Season’s End: The Harbingers’ Last Stand

The glass lenses on the apothecary’s mask glinted in the sun as they rolled an unconscious Sir Bretonnian onto the litter. They applied a green, foul-smelling paste to the thrower’s bleeding torso.

“He’ll live.” The mask muffled their voice. Znut Mournmaul, Kritt Crowbasher, and Varisk Trollcleaver stood quietly over their fallen teammate.

“At least the heat’s let up,” the apothecary added. “I’ll take care of blondie, here. The rest of you try not to die. New contracts are expensive.” They began dragging the litter and its unconscious passenger back toward the dugout.

Varisk looked back over his shoulder at the line of scrimmage, where some of the Worsca were milling around. Several of them were prodding the yhetee to keep it in check.

“I’m not a betting rat, but I think our chances ain’t good. Three of us, and… well I was never any good at counting, but a lot more of them!”

“Great match so far,” Kritt said, wiping blood off one of his knuckle-dusters.

Znut grunted, his attention focused on the receding Sir Bretonnian. Sweat and blood dripped from his mask.

Varisk shook his head at the two Stormvermin. “You both have issues.”

The three Harbingers lined up, assembled against the full strength of the Worsca of Norsca. Varisk stared up at the tower of white fur and claws that was the yhetee and said a silent prayer to the Horned Rat. Just then, one of the goblin referees approached.

“Overtime’s done, players!” the goblin said. “Since the score’s tied at two to two, it’ll be down to a coinflip!” This didn’t draw happy looks from the humans across the line.

“Hell Pit Harbingers, since you have the fewest players remaining, the call will be yours!” The goblin waited for a moment and then tossed a brass coin into the air. It spun several feet above their heads.

Znut grabbed the referee’s arm and twisted hard. There was the sound of snapping bone, and a scream. Varisk’s eyes widened, but Kritt was already shouting at the Worsca. “Kick it, you bastards!”

The ball flew through the air, as the referee went to one knee, his coin falling forgotten on the pitch. “Double overtime!” he choked out.

Varisk shook his head, dodging the yhetee’s claws just in time as the ball landed somewhere behind him. He never thought he would miss Sir Bretonnian quite as much as he did now.

Rats in the Locker Room

The sound of crunching metal echoed through the Hell Pit Harbingers’ locker room as Qarsk Slategrip crashed into one of the steel lockers and left a sizable dent. Several hoots and cheers erupted from the rest of the Harbingers. Varisk Trollcleaver stood over Qarsk, a wicked grin curling on his muzzle.

“Stay down,” he sneered.

“Leave him alone,” one of the other players said. Varisk looked his way and laughed.

“And just what are you gonna do about it, Your Lordship?” He spat.

Sir Bretonnian—that’s what the other Skaven on the team called him ever since he came back from the surface a few years ago a changed rat, obsessed with ‘honour’ and ‘chivalry’—stared Varisk down.

“Attacking thine own teammate is a churlish thing to do. Thou art no better than a—”

“What? A rat? Well if you haven’t noticed, Sir, WE’RE ALL RATS HERE!”

“I will duel you, fiend!”

“Let it go, Bretonnian.” Qarsk spoke, slowly climbing to his feet. It was then that the Runt came over and kicked him square in the chest. But Qarsk held firm, pushing the Runt back and standing.

“You can take a lot, Qarsk. I like it.” Varisk looked around at the other players. “But he’s gonna have to take a lot more. We’re ALL gonna have to take a lot more than a few kicks. We’re playing the Worsca next. You know what that means? That means WOLVES!”

Even Sir Bretonnian looked cowed. Varisk seized the moment and continued on.

“That’s right! We’ve all heard about Quik the Unseen, that skinny bastard who can put our Gutter Runners through their paces! But you also know Bjorn the Bear! Man turns into a wolf, but they call him a bear! These humans can’t even name their animals right.

“But they’re big! And they’re strong! And they want to eat each and every last one of us! Well, we all know who eats them all in the end, right? THE RATS! And we’re gonna—”

Varisk’s eyes rolled back in his head as he fell forward with a thud. Standing behind him was Skurrskiq Frostweaver, the best Runner the Harbingers had. He smirked, waving the butt of the dagger he had used to knock Varisk out.

“Don’t know about the rest of you, but I was getting tired of hearing him.”

“He’s not wrong though.” Qarsk sighed.

