Herohammer Fan Fic: The terror of Langue-Infirmiere

OK, this took some doing.
If anyone has the patience to have a read, these are the first 950 words out of 2500 of my first attempt at fan fiction.
I am a published author, but only articles in travel magazines and such like. Making something up out of whole cloth (if that can be said about a pastiche) and actually showing it to actual other people is a new experience…
So, for what it’s worth, here we go:

Duc D’Ennui was not in the best of moods. This year’s parade of petitioners from his fiefdom was more tedious than any he could remember. As usual, those petitioners who had bribed his advisor most handsomely were first in line. Wearing close imitations of the latest court fashion, they queued up outside the feast hall eager to bleat their cases before his Grace. The very richest had invested in skilled orators to clothe their unreasonable requests in sweet sounding words. This meant that the early cases were snappy and sometimes quite entertaining. But as the day wore on, the petitioners became poorer, and their cases grew steadily less interesting and more confusing.

“Rights to the well is given to the hamlet of Vichy on Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays and any feast days beginning with a vowel. This is my judgement.” intoned D’Ennui. The Duc leaned back in his high seat as the latest petitioner was hauled out by rough militiamen past the assembled lords and ladies. The plaintiff’s final wail trailed after the group: “But what about leap daaaays……?”
The Duc was not at all sure if his judgement on the matter had been fair or even relevant. But it had at least been clear, and that was the most important thing. It meant that he was less likely to see the petitioner again next year.

Exhaustion and boredom were written in large letters on his face as the Duc turned to Monsigneur Snivelle, his closest advisor.
“Was that the last one for today?” The Duc asked hopefully.
Snivelle, a tall man in an even taller hat, looked shiftier than usual as he fidgeted with his scroll.
“Ah, well, sire, actually…. There is one more. From the villagette of Langue-Infirmiere.”
D’Ennui shrank further back in his chair. “Is it another dispute over a well? I have had it up to my whiskers with those.”
“Praise the Lady, no. But it is a weird one… It has been a long day, sire, I will tell them to return next year.”
But the Duc’s interest was slightly piqued. “What do you mean by… weird?” he queried.
Snivelle looked unsure “Ehm…. It is… You see: Langue-Infirmiere is in the far north of your lands, sire. Their dialect is rustic to say the least. And their customs are…. queer. But their envoy was so insistent after being turned away again last year, so I thought….”
Duc D’Ennui felt some of his energy returning. “What? Have they been turned away before? How many times?”
“Fourteen,” Snivelle blurted out before he could check himself. He was a wizard with numbers and a vizier of facts. But alas, a pauper in discretion.
“Fourteen?” The Duc was close to roaring. “Get them in here this instant!”
His advisor knew better than to argue with his liege lord, and the militiamen were even quicker on the uptake. They bustled in a broadly built peasant that looked thoroughly out of place in the great feast hall. He was clothed in what apparently passed for finery in the sticks: An oiled jacket with a dozen patches and a pair of trousers that may have been military issue at some point in time. He had a wide hat with an almost blue cloth band, but he lacked the sense to take it off as he was pushed towards the Duc.

His lord had a short fuse at the best of times and most of it had burned off earlier in the day.
The Duc leaned forward and demanded “So! Speak now and end this mystery! What have you waited fourteen years to say?”

One of the militiamen helpfully knocked the rube on the back of his head, doffing the offensive hat and efficiently making the owner bow at the same time.
As the man rose, the packed hall turned a little more quiet. Greasy hair and beard framed a pair of eyes so intense they almost burned.
Somewhat haltingly, the peon began: “Baunn-churr, mohn Dukk…” Then followed a string of words barely recognizable as Breton in origin. Those closest to the man looked at each other, unsure what to make of this. A snigger came from the back of the crowd.
Snivelle interjected before the mocking laughter could take hold, for once taking pity on someone other than himself. “Sire, if you’ll allow me. This man, his name is Rouen, claims that Langue-Infirmiere is being ravaged by a terrible monster.”
This seemed somewhat anticlimactic to the Duc. Monsters and rampaging beasts were the responsibility of vassal nobles, not a Duc.
“Baron Bravouille holds the fief.” D’Ennui said, sitting down and waving a hand dismissively. “Why has he not hunted the monster down in all this time?”
Rouen and Snivelle exchanged some words before the advisor cleared his throat. “Sire. He… He claims Baron Bravouille IS the monster.”

