Author Topic: A Tilean Campaign (Warhammer Fantasy Battle)  (Read 8440 times)


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Re: A Tilean Campaign (Warhammer Fantasy Battle)
« Reply #105 on: February 11, 2017, 05:07:29 PM »
End of Season 8 General Report (Winter 2402-3) Part 4

Antonio Mugello’s Letter Continued

From Alcente I will plot a course northwards. You, my lord, are almost certainly aware of the following news, but I include it so you might know that which I have learned here in Pavona. Earlier this week an emissary from Luccini arrived, missing the duke by a matter of days, and today departed in the hope of catching up with the duke upon the road. The emissary carries an invitation to King Ferronso III’s confirmation ceremony. The regent, Ferronso’s uncle Duke Ercole Perrotto, has apparently grown ill over the last few months, which most likely explains why the ceremony is being done at the earliest possible opportunity, to officially recognise the 15 year-old monarch as ruler in practise as well as name.

King Ferronso III, the boy-king, son of the ‘Lion’ of Luccini, King Ferronso II, here seen in his family’s famous Palazzo di Luce

The ceremony will take place at the close of Spring, and it is presumed that all the neighbouring rulers will be invited, including the Reman Overlord Matuzzi, the arch-lector of Morr (whomsoever that is), Lord Alessio Falconi of Portomaggiori and various lesser nobles neighbouring Luccini, such as current Gonfalonieri of Ridraffa, perhaps even the commander of the VMC in Alcente. I cannot see how Duke Guidobaldo of Pavona can possibly attend considering the precarious and dire state of his realm, and it would seem a similar species of madness were Overlord Matuzzi to attend, what with the immediate threat presented by Razger Boulderguts’ double-army. I have heard it suggested, cruelly, that ‘old’ Matuzzi, along with other nobility, might use the invite as an excuse to escape danger during this time of troubles? He did, after all, previously divest himself of his proper authority simply to shirk the responsibility of rule.

King Ferronso’s sister, Princess Mariangella, two years younger than he and of an age to be betrothed, is likely to become the focus of a second political concern in Luccini. It occurs to me now that young Lord Silvano is unmarried, and might well be considered a very eligible candidate. Whether or not the proud Duke Guidobaldo would wish to promote alliance with a far away and relatively weak state such as Luccini, however, is another matter. Besides, Lord Silvano has yet to safely return from his perilous adventures.

Again, my lord, you are probably more informed concerning the following matter than myself, but I intend to be thorough in my report on Tilea, and so will proceed in the confidence that you will not take my words as worthless. Lord Alessio of Portomaggiore seems to have finally quelled the unrest infecting Raverno, by taking it under his military rule. As to why he should do so, I think it very likely that he harbours doubts concerning the VMC’s intentions. After all, it was the VMC who sent a force to raze Camponeffro to punish Raverno for its treatment of their ambassadors. Lord Alessio’s own realm apparently enjoys peaceful prosperity, the profits of which enabled him to send forces of various kinds to assist in both the war against Khurnag’s Waagh and the Vampires of the north. While all these mercenary expeditions failed, smashed and scattered against much greater foes, Portomaggiore has nevertheless extended its dominion, acquiring control of Raverno and thus gaining a dependent marche to hinder and absorb any landward attack. If Lord Alessio were similarly to gain lordship of Luccinni, Ridraffa and even (may all the gods shield you) your own Verezzo, he would possess a great and wealthy state indeed, with his beloved Portomaggiore effectively fortified by an outer ring of petty states. Considering his own forces have yet to be committed to any real conflict, it is no wild supposition to assume he commands an army of considerable strength, making him perhaps the most powerful, living Tilean lord in the realm, not including stranieri, vampiri or bruti. I tell you this not to conjure unnecessary fears, but rather to reveal what seems possible, perhaps likely, to such an observer as myself.

