November 28

The Blood Moon

A Story based in the Warhammer: Fantasy Universe. While I am not relating to any specific incident, and the events described here most likely never happened within the universe itself, I still felt like writing it.

Disclaimer: Games Workshop is the owner of the Warhammer: Fantasy universe. I do not claim ownership over any of the factions or the universe present, but the named characters present are of my own creation.

Disclaimer #2: This is a rather graphic and violent story (like a lot of things in the Warhammer universe). Suited for younger-adults at the very least!

Disclaimer #3: Still looking for an image for this, so if you wish to contribute, get in touch! I will gladly give you the credit for the image/links to your other work!

The Blood Moon

In the Northern parts of Norsca, a violent, deadly and frozen land one could find the human tribes of Vargs, among others. The Northern Tribes were dedicated to the Gods of Chaos, Gods that desired nothing less than to dominate and destroy the civilized races throughout the world. This is where many great champions were born, and by braving the dangers of the land, and garnering the attention of the Chaos Gods they would be given boons and gifts. These gifts came in many forms. Though there were many legendary artifacts, passed down from one champion to the next, most such gifts were different mutations. These mutants, chosen or champions would be stronger than other men, more powerful. The forces of chaos would flock to them, to be lead. The Old World has faced many perils, but the war between Chaos and Order ever reigns on, and the Vargs were among those Norscans who gladly took up arms to raid the lands to the South.

Aside from those men, who considered themselves worthy of the gifts of Chaos, deep in the forests of Norsca, lived the Beastmen. Beastmen were people mutated centuries ago by the powers of chaos, turned into half-men and half-beasts. Savage, unruly, unlike the Norscans who hungrily sought the Chaos Gods for their blessings, the Beastmen called themselves the Children of Chaos. They had no need for such boons, for they were already blessed. The Beastmen had many tribes throughout the world, waging their wars against men, and other civilized races. They were not opponents to chaos, they were its followers, and as such they too would flock to promising champions of Chaos and join them in their campaigns.

However, that was not always the case.

In a tribe of Vargs, east of the river Blodig, the Chaos God Slannesh known as the Dark Prince and Prince of Pleasure, blessed the new leader of a small tribe, after he murdered his predecessor in a truly cunning fashion. During a feast he poisoned the food and drink, instructing his own followers not to partake in the feast. In one swift move he killed all that were loyal to the old leader, his closest warriors and even his family, naming himself the new chief. While he also killed many who were perhaps innocent in some way this only further pleased Slannesh. His blessings were many, and the man once known as simply Asger now, perhaps by some divine vision, called himself Broruk the Chosen. The people of his tribe looked in awe when his arm became a long, twisted tentacle, covered in barbs, how a third eye opened upon his forehead, and his body seemingly increased in size overnight. He felt powerful, undefeated and now desired to celebrate by launching a raid far to the south, and attack the Empire.

To do so however he would need more tribes under his banner. He would have to gather more willing and unwilling followers, until his army was powerful enough to cross the Sea of Claws and raid the coastal ports and cities, perhaps going further inland. Yet he lacked the men to do so. His plan cost the lives of many of the tribe’s best warriors and he would need more. Yet there was a possible ally close-by. A Beastman tribe, hidden in the nearby forests, existing in relative peace alongside the Varg tribe. Though there sometimes did come clashes over food, and rights to the hunting grounds the two even co-existed.

But now Broruk needed these beasts to join his cause, and so he went with his best men into the forest. It was night, the moon was full and most would easily get lost in such a place, or be killed by the beasts that inhabited the forest. It seemed Broruk was guided by an unknown force, for his band emerged through the dense forests into a clearing, where they found the Beastmen tribe. Living in primitive caves, shacks, tents, the Beastmen were not goat-like, as they usually were, but instead had the features of wolves. The local tribes called these particular Beastmen as simply the Wolf-Men of Varg, just as dangerous as any other beastmen, but far more intent on using their claws and jaws, rather than horns they did not posses.

Most of the tribe was gone, for the Full Moon was a time to hunt, and the pack’s alpha left with many of his warriors and hunters to perform the blood hunt. The Shaman of the tribe however remained and he is the one that came before Broruk and his men, as they approached.

*****

In the center of the tribal grounds stood an impressive Herdstone, a symbol of the Beastmen, where they gathered, where they presented their gifts to the Chaos Gods. Many trophies were put upon it or around it. The skulls of men and beasts, old weapons and armor, countless trinkets and treasures. Surrounding this were many dens, tents and shacks, belonging to the males and females of the beastmen. As the Varg Champion approached with his men, many of the She-Wolves, their children and those men that stayed behind looked to the interlopers, growling lowly, yet not emerging. They could see one of the men had the gifts of Chaos. To raise a claw against him could mean a curse against the whole tribe.

