The Fight for Avras - Lucky Sixes "All-In" Project #7 Background Fluff Entry - The Von Hesselinks

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  • Hey guys, so after the slog of painting (which i'm not quite finished with yet lol) I turn my concentrations to the background of my story and characters and really look to establish the von Hesselinks into the campaign.

    Interestingly these characters are based on some private fluff that @PTG - Hyper-G and I wrote a long time ago waaaay back in 2009!! This was when we were just 2 young boys getting into the world of toy soldiers and playing small skirmish games complete with narrative battles and stories to go along with them. As such I actually had a wealth of characters to choose from and over the years the characters evolved to go along with the models and units i picked. Still, I never had a real reason to continue their fluff until now and how I have enjoyed getting them out of the figurative closet!

    So, we focus on the leader, his lover and their necromancer helper and their journey to Avras to help the Vampire Queen Fontaine in defending her throne. think of these as Origins stories. Enjoy!

    *Warning* These were much longer than I originally intended so please get yourself a drink before attempting them! Please also bare in mind that this is written by me aka a complete noob when it comes to writing, so if it reads like a 4 year old wrote it please bare with lol

    Toby the Half-Zombie Necromancer
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    As he searched through his third waste bin of the day, Tobias was left seriously pondering his life choices. He had travelled to Avras in search of wonder and achievement, from a local village not too far south, and with dreams of joining the ranks of the Equitaine bowmen and representing his beloved nation in many battles to come. Truth be told, he knew he was never the BEST archer, but he also had a bit of personal interest in arcane lore so maybe that could help him out a bit, he thought. However, one thing he didn’t expect was to not even make the cut at all, even in the peasants levy! Surely the great Kingdom needed all the numbers they could get with the growing threats from all around them – if the rumours were to be believed. But, sadly, his skills were not needed in any regard and the rejection had forced him into a bit of a stupor, roaming the slums of lower Avras attempting to pick up any work at all – rather than go back to his home as a failure.

    ‘Oooh a banana skin – breakfast is served!!’ he gleefully thought to himself, as he continued to rummage for scraps of anything edible after more than a day with nothing to eat.

    The memory of finding that tasty banana skin was some months ago now, however, and long had he lost his hope of ever finding anything meaningful to do with his existence, but still he continued because, ya know, what else would he do? He was still searching through waste for food, mostly failing, and passing his time wandering around being ignored by almost everyone around him.

    Today, as he turned down a cobbled alleyway, he heard a window open suddenly above him and before he even had the chance to look up to react to the noise, he was drenched in a slimy liquid that he was pretty sure was ‘not clean drinking water’, but instead a rather gooey brown substance. He stood there in a moment of shock (and sadness) before wiping the surprisingly lumpy remnants off his head and shoulders, trying desperately to avoid vomiting from the new smell that had instantly started to resonate itself from his already stained, stinking clothes. Anyone looking at him closely enough, which they weren’t, would have seen a single tear begin to fall down his cheek from the corner of his eye, before he continued his aimless task of walking through lower Avras with no real direction or purpose, other than to just keep going…

    A sharp gust of wind blew down the next alleyway he passed and with it came a crumpled-up bit of paper that flew into his chest and got stuck to the mess that had fallen on him not a moment ago. He stopped to ‘unstick’ the bit of paper and disregard it, but as he picked it up ready to throw it away, he noticed some writing on it as well as a large reward sign at the bottom of the page – 500 gold! That would be enough to put him up in a hotel for a week with water, meals, a few jars of ale to go with it and maybe even entry to the local ‘evening entertainment’ hostel down the road - “Jubblys”. If he played his cards right and was not too picky about the ‘company’ he might even be able to get some of that ‘special’ entertainment he’d heard about for himself as well. His eyes lit up at the thought and he continued to read:

    “Volunteers for experiments wanted at the Citadel”

    “Reward: 500 gold and continued work if successful”

    This was too good to be true! Continued work meant the chance of returning to a better lifestyle and maybe even one of the better quality ‘entertainers’ at Jubblys would then be within reach! He wiped another chunk of brown mess from his face (which had been slowly making its way down the side of his head and had arced inwards) and for the first time in months, drew a smile. This was the breakthrough he needed and the change of fortunes that he deserved! He puffed out what little mass he had on his starved chest and strode purposefully towards the directed location with all hope and ambitions restored.

    When he arrived at the large, looming doors of his destination, his hope and excitement turned quite quickly to hesitancy and anxiousness, as the realisation of the word “experiment” and the phrase “IF successful” dawned on him. Maybe this was a bad idea. He knew nothing about where the poster had come from and had not seen it before. Suddenly this raised a whole new bundle of questions like ‘why was the reward so high?’ and ‘what even was the experiment?’, but before he had time to go through everything in his head the doors in front of him quickly opened and two large, burly men grabbed him from either side and picked him up to carry him through some hallways and into a large, circular, white room with bright lights all over the ceiling.

    In the room was a rather technical looking piece of apparatus attached to the wall on the left and a darkened mirror on the right that was built into the wall.

