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Учёный консилиум Гильдии, Обсуждение деятельности Гильдии
VaSSis
сообщение 15.11.2017, 23:02
Сообщение #201


Chapter Master
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Туда тоже можно закинуть. А тут обсуждать.


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Akmir
сообщение 22.11.2017, 21:59
Сообщение #202


Sanctioned Psyker
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Золото лит. конкурса "Halloween 40000"Бронза литературного фестиваляЗолото конкурса "Old School vs New Wave"



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Отредактированный перевод Knight Errant выложен на Либрусеке см. ссылку в профиле. Там же другая ссылка, если кому неудобно с Либрусека.

Уважаемым редакторам BaronSamedy и samurai_klim спасибо за помощь.



--------------------
"Menschenherz, was ist dein Glück?
Ein rätselhaft geborner
Und, kaum gegrüsst, verlorner,
Unwiederholter Augenblick
"
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Serpen
сообщение 25.11.2017, 23:01
Сообщение #203


Master Flooder
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Цитата(Akmir @ 22.11.2017, 21:59) *
Отредактированный перевод Knight Errant выложен на Либрусеке см. ссылку в профиле. Там же другая ссылка, если кому неудобно с Либрусека.

Уважаемым редакторам BaronSamedy и samurai_klim спасибо за помощь.


Спасибо за перевод переводчику и редактуру - редакторам.
Нет ли чего ещё в планах?
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VaSSis
сообщение 26.11.2017, 13:12
Сообщение #204


Chapter Master
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В список как вставить? Ссылкой сразу на фалообменник?


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Akmir
сообщение 26.11.2017, 23:09
Сообщение #205


Sanctioned Psyker
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Золото лит. конкурса "Halloween 40000"Бронза литературного фестиваляЗолото конкурса "Old School vs New Wave"



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Цитата
Нет ли чего ещё в планах?


Если ФБ интересно читателям, можно будет и перевод второй книги начать.

Цитата
В список как вставить? Ссылкой сразу на фалообменник?


Если модератор не против, можно и ссылкой.


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"Menschenherz, was ist dein Glück?
Ein rätselhaft geborner
Und, kaum gegrüsst, verlorner,
Unwiederholter Augenblick
"
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samurai_klim
сообщение 27.11.2017, 09:08
Сообщение #206


Lord Commander
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Бронза конкурса "Old School vs New Wave"



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Цитата(Akmir @ 26.11.2017, 23:09) *
Если ФБ интересно читателям, можно будет и перевод второй книги начать.



Если модератор не против, можно и ссылкой.

Конечно интересно


Ради бога


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ВСЕ ГАЙДЫ ВНУТРИ - КАТАЧАН ЖДЕТ ТЕБЯ! И НОВЫЙ - ПО АДЕПТУС КУСТОДЕС!
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Mmrgl
сообщение 08.02.2018, 12:51
Сообщение #207


Scout
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Приветствую всех! У меня просьба, может кто посоветует какой-нибудь совсем небольшой рассказ, попробовать себя в переводе? Если приемлемо получится, то скину на форум, а если нет, то хоть потренируюсь) Из тематики хорошо бы дварфов или скейвенов.
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Akmir
сообщение 10.02.2018, 00:28
Сообщение #208


Sanctioned Psyker
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Золото лит. конкурса "Halloween 40000"Бронза литературного фестиваляЗолото конкурса "Old School vs New Wave"



Репутация:   552  


Начну переводить Knight of the Realm Рейнольдса.


--------------------
"Menschenherz, was ist dein Glück?
Ein rätselhaft geborner
Und, kaum gegrüsst, verlorner,
Unwiederholter Augenblick
"
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BaronSamedy
сообщение 10.02.2018, 05:53
Сообщение #209


Ripper
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Цитата(Mmrgl @ 08.02.2018, 08:51) *
Приветствую всех! У меня просьба, может кто посоветует какой-нибудь совсем небольшой рассказ, попробовать себя в переводе? Если приемлемо получится, то скину на форум, а если нет, то хоть потренируюсь) Из тематики хорошо бы дварфов или скейвенов.

Коллега, а почему именно FB? Просто хороших рассказов по ФБ я уже так сразу вспомнить и не могу, а в АоСе есть много чего. Кстати, в "Чёрном разломе" есть один крайне интересный скавен-кхорнит))


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For the Emperor, who knows not what is done in his name.
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Ггиийорр Агирш А...
сообщение 10.02.2018, 13:55
Сообщение #210


Greater Daemon
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Первое местоПервое местоСамый упоротый переводчик



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Цитата(Mmrgl @ 08.02.2018, 12:51) *
Приветствую всех! У меня просьба, может кто посоветует какой-нибудь совсем небольшой рассказ, попробовать себя в переводе? Если приемлемо получится, то скину на форум, а если нет, то хоть потренируюсь) Из тематики хорошо бы дварфов или скейвенов.

Что касается небольшого рассказа, то сходу вспомнить не могу, но что касается тематики крысунов...

"Из Hammer And Bolter #8"