This raised a lot of eyebrows in the hall. Murmurs and a few laughs spread among the crowd.
Duc D’Ennui was growing very tired very quickly. “Explain to the peasant that making accusations against his liege is punishable by very slow execution. Then throw him out and tell him to pray Bravouille doesn’t hear about this in a good long time.”

Rouen obviously got the gist of the Duc’s words, for he started shouting frantically, and, to the astonishment of everyone, tore at his breast until his jacket ripped apart.
Snivelle had had enough of this buffoon and started ordering the militia to do something when he suddenly stopped dead. The rest of the hall was in some uproar, but quieted down as Snivelle raised a hand.
“My liege” he said as he moved slowly away from the disheveled Rouen, “There may be proof…”

End of part 1.


Love it! Post the rest!


Splendid, I’m eager to read the next 1600 words! :grinning:


Always leave ‘em wanting more!


More please


Thanks so much guys! Talk about a supportive community. :slight_smile:

Here’s the second of three installments: The mystery laid bare:

Something whitish was visible where the peasant’s jacket had been torn. Everyone in the hall leaned forwards or craned their necks to see, while taking care to not get too close to the smelly peasant.
To those who stood closest, it appeared that a piece of parchment had been sewn inside the oiled cloth of the jacket. A desperate hiding place for something the holder must have thought of great value. Snivelle motioned to the nearest militiaman, who with obvious reluctance drew forth a yellowed page, torn roughly from a large volume. All had heard how evil grimoires were great sources of power to those who wished to bring ruin to the civilized lands, and how such tomes shone with a dark brilliance, obvious to those with the second sight.

But no one needed a priest or wizard to tell them that this was taken from just such a book of destruction.

The ancient page seemed to pulse and make the onlookers’ eyes itch and flood with tears. And when they quickly looked away, hideous images remained like scars upon their sight, making the world look hurt and tainted, and none knew if their eyes would ever heal.
As eagerly as those in the hall had pressed towards the artifact, they now recoiled frantically away.
Gasps and stifled cries shot out as the militiaman dropped the cursed page with a shriek of pain.
The peasant had remained immobile throughout, his eyes closed tightly. But as his captors fled, he quickly took off his torn jacket and flung it down to cover the vile parchment at his feet.

The whole room suddenly seemed lighter and the consternation of the assembly soon turned to relief in most and to shame in some. Rouen started to speak again, and as he now had the full attention of everyone, his words seemed much less incomprehensible. Still, Monsigneur Snivelle seldom let an opportunity to speak pass him by. He quickly picked himself up from the floor, replaced his tall hat and continued in his self appointed role as interpreter. “Sire, the peasant claims that after many years of seeing his kin and townsfolk disappear and his baron ignoring their pleas, he acted the thief and broke into the castille of his baron. There he found a secret chamber containing evil books and instruments of dark magic. And casks. Casks upon casks. All filled with the blood of his kin.” This outlandish tale caused some muffled protests, but the memory of that awful parchment was still fresh and most were perfectly willing to believe such a tale about its origin.

And a word started being whispered and repeated within the hall. A word for a formidable evil creature that drew its power from the spells in ancient tomes and from the warm blood of the living.


The Baron had received the Blood Kiss and been reborn a Vampire. It must be so. No one had seen the Baron at court for nearly two decades. He had even balked at partaking in the Duc’s military adventures, even though he was a fearsome warrior in his youth. Sure, he had sent small levies of bowmen and spearmen, but they were so bedraggled and poorly trained as to be next to useless. But what did the Duc expect from his most remote and poorest fief? The baron’s taxes were paid, and paid nearly in full each year. But not as much or as promptly as to cause suspicion. Hideous images, doubtless the result of the lingering effects of the tome of evil, flashed before the eyes of the assembled lords and ladies. They saw a dismal province slowly depopulated, but still kept rich by the labor of something unseen and unholy and tireless. Cold, dead hands sowing, tending and reaping crops by moonlight. Barrels of salted meat and sacks of flour being left for the peons on the borders of the baron’s lands and carted to the tax collectors. Who smiled and laughed at the tales of the poor peasants, utterly oblivious to the hideous origins of their loot. And the last remaining serfs of the baron being kept alive in their hovels, as shivering chattel to their ravenous master.

