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Roland Schultz

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The witch hunter stood alone watching the burning prison barge. A warm Tilean breeze caused his coat to billow, and he held his tricorne firm to the shaven dome beneath the hat. The man smiled to himself. His target was surely a corpse, the soul cleansed, damned at once. Alas, the condemned souls were also doomed aboard the vessel. They were prisoners, the guards he was assured were also corrupt, half of them common seabound pirates. The lights of Sartosa glittered in the dusky evening light across the blackened waves.

"Sir?" His aid, Gotz asked him down the hill, shouldering his falchion. "Fritz and the others have reported it went off simple. The Luccini fleet is mobilizing, going to check out the wreck."

"And we will not be here when they leave port." He turned to Gotz. "Have the boy run to Fritz and his men, get them away from the shore. I don't care if they need rest. I shant risk that. We were never here. No trace. Not even a boot or hoof print on the sand." He turned fully and moved past his friend. "I'll wait for you at my carriage, I'll give you ten minutes at most. If not, you are on your own with Frtiz's team." Gotz already was bolting down the grassy hill. Roland sighed, pulling off his tricorne and wiping his brow. He wandered to his carriage at the base of the hill, parked within the shadowy boughs of a thicket of trees, clouded by bushes. He entered, his driver blinked. "Wait for Gotz, he'll return." Surely enough, the warrior hopped into the carriage, sweating, and the horses began pulling them onto the seaside road. Out the window, Roland spotted Fritz and his lads moving swiftly by horseback. By the end of the week they would surely have entered Estalia, and, if no bandits or beastmen impeded them, the Luccini navy would not have found a trace of the Templars of Sigmar.

The target had been a maddened cultist disguised as a prison warden. Roland and crew had been tailing him for years, and at last he was caught up with. The barge was full of his future potential army he was planning on dragging north. No longer. Roland smiled, leaning back. He placed his tricorne by his side and picked up a bottle of brandy he had been saving in case they were successful. He popped the cork out with his knife and took a long sip.

He deserved this.

Nice! A fun little blurb.

The carriage rolled along the road. There was a krump. The vehicle increased speed. A jolt sent Roland's hat to the floor, and his brandy spilled all over his coat. "Sigmar's taint!" Gotz grunted, kicking open the door and peering out. He looked behind to see their driver, Walter, dead. A horseman was running alongside them. He took aim and Gotz pulled the door shut just as the pistol fired a krump with a cloud of gunsmoke. He grabbed his axe. Roland picked up his own pistol. The shot smashed the window. The carriage was out of control, it slipped from the road and rolled down the hillside, off a small cliff and crashed into a river leading into the sea. Gotz grabbed Roland by his lapels, the hunter's head bled. Their hunter was above, but it seemed more were below. A longboat of six men all armed with rapiers, sabers and pistols, some with handguns were approaching. Sartosans. Roland blinked the salt from his eyes as they swam from the broken remains of the carriage, the horses having long since broken free. Gotz grunted, making for the stones of the rocky beach. He looked back to see his boss swimming towards the longboats. "Sigmar's taint." He hefted his axe and splashed into the water after them.

The first shot missed Roland's head by a few inches, blasting a burnt tear in his greatcoat's lapel. He grabbed hold of the side of the first longboat and heaved, rocking it. The man who fired the shot was punched by a large, bald Norscan looking man covered in tattoos. At this moment, Roland had his longsword out and ran the shooter through. The Norscan pulled him aboard, and a bloody fight occurred. The others around watched, laughed, cheered for both sides. At last, a handgun's butt connected with Roland's skull and he fell unconscious. Gotz was up to his waist as another longboat came alongside him, a net cast over him, and a long pin slapped him across the scalp, causing him to ragdoll into the water before he could bring his axe above water to defend himself.

Awakening, Roland found himself in a rocking room, aboard a ship, a galleon by the looks of it. He sighed, his head hurt, his weapons were nowhere to be found, and Gotz was across the room, alongside witch hunter Dieter, witch hunter Fritz, the bounty hunter Wolf and John, his trusted zealot and longtime friend. They were stripped.