MARSHLIGHT
C L Werner

‘Thick as a patroon’s purse strings!’
Gustav Mertens wasn’t sure which member of the Aemilia’s crew uttered the oath, but it was certainly an appropriate one. The sailor had never seen a fog so heavy as the one which now surrounded the three-masted barque, and he had travelled the River Reik long enough to have seen more than his share of ugly weather. He’d been in Altdorf on nights when the mist rising from the river looked solid enough to cut with a knife and had almost drowned downriver of Carroburg when the fog had been so impenetrable that his ship snuck up on a flat-bottomed barge and sent both it and herself to the bottom.
This fog, however, was different. For all the levity of the unknown crewman’s outburst, the sailors were far from at their ease. There was an eerie, menacing quality in the air, a sense of wrongness that made the hair on Gustav’s neck prickle. He could hear the anxiety in the voices of Captain Piedersen and his officers as they snapped orders at the crew.
Most of the sailors were old hands who had made the voyage between Altdorf and Marienburg many times before. They didn’t need their officers to remind them of the danger the fog presented. The grey veil couldn’t have set upon them at a worse time, when the broad Reik slithered its way into the morass cartographers had condemned and cursed, branding it simply ‘the Wasteland’. The swampy maze of moors and fens stretched clear to the coast, surrounding the great port city of Marienburg on three sides. The muddy, treacherous ground would seep and slop its way into the Reik, choking the great river with mud and forcing the tight-fisted burghers of Marienburg to send barges out to dredge the river every fortnight to keep the Reik navigable.
The periodic dredging wasn’t always enough, and ships always had to be wary of new mud flats and sand bars when they sailed into the Wasteland. Normally, a sharp-eyed lookout could spot such obstructions well in advance, but in the fog, a ship went blind. It was for this reason that Captain Piedersen had all hands at the rail, probing the river with iron-capped poles, seeking any warning that the Aemilia was entering shallow water.
Perhaps if there had been a lookout in the crow’s nest, there would have been more warning. As it stood, Gustav only became aware of the ship’s peril was when the sailor beside him suddenly stopped probing the river bottom. The man stood slack-jawed, staring out into the fog. Gustav’s first instinct was to growl at his comrade, to get the man back to work before one of the officers came by with the lash.
However, there was a look of such fright on the sailor’s face that Gustav couldn’t help but follow the direction of the man’s staring eyes. Gustav saw at once what had caused the other man’s alarm. It was impossible to miss the flickering green glow shining behind the fog. Swamp gas and will-o-the-wisps were a common enough sight for any Wastelander, yet these lights were different. Gustav had never seen their like before. There were over a dozen of them, lurching and weaving through the fog, and each of the green orbs seemed to possess a certain uniformity of shape and size.
The sailor beside Gustav suddenly dropped his pole and dropped to his knees. His leathery hands curled awkwardly together, making the sign of Manann. The whispers of a prayer, half sea shanty and half orison, scraped past the sailor’s wizened lips.
Gustav felt his body grow cold as he heard his comrade’s prayer. Other voices were raised now, shouting warning to the rest of the crew. The green lights had been spotted by others. Men dropped their poles, replacing them with axes and belaying pins. The mates vanished into the forecastle, reappearing with a half dozen crossbows cradled in their arms. Captain Piedersen brandished his sword, bellowing commands to his crew, enjoining them to repel boarders.
River pirates. That was the first thought that raced through Gustav’s mind as he drew the long knife from his boot and glared down at the approaching lights. Pirates and wreckers were a common hazard on this stretch of the Reik, though it would be a bold or desperate brigand who would ply his trade in such hideous conditions. They had chosen poor prey. Captain Piedersen’s first ship had sailed the Sea of Claws, transporting goods between Marienburg and Erengrad. He was a man used to fending off the attentions of Norscan longships and had never gotten out of the habit of ensuring his crews were armed to the teeth. Any pirates who marked one of Piedersen’s ships for plunder soon regretted it.
Even as such thoughts occurred to Gustav, he felt his stomach tighten and a cold chill run down his back. The more he watched the green lights, the less he felt they were anything made by man. Old stories, half-remembered myths from his childhood, rose up unbidden. The frantic prayers of the man kneeling on the deck beside him only added to Gustav’s mounting fear. In his mind, he hoped it was only wreckers or pirates who menaced the ship.
The mates were still distributing the crossbows when the attack began. The only warning was a low ‘thump’ from somewhere out in the fog. A moment later, the sound of shattering glass sounded from the forecastle. Gustav turned away from the rail, following the direction of the noise. He saw a greenish haze settling across the top of the wheelhouse. Captain Piedersen and a pair of sailors collapsed in the midst of the cloud, coughing and grasping at their throats. Blood bubbled from their mouths and oozed from noses, eyes and ears. Before anyone could move to help them, the three men gasped their last.
More thumps sounded from the fog. The crackle of breaking glass rose from every quarter of the deck now. Aware that the green haze brought death, the sailors screamed and howled in terror, scrambling to and fro in their desperate efforts to avoid destruction. There was no escape, however, for as soon as the men reached a clear part of the ship a glass globe would come hurtling down and shatter against the deck. The deathly cloud would rise from the broken fragments, destroying all who inhaled its lethal fumes.
Fear kept Gustav frozen in place beside the rail. It kept him from joining the mad, hopeless dash across the decks. It was fear which again saved him when the half-crazed sailor beside him suddenly lunged to his feet. Screaming at the top of his lungs, the sailor hurled himself over the rail. The man’s flailing arms smashed into Gustav, knocking him over the side to join his comrade’s plunge into the murky river.
The cold water revived Gustav’s wits, if not his courage. After fighting his way to the surface, he was careful to keep quiet. He could hear his crazed companion sputtering and coughing, thrashing about in the water as he struggled to reach the marshy shore. Gustav felt a pang of guilt as he decided against trying to restrain his shipmate. There was nothing he could do. The sailor was making too much noise. Pirates or ghosts, whatever was out there in the fog had heard the commotion. Trying to help him now would only cause Gustav to share the wretch’s fate.
Treading water with as much silence as he could manage, Gustav found it easy to follow his crazed comrade’s progress. By now there were no more screams rising from the decks of the Aemilia; the barque was as silent as a grave. Only the sailor’s gibbering moans broke the quiet. He could hear the man swimming towards the marsh. Following the sound, he could also see a half-dozen of the green lights moving to converge upon the sailor.
Soon, the lights closed upon the moans and all was silent in the fog.
It was some little time before Gustav became aware of soft, furtive sounds rising from the river. Straining his eyes, he watched as more of the green lights bobbed into view. He could tell from the way they rolled and shivered that the lights were floating across the river, drawing near to the Aemilia.
Gustav ducked his body into the river, keeping only his eyes and nose above the cold water. Steadily the lights came nearer.
Then Gustav saw a dark shape loom out from the fog. It was a long, narrow skiff of the sort used by the Wastelanders to navigate their swampy home. Gustav had seen the same sort of boat thousands of times, had even owned one himself before forsaking the marsh for the river. Yet the very ordinariness of the skiff only magnified the horror he felt when he saw the creatures paddling it towards the Aemilia, for they were anything but ordinary.
Things ripped from nightmare and the darkest imaginings of childhood, the fiends leered out of the fog and mist. There were at least a dozen of the things on the skiff. Each was roughly the size of a man, with a semblance of the human shape about it, but there was little real similarity. The things had great, bloated bodies, warty and shapeless after the fashion of a toad. Their hands were flabby claws, their skin was green and slimy with an oily sheen about it. A long, whiplike tail coiled behind their bodies and lashing about with serpentine undulations.
The faces of the fiends were the most ghastly. They stretched away from the skull in long floppy beaks with no suggestion of lips or chin. Two enormous flaring nostrils rose above the beak, glistening with a moist blackness against the slimy green skin. Above the nostrils rose the most hideous aspect of the creatures, the crowning horror of their inhuman physiognomy. A single great glaring eye, blazing with eerie green fire. The source of the sinister lights Gustav had seen glowing inside the fog.
All the old stories of marsh daemons came back to Gustav as he watched in mounting terror while the grotesque monsters assaulted the Aemilia. The creatures drew long hooks and stout cords from the bottom of the skiff, swinging the grapples until they caught upon the ship’s rail. Then, with scuttling, skittering movements that belied their grotesque bulks, the monsters swarmed up the cables and boarded the ship.
Teeth chattering, his body numb with a cold that had nothing to do with the river, Gustav waited until the last of the marsh daemons left the skiff before daring to move. Praying the monsters would be occupied with whatever hellish purpose moved them, Gustav started to swim for shore.
He was the sole survivor. It was his duty to get back to Marienburg and tell the Aemilia’s owners what had befallen their ship.
Even if no one would believe him when he told them marsh daemons had emerged from the fog to claim the souls of the Aemilia’s crew.

‘Mad as a marsh hare.’
That was the decision voiced by Doctor Anton Kettmann as the physician turned his back on the dingy little cell. It was a decision that brought a frown to the white-robed women standing in the narrow brick hallway. The oldest of them, a silver pendant in the shape of a dove adorning her neck, shook her head and gave the physician a stern look.
‘There is always hope if you have faith in the goddess,’ she reproached the doctor.
Kettmann dropped his instruments into his satchel and tied the bag close. ‘Tell me, Sister Agatha, what kind of faith do you think that mad thing in there has?’ He jabbed his thumb back towards the door of the cell. ‘He’s been screaming about swamp devils for three days. The least Shallya could do is shut him up.’
‘That may be, but given that this is a hospice of Shallya, I advise you to apologize for your impious remarks.’ The threat came not from Sister Agatha or any of the other priestesses, but from a tall, grim-faced man dressed in light armour and with the band of a riverwarden tied around his arm. As a concession to the goddess of peace and mercy, the scabbard at his side was empty, the sword checked in the weaponhouse outside the temple grounds, but even without a sword, he looked ready for violence.
‘Please, Master Visscher, let there be no bloodshed,’ implored Sister Agatha, imposing herself between the riverwarden and the doctor. Kettmann hastily donned his hat and scrambled off down the hall before waiting to see if his antagonist would circle around the priestess.
‘You should listen to Sister Agatha.’ The advice came from a thin, wiry middle-aged man, his hair swept back in a widow’s peak, his prominent cheekbones and deep set eyes giving his face an almost cadaverous quality. A fine black cloak trimmed with martin hung from his shoulders, a black-work doublet and matching long breeches and fustian gloves about his slender hands. His appearance was one of refinement and elegance beside the rough crudity of the riverwarden. Yet there was something about Hein van Seeckt that suggested an air of menace more potent than all of Tjarda Visscher’s swords and armour.
‘That man in there is the only witness that has turned up!’ Visscher snarled. ‘Ten ships lost in the marsh and this madman is the only survivor!’
Seeckt closed his eyes and nodded. It was true what the riverwarden said. Ten ships had been lost over the past three months. Lost with all hands. It had been something of a miracle that this lone survivor had been found, rescued from the Wasteland by a frogcatcher who, by some whim of the gods, both knew how to read and had seen the reward posters offering five guilders for any information about the fate of the Aemilia.
Yes, Seeckt could understand the riverwarden’s frustration that this miracle might prove worthless. The loss of the ships, at first just a minor inconvenience, had escalated to the level of international incident, straining relations between the breakaway Free City of Marienburg and the Empire they had once been a part of. As the situation grew more tense, as the threat of war became more real with each vanished ship, the burghers of Marienburg increased their demands on the riverwardens.
Find out what was going on and put a stop to it, or find themselves languishing on Rijker’s Island. That had been the decision of the burghers. And, as the most esteemed and decorated officer among the riverwardens, Captain Visscher had been given the unenviable duty of accomplishing the seemingly impossible.
‘Gustav Mertens will tell us exactly what we want to know,’ Seeckt stated.
Anger drained from Visscher’s eyes, replaced with confusion. Though he didn’t want to admit it, he was well aware that his witness was a babbling lunatic. ‘He’s out of his mind! How can he tell us anything?’
Seeckt smoothed his expensive doublet and glanced at the brick walls around him. ‘In here, he can’t tell us anything,’ he said. ‘That’s why we’re taking him with us.’
‘You cannot!’ protested Sister Agatha. ‘This man has been entrusted into the care of Shallya’s mercy!’
Seeckt fixed the outraged priestess with a withering stare. ‘I am an agent of the Freeholders themselves,’ he told her, his voice dripping with the arrogance of authority. ‘If I say Gustav Mertens leaves with me, then he leaves with me.’ His voice became an audible sneer as he saw Sister Agatha’s jaw clench. ‘Consider how much your charitable efforts would be diminished if the burghers ceased to donate to your cause. Ask yourself which is more important: helping the many, or sacrificing them for a single man? Shallya is a merciful goddess, but I believe she is also a practical one.’
Seeckt stalked past the silent priestess. ‘Visscher, bring Mertens with you. I want to sail before nightfall.’

