#Lorefight 114!Having sunk the Curse of Zandri and its captain King Amanhotep thanks to a miraculous whirlpool, Marco Colombo smiled towards Tullaris Dreadbringer as Sudenberg finally came to view upon the horizon.Upon entering the Imperial harbour the ship’s crew was immediately welcomed by the sight of four men hanging by the neck with a sign reading “Pirates be warned” above their heads.“Should we be worried about this place Marco, your crew have been through a lot as it is.” Tullaris asked upon seeing Colombo’s face drop at the sight of the hanging men. Still Colombo regained his composure and responded with “Of course not Señor, we are not pirates. Do you really think the Phoenix Court of Ulthuan makes deals with pirates?”And so the ship docked into the harbour and the crew disembarked from their ship after Colombo suspiciously bought the harbourmaster off with two gold coins in return for not having his named written in the port’s log book. “Alright lads, we have 1 evening to resupply and then we’re off again with the morning tide. So snap to it. Vamonos!”The crew walked off in the direction of the marketplace while Tullaris stayed behind to question Colombo. “You said we’d have time to slaughter a village. My master, his voice demands sacrifice.”“And I swear you’ll get your killing spree my friend. But just not right now, we’re a bit rushed for time.”“Why?”“Oh speaking of time I really must be getting on with things. We’ll talk about this later I promise.”“Fine, I’ll go find someone to kill myself!”“No Tullaris, come back here! Ok, get over here now! … Fine, you go do that! See if I care! Don’t be surprised when there’s no ship waiting for you!”
Tullaris trudged through the streets of Sudenberg, clad in his heavy suit of armour and with his great sword the First Draich strapped to his back. He peered around looking for his target but no matter where he looked, he couldn’t find a single target whose death wouldn’t be seen by others or wouldn’t immediately rouse suspicion. He continued to circle round the back-streets of Sudenberg, seeking his victim until finally, he came across the perfect target. Right in the corner of a seldom used alleyway stood an artisan refreshment store whose sign outside had lost so many letters one couldn’t tell what it said anymore. Inside was a young, scantily dressed woman with her back to the door preparing some concoctions in the hope someone may eventually come in and try her drinks, even though all the empty tables and chairs suggested nobody ever did. Sensing he could kill this woman unnoticed, he unfastened the sheath on his back so he could remove his blade once close enough and entered the store. He came closer and closer, approaching his prey as he slowly reached up for his sword and…
“Can I get you something love?”The woman at the counter turned around with the broadest of smiles as well as the most soothing of voices and in that instant, Tullaris was no longer so clear how he should proceed. He moved his hand to his chin, as if rubbing it whilst he considered the menu in the hope she wouldn’t notice the loose holstering of his blade.“Well sir?”“Uhh… I’ll have that please.” Tullaris said as he pointed towards a strange green brew.“The Bloody Cactus? Wow really? Nobody ever picks any of my specials.”“Should I not be picking it then?” The elf asked.“No no, that’s not what I meant sir. I just meant that the people around here aren’t so open to new tastes…But I’ll get straight to it. What brings ye here Mr. Elf?”“It’s a long story.”“It’s a long brew.”
