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Blackheilm

Blackheilm

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Folklore oft mentioned the blood of many Gods, Devils and unearthly beasts had blessed the dark earth of the valley over the generations, Cormath Darkbane promised their War Gods that the snows will again know the blood of their foes.

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The Rise of Winter, The Fall of Fiends


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Mɪɴᴇ ɪs ᴛʜᴇ ʙʀᴇᴀᴛʜ ᴛʜᴇ ᴡᴀʀʀɪᴏʀ·s ʜᴇᴇᴅ. Aᴛ ɴɪɢʜᴛғᴀʟʟ; ᴍɪɴᴇ ᴛʜᴇ sᴘᴇʟʟs ᴛʜᴀᴛ ɢᴜɪᴅᴇ﹐ ᴛʜᴇ ᴅᴇᴀᴅ ᴛᴏ ᴛʜᴇ ᴡɪɴᴛᴇʀs· ᴍᴏᴏʀ. I ᴀᴍ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ᴍᴇssᴇɴɢᴇʀ﹐ ᴡʜᴏsᴇ sᴜᴍᴍᴏɴ ᴄᴏɴᴠᴇɴᴇs ᴅᴀʀᴋ ᴡᴀʀʟᴏᴄᴋ﹐ ʙᴀɴɪsʜᴇᴅ ʟᴏʀᴅ﹐ ᴍᴀʀᴋᴇᴅ ᴡɪᴛᴄʜ ᴀɴᴅ ᴡʜɪᴘ﹣ғʟᴀʏᴇᴅ ᴛʜʀᴀʟʟ﹣ ᴛᴏ ᴄᴏɴsᴘɪʀᴇ﹐ ᴀᴍɪᴅ ᴛʜᴇ ᴍᴀᴅɴᴇss ᴘᴏᴜʀᴇᴅ.


The vast armies of Blackheilm, marshalled by Atra'Lamia, had cut a massive curtailment through the 'Renegade Kingdoms' that had risen up against the Imperial prominence's. Along with its connecting Northern realms during the high winter, several decades ago. Vesting mortal Ayenee troops, lead by the Sword of Ayen in conjunction with suasive thaumaturgy. Through every succession, all opposition succumbed and fell to the ravening swords of Blackheilm and Darkbane since the first bloody campaign; the imminent invasion of the ancient and ignoble tribes of Lower Rhydin.

The causatum of the final clash had seen the methodical slaughter of the Gabranth Imperial ilk, the torturous persecution and execution of every loyal devotee to their banners. Throughout each season and the following laborious months, additional empires and satrapies were gradually overthrown by the might of the combined Chaos and Shadow legions, commanded by Atra and the fearsome and unswerving loyal battle-lord's Mephi'sax Cinderbane and Eladron Plaguewrithe. Mephi’sax, the Cinderbane Imperial son to the 'Throne of Ash' and a Chaos Lord of ill-repute. Plaguewrithe, a Fiend-Lord of sublime brutality whom many believed to be possessed by a demon-spirit from the bowels of the bottomless Abyss.

Bolstered by their conquests, and the expansion of their dark dominion, the hordes of Blackheilm began the incursion into the lands of the Northern Tribes, beginning with the grim and brooding territories south of the glacial Kingdoms. The rugged fatherland of the warlike clans which had been recently united into a resilient territory dominated by the influential Overlord Cormath-Vuzathal, a Rhydin fiend renowned to allies and rival’s alike as the Devil of the North. Outnumbering the Ayenee forces five to one. Presumptuous that Ayenee and her supporting banners, now given the appellation- (in the Northern Lands, and common tribe tongue) the dreaded Salmuh'Ekallim hordes, as nothing of no immediate threat, permitting their march unopposed through their lands, while preparing a barbaric strike beyond the Mountain Kingdoms to the West.

Cormath-Vuzathal swore that a searing flood of blood and iron shall befall all who deign to pass ill-favoured. Goading their typical threats of war upon his territories. Another grim autumn’s end slowly yielded to winter, the Chaos Hordes began their debouch Northwards. News of the advance of Western Ayenee forces into frost-bitten Ciocladin Vale's, the basin known for centuries as the Ice-Gate to the Northlands, gripping the highland strongholds of Vuzathal. Grimly, Cormath taking up sword and rune-carved yew-spear, donning the blue woad of war. Vowing that this foreign woman with the all the seductions of Hyblaean beauty. This Hellish War-Witch shall forfeit in blood, every distance dared ventured across these snow-covered hallowed lands. Soon information was delivered by a heavily cloaked faceless sleuth in fur, that the invader's bivouac was situated at the base of the valley, preparing to march with the shadows of dusk.

Court soothsayers foreseeing ravines overflowing with blood and unspeakable carnage. Despite the foreboding warnings of doom and atrophy. To the thunderous clang of battle horns, great runes were cast and eldritch spells woven as Cormath-Vuzathal lead the Ciocladin Beserker's and Northlander's into the foggy, lunar-swathed, quagmires. Fading sunlight chases the horizons with behemoth shadows and flames of crimson; twilight perspires and the darkness arrived like infernal steam entrapped by the spectral aurora- draped from zenith to earth, like an arras in the lofty chamber of Gods.

Folklore oft mentioned the blood of many Gods, Devils and unearthly beasts had blessed the dark earth of the valley over the generations, Cormath promised their War Gods that the snows will again know the blood of their foes. With unnatural borrowed stealth… silently the masses brooded within the teeth of shadows and below the langorous moon. Knowing that whatever the conclusion, these hours of darkness shall see another legend of war written in blood, and the bitter end of men. A legend none shall disregard...pity it was just another battle preceding the scores of many others that lay waste to the phantoms of the past.

Death Blooms Over Fields Of Snow

Aɴᴅ ᴛʜᴇ ᴛʜɪʀsᴛ ᴏғ ᴛʜᴇ ᴇᴀʀᴛʜ sʜᴀʟʟ ʙᴇ ᴀᴘᴘᴇᴀsᴇᴅ ʙʏ ʙʟᴏᴏᴅ ᴏɴ ᴛʜᴇ ᴍᴀᴅʀᴇᴘᴇʀʟ ғɪᴇʟᴅs ᴏғ ᴄᴀʀɴᴀɢᴇ...​



"O' Northen Gods of War, grant us, this night... smear us with red rain, feed our steel with slaughter. Let every blow be a killing blow, grant us victory, or a mighty death. I'll carve the runes of Death in their flesh in your honour, as destruction churns the storms!"