The Shakerlo sailed upriver after taking on cargo in Carroburg. There was a palpable feeling of fear hovering about the decks of the ship. Ten other vessels had made the same voyage only to vanish in the marshes. That thought was foremost in the minds of the crew.
It was also foremost in the minds of her passengers. Seeckt and Visscher paced the decks like two hunters scenting prey. Gustav Mertens simply huddled next to the mainmast, gibbering and drooling, his madness doing little to quieten the fears of the crew.
The riverwarden fingered the strange mask Seeckt had given him, a curious contraption of waxed leather that extended outward into a slender, birdlike bill. It reminded Visscher of old woodcuts he’d once seen showing Westerland during the Black Death, gangs of plague doctors fleecing the sick and the dying. For the life of him, he couldn’t understand why Seeckt had distributed these weird masks to every man aboard the Shakerlo or why he had ordered everyone to keep the masks with them at all times. Indeed, three crewmen had been discharged and put ashore at the little fishing village of Mierdorf for violating the agent’s orders.
Everything about the voyage was strange. It made sense to Visscher that they would engage extra crew in case they ran into trouble and had to make a fight of things, but Seeckt had taken his preparedness to the next level, hiring the services of a dozen Carroburg swordsmen and a scruffy mob of Tilean crossbows. It seemed a colossal waste of gold should their journey back to Marienburg prove uneventful.
Visscher had a suspicion that Seeckt knew more about the vanished ships than he admitted. The agent was just a bit too certain they would encounter trouble. His assurance had to stem from something more substantial than Gustav’s deranged mutterings. There was something, some link between the missing ships that the riverwardens had missed, a connection between them which Seeckt had uncovered and which the agent had ensured the Shakerlo would share. When he challenged the agent about his suspicions, however, the only reply Visscher got was a wry smile and a warning not to meddle in the affairs of the burghers.
The tension became a palpable thing when the grassy banks of the Upper Reik gave way to the muck and mire of the Wasteland. The crew murmured uneasily among themselves as fog began to settle across the river, forming a grey veil across the horizon. Prayers to Manann, Handrich and even Sigmar became common as the sailors watched their vessel draw ever closer to the fog.
Seeckt held a speedy conference with the Shakerlo’s captain and officers. When he dismissed them, the men circled among their crew, making sure that each man was armed and had his weird mask ready. Seeckt watched the officers go about their errand, then turned and made his way to where Visscher stood just below the forecastle.
‘Have your mask ready,’ the agent hissed. ‘I think you will need it before much longer.’
Visscher removed the ugly mask from where he had tied it to his belt-sash. He grimaced at the long, beaked face and the dull, glassy eyes. ‘You’re more superstitious than any seaman if you think this will ward off marsh bogies,’ the riverwarden grumbled.
‘Humour me,’ Seeckt said, his voice thin and mirthless.
Visscher glowered at him, his pride bristling at the agent’s condescending manner. ‘You really think we’re going to run into trouble?’
‘I’m counting on it,’ Seeckt said. ‘I’ve done everything to ensure this ship matches the Aemilia in every way. What happened to her should happen to us.’
‘Now you can predict the ways of marsh daemons!’ Visscher scoffed.
Seeckt fixed the riverwarden with a cold gaze. He didn’t deign to respond to Visscher’s baiting, but instead jerked a thumb towards the mainmast. ‘Keep close to Mertens,’ he ordered. ‘Watch his every move. If he does anything unusual, don’t wait but shout the alarm at once.’ Seeckt prodded Visscher’s chest with the tip of his finger. ‘At once. You understand?’
‘Your madman is chained,’ Visscher snarled. ‘He’s not going to cause any trouble, however agitated he gets.’
‘I’m not worried about him,’ Seeckt said. ‘I’m worried about what might upset him.’
As though responding to Seeckt’s words, Gustav began thrashing about in his chains, an incoherent stream of moans and shrieks rising from his ashen face. The crew turned with undisguised horror as the madman’s wails became more crazed with each passing breath. A few of the sailors closed their hands about their knives, fear goading them to advance upon the chained lunatic.
Visscher moved to stop the frightened sailors. He had no affection for Gustav, only the sort of pitying contempt a man might show a feral dog, but the riverwarden was not about to stand idly by while the helpless lunatic was slaughtered. His stern eyes glared at each of the seamen.
‘I’ve had it with that madman’s screams!’ a broken-nosed sailor growled. He fingered the fat-bladed knife in his hand and glared back at Visscher. ‘Get out of our way!’
With one smooth motion, Visscher drew the sword sheathed at his side. The blade licked out in a blinding flash of steel, whistling past the broken nose. A bead of blood dribbled from the tiny cut left by the riverwarden’s steel.
‘Make me move,’ Visscher said. ‘But make your peace with the gods first.’
The sailors looked anxiously at each other, glancing at the short knives in their hands and the long sword in the riverwarden’s. They knew Visscher’s threat wasn’t an idle one. Their numbers might prevail against Visscher’s sword, but not before the blade had claimed a few of them. Frightened as they were, none of the seamen wanted to be the first to die.
Oblivious to the drama playing out only a few feet away, Gustav’s entire body contorted against the deck as the madman’s lungs gave voice to a howl of pure terror. The sound reminded the sailor’s of their own fears.
‘Keep that mongrel quiet!’ one of the sailors demanded. ‘Shut him up, or we will!’ The outburst brought angry mutters from the other seamen, pouring back into their veins the murderous determination Visscher had hoped to quell.
‘You have more important things to worry about,’ Seeckt’s calm tones intruded upon the scene. The agent stood beside the rail, gesturing with his gloved hand at the roiling fog which now surrounded the ship. Every man gasped in fright as he saw the weird green lights flashing through the mist, bobbing and weaving across the marsh. Whispers of daemons and spectres passed among the crew.
A final shriek rose from Gustav, accompanied by the sound of snapping chains. Laughing maniacally, the lunatic lunged across the deck, his broken chains dangling from wrists and ankles. Visscher tried to intercept the madman, but the cunning of insanity gripped Gustav’s crazed mind. Whirling about when he saw the riverwarden, Gustav dove for the portside rail. He leaped onto the rail, perched upon it for a moment, insane laughter shuddering through his body. Then, the moment passed and the madman lost his balance. He hurtled overboard, vanishing into the grey fog with a splash and the rattle of his broken chains.
Visscher reached the rail just after Gustav’s fell. The riverwarden’s eyes scoured the fog, trying to find any trace of the madman. Having taken it upon himself to protect Gustav from the sailors, he felt a sense of guilt that he had failed to protect the lunatic from his own madness.
Visscher was still staring into the fog when he felt Seeckt’s gloved hand close about his shoulder. The agent’s face was hidden behind the weird leather mask, his eyes just visible behind the tinted lenses. Seeckt pointed to the riverwarden’s own mask, motioning for Visscher to put it on. ‘Like I told them,’ the agent said, his voice distorted and muffled by the mask, ‘we have bigger problems to worry about.’
The riverwarden glanced across the Shakerlo’s deck. The crew and officers had donned their own masks and were huddled close against the sides, watching the green lights moving through the fog. Every man clutched a weapon in his hand, his body tensed for action. There were no more frightened whispers. The dread clinging to every man’s heart had silenced talk of daemons and ghosts.
‘Keep a careful watch,’ Seeckt told Visscher. ‘The attack will come soon. When it does, drop to the deck and play dead. You’ll know when to stop playing.’
Visscher gripped Seeckt’s arm. ‘Attacked? By who?’
A sardonic chuckle rose from Seeckt’s mask. ‘Marsh daemons, of course.’ He turned away, pacing across to the forecastle to issue final orders to the captain.
Visscher wondered what Seeckt’s plans were. Again, the riverwarden felt suspicion twisting his gut. Seeckt had been just a bit too assured that the ship would be attacked, yet even at this late hour he preferred to play coy regarding the nature of the menace threatening them. And what possible sense could there be in playing dead when these unknown enemies attacked?
Visscher set aside his questions when he heard something crash against the deck not three feet from where he stood. Through the lenses of his mask, he could see little fragments of what looked like glass scattered about the deck, a mist of vapour rising from the shards. He turned his head as he heard the sound of more glass breaking somewhere towards the stern. Again, he could see shards and smoky vapour.
The riverwarden couldn’t begin to guess the kind of weapon that had been set loose against the Shakerlo, but he knew enough to recognize it as a weapon. Clearly, Seeckt had anticipated just this sort of thing, issuing the weird masks to protect the crew from the undoubtedly poisonous vapour. Recognizing that much of the agent’s plan, Visscher thought he could guess the rest. Slowly, he dropped to the deck, stretching himself out in what he hoped was a convincingly dead attitude. He kept his hand closed about the hilt of his sword.
Once their attackers were satisfied their poison had done its work, they would board the ship in search of plunder. But this time the murderous pirates would be due for a surprise. Any fear of ghosts and spectres was gone now. Only something mortal would hurl glass globes filled with poison gas to kill an enemy. There was nothing supernatural about the fiends who had been preying upon the river trade.
Visscher was quite eager now to meet Seeckt’s marsh daemons.
Lying upon the deck, Visscher trained his senses upon the sounds around him. He could hear the creaking of the Shakerlo as she drifted through the water. He could hear the crackle of glass breaking as more globes crashed down upon the ship. Slowly these sounds abated, replaced by the splash of oars cutting water. Boats, many of them from the sound, were closing upon the Shakerlo. Visscher felt the tremor of the boats as they bumped against the ship’s hull. He smiled as he heard the scratch of grapples being thrown over the ship’s rail.
The scratch of the grapples was soon followed by the sound of feet scrabbling against the hull, the mutter of muffled voices whispering to each other. There was an unpleasant quality about those voices, unpleasant enough to make the riverwarden’s skin crawl. Despite the risk, he had to see what sort of men these pirates were. Visscher rolled his head against his arm, turning his eyes towards starboard.
What he saw brought every childhood story of fog devils and marsh daemons roaring back through his mind. The things crawling over the rail weren’t men at all, but were creatures straight out of hag-haunted nightmare! The flabby green skin, the single glowing eye, the floppy snout dripping down from the bloated face… how many times had he heard the old folk of the Wasteland warn against these horrors, these malignant denizens of mist and shadow!
The daemons dropped down onto the deck, their cyclopean eyes shining across the ship as they looked over the Shakerlo. Smothered laughter wheezed from their grotesque faces, laughter that made Gustav’s ravings seem beatific. More and more of the monsters climbed the rails until there were nearly two-score of the fiends prowling about the deck. Visscher could see the amphibian horrors shuffling towards the forecastle, their flabby paws closing about ugly bludgeons and rusty swords.
As the daemons approached the forecastle, they passed Seeckt’s prone body. The cyclopean monsters paid the seemingly dead agent scant notice. It was the last mistake they would ever make.
Seeckt’s lean body jolted upwards, a dagger clenched in each of his gloved hands. He drove one of the blades into the slimy throat of one of the daemons, slashing the other across the belly of its nearest comrade. Both of the monsters reeled back, black blood jetting from their wounds. The daemon with the transfixed throat crumpled without a sound, crashing to the deck, its body twitching, long tail drumming against the planks. The other daemon gave voice to a shriek and fell to its knees, its flabby claws pawing at its ghastly injury.
Seeckt threw the bloodied dagger full into the face of a third daemon, piercing one of its black nostrils. The fiend dropped to the deck, dead even before Seeckt drew his sword and slashed it across the monster’s neck.
The Shakerlo’s crew lunged into action at that moment. Seeckt had told them to wait for the right moment – the moment when the enemy was aboard and battle was joined. The sailors, emboldened by Seeckt’s violent display, attacked the fiends with a ferocity born of shame and outrage. To a man they had really believed these creatures to be some supernatural horror of the swamp. But Seeckt had shown them that these were no daemons, only mortal beasts that could bleed and die.
Visscher sprang onto his feet, tackling the monster closest to him. The cyclopean beats crashed onto its back, kicking and flailing at the riverwarden. The thing’s slimy skin made it as slippery as an eel, but Visscher clung to its shoulder and drove the point of his sword full into the creature’s glowing eye. The eye exploded in a burst of gas and glass, glowing vapour sizzling across the monster’s slimy face.
The riverwarden stared in amazement at burning wreckage of the fiend’s head. His wonder increased when the creature’s struggles became even more intense and its flabby paw slammed into his face, jolting him backwards. The creature kicked at him with both legs, driving him away, but before it escaped completely, Visscher saw beady eyes glaring at him from the black depths of the fiend’s nostrils.
As soon as it was clear of the riverwarden, the monster lifted its claws to its face and tore its own head off. The ruined, smoking husk of the cyclopean daemon fell to the deck. In its place, rising from the slimy shoulders, was an even more hideous countenance: the snarling muzzle of an enormous rat!
Visscher stared at the transformed monster, shocked, gripped with disbelief. The marsh daemons had faded back into the land of legend, but in their stead had come a creature just as fantastic, the verminous underfolk!
The ratman snapped its long fangs at the stupefied riverwarden, then lunged at him. Before the creature’s fangs could sink themselves into Visscher’s throat, a sword flashed between monster and prey. The slimy flesh of the monster was split open, exposing the furry body hidden inside. Black blood bubbled from a mortal wound and the ratman crashed to the deck, coughing and spitting as it tried to crawl away.
Seeckt stabbed the point of his bloodied blade into the ratman’s neck, then wiped the sword clean with a scrap of sailcloth. The agent turned away from the dead monster, directing a reproving look at Visscher.
‘Don’t worry about what they are,’ he told the riverwarden. ‘Just kill them.’

