Next morning everyone (all 8: four humans, two elves and two dwarves) were having lunch at the Rusty Wheelbarrow, when a young man with an official attire entered. He had white wolf embroided on his tunic and carried a longsword on his side. He approached Dietfried. Waldor whispered to others that he was from the temple of Ulric.
The messenger politely asked Dietfried to follow him to the temple of Ulric and take his companions with him. Dietfried said: “All right, let’s go! Yes that’s all of you – or us, as that now is”.
At the temple Teth-Ro noted that acolytes and priests there looked more like stern warriors with their weapons and armor than reverent monks she was expecting. “Well, Ulric is the god of battle valor”, Dietrich commented very briefly.
They were taken to Father Ranolf. He looked the large group in front of him and his lips moved as if counting silently. Then he looked with obvious question on his face at the messenger who had brought them, but this just shrugged and then left.
- “We have a problem in our hands”, Father Ranolf began. “When I brought up the issue at a meeting I had with Commander Schulzmann, he said that we could ask your assistance. He seems to regard you rather highly.”
He seemed to focus his words on Dietfried, who no doubt looked the most trust worthy of the lot, even if he was a servant of Sigmar (very evident by the silver hammer jewelry he was wearing around his neck).
“Father Odo, whom you’ll meet shortly, has had dreadful visions last little while. Well, nightmares no less.” Father Ranolf paused and looked carefully at the faces of the group. Even Rudel was probably without his usual smirk, because the priest seemed pleased to continue. “His eyes have bled during these visions and now he is completely blind. I have no idea if that will be permanent or not. I’ll let you hear the visions from himself.”
He led his guests to a small chamber where a balding elderly looking priest was sitting on a simple chair. The priest had his eyes closed and hands clasped on his lap. After group had been introduced to Father Odo – and he had been asserted of their trustworthiness, he began: “About the time of the chaos invasion here my eyes started bleeding blood during nights. My thoughts on who might this be a sign about were confirmed when the vision started soon after. First I had them only during nights, not really sleep because I wouldn’t really sleep because of the bleeding, but now it has started happening during days too.”
Father Ranolf interjected that through some priestly powers they had been able help Father Odo get some fitful sleep.
- “In the vision I am standing right by a small hill, there is a small tower covered in runes standing on top of the hill. The hill is covered with white and grey skulls, nothing but skulls. Then a person covered in deep black armor stands on the hill. He shouts ‘I shall be free’ with a powerful voice and the hill trembles and blood starts to flow where he is standing, covering skulls and the whole mound of bones.” Father Odo stops.
- “Do you know what that means? Who is that man?” Dietfried queried.
Father Ranolf quickly answered: “Well obviously that is the blood god Khorne. But more interestingly, well, go on Father Odo.”
- “The place had certain familiarity to me in the vision and I think it is located within a week’s journey from here in the Drakwald forest. And among the many minor details that were revealed to me in this vision, one that probably holds the most meaning at this time was a horned brass skull that Khorne was holding in his hand. That is an evil artifact, that I hope could be retreaved from the place shown to me.”
- “So shouldn’t we then start on this trek if it’s several days away? That’s what you want us to do, right?” Teth-Ro spoke up. That was too much irreverence for Dietfried’s liking and he coughed apologetically.
- “I must accompany you, my friends. I will lead you”, Father Odo said quietly.
The arrangements for the trek were started, with Rudel Eisenhauer very excited about leaving the city and Gimgund about the search for an ancient artifact even if that would take him to skull covered mounts with fountains of blood.
The temple provided them a wagon with two sturdy horses to draw them. But that wouldn’t be enough to seat everyone, even with the elves riding their horses. So a cart with a horse was included with provisions for the journey. According to Heth that should be good place the dwarves, they being so small that they could be hidden under a small rock. For some reason neither Skora Gin nor Gimgund took offense. Dietfried took upon himself to see to the needs of their blind guide when they travelled in the wagon.
They were able to follow roads as they moved in the direction Father Odo directed them. After almost two full days worth of journey, they were stopped by an troop of a dozen or so Empire’s soldiers. They were not happy to see that large of a group on travel, and set out to escort them back to the city.
The elves got off their horses and Father Odo was helped down the wagon. Father Odo was directed to the captain of the unit.
“I am Father Odo from the temple of Ulric. We are on special mission sent by God Ulric himself,” Father Odo was speaking with deep conviction, and continued with more power with hint of threat in his voice: “Please let us pass and fulfill the purpose of our God.”
The captain stood silent for a second and then quietly directed his men to get going.
Rudel was sneaking around Teth-Ro, who watched Father Odo intently. Then Teth-Ro spat through the air in front of Father Odo. Dietfried got furious: “What are spitting him for?”
Teth tried to explain that she was just testing if the father was really blind. But Dietfried went on about how she should be treating her betters with some dignity at some length. It didn’t seem to have any impact on Teth-Ro though.
Fortunately those two were able to avoid each other when camp was made that night. Teth-Ro was then glad to take the point with Heth to find the best route for the wagon and cart that followed. Every night Father Odo woke up screaming, and it took Dietfried’s best efforts and several minutes to finally calm him. Others kept their distance and everyone seemed always a bit shaken up by the screams and when seeing the blood oozing from Father Odo’s eyes after these nightmares.