Meanwhile, Colombo had caught up with the rest of the crew including Mr Bill, Señor Montero and Signore Petrochilo among others. They were parading through the hustle and bustle of the town’s central marketplace, living it large as they made the most of their newfound fortune buying everything which offered even the tiniest element of fancy to them. However, all this spending quickly drew the eyes of fellow traders who annoyed at being outbid all the time, soon reported the foreign buyers to some nearby guards. Two state troopers clad in leather armour painted in Sudenberg’s navy blue colours and brandishing halberds approached Colombo and his mates demanding papers.“Aye, we no ‘ave no papers. The capitan cleared it with your jefe.” Señor Montero replied hastily.Colombo quickly interjected, staying that “I think what my friends means to say is that we do have papers but we’ve simply misplaced them back on our ship. Now if you don’t mind we’ll just go collect those and all will be okay.”Colombo and his crew mates turned and began walking off only to see four more guards approaching from that side.“Well, well, well. I could recognise that hat from miles away.” came a voice, interrupted by slow clapping and the heaving of heavy armour as an elderly soldier clad in a plate suit of armour decorated by gold trimmings and a silver cuirass stretched over his chest approached. As the soldier neared, Colombo took in more of his features including his grey sideburns, feathered helmet carried in his arms and the missing left eye marked by a long scar along his face.“Have we met? I apologise in advance if I had something to do with your face.” Colombo squirmed.“Only by reputation. This (pointing at his eye), was the Khemrian king’s doing.”“Huh, well that’s just terrible. I’ve had my own share of encounters with their kind I can tell you that.” Colombo chuckled.“But enough about my eye, I know you don’t I? Marco Colombo, scavenger of lizard temples.”“And who might you be?”“My name is Andreas Leonardus, Governor of Sudenberg and Enforcer of the Emperor’s mandate.”“The, the Governor?”“You don’t have to look so frightened, I only meant to say hello. What you did in Lustria took some serious nerves and I bet that elf queen was pleased to get her crown back. Here, let’s shake to new beginnings.”“Ah yes, to new beginnings!”Andreas stuck his arm out and shook Colombo’s before happily shaking each crew member’s hands only for his smile to suddenly fade while shaking Mr Bill’s hand as he noticed the barest trace of a tattoo sticking out from the cuffs of his shirt. Becoming suspicious, the governor lifted the sleeve of Mr Bill’s shirt revealing a massive letter “P” tattooed onto his skin.“Had a brush in with the Elves’ Golden Company did we, pirate? Guards, take this man to the brig. He has a date with the gallows and it would be a shame for him to miss it.”“Mr Governor, I must protest. Mr Bill has been in my employ for some years now and has never once given into piracy since before I met him. It’s all in his past I assure you.”“Nevertheless, the sanction for piracy is death. The fact he has gone all this time avoiding such a fate makes no difference to me. Regrettably, the punishment for employing or in some way providing services to a pirate is also death. I think it’s about time we saw this ship of yours.”
Back at the dining establishment, Tullaris was sat at a table tucking into his drink, which he was secretly disappointed to discover contained raspberry rather than actual blood for flavouring, and a freshly baked date pie making small talk with the waitress who he’d by now discovered was an Amazon named Melandra.“So you mean to tell me you were a general in the Dark Elf armies? Was Malekith really as scary as the stories say? What about their Queen now?”“Yes I was, well we call them Dreadlords rather than generals. As for Malekith, you got used to him in the end. Hellebron however, she was-“ Tullaris stoppped talking for a second, unable to articulate how he felt about his former commander before turning back to Melandra and continuing “but enough about them or my adventures killing lizards, I’m curious to know how a young Amazon ends up in Sudenberg of all places.”“How does anyone end up somewhere they shouldn’t? I wanted to travel the world only for life to get in the way. But it could be worse, at least I’m not close to the bottom of the food chain here like my sisters in Lustria. It’s funny really, when I was younger I used to dr-…. oh never mind it will sound ridiculous to someone like you.”“You dreamt of another sky, new land, new people, new life. A whole world teaming with life. Why stand still waiting when there’s so much out there?”“How could you know that?”“Because contrary to how it might look Melandra, I’m much older than you and I’ve seen many people with similar dreams.”“How many of them get to fulfil them?” Melandra asked inquisitively.“Life gets in the way.” Tullaris responded.
Back at the port, Andreas Leonardus’ men were scouring Colombo’s ship from top to bottom for stolen goods before calling him on board once they discovered the massive vault of treasures on board, leading Andreas to storm out shortly afterwards.“You brought cursed gold into my city?!”“Now to be fair, we didn’t know it was cursed until a floating pyramid with a scorpion tail tried to sink our ship.” Colombo explained, poorly before a further marine came up to governor holding Colombo’s talisman.“What’s this? A talisman to Ranald? First you bring cursed treasure and now a homage to the god of thieves? I don’t believe this.Marco Colombo, I place you and your entire crew under arrest for the crimes of piracy, suspicion of sponsoring piracy and the importation of dangerous goods into an Imperial province, thereby creating significant risk to public wellness. You and your men shall be taken to the gallows henceforth where you shall hang until dead at which point your bodies will be taken to the bay as a warning to other members of your kind!Though I will thank you for one thing before you go. This treasure of yours will certainly help us pay our debts to the Reikland so we’ll just have to hope this curse doesn’t follow them there.”And so Marco Colombo and his crew were shackled and brought to the gallows while marines began unloading his treasure to be moved to the governor’s flagship. Meanwhile, a crowd of Imperial citizens were beginning to gather around the gallows for the public spectacle. The whole plaza was surrounded by soldiers wielding either halberds or handguns with Leonardus soon joining them via horseback while a string of drum-playing troops signalled his arrival. Atop the gallows stood a hooded, bare chested figure sharpening his axe, just in case a trap door were to fail. As Marco was brought up the steps where the noose awaited him, he surveyed the area to no avail, causing him to wonder whether Tullaris really had abandoned him for a good slaughter. How could he survive now?