The battle was swift and brutal. By its finish, no less than thirty of the ratmen were dead, strewn about the decks in their ghoulish disguises. Four of the ship’s crew had fallen to the monsters. Surprise had thrown the ratmen into complete confusion, but Visscher thought the gods deserved some credit for delivering such a lop-sided victory.
The ship’s crew kept to the forecastle, watching the fog for any sign of more enemies. They hadn’t been pleased with Seeckt’s insistence that the bodies of the monsters be left on deck and even less happy with his demand that the Shakerlo remain at anchor. Only the threat of the burghers kept the men from throwing Seeckt and the monsters over board. Seamen all, they knew how far the enmity of the burghers could reach.
Visscher descended from the forecastle. There were enough eyes watching the fog. He was more interested in watching what Seeckt was doing. The agent was prowling among the dead ratmen, giving each a cursory examination before moving on to the next. There was something methodical about the way Seeckt was operating, and Visscher wanted to know the purpose behind it all.
‘They’re not beastmen, are they?’ Visscher challenged Seeckt.
The agent looked up from one of the bodies, a cold smile on his gaunt face. ‘Are you calling me a liar?’
Visscher nodded his head and gestured with his thumb at the forecastle. ‘They don’t believe you either. We’ve all heard the stories. These things are underfolk.’
‘And does it make you happy to know the skaven exist?’ Seeckt’s voice dropped into a bitter chuckle. ‘Better to hold onto whatever lies you are told. You’ll sleep better.’ He stooped down over another of the ratmen, pulling away one of the flabby paws and exposing a furry hand.
‘They died easy enough,’ Visscher said, shrugging his shoulders. ‘If men knew how easily these things died…’
Seeckt reached down and lifted a fold of the slimy green costume the skaven wore. ‘They were lumbered down by their vestments,’ Seeckt explained. ‘Unencumbered, a skaven is faster than any man. By the time you can think to stick your sword in its heart, it has its claws in your belly.’
‘Then why did they take such a risk? Why make themselves vulnerable just to make us think marsh daemons were taking the ships?’
Seeckt tugged at the slimy skin, opening it along one of its seams. Visscher could see now that the flabby flesh was a sort of coat, with matching gloves, boots and pants. ‘Protection,’ the agent stated. ‘Not against us, because we should have already been dead, but against the poison gas they were using.’ He stared out at the fog. ‘Somewhere out on the marsh, if we cared to look, I think we might find some sort of mortar or catapult.’
‘The glass globes!’ Visscher exclaimed.
Seeckt pointed to one of the spots where a globe had crashed. The planking was burned and pitted where the glass had shattered. ‘Without our masks, we should have all been dead before they came near the ship.’ Seeckt stood suddenly, marching across the deck to one of the dead ratmen. He reached down and pulled the cyclopean head from the skaven’s shoulders. ‘Here is your marsh daemon,’ he said. ‘Nothing but a mask to protect them from their own gas. The glowing eye nothing more than a lantern to help them see their way through the fog. With their snouts locked away inside their masks, they’d be unable to pick their way by scent, so they’d need to keep their vision keen.’
‘But they look just like the old stories,’ Visscher objected. ‘The ones about the marsh daemons.’
Seeckt turned away, pacing to the rear of the body. Using one of his daggers, he cut away at the flabby tail, revealing it to be a leathery sheath covering a long naked tail. ‘I grant that to be more than coincidence,’ he said. Reaching to his belt, Seeckt withdrew a little bottle. ‘Their leader must know quite a bit about men, enough to exploit the old legends to conceal his raiders. Just in case somebody like Gustav got away.’ Casually, the agent opened the bottle, upending it and spilling it across the exposed tail.
‘Clumsy!’ Seeckt cursed. ‘I’ll have to go down to my cabin and get more.’ Rising, the agent motioned Visscher to follow him. When the riverwarden was close enough, he whispered to him, ‘Keep watching our “dead” friend over there. Don’t stop him, just watch.’
In a louder voice, Seeckt called out to the crew, telling them that he was done with the bodies. He advised soaking them in lamp oil and burning them on shore.
No sooner were the words out of Seeckt’s mouth than the ratman he had been examining leaped to its feet and scurried across the deck. Like the Shakerlo’s crew, the skaven had been playing dead, biding its time until the opportune time to escape. Seeckt’s decision to burn the dead monsters instead of simply casting them overboard had forced the ratman into action. Before any of the crew could do more than curse at it, the skaven was across the deck and leaping over the side.
Visscher rushed after it, feeling stupid for letting the creature escape, whatever Seeckt’s orders had been. The agent was more pragmatic. Calmly, he pointed to a glowing line of splotches that stained the deck.
‘I’m afraid our friend has some paint on his tail,’ Seeckt announced. ‘It should be easy for me to follow him back to his lair.’
‘You mean easy for us,’ Visscher corrected him. ‘It’s the job of the riverwardens to put an end to this piracy, whoever or whatever is behind it.’
Seeckt stared hard at Visscher. ‘This won’t be like rousting ship wreckers or bullying smugglers.’
‘I’m going to see this through,’ Visscher said, his tone brooking no objection.
Seeckt relented with a sigh. ‘On your head then,’ he said. Turning, he called out to the captain. ‘Keep the Shakerlo here until the fog burns off. If we’re not back by then, I leave you to your own judgement.’
So saying, the two men lowered themselves over the side. On the marshy shore, a little trail of glowing splotches beckoned them.

