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Jan NBR The Puppet Master Versus the Freikorps I


Thechosenone
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(This was the first time either of us were using these crews. It was a blast. 30 SS crews)

Von Schill

Two Freikcorpsmen

Trapper

Librarian

Specialist

Kill Protégé

Bodyguard

Distract

Collodi

Brutal

Arcane

Six Wicked

Four Marionettes

Turf War

Kill Protégé

Kidnap

Pre-Game

A doll sits in the refuse, wet with rain water and stained by the streets. Button eyes watch big men stomp through the steel mill carrying weapons the doll has never seen before. Their faces are hidden behind masks, their eyes covered by smoked goggles and glints of sinister light.

The doll, shaped like a tiny dog with wheeled feet, observes closely. They skulk and sneak, these soldier men. They hunt for something but what it is the tiny tortured mind doesn’t care about. It does as it was asked to do. It counts them, watches their way and remembers their movements. And then, when the hollow of its tiny mind is full it wheels away to the dark alley outside the mill. Its little wheels carry it to a curtain of yellow that waits in the shadow.

Long slithering wires snake down and tangle around the doll before raising it up to meet the gaze of its master. Yellow glimmers stare at the hound from behind a desiccated mask.

“Speak my loyal soldier. Speak.”

The dog doll’s voice is a whisper song that creeps through the air. “My King, they are few. They are single minded in their task. They seek this place as their own.”

His King lowers the dolls to the street and walks to his carriage. It’s a rickety old wagon that belonged to the magician he slew. In garish painted words its side read “Collodi’s Traveling Show”.

To the world, that is who he’s become. The reclusive wandering entertainer. In truth, Collodi died, choked to death by the wires of his doll.

The King opens his wagon and dolls start to march out and leap into the street. Dolls in form but in soul they are far more, they are the King’s bound slaves sewn into the stuff of toys.

“But they cannot have it.” The King’s own voice, soft, gentle and soothing. “I’ve chosen it for us. We must make these men see the truth. We must peel back the veil of illusion and show them the world as it truly is.”

His scissor hands scythe to punctuate his last point.

“We must make them sing for us!”

Turn One and Two

The King’s vizir, a little doll with angelic wings, floats around him.

“Assoros, open the gates of Kuranes!” The King demands of his tiny adviser. The doll’s whisper speak is punctuated by vicious stabs into the air with his needle fingers. Reality bleeds and the strobbing ether of a place beyond this material world bleeds through. The King drinks of the otherworldly energy and uses it to fuel his castings.

“Stay here, for the men will seek to claim you from my company.” The King orders his arcane advisor to remain behind.

The chitter hiss of his brutal enforcer draws the King’s attention. Shaped like a brass serpent with saw blade teeth slithers beside him. “Yes Zaidu, lead my warriors into battle!”

The serpent toy squirms into the building followed by a cohort of his Wicked Dolls. Its teeth constantly chatter, its tin tongue eager for blood.

The King gathers his marionettes. With a gesture the King becomes a flying tangle of robe, wood and wires, his marionettes pulled with him into a clattering gust of doll debris that yank and drag on each other as they vanish down the alleyway and around the corner of the mill. His eyes lay nestled within the chaos watching through the windows as his prey moves about blissfully unaware.

Zaidu, his soul bound within the form of a child’s toy, finds his mark within the depths of the steel mill. One of the soldiers, a woman by the curve of her, walks the halls with another of the men. This man, helmetless and bold in his step, leads the way. The little toy remembers his body. He remembers how powerful his vitality was, how perfect his physique had become. His was a body tempered both in battle and among the slaves of the Nameless City. He favored khopesh and scourge alike.

His rattling eyes follow their movement till his hungry bladed teeth can resist no longer. The toy and his followers rush the pair but they seem ready. The woman aware of their presence somehow. They avoid each claw swipe of the wicked dolls and the brutal Zaidu’s teeth. The helmetless man activates some kind of energy pulse that whips through the air and vibrates the walls. Stray pieces of metal fy toward him and fragments of the deck plating peel. It slows the tiny dolls, weighing heavily on their metal components.

The clutter of the King’s mass spirals through the air and sets down amid the filth of the alleyway. His doll servants rush into the rubbish piles there and a trashing horrid screaming followers. The Puppet Master’s yellow garments are sprayed by mists of viscera loosed by the tiny hands of his followers. The human hunter reaches out of his hiding place trying to pull himself free of the wooden oubliette. The last thing he sees is the shearing claws of The King swiping down upon his helmet. The Marionettes continue to stab their little wooden claws and simple blades into the still corpse while their master’s saffron stare follows the movement through the windows of the mill. His whispered incantations drive his servants inside onward, urging them to deeper violent hungers.