"There was treasure in that prison barge, belonged to me," a man said from the shadows. "I saw your rats tunnel in and burn the bloody damn thing."
"I am an agent of the Empire."
"Of. Bloody. Course you are." The stepped forwards, carrying a pair of witch hunter hats, his tricorn was held by another man sporting a peg leg behind him. The pirate had one entirely black eye, an obsidian sphere, a thick scar crossed his face beneath his extravagant bicorne. "Templars. I had a deal with the warden, he held my gold, I do work for him and he gets it split halfway, half to his little club he was establishing and half for my crew. That gold, we got it in the Southlands, ya know. Braved native tribes, the beasts, the apes, the orcs, other shitters too. A lot. Raided two temples. Deep in the jungles." He sat upon a barrel. "I lost people. I met with the warden the other night, had great things in order."
"That warden was a heretic, scum."
"He was a man with ambition."
"To horrid gods, he was a man with abomination and no soul!" Roland spat. The ship rocked. The bicorned man sighed. He stood, pulled a pistol and fired a shot. Gotz fell over, dead. He turned back to Roland.
"Regardless, he was against the yoke of your damned civilization that took so much from me and my bloodline. Your kind made me, you twisted, zealous bastage. You are not the hero of this night." Another pirate slapped his naked feet against the deck, picked up Gotz's corpse and hauled it away. The bicorned man shook his head. "It's at the bottom of the bay now, and the Luccini bastards, it's their's now. If they can find it. If they know it's even there. Ship's still aflame." He slugged a fist into Roland's jaw. He smiled and turned to leave. "You're gonna help me get another haul to make up for it, or you're gonna die. And a ransom will not do. Goodnight, martyrs."

Excellent, bravo, bravo!

And we want more!

 :icon_biggrin: :icon_cool: :eusa_clap: :::cheers:::

Gotz was on the deck as Roland was carried up, shackles binding his wrists at his waist with a rope tied about his arms, a pistol at the nape of his neck. He was very much alive, bandages wrapped around him. Hanging over him was a bone-thin woman in black rags. Gotz seemed drugged, out of it.
"Unhand him, foul witch!" He spat. The gun slugged the back of his shaven skull. He was knocked forwards. Fritz was taken up as well. The morning fog obscured the entirety of the bay around them. Grayish-blue skies, bluish-gray rolling sea with frothing waves. The rocks of the Tilean shore, farther off, broke through the dense cover like dragon's teeth.

"She is our doctor." Spoke the Norscan man, accent thick, sat upon a large crate. Beside him was a thin young man in a dirty uniform of Wissenland peering through a spyglass embellished with the skulls and crosses of Imperial make. Roland ground his teeth but held his tongue.
"The ship's run aground, captain." The boy stated as the bicorned cyclops approached, hand upon the pommel of his cutlass. "The Tileans got to it. Their fleet's surrounded it, there's a bunch of Luccini troops. The surviving prisoners've been rounded up. Warden is most certainly dead. Bunch of cargo was saved as well, also ashore. Some are still being collected."
"That ship should've sunk, burnt to ash in the water." Fritz sighed. The corsair behind him hit him in the back. He nearly stumbled over the edge. The captain looked to the old crone.
"The fog will be dense for the next few days," she rasped. "The runes say it will begin raining tomorrow, and the rain shall oppress the land for days."
"Explains the choppiness..." The captain nodded. "Load them up on a longboat, Ulf. You're leading." The Norscan nodded, turning to get preparations underway.
"What are we doing, scum?" Roland asked, finally.
"You're going to go down there. You're going to retrieve my gold, and you're going to do what we say or will die in Sartosa within the week for being a bastard." He grinned. "There is also more prizes worth taking. Do not get any ideas of running away." He looked to another pirate, one barrel-chested with a beergut, a long chin curtain beard covering his belly. He held in his hand a bottle. Roland raised a brow. "Your men have been poisoned. Not you, Templar. Just the other one here," he nodded to Felix. "The one there," he nodded to Gotz, "as well as the other poor sods you chose to bring with you when you sought to ruin my legacy and fortune."
"You mean to blackmail me."
"You will not die. You will not become a martyr. You will do as I ask. I ask you to retrieve my gold, my relics. Ulf is an expert on said relics as well. You are responsible for these men, and I wish for you, personally, to suffer most of all." The pistol's muzzle prodded him again in the back of his skull. "And if you are too coward, even for a man of your station, and choose to run, if any of you choose to run, you will die."

A moment passed by. It seemed like hours. "Then I will do as you ask, Sigmar damn you."
"Good choice, bastard. Good choice. We wait for the rains to begin to fall. Take us underway closer to the shore, Pablo. Do so quietly, no yelling. Don't want Luccini warships broadsiding my woman." Pablo, an Estalian man, nodded and ran to tell the crew.

Roland stared, sullen-eyed and mad.


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