Although the story of it has no doubt travelled throughout Tilea, by your leave I shall tell you all that I have gleaned concerning the battle before Ebino. The battle was great indeed. Morr’s holy army, composed of Reman soldiers, mercenaries under long term contract to Remas, the mercenary army of Arabyans commanded by Gedik Mamidous (sent by Lord Alessio Falconi of Portomaggiore), and the Pavonan Lord Silvano (Duke Guidobaldo’s lone surviving son) had begun the construction of a huge fortified camp, at the heart of which stood a sanctified - if makeshift - shrine to Morr. The soldiers drilled and laboured, while the genius Angelo da Leoni attempted to convert his steam powered war-engine into a mobile ramp from which to assault the walls, and the throng of priests began chanting powerful prayers to weaken the necromantic magic holding the enemy forces in this world. But all was to no avail, for the vampire duchess’s army sallied forth unexpectedly, much larger than the Remans had believed it to be, containing truly monstrous and unnatural beasts and engines, and caught Morr’s army unprepared. Their camp incomplete, their mighty war machine weakened by the work being done upon it, and their army made up mostly of mercenary troops with little faith in Morr, all added together to cause disaster. The priests’ prayers, their suppliant rites barely begun, wrought little harm upon the foe, and the undead wreaked great slaughter.

A mere fraction of the arch-lector’s army survived to flee the field in disarray. Gedik Mamidous is rumoured to have escaped, along with perhaps half of his arabyans, as did Lord Silvano and the genius Master Angelo. The vampire duchess must surely have gained great strength from her enemy’s corpses, magically luring them from death to undeath and so into her service. It is said she is now establishing a mockery of the church of Morr, with lesser vampires masquerading as priests and mobs of shambling zombies gurgling foul hymns, claiming Nagash to be the god of gods.

Yet she has halted, and does not seem to have advanced any further south than Ebino. None (alive) can know what has delayed her, whether it is merely her own inclination and desires, or whether she has other obstacles to overcome before advancing further.

What few folk have been brave (or foolish) enough to remain in Viadaza now live in fear of what could come at any moment. Having only recently completed the horrible work of cleansing the city of corruption, they now face the prospect of Viadaza once more falling under the abominable rule of the unliving. The people of Urbimo are only a little less worried, having gained some reassurance from Viadaza being closer to the evil, thus acting as a buffer against the duchess’s reach, and that (as I have already mentioned) the soldiers of the Estalian Compagnia del Sole are currently quartered in the vicinity providing an accidental garrison of considerable strength. Needless to say, Capitano Bruno Mazallini’s soldiers have been warmly welcomed and generously provisioned, even to the hardship of the populace, who are happy to suffer hunger and even the usual ignominies that invariably accompany the presence of condottiere, in return for the presence of seasoned soldiers. The prospect of aching bellies, pilfered trinkets and a gaggle of disgraced damsels fades into insignificance compared to the horrors of conquest by the living dead!

As I explained earlier, there is no certainty regarding why the soldiers of the second Compagnia del Sole have returned to Tilea, only conflicting reports. Some say it is merely the fact that their Estalian contract has ended, and that they have returned either by order of their Estalian employers or because they want new employment in Tilea, where there is doubtless need for their aid. Whether or not they already have a new contract is uncertain, for it may be that they have several offers, or perhaps one offer yet to be signed and sealed. Some say that the arch-lector Calictus II invited them, and if so Captain Mazallini must now be wondering what to do. Perhaps the Reman Overlord Matuzzi, or whoever succeeds to the arch-lector’s throne, will re-affirm the offer of contract? Other suggestions concerning their new employer include Lord Alessio Falconi of Portomaggiore (who, after all, has previously employed such large mercenary companies, and who’s own state has remained relatively untouched, and consequently prosperous, by the wars recently ravaging the peninsula)? Or perhaps they are to serve Duke Guidobaldo, brought so low by the brutes of Campogrotta, and no doubt eager for revenge and to regain what he has lost? Still others believe that they are in the employ of whichever Bretonnian lord believes himself to be the heir of Ravola, where what little remains habitable is garrisoned by ogres; or the mountain dwarfs of Karak Borgo, whose rich trade with Tilea has ceased completely; or the VMC, perhaps the only employer with the resources to actually pay the no-doubt massive sums offered to gain the Compagnia’s service? All, however, is speculation, which is possibly just what Captain Mazallini and/or his employer want.

