Chapter 1: Release

Darkness surrounded Brink like a blanket. Enveloping him. Smothering him.

There was no light down here, in this cell. But that was fine. There was nothing to see, apart from cold rock and piles of scat.

Feverishly Brink thrashed his head from side to side, flicking droplets of sweat about the cell. His limbs periodically convulsed, and his hands and feet clenched tight enough to draw blood. This is what passed for sleep in his world. A world of unending pain.

Once he had been a promising young apprentice, learning the arcane art of technomancy from the senior Warlock Engineers of Clan Skryre. Such was his talent that he had been given his own lab, a clan to command and a mission to for fill for the Council of Thirteen.

The lab now lay in ruin, the clan gone and the mission aborted. And of the Council? The Council demanded restitution. Restitution in blood.

Slowly the aged door to Brink’s cell groaned open.

Pausing the in the doorway for only a moment, a figure stumbled into the room. It was covered in rags and mail, hunched over, and shuffled along with a terrible limp. In its left hand it held a rope. In its right, a large needle.

Stooping down, the Master Moulder jabbed the sleeping Brink in the torso. With practised ease he pushed on the plunger, injecting the thick, brown substance contained within the syringe into the engineer. Within moments Brink ceased to shake and began to breathe in shallow, regular breaths.

Smirking with satisfaction the Master Moulder roughly tied the rope around Brink’s legs. He strained for only a second, testing the weight of the unconscious body on the rope. With a heave Brink was pulled into motion, dragged out of the cell, and upwards.

*                     *                     *

Colours span in Brinks vision. Whirring and pulsing blobs of form and light. Indistinct and hazy, yet so familiar.

His body was pressed against something cool. A rough stone floor, layered with dirt, fur and blood. His claws caught in the joins of the tiles as he tried to push himself up, causing him to wobble feebly.

From above he could hear a throaty chuckle, the sort made by someone laughing at some pathetic display. He could only assume he was that pathetic display.

Willing strength into his weary limbs Brink propped himself up and raised his head. Blinking away the groggy remnants of sleep he focused on the direction of his audience. Quickly the world snapped into place. If his glands had not already been rendered useless years ago, he would have vented them fully.

Sitting above him, perched on a fur draped throne and looking as large as a Verminlord, was Grey Seer Krittik. His elbows rested on the arm rest, hands clasped together. He sat slightly forward, leaning in towards Brink and smirking ever so slightly. Icons of the Horned Rat hung all around him, perfectly still in the stagnant air of the chamber.

“Mighty and imposing voice-voice of the Horned One.” stammered Brink, tilting his head to expose his neck.

Krittik’s eyes narrowed.

“Silence wretch. Spies have no voice in my ears.”

Brink’s eyes grew wide, pleading.

“Fearsome and ruthless master, as I said when-when I was first brought here, I am no spy! I merely found myself in your holdings-holdings by accident!”

In an exaggerated display Krittik scoffed out loud.

“A spy would say-speak that.”

Stricken by horror Brink wildly looked around. His body was already beginning to shake, and he could feel the pain creeping back. The drugs were wearing off. He didn’t plan to go back to the constant suffering he was forced to endure, and tried in vain to formulate a plan of escape.

“Calm yourself, worm.” Krittik sneered “You are not going back-back to the dungeons. I have use for you.”

A sliver of hope filled Brink’s frail heart.

“How may I serve you, cunning master?” he hissed

“There are those who seek-seek to destroy me, destroy my clan. The delusional, the traitor and the corrupted all move to wipe-wipe away everything I built. I will not-not allow this.” The Grey Seer seemed almost impassioned by his tale “I have very few who can lead, among my-my command. In the past I may have been too… eager, to dispose of those who-who seemed too keen for power” he smirked to himself “This has left me with very few-few who can command my forces. So, I am forced to rely on those who with experience, and those who I can control”

As if on que the chamber doors moaned open. In loped a rag covered skaven, fur caked with dirt and blood. The vials on his belt, whip and malicious sneer immediately told Brink what he was, a Master Moulder. Behind him came a pack of clanrat slaves, wrestling with something metallic and cumbersome.

Immediately Brink recognised what it was. His suit.

All Warlock Engineers wore suits of some kind. Each suit was different, built by the engineer to augment his strength and power whatever arcane mechanism he used.

Brink’s suit, however, was much more than that. As well as protecting him, and powering his weaponry, it also enabled him to operate relatively pain free. A series of disasters in the past had left Brinks body burnt and scarred. He developed the suit to protect his fragile body, as well as administer doses of warpstone laced drugs to dull the pain.

Years of use had resulted in a dependence on the drugs. Without the suits dosing system his body would go into fits and convulsions. Coupling this with his existing condition meant that, away from the suit, he was in constant pain.

“Your suit,” Krittik’s voice interrupted Brink’s thoughts “is your salvation.”

Brink smiled to himself.

“And also the yoke by which I direct you.” Krittik said, obviously gloating over the situation.

In a flash Brink realised his predicament. The old fool was going to use his own invention against him!

“Your suit will be yours, but the drugs-drugs you rely on, they will come from me.” Krittik laughed. He gestured towards the Master Moulder. “This is Skarb. He specialises in potions and salves, and will-will provide you with the substance you need. But beware Brink, any hint of treachery and the supply ends. And your suffering begins.”

Scowling, Brink abased himself before Krittik. The Grey Seer’s cackles of triumph could be heard all throughout the warren.

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