Weapons dusted with gem-frost glistened under the light of the night made colder by the vast moon veiled in a ghostly gossamer. Swirling mists concealed them well enough to the naked eyes of a mortal man, but not those so gifted beyond the threads that wove life and death as jewels upon a necklace of oblivion- "Sword fodder", mellifluously Atra whispered referring to the creeping warriors gathering along the edges of the valley. She spoke into the entwined darkness and frosts, where in opposition they remained concealed on the vale embankments flanking the low hill pass: antithesis… wolves in wait.

For the briefest of moments, as if the fogs parted upon the biding of Cormath. Gleaming black eyes peering through the wolf-like helm of burnished Mirthril, down the valley scathingly towards the gathering of the 'Salmuh’Ekallim' army. Gauntlet curling into a massive fist that cradled the apex of armoured chin, he studied the structure of the encampment. Great black waterskin tents arranged strategically upon the ice-whelmed wastes, shimmering like the oceans from the light of countless burning golden cauldrons in fantastical shapes of all manner of unspoken beast. Powerful steeds tethered, many warriors standing, weapons in hand... "Aye, all sword fodder", echoed a graven tenor. A voice that was unmistakably male, but one that barely could be considered, human but Cormath only spoke aloud the words which infiltrated through the vespers of his mind.

Then, like a black wave surging over the highland precipice, the ashen plane lay thick to the peytral of black warhorse barding, reminiscent of a beleaguering sinister sea, in violent hoarfrost churn. Stallions carving a path in avalanche-like proportions. Armour refulgent with an ermine pall in the capture of the argent-fire on rune-infused mithril; casting death-moon reflections. Spectral-tendrils of their breath, harsh-spiced and spine-tingling, billowing through metallic cryomantic jaws like the fiend's of the barrens. Stygian-black mesh, obscured beneath the cloaked darkness of their ancestral furs, either adorned with hex-envenomed axe, hammer, spear and blade. In thunderous loom, the first rank collided in a piercing, jarring oeuvre.

"You all shall reap the harvest of spilled entrails, we'll claim many heads this night!" Blizzard, silver-sheathed lowlands and winds had shielded Atra'Lamia and her men well, they had no use for meagre spells and arcane conjurations when nature itself belligerently provided all… {wrath}…{ reckoning}…{subterfuge}. With one gauntlet-hand holding chains, and the other, a clenched gloved-fist risen to signal a silent standstill, having halved the Blackheilm and Darkbane legions long before the others had entered the Northern Glades. Electing a harsh terrain of passage in order to waylay the Vuzathal and Ciocladin Highlanders from behind. Even the Battle-Warg's strained at warded harnesses. Taut were the leathers, threatening to snap them at any given moment.

Glossy-obsidian black fur besprinkled by wan-tempest, ruffled sadistically from the talon-caress of the howling wind, revealing heinous soulless twin-lanterns, burning-mercurial furnaces (tapetum lucidum) reflecting every foul horror bequest to mankind. Avidly eager for the kill, just as the querulous war-clash ricocheted throughout the mountains… and the first drop of vitae was spilled. No sooner had the copperish-sweet scent permeated nostrils, impatiently they flared. Snorting back with a hankered inhalation which caused maws to spread wide in hellish contempt revealing multitudes of elongated whet-plated canines sodden with humid saliva.

The halo of black around Atra's head, features concealed behind the macabre grin of plumed helm. Ravenesque cascades flowed over bodice touched by shadowy fen-fires, before writhing around ordained scalemesh armoured bodice, ebony brocaded leather limbs bejewelled with black gold cuffs and opulent pleochroic jewels in anathemic hues. Exposing the armed feminine stature of an impossible sylphlike figure; the very embodiment of deathly beauty girded for battle astride the Dreadstead juggernaut. Ebony mane streaming in the violent affections of the blizzard, charred flames licking along the edge of muzzles as it abruptly grunted. Inhaling back the acerbic winds that carried its interest.

A high-pitch nickering escaped from the decayed wreathes of inhalation, heat hitting the coldness loitering on every claws of boiling storm causing a hissing resonance when fetters were liberated from their mistresses grasp. Battle-Warg's to lead the charge just as the carnyx, 'The Horn of Battle' rang across the valley, accompanied by the full voice of war chants and obscenities, in tactical demoralization, to overawe the lesser noble Northen heathens. Both the Cinderbane and the Plaguewrithe positioned one at either side equipped themselves with their chosen tools of death, enriched by the potency of age-old spells woven into the gruelling forging process, consecrated by the effluvia of diabolical philtres then blessed by fire and tempest.

They were the first amongst the charge, as the skies from behind the circling forces were lit with an uncanny verdant sickly flame. Every muscle and tendon of Battle-Warg, flexing into the strain that tightened the leathers- found their liberation at the release of chain to collar, compelling them to attack. To gorge on the festering carcasses of war, that offered a wide banquet to creatures of nightmares' tide… those that flew, scuttled, slithered and crept, all the visible and corporeal nightmares of these arctic and barren wildernesses rife with the exiled Lord's and King's that were once banished, yet now granted amnesty.

Pouring out from the fen’s in a staggering horizontal Phalanx formation in swift pace, both Warg and Warhorse thundering across the stark plains. Harbinger battle-cries screaming through the condensing mists… withdrawing elaborate shaft of ensorcelled battle-axe from its saddled sheath, Atra's gloved hand flexed firmly around it lifting it so the cruel moonlight grinned against the esoteric steel. By Dreadstead's celerity it powered in front of the other vessels of war, grunts of exertion pluming vines of frost and glowing effulgence into the oncoming elements. Whirlwinds of dark spittle fired out from nostrils and another whinny escaped, this one different, it was enough to shatter iron and ice in an explosion of crystal and fiendish reflection, cacophonous in deafening chaos.

Rising high upon hooves, shanks straining from the weight shifting to hinds, full weight sustained to the back of the barded mounts form, then lunging into a powerful stride into the trembling gloom. Knee joints bent in the surge of its pace, hooves digging at the clashing elements though they rode upon the mists in ghostlike appearance, hoof slashing fiercely just before the power in his hocks leaping forward. "To the ruin of all the wars of time, to plunge with clangor of timeless cataracts adown the gulfs eternal, to seek those familiar shades of Death!!" Front-rankers in stampede hammered into the attacking forces with deadly precision and in continuous strike.