It is reliably reported that there is turmoil in the great city of Remas, for as so often during the election of a new arch lector, a variety of factions are clashing over the decision. Even in times of peace there can be much upset, and all the moreso when the whole of Tilea is threatened with ruin. In theory, Overlord Domenico Matuzzi governs the state with signorial authority, and could not only influence the choice but could also rule the city with a strong hand whilst the election occurred, but as he voluntarily handed over the reins of power to the arch-lector he has made himself a weak candidate for de facto ruler even now that Calictus is dead. It is commonly expected that the new arch lector will continue to rule both church and state. The Reman Captain-General Scaringella leads a force in the field, presumably in an attempt to prevent the tyrant Boulderguts’ double army troubling the city state, which limits his own ability to influence the government of the city or the election of the new arch-lector, and means the chances of him establishing martial rule are low.

The Church of Morr has yet to decide upon Calictus’ successor, a decision made difficult not only by the number of candidates (the foremost being the lectors of Verezzo and Viadaza, Luigi Grasica and Bernado Ugolini respectively) but also by the radicalisation of the church in response to the growing threat from the north. Powerful cults have formed, the populace swelling the number of their dedicati, with Sagranalian tendencies and more than a smattering of the Pavonan heresy of Morr Supreme, and their leaders, particularly Father Carradalio and his Disciplinati di Morr, are also jostling for the arch-lectorship.

I shall return at the last to matters of which I am more reliably informed. Razger Boulderguts, his ravenous army swollen in size by Mangler’s band of brutes, is hauling a massive train of loot, plundered from Trantio, Astiano and the villages of Pavona. Until now all that Duke Guidobaldo’s soldiers have been able to do is slow his progress a little and (by razing some of their own lands) deny him some of the spoils he would otherwise have taken. Pavona now lies bruised and battered, which may well be the future fate of Remas if Boulderguts cannot be stopped. The duke commands a large army, which I myself saw mustered and marching from the city, as well as other forces like those sent away from Viadaza by the arch-lector as a gesture of solidarity concerning the ogre threat. But is his army sufficiently strong to defeat the brute double army? If only Prince Girenzo of Trantio were still alive, and commanding his armies. If only Remas had not lost the bulk of its forces in the war to the north. Then a grand alliance indeed could have been formed. As things stand, it may well be that all these once great powers can do is scrape together sufficient forces to defend their walls, and give thanks to the gods that they can do so. Again and again I have heard it said that the brutes and the vampires must be in league, the first growing rich upon all that they can steal, and sated on all the flesh they can eat, so that the latter can then take possession of the wasted land left in the brutes’ wake, turning the rotting remnants of the ogres’ victims into servants. And so, evil is piled upon evil as one hell begets another.

Your humble servant, Antonio Mugello


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Re: A Tilean Campaign (Warhammer Fantasy Battle)
« Reply #106 on: March 05, 2017, 11:18:24 AM »
Media Vita in Morte Sumus
(In the midst of Death we are in Life)

Biagino grinned as he scrutinised the two prisoners before him, an expression of joy somewhat marred by the sharp fangs revealed in doing so, and the malignant gleam of his narrowed eyes.

They were the only two living people within a mile, yet this did not mean the graveyard was otherwise quiet, what with the fluttering of Biagino’s robes in the breeze and the clinking clatter of bone meeting iron armour – the undead were unquiet. 

“I have to say, this is a most pleasant surprise,” Biagino declared, his voice a croaking whisper, yet audible nevertheless. “You are exactly what I was hoping for. More than that,” he added, his dry hiss transforming into something more akin to a growl, “I like you. It will be a pleasure to have your service for a long, long time.”

The men before him were a disparate pair. Both exhibited deep fear, but each in their own, particular way. One, a dedicant of the Disciplinati di Morr, stood in desperate, rigid defiance, determined to die on his feet and so conjure the illusion of courage to the end. Open mouthed, he gulped at the air, like one who had only moments before been drowning. Both his robes and flesh were torn and bloodied, the delicious sight and scent of which stirred up with the smell of his hot, exhaled breath to arouse the ancient hunger in Biagino.