    The men continued to carry him in and dumped him onto a central bed that had some very bulky looking straps attached to it, which the men quickly fastened around his body to keep him securely held and unable to move. He had not even had a chance to look at his abductor’s faces at this point and before the thought even came about it was all too late as they had now left the room and slammed the door shut. Almost immediately afterwards the bright lights went out and were replaced with a dimmed green glow that gave the room a very menacing tone. As you can imagine, Tobias’ hope had completely disappeared and he was thinking about nothing more than fear and dread of what was to come… although the bed beneath him was a step up from last night’s street cobbles! But now was not the time for dwelling on previous sleeping arrangements, he had to escape, or at least figure out what was going on.

    With a few loud and desperate shouts of “HELP!” and some futile attempts to get out of his bindings, some time passed with no sign of anyone or reasoning behind the rough introduction to the residence.If this was the experiment that he’d read about surely what it was would be explained to him first, wouldn’t it? The dimmed green lights were now starting to hurt Tobias’ eyes, his right one in particular, and he began to develop a sharp pain in his head, with a relentless ringing accompanying it. Then, the lights switched back to bright white and the door from behind him opened slowly.

    “Hello sir” muttered a voice from the doors direction, “Thank you for volunteering for our experiment, your payment will be granted on completion of the tasks we have before you”.

    “W-who are you!?!” cried Tobias angrily. “Get me out of here, WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME!!!?”

    “Please calm down, Sir, your temper may affect the results of our tests…,” replied the voice, in a rather unconcerned tone, as he heard footsteps approach the bed.

    “Tests!?! What tests? Who are you!?!?!” shouted Tobias getting increasingly agitated and confused by the lack of answers he was being given.

    The man drew up alongside the bed allowing him to see that he was wearing large goggles that covered most of his face, and a lab coat suggesting he was a researcher of some kind. He unhooked the machine from the wall and wheeled it over to Tobias’ position. He flipped a rather oversized switch and a loud booming started to fill the room – and Tobias’ head!

    “Please relax and close your eyes, the tests will be completed very shortly,” said the man, very slowly and very calmly.

    “No, I won’t… Get me… outta… here…,” Tobias said drowsily as the noise started overpowering him and sent him to sleep.

    “What about this one then, please tell me at least something different has happened to him?”

    “… I’m afraid not.Despite the innate power we detected it doesn’t look like there’s been anything of note to suggest progress.”

    “Damnit!It’s been long enough, we’ll need to move onto the next batch.Have them all tossed into a pit outside the city – as far away as you can arrange.I really thought this one would be special.”

    Tobias’ vision returned to give him a somewhat welcome view of the night sky, but within moments he could tell that something was different.His focus was not as he would expect it to be and so he brought his hand up to his face and felt around to find that his fingers went far too deeply into his right eye socket! His eye was gone!

    Despite the surprise this presented, Tobias didn’t feel his body convulse in panic as much as he thought it might but nonetheless he bolted to an upright position to find that he was not strapped down on a bed anymore – the night sky not being nearly enough of a giveaway to make him realise that already.

    He looked around at his new surroundings and once again felt no shock whatsoever to find he was in fact sitting upon a mass of other human bodies. Attempting to focus on them with his new vision, he noticed that most of them were heavily decayed and missing limbs. His head pounded and he fell back to his original horizontal position while holding his head in his hands, to quell the pain. After a few seconds of complete confusion, the floor beneath him, if it could be called that, started to shift, and he got flung onto his side and onto another one of the bodies he had been laying with. Then, as he watched, that body started to move too! What was going on!?! He quickly rushed to his feet as he saw all of the dead, decaying bodies get reanimated around him, and all of them seemed to be jostling with each other in the same direction, albeit very slowly and awkwardly as frail bodies possibly could. Before Tobias could make sense of the situation he suddenly felt something drop from his own person onto the floor, with more signs of limbs moving deeper in what he’d now established was some sort of pit. As he looked down towards the mystery object he noticed his body had become discoloured, not that he considered himself overly healthy to begin with.When he finally identified what had fallen from him amongst the writhing mass of things around him he crouched down to pick it up, noticing that it felt very soft and squidgy. What on earth could it be!?!? After studying it for several seconds it became all too apparent and struck Tobias with the full realisation that something had gone drastically wrong – it least from his point of view that was. It was an organ – liver-shaped it seemed, not that he was an expert by any means. In disgust, and resolving it probably wasn’t much use to him outside his body, he threw it down to the floor and reached for where it had come from on his body. He was not wearing any clothing on his torso anymore, and when he attempted to feel his side, he felt only tissue covered bone, no sign of any skin smoothing it over. He felt his body convulse and immediately threw himself forwards, now free of the bodies that had pushed past him, and vomited a red bloody mess onto the pit floor. It took him several minutes to then overcome his body’s pulsing to then look at his side to confirm the infliction that had befallen him. He was a decaying body!!! He was like all those reanimated dead people that he had moments ago been piled within! Could he be… He was… he had to be… DEAD!?

