On the eastern outskirts of Helfurt, just outside of the Hunger Wood, lies a rundown cottage next to a graveyard. This cottage is the home of Viktor Rutledge, the caretaker of the graveyard according to the citizens of Helfurt. Unbeknownst to the citizens, Viktor has been practicing the darkest of magic’s in his home, Necromancy. Viktor, driven by a force calling to him in his dreams has been amassing a small contingent of the undead to aide him in searching out this force that is driving him and promising him power beyond anything he could imagine. As he raises skeletons and zombies from the graveyard by his home, he sends them into the woods to await his call. There will be a time, very soon, sooner than Viktor might think, that he will be leaving his home to search out this unknown force, this force that is calling him into the woods…
(This is the fluff for my Vampire Counts army that I am taking into an escalation league.)
*Updated post 6/6/12 additional fluff*
That evening, as Viktor was finishing digging a grave for the funeral tomorrow, he could feel a compulsion pulling him to the woods, it was time. Viktor headed back to his cottage and gathered his supplies for the journey. He made sure to bring as much food as he could salt and cure, after all, his minions did not need to eat, but he did. With his traveler’s bag packed and his spell books stored, Viktor took a torch, lit it with his lantern and set his cottage a blaze. With the fire raging at his back, he headed into the woods to take stock of his little army. After a few minutes of walking, Viktor looked behind him to make sure that he was not being followed and that he could no longer see the fire of his cottage from inside the forest.
Viktor had managed to raise only a few skeletons and was a little disappointed that some of the older graves refused to stir. However, it took all his fingers and toes to count the number of zombies he had managed to summon and patch back together. Satisfied with his small force, Viktor stood to begin his journey with the undead shambling along beside him. Only, when he was standing did he see, there before him stood five armored knights. As the knights fell in line on the outskirts of his skeletons, he realized these were not just any knights, no, these were black knights; Wights who like him were feeling the call of a dark force driving them. With these knights also came a host of spirits, each mimicking how the appeared at the moment of their death. The spirits floated ahead of him, with their eerie light guiding the way. With the path lit before him, and his soul feeling the pull of which direction to go, Viktor set forth on a journey that he was not certain where it would lead, or what horror he would find, only the knowledge that something dark was worming its way inside him and it was growing.
Having determined that it would be safer to travel at night in the forest than during the day, Viktor began looking for a place to camp as the pitch black of the forest was slowly turning to an ominous gray. He instructed the Black Knights to stand watch while he slumbered and sent the skeletons to scout with the spirits. Only after he could no longer hear the crunching of forest floor as his troops patrolled the area, did Viktor rest his head. However, peace was not to be found in this slumber. Horror upon horror permeated his dreamscape, preventing him from truly resting.
Viktor rose as dusk was falling and returning the woods to the darkness, black as pitch pushing in from all directions. His minions could feel him stirring even before he rose and before him stood his small contingent ready for new orders. Only, there was something different about his army. No longer were there ethereal spirits floating amid the troops, however, it appeared that the skeletons had more than doubled in force! Viktor would have taken a moment to revel in the growth of his minions, but that ever present pull was demanding that he continue moving, ever deeper into the Hunger Woods.
After a fortnight of trudging through the woods, sleeping by day and travelling by night, Viktor was at a loss for how he continued to place one foot in front of the other. Never had he travelled this far on foot. He could not quite remember what real food tasted like, having for the past three days, only been able to eat small pieces of bread that he was doing his best to ration. He was pretty sure that the taste of copper that filled his mouth was due to the bread being too coarse for his parched throat to swallow as it made tiny lacerations as he tried to swallow it. The last water he had found was a day ago in the bough of a tree, stagnant and covered in mosquitos, he did not care. Water, what he would give to have a small draught of that life giving fluid. As much as he wanted to lie down and die right here, he could feel that his bones would get up and continue in his place, such was the power that was compelling him onward.
Shuffling, one foot after the other, Viktor concluded that his sight was failing him now too. It seemed as if the forest was breaking onto a bright sunny day, only… it was the middle of the night. Was it not? Had he forgotten his regimen of travelling by night and sleeping during the day? Then realization slowly dawned upon his face, if this was a bright sunny day, why is the light twinkling blue and green in hue? Almost as if it was moonlight, but it was radiating from the forest clearing up ahead. Was this it? Had he reached his destination? Just then, the unseen force driving him on rallied and renewed his energy with such vigor! He was here; he was finally at his journey’s end! With an energy he had not felt in three days, he stepped into the clearing.
After his eyes had adjusted to the swirling energy lighting up the clearing, Viktor’s sight fell upon the force that had been pulling him to this location. The scene before him would have driven any sane man from the clearing, from the woods, indeed would have driven him straight to a temple of Sigmar. However, after months of raising corpses and then a fortnight of travel through the woods, Viktor was no sane man.
From where he stood, there was a stony path that led between rows and rows of skeletons prostrating themselves before a black altar. All the energy seemed to be flowing to, and through, this altar. Only after he drew closer to the alter, did Viktor see a woman in the garments of the grave, laid upon the altar. Falling to his knees Viktor crawled among the skeletons slowly approaching the obsidian throne of death. He did not know how he knew, but he knew none the less that this woman is the source of the power that was drawing him here and calling to him all these months. This corpse, this woman, was to be his master and he knew he would server her faithfully for all eternity.
As he drew level with the altar, Viktor withdrew his ceremony dagger, slit his wrist, and held it over the mouth and let his blood flow over her cracked, dead lips. Initially there was no reaction and Viktor feared that his offering was not enough for his new lady lord. On closer inspection, however, he noticed that there seemed to be new life in her lips where his blood flowed. Then, there was a slight fluttering of her eyes, and with lightning speed, she took his arm in her hands and sank her fangs deep into the flesh of his wrist.