To the two men, the trail seemed almost without end. The little splotches of glowing paint meandered through the muck and mire of the marshes. Fog clung to the soggy earth, the grey mists so thick that Visscher thought they would need a knife to cut their way through. Sucking mud and black pools of stagnant water threatened them on every side, waiting to punish the men for the slightest misstep and drag them down into a nameless grave.
Quicksand and deadfalls weren’t the only fears preying upon Visscher’s mind. All the haunts and bogies of his childhood were lurking beyond the grey veil, the drowned corpses that lived again, the wailing swamp witches who could suck out a man’s soul with a kiss, the cyclopean marsh daemons who carried their victims into the mist – never to be seen again.
To these, Visscher now added another fairytale horror, a horror all the more terrible for its awful reality. The skaven, the underfolk of nursery rhyme and nightmare. Seeckt hoped to follow the ratman he had marked back to the thing’s lair, but how many more of the verminous creatures might even now be prowling the marsh looking for them?
The riverwarden tightened his hold upon his sword. He envied Seeckt’s cool implacable self-assurance. The agent hurried through the marsh, leaping from one splotch of paint to the next, never hesitating, never questioning. He was like a hound chasing down game, his mind utterly fixated upon the hunt.
Visscher hoped that Seeckt’s confidence was justified.
‘There,’ the agent suddenly hissed, his voice low and cautious. He pointed a gloved finger at a great jumble of mossy stones. The broken megaliths might once have formed some mighty castle or temple, but if they had, it had been long before the advent of man. There was a sense of hoary antiquity about the eroded, crumbling plinths that evoked a feeling of disquiet, an impression that the eye gazed upon something lost which had been better to remain forgotten.
‘Just the sort of place for monsters, is it not?’ Seeckt asked, indicating the line of glowing splotches. The trail led into the jumble of rocks, vanishing beneath one of the windswept stones.
‘If that’s their lair, we should go back and get help,’ Visscher suggested, fighting down the urge to simply turn and run. ‘There’s no telling how many of the vermin are down there.’
‘That is why we need to see for ourselves,’ Seeckt said. ‘We need to know how many of them there are. There could be more than the Shakerlo can handle.’
It was sound reasoning, but that didn’t make it any easier for Visscher to accept. He hesitated when Seeckt began stealing towards the mound of stones, tempted to leave the arrogant envoy to his fate. Then he closed his eyes and saw again the loathsome creatures they had battled on the Shakerlo. Grimly, the riverwarden trotted after Seeckt. No man could abandon another to such vile monsters and still call himself a man.
‘The swamp stink should help mask our scent,’ Seeckt advised Visscher as they approached the stones. ‘The fog will hide us from their eyes, but be careful about making any noise. The ears of a skaven are much sharper than ours.’
Staring down into the black gap beneath the stone, Visscher wasn’t reassured by Seeckt’s warning. The hole drove under the megalith at a slant, making the prospect of crawling down into it even more repugnant. A menagerie of odours drifted up from the cavity, a mixture of fur and filth, old bones and rotten meat and another, still more noxious smell that made Visscher’s nose burn. He reached down for his mask, intending to replace it over his face and block out the smell.
It was at that moment that the attack came. The attention of both men fixed upon the hole, Visscher further discomfited as he fumbled with his mask, the ambush caught them at their most unguarded. A dozen furry shapes sprang at them from the fog, leaping down from the mossy stones, pouncing from covered pits, scurrying from behind jumbles of rock. The two men were smashed to the muddy ground beneath a fury of snapping fangs and flashing claws. Scrawny paws ripped the swords from their hands, one of the monsters chittering with sadistic humour as it pulled the mask from Visscher’s grip. The ratman capered about proudly with his prize, then darted down into the hole when a larger skaven moved to take it from him.
The big skaven snarled in frustration, his black fur bristling as he glared after the vanished thief. He gnashed his fangs, then gestured at the two humans pinned to the ground. A stream of sharp squeaks and hisses rushed past the ratman’s fangs, the spit-speak language of the underfolk. Sullenly, the other ratmen responded to the black-fur’s commands. Visscher and Seeckt were roughly forced to their feet, prodded and kicked until they preceded their inhuman captors into the slimy murk beneath the toppled megalith.