    But how come he was not like the others, aimlessly being pulled in a single direction?Why was he different to them??? The experiments! It was the only reasoning he could give himself at that moment of madness as he desperately grasped at some of the other animated corpses without getting any reaction. He changed his attention to the direction the horde of zombie creatures were now heading, and saw a figure just over 100ft away from him with a white glowing aura around him, chanting words in a haunting fashion that Tobias sensed were in his head rather than being heard through his ears, if he still had ears. With seemingly no other realistic options, he headed over towards him to see if he could get some clarity on the situation – was this the man in the goggles from the experiment? – he didn’t think so.

    On his approach, he saw the man’s features clearer – quite hideous – and then turned his gaze towards Tobias and the chanting stopped. At the same moment that they locked eyes, the zombies around him halted and all of them began shuffling in an eerily creepy fashion towards him instead. He was soon surrounded. Within a few seconds the horde had encircled him and closed off any routes of escape. Tobias looked around, feeling a dull ache that he thought might have been fear, and he became desperate to know what his fate would now hold. He went to look back at the man that was seemingly causing the whole commotion – but he was gone! He had only looked away for a second and the man was now nowhere to be seen!

    Almost immediately afterwards, he felt a breath on the back of his own decaying neck, breathing slowly and dominantly down on him from behind. He turned around and, without flinching or giving anything away, the figure spoke:

    “Now this is interesting” the man said with a deep, husky voice and dark tone, “What exactly do I have here…?”

    “W-w-what?” replied Tobias, not really knowing what to say. Also he noticed his own voice was rather different to his usual sound, giving off a croaky and more stuttered vibe. He put this down to him being petrified of the situation most likely, and besides, didn’t really have time to think about it before the man in front of him disappeared once again – only to re-appear behind him to continue speaking.

    “You are not like the others...” He paused, almost like he was doing it for dramatic effect, which Tobias thought was definitely not needed as he deemed the situation already dramatic enough! The man continued, “You seem to have some resistance to the energies here… yet you are dead… what are you?” he asked.

    “W-what am I!?!? I-I-I don’t know…” Tobias responded, bemused and really not helping the situation but still unsure of what the hell was going on.

    The man moved backwards, but it seemed he did not walk, but glided across the floor to a distance of about five metres. “I think I should dispose of you before you cause me any complications…” He said, curling his hands around a newly formed ball of energy, apparently shaping his body to aim towards Tobias.

    “NO! STOP!!!” shouted Tobias as he cowardly raised his arms in some sort of attempt to protect himself.

    And then something even stranger happened…

    As Tobias raised his arms the ground in front of him began to rumble and more of the dead rose up quickly, instantly forming a sort of shield wall in between the man and himself. Not only that but the other zombies surrounding him seemed to be resonating towards him and crowding him – but not as before. Unlike before where they had crowded him in a threatening manner, they seemed to now be looking to protect him and as the man shot his ball of magical energy at him, he instead hit the zombies that were acting as a barrier in front of him. The bodies hit were instantly incinerated, more replacing them to come to his aid and they created another barrier to protect him once again. Tobias looked up from his cowering position to see the man come out of his attacking stance and, while looking slightly puzzled by the horde’s behaviour, started chuckling to himself.

    “Ha Ha Ha. It appears we may have a use for you after all…” The man laughed. “What is your name creature?”

    “Urghh… my n-name!?” He had to think for a minute, which was strange as this was possibly the only thing Tobias did know with regards to everything that had been going on.

    “M-my name… is T-Tobi-*cough*“, he was halted as a piece of skin fell into his throat which he inadvertently swallowed right at that moment and stopped him speaking.

    “Toby ay. Well Toby, My name is Darius von Hesselink. You will give yourself to me and my family and serve us in our plight to protect the Queen and bring down misery on all those that insult her name!”

    “O-oh… OK S-sir!” He murmured. Getting up from the floor and pushing away some of the dead that had stayed relatively close to him, in an attempt to get some personal space back.

    With that, Darius vanished once again, only to appear several hundred feet away in a matter of seconds. The chanting resumed in the same disturbing manner from before – and more dead bodies started emerging from the soft ground of the pit floor around Toby’s position. The zombies around him reverted to their initial motions and continued walking towards where Darius was leaving Toby to think about what had just happened!

    “What the hell have I got myself into” he thought; and then, grabbing a ripped, discarded cloth from the floor to use as a sort of robe to hide his now disfigured body, he followed the mass horde because, ya know, what else would he do?.

    Sophia von Hesselink
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    Sophia had been listening to Cedrick Cowall drivel on for over an hour about the problems and difficulties he had been having to acquire the “resources” that the von Hesselinks had recently demanded from him. He was a stout fellow that dressed rather poorly for a wealthy man who governed a small town – wearing a very worn, cloth top that could once have been called white, but was now stained a dark grey underneath the arms and chest by what Sophia could only assume (and hope) was sweat. Also, Sophia had noticed Cedrick still had remnants of his lunch residing in his large, black, bushy beard and - as he continued to whine about the hardship of his menial everyday tasks - Sophia noticed what seemed like some sort of condiment drip down to stain his shirt further.

