Complete history of Ashan - HUGE SPOILERS!!!

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Cabal
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Complete history of Ashan - HUGE SPOILERS!!!

Postby Cabal » Jan 10 2009, 11:51

Hello, I was lurking on this forum from time to time, and now my work is finally done, so - here we go... (Sorry for my terrible english...)

[size=9]PART I
History of Ashan

Before Recorded Time
Before the invention of writing allowed the history ofAshan to be recorded, stories describing the creation were passed through oral tradition. Two ages are believed to have existed before the Modern Age: the Mythic Age and the Ancient Age.

The Mythic Age

The Myth of Creation
Before, there was only the Void. Into this Void appeared the Cosmic Egg. From this egg are hatched the twin dragons of Order and Chaos.

Primordial Dragons
The twin primordial dragons are the most exalted beings in creation. Both were born into the great Void from the same Cosmic Egg, surveying all that came after the moment of first creation. These great beings are fundamentally different, however, representing the deep duality that exists within the universe: order and chaos.

Asha, the Dragon of Order
Asha is the creator goddess, the mother of time and space, and the triple-faced figure of birth, life, and death (and probably has eight heads, as Tieru said). The primordial Dragon of Order, she created the world that we know, and then hatched the elemental dragons to rule over it and its creatures. Asha renders the fate of all mortal beings—she spins forth their destiny upon their birth, measures it throughout their time in the physical world, and then embraces their life force upon death. Asha is neutral; she shows favor to neither good nor evil men. She does not bless any race above another. Dwarves, humans, orcs, and elves all stand before her in equal measure. She does, however, hold her twin brother, the Dragon of Chaos, in eternal disdain and is opposed to the principles that drive both him and the demons, the beings he created to oppose her own.

Asha is not worshipped directly, like the elemental dragons. She does not require patronage. But some beings—such as the Blind Brothers and the Silent Sisters—do serve her through functions like facilitating births and supervising funerals. The necromancers (detailed later) claim Asha as their patron deity, against her wishes. Their belief system has a perverted vision of the power of the great Dragon of Order.
Asha is all facets of the wheel of existence; the triple-faced figure of birth, life and death.
She is the Faceless Maiden, Destiny's herald, stitching here and there, unseen, to make sure that all the living creatures fulfil their purpose.
She is the Mother, who regards all things as her creation and her children. By giving birth, she set chaos into form and gives meaning to potential.
She is the Crone, wizened and old, who snips the web of life, with a sickle held in gnarled fingers, when the time has come.

Urgash, the Dragon of Chaos
Urgash, the primordial Dragon of Chaos, born into the same Void as his sister, Asha, is the purest opposite of order. This great dragon is pandemonium incarnate, with all its inexhaustible energy and in all its infinite forms. Urgash is a force beyond reckoning, insatiably hungry. He is known as the Serpent That Eats Its Own Tail. Urgash holds other titles, too, in the universe infinite: Father of Wanton Destruction, Father of Frantic Mutation, and Father of Rampant Madness. He receives these names as tributes, with glee. But Urgash is also the father of the demons, an order of beings created to oppose the mortal races created by Asha.

Creation of the World and the Birth of Elemental Dragons
Asha, the primordial Dragon of Order, creates the world, giving it both shape and purpose. Asha then gives birth to the elemental dragons, great beings destined to both guide and rule creation, to serve as patrons for the mortal races that would populate the physical world.

Elrath, the Dragon of Light
The Dragon of Light, gilded with brilliant scales, is worshipped as the Sun God and the patron of legitimate authority, truth, honor, and justice. Elrath’s servants were once the angels, who sought to banish darkness, overcome evil, and exalt valor in the name of the Dragon of Light. After the first coming of the demons was followed by almost complete extermination of angels, however, Elrath became the patron of the Holy Griffin Empire.

Malassa, the Dragon of Darkness
The black Dragon of Darkness, the Slithering Shadow with a hundred faces and a thousand whispers, was once the patron deity of the faceless, but they all but disappeared centuries before the Modern Age. Now she is secretly worshipped by madmen and doomsayers,
and has made a pact with the dark elves. Malassa is unpredictable by nature; the line of her thoughts defies reason. She may spare a life one moment, only to snuff it out in the next. She may offer comfort to one weary traveler, while cruelly destroying another. She is perhaps the most dangerous of the elemental dragons, because she lurks wherever light does not illuminate. Malassa skulks, drinking in words, thoughts, and deeds. Secrets that the wicked try to bury, Malassa covets and keeps.

Sylanna, the Dragon of Earth
Sylanna is the patron deity of the elves. The Dragon of Earth, covered in a lush green, is the most deliberate and even-tempered of the elemental dragons. She is slow to act, but when she does, it is with tremendous resolve. Serene by nature, Sylanna serves as the peacemaker
among her troubled siblings. Sylanna is not without wrath, though. Her love of nature — trees, water, rocks, animals — is deep, and woe to those who defile what she holds sacred and
dear. For that, she is worshipped by druids, shepherds, rangers, hunters, and farmers.

Sylath, the Dragon of Air
The silvery-white Sylath, Dragon of Air, is known as the Keeper of Secrets, for this mighty dragon sees and hears all. His only weakness is unnecessary complexity in all he thinks and does, which leaves him frustrated and makes him condescending to his fellow elemental dragons. Sylath is the patron deity of the humans, and is chiefly worshipped by travelers, bards, mummers, courtiers, thieves, and spies. Even some wizards pay honor to the Dragon of Air, for he possesses arcane knowledge gleaned from his great skill at listening. Eventually, the humans come to declare allegiance to another elemental dragon, leaving Sylath without a definitive order. The great dragon is still worshipped by barbarians to the north, however, and by some inhabitants of the free cities to the east.

Arkath, the Dragon of Fire
Arkath is the patron deity of the dwarves, a mortal race that shares the Fire Dragon’s rashness, foul temper, and selfishness. The Dragon of Fire is ruled by his passions and impulses, rather than by logic and cool discourse; these traits make him a terrifying force in battle. Arkath commands worship from those who work — and work hard. They shed sweat and blood as daily offerings to the Dragon of Fire.

Shalassa, the Dragon of Water
The deep blue Dragon of Water is the most humble of the elemental dragons; she is a serene mystic. Malassa, the Dragon of Shadow, surpasses her in knowledge, yet Shalassa is perhaps the wisest of all the great dragons. Her watery world is full of forgotten lore and incredible treasure. Shalassa, worshipped by sailors, fishermen, and pirates, is also the patron deity of the nagas. She values diplomacy and adaptability, but she is not impossible to rile — and when she does decide to act, her will is done.

Creation of the Elder Races
Mortal races — the Elder races — are created as “servants of the dragon gods” and placed upon the world, which is named Ashan after its creator. The mortal races choose a gift and a patron elemental dragon as they make their place in the world.
The radiant angels choose Elrath, the Dragon of Light.

The shadowy faceless choose Malassa, the Dragon of Shadow.

The quiet and meditative elves choose Sylanna, the Dragon of Earth.

The curious, restless humans choose Sylath, the Dragon of Air.

The proud and sturdy dwarves choose Arkath, the Dragon of Fire.

The wise reptilian nagas choose Shalassa, the Dragon of Water.

Creation of Demons
Consumed with jealousy over the elder races, Urgash, the primordial Dragon of Chaos, endeavors to create the demons, seeking to surpass Asha’s achievements. Six demon overlords, twisted mirrors of the elemental dragons, are created to rule over the demons. Part of the cosmology of Ashan is that demons, being creatures of chaos, cannot stay on the surface of the world for extended periods of time.

War of the Primordial Twins: End of the Mythic Age
The Mythic Age ends with an all-out war between the Primordial Twins, fought on all levels of reality.

In Ashan, they fought in the Windrose Valley - the legend goes that the Dragon of Chaos fought the Dragon of Order here at the dawn of the world, so the one who controls the valley will touch upon the power of the primordial dragons themselves.
Tears of Asha are dropped on Ashan by Asha.

Asha, the Dragon of Order, severely weakened by the conflict, sought refuge in the moon that orbits the world to rest and heal (one of the three moons of Ashan). She sleeps and dreams—and from there she will one day return.

Urgash, the Dragon of Chaos is banished but not destroyed. He is jailed in the Ashan’s fiery core, and his monstrous offsprings are cast out of the material world. But while Urgash is captive, his followers are not—and they are pledged to carry out his dark desires in his absence.

The Ancient Age

Elder Wars
The angels launch a crusade on the faceless. The battle is vast and costly, resulting in not only the destruction of most of the ancient civilizations, but also most of the elder races; early elf civilizations and kingdoms are destroyed.