Juggernaut lowered its shaffron festooned head, so that the hook of its neck was pinned hard towards the instep of black crest and tarnished silver plates rusted with blood. Swiftness aimed against the wind and even though the lashes of sword and polearm were naught but dull bites, the mount welcomed the pain of it. Impaling the careless soldiers on the pinnacles of spike and hooked fang. A rampant monster roaring for its glut. Fiery crests of saffron-streaming behind the abysmal stallion with an animated fury, the ever-twisting, flame licking the flurry of snow-storm.

Surrounded at all sides by mountains crowned with glacial luminosity, great rings of stones, black beneath the stars, leaving no means for realistic retreat. Those seemed to loom over the broken scapes of the encampment now a slaughter ground of clashing steel and the screams of those fallen to limbless decline. Manoeuvring aside sword-thrust and the cleave of roaring hammer, having dismounted beast and watching with a darkened glee as it devoured warrior and giant alike with necromantic maw. Atra smited herds of men, stumbling forward then compelled back, only able to take small mincing steps in order to avoid a certain death. Most trying just to keep their feet due to the crushing pressure of the frontlines.

War songs in varied deep breathless, glutteral pitch, the old tongue greeted their weapons, "Raise thine steel to the ravened skies, the bloodying is at hand. Rejoice in your wounds." Sung in the ambiance , a curse of humiliation to the bleeding and the weak screaming in the darkness. Still, Cormath and the more adept of his men moved with unearthly swiftness and fierce grace through the crashing throng- forces around them increasing and decreasing in parallel formation, some regiments gaining ground, while others from the same horde lost ground, moving backwards and forwards, undulating… resembling ocean waves against the jaggered peaks of midnight crags.

An enemy blade opening the shoulder of Cormath-Vuzathal to the bone, in vehement rejoinder, the Overlord swept his 'Dark Reaver' enamored sword out in a deadly arc, its iron head rending armour and biting deep into abdominal flesh. Eladron Plaguewrithe's abdomen yawning open, staggering back as blackish intestines spewed forth from the gaping orifice in a throbbing, slithering pile. Virgin snow stained crimson. Lastly, sundering head from trunk with another devastating blow, a writhing, shadowy amorphous smoke-like form rose from the smitten corpse, fleeing shrieking into the embittered elements.

Blood dripping from frost-encased axe blade, forming a crimson blossom upon the ice... attention thus promptly set on the one towering over the fragments of her Warlord. Cimmerian eyes narrowing, glowing with a fiendish, eldritch malevolence giving a high-pitched whistle to gain Cormath's attention, then gestured with gauntlet to come-hither. No honourable warrior ever attacked a man from behind, unless they were a Northern-dog, that is. In calm calculated swiftness, directly engaged into the melee of blade against axe. Skeggox, axe-head competently trailing lower blade edge, cleaving power catching the edge of the Ciocladin steel every time it was frivolously thrust or swung to seek accolade of flesh and blood. Entwined blade by axe, forcing blade to pass only to proficiently and accurately sweep in flashing silver towards the man's neck, forcing him to step backwards while already in momentum circling above head to come down towards shoulder in reckoning strength.

Sword returning to parry blade, only to be met with the twixt of rune-enforced handle taking the full brunt of the swing. A frustrated rumble echoed from behind the helm, every attempt averted by a skill similar to his own yet more refined and callous. Blunt end of axe coming around to thrust against torso, might into the compel enough to knock a mortal man off his feet. Eldritch empowered plenilunal-mithril steel impacting hellacious damage on the sword blade itself in brilliant sparks of luminescent vitality. Deciding to execute a manoeuvre that, whilst primarily easy, held far more meaning than Cormath could know. Keeping a wary eye upon the blade yielded, having tested the warrior's strength and alertness, Atra advanced in a calculated guile.

Circumnavigating smoothly and skilfully to the left flank of impending perforation only passing her waist, exploiting the warrior’s bulk against, utilizing an pivoted nimbleness that, potentially caught Atra's opponent by astonishment. Descending in a victorious diagonal arc driving the undeviating edge of 'bit' between the shoulder blades of Cormath. Sinking its blade deep, possessing an appetite similar to the wraith suffocating the hapless soul. Capable of 'sucking out the shadow', energy or essence- transmogrify in necrotic blight … a slit into a fatal infliction, and minor gashes into ravines that had felled yesteryear Gods, Devils and Fiends. Sword was spun backwards and thrust shallow between the joints of mesh and leather.

Right boot rising to mid-back, kicking him forwards into the powered frost, dislodging weapon and his own sword from her now wounded side. Gauntlet hand covering the wound as near black ichors spilled over the polished silver. Wanting to witness the ember's of eyes dim with the cessation of existence, gauntlet hand unhinged visor to reveal flawless statuesque features and in turn the horrified eyes behind helm, and black blood-splattered lips that attempted to utter some word… perhaps even a name. Nevertheless its insignificance warranted an cold and emotionless silence. Canting head to the side, while leaning on the blunt of handle, indulging in the revelation of just how quickly that life-shadow was waning… wilting before her very eyes.

Despite the wound that seeped in torrents, and the feverish realization that his blade too bore its venom's. Pushing weight from leaning position to then move, kicking the sword away from grasp so that it was lost forever- buried in the snow. Astride where Cormath then lay, one boot harshly resting against chestplate, pinning him down. Another cough of oil-like ichors trickled through burnt iron followed by a gurgled chuckle, "You are to be congratulated… on your ability." Bemused and disorientated as other words bled through the blossoming streams of Phlegethon wines. Choking out in brews of inky-red... "Dattirvarh…."

Discourse that inspired the wane of gloating smirk, and even the pallor of moonstone flesh to a deathly sallow… "Your words of deceit shall not be heard here! My steel is whet and thirsting for your life-ichors... aye, and with my dying breath … I'll spit defiance in your face!" Aphotic veins snaked twixt metal-clawed digits like night-sky come to snow. On polar days when even the halls of Hellisdalr were illuminated by the brash sun blazing white and pure with a dreadful coldness from a pearly azure-tinted heaven. Wintered blood welling over wrist, kissing the aurumate design of Cormath’s armour with soft wet drips.