Snivelle brutally broke the spell with his nasal, monotone voice. “Ahem. Rouen says the villagers have sent petitioners every year to the court of the Duc to beg him to rid them of their monstrous overlord. But each year they were rebuffed for having no proof and the petitioners were punished mercilessly by their baron. Quite understandable, really… And no fault of anyone at court, obviously.”

The Duc had retained some semblance of self-control through the proceedings, but there was still a slight wobble to his voice as he spoke. “Baron Bravouille is a noble and entitled to defend himself against such charges. He may demand a trial by combat, and his martial prowess is renowned. What proof do we have that this page comes from his castle? Or that even if so, that he harbors some vampire or warlock knowingly?”


Cool. The plot thickens. I love the slightly rubbish effete court.

Great image building for the fief too.

Hope to see some more


Love it so far! When do we get the next one? :hatoff:


@Uther.the.unhinged and @forgefire : Thanks so much for reading this! I really appreciate it. It really means a lot to me that this is enjoyable to someone else than me. And Uther, your comments made my day. Last chapter drops… Now:

Last installment, where Snivelle gets himself into deep merde, there’s a test of ballad logic and the peasant Rouen’s quest finally reaches its end.

Snivelle looked thoughtfully at the crumpled heap of oilskin covering something so vile it had sent most of the assembled nobles into hysterics, even though many were hardened warriors. “Sire, it is exceedingly unlikely that a malevolent evil of such power could hide under the baron’s own roof undetected. And as for your first point, I believe Rouen has been even wiser than we first thought. For you did not pull out a page at random did you?” This last was directed at Rouen who shook his head and spoke rapidly in reply.

“As I suspected” Snivelle said triumphantly “Our heroic peasant chose a page from a book which contained new notes on its ancient pages. Though he has not the art of letters, he can tell fresh ink from old, and I am willing to bet that if we compare the writing on that page to any document or letter from the Baron, the source will be obvious!”
The Monsigneur positively beamed at his small leap in logic until he realized that he had condemned a powerful and warlike noble to certain death. The blood drained from his face as he thought of the terrible revenge a wronged Baron could enact. He then grew even paler as he contemplated the alternative: The revenge of a vampire revealed!

To his horror the crowd was giving him compliments and even scattered applause. He heard phrases like: “Good man, that Snivelle.” and “I always said he was clever.” “And brave!” someone added “Not afraid of a trial by combat with a vampire baron, he is.”
“On second thought” Snivelle countered himself speedily “The ballads say it IS traditional that a vampire castle be infiltrated by a group of hardy adventurers, most commonly including a wizard, a priest, a warrior and a thief. Or perhaps a monk or dwarf or some such. Or failing that, an unlikely hero, preferably of humble origins, will sneak into the castle, defeat the dreadful host inside one by one, picking up weapons of steadily increasing efficacy along the way, while inexplicably no-one raises the alarm or lays any form of ambush before he finally defeats the vampire in a climactic battle in the most dramatic location and makes off with the last remaining maiden of marriable age and lots of treasure. I am sure plenty of such heroes are raring to go, as soon as word gets around.”

There were scattered approving noises. Apparently whatever ballads Snivelle had been listening to had been popular.

But the Duc D’Ennui did not follow along with ballad logic.
“A party of one to five against a host of the most powerful monsters in the Old World? Surely a better strategy would be to use an overwhelming military force? Preferably backed up by all the wizards and priests in the land and as big a collection of war machines as you can muster. Then proceed to flatten and burn the vampire, its host, its lair and whatever bits of the surrounding countryside looks at you funny?”

Snivelle sniffed. “I thought it was common knowledge that a wooden stake through the heart is the correct way to dispose of vampires, or Varkulacks as they are called in the provinces.”

Rouen the peasant nodded furiously: “Oue, oue! Varc’oulac! Varc’oulac!”

