Chapter XXV - An Unlikely Arrival
Posted: Sun Apr 29, 2018 6:09 pm
In a lost mine deep beneath the Annulii mountains, a tense situation had occurred. Having recovered a lone survivor from a ravaged camp within the Shadowlands, they had delivered him to his Mistress who rewarded him with the honour of devoting his soul to Khaine at the hands of a crazed Witch Elf. With no means to escape, the Sorceress' cruelty had turned to her guests; the Regiment finding themselves betrayed and trapped. Their executions imminent, the Druchii had to think fast.
Surrounded by corsairs and outnumbered, Sildra and Ithilsyn looked to each other, gripping their staffs, ready to strike. “At your word, Commander,” whispered Ithilsyn, “I’ll blast her head clean off her shoulders.”
As the sound of bolts being clicked into place in repeating crossbows, and knives being slipped from their sheathes, Caranordor considered the situation carefully as death stood before them, laughing at her prey. Ever defiant, the Commander looked to Zathos Chillwind, growling, “Do not be so quick to grant us quick death, for we shall not respond with a similar offer. Kill them all, slowly.”
The Regiment stepped in together, weapons ready as they formed a tight defensive formation as the lithe witch elf and the corsairs charged forward, flailing and slashing at the Druchii.
The maibd lunged in like a striking serpent, her blade biting into Sildra’s lower leg. Hearing her Coven sister cry out, Ithilsyn threw a hand into the air casting a shield upon which the enemy slammed, dazing themselves momentarily against the invisible wall. Vashirith cloaked herself in a shroud of darkness, melding with the dark shadows of the cave before Sildra squinted her eyes, throwing her staff forward against the witch elf that had wounded her, to send her backwards in an icy blast against the solid wall of the cave, her lifeless form frozen solid.
The goblin shaman, Noogl, hid behind Caranordor’s back as the cavern was filled with the din of battle as the Commander lowered his halberd in a defensive posture, prohibiting anyone from approaching. A corsair rolled his head, his neck clicking, as he swung his blades casually around his body, before building up to a run. Caranordor lowered his stance, attempting to hook the charging corsair, but his opponent had expected this riposte, and leapt forwards with a bound, using the staff of the weapon to propel himself, the weight of his tread pushing the Commander's deadly weapon flat against the cavern floor as he flew at the Commander with a murderous smile. As he came descended with his blades aimed downwards to strike into the Druchii’s shoulders, Noogl bounced forward from his hiding place, stabbing the enemy in the groin with a rough looking dagger. The corsair landed heavily with a groan, nearly bowling the goblin over, before being roughly clubbed to death by Noogl’s orcish guards.
All Ithilsyn’s efforts were focussed in holding her shield, bolts ricocheting off the barrier, which rippled as each projectile struck it. Vashirith extended her power through this, wrapping a corsair with a hand of ruin, toying sadistically as a cat might play with a mouse. Finally growing bored, she made a brief hand gesture, her enemy’s lungs filling with ice and stealing his ability to scream. His face turned to red, then purple as he slumped to the floor clutching his neck, not even able to gasp for air in his last moments.
On the ridge above them, the treacherous sorceress Zathos we displeased with the resilience of her play things. Her visage contorted to frustration and anger as she hissed, “You will not stop me, not now I am so close!”
Raising her staff above her head, the air hummed as she drew an enormous amount of dhar through herself, amplified by the magical crystals of the mine. They began to glow with a blinding light, before shattering, spraying all in the cave with Shyish tainted shards. A surging barrage of dhar fell upon the Regiment from all sides with a sickening blast, sending Sildra unconscious to the ground as the blast overwhelmed her. Ithilsyn struggled to hold her shield intact, feeling a shift in the cavern as the torrent of dark magic raced towards her barrier. With a cry she staggered back as the shield exploded into oblivion as the dhar slammed against it, Caranordor shielding his face from the crystalline death raging about him. Screaming, Vashirith threw her hands out in a warding gesture but it was not enough; the torrent blasted her backwards into the cave’s depths. Noogl too was rolled back, his powers not enough to defend against this amount of energy.