The other was a lesser priest. He knelt, his tonsured head bowed, wringing his hands tightly together as he stumbled over a prayer, his strained voice nothing more than a suppressed whine. A mortal man would have struggled to discern the words, but Biagino had the acute senses possessed by most vampires and could hear every syllable. Not that he needed to, for he knew the prayer intimately, having spoken if often enough when alive. It was a prayer for protection against evil.

“Júdica Morre nocéntes me,” the priest intoned, forcing the words – along with spittle and blood - through clenched teeth, “expúgna impugnántes me … me … Confundántur et revereántur quaeréntes ánimam meam.”

Biagino was surprised to feel the prayer’s potency working upon him. There was a sting to the words, a sharpness, as if their very sound was barbed, and the intent they carried scratched against some weakness hidden deep within him. Rather than recoil at the sensation, however, he gave himself up to it, like someone lowering themselves into bath waters a little too hot for comfort, and so turned the feeble curse into a source of stimulation. Quite contrary to its purpose, he was enlivened by it, pricked into an even more present awareness than his ordinary state of being.

“Your faith is palpable,” he said. “I am impressed by the power of it. Such spirit, such strength. I want you to keep these things, only I would have them serve the great Nagash and not your pathetic, sleeping excuse for a god. Morr is not worthy of such passion. It is wasted upon him. I will put your fervour to much better use.”

Biagino turned his attention to the two robed and hooded thralls standing behind the prisoners. They were the first of his newly made clergy, La Fraternita di Morti Irrequieti. They too were vampires, but begotten in such a way that they were wholly beholden to his will. Their service was so complete that their very thoughts consisted almost entirely of echoes of his own; their minds were almost solely concerned with serving him, with just enough of their own, personal cruelty to revel in their deeds.

It took only the tiniest of nods to convey his command, and the two thralls began chanting.

“Anima Nagashi, sanctifica me. Corpus Nagashi, salve me. Sanguis Nagashi, inebria me.”

“Yes, we are blessed by him,” said Biagino, and for a moment was tempted to join them in the chant. Instead he looked down at the Morrite priest, who was rocking gently as he continued his own prayer. Biagino chose instead to listen to the priest’s words, having completely forgotten that when alive the confused jumble of sound – rasping breaths, chanting thralls and mumbling priest – would have left him struggling to comprehend any individual part. Now no effort was needed, especially as the words were laced with delicate shards which prickled at his mind.

“Avertántur retrórsum … et  ... et … confundántur, co … cogitántes míhi mála.”

“I am not going to wrong thee,” complained Biagino, “but rather make thee right in the eyes of a true god. And I am afraid it is too late to overthrow us, for your battle was fought and lost.” He chuckled. “I am surprised you did not notice. It didn’t escape my notice, as you can see. Why don’t you turn your thoughts to what is to happen now? It is foolishness to dwell on that which has passed, that which cannot be changed. You would do well to accept that which is happening now, and to embrace that which is to come.”

The priest whimpered pathetically …

… then recommenced his weakening attempt at prayer, “Fíant táamquam pul … táamquam púlvis ante fáciem vénti …. et  … et Daemonus Morre coárctans eos.”

“Tut tut, good priest. You can see that I am not dust, and you know your prayer cannot make me so. As for the languid demons who serve your god, they are no more able to wake than he. Your prayer is wasted, your power is waned, your god is wanting.”

Biagino brought his staff down to point at the priest, mere inches from his bald pate. “Enough,” he hissed, for the first time allowing anger to brace his words. The priest fell silent, his hands suddenly limp, his shoulders sagging. Biagino had wrapped him in his own curse, unspoken as it was but much more powerful than anything the priest had conjured.

“Forget all the prayers you have learned. They are ash. Forget all whom you loved. They are lost. Forget all whom you knew. They are doomed. You are to be remade, your flesh refashioned to serve us despite its worldly corruption, and your mind will no more be your own. Oh, and you must learn some new prayers.”