Turn Three and Four

Zaidu watches the big man beside the armored woman. His speed and his strength is impressive. He leaps past them with all the skill of circus acrobat, his strange weapon catapulting chucks of solid metal that eat through the walls. One of the rounds shatters Zaidu’s toy body sending his wriggling pieces across the floor. He grabs the other doll here and impales it against the wall with one of his knives. The tiny doll struggles, its button eyes droop as they watch the man draw a small skinning knife from his belt.

Whatever words the man mutters, they are unknown to the doll but the stone cold frown on his lips says more than enough. The mill is filled with a frantic whisper scream that lasts only for a compassionate few seconds.

The human pockets the rag doll outer layer while flinching bits of stuffing and wood flounder on the floor.

The King watches his warrior host scattered by the blade and bullet of the man in the mill. More of his wicked company rush their position surrounding the ruthless human killer, their every step slowed by his magnetic pulse. They fall, slash by slash, cut to stuffing by the disciplined fighter.

The King forces his soldiers on though. Their bodies can be mended and their souls again reclaimed from the murk of oblivion.

Turn Five and Six

The King sends more of his bodyguard into the mill. It takes an extra bit of will to force these soul bound in. Their whisper songs sung among each other says the man within is unstoppable. The King does not care. His capricious whims have changed. He has no interest in slaying the living within anymore. Now all he wants is the mill. As the fight becomes hopeless even sturdy men like these soldiers will falter in their cause and break.

He’s seen it before. He’s besieged nations with incantations of madness and legions without number. He’s summoned horrors from the depths and from the vastness of the sky that have sent quakes through the collective sanity of entire cities. All will breaks. Only a mind fragmented, touched by the truth of the universe will endure. Those of sharp intellect know there is no distinction between the real and the unreal. When that revelation is mastered the mind is set free.

The King’s cloud of wire and doom drifts again, now raining blood down on the street below. The death of the trapper still fresh on the tiny hands within.

It sets down among a pair of soldiers trying to hold the backfield outside the mill. Wires whip and slice as he rises from the tangle, his dolls set upon the men already. One of the wicked ones rips and rends, its claws opening the throat of the soldier ending him in a violent splash. The King drops one of the magician Collodi’s empty doll skins into the blood pool where the wicked one goes to work stuffing it with flesh. One of the many wires flailing about plunges into the tiny form filling it with cascades of baleful power. Slowly, awkwardly it lurches to life, the soldier howls as it looks upon its new body. The madness of the King’s infectious epiphanies already filling its thoughts.

The shattering of the Freikorpsmen’s mind is a blissful mercy. For to remain sane in the face of this horrible end would be eternally damning.

The King’s scissoring finger shatters the blade aimed at his wooden face. The second korpsmen tries to strike again but the wires tangle and constrict around him. His helmet is ripped off by the other marionettes as wires worm down mouth and nose.

“Sing! Sing for me!” The King begs. The wires coil around meat and muscle. The trooper feels a final awful tug in his chest. Death is blissfully quick to come to this man’s aid. He dies only a moment or so after seeing a quartet of wires drag his heart from his mouth.

The wires thrash and eviscerate while the dolls relieve the burden of truth by peeling the bodies apart. The spray coats the yellow garments of the King as he holds his hands wide. His soft sweet voice rattles along his every wire and caresses the very air around the mill.

“Look upon my works ye mighty and despair!”

Post-Game

“everything seems to be in order. If you’d please just sign here and here.” The Guild Banker pushes the property deeds across his desk and before his client, a tall lanky looking figure in dark yellow trench coat with hood pulled heavily over its face.

The figure extends a long arm and with gloved hands he signs.

The Banker checks over the document and satisfied, he files it away. “Horace Danvers was a good client of the Bank. His sudden death was a shock to us all. You must have been close with him to have a place in his final will.”

The figure muses on the thought. “Horace was a recent acquaintance. My relationship to him was of a religious nature. I helped him to accept the truth of his condition. He was very generous in his final hours. Very vocal and very generous.” The innocent voice assures.

“Either way, I’m sorry for your loss. But you are the proud new owner of Danvers’ Steel Mill. Congratulations’ Mr. Collodi. Malifaux welcomes you to the business community.”

The Freikorps

Distract: 0VP

Kill Protégé: 0VP

Bodyguard: 2VP

The Puppet Master

Turf War: 4 VP

Kill Protégé 0VP

Kidnap 0VP

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