The Primordial Dragons become myths and are slowly forgotten, religion shifts to favor the
Elemental Dragons.

The demons benefit from the shattered world left by the Elder Wars; the chaos allows them to establish footholds in previously uninhabited areas. Lurking in uninhabited places, they slowly gather their strength.

The Modern Age: Years of the
Seventh Dragon


The chronology of the Modern Age is much better documented than previous ages, starting with the Revelation of the Seventh Dragon and continuing to the present day, when the events of Queen Isabel’s War take place. Time is marked by the number of years that have passed since the Year of the Seventh Dragon, or YSD, which was established with the Revelation.

Origins

0 YSD. The Revelation of the Seventh Dragon
Sar-Elam, the first wizard, attains the consciousness of the Dragon of Order. The Dragon of Order teaches Sar-Elam the nature of matter and of spirit, eventually revealing an esoteric path to power. Sar-Elam, enlightened by this new understanding, becomes the Seventh Dragon.

3 YSD. Birth of the Falcon Empire
The human kingdoms are unified by Falcon the Great. Whether blessing or curse, the Seventh Dragon prophesizes that the Falcon line shall exist as long as the world exists.

28 - 40 YSD. Wars of Fire: The First Great Demon Incursion
These are bitter years for the young age, marking the first great demon incursion. The great wizard Sar-Elam, know as the ‘Seventh Dragon’, sacrifices himself to end the Wars and repel the demon incursion. Sar-Elam sacrificed himself voluntarily, donating the powers of his divine soul and body to help lock the demon hordes away in a prison dimension - the Skull of Shadows – a key to this prison - is his own skull. It is a keystone in the structure of the impossibly complex spell that created the demon prison and homeworld of Sheogh. Sar-Elam and his disciples sealed the demons away to prevent their return. There was a flaw, a tiny flaw, a mere blurring of a pattern and a few mispronounced words. Sar-Elam was betrayed by one of his students – corrupted by Demons, Sar Shazzar deliberately sabotaged the ritual. He introduced the tinies of flaws into the prison, a weakness that allowed Demonic influence to seep into the world during the times of an eclipse. When such an eclipse occurs, the demons are able to break out from their prison.

Once the incantations were complete and the demons locked away, the Wars of Fire came to an end. The Skull was taken away by the faithful followers of Asha, to be hidden in her heavily guarded and secret temple, far from prying eyes.

During the Wars of Fire, a majority of the angels are destroyed, leaving only a few survivors, who take refuge in the Falcon Empire. Under the influence of the angels, the Falcon Empire begins to turn away from Sylath, the Dragon of Air, and to align itself closer with the Dragon of Light, Elrath.

Until the Wars of Fire, little is known of the elves (and the dwarves). It wasthe elves, however, who first summoned forth the other races to do battle against the demon armies, and many of the great generals of that war were elves. It is the elves who held the line against the last demon assault as the Seventh Dragon prepared his final spell, not that men remember this now.

Tears of Asha are again dropped on Ashan by Asha.

48 YSD. The Falcon Empire Becomes the 'Holy Falcon Empire'
Emperor Brian Falcon grants absolute power to the Church of the Dragon of Light. The human kingdom is renamed "Holy Falcon Empire" Elrath himself gave Tear of Asha to King Brian Falcon.
Dissidents, displeased by an executive order to abandon the Dragon of Air, leave the Falcon Empire’s territories and found a new society, the Free Cities of the East.

50 - 260 YSD. The Years of Healing: Creation of Irollan
Reconstruction from the Wars of Fire and relatively harmonious relations between the races.
Great swaths of the elven forests were burned away by the demons, scarring the land and poisoning the waters. Once the fighting was over, the elves retreated to their wounded land and spent the Years of Healing restoring it, planting new groves, cleansing the waters, and expelling the slightest bit of demon taint from their lands. Thus was created the Elven kingdom of Irollan.

62 YSD. The Schism of the Seven
Schism between the disciples of Sar-Elam, who can’t agree on the best way to follow the road laid down by the Seventh Dragon and, hopefully someday surpass him.

The disciples of the Seventh Dragon split on how best to follow Sar-Elam’s teachings and philosophy; three new orders are created.

Sar-Antor gathers a congregation of healers, seers, and embalmers, and founds the Blind Brothers, dedicated to the worship of Asha.

Sar-Badon founds the Dragon Knights, a martial order dedicated to the discipline of body and mind.

The most gifted of all of the Seventh Dragon’s disciples, Sar-Shazzar, leads a grand exodus of wizards and like-minded humans of similar mind to the southern deserts. There, they found the Seven Cities, which will later be known as the first kingdom of magic.

Seventh Dragon’s greatest disciple was Sar-Issus, his relics survived to present day.

67 YSD. The Prophecy of the Demon Messiah
Sar-Shazzar reveals the Prophecy of the Demon Messiah, which predicts, among other things, that a half-demon hero, born to the Demon Sovereign and fautless human maiden, will use the Seventh dragon relics to shatter the demon prison and unleash bloody chaos on the world. The ramifications would be catastrophic, and his disciples must take great care to watch for signs of this prophesy being realized.

74 YSD. Mysterious Death of Sar-Shazzar
Sar-Shazzar passes in his sleep. When attendants prepare to move his body to the necropolis for preparation and burial, it crumbles to ashes.

104 YSD. The Dragon Knights become a Secret Order
On his deathbed, Sar-Badon commands the Dragon knights to retreat from the world and dedicate themselves to preserve the teachings of the Seventh Dragon, watching against any demon activity. No longer are the Dragon Knights to be prominent or visible in the world.

330 YSD. 1st Eclipse - War of the Blood Moon – Creation of the Orcs
An era of calm reigns precariously. The nations of Ashan are expanding, discovering each other, magic and the wonders of nature: harnessing the forces of their world.

Meanwhile, in the heart of Sheogh, the demons' home and prison, things are stirring…

Asha, the primal dragon of Order has been sleeping and healing within the silvery cocoon of the moon since chaos was defeated by her champion, Sar-Elam. There was a slight flaw in the wizard's sealing ritual that has allowed the demons an opportunity to escape. Should Asha be obscured by her twin brother Urgash, the primal dragon of chaos, the chains that bind him at Ashan’s molten core would be dangerously loosened.

In YSD 330. the races of Ashan bare witness to the first lunar eclipse, and the first demon invasion.

Totally unprepared for the onslaught of the demon hordes, the defensive lines of Asha’s children are swiftly broken and they are forced to retreat. First the elven lands are overrun. A hurried alliance between the remainder of the elves, the humans and dwarves fares no better. The survivors flee south, hotly pursued, hoping that within the magic of the wizards of the Seven Cities they will find something to stop this relentless invasion.

Their hopes dwindle and prayers seem in vain. In battle after battle the demons are victorious; the only resources left to the defenders are fear and desperation…

It is at this point that a daring experiment is made. Focussing the energy of inert earthen elements on a human body pumped full of demon blood, the wizards discover that they can bring it back to life. Though the beast immediately dies, they learn that they could perhaps combine two fundamentally opposed forces to create a new race, a different race, a race made from a child of Asha and a child of Urgash. Such a creation could turn the balance in the war.

Though their Haven allies are opposed to this atrocity for religious reasons, the wizards remain pragmatists and explain that if they were only allowed to continue, they could make a powerful army. This new race, later to be known as the orcs, would inherit strength and immunity to demon magic from their demonic blood. Their human body would give them fertility and the assurance to walk the surface of the world freely. The desperation of the dark hour, which had chased away all other hopes and alternatives gives the wizards their opportunity. Reason leaves for brighter pastures. The experiment is repeated in mass.

Failures are numerous: burning bodies, madmen, and beastly freaks are born from their arcane laboratories in alarming proportions. But a breakthrough is made by a wizard named Ishizaar. He discovers that by increasing the concentration of elemental components, notably through augmenting and properly aligning the energetic prisms of gems and crystals, the conflicting forces are confined in a manner that remains stable.

The orcs are born, first of them in the city of Shahibdiya.

Their coming to the battlefield is like a tornado through a field of crops. Unable to use their magic against the savage power of the orcs, the demons are helpless. Fuelled by the power of their blood rage and united by indivisible bonds of clan-like brotherhood, the orcs turn what was to be the D¨demons' finest hour into a nightmare of slaughter and rout. Behind the orc shock troops, the nations rally. Time is now on the side of the allies who use it to develop defensive and offensive strategies incorporating their new elite forces. Their improving art of warfare swings the tide back in their favor, and the demons days on Ashan seem counted.