Quietness fell upon the chamber. Even more saturated with magic than before, the excess dhar shimmered in an odd fashion in the dust-filled cave. Slowly at first then more rapidly, the magic currents began to flow towards a single point behind Zathos, converging there as if guided by an unseen hand.
With countless small cuts, ears ringing, the group gathered itself. Ithilsyn glanced at Sildra, kneeling down to the Grand Cabalist to place a hand on her throat to be sure she was still alive. Feeling a light pulse, the Seeress stared up at the sorceress with a hateful scowl.
Zathos smirked at her titanic display of power before noticing the currents streaming past her. She turned with a look of confusion, before a blood-curdling tear echoed in the cave with the sound of a thousand anguished souls. The energies appeared to form a vertical pool of magic, rough around the edges, but clearing from the centre outwards as if looking through a dusty mirror. A portal was forming, a veil between the material and the immaterial, and this was not Chillwind’s doing.
Before she could respond, a Norscan charged out, decapitating the sorceress with one swift blow, and paving the way for more Chaos worshippers to come through. At the head of the horde hovered a magus that stood with aloof indifference, an aura about him like a dry desert wind before a sudden storm. The air itself appeared to rebel against his very presence, those without witch sight finding it almost painful to gaze upon him.
As the marauding warriors stepped through their portal, they gazed about the chamber with icy hatred, their bodies adjusting to the impossible distance travelled in mere seconds. One of them vomited heavily, as another transformed his arm into a bird-like claw, ready to fight.
The din had roused Sildra from her swoon, who pushed herself up blinking, eyes widening at the sight of this new threat. Ithilsyn looked forward with a defiant glance, daring these invaders to try anything, as the head of her staff began to glow. Following the prompt, Noogl focussed his magic, his red eyes taking on another hue as they began to glow with green power.
Caranordor readied himself for battle anew, brushing the crystal dust off his armour, before raising his halberd in a menacing stance. With a sneer, Ithilsyn regarded the Chaos worshippers before asking, “Friends of yours, Commander?”
Her question was met with a burning glare, before he smiled at the Seeress.
“Da Kaus ‘uns are not friend of any’un!” replied Noogl.
The magus floated over the corpse of the sorceress, before rummaging through her remains, discarding fetishes and trinkets with casual disdain. Hearing voices, he stopped, inclining his head slightly, glowing eyes within the helm looking up as if annoyed by an interruption.
“I see that we have others here interested in this... locale,” he whispered, his voice reverberating with power, as he took a polished Shyish crystal from the corpse’s robes, holding it aloft and inspecting it. Letting the crystal float before an upraised hand, he stared down at the Druchii and Greenskins, “What business do you have here? I am Chief Vizier of the Soulscourge, Warlord of the Tribes of Norsca.”
“What business we have here?!” replied an outraged Caranordor, “This is our land, our birthright.”
“I could argue facts and history, but I am not here for intellectual banter,” the magus replied arrogantly, eyeing the crystal greedily.
“So what is it to be then, Northlings? I do not suppose you are here to exchange pleasantries...” the Commander replied, curling his lip at the rabble before him.
“Ah, I’ll forgive your ignorance here as we are somewhat of ambassadors of our liege lord. I am not of the Northern stock, I hail from far off Araby, but that land and people are as dead to me as this land is.” This one certainly had a mouth on him.
Ithilsyn considered which one to strike down first. A marauder appeared strong, however it was the magus that was the leader of this band, and therefore the most dangerous. She tapped her staff lightly as the scene unveiled itself before here. Noticing the Seeress preparing for a strike, gripped his halberd tightly.
“It’s get weirda’ n’ weirda’ in ‘ere.” Grumbled Noogl.
“We are here for something, this crystal, is not it, but a foci. If you will permit my explanation of sorts, my lord...” the magus dipped his head respectfully towards Caranordor, as one of his marauders rested a bestial palm over the bald skull of an unfortunate mine slaver, dragging large claws over its face as he met eyes with the sorceress in thought, attempting to stare her down with a faint hint of entertainment in his smirk. Ithilsyn stared back with icy arrogance, daring him to give her one excuse to reduce him to a pile of smouldering bones.