Before given another chance to speak such despicable lies through iron and blood, ascended in upright strike, discreetly curved inwards before vigorously bringing it slamming downwards, shattering helm in two separate halves, and the skull within noticeably parting to spill its spongy carnal matter sluiced forming a macabre halo around its remnants. The shocked expressions of Northern warrior having seen the face of their leader's nemesis- Atra'Lamia stood poised there, staring upon the collage of who was celebrated as the Great Fiend of the North. Drawing back the ichor that flavoured palate and spitting on the remains, returning back to the fray of war, unappeased.

The use of the spear no longer viable except for those of Atra's forces on the outskirts relentlessly pushing inwards. Opponent and adversary no more than a nose away. Having no other choice than to reach for a weapon that can be easily accessed to great effect, a large or even a medium sword would now put a man at a disadvantage, with the opponent pushing up applying pressure, making it exceptionally difficult to unsheathe anything but a dirk, bayonet dagger or short sword. Resilient men perished to the dance, while the rest having lost their leader, pararrhexis embraced the enemy lines faltering at the back due to those attempting to escape back into the foothills, leading to a clear route to eradicate, the rest of the army seeing their countrymen flee also took after them, breaking down their own structured formations.

To the wandering curr who fled the field and their banners diminishing to the knives of the glass-splintered storms, immediately were hunted down, dragged and forced to their knees before Atra'Lamia. Tugging ebony-wolven furs' around svelte physique, relishing in the gnawing terror of wolf devouring whatever morsels remained of their Vuzathal brethren. Summoning a surviving warrior with sanguine gauntlet deteriorating to rust due caustic libations. Ushering unto him, two gifts with which to return to his people; one, the fallen, sundered banner of the Ciocladin tribes, the other… the cloven head of their Overlord.

Her words rung out over the blood-drenched wasteland in insidious, sneering lilt: "Take this message back to your fatherland, to your Crimson Emperor. If ever again he deigns to strike against us again, the slaughter this night will seem as naught compared to the havoc I shall visit upon him then." Turning to signal another, a young lad wearing the colours of the Lord sworn fealty to. Dispatching message by carrion wing, to the Ayenee kingdoms of their temporary success, and the pending return of its able men. Already the wounded were being gathered, and the unfortunate too mortally wounded sent to the glorious bedimmed halls of Hellisdalr where they would drink once more with their brother's and father's.

Tallying for moments longer only to watch the Death-pyre flames sunder the starless night with their serpentine, hungry tongues. No prisoners had been taken, or spared- given the most honourable end deserving of a coward defecting their own positions and banners. Skinless their disemboweled and headless bodies had been strewn across the valley, unworthy of even the ghoul to pick at the remains or suckle on their worthless bones. Cormath, was not even granted the respect of resting place, festooning in grotesque visceral exhibition; like a crucified coat of arms in blood-raven design. Burning flesh travelling far aloft carnivorous shivering zephyrs.

Mesmerized in a moment of inner reflection, or the fever that doused porcelain brow, gently stirred by the soft reproach of concern, causing perceptions to shift from the trinket around wrist, to the heather-haired weary facade of a mature and aged sentry whim had been close during names spoken and secrets shed. "Mi'Lady?" Two of her closest had perished this eve, perhaps the realization of it had for a moment trickled through the typically shown dead-pan, emotionless expression. Vikor, forever had this irritating knack to appear from out of nowhere, fluttering about concerns and gestures that appeared almost motherly in nature. Disturbingly so. Usually there would be some exchange of few sarcastic words, but this night. Concerns quietened with a boreal glance, and dead-expression as she took a single step, passing by fluidly leaving nothing but the wake of heavy cloak in cortege within the snowfall.

The setting changes from Dark Ages x Dark Fantasy to Ayenee

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It had only been a few days since the Dreadknight's arrival in the lands of Ayenee, his Legion had grown to vast numbers, as if the gates of hell themselves had broken, spilling forth the millions of tortured souls and beings whom had lost the chance of salvation. A tangible evil tainted the land upon which he'd deemed his own, which he'd given the name of "Dreadkeep Valley". He resided in the watchtower, standing over a pensive, glaring down into the thick silver liquid which rippled with movements. He watched as a female pushed back beings which were more fiend than man, he sensed something about her, something.. interesting.

The Seven Wraith Riders which guarded their DreadLord at all times resided in the darker corners of the watchtower, standing in sworn silence. Creature's almost disembodied voice thundered as he spoke, his right hand shooting upwards with fist clenched, as if he'd found his target, but his intentions were more than that. "Ready the Forsaken!! We Ride to the North!" The seven Wraith's hissed in crying unison, and moved off down the spiral staircase in quick cadence with one another. Creature returned the gaze of his cold, yellow eyes back to the female, a growl emitted from his throat, low and benevolent. "I knew you.." Were his only words before he sloshed the liquid in the pensive and turned to follow his Wraith's down the staircase.

Outside the Courtyard, The Legion had been gathered, and a sacrifice had been placed upon knees before the Dead Tree. Creature entered the courtyard down the steps of the Dreadfort, his voice thundering out along the vast numbers of the Forsaken, which ran as far as the eye could see. "Ready your blades men, for tomorrow we conquer! Tonight, we dine in cold hell!!" The Legion roared, a thunder amongst the battered, scorched lands of the Dreadfort, just before Creature picked the sacrifice up by the neck. It was a man, old in age, weak, feeble.

"Please My Lord! Spare me!! My sons are well and young enough to serve you.. please, my family needs me!!" Creature tightened his grip upon the man's neck, cutting off his wind. "Silence heretic! I do not recruit the living.." He began the entirety of his most favorite Spell, "Soul Steal." The old man's face went pale as the deep purple aura veiled Creature, pulling the very soul out of the human, as if sticking a vaccum down one's throat, the blue hazed life force slipped from the man's lips, and Creature dropped him to the ground. He was already dead, but the ting of steel unsheathed and the ignition of flames filled the air, followed by the stench of scorched flesh and a glorious uproar of the Forsaken. He began the motions of his second favorite ability, "Shadow Walk" In which he activated with the soul, to transport himself, and his Legion into the Northern lands unknown. A blackish purple blanket covered the vast valley, and the light flashed. Moments later the blanket lifted, and the entirety of the Legion stood in a vast, snow encumbered plane.