- Wow React: Tullaris never heard the drums playing in the distance and simply kept drinking with the Amazon. Eventually once the drink was over he paid and left her presence, intent on finding Colombo and making amends.
But he never discovered Colombo’s fate, hanging several feet off the ground by a rope wrung round his neck, for on his way through the city Tullaris suddenly became distracted by a trail of magical energies emanating far away from here. Could it be? No, surely it couldn’t. But he had to find out, he had to leave this city now, alone, and find out whether the Witch King could actually be alive.
- Love React: Tullaris and Melandra heard the drums playing and decided to inspect what was going on. Upon arriving at the plaza they saw Colombo and his crew being brought to their positions on the gallows where each had a noose brought down over their heads and tied round their necks.
The dark elf instantly began hatching a plan to rescue his captain, asking Melandra to sneak round and free the captives while he made a distraction. He burst into the plaza, brandishing his greatsword and striking at both guard and civilian alike. The crowd attempted to clear as citizens ran for their lives from the bloodthirsty elf who went on an absolute rampage, hacking and slashing through his victims as if they were made from butter, but soon found there was nowhere to run under the sheer mass of the crowd and Dreadbringer’s own talent for murder.As the fighting continued, more and more troops piled in to stop the Dreadbringer only for him to use the peasants who still remained as shields against enemy gunfire to lure them into melee. Eventually even the executioner picked up his axe and descended from the gallows to fight the Dark Elf, allowing Melandra to finally sneak up and begin untying Colombo and his crew from their bindings using a knife she wore on her belt.However, Leonardus grew tired of watching his troops die and thus gave them the order to no longer hold back in the event of civilian casualties. Tullaris continued to fight his way through the plaza, numbering over 400 kills as far as he could tell but the pressure was mounting as handgunners began deliberately firing into the crowd to kill him. And then he took pause as he saw a hell blaster volley gun being wheeled onto the edge of the plaza!The artillery piece’s engineers opened the canon up and proceeded to load its top 3 barrels, there was no way Tullaris’ armour would protect him from this. Fortunately, Tullaris looked over towards the gallows to find out that their distraction had indeed been successful because Melandra, Marco and the crew were nowhere to be seen, therefore marking the perfect time for Tullaris to run before the artillery piece opened fire.Tullaris ran through the streets of Sudenberg back to the port, effortlessly bursting through walls of spearmen and miscellaneous imperial units until finally he returned to the ship which Marco’s crew had been busily preparing to set sail.Marco Colombo’s ship departed from the harbour just in time to save all of their lives. However, it later turned out that only 75,000 golds worth of the original 250,000 gold treasure remained on board. It seems the Empire would be settling its debts after all.
- Angry React: Tullaris and Melandra heard the drums playing and decided to inspect what was going on. Upon arriving at the plaza they saw Colombo and his crew being brought to their positions on the gallows where each had a noose brought down over their heads and tied round their necks.