    Sophia, on the other hand, could not have been further in appearance from the chubby figure sitting opposite her. She was fair skinned, with beautiful blonde hair. She had very symmetrical facial features and sharp red lips. She wore a long immaculate white/pink gown – that was not stained by any food substance she may have had in the last few days – accompanied by an even longer black cloak to cover herself when she went outside. On her torso, she sometimes wore a red and silver breastplate as a mini suit of armour, which even made her elegant looking on the battlefield. Today however, she was just on ‘trade duty’ so no such attire was needed, especially with this clumsy oaf, she thought.

    As the most presentable of the von Hesselinks, she was often sent to represent the family on urgent or political matters and a meeting of this kind was common place for her. Mostly it would involve simply visiting one of the marked villages or small towns to pick up ‘merchandise’ in the form of dead bodies and packets of blood – and on occasion, desperate humans wanting to be ‘turned’ to one of them – which she regular refused, choosing to simply take a meal instead! She wasn’t fond of going into the town on duty but was happy to undertake such necessary tasks as she knew she was the best vampire for it. Also, she did it out of respect and love for her darling Darius von Hesselink – the leader of their family and the one responsible for turning her. As well as the bond they shared through being turned, they had something more than that, a love for each other. They were soulmates and were destined to spend the rest of eternity together – at least that’s how Sophia saw it! So, when she did have to undertake these tedious tasks for the good of the family, she simply had to think of Darius and her focus returned. By now though, she had stopped listening to what the portly mayor was actually saying and was growing rather bored.

    “How interesting” she said interrupting him in a tone that was anything other than interested. “So where is our cargo? I wish to leave this dreary town rather soon”.

    “Ummm… well… you see, we d-didn’t quite make the whole shipment this time. But, it wasn’t our fault! You see, the rats… they have been more troublesome than ever a-and – not that we can’t handle it – but, you see, they have been hijacking the roads- “

    “Enough fat man!” She shouted very sharply, instantly halting Cedrick’s bumbling excuses. “Where is the cargo!?!” she continued with a harsher, quite scary tone that did not seem to agree with her striking figure.

    As she spoke, her faced seemed to turn to a darker grey colour and her eyes became fixed on Cedrick, her pupils focussing and staring at him as she rose up and leant towards him, seemingly towering over him as the lights in the room became dimmer. Sophia was now not giving off the elegant tone of a beautiful women, but more of a horrifying creature about to strike. The walls seemed to close up on Cedrick and he stumbled off his chair and onto the floor – always very aware of the gaze of Sophia.

    “Yess, w-well, obviously we have it… y-yes.” He mumbled, shuddering as he did. “It’s in the courtyard… next to the church my lord- errgh, lady! Yess, my Lady”

    As he quivered with fear on the floor, wondering what was next and if he had managed to blag his way out of the horror that any bad news was sure to entail, he closed his eyes momentarily, in an attempt to avoid eye contact and deny the situation he appeared to be in. He then opened them again – one-by-one just to be sure – to see she was her original beautiful, unintimidating self and sat in her previous position in the chair.

    “Excellent Mr. Cowall. Please do take us there now…” she said calmly and somewhat seductively, encouraging Cedrick to return to a false sense of security – which of course the simple minded fellow did.

    “Yess, m-m’lady, of course. Right this way” Cedrick replied and rose back once again to his feet and, in chivalrous fashion, walked over to Sophia to take her chair and help her up. Sophia accepted Cedrick’s help – despite not in any way, shape or form needing it, but complying to tradition nevertheless; and Cedrick escorted her out of the main entrance and onto the pathways of the town.

    As she stepped outside and onto the rather muddy pathway leading to the church, she rolled her eyes in disgust, but continued forward nonetheless. It had been raining all day and the surfaces of the path had become soft and sodden, allowing her heeled boots to sink into the ground by an inch or so every time she stepped. Still, even in the faint light of the night sky she carried herself with grace. The same could not be said about Cedrick though who kept getting his feet stuck in thick puddles and tripped over after a few feet, collapsing into one of them and splashing mud around him. One rather large splash was heading right for Sophia’s face, but she showed her lightning reflexes and blocked the oncoming mud with her hand. She held her arm in place for a moment before slowly moving it back to her side and revealing a very judgemental expression aimed directly at the, now soiled Mayor.

    “A-a thousand apologies, my lady” Cedrick said almost immediately, before even helping himself back up. No words were needed from Sophia to encourage Cedrick back to his feet quite quickly and continue leading her to a cart that was, indeed, parked up by the church’s entrance.