Cold breath like smoke tainted the air before mouths like the smoke from the end of a cigar, thick. "Rise.." Creature's voice whispered, and the Warhorse which had taken him to his stead formed just before him, and his Wraith's did the same. They mounted their Horses in unison, and began the long journey towards the goal. The Legions footsteps thundered in unison behind the eight riders, which now all eight looked the same. The only difference between creature and the rest, were the horns of his Helment sticking up under his hood. Onward they trod, through the massive dunes of snow and the vast plains of cold, snow fell downward in sideways blankets, making the path seen less easy to find. A few hours had passed before night had began to fall, and the massive company came to a halt. "Rest cold! For tomorrow we ride!!" Creature dismounted and released his steed, before he and the seven Wraith's set up camp, a massive black tent, with mammoth pelts for the flooring.

Creature resided in a portable throne, made from ivory of mammoth tusks for the basic build, accompanied by a lush abundance of bones for the base. Cushions adorned with silk of black made up the seat and back rest. The throne rested before a long oak table, which was piled with maps Creature had found in the ancient Library. Aparrently this world had been given the name of Ayenee, he had positioned the Forsaken just five miles south of the woman he'd sought out. "We are here.. tomorrow, we arrive here." One of the Wraith's stepped forward, a whispering, almost agonizingly shrill voice passed through the darkness behind the hood. "My Lord, why is it you seek out this female?.. what is her importance to us?"

Creature sat back in his throne, his helment rested upon the side of the table, leaving his strong face to shine in the dim lighting. The scar which adorned the left side of his face glimmered in the lighting as he spoke. "I can smell my brother's essence on her.. I sense her power.. I've known her once before, though I cannot recall how we'd met.." At the mention of Balthazar's presence, the Wraith's gasped, the history between the brothers was quite chaotic, and Balthazar had been lost for a very long time. "She would make a good asset.. should she be wise and not ride into battle against us. Should she do so we will crush them all.." Creature's words stung the air like the harsh venom of a Cobra would sear through the veins of a victim.

The night was cold, quiet all but save the howling of the blizzard which blanketed the numerous thousands of tents in white. The dream plagued him like it had only happened yesterday. The last war, the Dawn of the Ageless.. Creature saw himself standing atop a hill, locked in battle against his brother.. oh how they fought, steel kissed steel, blood kissed earth.. power kissed the air. They had gotten separated, Creature watched himself tear through the forces of the Dawnguard with his blade, leaving bodies to litter the earth like decorations.. Oh the glorious bloodshed..

He watched as he locked in combat with a female warrior, steel kissing flesh, then steel.. it was his daughter, Aria.. The final moments.. "Your days are done, heretic.." He heard himself say as he balanced the blade against the side of Aria's throat, which she extended with pride.. "To die for the cause to end the monster you've become.. I will walk the halls of Valhalla with pride.." Aria's words hit him like a wall to the face, just before he relived the moment of watching her head roll down the bloodstained hill.. Creature awoke in a cold sweat, a growl deep within his chest thundered forth in a roar, echoing through the bland space of snow..

Morning came, sunrise, and all of the Legion was awake, breaking down tents and putting them in small packs. Creature stood between his Wraith's, all of whom chanted incantations untangible by ears. Through the veil of snow one would witness the birth of the Nidhogg, a Dragon of dark proportions, fifteen feet in height from ground to back, thirty feet in length from snout to tail. Tangible shrouds of smoke depicted the form of the Dragon from it's nostrils, black smoke, thick and rich with brimstone. The Wraith's summoned their own mounts, their Warhorses, each of same proportions, black pelts, runic brands glowing dark crimson, decaying skin and flaming white hooves, with billowing smoking mane, and dark crimson eyes aglow.

Creature stood atop the back of the Dragon, who gave a magnificent roar, to signal the beginning of the end. "Onward!! Taste the glory at hand!! For today, we conquer the Unknown!!" The Legion raised their voices in a glorious thunder of unison chanting "Conquer!! Conquer!! Conquer!!" Creature took the chained reins in hand of the Dragon's Maw, and massive black wings beat the air. The thunderous Legion marched forth as Creature disappeared into the snow encumbered skies.

It wasn't long before Creature came upon the battleground ahead. There she was, driving the fiendish warriors back, with her own numbers at her side. The Dragon began it's descent, letting loose a glorious roar of war. Upon it's swoop of destiny, blackened flames kissed the snow between the two forces, leaving riders upon horses on both sides to be thrown, and the steeds to turn and run. The thundering unison of the Legion's cadence grew closer as the sun rose higher into the skies, and finally they topped the hill.

Numerous battle cries roared as they poured off of the hillside like a sea rolling into waves. The ground thundered beneath them, they headed not for the side of the female, but those of the fiendish ones. A great roar battered the skies as Creature dropped from his mount, directly into the epicenter of the battle, the small gap between sides. Blade drawn, ablaze in magnificent cold glory of blue flame. His black armor shined behind the flame, his helm cast the imposing glare of death in the corporeal form, his aura would be suffocating, littered with tangible evil, and a darkness so surreal it prickled the skin with goosepimples. "Feast!! Conquer in the name of Odinname!!" His near disembodied, war laden voice thundered as his forces clashed with the fiendish ones. His gaze alone fell upon her, the one. His blade raised as if in signaling.. "You.. I came for you.."

The Wraith's had clashed first, deathly shrill cheers of glorious death arose, as if in delightful chorus of the voices from the depth's of Hell itself, his Legion took to their calling, clashing with those whom opposed the one whom he had sought out. The Wraith's acted in his stead as he confronted the Imperatrix, combining five dead of any side, to complete one whole, furthermore extending the numbers of the Forsaken. In his lands, it had been said that the Forsaken were, unkillable, but that would be proven wholly proposterous. Creature stood in full glory, the epitome of Death itself, sephucrial flames dancing from the black plate which was his armor. The orbs which rested aglow in deep yellow tinge burned with a deep desire, a wanting so inferior it fueled his burning desire to conquer, to begin his second coming.

