Act 3

Scene 12: Backstabbing and Pickles

corridor in the Castle cellars ending with a large natural cave. The cave is full of boulders, stalagmites and stalactites. There is a gaping hole in one of the walls. In the central part of the cave, a band of fifteen ratmen is having a war council. The gathering is led by a horned skaven in a gray hooded robe, carrying a magic staff topped with a large lump of warpstone. Next to the gray seer there is a hunched skaven in a black hooded cloak, holding a greenish slime-covered dagger in his hand. A similar dagger is attached to the tip of the skaven’s long tail. The rest of the ratmen are soldiers in rags with all sorts of rusty and twisted swords and daggers. Some wield broken wooden shields.]

[Gray Seer Kruth] [in squeekish, to the gathered ratmen] The time of trial has come! Time of great victory is nigh. For the glory of the Skaven race, for the glory of the Council of Thirteen! Tonight, we will take this Castle and I will be its Lord! [eyes wide, clenched fist clenched] We’ll kill the defenders! We will overcome …

[Deathmaster Hrygh] [from under the hood, in a coarse whisper] But there are no defenders here. This Castle is abandoned.

[Gray Seer Kruth] [slightly irritated] And that’s why we’re gonna be spectacularly victorious and suffer only minor casualties!

[The other skaven cheer shyly, Deathmaster Hrygh makes a grunt of discontent. Suddenly, the voices of our adventurers are heard from the corridor leading into the Castle.]

[Gottfried] [from behind the scenes] But let me tell you, that went a bit too far.

[Lithaniel] [chewing something, lightly mumbling] Mmh, yeah … What now?

[At this point, panic breaks out within the ranks of the skaven. The soldiers start running around wildly, and Gray Seer Kruth grips his staff tighter and hunches. Only Deathmaster Hrygh expertly leaps on one of the boulders to take a better position for reconnaissance.]

[Skaven Trok] [hysterically, whispering] Nobody was supposed to be here! We are doomed!

[Skaven Rekth] [also whispering] I don’t know how many are there, but surely more than us! Retreat-retreat!

[Deathmaster Hrygh] [inhaling deeply with his nose sticking out from under the hood] Man-Things! But not many! Hide now! Quick-quick.

[The skaven scatter hiding in different nooks of the cave. Gottfried and Lithaniel enter the stage. A human carries a large jar of pickles.]

[Gottfried] [taking a bite of a pickle, munching] Well, warriors of chaos guarding pickles in the pantry? A bit of an overkill, if you ask me.

[Lithaniel] [also nibbling a pickle] Yes, but all in all, nothing will surprise me here anymore. [suddenly noticing where they arrived] Well, unless a cave at the end of a corridor. [rolling his eyes] Bah, it’s a dead end again. We will never find Drachenfels.

[Gottfried] [pointing to the breach in the wall at the end of the cave] Seems like it’s not a dead end, after all.

[Skaven Trok] [whispering] And what- what? How many are there?

[Deathmaster Hrygh] [also whispering] Two.

[Gray Seer Kruth] [in a thoughtful whisper] Hm, they outnumber us slightly. I wouldn’t risk it, maybe they go away, yes-yes?

[Deathmaster Hrygh] [contemptuously] You sound like a true lord of the castle. We have the element of surprise. It’s time to act.

[Lithaniel] [to Gottfried] You hear that?

[Gottfried] Hm?

[Lithaniel] Some squeals, hisses.

[Gottfried] [looking carefully at the jar of pickles] Maybe the jar is leaking?

[Deathmaster Hrygh] [anxiously] They found us! [loudly to the soldiers, putting a poisoned blade to the throat of one of them] Attack-attack!

[Suddenly, all the Skaven soldiers burst out of their hiding places and, with red eyes, mouths open, and weapons ready, charge the adventurers. Deathmaster Hrygh circles the human and the elf, moving unnoticed in the shadows.]

[Lithaniel] [choking on a pickle] Oh my …

[Gottfried] [calmly] Hold the jar.

[The man gives the jar of pickles to the elf. He then rolls up his sleeves and holds both his hands out in front of him. He mumbles a magic formula and after a moment a huge flaming wall appears in front of the mage, illuminating the entire room with blood red light. Two fastest skaven hit the wall of fire and immediately burst into flames. Their kin freeze in mid-step.]

[Skaven Trok] [hysterically] Aaa !!! Fire-fire! Retreat! Quick-quick!

[The skaven soldiers flee in panic.]

[Gottfried] [folding his hands, smiling at Lithaniel] Not bad, if I do say so…

[The human does not finish his sentence, and the smile disappears from his face, as Deathmaster Hrygh hammers his blade in Gottfried’s back]

[Deathmaster Hrygh] Die-die, Man-thing!