The demon lords, boiling in anger, refuse to go down alone. They swear that if their legions will not survive the war, neither will the orcs. Their solution is one of demonic simplicity – with no orc children, there will be no future for the orcs.

The demon tactics turn to infiltration and assassination. As their creators drive their orc slaves to the front lines to fight, unprotected orcish villages are visited at night by shadowy forms haloed in flames and terror. When the victorious tribes return to their huts, their future generations and hopes are missing.

The diabolical plan came too late however. The demon troops are destroyed even more quickly than predicted, and with a raging vengeance. The plans that had taken them centuries to elaborate are broken. Their prison is sealed anew. The orcs live on and give birth to new offspring.

Among the other races of Ashan, the great war against the demons that started in YSD 330 is known as the War of the Blood Moon – the first eclipse, the first demon invasion, a horrifying memory of near extinction. In the orcish counting of the years, the event has a different name: the War of the Empty Cradles.

There are some things that the orcs will never forget, will never forgive. Though the other races may view demons and orcs as but two sides of the same coin, for the orcs that concept is incomprehensible. The two races, forever, shall be brother enemies.

The demon lords are cast down, and the surviving demons banished back to their hellish prison.

The Dragon Knights appear from hiding and repair the demon prison before melting back into the shadows of their hidden houses.

In the wake of this second demon war, orcs are re-settled in the Falcon Empire as well as the Seven Cities. They are not granted their freedom, but instead serve as indentured troops.

461 YSD. Discovery of Necromancy
Belketh, a disciple of Sar-Shazzar, discovers the shadowy path of necromancy. Necromantic experimentations begin in the Seven Cities.

Belketh turned less and less to the teachings of his master and more and more to his own reflections and investigations. At a critical moment he uncovered an ancient manuscript; it was a part of the writings of Sar-Elam collectively known as the Revelations of the Seventh Dragon. This particular chapter spoke of Necromancy, the power of the immortal soul, and the aspect of Asha that was least-known and least-worshipped. The fateful text of the Revelations that Belketh read referred to this third image of Asha as the most powerful, holding sway over the works of the other two. From the rituals and the insights in this document Belketh gleaned two elements that would influence the development of the Necromancers.
One was the image of Asha as a spider, spinning the web of life, administering death through her mandibles when one's allotted time was up.
The other was the temptation of the alternative to life; death was not an end, merely a transformation. The petty desires and needs of the flesh, the destructive passions of the heart, the unreasoning decisions of the brain that piloted this mass of humours and conflicts -- death was the answer to all of that, the reduction of existence to its purest and most changeless form.

467 - 504 YSD. The Orc Crusades
The servitude of the orcs ends in a bloody rebellion, starting in the Seven Cities, but quickly spreading to the Falcon Empire. The orcs declare themselves free of their masters, as well as the forced subscription to the belief in the dragon gods. In the Falcon Empire, Crusades are declared against the orcs – attempts to subjugate them and convert them back to dragon worship. The fighting is brutal, and the orcs are relentlessly driven back. Eventually, the unrepentant survivors flee wherever they can, including the deserts of the south, the steppes of the north - east and the Barrier Islands of the east.

Battle Cry Freedom

Orcs were created to be warriors. Demon hunters. Orcs were very good at that.... Knights needed us, but knights called us monsters, freaks. When war ended and knights saw orcs were strong, knights needed us again. To work in the mines, as slaves…

Goblin slaves are working in stone mine, footmen, dogs and marksmen are guarding them…

Footman: Hey you lazy scum, strike harder! You won't break this stone by tickling it!

One goblin is so tired that he has fallen down…

Footman: Get up! If you lie down, I'll make sure it's permanent!

Footman waited for short time and then cut down the goblin…

One goblin slipped to the secret place, where orcish rebels are waiting…

Kunyak: (orcish hero) Good. You come. Fear of Knights bad, but hope to be free stronger.

Batu: (goblin witch –doctor): Hear me! Hear Batu. Time is now. All signs say if orcs fight now, we have a chance.

Goblin: Be free? All?


Batu: Not all. Many die, of course. Freedom not easy; freedom has price.

Orcs and goblins: Hmmmmm

Kunyak: First demons kill orcs. Then orcs kill demons. Many demons.

Knights say thanks? Say orcs can go now? No! Knights say orcs are slaves, orcs are like cows or horses. Orcs can be bought and sold.

Orcs and goblins: (angrily) Rrrrrrr

Kunyak: First demons empty cradles, empty cribs. Steal young. Now knights sell young. Kunyak say: No more! Enough!

Orcs and goblins: Kuynak!

Kunyak: Batu tells us time is good. Batu tells us time may never be good again. Kunyak is ready to die in war.

Goblin: Die fighting better than die working!

Kunyak: Goblin is right! Better that orcs die fighting than orcs die working in fields, working in mines.

Goblin: When? Now? You say? What sign? Need sign!

Kunyak: Don't worry, little goblin. When time is right, you will know. When time is right, you will see blood.

Batu: Is that good enough for sign?

Goblin: Veery good sign. Goblin fight!

Orcs and goblins: Kuynak! Freedom!

Near the mines, one marksman informed his brethren about something unusual. Dogs are nervous and they run in tho forest, and soldiers are looking there. When they turned, goblin slaves are not alone, rebels are here, came from the secret way, and they have even mighty cyclops in their ranks… They killed all guards and liberated slaves…

The lands of the Falcon Empire have never been a home. The orcs are rising up, seeking their own lands, refusing to spend their lives toiling for thankless masters. To the south there is the open sea, uninhabited islands... and freedom.

Kunyak and his army moved south to the islands, and build up their first stronghold, Kukali. Knights of the Griffin Empire are strong, and Kunyak decided to move to the wizard lands.

On his way, Kunyak found on a small island prison, guarded by knights.
An orc hero dared to rally his kinfolk and raise his hand against his overseers. He is in prison, awaiting execution... and he is very, very, angry.

Inside, he found another orc hero, Telsek, who helped him after he was set free.

Telsek: Kunyak! Great warrior! This orc swears his life to you.

Kunyak: Come! We have enemies to kill, and many miles to go.

The orcs have a lot of fighting to do, and will need towns as strongholds. Kunyak should take the towns held by the wizards and use them as his own.

Kunyak captured both island woth wizard cities and raized them down, building strongholds instead.

The knights will learn that they were foolish to treat the orcs as chattel. By taking the their city and destroying their armies, Kunyak will throw his enemies into disarray - and teach them a hard lesson.

Kunyak found the city and destroyed its defenders. As the orcs are fighting with the last Griffin Empire soldiers, Kunyak speek to his people in the burning human city…

Kunyak: It's done! Orcs escape to sea, find boats!

Orc crowd: Kunyak! Freedom!

Batu: It's not over yet, Kunyak. Wizards will hunt us, Knights will hunt us.

Kunyak: Wizards don't care. Have other slaves. But knights...

Batu: Yes. Knights will come.

Kunyak: Kunyak is not worried. orcs find island, orcs build homes. Let knights come. Once orcs taste freedom, orcs will die before they go back.

The Cup of Thunder

Outnumbered and hungry, the orcs have been slowly retreating towards the sea. They have found an island chain where they hope to live unmolested, but they still face one last battle – and it is against the entire navy of the Falcon Empire. There seems to be little hope of saving the orcs from destruction. It falls to their leader, Kunyak, to come up with something that will save his people from extinction.

Goblin trapper Zed is running to the stronghold of the orcs, led by Kunyak…

Goblin trapper Zed: Boss Kunyak, goblins scared. Knights swore to find us, swore to kill us. Knights not stop!

Kunyak: Calm, Zed. Knights will be slow. There are many islands. Orcs and goblins have time to dig in, to grow strong.

Goblin trapper Zed: Knights find us, bring chains! Feed sprakas to dogs! Play dice with bones! Back to mines, back to fields!

Kunyak: If children of the dragon-gods come to stop us, children of the dragon-gods die. Or orcs die. But orcs will never be slaves again. You hear? Never!

Kunyak turned to one one of slayers…

Kunyak: Get Batu. I need his wisdom.

Kunyak and his army met Batu on the sea coast…

Batu: Many bad omens are on the sea. Sea full of sails, and steel, and sorrow!

Kunyak: Many signs, many omens lead orcs here. Some are good, some bad. But good or bad, the orcs stop here. Here orcs will build houses, or dig graves.

Batu: Look – spirits of the sea come. (Water elementals shown themselves in the sea) They speak to Batu, say they are friends. Orcs live in peace with land and sea, but the steel men come with blood and fire in their hearts.