“True,” Sir Bretonnian added ruefully. “Methinks the Apothecary will be working overtime…”

Next Time

Connor sat alone at a small table in the university cafeteria, poring over some maps. A woman’s voice interrupted his thoughts.

“Writing a horoscope?”

He glanced up from his work. A young black woman in an apron smiled at him, holding a pot of coffee in her hand.

“I’m sorry?” he asked.

“That’s a star chart.” She gestured at the papers strewn across the small cafeteria table. “I thought maybe you were writing a horoscope.”

“Oh. No.” He fidgeted with his glasses. Corvus and Scorpio were already at work tracking down the next Knight, and Connor was damned if that was going to happen again. The memories stung in his mind—Aquila’s memories. Failing to make it back in time to stop Corvus from falling to the Darkness. Now she and the fallen Knight both had to be dealt with. Redeemed.

“Are you alright?” the woman asked, putting her hand over his. “You look like a man who could use another cup of coffee. What do you say?”

“Please. And my apologies. I’m a bit distracted. Teaching a class tonight, and I have a lot on my mind.”

“Say no more!” She refilled his cup. Connor reached out to take it and she smiled. “I love your nails.”

Without thinking, he folded his hand to hide his purple polished nails. Stupid. “Ah. Thank you. For the coffee.”

“Oh, god, I didn’t mean to—”

Samantha!

An older white woman with blonde hair down to her shoulders called across the cafeteria. Judging by her uniform, she was one of the managers.

Samantha made an exaggerated grimace at Connor that her manager could not see. “Call me Sam,”  she said as she trotted off. “Let me know if you need another cup.”


The next day Connor ordered his coffee at the counter. Sam was there. Immediately concern appeared on her face.

“Oh god, what happened?”

He waved his hand dismissively. The polish on his nails was scraped. Connor could tell Sam was staring at the bruises along his neck, where Scorpio had tried to crush the life out of Aquila.

“Archery accident.”

She raised an eyebrow, but let it drop.

He cleared his throat. “Connor.”

“I’m sorry?” Sam blinked. “I didn’t catch that.”

“My name is Connor,” he said. It had always been his name, but it felt strange and heavy on his tongue.

A grin curled on her lips. “How do you take your coffee, Connor?”

“Black.”

“Like the night.”

He shook his head. “The night is full of stars.”

“You’re an interesting one.” Sam passed him his coffee. “You should let me do a reading for you sometime.”

His eyes met hers. “No.”

“You’re one of those astronomy kids, aren’t you? Don’t believe in what the stars have to say?”

That made him chuckle. Or was Aquila the one laughing? “I never said that.”

There was the sound of someone else clearing their throat. Connor and Sam both looked over to see Sam’s manager staring at the two of them. Her look was not an approving one.

“At least tell me your sign,” Sam whispered.

Connor picked up the coffee. “That is a hard question. I’ll see you next time. Sam.”

“There’s a next time, huh?”

He looked down at the mug, which was warm in his hands. There were swirls on the dark surface. “Always.”

Arkham Horror: Encyclopedia

“Umurdhot?”

“Umôrdhoth,” Daisy corrected her. Jenny watched the librarian as she pored over the enormous book on the desk in front of her. She leafed through its pages so quickly Jenny wondered if she was even reading any of the words.

Encyclopedia“You think something about this cult is going to be in… an encyclopedia?” She adjusted her Oxfords. Traipsing about London with her fellow socialites was one thing, but running from cultists through the streets of Arkham had been quite another.

“The Orne Library keeps an extensive collection of rare books, ancient and modern. I was just reading Dr. Margaret Murray’s The Witch-Cult in Western Europe last week, when Professor Warren came in and… my God.”

“What is it?” The librarian’s expression was one of shock.

De Masticatione Mortuorum in Tumulis! That’s what he borrowed. It’s about—Miss Barnes!

The knife hit Jenny in the side, just under the ribs, and she fell to the ground. It was a wicked, curved blade. Its wielder stood over her, tall and imposing in his ragged green coat. He smelled of the woods, and wore a deer skull mask.

She slid the switchblade out of her dress and fumbled for the button, but the man’s blade was coming down again.

There was a thud, and the hunter stumbled sideways, crashing into a bookshelf. He appeared stunned, but recovering. Daisy stood there with the encyclopedia she had just battered him with in her hand, and she reached down to help Jenny up.

