Act 2

Scene 11: Let’s split-up!

astle courtyard in front of the gate. At one point, four imperial soldiers cautiously enter the scene. One of them is leading a ferocious Tilean Manhound on a leash. It is quiet. Very quiet. The soldiers have uncertain expressions on their faces. They look around and swallow every now and then.]

[Mathias] [whispering] It looks abandoned.

[Heinrich] [also whispering] Maybe they all escaped or perished, eh captain?

[Captain Thadeus] [loudly] Nonsense! The filthy spawns are just lurking in the depths of this infernal fortress, and we … By Sigmar! We will put an end to their miserable existence today!

[Suddenly, a piercing, overwhelming scream comes from the main building of the Castle. It engulfs the newcomers like a terrible wave. It sounds like a combination of a demonic shout, a ghastly roar and a screech of metal on glass. The soldiers are startled and the dog jumps in the arms of one of them.]

[Tobias] [in horror] By Sigmar! What was that?!

[Heinrich] A demon of some sort… or worse.

[Captain Thadeus] [with less certainty] Nonsense. These are just tricks of those filthy monsters, for sure. It will not save them from the wrath of the Emperor.

[Mathias] Yeah, about that … Wasn’t it supposed to be the Inquisitor, that was coming to clear this castle of all demons and stuff?

[Captain Thadeus] Aye! To the glory of Sigmar and the Emperor!

[Mathias] [nodding] Right, uhm … And now … Why our beloved Inquisitor, glory to his name, blessed he among the Sigmarites and stuff … is not here to send these demons back into the hellish void, but rather uses simple soldiers like us who, at the sight of a demon will, pardon the expression, shit their pants? [seeing the captain’s fiery, scolding gaze] Er, I’m asking for a friend.

[Captain Thadeus] We are scouts. We are to investigate if this wide-open gate is not some kind of a demonic trap.

[Mathias] [still nodding] Right, yes. But if it turned out, that we would indeed find some kind of demonic manifestation here… Wouldn’t it be better if it was handled by someone who really has a vague idea how to banish a demon? [after a pause] Still, asking for a friend.

[Captain Thadeus] We don’t question the orders of the Inquisitor. As soon as we find a source of a demonic presence, we will stand our ground and then rush to report it to the camp.

[Mathias] [with resignation] A perfect plan.

[Captain Thadeus] Indeed!

[Heinrich] [looking around the courtyard] Hey, what’s that dead donkey doing over there?

[Captain Thadeus] Doesn’t matter! We have to search the castle. There is only one way to do it efficiently and effectively …

[Mathias] [to himself, looking at the sky] No, please don’t let it be …

[Captain Thadeus] [triumphantly] Let’s split up!

[Mathias] [to himself] Come on! [to Captain Thadeus] Brilliant scheme, commander. Truly fantastic. But…

[Captain Thadeus] [raising an eyebrow] But?

[Mathias] Is it really wise? When we split up, it will be easier to catch us one by one.

[Captain Thadeus] [clapping his thigh] Ha! You’re a moron! We will comb more terrain this way, and the filthy monsters will have already scurried away at the mere sight of Sigmar’s brave soldiers. Okay, let’s split up.

[Thadeus remains in the courtyard with the battle hound, while Heinrich, Mathias and Tobias move accordingly towards: the nearest tower, the main building, and the last of them goes to the strange fluctuating portal in the wall. Thadeus watches his companions disappear in their chosen locations. Then the commander starts whistling and looking around the courtyard. The dog trembles slightly and hugs the captain’s leg.]

[Captain Thadeus] [quietly, to himself] It’s not that bad here … it’s a bit neglected, but there is a well and all …

[Suddenly, Heinrich bursts out of the tower’s lowest window onto the cobblestones. He looks back in horror. A ghost resembling a fragile young girl appears in the window … it has an enormous gaping maw filled with huge fangs. The ethereal lady pursues the human, gliding smoothly along the wall. The soldier escapes towards the main building.]

[Heinrich] [in horror] HELP!

