Unexpected writing day!

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Planned game of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay has fallen through today due to player illness, so an extra few hours of hammering a keyboard. Thought it would be nice to share a bit more of the text, so backers can see more of what they're getting and, hopefully, encourage people who are considering it to jump on board before this skyship leaves dock...

This is the prologue, so no spoiler risk here. This does introduce a couple of pretty key characters, and a certain text that will become important later on in the saga. Enjoy!

 

“Three o'clock, and all's well!” the nightwatchman cried, in a voice pitched to carry rather than deafen. Feet aching within badly-patched, stained boots that kept out neither rain nor nightsoil, he nevertheless quickened his pace along Fleet Street, his pole-mounted lantern held as high as it would go. The warm yellow light touched but did not illuminate the heavy, brooding facade of the Holy Inquisition's London Chapterhouse; it merely served to give the building's gargoyles more sinister leers.

     Mind blurred with fatigue and eyes aching from the unnatural flicker of the quickmarsh gaslamps, he did not notice a shadow that flickered across an adjacent roof, always avoiding the light, flitting easily from rooftop to rooftop, slipping along canted gables. A final prodigious leap took the slender, long-limbed figure from the eves of a bond building onto the fort-like parapet of the Chapterhouse. The jump turned into a neat roll to cushion the landing. That turned into a lunge, a cudgel arcing to knock the lone guard into unconsciousness before he could turn at the noise.

     In through a locked skylight, the work of a moment with a set of picks, and onto a bare flagstone corridor. Boots silent despite the lack of carpeting, counting off the doors of the sleeping cells. Sixth on the left, and silently in. 

     A sleeping figure briefly roused, the snores rudely interrupted as a pillow went across the pale, almost luminous face. A quick knife, razor edge drawn across the pulsing life of the carotid, the feather-stuffed bolster stifling any screams and containing the spray of blood, held in place until it was warm and heavy with coppery fluid.

     “I see the brothers of the Inquisition in England are no more strict than elsewhere in the Empire,” the assassin murmured, gazing around the well-appointed sleeping cell. The walls were lined with shelves that sagged under the weight of heavy leather-bound books, many recognised as forbidden volumes, while neat piles of scrolls covered any flat surface.

     “Where would you keep it, Father Roderick?” the assassin murmured to the dead priest, patting the already cooling cheek gently. The head lolled and dead eyes gazed at a heavy mahogany writing desk, its surfaces inlaid with intricate mother of pearl designs and its drawers secured with iron locks. “Of course you would, and why not? The Chapterhouse is perfectly secure.”

     Starting from the bottom, the locks snicking open one by one; no need to waste time hunting for a key for such antiquated precautions. The bottom drawer was of no interest, just a scourge that perhaps should have been cleaned more often. Paper money and gold specie in the second drawer; that went into a leather knapsack. The real treasure was in the top drawer. A priest who kept his means of self-flagellation in his writing desk would also keep a journal of his sins, cyphered of course; and the answers provided by the journal in its simple leather binding would change everything.

     There was no time to break the code now, though. The journal joined the rest of the plunder in the knapsack, along with other choice documents.  The assassin left by the same route, over the gently snoring guard and back into the sheltering darkness of London's rooftops.

     It was three fifteen, and all was not well in the second greatest city of the Habsburg Empire.

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