"Abaddon..." His darkness engrossed voice called out, a name so long ago forgotten, he hadn't

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Tʜᴇ sᴏᴜʟ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ɪs sᴘɪʀɪᴛ ɪs ɴᴏᴛ ᴄᴜʀsᴇᴅ ᴛᴏ ʙᴇᴄᴏᴍᴇ ᴅɪʀᴛ ᴏʀ ᴅᴜsᴛ; ɪᴛ ɪs ᴄᴀʀʀɪᴇᴅ ᴛᴏ ᴅᴡᴇʟʟ ɪɴ ᴛʜᴇ ʙʟᴏᴏᴅ﹗ Bᴜᴛ ɪᴛ ɪs ᴅᴇᴀᴛʜ ᴡʜᴏ ᴄʟᴀɪᴍs ᴇᴠᴇʀʏᴛʜɪɴɢ﹐ ғᴏʀ ɪᴛ ɪs ᴀ ʟᴀᴡ﹐ ɴᴏᴛ ᴘᴜɴɪsʜᴍᴇɴᴛ﹐ ᴛᴏ ᴅɪᴇ... ʙᴜᴛ ᴏɴᴇ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ᴀʟʟ ᴍᴇɴ ᴡɪʟʟ ᴛᴀsᴛᴇ.


Miscreants, the very word echoed through Atra'Lamia's heart-strings as eyes of ebony watched a legion clash with other. She determined it as scuttling around like vermin and cattle. Oblivious to their bloody destiny; and hoped they would welcome death well...and if not they would learn their place by her blades, at the hands of domination and tyranny. Perhaps these warrior gazed upon her shadowy form, so fluid and eloquently poignant in mellifluous motion while cutting through the lines like brutal winds to ash. Unearthly in beauty while nightmarish in realization, that while the war-worthy gazed transfixed upon such magnificence; none would stake their affirmation of such desires before the Shadow Lords of Ayenee, or the Obsidian Lords of Rhydin, let alone her.

The helmet of a stranger turned in the direction of Atra'Lamia making way through the mass of gleaming crimson splashed against the lustre of silver, blade in adept glove. Gauntlet right hand ascended the Sword of Ayen, 'Intorqueo Flamma'. Calculating the position in which the man moved in conjunction with that of her own. A man no less, who appeared to believe himself to be a commander of some chapter, of some unworthy status of authority. Offering a shrug in response before being receiving with such command the swing of sword striking against thigh only to have it break upon mesh and sable leathers. In a blink of an eye, burying her blade in his gut. Its impressive length erupting out the other side, impaling the man as if he were nothing but air. A soundless vibration slipped from betwixt lips as gasping esophagus gurgled helplessly, blood pouring from his mouth. Barely acknowledging in appreciation for as a savage, delivered twist of sword sent waves of pain washing over the soldiers consciousness- making an expression of exquisite pain break upon the canvas of horrified face.

The two remaining closest faced the quandary of whether to fight or run gave nothing short of a look of terror before another of revulsion swept across features beneath their helms. Not only struggling against the trepidation that welled up inside of them but also an intense feeling of biliousness. Deciding to not dirty hands on mere fodder, and the boisterous one just beyond them, Atra's apertures parted for but a moment unleashing a stream of Stygian shadow-like fire that engulfed them, completely incinerating them to ash, such was the intensity of the inferno.

Barely granting them a second of ardent interest other than the one previously used as a shield, gauntlet digits perforating hungrily into the softest chasms of flesh, through to the chest cavity with a forceful directed greeting through the lower intestine with cold steel. With an ample flick of the wrist in another violent incision made to lavishly scorch cold flesh producing crimson streams. Ribs sliced to the loins, revealing the exposed cavity towards the heavens, then, rendering the inner costal cartilage and manubriums sluiced for the extraction of prized heart. Lifting the pulsating effigy into the air, like some grotesque offering to a god of destruction before consuming it. Dripping claret fell in suspended animation in Goetic tribute over Mithril, mesh then alabaster flesh, "A man must accept his fate, or be destroyed by it... from shore to crumbling shore."

The asphyxiation of the sun from the conjurations of darkness brought with it the final sight of the mighty Capital of Ayenee, though it did not impede vision in the slightest. In truth the presence of her engraved oblivion in the souls of fallen men was more at home in the velvety folds of shadows, for although any light struggled to illuminate its ghostly luminosity seemed to simply part around the Imperatrix, the gloaming illuminating silhouette birthed a greater shadow amid the tenebrous, miasmic whorl of battle, necromancy and death prestidigitation.

Painted vermillion splattered features with tribal markings of war beheld the carnage widespread over fields, then casting downwards at the macabre display of what had been a man, now nothing but a crude vision, with last of its warmth hissing on the frigid winds. A beleaguered butchery, viscera tapering across the earth in arcane patterns like Haruspicy. Pitilessly a smirk slid across rubicund apertures, a conquering libation though he was hardly worth the celebration of glory. The teeming horde of soldiers that so many challengers usually fought to pass through, seemed to strangely part before the sanguine painted female, and not surprisingly so for she donned the dreadful representation of Darkbane in all its legendary glory. Impenetrable starless eyes, devoid of the faintest hint of pupils, fixated on him and his 'unveiling' glory. Nestled tightly in right hand, was the legendary sword of Ayenee ready to parry any schlemiel foolish enough to come forth and test its metal.

"I care not of whom you were, or whom you are!" Her voice was like that of ambrosia and darkness, yet it possessed a timbre of mockery hidden beneath its velvet. Flicking downwards then the apex of weapon, resting upon its elaborate hilt, while gore-gauntlet gestured forth with a manicured arch of brow, "You have come for me, then.. well come then! Test your blade and wraiths against me if you dare!" An evil grin would be prompted by chosen discourse...dark-liquored eyes glistening in heinous effluence, narrowing into daggered slithers as Atra's head ascended to greet the Dreadknight. A growl issued from twixt rubicund apertures, death-ravening in frost-tendril plumes in wraith-like exhalation; entwined in unexplained vehemence and passion. Ruby lips plaguing a barbarous symmetrical indifference, as eyes akin to curses in gleam of winter moonlight over black water, glanced over the Dark Messiah's form deliberately... bootfall brought the wither of ever-consuming shadows.

