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Skraevold is one of the southernmost villages of the Aeslings, with a forest half a day's distance to the south-east of it. Its women go about their daily chores across muddy lanes, be it tossing feed to black-feathered chickens or gathering water from the well. A squat, cold building is used to butcher meat when not in use for torturing captives. Unlike most of the clans of Norsca, the Aeslings do not keep slaves, seeing the practice as a sign of decadence and weakness, instead taking pride in working their own fields, mining their own stone and felling their own timber.[1a]

Kennels

Where another clan may have a stockade to hold its captives, Skraevold has no such structure. Instead, such individuals are entombed within the village kennels, a narrow thick-walled timber building on the outskirts of the settlement. The building's interior is dark and dank, the thick smell of of the dozens of warhounds and hunting dogs making the air stagnant. A prisoner will be greeted by the snarls of these hounds, a din that pounds at one's skull as brutal as any fist or bludgeoning. Once inside a timber cage, with its heavy wooden door and icy earthen floor, the prisoner will likely stumble and crash against the neighboring cages, driving the dogs to press against the wooden bars, snapping at the newcomer's flesh. Jailers will smash the heft of their flails at the mongrels if intent on keeping their prisoners alive--some of whom may wish they hadn't. Indeed, the gods do not look well on a sacrifice too badly damaged, and so the Aeslings will always stop short of tearing a captive's muscle or breaking bones.[1a]

The Pit

In the time of Alfkaell's grandfather, the village skald was touched by the Skull Lord and changed into a thing of the gods, transforming into a living sacrament of their power and might. Seen as a temple of flesh to Kharnath, sacrifices are made to the beast, that through it their souls be given to their patron god.[1b]

Behind a gate of iron-banded timbers, a dark pit containing a huge chaos spawn resides. Mounds of skulls grin from every side of the pit. The walls are marked with runes and a long palisade, the sharpened ends of the timbers facing inward and down.[1c] So deep is the pit that a log requiring a dozen reavers to push must be cast in to release the horror, forming a makeshift bridge from the one place the palisade stands open.[1c] The bloodbeast itself can track prey like a hound. The Aeslings do this by holding something with the target's scent, such as clothing, across the tip of a bronze spear, which the wielder must loudly claim as an offering to Khorne (it is the only name that can control the monster).[1b]


Source

  • 1: Palace of the Plague Lord (novel) by C.L. Werner
    • 1a: Chapter 1
    • 1b: Chapter 2
    • 1c: Chapter 4

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