How long the two men spent in the winding network of muddy tunnels and passageways, neither of them could say. At every step, the slanted floor seemed to drop away, causing them to stumble and slip in the slime that coated the floor. Their difficulties brought chitters of malignant mirth from their captors, who only kicked and clawed them with increased brutality each time the men fell.
There was no sense of organization or pattern to the tunnels. Occasionally a weird green lantern would appear, bolted to the stone ceiling overhead. The sickly green light did little to illuminate the darkness, but seemed to give the skaven a measure of comfort whenever they drew close. Visscher was reminded of the glowing lamps the Shakerlo’s attackers had worn and which he had mistaken for the eye of a marsh daemon. Recalling the caustic aftermath of breaking one of the lamps, Visscher wondered if the lanterns might not lend themselves to similar purpose.
After what seemed an eternity to the two men, the maze of winding tunnels opened into a vast hall-like cavern. Dozens of green lanterns illuminated the hall, casting weird shadows across the heaps of mud and splintered rock strewn about. Crates and boxes were piled throughout the chamber, the plunder from the ships the ratmen had been hijacking.
To one side of the cavern, where the stone ceiling was at its lowest, a jumble of rock was flanked by a nest of tattered flags and filthy banners, each of them bearing a three-clawed symbol picked out in yellow thread.
While there were skaven scurrying throughout the cavern, the largest congregation of them was around the pile of rock. The creatures sported a wild disarray of garments, from slick coveralls such as a smith might wear to spiked suits of armour. Several of the ratmen wore the same leathery green vestments as the Shakerlo’s attackers. A few of the monsters had massive harnesses strapped to their backs, an array of weird and menacing devices curling outward from the boxy frames.
All of the skaven faced towards a miserable figure who stood alone at the base of the rock pile. The protective green cloak and gauntlets had been stripped from the wretched ratman, but the phosphorescent paint clinging to its tail left no doubt as to its identity. The skaven’s naked body was torn and mangled, its fur bloodied from dozens of cuts and bites. It grovelled before the rock pile, pressing its snout into the mud and whining in a continuous stream of squeaks.
The monster perched atop the rock pile glowered down at the wretch, unmoved by its pleas. Taller than the other skaven, his lean body cloaked in a flowing robe of yellow silk, its edges marked with black symbols that seemed to squirm and writhe as the eye fell upon them. A belt of skin circled the skaven’s waist, a motley array of strange implements hanging from the many hooks fixed to the belt. Dark grey fur, mottled with specks of brown, clothed the creature’s body, fading into pure white at his throat. The eyes that glared down at the snivelling wretch lent a final aspect of horror to the skaven’s countenance, for they were of a weird, almost spectral green, gleaming with the pitiless malignance of an inhuman intelligence.
‘Gnawlitch Shun!’ The frightened whisper escaped Seeckt’s lips, giving name to the horror lording over this nest of monsters. The agent’s outburst brought angry squeaks from their captors, the black-furred bully raking his claws across Seeckt’s cheek. The ratman laughed as he licked the human’s blood from his paw.
Visscher’s mind raced. How was it possible that Seeckt knew this monster by sight? Exactly how much did the agent know about these underfolk?
There was no time for questions. A commotion had erupted at the base of the rock pile. Even as the ratkin with the painted tail was being dragged away, a spindly crook-backed skaven scurried out from the pack. He chittered happily at his enthroned lord, brandishing Visscher’s stolen mask with the flourish of a conquering hero.
Gnawlitch Shun silenced the capering ratman’s antics with an angry snarl. He raised his head, his nose twitching as he sniffed the air. The merciless green eyes turned, glaring directly at the mouth of the tunnel, fixing on the two human prisoners. The mask was proof that the men knew something about what the skaven had been doing and had come prepared.
‘So-so, no one followed your tail-trail,’ Gnawlitch Shun snarled in Reikspiel. His eyes still fixed upon the two humans, the ratman lifted his hand and snapped his claws.
A heavily-built skaven, his brown fur singed and scarred, lumbered out from among the pack. His bulk was curled under a massive metal drum, his face locked inside a bronze helmet. A monstrous, nozzle-like device was strapped about his left arm, a riot of wires and hoses streaming away to converge upon the tank tied to the ratkin’s back. The skaven turned a dial set into the side of the contraption, causing it to shudder into life with a grinding growl and a spurt of smoke.
The other skaven backed away as the menacing war-rat answered his master’s call. The captive ratman was unceremoniously shoved forwards into the space before the rock pile. For an instant, the unfortunate creature was frozen with uncertainty and terror. His head snapped from side to side in a frantic effort to find the safest route of retreat. On all fronts a mass of snarling skaven stood against his escape. Too craven to leap into any danger, the ratman remained gripped by indecision.
The war-rat pointed his left arm at the doomed skaven. Pulling back on a lever, he loosed the awful power of his weapon. Steam vented from the nozzle, sickly green light erupting from the barrel of the cannon and sizzling across the space between killer and victim. The wretch shrieked as the fur was flayed from his battered body, the murderous green light searing through skin and flesh, annihilating almost instantaneously everything down the very bone. It was a smouldering skeleton that crashed to the ground, its feet and hands and painted tail rendered still more hideous for their wholesome state. When death had struck, those parts had been outside the disintegrating green light.
‘Let that illustrate – Gnawlitch Shun is master of death,’ the robed warlock hissed at the humans. He pointed a long claw at the two men. ‘You will die-suffer when it amuses me and curse the ingenuity that led you here.’
Visscher felt his veins turn to ice as the skaven lord uttered his threat. The horrible way in which this monster had disposed of one of his own followers was a graphic demonstration of the fiend’s merciless mind. How much worse would the ratman treat with captives of another race?
Seeckt fell onto his knees in an attitude of terror and submission. The skaven around the two men laughed at his grovelling, snickering among themselves. The black-furred brute swatted the back of Seeckt’s head with his paw, glaring at him with undisguised contempt.
Doomed as they certainly were, Visscher felt a surge of fury rush through him. They were going to die, but at least they could die on their feet like men, not snivelling in the muck at the feet of vermin! The riverwarden surged forwards, seizing the black-fur by the shoulder, spinning the skaven around and smashing his fist into the creature’s nose. The black-fur yelped in pain, doubling over as he clapped both paws against his snout, leaving himself defenceless against the boot Visscher drove into the monster’s groin.
The moment his tormentor yelped in pain, Seeckt was on his feet, his voice lifted in a fierce shout. ‘Gnawlitch Shun!’ the agent yelled at the fiend on the rocks. ‘The Seerlord sends you the Twelfth Atonement!’
Seeckt’s balled fist flashed forwards, flinging something at the rock pile. Gnawlitch Shun’s tall frame wilted into a cowering ball, his arms raised protectively across his face. It took the warlock a moment to recover from the surprise of Seeckt’s sudden attack, and another to appreciate that whatever havoc the human had intended, the Grand Warlock of Clan Skryre was unharmed.
Gnawlitch Shun jabbed his claw at his attacker. ‘Kill the man-things!’ he raged, sending the skaven gathered about the cavern scurrying towards the tunnel. The skaven around Visscher and Seeckt drew their blades, eager to carry out their master’s command. ‘Kill the traitor-meat!’ Gnawlitch Shun’s voice screeched.
In his fury, the Grand Warlock continued to shriek in Reikspiel rather than the squeak-spit of the skaven tongue, but the meaning of ‘traitor-meat’ wasn’t lost upon the ratmen surrounding Visscher and Seeckt. The agent had brought some weapon into the cavern in an attempt to kill the warlock. That was only possible if his captors had allowed it. To the skaven mind, every mistake was evidence of treacherous plotting and scheming.
The marked skaven squealed in fright and began scurrying down the tunnel, fleeing for their lives back into the maze of slimy passages. Visscher stared after them for a moment, before Seeckt grabbed his shoulder and urged him to follow the retreating ratmen.
‘Run!’ the agent ordered. ‘If we follow them we might have a chance of reaching the surface!’
As though to emphasize Seeckt’s words, a motley barrage of missiles crashed around the two men – bullets fired from long muskets by wiry ratmen, bolts of electricity thrown from the weird armatures of the warlock-engineers, sheets of green flame billowing from the mouths of ghoulish fire-projectors. A squeal of mortal agony rang out as the two men made their dash down the tunnel. Visscher looked back to see the black-furred skaven he had struck being disintegrated by the green ray. The bronze-helmeted war-rat glared after the two men, scurrying in pursuit with hideous speed.

