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therisnosaurus
19-07-2005, 14:37
here's a sample of some of the background story from warhammer armies: cathay. any criticism or comment would be appreciated (eg spelling mistakes, grammar etc) so it can be as good as possible for the final edition

Diary of Pieter Dietrich

14th of Morrisleb
Will these infernal mountains never end? Our caravan has laboured for almost three months among these godforsaken peaks, half my men have died and the rest are exausted. If it werenít for the ogres we hired in pigbarter Iíd guess we would have been dead ten times over by now. From what Iíve heard, the fool running this caravan, Johann, is letting the ogres eat the corpses of our men that died in that last ambush to keep them with us. I pray to Sigmar that Iím not next

18th of morrisleb:
We fought off another ambush today. My men are exausted and I donít think the few that are left will be any use if we are attacked again. Iíve tried to warn the merchants, but theyíre hell bent on getting us all killed. Gorgut, the Maneater in charge of the ogre guards, has told us weíre only a few days from Cathay, but I donít think we can hold out that long. Why did I ever agree to this fool scheme? But, I wonít despair. The star of Sigmar still shines above us, and that alone gives me the strength to continue

20th of morrisleb:
Today, as our caravan passed through a mountain passage we came in sight of our prize, Great Cathay. I can see why the merchants are excited, the sight of that land makes me feel slightly more hopeful already. Gorgut told me this morning that we were entering the lands of the daemon-men. I have no idea what heís talking about, but there was a note of awe in his voice. If whatever lives among these crags can frighten an ogre, I very much hope our caravan does not meet them. My few surviving friends deserve to live, though should they die, they might find hell relaxing compared to what weíve gone through.

21st of morrisleb:
We were passing through the final pass before the decending road into Cathay when the caravan halted. I came down from our war wagon to find out what the problem was and observed a group of men standing by the roadside. Despite the temperature, they were wearing only what looked like simple sackcloth, and I was surprised that they had not already frozen to death in these inhospitable parts. One who appeared to be the leader of the motley group, certainly an individual of terrific build, to say the least, approached Johann and gestured for him to receive a piece of parchment. Our merchant prince accepted the document, though I noted that he kept two of my men very close at all times. At least our journey taught him to be careful. In any case, his concerns were misdirected. Apparently these men were sent by one of the aristocrats of Cathay, the Magistates as Johann refers to them, to escort us down into their land, to the city of Hsijing. While I donít doubt these menís endurance and worthiness as guides, I was not afraid to tell Johann that what we really needed were fresh escort troops. The merchant seemed under the impression that the Cathayans thought these fifteen men were force enough to escort us. Folly, they carry no weapons or armor and while I must admit they are all physically the equal of any hardbitten knight of the reiksguard or state guard of our homeland, they could not hope to defend us against even one ogre unarmed. Still, I am merely a warrior and I obey my orders. I offered space in our caravan for these men, but they seem quite happy to walk all day alongside us. Not one has actually spoken a word to any of us yet, and Iím beginning to wonder if they are not dumb. Whoever they are, their presence is, however little, reassuring

22nd of morrisleb
I must take some of my early words back. The ogres in our caravan seem to find the newcomers intimidating. I donít know how a fully armoured twelve foot tall ogre can be intimidated by an unarmed peasant in sackcloth, but they hang back around the rear of the caravan now, as far away from the Cathayans as they can. All I can get out of Gorgut is something like Ďdevilsí, he seems to have become remarkably taciturn, though that may be due to the lack of fighting in the last few days and hence the lack of fresh meat. You can always trust an ogre to never think past his stomach, though the prospect is slightly alarming, as now I am faced with the opposite dilemma that if we donít find something for them to eat, we might find ourselves on the wrong side of an ogreís gut plate. I just hope the hellblaster on the war wagon is intimidation enough for them not to rebel, itís a miracle the damned thing still works up in this temperature.

