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SilverPinnacleHornedRat
“Hidden high in the mountains is said to be the Lair of the Serpent Queen. Rumour persists of this powerful woman who has carved out a palace high in the peaks and holds court over an army of snake men.”
A Guide to the Known World.[3a]

After the fall of Strigos, the Lahmians exercised their power a second time, raising an army to take Silver Pinnacle from the Dwarfs and make it their own. From Silver Pinnacle, Neferata coordinated the Lahmians and their manipulations. As Human civilisation changed, so too did they, growing from consorts and hermits to eccentric nobles and seductive spies. Remaining in her stronghold, Neferata too changed, growing cold and idle. As she fell into the malaise that claims many ancient Vampires, her control of her agents waned. Though she rarely leaves the Silver Pinnacle, she remains in touch with her sisterhood through a network of mortal messengers and magical scrying.[1b][1c]

Overview

Near Karak Ungor, at the highest point, where once it was mined for silver and precious gems. After the mine was emptied of silver but long before the Dwarfs were prepared to leave it, it was taken from them by force in a single night. A legion of Undead surged through the tunnels, brutally driving out the Dwarfs. For this, the Dwarfs have a lengthy entry in the Book of Grudges for Neferata, whom they call “Queen of Evil” for taking the mountain fastness of Silver Pinnacle from them in a single night. Many Troll slayers still find their heroic deaths there.[1a][1f]

With the Dwarfs gone, Neferata rebuilt Silver Pinnacle, transforming it from a functional stronghold to a mirror of her palace in Lahmia. In the innermost chambers, which are lit by torches, she has rebuilt the splendour of that ancient city. The scents of burning incense and perfumed oils fill the air. The walls are covered in hieroglyphics picked out with gemstones and gold. Statues with lapis lazuli eyes stare down at beautiful Vampire handmaidens wearing the clothes of Nehekhara. Purebred cats of ancient breeds walk where they will and have free reign of the palace. Here, Neferata idly pulls the strings that change history, whilst she drinks the blood of beautiful youths and listens to the music her Undead children make.[1g]

Surrounding the court is a network of trapped passages and Undead guards covered from head to toe in black. Only those mortals of the queen's choosing are allowed past them. Certain guileless Knights of Bretonnia and greedy merchants with exotic goods who have heard legends of the beautiful palace hidden in the mountains approach and are given audience with the queen. At the heart of the court is her chamber, where she conducts business from behind seven silken veils. Those who visit the Silver Pinnacle are not informed of the true nature of what they see there, and those who are allowed to leave have spread exaggerated tales of the banquets they are permitted to attend (at which only they seem to have an appetite) and of the wonders they have seen, encouraging others to visit the Silver Pinnacle and, perhaps, never leave.[1g]

The Lahmian Sisterhood

Part of the training the Lahmian Sisterhood undergo in the Silver Pinnacle is a partial desensitisation to holiness, so the instinct to flinch in its presence is overridden. They may never overcome their susceptibility completely, however, and must spend their time judiciously avoiding and minimising exposure to the temples, shrines, and priests common in the Old World. No Lahmian wants to be accidentally exposed by a clumsy priest wearing a holy pendant who leans in a little too close.[1c][1d]

In addition to the sisterhood are Neferata’s handmaidens, the Deathless Court of the Silver Pinnacle. There they learn the ways of the Lahmians, practising their wiles on the foolish mortals who visit the Pinnacle hoping to trade with that community of isolated, rich strangers, discover the stores of knowledge they are reputed to hide, or gaze upon the most beautiful woman in the Old World. The handmaidens also vie for Neferata’s attention, practising their manipulations on each other in the Deathless Court’s society in miniature where they may betray whilst smiling sweetly.[1d]

There is a distinction between members of the Lahmian bloodline and full members of the Lahmian Sisterhood. Young women with the desirable attributes—allure being one of them—are “invited” to join the bloodline and sent to the Silver Pinnacle where they act as handmaidens to Neferata. Here they train in various arts, magical and manipulative, at the feet of their queen. Those who excel are made members of the sisterhood and sent into the world to further Neferata’s aims, but there are those who do not join the sisterhood and remain at the Silver Pinnacle serving their queen, passing on their knowledge to the youngbloods, and if they are truly favoured by Neferata, tending to her many cats.[1e]

Rare are the males who impress the sisters enough to be invited into the bloodline. It has been known to happen that an exceptional man joins the Lahmians, but although they join the bloodline, they are never allowed full access to the inner circle of the Silver Pinnacle and, of course, are never considered members of the sisterhood.[1e]

Accounts from Liber Necris

According to Liber Necris, the Silver Pinnacle was not an abandoned mine, but a large Dwarf stronghold and an incredibly rich source of gemstones. The Dwarfs had been mining there for generations until one night an invading horde somehow broke into the mountain, taking the defenders by surprise. It was neither greenskins nor ratmen that plagued the mountains so much, but the walking dead led by a beautiful and pale woman, Queen Neferata of Lahmia.[2a]

After many centuries, the Dwarfs have long gone from the area and only travellers from the lands of Men tread within sight of the place. Strange as it may seem, there are some who have visited Silver Pinnacle and returned to tell the tale. Tales from this place do not speak of horror as the less educated and more superstitious might think. Instead, they tell of a splendid court, arrayed in the manner and fashion of some ancient civilisation – Nehekhara – and of a palace cut out of the rock with statues and walls adorned with strange inscriptions. Yet this place is also one largely of darkness, where the light of day is permitted to enter only a few chambers. Here Neferata rules, though she keeps her identity secret, attended by handmaidens any mortal man would die for. Little do they know that this is often the literal truth.[2a]

The guards to this magnificent palace are swathed in black and do not show their faces. The interior of the palace is lit by thousands of smokeless candles and some rooms seem to glow by themselves, as if lit by moonlight. The queen of the mountain is never seen or spoken to directly. She conducts business from behind seven veils and her voice is beguiling. There are stories that say the queen breeds cats of surpassing beauty and affection and, or so the stories say, strange magical powers.[2a][2b]

Sources

  • 1: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Night's Dark Masters (2nd Edition)
    • 1a: pg. 13
    • 1b: pg. 52
    • 1c: pg. 53
    • 1d: pg. 54
    • 1e: pg. 55
    • 1f: pg. 57
    • 1g: pg. 58
  • 2: Liber Necris: The Book of Death in the Old World
    • 2a: pg. 74
    • 2b: pg. 75
  • 3: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: The WFRP Companion (2nd Edition)
    • 3a: pg. 7

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