The dark elf instantly descended into the crowd, hacking and slashing through soldier and civilian alike as Melandra snuck round and free the captives during his distraction.Troops piled into the plaza to stop the Dreadbringer only for him to use the peasants who still remained as shields against enemy gunfire to lure them into melee while Melandra attacked the executioner with her knife face-on.The executioner struck towards her with his axe in large swings only for her to evade his attacks by use of her natural Amazonian agility, limboing beneath his blade and sidestepping any low blows while she delivered a series of precise jabs with her knife to his chest until finally he succumbed to blood loss and fainted, falling off of the side of the gallows as he did so.However, despite her victory over the executioner this result had indeed cost her a great deal of time. Down in the plaza Tullaris was still slaying his enemies in their dozens, still protected by the human shield of civilians unable to vacate the premises. But the Governor was growing tired of such slaughter and began to care less and less for Tullaris’ shields, resulting in an order to send the marines in. Whole squadrons of riflemen appeared while the governor’s engineers wheeled in a hellblaster volley gun. Now was the time for Tullaris to leave!But he couldn’t, for as he looked over to the gallows he saw that Melandra hadn’t yet finished untying Colombo and his crew. They needed more time and there was only one way they would get it. Tullaris Dreadbringer grasped his sword as tight as he could and ran straight towards the Governor.“Fire!” The Governor cried as he suddenly feared for his own life. Twenty rifles lit up and pierced the Har Ganeth executioner’s armour, tearing through his chest and reappearing through his back but the elf never relented, charging with ever greater fury. The Governor removed a pistol from his horse’s saddle and joined the men in firing at this ravenous elf only for Tullaris to finally come into range and thrust his blade through Leonardus‘ chest. The Governor fell to his knees and died but it seemed Tullaris was not long for this world either as he took more and more gunshots to his body. As he died he turned to see Melandra escaping with Colombo and his crew, it seems Tullaris’ sacrifice had been worthwhile after all.The crew ran back to their ship and set sail before the marines could catch up but despite escaping with their own lives, the ship was beset by a solemn mood. Not only had Colombo’s companion died, they were missing 175,000 hold’s worth of treasure too!…………As time went by and the Governor’s men read out the long list of trumped-up charges being directed at him “By decree of the Emperor’s mandate, all persons found guilty of piracy, or aiding a person convicted of piracy or associating with a person convicted with piracy shall be sentenced by the neck to hang until dead. The prisoners are found guilty of such crimes and thus shall warrant the consequences of their actions.”
Colombo became increasingly anxious. There really was no sign of Tullaris or any rescue for that matter. As such, the explorer from Trantio decided to put his escape into his own hands.“Psst. Hey you, over here.” He called to the executioner whose hands had been hovering over the lever to the trapdoor beneath him.“Me?”“Yes, you. Tall, dark and frankly quite spooky. Where am I?”“Where? You’re in Sumderberg. What are you, a dummkopf?”“Ah yes, Sudenberg the great imperial colony in the South. And tell me does Sudenberg follow Imperial law?”“Uhmm…yes.”“What’s going on up there?” The Governor yelled before motioning for the executioner to stay away from the prisoner.“Thank you spooky.” Colombo said before turning his head to the crowd “Under Imperial contract I demand a trial by contact! Have you got that you sand-smitten tin donkeys? I invoke the legal right of judicial championship!”The Governor merely smirked as he heard Colombo’s request. “And of course we except your request, pirate. You will soon wish you had accepted your hanging. Summon our champion!”Two marines climbed onto their horses and rode off into the distance while Colombo and his crew were let down from the gallows where Colombo’s bindings were promptly cut loose.Marco instinctively rubbed his hands together and soothed his wrists that had succumbed to rope-burn as he demanded the use of his crossbow in the upcoming fight.“Have whatever you like. It won’t save you.” The Governor scoffed as a trumpet blew in the distance. “Ah, our champion is here. Clear the courtyard! Behold, O employer of pirates and despair!”The people in the plaza dispersed, revealing a mercenary by the name of Brunner, a bounty hunter clad in leather armour backed up by a plate helm and shoulder-guards, carrying 5 daggers strapped to his chest, 2 pistols holstered at his sides, a machete sheathed behind his back and a whole array of pouches carrying who-knows what?
- Sad React: Within second’s from entering the square Brunner immediately reached for his two pistols and opened fire, signalling for Marco Colombo to duck and run towards a nearby market stall for cover. He pulled back on his crossbow and hastily loaded an arrow onto its shaft as Brunner fired off another round which only narrowly missed the explorer’s head.
Having loaded his crossbow, Colombo turned to fire over the crate only to suddenly be caught off guard as he received a smoke bomb to the face. The smoke stung his eyes and caused him to miss-fire, sending his arrow way off course into the air while Brunner rushed forward with one of his daggers in hand and plunged it straight into Colombo’s left shoulder before punching the explorer in the stomach with his other clenched fist.Reeling from this sudden attack, Colombo pulled an arrow from his quiver and thrust it towards his foe, attempting to use its head as a dagger himself. But the mercenary moved even quicker and instantly grabbed Colombo’s arm in a lock-hold to disarm him before removing a second dagger from his belt which he promptly stuck into Colombo’s ribs. As Marco reached for his bleeding torso, Brunner delivered two additional punches to Colombo’s jaw before grabbing his outstretched arm and pulling him into a throw. Colombo tumbled over Brunner’s back and landed flat on his own. Finally, Brunner reloaded his pistol and shot the incapacitated sailor between the eyes.“No!” came a yell from outside the square as Tullaris Dreadbringer saw his friend lying dead on the ground. He turned to rage and charged towards his friend’s killer with his greatsword only for Brunner to pull out his machete in kind. The two swordsmen clanged their blades against one another and Tullaris struck repeatedly at his foe, never relenting in his pursuit for vengeance such that he eventually knocked Brunner’s blade from his hands. However while Tullaris gave into despair, Brunner remained calm and calculating, causing Tullaris’ finishing blow to be met by a flash grenade. Brunner dropped another smoke bomb, shrouding the fight in smoke. By the time the smoke cleared it was all over, Tullaris lied dead on the ground with a dagger sticking out from his neck.“Did you know these men, girl?” Governor Leonardus asked Melandra from the vantage of his steed.“Uhh, no sir. Sorry sir.”“Then be on your way, this is no place for girls dressed like you.”“Yes sir, thank you sir.” Melandra left the square and headed back to her shop, trying to ignore the sound of firing squads finishing the rest of Colombo’s crew off.
