Sergeant Balthus Thalberg looked again across the dark room at the criminal Martin Wehrner, and wondered, again, how he had come to this. Allied with a murderer? Protecting a Necromancer? Loyalty, he thought. Loyalty to the Burgomeister. But can loyalty be taken too far? “too late for those thoughts” he said to himself.
“So, you are sure you know what to do?” he said to the other man.
“Yup sir. When we see them, start shooting”.. Wehrner laughed.
Sighing, the sergent calmed his voice and spoke. “Maybe we should go over it again, Mr. Wehrner. If Reinhold see them first, he will flash his signal lantern at us. Though if they are stupid enough to be carrying their own lantern, we won’t have any difficulty getting ample warning ourselves. Wait until they are approaching the pond, and you have a clear shot. WAIT for me to shoot first! When I take the first shot, you shoot at whoever is shooting at us the most. Stand about 6 feet back from the window – don’t go up to it. You will stay less visible then. You understand?”
“Yes, sir.” Wehrner shuffled his feed and asked “Tell me again where Metterling is?”
“He is moving around, but right now he is over there, behind that bush”. Balthus pointed.
“How do you see him, anyway? I can’t see nuthing. That man can melt into a forest better than Beiber!.”
“Spend a decade in the miliatary, you learn some tricks. Don’t look for him. Look at the trees and bushes, get an image of the patterns they make. Then look for where that pattern is broken.”
“I’m trying…still don’t see nuthin.”
The two were silent for a moment, then Balthus spoke again, quietly. “How did you end up here, body guard to a Necromancer.”
“Didn’t know he was no Necromancer at the time. Still not clear that he really is one. Don’t got no staff or nuthin.
But anyway, I was hiding out here when he and his ladyfriend arrived. Don’t know how, but somehow she seemed to know right where I was hiding – came right up to the bed and spoke to me. Cur, she’s a looker, aint she? Nice melons, and that tiny corset she wears makes them look like they will pop right out! Wish my wife would’ve worn clothes like that. Maybe I wouldn’t have….” he paused “And those gams! She took that cloak off, and I just about broke my buttons. Never seen women in Stromdorf walk around with their legs showin like that. Thought maybe she was the Doctor’s bed wench, but then saw that staff. Knew she was a wizard, she was. So the Doctor asked me who I was, and we went this and that, and he upped and offered em a job. Guard him and his wizard lady friend, and I get a gold coin! Wouldn’t see that in a year on the farm! When I saw the little girl though, so scared, and the wench, I wasn’t so sure, especially when I heard the screaming later. But its not like I had many options, you know? But then you and the Burgomeister showed up. How’d YOU get involved in this?”
“I’ve been his vassal for a long time, and when he asked me to go with him, I didn’t question” the Sargeant said. “But I had second thoughts too, when he shot the priests at the garden, and when he explained what he was trying to do, with the Necromancer and that gem that he said had his lady love in it. And when I realized what they were going to do with the serving wench. Always liked that one, and I think she had eyes for me too. But I’m nothing if not loyal. Anyway, I’m not sure I buy the idea that Necromancers are all bad. My mum’s granddad was from way south, the desert Kingdom. She used to tell me a story he used to tell her, about how Necromancers were a part of society then. Would bring people who died suddenly back, so their loved ones could say goodbye. Even pulled people near death back to the living, or so she said. Made them sound more like doctors, than evil Wizards. Who knows, maybe this Black Reign isn’t a bad thing…..”
“Shhh…did you see that? Thats likely them. Now remember, stand back, don’t move, don’t shoot until I do”.
They stood in silence behind the two windows, watching the faint light bob closer, passing between the trees, until they could make out figures. The big one separated and moved to the left, and disappeared between a pile of rocks. The one with the lantern stopped. “I think the one with the light might be the priest. He looks like he is wearing a robe.” Then a third figure, stepped forward and started across the weed filled clearing. Balthus, waited in silence, his bow drawn, until the fool was almost to the pond. Phhhft – the arrow was true and struck him, a clean shot. He reached back to get the next arrow when a stabbing pain struck though his thigh. “Ignore the one in the clearing” he wispered “Take out the one behind the rocks” He heard Wehrner’s bow twang followed by a satisfying grunt from across the yard, as it met its target. His own arrow followed, but then he was hit again himself, this time in the heart. His world went black…….
Wehrner saw the solder slump over and backed up a step, then shot another bolt at the big one behind the rock. Heard another grunt…and a welp as the one crawling in the weeds to the pond seemed to take something in the arse. Must be Metterling he thought…Then felt a stabbing pain in his own chest. He backed up….Not about to die now, not for some crazy doctor and his bitch. Backing up to the hallway, he saw Adler crouching down in the corner. He thought maybe he was crouching in terror, when Adler saw him and motioned to the cottage’s front door on the other end of the hallway.
Wehrner crouched in the dark, wondering how to get out of this. Try to slip out the door, into the fog? Go upstairs and hope they don’t see him? A picture of him jumping out of the 2nd story window and breaking his leg filled his mind. He heard a noise towards the Burgomeister and stood up, looking towards him…and saw the face of death looking at him! He cried out and ran down the hallway, and ducked into the stairwell. A moment later he heard the crack of two pistols and then Adler ran down the hall and into the stairwell as well, almost banging into him. “Damn priest” he heard Adler mutter under his breath.
They stood there together for a moment, breathing hard. Outside they heard someone yell “Fire in the hole…Goblin Grenade”. They both looked around frantically, but saw nothing near them.
Wehrner heard a noise in the room next door, through the wall. Sounded like someone big moving around. He looked back to the hallway, just in time to see a big man in front of him, a sword streaking down from above his head…..
Adler ran up the stairs, thinking fast. Hearing something behind him he turn and saw the dark Priest at the bottom of the stairs. Suddenly all the sorrow of his loss, his fear of the priest as well as his hate welled up inside of him. He turned and raised his one loaded pistol to fire…"
Just then a loud crash came from below as a man forced his way through the door. Adler, thinking fast, lept down the stairs, bowled into the man below and darted out the door…only to trip on the door jam. He fell headfirst into the ground… moments later he was dead, his head crashed in by a weapon wielded by the Sigmarite….