[The following is a story tidbit that I scratched together, but enjoyed writing. It’s not polished and I haven’t done a lot of tweaking on it. The important thing’s the play of actually writing something story-related again… especially about the storylines this touches upon. Anyhow, you gotta love it when a group of monsters disguise themselves as worse monsters still.]
He awakes and opens his eyes to take in the darkness.
Even within the mammoth-hide shelter, it is bitter cold. He carefully extracts himself from the grasp of the slight, furred figure that sleeps curled up against him. One large and powerful hand gently strokes her snout and cheek, and then he pulls away and quietly dons his breastplate. He takes up his quiver, axe and lantern shield. The others in the shelter sleep soundly. As he moves towards the entrance, one of the others stirs. Eric. Good. Adjusting his heavy fur cloak, he slips out into the snow.
The partial cloud cover permits rays of light from the twin moons to shine through, and the strange northerly Chaos Lights dance madly in the distant skies to the tune of the whispering winds. Snow crunches under his booted hooves. Something stocky and wolfish stalks up to him on all fours, tail swishing. He pats it on the head and waves it on towards the shelter, and it obediently pads to the entrance, holding it open for Eric with one clawed hand. The armored man murmurs thanks and emerges, after which the animalistic creature enters.
He looks back over his shoulder at the newly emergent warrior and nods to the man, and then looks about for the other watchman, his long ears pricking for the sound of Grim’s breathing. There. Grim rises from where he was crouching and both humans approach their leader, their breath frosting.
The scout brushes some ice from his drooping mustache and addresses his leader, speaking in the Dark Tongue, “Hyshaqar*, all has been quiet since the owl’s appearance,” his voice is even raspier than usual, but that is surely the cold talking.
Their leader dips his snout in a nod and gestures towards the shelter.
“Good. Rest well,” he says in a deep and resonant voice, much more accustomed to that darksome language than are the two subordinates before him.
As Grim retires, Hyshaqar and Eric circle about the site keeping in constant view of one another, then settle in to vantage points that provide them an unobstructed view of the lands round about, the campsite and one another.
To the south, bleak snowbound hills and bluffs still awaiting the advent of spring. To the north, bleak tundra and snow as far as the eye can see. Beyond that, madness awaits. The place where Nature herself rebels and reality runs like melted wax. The Shadowlands. The Chaos Waste. Above that blighted landscape, at once too far and not near distant enough, those lights undulate and shimmer, sign that in such a hellish place, insanity infects even the heavens. The wind carries a few flecks of snow.
His pale eyes reflect that gleaming display as he gazes northwards. He remembers when last he saw those lights.
Again he hears the corrupt winds howling at the battlements to mix with the screams of the dying, the clash of arms, crumbling masonry and his own voice bellowing orders.
The smells of blood, black powder and smoke return to him, and his heart tightens again with a flash of the fear he felt when he set eyes on the Warlord of Khorne.
A beautiful elfin face, pale and spattered with crimson, long golden hair puddled in the red-stained snow.
The horror of that far-away moment strikes him afresh and he clamps his eyes tight shut, trying to banish the black rage rising in his throat and threatening to devour his reason. He forces an image to his mind’s eye and focuses on it, drawing his mind to it as he strives to apply years of discipline in bringing his racing heartbeat and breath under control.
Two cherubic faces, a boy and a girl perhaps 5 years of age. They look a great deal alike, both creamy-skinned and golden-haired, with high cheekbones and almond-shaped eyes though the lad’s are pale icy blue while the girl’s are a rich blue-violet.
The twins. His twins.
His heart aches to be reminded of their distance from him, but the mix of sadness and love quench the bitter, black fury at last.
He opens his eyes again and looks once more to the curtains of colored light that play upon the northern skies. The cold gathers palpably about him, but he stands firm. Long ears and keen nose are attuned to the night about him, though his eyes remain set upon the lights for some time.
Yes. He shall go North, though all the hells should hedge up his way… and he shall return again as he came, back to his little ones. This he swears to himself, standing there against the bitter bite of the ever-whispering winds.
*Hyshaqar is a Dark Tongue word meaning “white flame.” Uhlrik has adopted this alias for his quest to the Northern Wastes.
[Below is a picture of “Hyshaqar” (Uhlrik) with his companions in the northern wastes. The squatty wolf-thing (ex-possessee mutant dwarf, actually) is “Ironclaw,” and the little ratty critter is “Rikkish.” Eric “Earthshaker” is the guy with the meat-tenderizer style hammer, and the dude with the long moustache is “Grim.” “The Cleaver” (knight guy) and “Convincer” (ogre) are not mentioned in this particular segment. All of these names are pseudonyms.The link gives a few more details.]