After pondering for a while, I decided to write down some made-up lore Franz Lohner style. After thinking how best to do this, I decided on a drop-down menu because it allows to keep the OP simple on first look and not to overwhelming. It also gives me the possibility to easily add more FL(i)Cs at a later point should I decide to write more.
An absent-minded man of mysteries, Franz Lohner relies on his bulging journal to keep track of occurrences, intrigues and arguments around Taal’s Horn Keep. However, not all extracts make it into his journal because they never happened. Or did they?
The Chaos Rune Swords - A three parts story
Part 1 - Forgotten Heroics
There’s trouble in Ubersreik. Or there isn’t. Point being, I am not sure. Why, you ask? Because ever since our last visit to Ubersreik more and more Chaos and Skaven are going there. However, there is nothing left in Ubersreik, and they aren’t doing anything. They are just …… there. As if something would magically draw them to the place. Well, better let them be in Ubersreik than in Helmgart or some other place where there are still people around. But I digress. Currently, I am looking at another place blessed with our past presence, namely Bögenhafen.
As for how it came to this, it is one of the weirder stories. And our supply on weirdness is not exactly short. So, some nights ago Kerillian and Sienna decided to join hands and to finally find out what kind of arduous labour Kruber performed to be granted the Lady’s blessing. Figured that some alcohol would help to loosen his tongue and so it did. And Kruber told a lot of stories about half his life, his time as trainer for Middenball or how the Emperor relieved him from his hat… But whenever pressed for details concerning some kind of beast(ies) he slayed, he always mimed the amnesiac. I figure alcohol played a role in that one too, one way or another. However, Sienna kept pressing the matter and at one-point Kruber snapped angrily and shouted at her that she should know it as she was there as well. And from that point it really started getting weird. Because instead of starting a shouting match, they looked at each other with a strange mixture of confusion and clarity in their gaze and a somehow pained expression. Something of this particular combo seemed to have piqued the interest of our resident Shadow Mage. Because just a few moments later, she was all over Kruber with an unexpected result. Maybe not completely unexpected but for a different reason. I’ll come back to that at another point.
Actually, Kruber wasn’t amnesiac about what kind of beast he slayed. It was more that he was made to forget and if not for the interference of the Lady this particular story would probably have been lost forever. And it wasn’t just Kruber alone, Sienna, Kerillian, Victor and Bardin were affected too. Apparently, some kind of magic did mess with their memories and apparently their adventure in Bögenhafen did not exactly happen as they remembered it. The part about Father Krausmann and the Blightreaper? Oh, that one is true. But it was always strange why Father Krausmann took the key away from the sanctum and also how he could mutate beyond recognition. Sure, you might blame the Blightreaper but none of us has yet been affected by that one and we are storing it right here in the keep. Not the brightest idea, thinking about it. But where do you store a Chaos Rune Sword anyway? It was the same problem Father Krausmann had. Only that he had a solution to it, we were not aware of so far.
So what did actually happen in Bögenhafen? You see, after picking up the Blightreaper and preparing their escape, the “sword” drew the group in a different direction or so they told me. And looking closer, they found a not-really-hidden pathway behind some wooden blanks laid bare by the use of some explosives. Being confronted with the choice between fighting the Pactsworn or checking out this new route, the choice fell on the latter. So, the Blightreaper in their hands, the Skaven behind them, they run down the corridor, finding the entrance to some catacombs below the church, although catacombs is probably said to much. Backed into a corner, they follow suit and enter the catacombs permanently pursued by the fur-furs. Running down the tunnels at one point they see some light, for some larger room. And just as they get there, they hear a loud roar, followed by blackout. First one or better only one standing up after that? Our mighty hero in disguise – Sir Kruber.
I am still trying to figure out the exact whys and hows. But for what it seems, the Ubersreik 5 found in the catacombs the Beast of Bögenhafen. The Beast itself seems to have been attracted by the Blightreaper which Krausmann previously stored in the catacombs. Confronted there, Krausmann managed to trap the monster but was wounded mortally in the process. The Blightreaper – after being picked up by our lot – was itself attracted to the Beast again, ultimately leading the group there. For the next part, my only source is Kruber and I am not exactly sure how reliable his tale was. However, long story short as Victor and the others woke up, the Beast was dead. Slayed by Kruber. Alone. How he managed it, who knows but all of them described the aftermath as bloody, really, really bloody. And while most of this belonged to the Beast, Kruber seemed to have lost a fair share of it too. A particular detail that stood out from the description from the others, was Kruber’s face as he kneeled in that bloody mess, leaning on his Greatsword, seeing the others waking up. He seemed …. relieved.