Borthoc, the Shaman of the tribe left his tent. The tall wolf-man was wearing a crude helmet out of a skull of a large elk, with a primitive cloak out of the skins and furs of different creatures which he used to denote his status. The only one feature that suggested to his shamanistic power was the eerie green glow of his eyes, and the few pieces of green Wyrdstone, Chaotic power in physical form, tied like an amulet around his neck.

As Broruk approached his tentacled arm slithered along the ground, twitching, curling, with a life of its own. His third eye open wide as the shaman approached. Who knew what this third eye could see?

“Broruk, the Champion of Slannesh stands before you! Bow to your better!” Broruk roared out to the largely unimpressed Shaman. Though taller than a man Broruk was not taller than Borthoc, who still stood a head’s height above him. As Broruk roared however all the beastmen present in the tribe left their dens to see and listen to what was happening.

In a series of growls that could barely be understood the Shaman answered in poor Norscan, “You have gifts, but you are weak. You tread upon our Blood Grounds and make demands.”. The Shaman’s shining green eyes looked to Broruk’s men, then back to the Champion himself. “What does the flesh want?”

Broruk was not a diplomat, far from it. He took control of his tribe with trickery and now he felt strong enough to take more power by force. His tentacled arm seemed to coil itself into a shield as he continued to speak, “You will join me, and my people, to raid the lands of men! You will server me, a champion of Chaos, and do all that I command you to do! Now kneel, and obey!”. Yet again the Shaman was not convinced. Beastmen respected Chaos, but among them strength is what decided who ruled. And for now a mutated human seemed little more than a Snotling with a slightly louder voice.

“You speak much, but it is the Alpha who decides. He hunts and you will-” The shaman was not allowed to finish. The tentacled arm suddenly shot forward, slicing through any of the unfortunate Wolf-people who stood in its path, the barbs cutting through their fur and muscles, leaving them wounded if not dead. The arm then wrapped itself around the tribe’s Herdstone, extending to incredible lengths. It then began to squeeze on the rock and in an instant cracks began to form along its surface. Before any of the gathered knew what was happening the Herdstone crumbled into smaller chunks and pieces, dust coming up from its ruined remains. As it did so the tentacle returned to its owner, arching itself above Broruk in a menacing way.

“I did not make myself clear… You join me, or you die.” but at that point Broruk’s demands fell on deaf ears. The Shaman just saw the symbol of his tribe destroyed by some human who thought it was wise to boss him around. As he turned to look from the ruined Herdstone back to Broruk not only were the Shaman’s eyes ablaze but so was his amulet. He growled out in Dark tongue as he gathered his power and pointed to Broruk, a green flame suddenly exploding from the ground beneath the Champion. Seemingly engulfed by it completely it would had seemed the Champion was turned to ash, and his warriors scrambled away from explosion, but it was not to be.

Broruk’s tentacle swooped down and wrapped around the Shaman tightly, and with the champion still aflame crushed his body into a bloody pulp. Only when a brief pained howl came from the shaman, and the fire in his gaze died was the spell stopped. Broruk stood there, his clothing and armor burned away, his body charred but the man himself apparently alive, as he roared in maniacal laughter, “Then you shall all die!”

*****

Those returning from the hunt beheld a terrible sight. They found their tribe grounds defiled, many of the young ones, the females and those who were brave enough to stand up against Broruk, dead or badly wounded. The shaman too was dead, his head cut off and set on a pole above the ruined Herdstone. While the returning warriors howled, in anger, desperation and confusion at what happened the Alpha came closer to his herdstone, emerging from the crowd.

Like most of the Wolf-men he had black fur and piercing red eyes, but just like the recently deceased shaman he looked the most beastly of his people. Each Wolf-man was touched by Chaos in different ways. Those considered to be the strongest had the least or no features of men, and instead were fully beast-like. Those who looked more like men than wolf  appeared human with deformed features, patches of black fur, longer canines or perhaps a tail. Bloodhide, as he was known to his people, was only a step away from becoming just an over-sized wolf. Yet although he often gave in to his bestial urges and fury, and he lead his tribe like a pack of wolves he was blessed with a strong human cunning and intelligence that few of his brethren could share.

Just like the shaman he did not wear much clothing, for everybody could see, and smell who was the most powerful among their number. His fur was thicker than any armor he could wear, and could protect him better from the cold than any coat. His trophies were the few scars that could be seen upon his fur and maw.

As he learned of what happened from the survivors, of Broruk the Chosen and his demands, how he chose to destroy his tribe Bloodhide gathered what remained of his tribe and howled. It was a howl that did not signal defeat or retreat. It was a call, much like one they did every month before the start of their hunt. It was a signal to all the beasts of the forests that the Wolf-men were coming, and as all his warriors joined him in the call, and it sounded louder and more feral, as the few remaining She-Wolves and even the children joined the echo could be heard all the way at Broruk’s village, and the men standing guard felt an uneasy chill along their spines.