24th of morrisleb
At this rate we might make Cathay by the end of morrisleb. The Cathayans are still walking alongside our caravans. Iím beginning to award them the same awe as Gorgut. I havenít seen them eat or sleep since they joined us and they show no signs of slowing.

therisnosaurus
19-07-2005, 14:38
25th of morrisleb
Iíve seen many sights in my life, I was at the battle of Blackfire Pass. I marched with the Emperor during the Dark Oneís march upon Middenhiem. I have fought men, orcs, ogres and even the living dead. But I have never seen anything like what I saw today. Our caravan was passing through a fairly open part of the hills between the mountains of mourn and Cathay, in sight of the edge of the Khureshi jungles when we were attacked by a band of ten ogres, led by a huge brute carrying a massive and wickedly sharp sword. Gorgut and his two remaining followers rushed to stop the attackers before they reached the merchant caravans. I quickly gave orders for the war wagon to be wheeled around so that its broadside faced the rapidly approaching scrum of ogres and then leapt down from the wagon to join my men. The Cathayans, meanwhile, had turned and had begun to sprint rapidly towards the ogres. One of the beasts gave a kind of frightened bellow and disengaged from the pack, and I was soon to find out why. The five remaining ogres who had managed to break through Gorgut and his companions barreled towards the Cathayans, who showed absolutely no signs of fear. As the ogres hit the line of men I expected them to be trampled into the ground. On the contrary, almost faster than I could blink, the men darted through gaps in the ogre scrum, diving between legs, one even jumping a full seven feet in the air over the leaderís shoulder. The marvels did not stop there. I had seen them strike no blows, but the ogre to the rearmost of the group tottered and collapsed, almost knocking one of his fellows to the ground. He was plainly dead, but what had killed him? The Cathayans rounded on the ogres, and I momentarily caught a glimpse of their leaderís face. Nothing has ever frightened me more. He was utterly expressionless, but his eyes, his eyes were glowing like a daemonís, shining with a deadly blue light. His hands were dripping with red, and as the energy touched the snow it hissed and leapt into little pockets of steam. But the sight only lasted a moment before the Cathayans launched themselves into the stunned ogres again. I saw one man kick one of the ogres in the leg, which buckled as if it had been struck by a cannonball. As the ogre toppled towards him, the Cathayan stepped icily to the side and smashed his hand straight through the ogreís skull. His bare hand. Even now, writing this, I can hardly believe it. He stepped back, hand dripping with blood, and twisted under the clumsy swing of one of the other ogres before attacking yet another. The attackers were butchered. Gorgut and his ogres ripped apart four of them and, before we even had a chance to join the battle, the Cathayans had slaughtered the rest. Only the leader remained, using his massive blade to admirable effect and just keeping the darting Cathayans at bay with a series of massive sweeps that caught one of the men in the chest and almost ripped him in half. Seconds later the Cathayan leader returned to the fray, ducking under a blow that would have ripped our war wagon in two and leaping up, kicking the ogreís wrist and sending his sword flying. The ogre lashed out, knocking him to the ground, and tried to smash the man again with his good arm. The cathayan looked up and, as the ogreís face neared him, opened his mouth and breathed a gout of pure fire into the beastís face. I could scarcely believe my eyes. Truly these were the devils that Gorgut spoke of. The ogre reeled backwards and the Cathayan got to his feet. Leaping onto the Ogreís shoulder as one of his brethren smashed the creatureís leg; he grasped the ogreís boulder-like head in his arms and, with a sickening crunch, snapped its neck like a twig. The Ogre toppled, slowly, face down in the slushy snow. And the Cathayans, without a word, collected their injured brother and marched back to the front of the caravan, leaving Gorgut and his kin to loot the corpses, take the choicest cuts of rank ogre flesh and burn the remaining parts of the carcasses.

27th of Morrisleb:
Thank Sigmar, Ulric, Taal and every other deity worth my humble praise! We have reached Cathay, the empire of the Phoenix, the land of the rising flame glistens before us and we are yet alive! After all our trials our efforts have paid off. Gorgut and his companions have left us today, their bond fulfilled, taking with them a fair part of our remaining provisions. We parted with them gladly, as Johann has informed us that Cathay is bountiful and game and fruits aplenty are to be found here. How the merchant knows this I do not know, for the Cathayans who still accompany us still have yet to speak. Their never-ending silence is beginning to frighten me. I was almost afraid to have Gorgut leave, as his presence reassured me slightly. The oath of an ogre is unshakeable and I do not trust these men, no matter how many battles they fight on our behalf.