    As they moved closer, Cedrick became noticeably more nervous and began looking around him as if he had lost something. Sophia halted herself, sensing something was wrong and drew her arms out of her robe in an aggressive stance. Instantly, her senses were proven correct as Cedrick lunged sideways, throwing himself to the floor and into the foetal position, only to be replaced by three tall and muscular figures, all wearing quite flamboyant black hats and matching black coats and boots – typical attire of Empire Inquisitors of central Vetia. After a quick glance, Sophia also noticed that each man had several weapons on their person and it soon became apparent that this was an ambush, laid before her by the cowardly Mayor who was still hiding out of the way and had now managed to crawl next to the stone walls of the church. The three men, about 10 feet away started to close in on Sophia, the outer two encircling her with a clear plan to surround their foe before striking. They stared at her, seemingly fearless and with a clear, almost arrogant goal to vanquish their enemy. Sophia found herself outnumbered, but certainly not outmatched.

    Before she could act, the central man drew his crossbow and fired it straight towards her. Using her superior agility and dropping her robe to the floor, she jolted to the right and away from the bolts’ trajectory. As the bolt passed by her she caught a glimpse of the hunter on the left, drawing both hands up from his sides and firing silver bullets at her with a brace of pistols. Jumping up and backwards she somersaulted herself away from the bullets and up onto a large stone tomb, now looking down at her attackers. As she was gliding through the air, she managed to maintain her elegance and landed softly on the ornate roof of the structure. Almost as soon as her feet touched the tiles, she looked up and reached her arms behind her back, grabbing her two golden, curved daggers and bringing them back in front of her ready to make an attack of her own. Her beautiful looks had now turned to a near wild expression, losing all her pale and quaint qualities and replacing them with a more feral, beastly look of anger and hate. She scowled down at the men, hissing at them and revealing two sharp fangs and with it her true vampiric form.

    Realising they had failed in their surprise attack the trio seemed to regroup with the crossbowman racing for cover behind the horses’ cart behind him and the outer two grabbing their melee weapons – one a sword and shield and the other a halberd – preparing themselves for a charge from the creature before them. As if to not disappoint the pair, she threw herself up in the air and towards the men, the moonlight reflecting off her dress and dazzling the inquisitors before she reached them. To compliment this Sophia recited one of her magical incantations, creating a mist of black smoke that surrounded her and aimed to distract her foe. As she landed, she slashed the dazed arms of the halberdier, forcing him to drop his weapon and with a few more quick fatal blows, stabbed him in the heart, lungs and stomach before finally slicing his neck. The man fell to his knees and as he impacted the floor the blood started gushing out of the lacerations left by the vampire and the now lifeless body continued it’s decent into the mud.

    The remaining combatant swung his sword, only to cut through the air and back to his original position. He pushed his shield forward into the black mist and managed to contact Sophia, but with little impact. However, that did now give away her position and he was able to use his skill to jab his sword for a second time, but now in the correct direction towards Sophia’s abdomen. His skills were no match for her though and she was able to cross her daggers and direct the sword away from her and into the ground. As the sword pierced the earth, the two came to a head and their faces came together almost touching. With another horrifying glare, Sophia roared a devilish shriek and plunged her fangs into the face of her opponent – one of her teeth piercing the Inquisitor’s right eye. In shock the man fell back and dropped his shield to put pressure on his eye and stop the bleeding, as well as trying to re-focus to find where Sophia was now standing. Unable to spot the vampire through the mist he began frantically swinging a newly drawn knife in a last-ditch effort to connect with her, but it was futile. She jumped once more into the air and down onto him, stabbing both daggers through his pointed hat and into the top of his skull. The force of the blow allowed Sophia to push his body into the ground beneath him and rip off his head, leaving it attached to the daggers. As she returned to an upright position she forced her hands apart and sliced through it, leaving it to fall to the floor in two pieces, next to the body that it used to belong to.

    Sophia looked around in the dark to seek her final adversary, but as she glanced towards the church she felt herself fly backwards and to the floor after being impaled by a bolt from his crossbow she assumed. With caution the man reappeared from behind the cart and fired another bolt into Sophia’s body lying now prone on the ground. After a moment of no movement from the vampire, the man lowered his crossbow and went to approach her to confirm his kill. As he got close, he raised his crossbow once again, reloaded with a silver bolt, just in case, and kicked the body to see if there was any response. Nothing. He pointed the crossbow at her heart as she lay there before him and put his finger on the trigger. Just before he could apply any pressure to fire his final bolt, another mist of black smoke enveloped him. The man jumped back and waved the smoke away only to reveal that Sophia’s body was now gone. Frantically, he began looking around for his bounty and as he turned he felt a presence behind him, breathing heavily down the back of his neck. He turned once again, but there was nothing he could do as Sophia let out another, more deafening roar and smacked the crossbow from out of his grasp, while grabbing his throat with her other hand. Sophia lifted the man up by his neck, squeezing as she did so, and looked down at her twice-pierced body. With her free hand she pulled the two bolts from her torso and her pale skin began to eerily grow back as if nothing had happened. She then looked up at the man, who was now turning a dark purple colour, gasping for air and scrambling at his throat in a hopeless attempt to release himself from Sophia’s grip. After a few more seconds of scrambling around Sophia tightened her grasp further still and with a crunch, broke the man’s neck. The once flailing body fell dormant and she threw the corpse on top of the other bodies and out of her way.