Human fleet is incoming in the distance…

Kunyak: Tell spirits we thank them. Orcs don't forget friends. But orcs need more than kind words against the knights.

Batu: Spirits speak again. They say here, in the islands, is an object of great power. It is a cup that calls down the wind of Father Sky, and raises up the waves.

Kunyak: Thank the spirits. Batu's omens will save the orcs again. I, Kunyak, will find this cup, then call up the waves and wind. Orcs will throw the knights back to their Falcon Empire!

A powerful armada of Falcon Empire ships is coming to destroy the rebellious orcs. The only way for the orcs to survive is to sink the fleet before it can make it to their new island home.

It is called the Cup of Thunder; an artefact of Shalassa, dragon-god of the seas. If the orcs can find it and use it, they will be able to destroy the Falcon navy and secure their new home.

Near his stronghold, Kunyak met goblin…

Goblin: Shaman stuck underground! Stinky ghosty creatures! Kunyak go down free shaman??

Apparently there is a shaman that has been trapped underground by some undead.

Kunyak: He he. Even strange little goblins are part of orc people. Kunyak will help.

A frightened goblin tells Kunyak of a shaman who went underground to gather ingredients for her potions and now can’t get back to the surface. If Kunyak gets rid of the monsters in her way, she will surely find a way to thank him.

Kunyak entered underground and fought various undead, finally freeing shaman and her kin…

Shaman: Mother Earth thanks you. I thank you. Here – this magic will help Kunyak find the Cup of Wind and Thunder.

Kunyak: Gooood. Shaman more than just another pretty face.

Shaman: Mother Earth has told me what you seek, warrior. You have helped her daughter, so she will help you. Here are two spells. One will summon creatures to your army. The other will help you feel how much of Mother Earth lies between you and the prize you hunt. Go with Her blessings.

On one island, Kunyak found orc hero Shak Karukat in prison and freed him…

Shak Karukat: Kunyak! Leader of our people! My life is your life.

Kunyak: Come with us. You will find joy in battle – and better food than in prison.

Shak Karukat: I thought I would die before I saw another friendly Orc face! I was exiled here by the Wizards; I was too much of a trouble-maker. Listen; on my way here, we passed an island to the east. I'm sure I saw some sort of chest on it; from the looks of the box there must be something magical and of great value inside.

Kunyak found a house of an old fisherman…

An old fisherman tells Kunyak of a wreck caused by cruel water elementals. He has been unable to salvage his cargo or fix his broken sextant. The elementals continue to attack him, ravaging his nets and boats. If Kunyak can kill the water elementals and bring the pieces of the sextant to the fisherman, he will have the repaired sextant as a gift.
Kunyak found and defeated elementals, and brought pieces of the sextant to old fisherman. He has repaired it and gave it to Kunyak as reward.

Old fisherman: A thousand thanks! It will be a pleasure to share the waters with friendly neighbors like you. Here you are – my old sextant, good as new. Good luck in your travels.

Kunyak seized four more strongholds and defeated two wizard and one knight city. He searched for the Cup of Thunder, and Batu was helping him – Batu can feel when they are closer to Cup or farther from it. Finally, they found its location (on the chalice-shaped island), fought fire elementals who were guarding the Cup of Thunder, and they can use it to create great storm, that sink whole fleet of the Falcon Empire.

Kunyak and his people are watching the remnants of the fleet…

Kunyak: Knights will stay away now. These islands are orc islands. Here orcs live, raise young, die. Now orcs choose orc fights, orcs choose orc enemy. Orcs choose orc fate.

A great storm (caused by Cup of Thunder used by the orcs) sinks the Haven fleet that was prepared to follow the orcs to their island refuge. The Falcon Emperor declares this a sign from the Dragons, and formally ends the Orcish Crusades.

512 YSD. Creation of Beast-men
With the orcs scattered, wizards in the Seven Cities experiment anew, creating a league of beast-men, such as minotaurs, centaurs, and harpies. These beast-men serve as guards, servants, and amusements.

528 YSD. Tuidhana's Secession
His head turned by a band of flatterers, the third elf king Arniel decided that elvish power was too decentralized, and the method of choosing a High King too random. Instead, central power was needed to go with a hereditary monarchy. While many objected to this, only Tuidhana, queen of a tiny realm which sat on the border with the Falcon Empire, chose to act and declared her independence.

540 YSD. War of the Bitter Ashes – Birth of the Dark Elves
The knights of the Holy Falcon Empire, for their part, saw an opportunity. They marched in force on Tuidhana’s borders. She appealed to Arniel for assistance, but her messengers were turned away from the High King’s court unheard. “She stands alone, let her fight alone,” was Arniel’s decree, and it was not until humans had nearly overrun all of Tuidhana’s realm before he finally acted.

With Tuidhana sufficiently humbled (or so he thought), Arniel marched his forces to the border and engaged the human armies in the so-called War of Ashes. The elves of Irollan and the human knights of the Holy Falcon Empire are at war, with Tuidhana's kingdom as the main battlefield. Neither side paid much heed to the elves whose lands they fought over. Desperate to protect her people, Tuidhana turned to other allies. As her lands were burned and her subjects killed, she made a pact of necessity with one of the few surviving faceless, rumoured to have long since been driven extinct. If she would turn herself and her people to the worship of Malassa, the Dragon of Darkness, then the faceless would grant her the power she wanted. Tuidhana made the bargain, those who follow her are changed by the blessing of Malassa, Dragon of Darkness. From this day on, they will be known as the dark elves. Both elves and humans were expelled from the contested terrain, and Tuidhana reaffirmed her independence. An uneasy peace settled between elves and the dark elves.

Tear of Asha, gift from Elrath to ancient king Brian Falcon, was hidden near the human city of Dunmoor. From that day, noble leaders of the Unicorn duchy guarded knowledge of its location, passing it on their descendants.

548 YSD. The Peace of New Spring
Facing the risk of utter defeat, the Falcon Empire forfeits any claims to the dark elf territory and recognizes the independence of Tuidhana’s people, and makes extensive reparations. The dark elf kingdom's independence is recognized – at sword point – by elves and humans, but intermittent hostilities persist across the borders.

564 YSD. 2nd Eclipse - Rise of the Demon Sovereign
A total lunar eclipse darkens the heavens, but the Blind Brothers were able to predict this event in time for the Alliance and the Dragon Knights to prepare for another demon incursion. Only a few demons are able to escape the demon prison and survive. The names of the demon lords, Urgash’s first children, are heard no more. In their place, the name of Mal-Beleth, the new demon sovereign, appears.

566 YSD. Day of the Tears of Fire – Death of Tuidhana
A massive fire burns down the elven capital. The High King Arniel dies in the flames with most of his court. Brythigga, the Mother of Trees, sacred to the elves, is also consumed by the fire, leaving a blackened scar on the earth where nothing would ever grow again. The loss is devastating. The dark elves are blamed and offered exile or death by Arniel's son, Vaniel. Most choose exile; the rest are hunted down and destroyed without mercy. Those who do not are mercilessly hunted by the elves. Tuidhana, firm in her belief that the dark elves were not responsible, remains in her kingdom and is killed.

The Days of Fire
On this day an unimaginable horror has been inflicted upon the sylvan elves. Rising up in a fratricidal war, their dark elf kin have assassinated the High King, Arniel. Worse yet, they have burned Brythigga, the Mother of Trees and a gift of the dragon-god Sylanna. Mindless savagery has overtaken all the elven people as they fight in rage and vengeance. Tieru, a promising young ranger, is among those eager to punish the renegades.

Tieru and other elves are gathered before their damaged city…

Tieru: The bloodiest day of our history, Ergal. So many die, so many families are broken when elves are on both sides of the battle...

Ergal: (war dancer): Perhaps you've not yet heard, Tieru. King Arniel, father of us all, has been murdered as well.

Tieru: The sacred tree burned, the High King assassinated? I will hunt them. They will pay for their deeds. I swear this, by Sylanna's blood!

Ergal: Tieru! That is a grim oath. But listen, We have run and hunted far. The traitors who follow Tuidhana took refuge with their kin, the lake elves.

Tieru: You are sure?

Ergal: Yes. The ties of family seem stronger than the oaths of fealty. Let's hunt them like the beasts they are, Tieru. And pray that Sylanna grants Irollan a chance to heal.

Tieru's campaign of justice – or vengeance, depending on how you look at it – cannot go on unless he has a base. He must retake one of the elven cities from the dark elves as a first step.

