Franco scrutinized the curtain before him. The tapestry was of silken thread; reds and golds danced in patterns far too exotic for the peoples of Neues Emskrank to have made. The couplings also seemed far out of place for this remote village. Held up by brass tacks embedded into the cabin walls, the pole seemed too large for the room and Franco wondered how it entered the small structure. The two men wandered about the room: Captain Linus shuffling his new papers; Heike stealing glances over his shoulder.
Suddenly a concussion engulfed their senses; the three dropped to the floorboards as the world began disintegrating amongst them. The door ripped from its hinges and Harms jutted his head inside. “Sir, ‘times come!” Franco could see men running past the empty door-frame, weapons drawn. “Orders?”
Heike was on his feet and helping up Captain Linus, and Franco noticed blood streaming from Linus’ scalp. Holding his commander like a puppet, Heike yelled to Harms, “Get the men assembled and moving; form the battery… And find Barnabas, the cadence is off! You,” He turned to Franco, “You watch this ‘un,” pointing to the curtain. “See it’s not loosed and the door stays barred.”
Franco gathered himself; rose to his feet listening to the fading orders of officers stumbling into the mudded street. Rain poured from the sky while flames rose from the ground, both blinded his vision, now accustomed to the darkness of the cabin. He raised the door back to its hinges, attached it loosely into its frame and turned. Before him was the Crimson Curtain.
As soon as the door was attached to its hinges, the room fell strangely silent. Franco’s eyes flicked to the dark cloth covering the windows. A bright flicker pulsed beyond the shroud, but no sound could penetrate. He turned back to the curtain, slowing his breath. Franco listened to the nothingness; felt curiosity pulling him into the tapestry.
A whimper broke the silence.
Franco spun around the room, drawing his blade. The empty room only stared back at him. Franco looked up and down, but nothing was out of the ordinary in the bare cottage. He turned back to the curtain, and heard the whimper again, softer. “Who’s there,” Franco sternly delivered to the cloth. “Name yourself.”
“Good sir,” a voice returned, “I am but a humble servant of Sigmar, no more. I’ve been lost in this war, but I long to return to my home with my wife. I do not know why I am held, I’ve not a hard word toward anyone.”
Franco moved to draw back the curtain, but his eye was caught by delicate embroideries on the fabric: A man stood tall, double-handed blade in his hands, held behind his head to strike. Before him was a great bird, eyes covering its body, a daemon of Chaos. Elsewhere on the fabric were other similar depictions: The same man striking a bestial dog, bloated corpse, and a beautiful maiden. Franco remembered his training well: these were the depictions of the four dark lords. Their common material forms. This was not only a curtain, but a spiritual prison.