    Cedrick was stunned, watching the events in fear and he was realising all too late that this was not going to end well for him. In a desperate attempt to resolve the situation he crawled towards Sophia on his knees, mud continuing to splash around him and put his hands together in a praying motion.

    “P-p-please m’lady… I-I-I am sooo sorry for this. PLEASE forgive me.” He whimpered, recognising the lack of acknowledgment Sophia was giving him. “W-we have more dead we can give you, plenty in fact… and blood, yes lots of blood storage – we have been holding some back in our depositories, b-but we can get it all to you. No problem! All I need is a bit of ti-“

    “Ahem” Sophia interrupted the sobbing man before clearing her throat and waving her hair back in an attempt to get back to her elegant demeanour. This of course seemed somewhat ironic as her hair, face and previously immaculate dress was now blood-stained, but still she pulled it off.

    “Now, Mr. Cowall. That was not a clever thing to do” she continued whilst slowly walking towards the cowering bundle of mess that was Cedrick. “And here I was thinking that we had a good arrangement going and that we could trust you to deliver for us”.

    As Sophia reached Cedrick, she crouched down to whisper in his ear “Nobody betrays the von Hesselink family.”

    With that, she stepped back and gave off a deafening shriek as if she was calling something. Almost instantly, a huge 15ft beast leapt out of the shadows and started mauling away at Cedrick’s body.

    “Arrrrgghhhhhh!” he squealed for a few seconds followed by a ‘crunch’ – at which point a sudden halt of any noise whatsoever ensued and all that could be heard was the beast devouring the man’s carcass.

    After a few seconds the beast rose up from its victim, licked its blood-soaked lips and turned to face Sophia. The two stared at each other in what could have been considered as an uncomfortably affectionate manner. Sophia then approached the Varkolak lovingly, stroking its rotten, dirty fur on its back and continuing up to its mane. The beast had gone from feral to docile in an instant. Sophia put her head to the beasts and locked eyes to demonstrate their connection and to revel in what remained of their enemies. Sophia seductively licked some of Cedrick’s blood off the beast’s face and turned towards the cart of ‘goods’. She walked over and lifted the cover on the back to reveal merely a dozen recently deceased bodies and only two crates filled with jars of blood.

    “Hmmm, is this all?” she pondered for a moment “Darius will not be pleased…”

    Darius von Hesselink
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    Darius picked up his glass and leant back into his chair, letting off a sigh of frustration before taking a sip of his thick, bright red refreshment. He had been waiting for too long for his brother, Phillip, to arrive. After a few more minutes had passed he leant forward to place his glass back on the rather large, eccentric looking table in front of him and ‘relaxed’ back into his throne-like chair once again. The room he was in was similarly large and extravagant, with huge portraits and heads of great animals resting on the walls surrounding. Darius’ attire matched the grand look of the room, his very expensive red/black armour and robe combination shined as the lights of the table candles and room lanterns touched it. The only thing that did not match was his own looks. The years had not been kind to him and as the centuries had passed his face had become withered and tired looking, even as he’d slept. Adding to that his battle scars and pale, grey skin, meant that he was really a bit of an eye-sore even despite the fancy clothing and household he bore.

    “KLAGG!!!” He shouted with a ruffled, grainy voice.

    The very second Darius made a noise, a hunched up old-looking man, covered in a black robe hurried over to respond to his masters’ call.

    “Yessss, Sssire!” he hissed back, never making eye contact, looking down at the floor as he spoke.

    “I cannot wait for my wretched brother any longer, fetch me my dinner!” Darius demanded. With that, Klagg immediately shuffled to the back room, only to return holding a gloriously shiny silver tray and cover. Placing the tray down in front of his master, Klagg then withdrew the cover to reveal a soup bowl of watery red liquid, filled with large meat chunks floating and oozing with blood. “Your favourite Ssssire, as requessssted: Heart of Ssssonstahl man in brine!” and without needing a response he shuffled quickly back to the shadowy corners of the room, leaving Darius in peace to eat his meal.

    Darius did not hesitate, and with a faint smile he delved into his food. Not with the manner in which you would expect of a seemingly noble vampire though – as he became almost feral with lust for what he was eating. He did not even use the cutlery provided, instead choosing to reach into the ‘soup’ with his hands, grabbing the large chunks of heart and ripping them apart with his sharp fangs and teeth. As he did, he sighed once again, but this was not frustration but a release of pleasure! It was almost mesmerising to watch as he continued to ravage the meat parcels as if he had not had a meal for weeks, finishing the portion with haste and picking up the bowl to pour the remaining liquid down his throat. Finally, he slammed the bowl down and took a few deep breaths, while licking his lips to salvage a last taste, before calming himself down and returning to the much more subdued way he was used to. With the watery soup remnants dripping down his sodden chin, he looked around once again and sighed at the lack of his missing guest.