Tieru have liberated first elven town.

In front of the city, on the battlefield full of dark elf bodies..

Ergal: Well fought, Tieru.

Tieru: Too well. With each sylvan brother that falls, a part our memory dies as well. How could Tuidhana's brethren and the mariner elves have fallen into such hatred?

Ergal: Until Tuidhana's kin are punished, and the reasons for their treachery known, we have no choice but to continue.

Tieru: I know! And I shall drive them from Irollan forever, as I promised. But that still does not answer my question.

The once peaceful elves who were masters of the lake and the waters have sided with their relatives the dark elves, and are committing acts of piracy to defend and avenge their kin. Tieru must put an end to the acts of these elven pirates.

The traitors who have destroyed Brythigga and dragged Irollan to its knees deserve no life -- on Ashan or under it. Their towns are to be burnt down, their citadels destroyed, and they themselves are to be killed.

The treasured weapon of the fallen King, the Unicorn Horn Bow, went missing after his death. Tieru must find this relic, as it is sacred to the elven nation as well as useful in his battles.

Another ancient relic that disappeared when Brythigga was burned was the Treeborn Quiver. If Tieru can obtain this and the fabled Unicorn Horn Bow, he will have the power of the fallen king – the power of the Archer's Dream.

On the shore of the lake, Tieru has found old pirate in his home.

This old pirate refused to go to war, but still misses the feel of wind and water. If you bring him 100 Wood, he will build a new boat and spend the rest of his years sailing peacefully on the face of the waters. In return, the old sea dog will give Tieru his sextant.

Tieru gave him enough wood, and get Sextant of the Sea Elves.

Tieru quickly freed another sylvan town, and after some time, he travelled across the lake and defeated rebellious lake elves, captured their city and inside, he found Treeborn Quiver.

Tieru meets a famed jeweler who ran from the turmoil in the capital to distant island. Trying to start anew, he is having trouble as he lacks the raw materials of his trade. If Tieru brings him some gems, the jeweler will reward him generously.

Tieru gave him plenty of gems, and jeweler gave him plenty of gold in change.

Tieru found old hermit. This hermit took lifelong vows of poverty, obedience... and chastity. Unfortunately, the stress of his devotions is beginning to wear on him. He asks Tieru to bring him the bewitching female spirit that he has seen in his dreams; in return he will give Tieru a magical item. And as for the vows? Well, two out of three ain't bad.

Tieru gave him one succubus (found undergroung near the key tent), and was rewarded with magical Tarot Deck.

On his way, Tieru freed elven heroine Dirael from the prison tower. Tieru entered underground, where he found the key tent. He used the key on the tower back on the surface, went through the series of portals (guarded by four types of elementals) behind the tower and finally found the Unicorn Horn Bow.

Tieru had both elven artifacts, and together, they created Archers Dream. With it, Tieru entered underground again and clear it from the dark elves (and their three cities).

Tieru and Ergal, standing on the battlefield in front of dark elven city…

Tieru: They have gone. We drove them back to their ships and they left, never to set foot in Irollan again.

Ergal: Excellent. And Tuidhana's Dark ones?

Tieru: Destroyed, all that we could find. Many of our kin have fallen in battle as well.

Ergal: And they shall not be the last! Ha ha haaaa! Ergal changed himself to his true form, he is arch devil…

Arch devil Ergal: Ahhhhh! The complexity, the beauty of it. Decades of preparation and then... to see all the elves reacting just like puppets pulled by my strings. I'm almost sad to see the curtain drop on the final act.

Tieru: Ah. this explains much. Tieru striked Egal with lightning…

Ergal: What, you think it's finished? No, Tieru. A note here, a word there, and all of Irollan is aware. 'Tieru has been out of sorts...' 'Tieru is starting to see demons everywhere...' 'Tieru is mad! He's accused me of killing the king!'

Tieru: Brilliant.

Ergal: Rather. My body will never be found, and you will be hunted like Tuidhana's kin. Come, Tieru, do something appropriate: beg me for mercy; scream with the rage that consumes you!

Tieru: I swore an oath, demon. Now that I know who is really behind the burning of Brythigga and the death of Arniel, I shall hunt you all until the death of the Dragon Gods!

Ergal: Petty little elf. My wings flutter in fear of your wrath... Ha ha haaaaa!!! Ergal dissappeared in flames…

Tieru: (In the year 969, talking with Raelag/Agrael, most likely he told him his story by the time when they met on the Dragonmist archipelage, where Tiru cleansed him from the demonic taint) The demon was both thorough and efficient. I was driven out, but more than exoneration I desired vengeance! I sought out a secretive brotherhood dedicated to destroying the demons. Eventually, after many ordeals, I became a Dragon Knight myself. But that, that is another story, Raelag, and time grows short...

568 YSD. Defiance

In 568, two years after the Day of the Tears of Fire and the subsequent death of their leader Tuidhana, dark elf exiles were still searching for a new homeland. Scattered and embattled, they were hunted mercilessly by their Sylvan brethren who sought revenge for the destruction of their Sacred Tree and the murder of the High King.

Eruina, daughter of Tuidhana, leader and hero of the dark elves, hoped to find solace on Farwind Island and make peace with her neighbors. She signed a treaty with Rutger, leader of a town of humans, but the humans betrayed her and sent word to the Elves -- their old allies -- that she was in hiding there with her kin. Spies informed her that a fleet captained by the elven hero Talanar would leave to hunt down the dark elves. Worse yet, Eruina's life is complicated by Sinitar, an ambitious and jealous dark elf neighbor. Rumors hint that he has been driven to madness by his dealings with the shadow dragons.

Eruina must first take control of the caverns of the dark elves, then revenge herself on Rutger for his betrayal. Finally, when Talanar and his fleet arrive, she must be prepared to defend her home at all costs…

Eruina: You are sure of this? Rutger and the humans have betrayed us?

Assassin Tholos: I have been told that a fleet will sail furthermore that Sinitar will ally himself with anyone - human or elf - who will help to bring you down.

Eruina: I suspected as much. This - none of this! - shall go unpunished. I will have Sinitar's head for betraying Tuidhana, and Rutger's for betraying me!

Tholos: But if we attack - what of Inshanost, and our defenses? If the city falls, the clan will lose hope at best, maybe even perish.

Eruina: Vengeance will not override my duties to the clan, Tholos. No enemy will set foot here as long as I can raise a whip to fight them.

Eruina succesfully defended capital city of Halad and then quickly defeated rival dark elven clan, led by Sinitar.

Eruina: Dealing with Sylvan bugs and treacherous humans - Sinitar, your lusts and hates have brought ruin and death to your clan. You disgust me.

Sinitar: No! They will come they will help me! I serve them! They will save me!

Eruina: Perhaps but then again, perhaps not.

After that she conquered human town of Timberwood, defended by Rutger, and with it the whole Farwind island, which lies above her dungeon city of Halad. Finally the army of Irollan with hero Talanar arrived.

Tholos: They are here. Talanar has arrived. The elven hunters have left their boats and sniff our trails.

Eruina: Ah! Well done, Tholos. Stalk them, and do your best to make their nights unpleasant. I will see to our armies.

They landed on the shores of Farwind island, and were quickly defeated by Eruina and her armies.

Tholos: It is done, Matriarch. No trace of them remains we have scuttled their boats to be certain.

Eruina: Perfect. We are fortunate to come out of this in one piece! It is good, Tholos, to have a place that one can truly call "home."

Hate Breeds Hate (Not dated – but, the dark elves are still hunted by sylvan elves – so it must be some time before 585 YSD., the year when they were found innocent – just by time when they started building second dark elf kingdom near the land of dwarves.)

Running from the vengeance of their sylvan kin, the dark elves sought safety underground. They turned from Sylanna and with the aid of the Faceless began to worship Malassa, the dragon of Shadow. They are not the first to live beneath the surface of Ashan, however; the dwarves were there first and view the entirety of that realm as their own. Facing the depredations of the dwarves and struggling to survive, the dark elves will do anything, and ally themselves with anyone.

High priest Hangvul: (He is telling this tale to someone in the future, by the time of the Hammers of Fate) You ask me why I say these things? It is age, and wisdom. But mostly what I have seen. I have lived things that twisted the way I view the world. They are not pretty, but if you insist, I will show you...

Rangathal (assassin): The runts have dug their stinking mines as far as our caverns. Two of Malassa's altars have been desecrated.

Agbeth (dark elven hero): Then it stops now. The Mother of Shadows will view poorly her new-found worshippers if we permit these dwarven ravagers to destroy her sanctuary.