"Shall I notch another widow to my haft?" , chin ascending defiantly, features shifting behind the midnight veils of billowing tresses exposing ensanguined visage, though not meeting eye to eye, more of an oblique apathy to incite affront. Aesthetically primed when Atra stood before him, blade sung through the air to strike only to miss. Placing agility to sinuous hip in the recoil when apex of weapon had missed its target but nor was her blade knocked from grasp. Atra didn't pivot to face Abaddon directly, and cast the side of demurred cheek to rest against left shoulder. Fingernails resembling furian claws sharply tapped against the hilt of the sword, fist staining to the whiteness of bone beneath translucent flesh clenching it firmer in grasp, gleaming in a cold affection. Momentum force flicking the sword upwards, adroitly rising it just past the adjacent shoulder then swinging it around at an 'orderly' and 'close' 180 degree arch. Bringing the right flank of blade around with a flamboyant rotation at the wrist, in unison, lithe body nimbly following from hip and torso.

Responsive and flexible, balletic in elegant twist into a refined, poised step. Saving the theatrics of some moronic spin for the thespian. Never leaving back exposed. Maintaining a strong defense and him 'on point' potency to dismember reason, quicker than a wasp could sting. Thoughtful reflection danced conservatively over his striking features with deadly starless daggers. Words designed to stir drifted on a seraphic-consonant melody, "A blade should never be swung, and it not bless its purpose in the red wines' of battle. Why cease the dance just because the music has changed?" Murderous orchids contorting into a cynical leer chasing the last lingering, rolling pronunciation intended to reach out... caress the provocation of the fight.. instead it was thrown against the howling winds that shrieked already of hex and baneful tidings from the Order of Wraiths encircling.

Strange melodies existed in the wind; reality itself collapsed within a thin veil of black breath; oblivion itself gaping like a ruptured orifice in its ravenous vitriol. Streams of zibeline ebony flowed to conceal flawless monochromatic beauty, except those lustrous asphodel lanterns glaring out from behind cascading aphotic mantles of darkness. "... try not to be bumptious; I grant a lesser credence to the intrigue, let alone than that of nostalgia." A sound of bile hissed nefariously on venomous lung... dissatisfaction when movement came forth, 'on point' of blade not abating aim signifying intent to pluck the Adam's Apple from its hearth. In a disembodied, other-worldly soft emphasis she spoke, "Audience....denied." Shadows trembling where they extended out from their coffers of flesh and bone. Their stillness more terrible than the Wraiths, whose chants rendered the fields in crimson and tempest {unleashing their theurgies with a great proficiency}.

Towers of flesh toppled, drowning in a staggering sea of crimson mixed with the tears of the Gods, the crown of the heavens bent low in genuflect of weeping all around them. The firmament opened above them. Beads of rain luminous, black jewels darker than the blackest of Acheron's rivers. Rolling thunder shaking the world's axis in ear-splitting crescendos, reverberating down hump-backed Alps, across valley and vale. Erzulie-painted was Atra's features in the pallid light between sporadic flashes of lightening; saturated hair clinging tight against bodice and over one clad shoulder, trailing down, over tourniquet of pelt and chain. Digits tightening around hilt- she would relish this encounter further.

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Character Portrait: Atra'Lamia Darkbane
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Fʀᴏᴍ ʙᴇᴀᴜᴛʏ﹐ ᴀɴᴅ ʟᴏᴠᴇʀs· ʙɪᴛᴛᴇʀ ᴡᴀʀs﹐ ᴛɪᴍᴇ sʜᴀʟʟ ᴍᴀᴋᴇ ʜɪs ᴍᴇᴛᴀᴘʜᴏʀs.



Dark spells weaved throughout the building energies. The vaults of eon-veiled horrors spawned forth the shadow-gates swelling, yawning wide, parting the vestments of dusk shackled to the parturition of hermetic darkness. Malodor billowing forth as if it were the baleful breath of 'Oblivion' himself-- pungent odours of engorged flesh, atrophy and decay that had been sealed from this world for several lifetimes. Indecipherable long-dead tongues spoke in delirious skeletal choirs, grisly murmurs of nameless fiends with black jaws drooling blasphemy and howling in flesh-lust through the entwining frosts 'living' gloom granting litany to their presence.

With such gathering forces rose the names of those who had adorned the battlefield; some names of legends that even the bards themselves had sung of in the terrors of the darkest nights. No man nor beast would be held steadfast by the command, and instead what flag had been held waving in the carnivorous winds in flutter of white that even the shadows cast bruised hues over the stark of its refute. Regardless of the reputation of he who held it, the Shadow Warlord of Blackheilm himself, no surrender nor truce would be seen this day.

Thus... through the dark tide her laughter echoed, crackling in the whispering mane of the basaltic winds shattering blessed cromlech and custodial wards. Amidst these, the nine stones that had been placed at the quarters of the realm by Nesentra (one of the oldest of Ayenee's Guardians), to charge the lands with their protective thaumaturgy, long before even the cities or kingdoms had risen from the infant soil. Cimmerian shades, danced and waltzed astride the mystic torans before crushing them to powder and dust, as if they were nothing but the ruinous totems of a lore that no longer held prestige or effect.

Old magick's waned and with them the defences that had stood the test of time and the most powerful influences of sorcery and fulcrums. Infused by the potent conjurations of apt diablerie; cosmic infinity nor affinity was nothing compared to one such as herself, on a whim alone she could reshape the surface of worlds. And had without lifting so much as a finger of indictment or retribution. The long dead, were certainly in no place to judge when besieged with the legions that had stood the test of time, and ensorcelled blade. Not even a memory to those who had forgotten the ballads of the fallen guardians.

Invocations unleashed the veils of Blackheilm that in turn devoured, darkness constricting its dominance like a buffer. To counteract the Wraith's sanguine raptures which would either disengaged, or consume the 'binding/magickal' anchors that constituted no sway over the shadows, compelling ancient paths of natural leylines to rupture-- spilling forth deeper and more archaic primal doorways from their oily locks to unfetter a new havoc where order sought to establish itself when chaos had yet to sample its sour meat let alone its weak and weathered steel.

It was then at the precise moment, that the colliding and clashing elements were within a war of their own, the feminine seduction of Atra'lamia's lilt rose above all, encompassed all, and obliterated all in its cacophonous, insidious resonance, "Prevail with me... beyond the shadows... rule with me... a thousand worlds...!" Black flames erupted on the talons of raven-storm, saturating once proud citadels of the great antediluvian empires and the temples where once they had been worshipped. Even the spells and conjurations of necromancy waned at her dominance.

