As this one turned out longer than expected, I'm going to incorporate it into next month's somehow.
Good luck everyone!
Fiiiiiiiiiiire…woo, woo, woo-WOOO
The sun crept over the horizon, bringing with it the promise of another day filled with what would most likely be failure (and rain, damn it all). Von Vandersnoot greeted the cloudy morning as he would any other; a quick run to the outhouse (which almost turned into a knife fight with a rat big enough to be the illegitimate hell-spawn of a damned skaven rat-man) to get himself sorted for the day followed by his daily imbibing of the noxious treacle that kept him alive (relatively speaking, of course) and kicking.
The previous night’s fiasco had left him dejected and not a little bit down-hearted (which, oddly enough was at odds with his jovial, yet quite insane, demeanor). Eric had spent the better part of the night scrubbing his rather odious foot with brush and soap and, sure enough, he’d managed to clean off the wretched fecal matter (only after a few florid curses that had inadvertently led to the death of several pigeons nesting in his roof…the dark arts do have their upside, you know!). He’d been lucky enough to stop before he hit bone. Previous encounters with dung had not been quite so fortuitous (and even led to a trip to the apothecary’s one winter’s night centuries ago. Though, one can’t blame him. I don’t know if you know this but should you ever be one of those poor, ill-fated souls to step into a pile of nurgling poo, just cut the damned foot off. Honestly… You’re most likely going to lose it anyways. Cut your losses and move… well, shuffle on).
However, it wasn’t long before his plucky nature kicked in. His staff (and only companion) greeted him with the muffled strains of what most likely was a string of terrible curses in orcish. Eric tutted the staff for its lack of manners.
“Gorsnag! If you continue on like this, I might just leave the catgut on! Now mind your tongue and shut up!”
This, of course, only enraged the skull more, provoking a string of quite brilliantly laid out (for an orc, mind you) diatribe ending in something that sounded vaguely close to ‘rip off your gnadgy bitz an’ feed ‘em ta yaz’. Shrugging, von Vandersnoot gave up and began working on his next course of action. He was still no closer to escaping this wretched city and word had reached him that certain parties (of the witch burning kind) had taken interest in the ‘local eccentric behind the tavern’. That was all he needed.
“Damn all witch-hunters to a fiery hell, Sigmar take their fanatical souls!”, he muttered to himself.
Seeing that he wasn’t getting anywhere staying home, he took up his staff and decided to for a little walk. His meander took him close to the eastern gate. Here the neighborhood was a bit poorer (even by Empire standards, poor was an understatement) and the guards not quite so hidebound to their duties. As he reached the square, he was greeted by the sounds of wails and smoke. Turning to see what all the fuss was about, he noticed some fool had set his house on fire.
“Must have been a cold night”, he mused to himself, watching the flames sidle their way up the sides of the wooden building.
Eric glanced to the staff. It was still struggling valiantly against the ensorcelled restraints but for now they kept his yap well and truly shut. There’s nothing in this world (short of cursing Sigmar, setting your testicles on fire or growing an extra appendage in the middle of a rousing sermon against the impure) that gets another person’s attention than a talking staff (especially an orcish one given the distasteful nature of the marauding greenskins and their proclivity to set things on fire ((minus their testes of course…do they even have testes? I’ve always wondered about that. Sure, they’ve got the sausage, but do they have the bread? Come to think of it, meat and potatoes would probably be a better euphemism. Err…where was I…)).
Drawing closer, von Vandersnoot found himself accosted by several of the more buxom (if not toothless) harridans amongst the crowd of looky-loos who spent their time between tearful cries and gesticulating wildy towards the house. Given his habit (that would be his attire…not his personal foibles. That in itself would be a scrolling epic worthy of several volumes), pale disposition and perpetual stoop, many mistook him for a priest of Morr. Granted, his profession did put him close to death, but it was in a manner totally opposite of those fusty old codgers who spent their time looking for ways to bilk old women out of their precious monies (and sometimes knickers…hey, being a priest of the whole god of death doesn’t lend itself to many romantic rendezvous with the opposite sex…well…the living ones at any rate).
Before the building, Eric could clearly see a group of men fruitlessly laboring to put the fire out with buckets of water. Amongst their number one fellow stood out. His bright orange hair and robes marked him out as a pyromancer. The leader of the gathered men seemed to be speaking with him. Von Vandersnoot could make out snatches of their conversation given the heated (aye, tis a poorly crafted pun but you’re the poor daft sod reading this, not I!) nature of it.
“Can’t you put it out, Tymon?”, came the voice of man in charge, one Greigor Hautmann.
“I start fires you fool… I don’t stop them”, replied the wizard in a haughty tone.
“Sigmar preserve us… What use are you then?” the man snapped angrily.
“Apparently none at all. I don’t even know why they woke me up for this. They’re just some stupid peasants. Let them burn", was his only response.
This elicited a rather angry snarl followed by clenched fists and death threats. It would get him no-where of course. Wizards being what they were, the man knew not to get too uppity.
While he watched, one of the more odiferous hags clutched at Eric’s robes, pleading with him to pray for those lost inside.
“Madam, unhand me lest I turn your innards into outards!”
That was enough to see her loosen her vice-like grip. A cry went up from many amongst the crowd.
“Look there! The child! She’s still in there!”
To be Continued
Word Count - 1,063 including title.