“Very well, speak. Do not think we will lower our guard though,” replied Caranordor, before whispering to Ithilsyn, “Prepare yourself Seeress, I want you to singe that mageling’s face should they make any offensive moves.”
Ithilsyn nodded slowly, as Noogl muttered, “Yez, smash da ‘un wif flyin’ plate first...”
“You see, near my former people’s home lies The Land of the Dead, Nehekara to some. And your people tie to its rise and fall you see, for long ago, Nagash, the ruler of that land captured three Druchii sorcerers who had been shipwrecked.”
Many of the Druchii looked at each other, some sighing with annoyance, others rolling eyes, as this intruder deigned to teach them their own well-known history.
“Letz krump ‘im togetha’... on ya signal...” Noogl suggested, thinking the anger on Ithilsyn’s face was directed at the invaders, not the mention of Nagash or what it implied at the magus’ intentions.
Unperturbed by the reception, the magus continued to blather on, “They taught him the dark arts, so to speak, but when he learned all he could from them, they were killed or entombed alive in the great pyramids of the land. But one escaped, and sought out these lands to which to build his power and make his own Empire... of the Dead.”
Sildra arched a brow. Lies all of it. It was known that Ashniel, Malchior, and Drutheira perished. Still, they were of Nagarythe, of the first generation to set forth and serve the true Phoenix King, Malekith. There would have been others that worked with them. It was not surprising that a fool from human stock would have muddled his lore.
“But sadly his legend ends as quickly as it had begun, the song of the warp echoes distantly of his attempts here, but since there is no great Undead force here in the histories, we can only assume he failed and died. But the story does not end with his absence and supposed death. There is a city of dead here, called by Daemons 'Klarath Har' and it sits under the ground that we tread upon.”
“And I suppose you seek to succeed where he had failed?” Ithilsyn enquired, stepping forward, her staff ready.
“It is of course hidden and sealed away... but it is rumoured to contain great power to those that find it,” the magus replied.
“And you would presume that we will assist you on this endeavour?” asked Caranordor.
The magus tilted his head to the side and hissed, “and unlock its many secrets.”
Ithilsyn turned to the Commander, whispering in Drukh Eltharin, “Caranordor, Death is the enemy. They seek to use us and claim great power.”
“As predicted”, he replied, in their own tongue, “Are you ready to remove them?”
The Seeress gave a nod, considering bringing the ceiling of the cavern down upon the invaders, crushing them beneath tonnes of rock.
“I do not request any such menial things of the great and noble Druchii... but my lord offers you our blades to assist you in the war as we are rising in the North and are soon to spill over the lands of mortals” the magus said, replying to Caranordor’s question.
“Consider their offer carefully” the Seeress advised, assuming they did not understand the language of the Dark Elves, “I would suggest that we kill them all and claim the crystal for ourselves.”
“Very well, I believe it should serve us well in this war. Let us use them... for now”, replied Caranordor in Drukh Eltharin, before switching to the common tongue, “We will consider your offer.”
Noogl slapped his head in exasperation. Had he heard a different question? Did the taint from his possession still linger?
Knowing she had to tread carefully considering she recently nearly killed him during the exorcism, Ithilsyn nodded, his decision made, before throwing a glance to Sildra to suggest that she would speak with her later. No good would come of this.
If you wish to join us or learn more about us check this topic:
Chapter I - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=23964
Chapter II - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=24190
Chapter III - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=24669
Chapter IV - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=24808
Chapter V - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=24875
Chapter VI - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=24880
Chapter VII - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=24898
Chapter VIII - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=24937
Chapter IX - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=24976
Chapter X - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=24979
Chapter XI - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=25000
Chapter XII - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=25033
Chapter XIII - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=25053
Chapter XIV - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=25067
Chapter XV - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=25155
Chapter XVI - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=25174
Chapter XVII - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=25801
Chapter XVIII - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=25921
Chapter XIX - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=26031
Chapter XX - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=26114
Chapter XXI - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=26214
Chapter XXII - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=26233
Chapter XXIII - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=26323
Chapter XXIV - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=26342