    With an obvious displeasure, he sank into his chair and waited while the grandfather clock in the background ticked away, which frustrated Darius even further. Just as he was about to call to Klagg, another one of his servants scuttled to his side and pre-empted him.

    “My Liege… I-I’m afraid I have some rather bad news…” the poor servant whispered to Darius, looking very worried about how exactly his news would be received. Still, reluctantly, he continued, “I-I have received word that your dear brother Phillip will not be joining us as he is… urghhh… otherwise engaged”.

    “Whattt!?!” Darius cried out in anger, grabbing the servant’s throat and lifting him up.

    “I-I am deep- *cough* -ly sorry, *cough* my l-lord” he struggled, knowing that he had even more bad news to give to his master: “I-I’m afraid *cough*, that is not all…”

    Darius threw his servant to the floor as he stood up out of his chair and bore over him menacingly. His messenger continued to relay the bad news even despite being flung about the room “I have news from Avras”. Darius’ rage halted immediately and his face now showed signs of concern rather than the fury as it did but a moment ago. “The Queen?” Darius said, almost sounding concerned and reflecting a completely different side to him than he usually displayed. Darius owed his vampire life to the Queen, who had turned him all those years ago. This was also where his affiliation and apparent concern came from, as even though they were not close anymore, the turning process was a rather personal and intimate one, leaving a connection between those involved. Hearing that there was news from Avras, where the Vampire Queen resided, sparked up these hidden emotions and brought Darius back to his raw, vampiric self.

    “Well!?! What news have you?!” He demanded, now starting to get agitated by the uncertainty concerning the Queen.

    The servant, Weaver, (who was still on the floor) continued to relay his information which, gladly for Darius was not quite as bad as the vampire lord had assumed. “I’m afraid there are rumours that her enemies have turned against her and she is out to defend her claim to the throne. She has called for all her affiliated bloodlines to come to her aid and defend the crown and her person.”

    Darius pondered on this news for a moment and returned to his calmer, yet frightening state. “Leave me” he said to his servants and the two went to vacate the room immediately. As they opened the doors, Sophia was standing there and walked through to sit next to Darius – not even acknowledging the helpers she passed. She walked through in her usual, elegant way and before sitting on the chair next to him, approached Darius to kiss him quite seductively and softly rubbed her face to his. As their faces touched, Darius’ eyes closed and he was filled with peaceful and loving thoughts knowing that they were partners for eternity.

    “My love, does something distress you?” She said lovingly, notably uncomfortable at seeing her companion upset. She continued in her soft and soothing manner: “I should hate for anything to trouble you…”

    “It is the Queen” Darius replied. “She is in need of our aid. We shall set our sights on Avras in the coming months” Darius said quite decisively.

    Sophia’s eyes rolled and she looked away despondently, as if the mention of the Queen had struck a nerve with her. “My dear, we do not need the Queen’s help to thrive. Yes we are not the power we once were, but we have established ourselves again and continue to grow” She pleaded, almost trying to dissuade Darius from his plan.

    “No, it is decided” Darius said defiantly, almost becoming angry before remembering who it was he was dealing with, suppressing the anger immediately. “Once I have finished my preparations here, we shall set off to Avras”.

    “As you wish, darling” Sophia said reluctantly. And as quickly as she sat down, she began to rise from her chair and walk to the door – but not before giving her lover another kiss on the cheek. Before she had left the room, Darius turned to her and shouted “And what news from Ashlawn” referring to the village she was sent to gain resources and negotiate with. “That can wait my love, we have important preparations to attend to…” Sophia said without turning to face her lord, and left the room.

    Once again, Darius was left alone to contemplate his next move, and this continued for some time. After realising that his current forces were pitifully small and would need reinforcing, especially as it appeared that he would be without the help of his brother Phillip – who had not travelled to him – or his son, Mattius, who (along with his cousin, Kelvin) had been sent on a mission to explore the Barren Mountains; he concluded that he would have to strengthen more locally before being able to be of any use to his beloved Queen.

    The house of the Von Hesselink’s was indeed, as Sophia suggested, returning to its former glory with the control of surrounding villages and towns. Their residence, Fangdor Castle, had been kept in pristine condition over the centuries – even during the time when the majority of the Von Hesselink’s had been forced to slumber – by their bloodline followers and servants. It was situated just north of Myra, where they had collected most of their influence and used as a constant supply for ‘resources’. This coupled with their self-declared ownership of some of the surrounding villages meant they were able to boast quite a high level of political status in the area and rule with significant power, somewhat unopposed. They were some weeks away from Avras, however, especially with the ‘company’ that they would be bringing in their army as it did not move very quickly.

