearing the Asgerd’s agonizing moans, yet Beatrick went to the wolf, trying to help him in any way he could. It was folly, but gods willing and merciful Asgerd could maybe live.
But the day was not over, and the church was filled with plague. There was but one thing to do. By evening, and after burying their companion, Beatrick and August departed, the church ablaze, and all the filth within turning into ash.