Rangathal: The dwarves also stole our book on the making of Shadowsteel, and one of the tomes of shadow wisdom – the great gift of the faceless.

Agbeth: The filth! Destroy them all, and regain these precious objects stained by their thieving hands. Who is their leader?

Rangathal: One of those red priests. His name's Hangvul.

Agbeth: Hangvul? I will bring him in alive. Or, at least, not yet entirely dead.

There are a few strong dwarven cities underground; a key line of their defense. If Agbeth can destroy them, he will be able to permanently change the balance of power.

There are two great dwarven warriors that Agbeth must face – Erling and Hangvul. Inspiring and courageous, they must be killed or captured if the dark elves hope to win.

There is an ancient and venerable Seer not far from Agbeth's city. With all the turmoil and danger it would be good to seek the advice of a wiser mind.

Agbeth visited the Seer, and he gave him two more taks…

War is impossible if the coffers are empty. If Agbeth can seize the dwarven mines, they will have a difficult time opposing him. They are a greedy folk, however, and are not likely to let go of the mines easily.

The dwarves receive regular reinforcements from their strongly defended military post. Agbeth must seize it and deprive the enemy of fresh troops.

On his way to dwarves, Agbeth found portal which leads to the demon temple. There, he met Alastor, demonic „hero“.

Alastor: Proud elf, I see that you are hard-pressed. Your leaders ask much of you, and your allies are few. Perhaps you would like another?

Agbeth: Mmmm... But for you to aid me, I must give you something you wish as well. Demons are not notorious for their acts of charity; rather for their acts of barbarity.

Alastor: We are misunderstood. It is simple. Bring me the Tome of Destruction those little holediggers stole, and I'll convert your useless dwarf prisoners into obedient demon troops.

Agbeth: Interesting. And perhaps quite profitable. I shall consider it.

Alastor: But not for too long. We are not notorious for our patience, either.

The Tome of Destructive Magic grants great power to the demons. Recently, a dwarf stole it from the demon leader, Alastor. Now Agbeth has a chance to reclaim the relic for him. Should he do so, Alastor will turn captured dwarves into loyal inferno troops for Agbeth's army.

Agbeth travelled through the underground and found another portal – and in the cave, guarded by the undead, the Tome of Destructive Magic. He gave it back to Alastor, and the demon lord let him use the temple and sacrifice dwarves for demonic allies.

Agbeth: Well, demon, my side of the bargain has been upheld. And yours?

Alastor: We would find few allies if we were so treacherous. Look upon your prisoners, and be glad that you chose wisely.

Agbeth striked dwarven territory, seized their mines and military posts and attacke their fortressses. First, he defeated Erling, and after that, he besieged the fortress of Hangvul and defeated him.

Agbeth brought Hangvul in front of his dungeon city…

Agbeth: So, runtling. You desecrate our shrine and kill our people. You thought we would sit and watch?

Hangvul: Torture me as you please, cave scum. Arkath shall give me strength! I'm not afraid to die.

Agbeth: Die? We have no need of dead bodies – you have furnished plenty. You are a long-lived race, and every day for the remaining decades of your life you will work to mend the damage done. You shall toil for Malassa... long and with great fervor.

Hangvul: Never! Agbeth striked him down with the spell…

Agbeth: Always!

Agbeth: But first we exact payment. For each object you stole from us I steal one from you – an eye, and a hand. Take him away.

High priest Hangvul: (By the time of the Hammers of Fate) It was less than a decade, though years in prison are hard to measure. When I escaped, I crafted myself a new eye and a new hand from good dwarven steel, forged in the heat of my devotions to Arkath. My life is long indeed, but still not long enough to finish what I have started with the cave crawlers.

585 YSD. Discovery of Demon Implication in the Day of the Tears of Fire
The Dragon Knights (with help of Tieru, who became one of them and told them about Ergal) uncover evidence that the fire that consumed the elven capital and destroyed Brythigga was actually the work of a demon spy. Emissaries are sent to the exiled dark elves, extending an offer of amnesty and inviting them to return to their kingdom. All refuse.

586 YSD. Establishment of the Second Dark Elf Kingdom on the Borders of Dwarf Territory
The creation of the new kingdom causes great tension with the dwarves.

610 - 660 YSD. Rise of the Necromancers
The League of necromancers grows until it is recognized as a powerful political force in the Seven Cities.

684–702 YSD. War Under the Mountains
The dwarves engage the dark elves in open conflict, under the leadership of the king Hathor Deepstrider Orlandsson. The dark elves quickly find themselves at a disadvantage and are forced to turn to the exiled demonists from the Seven Cities for assistance. Tuidhana’s sons, the new leaders of the dark elves, pledge to worship the demonists in exchange. Dwarves, crushed the dark elves and drove them out. The dark elf dwelling places were collapsed, and the dwarves considered their borders secure.

717 YSD. 3rd Eclipse – Dragon Hunt
During a brief lunar eclipse, a band of demons escapes into the world. They seek out the hidden strongholds of the Dragon Knights and begin a bloody secret war. The fully outcome of this conflict is unknown to date, but Dragon Knights emerged victorious.

717 YSD. Dragon Knight
Founded in the far-off year 62 of the Seventh Dragon's Creation, the secret Order of Dragon Knights has been dedicated to protecting the world of Ashan from the demon scourge. But the Third Eclipse War called their very existence into question: many of the Dragon Knights were killed, their secret havens destroyed. The Order needs new novices, but few have what is required to devote their life to the secret struggle - not by a long shot. Only the wisest and the most patient will be able to pass the Riddles Test that the head of the Order arranges for his future associates.

Young hero Vittorio solved all three riddles (all focused in army management) and escaped isle where Valley of Ridlles is located, becoming a true Dragon Knight.

Iron Throne (not dated)
The Stone Halls are reeling with the news of the unexpected death of warlord Haegeir, the leader of the Grimsteel clan. Unfortunately, a successor had not been chosen, so there will be a fight for the right to lead this clan of dwarven warriors. It’s time for the clan’s Succession Tournament, and Urgash take the hindmost!

The underworld is agitated by the unexpected death of the king of dwarves, as he did not have time to name his successor. Of course! Now everyone has a chance to occupy the Iron Throne and become the ruler of one of Ashan’s richest nations! It’s now the time for the clans’ war, where an axe is the only suffrage in the struggle for power.

Somewhere in Grimheim Tolgar is talking about death of warlord Haegeir, king of the Gtimsteel clan.…

Hrolf (Bear rider): Did you hear Warlord Haegeir died!

Tolghar: Yes, too quickly to call a conclave and choose another to lead the clan. News worse than a cold forge.

Hrolf: Not so. It's always good to get some fresh blood in. The priests have declared a Tournament.

Tolghar: As in the ancient days? All-out fighting with healers standing by to handle the losers? Seems rough… wasteful…

Hrolf: It's our way, Tolghar.

Tolghar: Indeed… indeed… quite correct, Hrolf.

Hrolf: You must enter, you know. You are the strongest of us all, and from a respected family.

Tolghar: Me! Why should I want to rule the clan??

Hrolf: You're our best hope. The Grimsteel need you!

The fight for power is not without risk, and only the survivor is worthy to rule. Each of the claimants understands this, so this war gives no place to alliances or charity.

Only a rightful ruler in the capital city of the Grimsteel clan can rule. The rules are simple: seize the capital town and, if you fail, retake it from your rival!

Tolgar fought his rivals and captured all of their cities. On the way, he seized capital city of Gromsteel clan, Icegerd, and became king of the clan Grimsteel.

Hrolf: So you see? A bit of work, but not too hard.

Tolghar: Easy for you to say! I made some enemies…

Hrolf: Bah. Weak ones. And the clan once again has a strong ruler.

Tolghar: Yes, yes. I guess that's right.

Hrolf: Of course it is.

Tolghar: But I don't know much about running things. I'm a fighter, not a ruler.

Hrolf: Don't worry about that. Just stay honest, and no one will fight you. People like you; they'll listen. One day, who knows? You may even rise higher…

The Modern Ages

In search of power (not dated)

Mal–Beleth is murdered by Kha-Beleth…

The Demon Sovereign is dead! So who will rule Sheog? Who will dare become Urgash’s deputy in this world? Veyer knows this lucky one’s name. He is the only possessor of the secret knowledge, and isn’t going to miss his chance. The only thing he has to do is learn the right things and obtain three artifacts seized by stupid men and elves who have been so bold as to erect their settlements in the demon’s native lands. They won’t have to wait for long: the new Sovereign is coming!