The thralls’ chanting, delivered as if one voice, grew louder. “Aqua lateris Nagashi, lava me. Nagashi, conforta me. O Nagashi, exaudi me.”

“Listen, learn and know. He will wash the flesh from you, and give you strength like you have never known. And your prayers will allow almighty Nagash to drink deep of your soul.”

Biagino smiled, his eyelids part closing as malevolent satisfaction coursed through him. Then he turned his attention to the dedicant. This one would be easier, for not only was the man of a more malleable nature, his raw anger and fear already almost perfectly formed, but he had already made the mistake of looking into Biagino’s eyes. As soon as he did so, Biagino refused to let go, and within moments the man was so entranced that he lost the power to blink, or do anything else for that matter.   

Now Biagino joined the thralls’ droning intonation. “Intra tua vulnera absconde me. Ne permittas me separari a te. In hora mortis meae voca me, et custodierit me in aeternum, ut cum servos tuis laudem te in saecula saeculorum.”

There was a moment’s silence. Then Biagino said, “Now, let us all pray together.”

The prayer was repeated, once, twice, thrice. By the fourth repetition both priest and dedicant also intoned. Biagino himself fell quiet, to watch and listen for a little while. When the prayer came to an end, there was silence.

Then Biagino made the tiniest of gestures with his forefinger. Quicker than any mortal man could manage, the thralls lurched suddenly forwards, arms outstretched, as if they might embrace the two prisoners as old friends.

Needless to say, that was not their intent.


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Re: A Tilean Campaign (Warhammer Fantasy Battle)
« Reply #107 on: March 05, 2017, 06:41:05 PM »
great work as always.
just looking forward to what happens next.
Might even get some miniatures painted.


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Re: A Tilean Campaign (Warhammer Fantasy Battle)
« Reply #108 on: April 08, 2017, 11:58:52 PM »
@ Damo: Thanks. I hope you like this next bit (I think it has pictures from eight different locations, all with different figures!!) And yeah, paint. It's mighty therapuetic and fun. I myself am now modelling about 50 zombified dedicants (mixing Mantic zombies and ghouls with Frostgrave cultists and GW flagellants with a dash of Perry Miniature thrown in).
By Order of the Praepositus Generalis
The City of Remas, Spring IC 2403
At the ruins of Tragustan’s Forum

Brother Vincenzo, Admonitor of the Disciplinati di Morr and thus Father Carradalio’s right-hand man, stood motionless as three more dedicants approached the ruins. He carried his staff of office, the brass top containing the holy relic of Saint Albudin’s upper teeth, while at his side hung a flask of thrice blessed water from the sacred spring at Tabbinu, a potent ward against vampires, the mere touch of which would burn and blister their skin more horribly than aqua fortis would mortal flesh. His many layered robes were voluminous, the sleeves so wide they hung to his knees, his heavy woollen hood almost entirely obscuring his eyes.

His guards, posted in a circle about him, gave the newcomers no heed, instead continuing to peer purposefully out into the surrounding woods whilst clutching their spears or polearms. This was just one of several such visiting groups that day, neither the first nor the last, and like all the others they were attired in the grey and red robes favoured by the dedicants of the Disciplinati di Morr. In such circumstances, the guards’ inattentiveness was understandable, but it now occurred to Vincenzo it might well prove dangerous. For all anyone knew, these three could be assassins in disguise – a sinister possibility made no less likely by the fact that two of them wore the full hoods so common amongst dedicants.

As they drew close, Vincenzo focused on the one face he could see, for the man wore nothing but a large zucchetto cap upon his head, and was pleased to discover it was Brother Gaspare. Further reassurance was provided by the fact Gaspare carried a sword, his left hand clutching the pommel, which would be odd indeed if he were an unwilling captive being used by the others to gain proximity. Nevertheless, now was not the time to make assumptions. This was a day of many murders and multiple treacheries across the length and breadth of the city. Success required calculated risks, not unnecessary ones.

“Halt,” he ordered while they were still ten yards away. “Speak.”