Visscher was thankful for the darkness of the tunnels, feeling a sense of security in the all-encompassing blackness. Away from the lights of Gnawlitch Shun’s cavern, the riverwarden felt there was a real chance they might escape the inhuman monsters chasing them. Without realising it, he allowed his pace to slacken.
‘Keep running,’ Seeckt snapped at Visscher. ‘Just because they can’t see us doesn’t mean they can’t find us! I told you, a skaven follows his nose more than his eyes. They’ll have no problem following our scent down here!’
The reminder made Visscher’s stomach turn. Suddenly, the dark didn’t feel so safe. He clenched his fists in impotent fury. His occupation was one that fitted him to the role of hunter, tracking down smugglers and pirates. Playing the part of the hunted was new to Visscher, a novelty he found himself ill-equipped to accept.
‘Back there,’ the riverwarden said as he hurried to keep pace with Seeckt. ‘I… I really thought you’d given up.’
‘I needed to gull them into letting down their guard,’ Seeckt replied. ‘Our only chance to get out of there was to wrong foot them. Your attack on old black-fur was a perfect distraction.’
Visscher’s brow knitted with a question that had been nagging him. ‘Just what was that you told their leader? And what was it you threw at him?’
Seeckt’s sly smile was lost in the darkness. ‘I threatened him by invoking the name of one of the underfolk’s high priests.’ The agent laughed. ‘Then I threw a rock at him!’
Visscher joined in the agent’s laughter, taking strength from the simple trick Seeckt had played upon the monstrous skaven leader. Their mirth faded after a moment, smothered by the damp darkness all about them. ‘Do you think we really have a chance?’ the riverwarden asked.
‘No,’ Seeckt admitted. ‘But if they don’t pick up our scent, we might give them a good chase. Come on.’
The two men groped their way through the gloom, following the slimy walls of the passageway with their hands. Furtive sounds, the scurry of normal rats, the creeping hop of toads and lizards, brought sweat dripping from their brows despite the clammy chill of the tunnel. A few times they heard the spit-squeak of skaven voices in the distance. Once, Visscher was certain, he heard a plaintive cry which sounded uncannily human. It reminded him somehow of the crazed babble of Gustav Mertens.
When the green glow of a lantern appeared at the far end of the passage the men groaned in relief, a relief that they felt down to their very toes. They did not think of the sickly hue of the glow or the unpleasant vapours billowing from the lamp. After the unremitting darkness, it was enough that there was light. Without thought or fear, the two fugitives rushed headlong down the tunnel.
They were only a few yards from the lantern when they discovered their mistake. The skaven hadn’t been chasing them – they’d been waiting for them! By some infernal means, the ratkin had figured out which tunnel the humans were in and decided to lie in wait for them at the other end.
There were a half dozen of the monsters, their beady eyes gleaming in the ugly light. Foremost among them was the hideous war-rat with the bronze helmet and the warp-ray lashed to his arm. Spotting the two men, the war-rat snarled an order to his comrades, waving them forwards to seize the fugitives.
Visscher felt his stomach turn. He had seen for himself the speed these creatures could muster when they weren’t burdened with respirators and protective coverings. There was no chance at all they could outrun the unleashed rat pack.
Deliverance came from the most unexpected source. As the ratkin surged forwards to capture the men, the war-rat stepped back towards the wall. He lifted the nozzle of his weapon and drew back the lever. A blazing ribbon of green energy surged from the projector, striking down the other skaven with murderous precision. The partially disintegrated bodies crashed to the slimy floor, the dying shrieks of the ratmen echoing from the walls.
The fratricidal war-rat released the lever, cutting off the killing warp-ray once the last of his comrades was destroyed. A chitter of malicious laughter rattled through the bronze mask. The war-rat had been happy to let other skaven share the hunt, but he wasn’t going to let any of them share the rewards of victory.
The war-rat gestured with his weapon, motioning the two men to come towards him. ‘Gnawlitch Shun like live-take,’ the skaven’s shrill voice assured them.
Seeckt glared back at the gloating vermin. ‘Your master’s plans are ruined,’ he told the war-rat. ‘Run while you still have the chance.’
Again, the war-rat’s laughter wheezed through his metal mask. ‘Funny-squeak!’ the skaven hissed. ‘All man-things die-suffer now!’
The war-rat raised his warp-ray projector, his paw reaching to the lever. Before he could unleash the disintegrating green light, however, something went flying past his face. The war-rat ducked aside, but the projectile wasn’t aimed at him. Its target was behind the skaven, bolted to the ceiling. The glass face of the lantern exploded as the missile struck it, spattering the ceiling with phosphorescent dust and unleashing a cloud of sizzling vapour that crashed down about the war-rat.
Shrill squeals of pain shuddered from the war-rat’s mask as the corrosive gas settled upon him. The ratman pawed frantically at his smouldering body, trying to smother the chemical fires burning his body. On his back, the engine of the warp-ray projector was likewise suffering from the caustic gas, but without the panicked paws of a skaven to diffuse the destruction. The corroded engine began to sputter and spark, then exploded in a burst of emerald light.
The war-rat was hurled down the tunnel at the two men. He landed in a mangled heap, his back evaporated by the unleashed malignance of his own weapon. Seeckt stared at the dead ratman, blinking in disbelief. Visscher strode over and kicked the vermin’s armoured head.
‘That worked pretty well,’ the riverwarden quipped.
‘What did?’ Seeckt asked.
Visscher pointed at the shattered lantern. ‘I threw a rock.’
Seeckt shook his head, his face going white. ‘That lamp was fuelled with warpstone! You might have brought the entire tunnel down about our heads!’
Visscher shrugged, trying to hide the alarm Seeckt’s words caused him. ‘It looked like the eye-lamp the raiders wore,’ he explained. ‘I smashed one of those on the Shakerlo. I thought the lantern would do the same.’ He gestured to the mangled body at his feet. ‘Lucky for us it did.’
‘Lucky indeed,’ Seeckt said under his breath. The agent stooped, pulling a femur from one of the skaven skeletons on the floor. Raising it overhead, he scraped some of the glowing dust onto it. The result was too feeble to properly be called a torch, but at least it provided some illumination. Visscher followed his example and was soon similarly equipped. ‘Hold it away from your body,’ Seeckt warned. ‘This stuff is toxic even to them,’ he said, nodding at the dead skaven. ‘Pray we don’t need to use them very long.’

