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A story for the Skaven Skuttlecut Clan, based on the Skaven Army List & accompanying fluff for WHFB. Feel free to comment, feedback welcome.
The shriek of bolts thudding into the blackened stone sounded into the cold air around Gheretto, who leaped in fright with each splintering crack of wood. The long cavern tunnel descended into the Earth for a few hundred yards before curving sharply to the left. That was where the dwarven crossbowmen had halted their advance to open fire. From their position within the cave, all the way up that snaking passage to where Gheretto stood, were hundreds upon hundreds of dead Skaven. Here and there a still-living warrior twitched painfully, crying out in torment, its death-wails falling on deaf and uncaring dwarven ears.
In a thick mob behind Gheretto, terrified clanrats cowered. Shrinking away from the stunted archers that were firing up the tunnel at them, they only remained because of the bitter glare directed at them from their commander. He hissed angrily, kicking a dwarven helm off into the darkness in frustration. Lifting a shield casually to deflect an incoming bolt, he turned to one of his many, more cowardly minions.
"Where are they?!" He spat, singling out the nearest clawleader with his rust-covered blade.
"They'll be-be here soon, Boss-boss!" Came the only response, to which Gheretto only sighed in reply, sheathing his sword.
Meanwhile, not a stone's throw away, Ashengard the Thane had given the order to advance. His assembled warriors, formed up into a shield wall, moved up the slope. Their armor, though slimed over with the blood of gutted rat-men, still gleamed impressively in the pale torchlight of the freshly dug mining tunnel. In their front rank Ashengard marched alongside them, his rune-covered hammer resting heavily on his pauldroned shoulder.
"Boss Gheretto! The dwarf-men are coming! They're coming!" Came a startled cry.
Gheretto snarled in fury, his pale green eyes boiling with rage as he glanced down the slope, over his shoulder. His tail swished gently, its owner taking calming, deep breaths. He gestured to his nearest subordinate curtly before stalking towards the mass of skaven clanrats to take his place safely in the back. To the fore, what few slaves remained where shoved into position before being forced down the tunnel to their deaths. The sounds of panicked slaves being hacked to pieces was somewhat comforting to the distressed chieftan.
He drew his weapon, shouting for his soldiers to get back into ranks. He closed his eyes before lifting his arm and signalling the charge. As expected, his panicked men refused to inch forward, and it was to a symphony of thuds, clanks and splintering that the dwarfs hit the skaven line. The block of rat warriors immediately began to shrink back, slipping back along the tunnel as the rearmost warriors outright ran from the fight, scampering off into the darkness, their chieftan unable to glare the courage back into them this time.
"Back into line! BACK INTO LINE!" He shouted himself hoarse as the dwarfs cut down another entire row of skaven, stepping over the bodies of the fallen to advance ever forward. He was still a good twenty yards from the combat itself, a hundred warm bodies packed between him and the stunties, but already he was beginning to shake in fear. His contact had lied; he'd be recieving no reinforcements. This tunnel would be his tomb.
Gheretto turned, sprinting away from the battle. Behind him, seeing no more reason to stay and fight, the remainder of the clanrats began to break out of formation and follow their fleeing master. The skaven commander turned the corner and scampered up another muddy slope, the faint torchlight casting the commander's twisted shadow against the wall. It was only at the sound of a voice that he skidded to a stop, knee-deep in wet dirt.
"Skuttlecut?" The voice was that of an aged ratman, black leather drawn over his chest in a protective wrap. "Are you-you the only one left?" He toyed anxiously with the cruelly barbed whip hanging from an iron hook on his belt.
"Minol?!" Gheretto was furious yet relieved, filled with a tiny bit of hope now. "What took you so long?!"
"We were waylaid by dwarf-men!" The elder skaven stepped down the slope, gazing terrified off into the distance as he saw the rest of Gheretto's soldiers scurrying into sight, those slowed by injury hacked to pieces by the still-advancing dwarfs. He shouted incomprehensibly over his shoulder, his whip unraveling as he took it in his scarred hand.
The sound of iron on stone resounded through the tunnel. For a moment there was silence, before chaos erupted. A tide of massive hound-like rats poured into the passage, rolling past Gheretto and Minol. The weakest of the surviving clanrats were pulled down in the wave, the descending creatures gnawing through flesh and bone, leather and iron. The dwarfs paused as they spotted the wave approaching. Raising their shields reflexively, the first few rows completely vanished beneath the sea of diseased fur and chattering teeth.
Gheretto cackled breathlessly. "Skuttlecuts! Get them! DIE-DIE DWARF-MEN!"
Last edited by Nikblade2005; February 26th, 2008 at 08:49.
Pretty good story, but you got to finish it!