*****

Broruk’s skin was black from the arcane flame that burned him. Though such magic would had killed any ordinary man he was a chosen of Slannesh, and such trickery would not defeat him. It did however scar him. He still felt as if he was on fire. Any touch to his skin caused pain, which then turned to fury. None of the Norscans dared approach their leader, who now paced outside in the snow, hoping the ice would bring some relief, but wherever he stepped the snow and ice melted from the arcane heat.

He was angry because the small incident set back his plans, yet at the same time he felt that with such strength and power he could subjugate the other tribes and force them to join him. Who could possibly stand in his way? None, or so he believed.

His concentration was broken when one of the guards keeping watch sounded an alarm. Though it was night, many did not sleep yet, due to the recent events and they quickly left their houses and hovels, armed, ready to fight. Broruk too went to where the guard called. The mass of onlookers moved aside for their leader, whose tentacle writhed in the snow again.

Emerging out of the forest, black figures. Snarling, growling, their red eyes looking to the Norscans.

“The broken beasts come to fight!” Broruk roared out in glee. “Let us greet them with steel, and finish these muts!” The Norscans fought wolves before, and many other beasts. They took long spears, to keep the wolves at bay, some of them held axes and sword. Even a few nets were present, to aid in the fight. The confidence among the Norscans was palpable, especially with their leader present at the front. “Come at us! Meet your death!” Broruk shouted at the approaching wolves, and soon his people joined him, in taunting the beasts.

Their cheering was loud, even as they prepared their shields. A few of the wolves howled and soon the beastmen charged from the forest’s edge toward the village. Broruk’s tentacle rose up above his head, just as it did before at the Herdstone, ready to swipe aside the approaching attackers. A few of the Norscans fired their arrows blindly into the darkness, their torches unable to pierce further. Just as the men were set to hold their ground a yelp came from behind. Those in the back of the lines looked behind them and tried to warn the others but by that time it was too late.

Bloodhide, with his strongest hunters and warriors sneaked in from behind. Using the houses for cover they approached and waited for the right time, when the Norscans would be deafened by their own cries. And as they were distracted, and what remained of the tribe charged from the forest, Bloodhide with his guard leapt into the center of the gathered Norscans. The spearmen had no room to turn around or jab at the wolves. The axes could not be lifted, the nets thrown. The few swordsmen jabbed at the wolves as they rampaged in the tight ranks. With claws and teeth they bit and ripped through human flesh. Broruk tried to bark orders above the screams of his men and the roars of beasts but nobody listened.

Those of the beastmen of lesser blood charged into battle using spears, or fired from afar with their bows. The rest joined the fray, leaping into the panicked and fleeing Norscans who lost all discipline and order. All, except Broruk.

He struck with his tentacle left and right, smashing aside wolf and man alike. The blessings of chaos and his own fury fueling his rampage. His eye allowed him to see more, his tentacle could strike at anybody, from any angle. But, he could not see behind himself. Bloodhide used the chaos of battle to sneak behind his foe. When Broruk heard the roar coming direct from behind him and then felt the wolf’s jaws clamp around his shoulder it was too late to stop the inevitable. Bloodhide’s claws caught the man around his chest and with his jaw holding the shoulder tightly he ripped the mutated arm right off.

With their leader screaming, disarmed, broken, the few Norscans who still hoped for a victory now ran in disarray, only to be chased down and slaughtered by the revenge hungry wolves. The village was soon ruined. Anybody who remained, regardless of age or status, became a meal for the beasts.

But Broruk, his arm missing, was held aloft by Bloodhide, the other wolves gathered, howling, demanding blood, but their leader chose not to take it, just yet.

“The G-gods… they will punish you for this…” Broruk sputtered, losing a lot of his blood, and power quickly. The Beast chose not to humor him.

“You think you are as strong as your gifts…” Bloodhide spoke, in surprisingly fluent tongue, despite being a beast. “You are no Chosen, just a human. Meat. You believed you were strong and wanted our blood, but you never finished the job.” As the Alpha spoke he reached up with his free hand to pierce Broruk’s third eye. The man screamed, blinded by the beast, as he continued to talk. “I will show you what is beneath all of these gifts!”

*****

Weeks later, when messengers and visitors from other tribes to see what occurred at Broruk’s village they found nothing but ruins. All the huts were emptied or destroyed. The inhabitants, or what remained of them were bones and shreds of clothing, littered throughout the settlement. Yet it was in the center where the most gruesome sight could be seen. Impaled over a now extinguished fire was Broruk’s corpse. With his tentacled arm lying in front of his hanging corpse, an empty eye socket, and his skin ripped from his body exposing his now bronzed flesh. It was a message to all those who thought to challenge the Beastmen. No matter which Chaos god, or what gifts a man was given, to the Wolf-Men of Varg he would always be seen as their prey.

Credits:

Writing: WriterX (Myself)


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Posted November 28, 2016 by admin in category "Short Story

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