Back in the maze of tunnels, the two men resumed their search for a way back to the surface. The eerie sounds of the slimy corridors became incessant and a foul reek, like the musk of a snake pit, began to fill the air. Slopping, glottal noises slithered through the passageways, bearing with them a nameless sensation that made skin crawl and blood curdle. Twice, Visscher stopped dead in his tracks, certain that he’d heard a human cry mixed amid the weird sounds of swamp and mire.
‘I could swear I heard Mertens,’ Visscher told Seeckt.
The agent stopped, cocking his head to one side, straining to pick out the noise from the cloying darkness. ‘If he didn’t drown, the skaven might have captured him,’ Seeckt mused. He grimaced and directed a hard stare at Visscher. ‘Even if they have, there’s nothing we can do for the poor madman.’
‘It makes me sick to leave any man in the hands of such monsters,’ Visscher shuddered.
‘We have to save our own skins,’ Seeckt told him. ‘Get back to the Shakerlo… and let them know about Gnawlitch Shun.’
Visscher bowed to the sense of Seeckt’s decision, even as he felt his heart blacken with guilt. There was little enough hope of their own escape, they’d throw the small chance they had away if they lingered trying to find Gustav. He could only pray to Manann that the lunatic’s death would be quick.
The two men resumed their prowl through the muddy darkness. The musky stink in the air grew more intense, almost bringing tears to their eyes. Despite the discomfort, Visscher was grateful for the foul smell. With that filth choking the air, there was no way the skaven would be able to track them by scent. It was a small enough advantage, but one that gave the riverwarden some hope.
That hope withered as the two men turned a corner and found themselves looking down into a vast cavern lit by glowing green lanterns and littered with crates. They had no problem recognizing the skaven lair. All their wandering through the maze of tunnels had done was to bring them back to the place they started.
Visscher clenched his fist in impotent rage, despair clutching at his very soul. Their bold escape had come to nothing!
It was Seeckt who pointed out the change that had come across the cavern. A grey mist hovered above the floor, almost concealing the furry bodies strewn about the slimy stones. There were hundreds of dead skaven littering the cavern. Visscher thought at first the mist might be some of their poison gas, that some accident had struck and annihilated the scheming rodents. Then, through a gap in the mist, he was able to get a good look at the dead ratmen. The bodies were viciously mutilated, hacked and torn in an abominable manner. What had happened here had been no accident, but a massacre.
‘They’re all dead,’ Visscher whispered. ‘How?’
Seeckt shook his head, unable to conceive an answer. He turned his gaze across the cavern, then froze. He grabbed Visscher’s shoulder, turning the him so he faced the far end of the chamber.
On the ground, mutilated as badly as any of the ratkin, was the body of Gustav Mertens. But it wasn’t the lunatic’s corpse that arrested the attention of the men. It was the thing walking off into the darkness, vanishing into a mist-choked passageway. Taller than skaven or man, its body covered in slimy green skin, its beaked head twisted into a fanged snout and great baleful eye. A single eye, shining with malefic intelligence, exuding the immortal hate of an eldritch race.
‘When Gnawlitch Shun chose a legend to hide his raiders,’ Seeckt whispered, ‘he should have made sure the legend wasn’t real.’

It took more courage than either of the men thought he possessed to descend into the mist-choked cavern, but necessity forced them to climb down from their perch and brave their fears. They tried not to look too closely at the dead skaven as they picked their way across the devastated lair.
Visscher, however, could not quite constrain his curiosity on one point. As the two men passed one of the boxes the ratmen had stolen from the missing ships, he stopped to open it. The riverwarden almost gagged at what he saw. The boxes were filled with wood shavings, but buried amongst the material were grotesque objects about the size of a human hand. They were squishy yet covered in a leathery skein that made them rough and resilient. In shape… there was a horrible resemblance to a human infant.
Visscher turned away from the box in disgust. Seeckt glowered at him.
‘You shouldn’t have done that,’ the agent told him.
‘Handrich’s Purse!’ Visscher exclaimed. ‘What are they?’
Seeckt’s eyes grew cold. The agent paced through the mist. ‘They’re skaven pups, or at least they were. They were killed at birth and then injected with certain chemicals. The brood-mothers, the creatures that birth all skaven, will eat a dead or weak pup so they can produce more milk for their healthy whelps.’
Visscher shook his head, sickened by the image Seeckt’s words evoked. ‘Someone hopes to… to poison…’
‘The chemicals in these bodies would react with the brood-mother,’ Seeckt explained. ‘They’d make her produce a stronger litter. Black furred skaven, strong warrior-types. Clan Scuten needs warriors. Clan Moulder agreed to help them get them, but Gnawlitch Shun decided to intercept the shipments.’
The riverwarden gawped as he heard Seeckt speak. ‘How… how do you…’
‘How do I know all this?’ Seeckt frowned and there was a trace of sadness in his eyes. ‘The burghers pay me well for my services, but the skaven pay me better.’ Before Visscher could react, Seeckt sprang at him. While the riverwarden had been busy with the box, Seeckt had recovered a sword from one of the dead ratmen. The skaven blade slashed across Visscher’s neck. Taken by surprise, the man could only stare in uncomprehending horror as his life gushed across the slimy floor.
Seeckt turned away from the murdered man. It sat ill with him to kill a man who had saved his life, but he knew the riverwarden had to die. If not here, then when they returned to the Shakerlo. By now the skaven hidden in the ship’s hold would have finished off the crew and cleaned up the bodies of Gnawlitch Shun’s pirates. It would have been inconvenient to have Visscher tagging along when Seeckt went back to meet his employers. It was better this way.
Casting a last anxious look towards the tunnel he had seen the marsh daemon exit, Hein van Seeckt hurried towards the rock pile where Gnawlitch Shun had lorded over his minions. It was too much to hope that the Grand Warlock had shared the fate of the other skaven. A moment’s inspection proved Seeckt’s suspicions. The skaven overlord had built his perch so close to the roof of the cavern so that he could be close to a hidden bolthole.
Seeckt felt a certain irony employing his enemy’s escape route. He was certain that little detail would bring an amused titter from Seerlord Tisqueek when he reported to him.
One day, the teeming hordes of skavendom would sweep away the Empire. When that happened, Seeckt intended to have enough gold to live quite handsomely someplace far away.


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Хех.
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Serpen
сообщение 11.02.2018, 19:58
Сообщение #211


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Цитата(Mmrgl @ 08.02.2018, 12:51) *
Приветствую всех! У меня просьба, может кто посоветует какой-нибудь совсем небольшой рассказ, попробовать себя в переводе? Если приемлемо получится, то скину на форум, а если нет, то хоть потренируюсь) Из тематики хорошо бы дварфов или скейвенов.

Поддержу Barona. В АоСе есть небольшие рассказы из адвента по Хаосу (если не ошибаюсь именно оттуда рассказик про влюблённого нурглита).
Впрочем, тебе решать, ибо верю я с трудом, что мы всё годное мелкого формата по ФБ ужо перевели.

Сообщение отредактировал Serpen - 11.02.2018, 19:59
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Pictor Jack
сообщение 24.05.2018, 23:55
Сообщение #212


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Подскажите, кто знает, вот эту старую, но очень, как я погляжу, замечательную книгу: The World of Warhammer: The Official Encyclopedia of the Best-Selling Fighting Fantasy Game переводили?


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brRibbotaim
сообщение 25.05.2018, 00:49
Сообщение #213


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Кажись нет, впервые такую вижу.


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Крылья несут смерть и всепрощение! За Лиона и Императора!
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Pictor Jack
сообщение 25.05.2018, 17:23
Сообщение #214


Maniac!
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Ясно. Жаль конечно, судя по превью страниц на амазоне энциклопедия годная, хоть и старая. Попробую поискать хотя бы на английском.


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Pictor Jack
сообщение 13.06.2018, 20:22
Сообщение #215


Maniac!
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Ещё пару вопросов знатокам фентезийного вархаммера smile.gif
1) Где-то ещё, на других ресурсах, какие-то произведения переводятся? Вконтакте может?
2) Я правильно понимаю что переводов по аосу здесь нет и они в отдельном разделе?


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samurai_klim
сообщение 13.06.2018, 20:46
Сообщение #216


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Бронза конкурса "Old School vs New Wave"



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Да


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ВСЕ ГАЙДЫ ВНУТРИ - КАТАЧАН ЖДЕТ ТЕБЯ! И НОВЫЙ - ПО АДЕПТУС КУСТОДЕС!
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VaSSis
сообщение 20.06.2018, 11:26
Сообщение #217


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Цитата(Pictor Jack @ 13.06.2018, 20:22) *
1) Где-то ещё, на других ресурсах, какие-то произведения переводятся? Вконтакте может?

Арт оф вар кажется или как то так называется группа.


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Pictor Jack
сообщение 20.06.2018, 20:55
Сообщение #218


Maniac!
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Цитата(VaSSis @ 20.06.2018, 12:26) *
Арт оф вар кажется или как то так называется группа.


Хм, вроде нашел, но переводов, кроме отрывков, там нету
Интересуют, в первую очередь, законченные произведения.


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VaSSis
сообщение 07.08.2018, 14:30
Сообщение #219


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Подскажите, помимо этого
https://rpggeek.com/rpgfamily/549/warhammer-fantasy-roleplay
где можно полный перечень материалов по ролевым играм глянуть?


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