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The Howling River’s two major branches (after the two northern flows from the mountains coalesce) flow down channels on either side of a wide, triangular patch of land. At its western tip, where those two channels merge into a single river, stands the town of Vitrolle.[1a]

Founded only thirty years ago by three merchant-traders who recognised the value of its location, Vitrolle was initially little more than a trading post. Travellers heading up to Mad Dog Pass from the East Trail often stopped to buy last-minute supplies, while those exiting the pass came here first to unload goods and purchase food and other items they had missed on their trek. The post was also frequented by sailors travelling the nearby rivers and soldiers from the local regions. Before long, a bunkhouse was added alongside for those who wished to spend a night with a roof over their heads again. A tavern grew up alongside that. Then a blacksmith settled in, building a smithy a short distance away, and Vitrolle became a bona fide town.[1a]

Of course the town got its share of attackers, and so a strong wall was erected around it, with heavy iron gates contributed by the blacksmith. The townspeople took turns manning the walls, and every man and woman within fought when necessary. It was a hard life, as so many in the Border Princes were, but the town had a steady stream of visitors and the people prospered as much as they could.[1a]

Then ten years ago, a band of men arrived, heavily cloaked and leading a heavy, covered wagon. They staked out land alongside the town’s tannery, which no one else had claimed due to the smell, and quickly erected a large square building. The cart was placed within, and the next day it was hitched outside, its cover gone and its bed empty. The newcomers were friendly enough and bought regularly from the other locals, but they did not say where they had come from or why they were here. Nor did they give any indication of their intended occupation—though their building was large enough for a big shop or even a small hotel, they did not set up signs or solicit any sort of business. Still, many of Vitrolle’s citizens had moved there to get away from trouble elsewhere, and so as long as the newcomers did not cause trouble, the other residents accepted them and respected their privacy.[1a]

This proved to be a fatal mistake.[1a]

Two years ago, another band of men and women arrived and joined the first group. Suddenly the newcomers were almost forty strong, nearly as many as the other residents combined. And one night, these forty strode forth from their building, their hoods down for the first time in memory and naked blades in their hands. They attacked without hesitation, targeting the strongest first, and within an hour the town was theirs.[1a]

And then the torture began.[1a]

The newcomers belonged to a Cult called the Jade Sceptre, a Chaos Cult. Originally based in Middenheim, several had fled when their leader was killed. They brought their greatest treasure with them and decided to settle here in Vitrolle, where they would not only have ready escape routes but also a fresh stream of victims. When the second group arrived, they put their plan into action.[1a]

Since then, the town has been completely under Cult control. Everyone within the walls is a Cult member—or a victim. The walls have been reinforced and many of the buildings linked together. Paintings and sculptures adorn both exterior and interior, many gruesome images created from Human remains. The townspeople keep to themselves, never venturing far from their walls. Fatandira dispatched several men to assess the town’s value and danger, and whilst a few came back with reports of seeing people snatched, most never returned. She cannot afford to throw more men away unless the town proves valuable enough to take such a risk. Levrellian and Haflok, whose territories are across the river from the town, have learned to be wary and to warn their subjects away from the entire area. That does not prevent travellers from approaching the gates unaware, of course, and each year Vitrolle claims its share of victims.[1a]

LayoutEdit

Vitrolle has nine buildings, each one solidly but roughly constructed of wood and stone. The original trading post still exists and is now used as a general storeroom. The smithy and tannery still serve their original purpose, and the tavern is where the Cultists take meals and drink. The bunkhouse is now a dormitory, and two more have been added alongside it. A stable has been built against the outer wall to house horses and wagons, and a large pen holds chickens, pigs, and other livestock. At the town’s centre stands the town hall, built from the square building the Cultists first erected. Easily the largest and most ornate building, it has entrances on all four sides and steps leading up to a platform at top. All the buildings are linked together by walkways, making Vitrolle less a town than a single massive fort divided into sections.[1a][1b]

Jade Sceptre TempleEdit

Within the town hall is a single massive staircase leading down into the ground. The Cultists busied themselves digging when they first arrived and cut a tunnel deep below the city without any of the other locals realising their intent. This tunnel widens into a single massive chamber whose rough walls suggest it is a natural cavern.[1b]

This is the Cult’s Temple, and it is here, at the room’s centre, they have placed their greatest treasure, which they smuggled out of Middenheim by covered wagon. The treasure is a massive stone statue of a beautiful woman with six arms and the lower body of a monstrous serpent. Her face is both lovely and terrible, and in one hand, she holds an ornate jade sceptre, from which the Cult takes its name. The jewel at the top of the sceptre glows dully, and is in fact Warpstone. Those who have studied Chaos recognise the woman as an aspect of the Chaos God Slaanesh.[1b]

There is no other way out of this Temple, and the Cultists guard it zealously.[1b]

SourceEdit

  • 1: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED -- Lure of the Liche Lord
    • 1a: pg. 23
    • 1b: pg. 24

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