[Lithaniel drops the jar of pickles in horror and reaches for his weapon, but at that moment a green bolt of energy released by the Gray Seer Kruth flies over his head and strikes the rock standing nearby.]

[Gray Seer Kruth] Elf-Thing die-die too!

[Gottfried falls to the ground. Seeing this Lithaniel rushes towards the corridor.]

[Deathmaster Hrygh] [to the skaven soldiers who regain their cool in view of the sudden turn of events] Get the forest dweller! Attack-attack!

[The skaven soldiers go after the elf eagerly, seeing that they outnumber the victim now. Gray Seer Kruth approaches Deathmaster Hrygh and approvingly watches the growing bloodstain on Gottfried’s back.]

[Gray Seer Kruth] Well done Hrygh. Yes-yes. Thanks to my flawless tactics and perfect leadrship…

[The Gray Seer goes silent, as Deathmaster Hrygh’s tail-blade pierces his larynx. The gray seer falls to the ground and suffocates with his own blood.]

[Deathmaster Hrygh] [to the dying gray seer] I’ve waited until we were finally alone. Die-die, incompetent clown. Now I will be the ruler of this castle. I will call it Hrygh’s Keep! [rubbing clawed hands] Yes-yes.

[Meanwhile, Jack appears at the entrance to the cave with his blades ready to attack. Lithaniel does not notice his former companion, as he watches for the skaven who are catching up with him. The elf crashes into the halfling hard.]

[Lithaniel] [standing up] Oh, Jack! [with emphasis] It’s great to see you! Your buddy Gottfried wanted to talk to you. [pointing inside the cave] He’s there! Bye.

[The elf runs towards the corridor, leaving the confused Jack behind, but he does not leave the cave, and hides behind one of the stalagmites.]

[Jack] [to himself with a demonic smile] Gooootfriiieeeeed. It’s the time of reckoning.

[At this point, the halfling notices the group of skaven, who were chasing Lithaniel. The ratmen stop cautiously when they notice the halfling and assume a bowed, defensive posture.]

[Skaven Rekth] [to the other skaven] Now what? Attack-attack or run away?

[Skaven Trok] [squirming in place] It’s only a half-off, half-off harmless. Half-offs only cook.

[Skaven Rekth] Kill the half-off! Kill-kill!

[Jack’s face twists into a bloody smile. The halfling clashes his claws together causing sparks to rain.]

[Jack] Come on, little rats. We’ll have some fun.

[Then carnage begins. Jack effortlessly dismembers individual skaven in a passionate frenzy. Black blood spurts in all directions. By the time the skaven decide to retreat, it is too late. Jack catches up with each of the escaping ratmen and chops them into a pulp one by one.]

[Deathmaster Hrygh] [watching the ongoing slaughter, twitching his tail] Time for a tactical retreat, yes-yes. Hrygh’s Keep will have to wait.

[The Deathmaster disappears into the opening in the cave wall through he previously arrived with his kin. After the massacre is over, Jack approaches Gottfried who is lying on the floor dace down. The halfling then lets out a roar of discontent and starts walking back towards the corridor.]

[Jack] [loudly] Lithaniel! It’s your turn, treacherous forest twat!

[Jack runs out of the cave. After a long moment, Lithaniel emerges from behind the stalagmite and carefully passes the puddles of black gore towards Gottfried. Then he kneels over the human and checks his pulse.]

[Lithaniel] [to himself] Barely, but alive.

[Then the elf notices the staff lying by the gray seer’s body.]

[Lithaniel] Hm …

[The elf reaches out for the lump of warpstone that crowns the skaven staff, but withdraws his hand as if he got burned.]

[Lithaniel] Ouch … What a strage feeling. Like I was falling apart.

[The elf picks up the staff by the handle.]

[Lithaniel] [still to himself] Let’s see… [moving the warpstone on the end of the staff closer to Gottfried] Here magie-magie, got some warpstone for ya.

[Nothing happens.]

[Lithaniel] Damn.

[Suddenly the human’s hand grabs the chunk of the warpsonte. The stone emits a greenish glow. The wound in Gottfried’s back heals, and the human rips the stone out from the skaven weapon. Gottfried slowly stands up with the lump of warpstone in his hand.]

[Gottfried] [with resonating voice, ecstatically] Oh yeah … This is true power …

[Lithaniel] [slightly overwhelmed by what is happening to his friend] Er … ok, it’s good that you feel better …

[At this point, the mage shoves the lump of warpstone in his mouth and eagerly swallows it. Then he tilts his head back and breathes green fire that burns the ceiling of the cave.]

[Gottfried] [demonically, eyes glowing green] I’m ready to face Drachenfels.

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