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Saturday, 26 August 2006
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Part Three: Nemesis and Ally
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When Brenguard woke he had a terrible headache, but the pain had otherwise subsided. He immediately picked up his sword and put it back in its scabbard. Brenguard carefully reloaded his pistol and replaced it in his holster, keeping his right hand on the butt of the gun just in case he should need it. He carefully made his way west in the general direction he had seen the countess run.


Brenguard moved through the forest for almost a quarter of an hour with no signs of the countess. Suddenly, a cracking sound caused Brenguard’s head to snap left, just in time to see a figure hit him at a run. Both went sprawling to the ground, but the assailant was the first one up. The assailant, brandishing a hefty tree branch, stood over Brenguard, blocking any chance for escape. Brenguard got his first good look at his attacker. To his utter shock, above him stood Aliena.


“Captain? I’m so sorry! I thought you were…well, anyone but you. How did you escape from Count Vandenberg?” asked the countess incredulously.


“The..,” Brenguard stopped. A little embellishment might not hurt at this point he decided. “The creature didn’t expect me to put up such a fight, and after we exchanged quite a few blows, he ran off. No doubt he intends to come back tonight with some minions to ensure an unfair fight.”


“I meant how did you keep from dying until the sun came up,” answered the countess with a slight laugh.


“I don’t think he realized how close to sunrise it was, and he talked a bit more than he should have before finishing me off,” confessed Brenguard, embarrassed.


“You fought a vampire count, a descendant of the Von Carstein line no less, and survived. That’s no small feat captain,” answered the countess reassuringly.


“You, m’lady, seem to know quite a bit about the denizens of Sylvania. For that matter, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a count’s daughter ambush an Imperial captain and win either. Care to tell me what’s going on?”


“It seems we’re destined to be allies, so it’s probably time I told you the truth. We should discuss it while we travel,” answered the countess, offering Brenguard a hand to help Brenguard up.


Brenguard took her hand, and the two began to make their way west again, heading toward the safety of the Empire again.




Once the pair was safely out of the forest and nearing Imperial lands, they sat down to rest and eat what little provisions they had left.


“I suppose the best way to begin is to tell you what I’m not. I’m not a countess,” began Aliena.


“So…the man who asked me to find his daughter isn’t a count?” asked Brenguard dejectedly. He had wagered a lot on this rescue mission, his life in fact; on the basis that Count Vilhelm might help finance his army.


“He’s one of my agents, a scout and informant. His act as my father was our backup plan should I fail to return from Vandenberg quickly,” answered Aliena.


“Your agent? Who exactly are you then?” asked Brenguard hesitantly, wary of the answer he might receive.


“I’m a servant of the Emperor, like yourself. I also have the backing of a powerful religious group.”


“A Witch-hunter! You don’t hit me as the ‘holier than thou’ Sigmarite type. Why is a witch-hunter in Sylvania?” inquired Brenguard.


“Heavens no! I wouldn’t risk my life messing with chaos for all the gold in Altdorf! I work for the church of Morr. I’m a vampire hunter,” clarified Aliena with a smile.


Brenguard tried to absorb the news. He had heard tales of vampire hunters; dirty, death-crazed men who scoured graveyards and swamps until they succumbed to madness. The charming, beautiful young woman before him contradicted everything he thought he knew about vampire hunters.


“How long have you been working here then?” asked Brenguard, still trying to come to terms with this new information.


“Three years. I’ve been gathering information for the church of Morr on the level of activity within Sylvania. It seems Count Vandenberg finally figured out the schedule of my reconnaissance runs.”


“What kind of organization are you running then?” asked Brenguard amazed that this young woman seemingly unarmed was used to spending long periods of time in Sylvania alone.


“There are a dozen of us officially. I also have contacts and spies in every town in eastern Stirland. My usual group is mostly mercenaries and priests. The mercenaries are becoming harder to come by now that you’re in the area, they seem to be flocking to your banner or hiding, I’m not entirely sure which,” answered Aliena lightly, flashing another smile at Brenguard to try to reassure him that she was being honest.


“How long have you been keeping tabs on me?” asked Brenguard, his continence finally returning to his usual mixture of bravado and sternness.


“What?” asked Aliena, completely taken off guard.


“Peter, they young recruit who seems to have obtained the vampire’s book. He must have been one of your men. Fantastic work then! I was sure he was a deserter,” laughed Brenguard, genuinely impressed with the vampire hunter’s resources.


“I’m afraid you’re wrong. The young deserter wasn’t one of mine. I do have an informant in your ranks though, so you weren’t entirely wrong. I was worried that you might draw the vampires into a fight, but it seems you’re smarter than I gave you credit for. You said you had already recaptured the book, I assume that was a bluff?”


“Yes and no. I have someone trustworthy in pursuit of it, but as of yet I’ve heard nothing back from him. I assume you sent someone too?” asked Brenguard.


“Yes, I sent my apprentice. He’s an able young man, but I fear that if your deserter has learned anything from those tomes my apprentice might not be up to the challenge of a small undead horde,” answered Aliena grimly.


“So, once we get back to a civilized town what do you plan to do?” asked Brenguard with a shrug.


“I’ll…I honestly don’t have any idea. No doubt Vandenberg will be keeping an eye out for me, so my days of traveling alone inside Sylvania are numbered. I suppose I’ll write to the church and see what they’d have me do,” answered Aliena uncertainly.


“I think I have a better idea,” countered Brenguard, “my second in command is still away, and I could use an expert on the enemy on my staff anyway. Any chance you’d be interested in serving with the Sylvan Guard?”


Aliena looked thoughtful for a moment then smiled warmly. “I accept. Your boys could use some disciple. Besides, not every vampire is going to be dense enough to let you get a good shot right at his face,” she joked good naturedly.


“Discipline? I’ve never had a problem with discipline!” exclaimed Brenguard. “Well, except for that desertion.”


“And I hear your men have emptied more taverns than any other army in Stirland, and they’re half the size of any other fighting force!” replied Aliena mock-accusingly.


“That’s not a discipline problem, that’s a problem with how little the taverns stock,” answered Brenguard with a laugh. For a woman who chased after the dead for a living, she was making him smile more than anything in this Sigmar-forsaken land.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 26 August 2006 )
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