by: Ryan O’Meara
This story was originally submitted to Mythic!
It was a stormy night in Altdorf and Brother Cyrus was putting out the candles sconces near the main entrance of the massive cathedral of Sigmar when the stranger stumbled in through the doors and collapsed on the floor.
When Brother Cyrus first looked at the stranger, he had a rain soaked cloak covering fancy clothing with a large red stain on it, Oh perfect thought Cyrus another noble’s son too drunk to get home so they decide to rest here.
Sighing, Cyrus walked over to the stranger. However, this quickly turned into a run when he realized that it was not a wine stain at all but what looked like blood instead!
The stranger reached out with one hand and grasped Cyrus before gasping out “You must help me, I am dying and need to make my last confession to the arch lector Truel Newton!” each sentence was punctuated by a painful breath.
“Why not tell me instead?” Cyrus asked comfortingly, “I am able to take confessions as well.”
The stranger shook his head which caused the hood to fall off, revealing a tanned face with shoulder length red hair and a red goatee which circled the stranger’s mouth, although he appeared to look only thirty it was evident through the lines on his face that the stranger was anything but, “Not for you I can’t. You see, I am Jonah Dehines!”
Truel Newton soon came running with his personal scribe Flenser at the ready, “So, Dehines. After almost a year you finally end up coming to me. Sigmar be blessed for this fortunate turn of events. However, I must ask brother Cyrus here to check that your wound is in fact real and not some trick, I have to take precautions since a similar event happened not long ago to another arch lector!”
Gingerly, brother Cyrus lifted up first the coat then the shirt of Jonah Dehines and tried to wipe the blood away from the skin underneath with the hem of his robe only to temporarily reveal a stab wound over the liver before more blood began pouring out of it.
“The wound is real my lord.” Cyrus nervously told the Arch Lector.
“Very well,” the arch lector said “you can go and clean yourself up now I must be alone with Dehines.” And Cyrus gratefully walked away.
“Let us first begin with your latest crime, the sacking and looting of the estates of Lord Ackib Newton, one of the most pious and devoted of men ever to grace the empire..” The Arch Lector’s expression then darkened,” And my brother!”
Jonah Dehines took a painful breath, “While it is true that I was responsible for that particular event there is more to it then you think, I and my mercenary regiment The Bloody Wave Mariners were paid to do it. Although..” Dehines smiled evilly, “it was rather easy to do because a man who treats his serfs that harshly should be wary that strangers bearing gold and weapons can easily rouse a rebellion amongst the peasantry!”
“They are low-born scum as are most of the empire’s population, such as the pathetic drunkards known as Ostlanders. It is only the few elite among the noble ranks of the empire who are capable of ruling them, whatever way they choose!” The Arch Lector yelled furiously before making an effort to calm down. “Please continue.”
“Once everything of value was looted we were to transport it to the town of Salzenmund located in the province of Nordland where all the valuable stuff was given to the weapon smiths there in return for the mass production of weapons. The edible and perishable items were given to the army barracks. I then returned to Altdorf to receive payment from my employers. They also wanted to discuss another job but I got stabbed and so came here to confess.”
Newton was saddened because his brother had been a very wealthy man, still it would now give him a chance to manipulate the support heading for Nordland in these dark times which would be a suitable punishment for those savages. And besides, he now had Jonah Dehines and his confession as proof!
“I have only two questions now. Firstly, what happened to the peasants who aided you?”
“The last I heard they had joined the militias and have been fighting those mutated plague sufferers; they got proper combat experience not very long ago!” Dehines said laughing painfully.
“Dammit now they’ll be virtually untouchable, now who hired you to do this?”
Dehines’s body spasmed and it was clear he would be dying soon. “My employers were Adam Griefus, head wizard of the grey college of magic in Altdorf, and Kohlin Spur, the chief of the imperial secret police in Altdorf. They told me before I got stabbed that I was to kill you!”
Dehines at this point collapsed to the floor and Flenser checked his pulse. “He is dead my lord.”
Newton snapped back “So what if he is? We have greater things to do now, go and write up arrest warrants for Griefus and Spur, I shall make them hang for this!”
As Flenser hurried off to do his bidding Newton paused to gloat, yes things were turning out good indeed, however it was at this point that Dehines snuck up behind him and began choking him.
“Don’t fight it,” Dehines said whispering into Newton’s ear as the arch lector tried to pry Dehine’s arm away, “and so while we’re waiting I should tell you, recently your brother’s idea of lowborn scum had included the tax collectors and those gathering war materials courtesy of a local tzeentchian cultist hence the reason they paid me to have him killed.”
“And the reason Griefus wants you dead? Well your witch hunters have become a little overzealous when it comes to prosecuting his wizards who as of late have been heading to Ostland. Apparently the chaos champion leading the horde is looking for something there, and they along with the jade wizards are trying to prevent that from happening.”
“As for me? Well, I may be a mercenary, but I am a loyal follower of the trickster god and citizen of the empire too, despite the fact that I’m neither living or truly dead, still Kohlin Spur has made good use of me in the past and probably will in the future too!”
And so saying this, Jonah Dehines released Newton’s body where it collapsed, lifeless, onto the stone floor of the cathedral. He gingerly removed the stiletto dagger which he had hidden inside his wound and cut out Newton’s liver because the stab wound was probably deep enough for it to warrant a replacement. He walked off into the stormy night with a bloody cloth wrapped package in his pocket.
The next evening at the imperial palace, Altdorf Kohlin Spur and Adam Griefus met with Spur’s agent Flenser, “so it is confirmed then, Newton is really dead?” Griefus asked.
Flenser nodded, “I identified the body myself and both the court doctor, the priestess of Shallya and a priest of Morr confirmed it as well.”
“Of course this news won’t be told to the public, we will instead say that he died in his sleep and a new arch lector will be appointed within a month,” Spur said.
“And what of that agent of yours, Dehines? Will he tell anyone?” Griefus asked suspiciously.
“Dehines is no more my agent than the powers gifted to you and other wizards are handed out purposely. But no, he won’t tell anyone. I’ve dealt with him for over 30 years and he hasn’t told a single soul yet, and I don’t think he intends to now.”