Scorching, rendering, smouldering those caught within the holocaust leaving nothing but emaciated cindered-crests; throwing every ensnared ion straight into the malignant bosom of oblivion itself. "Fall only when your hearts cease beating, and your flames extinguished. Devils and Outlaws of Western Ayenee... my proud warriors of Blackheilm." 'My' beheld a great emphasis and formidable significance, the war-cry itself held a weight and poignancy only another Darkbane possibly admired let alone recognized, but so would those of distant familiarity.

A dark honour of their own, that did not require audible declarations of supremacy. Harried from above as the shrouds fully tegumented and closed within it what energies and magick's had previously been coerced, and would not be snuffed like a candle flame in the soft libidinous night, no matter how hard the pinch sought to captured its incalescence. At Atra's command, the clarion was sounded to move the battle-hardened veterans of the Western Ayenee Army forward into a flanking position to unite with the remnants of the Darkbane/Blackheilm Imperial Cavalry and Ayenee's unyielding foot-soldiers. Then, like a purifying storm the allied Imperial forces clove into the swarm to deal pattern-welded death unto their virtuous foe.

Naught registered of call or sultry uttered names through the ethereal tapestries, it would not be a means of pact or amicable reverie. A black rune was cast and pushed towards their aura's, and only it would portend the probability of their fates by the actions and deeds done. Written in the blood their blades would spill, or would they demonstrate spinelessness and submission, to an deity bejewelled in spurn and scorn from the endeavours of their own indiscretion? Ebonized fires leapt, engulfing the fields in cataclysmic phoenix-born barbs erupting across the skies from the catapults that snapped back in release. Warriors and mounts seared and burned from the enraged sky which fell like the rapture heralding the end of times. Twisted machinations of chaos had not even unleashed the last of the dread confrontation that rumbled throughout the melee-- a tactical scheme utilizing the potential energies to the fullest extent of the darkest of arts alongside their vile emissions.

Augmented plague storms scathed the terrain and the Undead regiments, not even some of her own were spared the gluttonous appetite of necrotic pestilence. Mithril turned to rust, and bone to dust. Putrescine and cadaverine drifted pungently thick sickly-verdant nebulous mass, combining with the darkness and shadows previously resurrected. Unless controlled instantaneously like the string of a puppet-master they bore no real sentience or relevance, until the battle-mages and weavers gathered them up into a surging wave of psionic egregore. Ever-widening, comparable to a Kraken's embrace.

"None exists. The tide has flowed, it ebbs forever, for all die." Disembodied susurration rippled in static, primordial, inhaled sharply with metallic fatigue. Imitation to mimic human intonations sunk beneath the abysmal tides of demonic salience. From behind the glorious clash of Black Mithril Blackheilm sword against whatever tempered their ire, be it foe, or those caught twixt the tempest. Who fell, who faltered and who died never bothered one who held the Darkbane name with the darkest of superiority and honour... all that mattered was the blood smeared and what death lay behind from the harvest. Still the battle-mages continued their chants except one stepped forth taking prestige; bedraped in a stygian cloak and fuliginous cowl, exuding an aura of implacable malevolence, which unnerved even the bravest of the Ayenee Imperial troops.

Agitated statuesque facade flinched to the accent and expression of foreign intruder, bearing desires and wants not impervious to Atra's agenda. This was a battlefield, one that stunk from the eons of death and wane, carnage ebbed and flowed around them all in both vision and ambiance. Not some cavalier stroll in a garden of fragrant flowers, nor was he a refined gentleman seeking the silken hand of some painted courtesan. And had her blade not chosen its quarry, it surely would have sought the innermost sanctum of the soulless coffer noted as "HIS" flesh and embodiment.

Dismissing Abaddon with a nonchalant gesture of hand, "Get off my battlefield!" Before further dialogue could slip between sanguine apertures save for a growl of dissatisfaction, attention returned to the war-tide. Not looking back over shoulder as the Dreadknight returned to his origins alongside his men. Darkness descended like the behemoth obsidian wave of dark energies and maelstrom of chaotic residues that washed across the fields like the eldritch Dead Sea of Grimsdalr. "Never quarter, never mercy, never retreat!" The final chorus to the duet... the martial preparations commenced in earnest. A brief and perfunctory exchange between generals and commanders, as the Imperial banner of Western Ayenee was duly driven into the seared earth with a chilling finality. And again the vast siege engines and powerful ballistae were hauled inexorably but into a different position, as to the front alongside, appeared a succession of katapelte and petrobolos. Dreaded Battle-Warg (Fen-Dwellers) and War- Leopards, straining noisily against their iron-link restraints to the rear of the myrmidon, conscripts and auxiliaries in escort.

Battle Magicks|Enchantments.

Veils of Blackhelm: Shroud of Darkness. Cancels Shadow/Wraith magicks and casts a complete dome of darkness over a specific area. [LvL 1] [active conjuration]
Shadow Shield: Conceals within the shrouds. Offers resistance to Holy, Darkness|Death, Frost or Fire spells. Passive. Soaks damage. [LvL 1] [active conjuration]
Shadow Blight: Smite of Chaos. Drains sentient|living magicks and sentient infused armours rendering them vulnerable to steel. [LvL 1] [activated spell]
RavenStorm: Plague Wind. Death spell. Breath Augment. May also be considered a hex spell. Multi-wound, infesting 'living' armour/weapon/flesh with rapid viral decay. Typically augmented by eupnea or exsufflation spells, combined with the Veils of Blackhelm or other contagion/cloaking magicks. [LvL 1] [activated spell]

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Ayenee

Ayenee by AtraLamia_Darkbane

At last... the Northern campaigns were close an end. With the blessings of victory and conquest, the vast armies of warriors beginning their expedition back through the immense veils of shadowed glaciers.

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"There will be neither empathy or leniency; Nor amity, reconciliation nor comfort For those who embrace the stars yet still do not believe."

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"There will be neither empathy or leniency; Nor amity, reconciliation nor comfort For those who embrace the stars yet still do not believe."

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"There will be neither empathy or leniency; Nor amity, reconciliation nor comfort For those who embrace the stars yet still do not believe."


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Ayenee

Ayenee by AtraLamia_Darkbane

At last... the Northern campaigns were close an end. With the blessings of victory and conquest, the vast armies of warriors beginning their expedition back through the immense veils of shadowed glaciers.

Ayenee

At last... the Northern campaigns were close an end. With the blessings of victory and conquest, the vast armies of warriors beginning their expedition back through the immense veils of shadowed glaciers.

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