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With Great Power


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 I wrote this for my story league I ran this last summer. I split the story in 2 parts per game (4 games) with a wrap up at the end. Thought I'd throw it in here for your critique.


 Keep in mind, this story was written with the normal "asks more questions than it answers" style of Malifaux writing, and every 2 parts has an actual game strategy in mind for the writing.


With Great Power part 1

            As he turned the crumbling pages of the ancient tome, Charles began to understand the power, and the terrible danger, that those pages revealed. It had taken him a little over a year, and a great deal of money to gather the information needed to lead him to this grimoire. Now that he found it, his fingers trembled with excitement, almost tearing the fragile paper as he leafed through it. Suddenly, he heard a loud bang just outside of the cheap hostel he occupied. Standing, he made for the window of his room and discovered a brawl outside in the cobblestone street in the front of the old building that passed for his place of lodging. The early morning mist in the city made it difficult to see just how many were out there, but it was enough to strike fear into him. "I have been found already", he thought, as his heart pounded in his chest, " all this work for naught." He ran back to the book, its secrets still whispering to him, and he gingerly closed it. Charles began to plan his escape route.


With Great Power part 2

            He ran as long as his breath allowed, holding down his boiler to keep it on his head, rather than the muddy streets of Malifaux. He clutched his prize at his side with his other hand, keeping it protectively close to his duster, which whipped behind him. Ducking through alley, after alley, his nostrils flared in protest as the stench of human waste, and unwashed unfortunates assaulted his senses. When he was finally winded, he dropped to a slow pace, breathing heavily. He stopped when he found an empty alley filled with crates. Finding a small area between the damp wooden boxes, he leaned against the brick wall of a building and slid down to his bottom. Feeling safe for the time being, his breathing became more regular, and he began to ponder his predicament.

            Charles carefully examined the grimoire for an possible damage from the flight it had endured. Finding only small drops of muddy water, he sighed in relief, and delicately dabbed at the beads with the cuff of his shirt. In the distance he heard shouting. He knew that the counterfeit tome he left in his room would not work for long, but it should give him enough time to make it to the next step in his journey. He stood, looked around and saw that the alley was still empty, and began his trek out of the city, to the forests of the Neverborn.


  With Great Power part 3

            He was almost there. He could almost feel it. Something lingered here; some...power. He felt it in the back of his skull, like a tingling. Whatever it was, it was very old, and very powerful. Soon that power would be his, and all his work worth it.

            He took in the view of his surroundings, and opened the tome. He carefully studied the page, then looked around again, his eyes resting on an old, gnarled tree. This is it, he thought, it has to be the right place. He made his way to the ancient tree, knotted with age, and twisted by time. He circled the base of the old, leafless wood, careful not to trip over the endless entangling roots, bulging from the ground everywhere he could see. Everywhere, but in one spot. An area where it seemed like the old timber avoided. Charles dropped to his knees and delicately placed the book to his side, then pulled out a small hand spade, and began digging. It wasn't long before he found the artifact he had come for. The white of it shown against the black dirt like a star against the dark curtain of the night. The feeling in the back of his head had increased, and almost felt as if something was scratching his skull from the inside. Ignoring it, he reached down and gently dug around the relic with his fingers, and before long he held her skull in his hands. Amelia. At last, he had found her.


With Great Power part 4

               The giant nephilim sniffed at the air while Lilith waited impatiently. She knew that he had been here, she could smell the stink of his kind as well, though her sense of smell wasn't as acute as her charge, Azeal. The brook they had come to had done well at hiding the rest of the human's trail. She looked back, knowing the other rag tag groups were looking for him as well, and quite possibly her. She couldn't let them succeed. She knew who, and what the human had found. That entity was best left buried, long forgotten, for all of their sakes. She had pondered the thought of letting them release the hell that would come. It would devastate those she hated, but the destruction it would wreak would eventually reach her, and her own. The cost would be too high. She remembered the first time, so long ago, when she faced the threat that that book held. This addled fool must not be allowed to finish what he had begun.

             Suddenly, Azeal snorted, and his hunt commenced. Lilith smiled. They had recovered the trail.


With Great Power part 5

                Charles had adapted to the scratching at the back of his skull. It was just a minor annoyance now, and a welcome cost to what was to come. Soon he would have power, far beyond the power these lesser men had found in the use of soulstones. True power. Power that needn't be dependent on a finite resource that the warring factions squabbled over. 

            He had traveled for days, and his next destination was just ahead. He had left the forests, crossed the badlands, and had come to an ancient ruin. He had dodged those that hounded his trail, and covered his tracks well.. Charles scanned the area. It was indeed an ancient site. It must have once been an area of worship, long ago. Large stones, too large to be lifted by anything man could use today, lie strewn about. To the north was a structure that seemed to be a temple of some sort, a place of worship to some long forgotten people. He looked to the south, suddenly stopped. There it was. A stone as black as night, and stood taller than 2 men. As he approached the large monument that made the center of the ruin, the scratching in his skull became increasingly louder, almost to the point of being unbearable. When he came to the foot of the basalt monument, he put the skull at its base exactly as it was instructed in the tome. He carefully opened the grimoire, and began to read a passage. Soon it would be done. Soon he would be the lord of Malifaux.



With Great Power part 6

       Jane approached the monolith. She had never strayed so far from the casino, let alone the city, and now she stood in front of an object of pure power. As the sounds of battle dimmed in the background, she reached out to touch it. She felt a slight vibration emanating from it, causing the hair on her arms to rise. She could have sworn that she had seen the man they were chasing walk right through this stone. As Jane's hand inched closer, it was snatched away quickly. She turned to her right, and looked into the eyes of her boss.

    "We wouldn't want to lose one of our best casino girls, now would we, Miss Jane?" Jacob slowly kissed her hand, then let it go. He turned, and his eyes met a terrible creature, a creature that once might have been a man. It was a miserable thing now, emaciated, with many tentacles protruding from its waist, and eyes that glowed bluish white. It turned its skeletal head, and slowly met it's masters eyes, then turned towards the monument, and slithered through. A few minutes later the depleted thing crawled out again.

    "Ah, seems it is safe after all, Miss Jane," he reached out to take her hand, "Shall we?"



With Great Power part 7

    Charles held the skull, and walked to the center of the long abandoned town. The town was completely barren. Nothing grew. Nothing lived. Scorch marks could be seen all around, long fingers of black traced on the ground, up the sides of buildings, and dead trees. All seemed to have originated from the spot he now stood. Here is where it happened; where they destroyed her. He turned to look behind him. They were coming. All of them. The fools who have been following him since the hostel. Now they would feed this power growing inside of him. They would be the sacrifice needed to birth his godhood, and they had come willingly.

    He looked into the empty eyes of the skull, and began to concentrate. The world began to swim around him, and darkness, like tendrils, began to wrap around his legs and make their way up his body. Like vines they grew, thickening, lengthening, reaching ever up, around his chest, his hands, engulfing the skull, and then his neck. The scratching in his head turned to screaming. It had become unbearable. He tried to open his mouth to voice his pain, but realized that it was already open. The screaming was his own. The tendrils of darkness entered his throat, and the last thought of Charles Van Buren was the words of the man who brought him the book...

   "Be warned, for here in Malifaux, with great power comes great consequence." 

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