January 27, 2016 Leave a comment
So I managed to dig up the second instalment of the earlier piece I wrote. This is an extremely lazy way to get copy up here, but oh well.
Tales of Brother Friedrich Rechtung – pt.2
As she lowered her mouth to his, her skin caught the moonlight that was flooding through the open window of the villa’s master bedroom. As he was every time he looked upon her, Friedrich was struck by her alabaster smooth skin and elegant features. Rather than press her crimson lips to his mouth, she instead moved passed his face, resting her head beside his, so close he could feel her breath in his ear. She whispered something that he couldn’t make out and tried to turn his head to look at her – but he couldn’t move. He felt cold hands now holding his head in place, turned as it was to his right, exposing his jugular. His pulse quickened and his breathing became faster and he suddenly felt a piercing pain in his neck ..
.. Friedrich jolted awake, sweat beading on his forehead and his hands whipped up to his steel gorget, reassuring himself that it was still intact. He breathed in slowly and exhaled slower. A dream. The same dream he’d been having for months, but a dream nonetheless. He had not shared these recurring memories of her with anyone and certainly never contemplated doing so with anyone within the Order. To do so would be to invite questions, hearings and a summons from the Chamber Master of the Inquisition. Friedrich was a devout son of Sigmar with no fear of man-made structures or systems, but even he did not relish that last thought.
He shook his head and wiped his face in begloved hands, seeking to return the memories of her back to the deep recesses of his mind. He pulled his dark overcoat about him tighter, shuddered against the cold air of the dungeon and made to stand to his feet. Without sunlight, he had no accurate way of telling for how long he was resting, but in his estimate it was likely to be at least a few hours. He stood and adjusted his rapier and bandolier. His curved dagger, a trusted personal weapon despite not being properly approved by the Order, was where it always sat – within easy reach at his belt.
By his reckoning, and judging from his remaining rations, it had been at least three days since he recovered the amulet that now sat, weighty, in his overcoat pocket. He fingered the design emblazoned there – that of his Order, the Twin Tailed Comet and started off again along the corridor – all thoughts now focussed on the task at hand.
Many of his brethren utilised flaming torches during explorations such as these, but being raised in the extreme north of the Empire, Friedrich was not only accustomed to the cold but also to the dark. His vision by night was exceptional – for a man.
Walking softly but assuredly along the corridor, he began to notice that the passage was sloping downwards beneath him and he could see a soft orange glow ahead of him. Presently he came across a large oaken door, cut across at every conceivable angle with steel coverings. A heavy barrier to be sure.
‘To keep something in, or out’, Friedrich wondered to himself as he knelt before the door. Hat in hand he pressed his ear against the warm wood of the door. He could hear nothing beyond the barrier except the occasional flicker of a torch or lamp. He stood again, returned his hat to whence he removed it moments ago and considered the door before him. He had no keys and while he owned a set of picks he possessed no skill with them.
Pistol in hand he reached out with his left to grasp the handle. To his utter surprise the handle turned smoothly and without any hint of age in the mechanism. Evidently this door had been well cared for and greased, regularly.
Pushing the door open with a flourish he burst into the next room, leading with his pistol. Friedrich cast about the small room, checking all the obvious, and less obvious, hiding places.
It was a small room with an old, rusty metal grate located in the centre of the floor. As a room it had very little to recommend it aside from a large number of urns and jars assembled around and about. Of differing size and quality, they held no interest for Friedrich other than what he knew they contained. Particular so called religious sects sought to preserve the body parts of the deceased by extracting them and storing them, with varying degrees of success, in these canopic jars. A cursory examination of the jars suggested that this particular sect were either highly sought after for their skill or were overly keen on mummification.
Kneeling before the grate he peered through the gaps in the metal. He could see a stone floor of some notable quality some distance below him. He locked his fingers inthe grate and pulled. The grate shifted slightly. Friedrich pushed up from his knees and began to lean back on his heels and the grate moved more – slowly lifting out of the recess into which it was set. Squatting to its side he dragged it clear of the hole and examined any simple way if getting to the room below.
No obvious handholds presented themselves and there was no ladder no rope. He picked up a small pebble from the floor and dropped it down the hole, counting as it fell. Friedrich nodded to himself and stood, wrapping his cloak tightly about himself as he did so. Standing on the lip of the hole he executed a small hop and fell, stick-like straight through the room below.
Landing with a thud, and bending his knees to lessen the impact, he immediately unfurled his cloak, pistol and rapier at the ready.
He turned in a slow circle, pistol arm outstretched, rapier held aloft. As he turned he began to recite Holy Prayer quietly under his breath.
“My Lord Sigmar keep your humble servant strong and safe, give me the strength to serve you and vanquish your foes and any who challenge you. Let your power work through me as I complete this, your most reverent of tasks.”