Somewhere in Sheog…

Veyer: I spoke with Marbas. He says it is real.

Imp sidekick: You're sure? Notes for a ritual, written by one of the Eight Lords -- the founders of demonkind?

Veyer: Yes! It tells of the objects I must find and the knowledge I must gain to learn the secrets of Gating. Me! Ha ha haa! Me!

Imp sidekick: Er, yes, you. Lovely. You know, the Demon Sovereign would smile on you if you were to master this discipline…

Veyer: Exactly! Once I take the artefacts and learn the rite, I will control those powers. He will raise me up! I shall become great! All the succubusses for me! Er, succubes… suh…..

Imp sidekick: Succubi. Well, we shouldn't keep them waiting.

Three great artifacts that Veyer needs are held in three enemy towns. The artifacts to be taken are the Pendant of Mastery, the Ring of the Broken Will and the Shackles of the Last Man. For an ambitious demonlord, this task is not just easy, but also fun.

Veyer quickly seized another demon city and build an army. After that, he founds and defeats mage city (and obtained Ring of the Broken Will); elven city (the Shackles of the Last Man) and empire city (Pendant of Mastery). After that, he can enter the demon teleport on the mount Flame, and he reached Kha-Beleth himself.

Veyer: Yes. Yeees! I have done it! Me!

Imp sidekick: Yes, yes. You. You you you.

Kha-Beleth: Well done, Veyer. It's so nice you've made it. The succubi are waiting for you.

Veyer: Hah ha haaa! Yes. Here I come!

Kha-Beleth: What a simple mind. He's a prime example of why I have such a hard time trying to conquer the world.

Imp sidekick: Yes! At least he's a hard worker. Got any more "ancient manuscripts written by the Eight Lords"?

Kha-Beleth: Of course. I could use a demonlord who's good at whipping the troops along. Go bury this somewhere and drop some hints around Erasial, would you?

Some proof of the death of Mal-beleth: Ur-Vesphaal is the former demon capital, first the residence and later the mausoleum of the current sovereign’s predecessor. When the sovereign killed him and moved the seat of power away, Ur-Vesphaal was slowly taken over by what was left of the competing army -- succubae. Now it’s their town.

751 - 770 YSD. Purge of the Necromancers - Civil war in the Seven Cities
Jealous of the power acquired by the necromancers, the wizards of the Seven Cities initiate a large-scale persecution. The wizards seize property, banish high-ranking necromancers, and even orchestrate public executions. A long and gruesome civil war ensues, many citizens of the Seven Cities perish, many of the ancient cities are destroyed and much of the land is rendered uninhabitable.

756 YSD. Death of Vaniel
Vaniel is succeeded by king Alaron, whose eye is turned outward from the forest. Slowly, he re-establishes stronger contacts with the other races.
Alaron provided aid to the wizards of the Silver Cities in their wars against the necromancers, and encouraged traders to come to the elven borders.

771 YSD. Foundation of the Silver League
The survivors of the civil war that consumed the Seven Cities establish the Silver League—the second kingdom of magic—in the lands to the south.. Necromancers flee east to the haunted valley of Heresh.

771 YSD. An Island of One’s Own
The year is 771, after a brutal civil war between the wizards and the necromancers that has split the nation of magic-users in two. The necromancers, driven from their homes by armies summoned by their wizard brethren, are seeking a land to call their own. They are settling in the largely unoccupied territories known as Heresh, a large and fertile peninsula of land surrounded by a numerous archipelagi. Raven, a Necromancer seeking to resume her studies in peace, has discovered an island that will suit her well and renamed it "Obiira.“ Unfortunately, restarting her life will not be that simple. Neighboring islands belong to hostile enemies, and an armada of vengeful Wizards still hunts her. It will be some time before the sound of rustling papers and incantations replaces the crash of steel and the cries of the dying...

Raven: Well, Cero, what news do you bring of the lands around our new home?

Vampire Cero: There are three enemy cities on nearby islands, my Lady. And all of them are rich in resources.

Raven: Excellent, Cero. Is that all?

Cero: The wizards, my Lady... there is rumour that they know of your presence.

Raven: Let us go then, Cero. I have cities to conquer and defenses to build before the armies of the Seven Cities arrive.

Raven the fought hard with Irollan, wizards and demons to conquer the contested land. Finally she besieged and one by one conquered all three enemy cities.

Raven: Well, Cero, we have done well. And now we must rush to build our defences before the Wizards come for their vengeance.

Cero: We are fortunate to command troops that need no rest, my Lady.

Raven: Most true, Cero.

But shortly after that, strong fleet led by wizard and djinn Galib, arrived and landed near all four cities.

Raven: Why do you invade us, Galib? We are no threat to the might of the Seven Cities.

Galib: I am here to either accept your surrender, or administer justice. The Circle has judged you as guilty, mage Raven.

Cero: Guilt is much like beauty, Djinn - it is in the eye of the beholder.

Raven: And I can guess what "justice" awaits me in the Seven Cities.
Last edited by Cabal on Jan 14 2009, 19:31, edited 5 times in total.

Cabal
Leprechaun
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Joined: 09 Jan 2009
Location: Karlovy Vary - Czech republic

Postby Cabal » Jan 10 2009, 11:55

PART II


Raven: And I can guess what "justice" awaits me in the Seven Cities. The Circle has a weakness for the purifying effects of fire.

Galib: Then it is war unto the bitter end, Mage.

Raven: I stand proudly as a necromancer, not a mage. And it may well be that the bitter taste will lie in your mouths, not ours...

Raven did her best to destroy all four parts of invading army, and finally found home for her people.

Cero: Victory, my Lady, is as delicious as the battlefield spoils themselves.

Raven: I share your emotions if not your tastes, Cero, though the wizards have indeed furnished much raw material for our experiments.

Cero: I look forward to receiving more justice in the future, delivered by troops as well-fed as these.

813 - 822 YSD. War of the Broken Staff
The necromancers, still bitter over the civil war, attempt to crush the Silver League. The wizards, however, are able to resist the necromancers and take the battle back to Heresh. The necromancers are defeated in a devastating battle and their growing kingdom is scattered to the wind.

820 YSD. Maahir’s Gambit

In the year 820 of the Seventh Dragon's Creation, a wizard named Maahir from the League of the Silver Cities undertook a perilous journey to Heresh. At that time Heresh, though under the control of the necromancers, was a fertile and pleasant land. Maahir, however, had two grim objectives in mind: eliminate necromancer Zoltan, right hand of Belketh with whom the League towns had been at war for 7 years, and retrieve four powerful artefacts that had disappeared from the Silver Cities. Those are artifact of Sar-Issus, greatest disciple of legendary Sar-Elam. Few believed that Maahir's gamble would succeed, and nobody at all would have guessed that two years later he would have defeated Belketh and become First of the Circle the supreme Archmage of the League of the Silver Cities.

Archmage Alyad: Are you sure you want to go, Maahir? It won't be easy to destroy Zoltan - it is far, and you will be alone.

Maahir: Removing Belketh's right hand would simplify our problems with the necromancers. And the journey will be easy compared to some roads that I have travelled.

Alyad: Then let it be so. Keep an eye out for anything of value stolen by the corrupted Mages. Sar-Issus himself lived in those lands.

Maahir: Of course! My skin crawls at the thought of those relics in the hands of the necromancers.

Alyad: Good luck, then. May the wisdom of The Circle guide you!

Maahir started his long and difficult search. He travelled through land of Heresh and in time found all four artifacts of Sar-Issus:

Robe
Maahir: The robe... His robe! Sar-Issus, in your name I continue your battles!

Crown
Maahir: Dare I wear it? Dare I place it on my brow? Forgive me my presumptuousness, Sar-Issus, but our enemies surround me!

Ring
Maahir: The ring that once graced the hand, that once wielded such power... may that power be mine!

Staff
Maahir: Think... I place my fingers where he once placed his... I raise it, as he once did... it is a glorious thing.

Each artifact was fiercely guarded by one type of elementals. After that, Maahir was strong enough to conquer few demonic and necromantic cities and finally crush Zoltan in his necropolis.

Alyad: Maahir, Ashan rings with news of your exploits! Yafiah has retired, and we ask you to take his place in The Circle.

Maahir: I would be honored, of course. Let the necromancers tremble at the coming of the wizards of the Silver Cities!