“Run!” she shouted. Jenny held her injured side and didn’t argue.


Arkham Horror: The Card Game is a cooperative Living Card Game by Fantasy Flight Games. My vignettes are appreciative fanfiction of a game I love and highly recommend.

This vignette was based on a suggestion by @InfiniteBertez on Twitter.

Arkham Horror: Alyssa Graham

“Miss Barnes.” Jim held his right hand up. His left held onto his trumpet. “Jenny. Why don’t you put the gun down?”

Tears streamed down her face, but Jenny Barnes held the large pistol steady. Problem was, she was pointing it directly at Alyssa. Alyssa’s eyes were wide with terror.

“Tell me where she is,” Jenny choked out.

“Miss Graham don’t know where your sister is, Jenny. Shooting her ain’t gonna help that.”

Alyssa Graham“All their bodies were there! Armitage, Dr. Morgan, Leo… that creature even got Wendy. Izzie’s been missing, maybe… maybe they took her too.” She wiped her eyes and gestured with the .45 at Alyssa. “You can talk to them. You can find out if… if she’s…”

Jim knew a thing or two about the dead. His daddy’s trumpet felt heavier as he thought about it. “There’s always a cost, Jenny. Believe me. You ain’t one of them monsters. Don’t start now.”

Slowly, Jenny began to lower the gun. Her shoulders slumped, and the tears started pouring. Jim took a few steps toward her. Alyssa backed away and let out a breath.

“I’m scared,” she almost whispered as he put an arm around her shoulders.

He felt his own tears hot on his cheeks, and nodded at Alyssa. “Ain’t we all?”


Arkham Horror: The Card Game is a cooperative Living Card Game by Fantasy Flight Games. My vignettes are appreciative fanfiction of a game I love and highly recommend.

Arkham Horror: Painkillers

Daisy Walker limped through the museum’s corridor, clutching the Necronomicon to her chest. Her footsteps echoed in the dark. She glanced back nervously at the dark trail of dripping blood she left behind her. A horrid black serpent stalked the exhibits—even thinking that made Daisy fear she had lost her mind. It was real, though. The throbbing pain in her leg reminded her of that.

She gasped in agony and stumbled into a stand. The Eighth Dynasty serving bowl that had just occupied it shattered on the tile. For what felt like an eternity, she held her breath, cursing herself.

Nothing stirred. She still couldn’t hear where the others may have gotten to. Roland, Agnes, Dr. Armitage. Daisy would have even given anything to see that drifter Pete and his mangy dog.

PainkillersThere was no other choice. She reached into her bag and pulled out the small Aspirin tin Pete gave her earlier that evening. You be careful with these, he had told her, ain’t just any Aspirin in there.

Daisy swallowed some of the pills down dry, nearly choking. Quietly she waited, her fingers worrying at the cover of the terrible book they came here to find. Something about it felt oddly familiar. She glanced down and saw the book was not the copy she had taken from the museum minutes ago, but the one she’d seen in the Orne Library last week.

How did this get here? Looking in her bag, she saw Wormius’s translation, but didn’t recall putting it there.

She would worry about it later. The ache in her leg had numbed, and it was time to find the others.


Arkham Horror: The Card Game is a cooperative Living Card Game by Fantasy Flight Games. My vignettes are appreciative fanfiction of a game I love and highly recommend.

Just a Song

“Breathe,” he told Thorn. “Slowly. And time your steps to your breath.”

It wasn’t that the Tycherosi woman had no grace; there were times she moved like a shark through the water, hungry and with dark purpose. Other times, however, she acted like a child who was about to be hit, or who craved a toy she could not have. Song needed her to be consistent. They were about to swim among a different kind of shark, and those nobles would smell blood in the water.

“I’ve done this before, you know.” Her tone was a little indignant. “I taught at the university, and we would have parties all the time—some of them would be very nice, except you could feel their eyes always looking at you.”

He grinned. “Breathe. Exhale as you bring your good foot forward. No, don’t copy me exactly, you’ll need to focus on your left. As if you were about to lunge to stab someone.”

“I don’t need to stab anyone, Song.” Thorn met his eyes, and a chill ran through him. Those sleek, shining black eyes reminded the Skovlander that she was as much of a predator as he. Continue reading “Just a Song”

Arkham Horror: Lone Wolf

“Essex county? You sure you want to go there after that awful train wreck?”