28th of morrisleb:
I discussed our self appointed escort with Johann over the evening meal today, and he is just as amazed and worried by them as I am. According to him they are monks of the order of the Celestial Dragon, one of the warrior ĎHousesí of cathay. He told me that these men spend their entire existences dedicated to war and battle and as such do not have any spoken or written language, which explains their continuous silence. However, even more frighteningly, Johann warned me that the Celestial Dragons have been known to attack caravans on occasion, at the will of their Cathayan masters, and that I should be ready in case of betrayal. I didnít have the heart to tell him it would take a lot more than the few men and single artillery piece we had remaining to stop those demons. I doubt even the great walls of Nuln could hold them back if they were determined to batter them down.

therisnosaurus
19-07-2005, 14:39
29th of morrisleb:
Hsijing is in sight! What a magnificent city, gaudily coloured and shining in the morning sun. We made it onto the plains this morning and the going has been easy. I observed the Celestial Dragons training as I woke this morning, sparring and clashing like fighting stags. When they became aware of my gaze they stopped, as one, and returned to their posts as if their very practice was not for outside eyes to see. They need not have worried about me stealing any of their secrets, battle hardened though I pride myself for being, not in my wildest dreams, or darkest nightmares, could I achieve what they do so casually.

30th of morrisleb:
We were attacked again today! So close to Hsijing I would not have believed it. This time it was not ogres, but beasts of the dark gods that ambushed us dropping from the trees as we passed through a patch of jungle. Johann, riding in the open on top of his caravan, was disemboweled instantly by the mask-wearing leader of the creatures. I saw the carcasses of the beasts of Drakwald in 2523, during the siege of middenheim and these creatures were utterly unlike them. The beasts and mutants of my homeland are weird and ungainly hybrids of goat, cattle and man, but these lithe creatures were more akin to the hellcats of the grey mountains or the great white lions of Ulthuan of which I have heard tell, with great flowing manes and wicked claws. I gutted the first cat-beast to rush at me with my dagger but was denied the chance to kill the next as one of the Celestial Dragons seemingly appeared out of nowhere in front of me and delivered a crushing punch to the creatureís shoulder before whipping out a blindingly fast kick that sent the creature flying backwards to crumple against a tree like a ragdoll. I glanced around and witnessed the wholesale slaughter of the beasts by the Cathayans. A flash of colour caught my eye as another beast, bigger than all the others stalked from the treeline, pointing a gnarled claw at one of the monks. A pulse of colours that defied the mind rippled over him and he dissolved into a seething mass of iridescent sludge. At the death of one of their companions, two of the monks including their leader turned and faced the shaman, darting out of the way of a second blast of sorcery which caught poor Karensi full in the chest. The next blast was true but the Celestial Dragon leader simply raised a hand and a blast of his own shattered the shamanís bolt into a thousand brilliant shards. The beast didnít have a chance for a fourth spell, he was lifted bodily by the other monk and hurled at least fifty feet, his broken body sagging, impaled upon a bloodthorn plant. A bestial screech signaled the death of the creature that had killed Johann and the remaining beasts, cowed by the seeming invincibility of the celestial dragons, ran for their lives back into the jungle. Several of the Cathayans followed them for a short distance before returning to the caravan. We buried Johannís body by the wayside; the brave young fool had made his first, and his last, journey.

31st of morrisleb:
We finally arrived in Hsijing. We were greeted at the gates by a richly garbed individual who told us he had been offered to us to translate and be our guide in the city by the Divine Magistrate Sehi-Juan, whoever he is. Our ragged caravan was led to a simple yet clean inn and I myself stood guard until my men had enjoyed a well earned wash and drink. It is a miracle I survived, and had we not had those demon-monks then I doubt we would have made it at all. I admit freely that I will be treading carefully around this Magistrate, lest I myself end my days at the hands of those, those creaturesÖ for men they are not. The group ran off the moment we had reached the safety of Hsijingís gates, having been handed a scroll by our guide. I can only pray that we never meet them again.

juddski
19-07-2005, 16:59
keep up the great work TINS ,

Gazak Blacktoof
01-08-2005, 11:24
That was excellent stuff. I planning on writting a similar journal-style piece of background material for the nomadic tribes people that serve my tomb king, if its any where near half as good as this I'll be pleased.

I'm realy looking forward to the completion of the cathay project. Is there any rough estimation for when it might be finnished?