It was later in the afternoon on the fifth day or so when Father Odo said that they were getting very close to their target. Eckhardt, Rudel or Gimgund had been the most impatient to get to the mound, and they took the lead when the group finally got of the wagon, cart and horses. Skora Gin said that they were eager to get there only so that the nightmares they had conjured up in their heads on what was ahead would cease.
When they could see that there was a clearing a head Father Odo said that it is the tomb of a chaos champion who possessed the brass artifact shown to him. The elves went ahead of the rest, scouting. Heth swerved to the right and Teth-Ro to the left along the edge of the clearing. The clearing was a large mound. The mound was covered in bones, skulls and all other kinds of bones. The bones didn’t quite reach to the edge of the forest, however. There was a large monolith covered in dark writing standing near the top of the mound and a large darkened fire pit close to it. And a huge creature wielding a giant battle axe in between the pit and the obelisk.
Waldor came where Heth was crouched near the edge of the forest. Others went past were Teth-Ro was and actually entered the clearing. Heth was desperately trying to signal them to stay back in the forest.
The 8-foot-tall creature was standing with his horns pointing high, its flesh was brandished with strips of brass nailed to it. Rudel could hear the minotaur snorting, maybe it was smelling them. Heth knocked an arrow and let it fly. Waldor send his magical dart. The minotaur grasped something on his side and put it on his snout – the horn sounded a booming echo through the surrounding woods.
As the echo of the horn blow vanished the hulking creature started taking long steps – towards the exposed crowd on the other side of the clearing. Suddenly there was a loud bang. A small cloud appeared around Eckhardt’s musket. An arrow was flying from the bow of Teth-Ro. Rudel was mostly interested in searching the bones and skulls for any treasure or maybe a gold tooth, but still managed to make the appearance of taking part in the battle. Waldor tried to use his spells to cause minotaur to drop his axe – but his spells couldn’t loosen the iron-like grip on his means of destruction and death. Heth and others kept pommelling the minotaur with their missiles, but many of those missed it entirely.
Father Odo who was standing behind Skora Gin, Dietfried and Gimgund. He pronounced a priestly blessing on the dwarves and Dietfried giving them increased battle vigor and agility. The blessed warriors then stepped forward to meet their opponent. The minotaur continued towards the two dwarves, two priestly characters and the woman with the stick that made very loud bangs.
Skora Gin and Dietfried had their halberd and warhammer raised just waiting for the minotaur to reach them. Gimgund seemed less certain how to exactly make a stand against the closing monstrosity.
Skora Gin made a nice slice at the minotaurs torso. The minotaur managed a few swings with his axe, but Skora Gin and Dietfried were very lucky to not get any part of them in the way of that massive blade. Dietfried give the minotaur then two strokes from his hammer, but one of them went wide. Skora Gin stepped in again an gave the minotaur two swift strokes with his halberd, one to an arm and another to his skull right between the horns. The halberd was wedged in the bones of the skull and as the minotaur fell backwards that pulled Skora, who most defiantly refused to let go of his halbeld, on top of the monster. As the monstrosity was drawing its final breath, Skora Gin performed one extraordinary and hilarious combination of dwarven dancing and a balancing act on top of the giant corpse.
Others who had relied on their missile weapons were drawing closer now. Teth-Ro was the closest to Father Odo, who was still at the edge of the clearing. She offered him an arm to lead him, but she got in return a stinging strike from the blind man’s short staff. The old man then started on his own across the mound of bones.
Rudel, who hadn’t found anything worth collecting so far, had made it to the towering rock covered in dark carvings – probably runes or writing. He made an effort to climb the side of the rock, but quickly stopped. He stepped back from the obelisk terrified with his hands covered in blood. He gave a loud sigh of relief when he realized that it wasn’t his hands that were bleeding but the stone – however, he was no less terrified.
Nobody got very far before there was loud rustling from the farther side of the clearing. Four beastmen crossed into the clearing and a beastman’s torso combined to a horses body also came into view. The beastman-centaur, a centigore was farthest to the left and headed towards Gimgund and Skora Gin.
Rudel, Heth and Waldor were near the standing rock, while most others were closer to the minotaur body. Teth-Ro feeling like showing off, took a sprint and lifted his hands to do a cart wheel and probably some flips. But just when she jumped to get the first cart wheel of, she slipped on a large flat skull with tusks. Bone shards scattered and dust covered the elf.
Eckhardt ran along the edge of the clearing where piles of bones didn’t hinder her towards the beastmen with a sword now in hand. The dwarves felt the effects of the blessing waning so they took a charge towards the centigore to make the most of the blessing of haste while it lasted.
Heth and Waldor were busy targeting the closest beastmen, and Rudel made a stand right next to the rune stone. While Father Odo made his way to the top of the mound and to the standing stone, Teth-Ro got up and made a new run for a show of her athletic skills: after a running start she jumped on breast of the minotaur and made a beautiful flip with a perfect landing on crumbling bones right behind the acolyte of Sigmar and the dwarves engaged with the chaos centaur.
The centigore fell quickly and his nasty halberd hadn’t managed to strike on anyone. Dietfried climbed the centigore’s body to reach the two beastmen that were standing right behind the body. She quickly knocked and send an arrow flying piercing a beastman’s thigh. The fight was soon over. Everyone remained unscathed.
Father Odo demanded that they start searching an entrance to the tomb that was to be here. It took circling the large and wide monolith twice before a hidden door half-way hidden under the bones was discovered. Behind the doorway was a narrow descending staircase.