And with this said, we reach the final of this small tale. After keeping Kruber from dying, the group started to look around. And while a lot of the area was smashed to bits, there were still quite a lot of documents and other stuff. The content? No idea, because as soon as the first one tried to even touch it, they were all teleported out of the room to the closest nearby magic relay – a Waystone, followed by that particular spell making them all amnesiac What could be important enough for a former Witchhunter to use magic artifacts or other strange means to be hidden below the church? All I know is that I want to know it. So, I guess it means going back to Bögenhafen.
Part 2 - Shadowy Dealings
The Winds of Ulgu. That ist he „official“ name for the magic causing half of this mess, we are currently dealing with. One could wonder how Olesya did not notice earlier that something messed with the memories of our lovely residents. Well, this is a funny story. Because she knew. And so did it I. However, it is different than what you might think. Because it did happen at an earlier time. You see back then in Ubersreik I made a deal with Christoph Engel in order to protect my beloved Red Moon Inn. Due to him having “safety concerns” I allowed him to erase some parts of the Ubersreik Five’s memories surrounding certain specifics of the Wizard’s Tower. I was sure they wouldn’t mind. I did honour this deal as you could never know when you need the help of a Grey Wizard the next time. And because of this controlled magic manipulation we missed the random one in the Bögenhafen incident.
Which brings me to Bögenhafen and the legacy of Father Krausmann. Due to the magic protection of the catacombs, I needed to send Olesya, escorted by Victor, Sienna and Bardin. Though, the first problem was getting there. The tunnels below the church? Caved-in squashing countless Skaven in the process. But how did the Beast get in you might think. There has to be a second entrance. And well, there was one which the Beast of Bögenhafen smashed into the wall himself. But Krausmann sealed that one while trapping said Beast. So, the only way in was to make a new entrance. Finally, a chance for Bardin to put his pickaxe to good use. Or some explosives. And so after some carefully calculated detonations, our group found entry to the catacombs. The scenery there confirmed pretty much what Kruber told us and we found out that a dead rotting beast smells even worse than the living one. Should probably be lucky that Bardin didn’t try to eat it. And while Sienna – in a refreshing twist of fate – hindered Victor in burning down the whole place, Olesya deactivated the magic protection placed upon the place and they brought back a lot of documents.
What is it about? Well, pretty much what one could picture. Research about the Blightreaper or actually, about Chaos Rune Swords in general. And let’s say there were a few interesting bits buried in there. The first one, Father Krausmann not only found a way to store and hide the Blightreaper. He found a way to actually destroy it. Or any Chaos Rune Sword for the matter. What we need for this? A functioning Rune Forge, a capable Rune Smith and a suitable artifact of equal or higher might than the cursed weapon(s) themselves. Depending on the person, the first two can already prove to be tricky but an artifact capable of the feat? Krausmann was at a loss where to find such one, so he never even tried to carry out this plan. Not that he would have had the time due to his imminent death. However, I have a very good idea for a suitable artifact. How I good this valuable intel? Well, we are still here. As said before, Chaos Rune Sword have the tendency to lure in worshipper of Chaos. Or worse. But our keep has still not been found. And while Olesya’s magic is quite potent, it is not the only reason. After all, some random Bretonian messenger found it quite easily. No, the reason is we got lucky, quite lucky by getting our hands on … the Izrakrak.
The Dwarven Stone seems to completely negate any influence of the Blightreaper in the Keep. Another seemingly proof of its effectiveness is what we currently observe in Ubersreik since according to Father Krausmann’s research there is another Chaos Rune Sword there. And now with the protection of Izrakrak gone, its “scent” is luring in more and more Chaos worshipper. Luckily, they haven’t yet found it. Or actually, it hasn’t to do anything with luck. Because right as I was in the process of starting to contact my informants, Kruber was blabbering that this was probably the thing they sealed in the Wizard’s Tower. Not that they ever mentioned that before. Then again, they couldn’t. At least, now I know why Engel was so insistent on this specific detail of our deal. Olesya was right, never trust a Grey Wizard. Damn you Engel!
Olesya can break the seal. But from there it is a race against the Skaven and Chaos to reaching the Chaos Rune Sword first. I could also try to ignore the issue, however with the Izrakrak gone it is only a matter of time until the seal breaks anyway and you don’t want to have an army with a Chaos Rune Sword against you or even worse, actively looking for you. Then again, I am not really looking forward to having yet another of these accursed things in our keep or sending our little troupe into the Wizard’s Tower and back to Ubersreik. Again.