It was Gaspare who replied. “By your leave, Brother Vincenzo, we have come to report the southern quarter is almost completely taken. Only a handful of dwellings remain barricaded against us, none of any significance, and their defiance cannot last.”

“Praise be to Morr!” prayed Vincenzo. “So the palazzos are already taken? Both Capistrano and Ordini?”

“Aye, brother, both of them. Some Capistrani bravi made a stand on the Ponte Sistotti, having lit a great fire on the Ponte Ruptus to ensure none could pass there instead. They were not many, but Marshal Raimondo and the Brothers of Righteous Pain* didn’t even stop to count them before charging the bridge.”

“Once those few were slain, those beyond the bridge lay down their arms, protesting they never wished to fight, only those fools already dead. The palazzo gates lay open, and Roberto Capistrani led prayers of thanks that we had so righteously corrected the rebellious bravi serving his foolish nephew on the bridge.”

“Still, he was taken prisoner, yes?”

“Of course.”

“And his nephew?” enquired Vincenzo.

“Either fled or hiding. Marshal Raimondo is searching for him now. If he is in the palazzo he will be found.”

Vincenzo was surprised at this news. He had expected considerable resistance from such a family as the Capistrano – the Reman nobilities’ long and bloody history of time-honoured hatreds had spurred many a clash of arms between them, even full blown sieges. The duels, disputes and disagreements between their petty armies of bravi could turn a street red, and their pride was famously obdurate. Perhaps the ease of victory was Morr’s work?  Perhaps the bravi recognised the holy origins of the dedicati’s fervour, and their fear of Morr proved greater than their pride?

“What of the Ordini family?” asked Vincenzo.

“I myself witnessed what happened there,” said Brother Gaspare. “We approached their palazzo at the very same moment Brother Raimondo charged the Capistrano’s bridge. The Ordini’s men came out, armed and armoured, to meet us. No doubt they had already had word concerning what happened at the western Palazzos and knew full well we did not have gentle intentions.”

“They came out to fight?” interrupted Vincenzo. “Why would they do so?”

“I believe they thought a simple show of strength and the spillage of blood would send us running. We had crossbows, but such was the spirit filling us that several brothers dashed forwards to fight before any bolts could be released.”

“One of their captains ran at Brother Damiano, a furious madness in his eyes, but Damiano simply waited, his axe raised …

“The captain lost his head when the cut was made. The others faltered, but not our brothers. Half the bravi were killed before another captain, maybe one of Galdio Ordini’s sons, ordered their retreat.”

“Such was our fury that before they reached the gate a further half of those left were slain. They could not hold the gate against us long enough to close it, and we took the palace easily. What few survived are now being held, as are the servants and a number of the family. Old Galdeo was not there, nor his sons.”

“You said one of his sons was in the street.”

“Possibly, brother. But that man could not be found either.”

Brother Vincenzo remembered Father Carradalio’s words: “Divide and rule – that’s the way. We must first foster the factions’ mutual distrusts, fan their rivalries and then, when the attack is made and most important of all, ensure they don’t have time to coordinate anyway. By the time they realise the danger they are in, it will be too late to unite into any sort of effective opposition.” Surely, thought Vincenzo, one or two escaped nobles could not present any sort of real threat later on? Besides, the noble factions were not the greatest threat to the Disciplinati di Morr’s capture of the city.

“And the arch lector’s guard?” Vincenzo asked. “Did they not interfere?”

It was one of the hooded dedicants who spoke, his voice somewhat muffled as a consequence.

“We dealt with them before the attacks were begun. Father Gabrielle and myself met Captain Vogel in the first hour of daylight, in the gardens behind the Palazzo Montini. The captain said he knew what must be done, pledging himself a true servant of Morr, and agreed to Father Carrradalio’s terms.”

“All of them?”

“Aye, brother, but he demanded a particular concession.”