[Captain Thadeus] [cuddling up to the battle hound, with his thumb up] Eh, you’re doing well, soldier! Keep it up! This apparition will tire soon!

[Heinrich swears under his breath and bursts into the main building, slamming the door behind him. The ghost follows the man, going straight through the door. Moments later, the door opens again and Mathias runs out. He is chased by a big red horned demon of Khorne wielding a flaming sword. The battle hound yelps at the sight of the demon and runs as quickly as possible to the well. He dives in and a big splash is heard.]

[Mathias] [to Thadeus] HELP!

[Captain Thadeus] [taking two steps back] Sure soldier, I’ll get right on it, but first I need to help Heinrich!

[Mathias runs into the tower, the demon follows him. Then, Tobias runs out of the tower. He is chased by a herd of five Blup-like nurglings. The little green horned demons snap their mouths joyfully.]

[Tobias] [to Thadeus] HELP!

[Captain Thadeus] Hold on, I’ll get the dog! The dog will handle them!

[Tobias runs into the main building, the nurglings follow him. Similar scenes take place several more times. The same chasers and escapees, in different configurations, run through the courtyard again and again to disappear afterwards in random locations. At some point, a gush of water explodes from the well. The dog lands on the cobblestones. A rumbling murmur can be heard from the depths of the well. The soaked dog escapes through the main gate of the Castle with a whine. Thadeus watches him go. After a while, Heinrich strides out of the main building of the Castle. The man is wounded, bruised, burned here and there and slightly frostbitten on other parts of his body. One of his boots looks slightly digested. Nonetheless, he walks with his chest stretched forward, for he leads the Matheus the Wight in front of him, holding him on the blade of his sword. The wight has a bandage on his head and is visibly confused.]

[Heinrich] [happily to Thadeus] Look captain! I think I caught the commander of this gang! He was hiding in a bed under which I was … regrouping.

[Thadeus looks at the enormous, black armor-clad wight in amazement.]

[Matheus the Wight] [absently] And I would have gotten away with it, if it wasn’t for you pesky kids…

[Suddenly the mighty undead shakes his head and looks in confusion at both humans.]

[Matheus the Wight] Hey! What am I saying?! What’s all this?!

[With inhuman speed the wight grabs Heinrich’s sword blade and unceremoniously tears the weapon from the man’s hand. He then makes a huge swing and knocks the unfortunate man’s head off his shoulders, striking it with the hilt of his sword, still holding it by the blade. Heinrich’s head lands several dozen meters away and the rest of his body falls limp to the cobblestones. Matheus then turns with fiery eyes to Captain Thadeus, who is trembling with fear.]

[Matheus the Wight] [to the captain] You’re next.

[Suddenly, the wight looks towards the castle gate, where Brother Albert appears at the head of the Imperial forces. Matheus lets out a dissatisfied hiss and dissipates into a flock of bats, which quickly disappear in one of the windows of the Castle’s highest tower. Brother Albert runs to Thadeus. Gustav and Kurt follow him.]

[Brother Albert] Captain, report!

[Captain Thadeus] [still shaking] Excellency, it was horrible. I ordered the soldiers to split-up and then …

[Kurt] [surprised] Split-up ?! Here?! In a castle full of demons ?!

[Gustav] [mockingly] Where did you receive your training ?! In Ostland?

[Captain Thadeus] [shaking his head] Er, no! Did I say split-up ?! I meant er… look out … look out and then prudently …

[Kurt] [holding his finger up] No, no. It doesn’t work like that. The seventh principle of the Great Code of the Inquisition. “No backsies.” You burn now.

[Gustav] [to the soldiers behind them] Take him and prepare a pyre.

[Captain Thadeus] [with desperation in his voice] No! Please…

[Kurt] I’m sorry, it’s the Sigmar way.

[The soldiers lead the weeping captain away.]

[Kurt] [to Brother Albert] What now?!

[Brother Albert] [frowning, looking at the main building, seriously] We venture into the Castle …

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