Rex Murphy grabbed some pencils and threw them in his satchel. He looked at Minnie. “I’ve got to, Minnie. You remember that other night at the Clover Club?”

Lone WolfThe photographer frowned. “That one where you ran off and almost got yourself killed when some ‘rival thugs’ busted up the place?”

Rex pulled some petty cash from the drawer despite Minnie’s protesting gestures. “Wasn’t a rival gang.” He hadn’t slept since that night. Whatever that thing was, some amalgam of horrid spheres that moved and undulated and—no. He had to stop thinking about it.

She folded her arms and gave him one of her looks. “I know. I ain’t stupid. You aren’t as good at lying as you think, Rex.”

“Let me tell it to you straight, then: I’m going to Essex county. Alone. There’s something dangerous going on.”

“All the more reason we should go together.”

“NO!”

There was an awkward silence in the empty office, and Rex realized he had shouted at her. His heart sank, and he felt himself shaking.

“We’re a team, Rex,” Minnie whispered.

“No,” he repeated, slinging the satchel over his shoulder. “Not right now we aren’t. Tell Harvey… ah hell, I don’t know. And Minnie, please, for your own sake, don’t follow me.”

The door slammed shut behind him as he ran out.


Arkham Horror: The Card Game is a cooperative Living Card Game by Fantasy Flight Games. My vignettes are appreciative fanfiction of a game I love and highly recommend.

Arkham Horror: Prepared for the Worst

“We’ll need a few things,” Zoey said, leading them into a yard. She pulled a key out of her apron and walked over to a small shed. Skids followed her.

“Look, lady, I’m not saying I don’t appreciate your help back there. I mean, sure, I burned my house to the ground because this other woman—”

“My name is Lita,” the other woman interrupted. Skids sighed. He wasn’t sure which of the pair was the craziest. Roland was along, too, but he was a Fed and Skids wasn’t about to trust him, even with all hell breaking loose. Still, they were stuck in it now, whatever “it” was.

“Lita. Fine. I’m just saying I don’t know what a short-order cook is gonna have in her shed that could possibly—Jesus Christ.”

Prepared for the WorstThere was an arsenal in there. Two rifles, a shotgun, a rack of knives—not just the kind butchers used—and…

“Is that a sword?” Skids asked.

Zoey hefted the blade in her hand. Roland had already taken the initiative and picked up a shotgun, grabbing some shells off a shelf.

“For slaying demons,” she said while looking Skids right in the eyes.

“Yeah.” Skids frowned. “Yeah, I can tell this is gonna be a good night.”


Arkham Horror: The Card Game is a cooperative Living Card Game by Fantasy Flight Games. My vignettes are appreciative fanfiction of a game I love and highly recommend.

The Fall

Beaten and arrested by the Bluecoats, Lizete was interrogated for days. Her connection to the Firebirds, and their ringleader Rubix, was recent and questionable, but the ‘Coats wanted to call their investigation a success. Lizete’s only advocate came in the unlikely form of Inspector Narcus Prichard, who had been piecing together evidence against Rubix for months. But Lizete wouldn’t budge, and Prichard had to watch as his carefully assembled investigation unraveled at the hands of this woman.

Lizete Dalmore, aka Vestine, aka Adelaide, aka Crow—one of the last ones—hung for high crimes against the City of Doskvol and His Majesty the Immortal Emperor (All Glory to His Name) in a dreary courtyard in Ironhook, the only attendant being Harker, a friend of hers currently doing one of his many stints in the Hook.

As her neck snapped, a small pewter mantis tumbled from her hand, smuggled in by Harker and given to her there at the scaffold. It had belonged to Cricket, the ex-Firebird and former friend she had once been a fellow servant with at the Kellis estate so many years ago. Cricket and the Firebirds had killed Lizete’s gang, killed her friends, and destroyed the only place she’d ever truly felt at home. In a rage at the tower months ago, a lifetime ago really, Lizete fell from a window attempting to take revenge against her. She had been so angry, so broken.

There, at the end of the rope in Ironhook Prison, the broken girl finally stopped falling.


You can find more adventures of the Firebirds in our game of John Harper’s Blades in the Dark on DistractedElf’s Twitch channel every Monday from 21:00 – 01:00 Eastern Time or catch up on her YouTube channel 24 hours a day.