Captain Luppolt Vogel was a mercenary from Nuln, a swaggering bravado who instilled complete loyalty in his men. That, and the fact that all were veterans skilled in the martial arts, was what made the arch-lector’s palace guard dangerous, not their numbers, for they were little more than a hundred strong. If the captain had chosen to oppose the Disciplinati’s work that day he could not have prevented their victory, but a lot more dedicants would lie dead by nightfall. Vincenzo was glad to hear that the captain was enlightened enough to recognise, and accept, Morr’s proper and necessary supremacy.

Father Carradalio had ordered that an offer of promotion should be made, making Captain Vogel commander of the entire Reman garrison, and that he be permitted to enlarge his personal company to at least double its current size. In return, the captain was to promise not to interfere with the day’s events, nor to assist any faction or individual opposed to the Disciplinati’s coup. Vincenzo had not expected the captain to ask for anything else.

“What concession?” asked Vincenzo.

“That he and his soldiers be allowed to protect the lectors from harm. When Father Gabrielle objected, saying that agreeing to such would allow the lectors to act against us, Vogel denied that was so. He said protecting them from harm did not mean permitting their communication with the city’s nobility and other factions.”

Hidden by the shadow of his heavy hood …

...  Brother Vincenzo raised his eyebrows. “So the captain’s idea of protection is to keep them prisoner?” he asked.

“After a fashion. He even suggested that their ‘protection’ would increase if the lectors expressed any opposition to Father Carradalio, in this way preventing them from taking any action that might lead to their own harm.”

The mercenary obviously took his contractual vows seriously, thought Vincenzo, even if he had found a convenient way to follow them by the letter rather than by the spirit. He decided that was something to keep in mind during all future dealings with the man.

So far, so good, thought Vincenzo. Every report, and almost all had now come in, was of success. There had been a high cost in lives, including many a dedicant lost to the holy cause, but the city was almost wholly under Father Carradalio’s control. By midnight the task would be all but complete, so that as the Morrite lectors met the next day to cast their votes for the new arch-lector, they would surely be forced to choose Father Carradalio. To do otherwise would be to fly in the face of common sense, for Father Carradalio, Praepositus Generalis of the Disciplinati di Morr, would control the entire city. He would not be merely the strongest power in Remas, he would be the only power. Once he also had the arch-lectorship then his most holy and enlightened rule would be complete.

With luck it would happen just in the nick of time, for umpteen forces loomed outside the city walls, threatening at the least to upset the ascendancy of Morr’s true church, and at the most to destroy the city completely.  Any one of these forces could arrive, and at any hour. Captain-General Scaringella might return with the remnants of the Reman army, declaring martial law and thus his own rule …

… or perhaps Razger Boulderguts’ double army of ogres would outmanoeuvre the captain-general and attack first?

It was even rumoured that the mercenary Compagnia del Sol, newly arrived from Estalia at the nearby port of Urbimo, had been contracted by Luigi Grasica and Overlord Matuzzi to seize the city for them.

Worst of all, the vile and abominable, unliving army of the vampire duchess seemed again to be moving southwards.

Once Father Caradallio, guided by Morr’s spirit, was in possession of the church, city and army of Remas, his forces swelled by legions of fanatical dedicants, then decisive action could at last be taken. In the past, Remas had been too slow to respond, what with a dithering overlord and an uncertain clergy. For years, the first response to danger was to issue declarations and warnings, to plead for aid from neighbouring principalities, or to hire another company of mercenaries to sew into the realm’s mismatched, patch-work army. As Father Carradalio had preached to the throng of dedicants only the day before:

“We are the living embodiment of Morr in this world: his eyes and ears, his voice and limbs. As such we already command the citizens’ fears, for all must die and all fear what will become of them when they do. Once we take the reins of worldly power, then in time the people’s hearts and souls will belong to us too, for only those who yield unto Morr’s true church will be permitted to prosper. If Remas is to survive, if the living of Tilea are to defeat the unholy wickedness that threatens to swallow us whole, consuming both our bodies and souls, we must first annihilate all enemies of the faith, both those within the church and without, purifying the clergy, cleansing Remas, and forging a mighty army of blessed dedicants through which Morr’s mighty will can be channelled in furious anger.”

* Fratellanza di dolore giusti