    Darius stayed silent for almost an hour, pondering to himself over the best course of action to take, before getting up from his chair and leaving the room. From there, he descended a long flight of spiral stairs and into a basement area below the castle. As he reached the very bottom, walking on a rubbly grey path and down a dark cave-like corridor, he approached a closed, wooden door, with light showing from some of the cracks at the bottom of its broken boarded structure. Entering the room, he saw Toby, the families’ newly-acquired necromancer, who had an innate talent in raising the dead and magically infusing their bodies, even if he did not yet realise it fully. As the door crept open, Toby stopped what he was doing and turned to bow to the Vampire Count out of respect and authority. “My lord” he said obediently. “How may I serve thee?”

    “How are the preparations coming?” Darius commanded. “…and how is Vincent?” he added with a more caring tone.

    Vincent was his 2nd brother, and previously the head of the family. However, after several decades of warring with rival vampire families and empire armies sent to ‘save’ Myra and the residents there (with little success) Vincent had become very tired and in one of the last battles with the only remaining vampire family – the Drakko’s – he’d taken a near fatal wound which he could not easily recover from, forcing him into an indefinite hibernation, so far much longer than Darius’ own had been. Darius & Phillip had sworn to prevent any finishing blows to Vincent and while he himself had slain the opposing Drakko count to avenge his brother’s affliction and get him to safety, Phillip had taken over leadership of the decisive battle itself and – with no general to command their foes – he went on to win without question and subsequently rid the area of any competing vampire clans. With one of Vincent’s last acts before his impending slumber, he made Darius the new Count of the von Hesselink’s and gave him power of rule (something that Phillip has always questioned).

    “We are quite far away from full re-animation, my lord” Toby answered, “However, the body is very strong and if you wish we can bring him back in short bursts.”

    “No, we can save that for when the time is right, we will need his skills on the battlefield so save his strength and keep working on him” Darius said, thinking of the long road ahead. “Take him to the coach and prepare yourself for travel, we leave for Avras in the morn”.

    “Yes, my lord. Of course my lord” Toby responded, looking somewhat nervous at the mention of Avras. He started packing away his scrolls and tools on his desk and went to get some books from his bookcase before the door from behind him swung open with a bang!

    “Sssssire!?!” shouted a concerned voice as Klagg burst through the doorway, followed closely by Weaver, both of whom were very out of breath from racing down the stairwell to get to them as quickly as possible. “”O-outside!” He added, “It is an army of men. They have come to destroy the castle – and you!”

    “Hmpf” Darius grunted, almost laughing. But with everything that had gone on this morning he did not allow himself any frivolities and he ambled to the front gates to meet his challengers. As he raced up the staircase and to the front hall, with Toby shuffling closely behind him, Sophia met them ready to join her beloved outside.

    The three walked out to ‘greet’ the rebellious force outside, only to see a large rabble of villagers and townspeople all holding torches and pitchforks and, from the obscenities they were shouting, they appeared to be up for a fight! The apparent leader of the rioters came forward on horseback and called out towards Fangdor Castle with intent:


    Darius stood silent for a moment, somewhat bemused by the thought of a castle being impossibly torn, before turning to his battle comrades, all eagerly awaiting instructions. Instead, he stepped out – alone – onto the steps of his entranceway and slowly walked down. As he did, he flexed his grip on his enchanted blade of True Thirst and stretched out his undead muscles as if to limber up for the fight ahead. He halted suddenly and stood tall, staring at the man on horseback. After a few seconds of eye contact with his aggressor he gave out a loud and terrifying ROAR. As he did so, he exposed his large teeth and fangs, which seem to grow as the roar went on. The roar lasted an eerily long time but Darius was not through in his attempts to intimidate. He crouched down and drew a fist with his remaining hand, which started to glow. The ground started to shake and the angry rioters began to disperse slightly from their formations as cracks started to appear below them. Then, with a sudden crunching sound a huge crack appeared between Darius and the invaders. The trembling shook the rubble away and out of the ground rose a huge shrieking horror! The monster shook debris away and looked to compose itself before joining Darius in howling at the villagers. Immediately, almost half of the horde of peasants stood had turned tail and begun to run away in sheer terror, while the supposed general of the army had retreated to his front lines and into a regiment of armoured cavalry.

    That was the distraction that Darius’ lieutenant’s needed, as it had now given them enough time to get around the sides of the mob and create a three-pronged attack on them – Sophia with a Varkolak, and a unit of risen skeletons; while Toby had a large units of zombies and some spawn at his side. To add to his enemies’ woes, Darius commanded Toby to raise up even more zombies to head off the cowardly villagers who had already decided to flee. Within a few moments two more units of zombies were raised to prevent the escape path and truly envelope their foe.

    Darius was not one to be crossed lightly and he would see that these peasants would get their punishment for the insolence they’ve shown. This would not be a battle – but a slaughter!
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Comments 2

  • Vespacian -

    Great job! Love it when people take the time to give some background to their army.

    Makes the games so much more meaningful. Love the project keep it up.

    • PTG-Lucky-Sixes -

      Thanks man! Appreciate it. Yeah have been genuinly inspired by some of the stuff on the avras campaign section. Its great they are trying to incorporate every aspect of the hobby! So when is a better time to get all the fluff and creativeness juices flowing!!!