Better take a look at the rest of Krausmann’s research and ask some Dwarfs for help.
Part 3 - The Rune Forge
Curse you Engel! I am not sure if I should be impressed or if I should be mad. We knew that the Rune Sword was in Ubersreik and yet, finding it proved to be more challenging as expected. Or maybe it should have been expected …. So, the plan was simple enough, going to the Wizard’s Tower, breaking the seal, picking up the Rune Sword and be back at the Keep for some ale in the evening. So far the idea. The issue is that Ubersreik is a ruin, and somehow no one remembered where the damn tower was standing before. Or if it was still standing. Actually, the better question would be if a tower has ever been standing in Ubersreik. Because that’s the thing with Shadow Magic, you don’t know if what you see and hear is what you actually see and hear. The only good thing about this, was that it made life harder for our furry friends as well with the additional setback that they didn’t even knew why they were there.
Well, luckily, we had Olesya on our side which took it somehow personal to find the entrance to the tower. Has probably something to do with wizard’s pride. And finally, after two days of search we found it …. underground and horizontal. Well, Engel always had weird ideas about architecture. And our problems didn’t end there. Because as soon as we entered the tower and broke the seal, all hell broke loose. No longer hindered by the seal, the Chaos Rune Sword called out for his potential new masters which streamed to the tower in masses. The good and the bad about this was that Engel made excessively sure that even with the seal gone, getting close to the sword would …. require effort. I won’t go into much details, mainly because none of our little troupe is willing to talk about what they witnessed. But Sienna looked like she saw the dead personally and Kruber as well had the healthy paleness normally witnessed for Necromancers. As for Bardin, I have never seen him that silent. At least the Ubersreik 5 weren’t the only ones tormented by the illusions as the Skaven seemingly unprovoked started a civil war in the middle of their operation. So long story short, we have now two Chaos Rune Swords in our keep and somehow, I don’t feel any safer at all.
Concerning the next phase of this operation, I asked for some favours at Karak Azgaraz. However, the idea of bringing a Chaos Rune Sword into their Karak did not find much support. And I fear the other Karaks will react similarly. So, our best chance is to find a working Rune Forge in an abondened Karak and luckily there are a few available. Karak Gnol though is an unsalvageable ruin. So our best bet would be yet another return to previous places: Karak Kro. Luckily for us, an old acquaintance heard of our dilemma. And since dwarfs don’t like holding a debt, he even willingly offered his help and even brought a Rune Smith with him. Now, to the complicated part. While Halgrim confirmed a workable Rune Forge inside of Karak Kro, it has to be reactivated. So our mission will be carried out in two steps. On our first visit, we will have to reactivate both the me-chanical as well as the magic machinery which power up the Rune Forge. The process is not diffi-culty but it appears we need to fetch some spare items from the storage for the repairs and this means getting deeper into the Karak into Skaven controlled territory.
Once this is done, we can start with the actual destruction of the Chaos Rune Swords. Halgrim and the Rune Smith can enter the Forge through the support tunnels together with the Izrakrak. Mean-while, we will enter from the different direction with the two swords in our luggage functioning as bait. Once we unite at the Forge, our new friend will start the smithing process. However, he al-ready warned us that it will take a while. So we should prepare to take a stand, a lengthy one at that ….
Well, at least we have a plan. What could possible go wrong.
So I finished part three and can consider this project done. For the most part I am content with the content of the FLiCs (although I think they ended up longer than the normal FLCs). Also, I might change phrasing here and there as I probably have done a poor job in imitating Lohner and writing can always be improved. I am also open for suggestions. I think Part 3 is overall the weakest and still has issues with pacing and the exact order of happenings. Hopefully, I find the motivation to work on that part, sometime later. Not sure if I will add more FLiC at one point in time. The interest seems limited. For the unlikely case some designer reads this. Yes, it is a very thinly veiled attempt for a campaign suggestion (the idea is far older after all). Would be basically a retcon of Bögenhafen with either an alternative ending to the Blightreaper map or a whole new return to Bögenhafen map, followed by a return to the Wizard’s Tower, followed by yet another return to Karak Kro separated into two missions with one reparing the Rune Forge and the second one being a last stand kind of map, defending the Forge until the Ritual is completed.
If you have any questions concerning the content feel free to ask. For example if I have represented lore wrongly or described scenario which contradicts already existing Vermintide lore. If you want to, you can also write your own FliC and I can post (and/or link) it in the opening.