The Duc gave a sigh. “Snivelle, who is my master of arms?”
“I am, your grace.” replied the advisor, somewhat cagey.
“Very well. In this capacity, can you tell me how many bolt throwers I have in my Armory?”
Snivelle did not even blink. “Five in this castle, sire. All operational as of last Wednesday. But these are dishonorable weapons, sire…”
The Duc continued unperturbed. “And these bolts they famously throw, can these be made of wood by any chance?”
“I believe they’re mostly wood already, so yes, sire.”
“So basically, I have several machines that can make an instant Arabyan kabob of any vampire within three hundred feet.” reasoned the Duc. “Snivelle, I sense the beginning of a strategy to combat this monster. But hold on: My knights are armed with great long lances, yes? These are made of wood as well, are they not?”
“Yes, sire. War lances have metal tips, though.”
“Tips can be worn down, taken off or removed by other means. And what we are left with is a king sized wooden stake propelled by a burly fighting man and a very heavy horse. Oh, and I have two hundred of those, last I checked.”
Snivelle smiled thinly. “If I was a vampire, sire, I would begin to get nervous.”
“Come to think of it” The Duc went on “even the common spear is rarely made of glass or similar materials. Remind me, what are spears made of again, Snivelle?”
“Wood, sire.”
“I have quite a few bowmen too, you know. But perhaps you get the tapestry.”
" You wove it most vividly, sire."
“Well then.” Duc D’Ennui rose to his full height and proclaimed: " Summon my knights! Make ready my onagers and the great trebuchet! Let the den of these evil beasts fall down upon them!" He drew his ancestral sword and the shining blade caught the last rays of the fading day. Stabs of red light darted from the menacing weapon as the lord raised his voice against the gathering night:

“Mort aux vampires!”

The hall echoed as his words were taken up by all present. Blades sang as they were drawn and shouts of hatred against the unnatural foe sprang forth from many lips. The peasant Rouen was trembling as he stood in the center of the great hall, his goal finally achieved: A great host was being raised against the monster at last!
“MAURD!” He shouted. “MAURD O VARC’OULAC!”


Really nice
Love the humour
Love the duke

Poor Snivelle

Thanks for the read!


Exquisitely fun writing, deftly executed! Loved it all, especially the Duc’s thrashing of the instance/dungeon logic. Otherwise, Snivelle stole the show. :smiley:

It reminds me a lot of 1980s Warhammer background stories and Terry Pratchett.

Is the backwood dialect based on any particular one in France? I really liked that detail, true to history.

If I may suggest it, then you may benefit from sharing your writings with confidence. Some new readers may be lost before they begin to read because of the title, since fan fiction has a lot of negative connotations (I always refuse to describe my own writings as such). And rest assured that we will gobble up everything you write!

Stride forth boldly, o @Brawniac of the sharp quill, and slay your audience without hesitation and without excuses for your martial penmanship prowess. :beer:


Whoa, thanks a lot dude!
I got a real kick from reading your comments! Huuuuge confidence boost and inspiration to take this further. :smiley:
Yes, Pratchett was a real huge influence, and I loved-loved-loved the background stories from early warhammer!
Astute of you to point out Rouen’s dialect! You will no doubt be very disappointed to hear where I got this from:

  • Bon-churr: Ya Cheese-eating surrender monkeys - YouTube
  • Oue, insted of oui for yes: Parisian gutter-french
  • Varcolac: Romanian Vampire type 34-b (they have a lot of vampire types)
  • Maurd instead of mort: I just tried to make it sound more like “murder”

Some questions from me:

  1. I just found out about the scribe’s contest! Is that still a thing?
  2. Where can I find your writings?

Haha, nice! Not disappointed at all. As someone with a shaky school grasp of French, it sounded authentic enough. I half hoped you had cooked it up, because homespun is always fun to pull off.

  1. We can make it a regular thing again. I love to run it, but I’ve also kept to modelling and art contests only since getting burnt out a couple of years ago. Health is recovering fine, and it’s time to return to Scribe’s Contest.

  2. For Chaos Dwarf writings, everything marked (Admiral) here. My illustrated Warhammer 40’000 magnum opus can be found here, being my current focus and the best I’ve ever written.
    A little Lotr here. Also, my 40k designer’s notes can be found here and T9A raw concepts for fantasy cultures, with lots of drawings and a few short stories, can be found here.