- Laugh React: Within second’s from entering the square Brunner immediately reached for his two pistols and opened fire, signalling for Marco Colombo to duck and run towards a nearby market stall for cover. He pulled back on his crossbow and hastily loaded an arrow onto its shaft as Brunner fired off another round which only narrowly missed the explorer’s head. Having loaded his crossbow, Marco turned to
“Wait!” Colombo called from behind his cover. “I think we can come to an understanding sir! It would be a shame for either of us to waste good ammunition when a deal can be made!”“What sort of deal?!” Brunner yelled to the cover-seeking crossbowman.“A lucrative one! I have a treasure on board my ship. A hefty chunk of it is yours if you come with me!”“You can’t afford what I charge!”“Oh really, a 100,000 gold salary says you’re wrong!”“You’re bluffing!”“I never bluff sir, I merely make considered offers. By Ranald, I swear it! … And I seriously doubt you have any intention of staying in this barren pit they call a city for too long!”“Alright enough of this now. Close in and execute that man, Brunner.” Andreas Leonardus interjected from horseback.“Hey Brunner, do you trust me?” Colombo yelled once more.“No.”“Clever man. I’m going to run on the mark of 3. If you choose to follow I would happily welcome you to my crew.”“Kill him, Brunner!” Leonardus bellowed again.“1.”“You are this city’s champion. Kill that man now or by Sigmar I will execute you myself.”“2.”“Do it now!” Leonardus shrieked as he removed his pistol from its holster and aimed it at Brunner.“3!”Marco Colombo took off running as Brunner ducked, removed a dagger from his belt and stabbed the Governor in the throat before turning his pistols on the troops guarding Colombo’s crew.Tullaris stood up from his seat at Melandra’s shop and ran after the sound of gunshots emanating from the plaza as Melandra followed close behind out of concern.Colombo darted through the streets, swindling his way across rooftops and through small crevices to avoid the marines’ gunfire only to discover that the majority of his treasure was missing from his ship and that its rudder was connected to the port’s mooring via a massive chain.“The Flagship! They have my money!” Colombo yelled in frustration.“I know where it is stationed, this way!” Brunner responded as he led Colombo’s crew through the harbour. The team fought through entire waves of infantry men as Brunner opted to fighting with his machete after handing his pistols to Mr Bill and Senor Montero and giving his satchel of explosives to Signore Petrochilo.Guns fired and grenades detonated as Colombo’s gang tore through the city before finally running into Tullaris and Melandra.“I leave you alone for 10 minutes and you manage to turn this place into a battlefield.” Tullaris chucked as Brunner called for them to hurry before serious reinforcements were called.However, just as they were about to set off Melandra suddenly let go of Tullaris’ hand.“What are you doing?”“Get away from me!”“You never said anything about bring pirates! You’re a bunch of criminals. Leave me alone!”With a disappointed tone of voice, Tullaris responded “But you said you wanted to travel the world? This is your chance to fulfil that dream. Please.”Melandra thought for a moment but her fear won out, resulting in her calling out “They’re over here! Guards, they’re over here!”The guards approached and Tullaris ran with the others to board the flagship before setting off. They sailed out to sea, avoiding cannon fire and gunshots from the port. They had recuperated most of the treasure, they had a massive ship fully stocked for sea-faring adventures and they had a more than capable bounty hunter added to their ranks yet despite all of this, Tullaris Dreadbringer still wished that strange Amazon running a shop in Sudenberg had chosen another way…