823 YSD. Refugee

It is 823, and the War of the Broken Staff that saw the destruction of the necromancer Kingdom of Heresh has ended. The Kingdom of the Dead is destroyed, the great Belketh is dead, and his pupils are despised and exiled. Many of them are in hiding, others are trying vainly to resist. Others still, like necromancer Naadir, are looking for answers in the long-lost wisdom of Sar-Elam and Sar-Shazzar. Naadir undertakes a long and perilous quest, based on information he obtained from an ancient parchment, to find an unsullied copy of the original teachings of the Seventh Dragon. (Revelations of the Seventh Dragon, most likely)

An ancient manuscript found and deciphered by Naadir revealed a mysterious portal to an ancient tomb. The manuscript promised -- vaguely -- that remnants of the teachings of Sar-Elam annotated by Belketh lay there, it represented the only existent copy of such a document.

Archlich Kudur: You are sure of the manuscript?

Naadir: Certainly. Enough lives were spent in translation that there is no question. There is a portal near here, guarded by dragons, leading to a place untouched for over three hundred years.

Kudur: Dragons, eh? That's our first step?

Naadir: That, Kudur, is the only step!

The portal is guarded by spectral dragons, but these slithering serpents may be induced to step aside with the proper motivation.

Naadir first seeked and found the Oracle.

Oracle: Bring me a shrub... no, sorry, that was those other guys. Bring me fifty thousand pieces of gold! Then, and only then, shall I help you!

Kudur: Fifty thousand! What does he need so much money for! Doesn't he know the best things in death are free?

Naadir: Many of the worst things as well, Kudur. Regardless, we must get it. It will mean a few months of modest living, but it won't be the first time...

Oracle claims that the spectral dragons will be pleased with the offering of Dragon Teeth Necklace.

Naadir: A Dragon Teeth Necklace that allows one to understand Dragon nature?

Kudur: Sounds like trying to understand human nature through an old jawbone.

Oracle: Yes! Yes! Find it you must!

Naadir looked through the Eye of the Magi (in Mages Hut)

Naadir: Look! The Necklace!

Kudur: Rather far away, isn't it?

Naadir: Patience, Kudur. Always patience. Sit long enough by the banks of the river... Remember?

Kudur: What's that thing? A dragon artifact?

Naadir: It is, and we'll be dealing with dragons. Remember that place!

Naadir must bring to Keymaster (who holds the key to gate on the way to Neklace) one hundred swordsmen.

Kudur: This place is full of madmen. One wants gold, the other a hundred swordsmen. I wonder what he plans to do with them?

Naadir: If he was a necromancer it would be clear, but like this, who knows? Let us go recruit, Kudur.

After that…

Kudur: Didn't I say he was a madman! To take a hundred fighters, demote them to peasants and send them to work the fields!

Naadir: Perhaps he finds that his peasants lacked discipline. Onward, Kudur. The portal is our goal, not understanding the dreams of unbalanced wise men.

Naadir teleported through the portal to the island where Dragon Teeth Necklace lies, but some dark elven thief have stolen it and hidden himself in the underworld.

Kudur: Hah! Another zealous young hero out to make it rich. He'll probably die on the sword of someone just like him.

Naadir: Enough fortunetelling, Kudur. We can't let him go - the necklace is the key to everything.

To go after him, Nadir learned Instant travel spell, or else he will not be able to to pass the impassable passage to catch the thief and escape the underworld.

Kudur: That makes it interesting. A thief and a magic-user. How do we follow him?

Naadir: Flying! That's a spell I don't know. We must learn it if we're going to track him down.

Naadir found the spell.

Naadir: That thief will join us soon. Shall we take to the air and give our feet a bit of rest, Kudur?

Kudur: With pleasure! Even my bones are beginning to tire.

Finally, he catched the thief and obtained Dragon Teeth Necklace.

Kudur: Well, the thief's end came just as I predicted - at the hands of another hero!

Naadir: Enough gloating. We are close now, very close. Back to the Oracle!

Naadir went to Oracle.

Oracle: My prrrecious gems. We wants them, we wants them!

Kudur: That's it. He's mad. May I kill and resurrect him now? I've had enough of running his errands let me force him to do mine.

Naadir: Patience... but a hundred gems! I wish he had told us earlier. The longer this takes, the greater the risk that an army of wizards will track us down.

Naadir was forced to give Oracle 100 gems, so he can make experiment with the Necklace.

Oracle: Let us make sure that history never forgets the name... Belketh.. The necklace should be given to the dragons it is of their kind. Make it so!

Kudur: That's it. This is ridiculous. I no longer trust him.

Naadir: Did you trust him before?

Kudur: Well, no.

Naadir: Then this changes nothing. The portal, remember. Let us continue.

Naadir arrived to black dragons.

Naadir: Well, that Oracle was half-right.

Kudur: Perhaps that also means that he is half-witted. What do the dragons say?

Naadir: In return for the necklace, we have earned the 'right' to fight our way through to the portal.

Kudur: Belketh's pulse! As if we haven't run enough gauntlets since the fall of Heresh! Hopefully, this one will be the last.

Naadir was forced to defeat them, and finally gained access to the tomb and its lost knowledge. He is standing in front of the portal to the tomb.

Kudur: I confess, Naadir, that I came to doubt. This is... more than amazing. If I wasn't so tired, I'd feel triumphant.

Naadir: Let us go, Kudur, to see what sort of secrets Belketh learned when the world was young and innocent...

Not dated (lore from MP map): The great archmage Sar-Mirym was the son of a human father and an elf mother. Though trained by the wizards of the Silver Cities League he had friends among the necromancers, believing that all roads to knowledge are equally legitimate. He studied the nature of demonic creatures as well, and spent quite a few years among the dark elves. As a result, when Sar-Mirym left this world a great many people claimed to be his heir. They were unable to solve their dispute peacefully, and resorted to might as well as magic to stake their claim.

843 YSD. 4th Eclipse - Falcon’s Last Flight
In the year 843, and strengthened by an eclipse the demonlords have invaded Ashan in great numbers. The Imperial capital of Falcon's Reach, heart of the Falcon duchy and capital of the Falcon Empire, was surrounded and the Falcon dynasty was nearly extinct. The demon sovereign (Kha-Beleth, who some time ago replaced Mal-Beleth) has all his attention focused on this campaign as he hopes to see the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy -- that the world of men shall exist only so long as there is a Falcon heir. There is one small fly in the ointment, however, another legend states that the scions of Falcon shall never be defeated as long as they hold Falcon's Reach. With that in mind, the sovereign has sent his loyal general, Jezebeth, to see to the end of the Falcons.

Horned overseer Ugrul: The prisoners yielded their secrets before they died, Mistress. They say that the dynasty will live as long as Falcon's Reach stands.

Jezebeth: You have done well, Ugrul. So, that is the meaning of the magics we sensed. Then I shall destroy the town first, and after the family. Falcon blood shall flow in the streets!

Ugrul: In the name of Urgash!

Succubus Jezebeth succesfully attacked and fought Maeve Falcon, but she magically vanishes back to Falcon’s Reach.

Ugrul: What?? Where did she go? Raaarrrr!

Jezebeth: Ahhhh.... Remember the legend, Ugrul. Until the accursed town falls, the magics will protect her.

Jezebeth besieged and destroyed Falcon’s Reach, ancestral castle of the Falcon Empire. She razed the city and massacred the royal house.

Jezebeth: Yessss... We have taken her city and she runs, Ugrul she runs but there is nowhere she can hide. Soon now...

Ugrul: It cannot be too soon. I hunger for Falcon bones and marrow.

After that, she chased the queen and finally defeated her…

Jezebeth: Do you feel it, dying queen? Do you feel the era of man fading with the blood that runs from your body? Glory to the sovereign! The Dark Messiah comes!

Queen Maeve Falcon: Curse you and the chaotic filth you worship. My son Brendan (looks like duke Duncan from Stag duchy is his descendant!) lives yet, and is far from your clutching talons. The Light shall prevail. Elrath!

Queen is killed, Kha-Beleth showed himself…

Ugrul: Raaar!!

Jezebeth: No. Nooo!! This cannot be! I have destroyed the city and killed the queen!

Kha-Beleth: You were perhaps unlucky, Jezebeth. Or perhaps you lacked discipline. Come, I shall instruct you at my leisure. Heh heh heh.

Demons were are eventually turned back, but a power vacuum now exists. Various noble houses within the empire make attempts on the vacant throne. Duke Ivan of Griffin (Ivan’s tower, dreadfull prison tower in Talonguard, is named after him…) conquers the bloody crown after many violent skirmishes. The Empire is renamed the ‘Holy Griffin Empire’.

951 YSD. Diplomat

It is 951, and whispers of a demon invasion appear to be more than mere rumours. The Griffin Empire desperately needs an alliance with the Silver Cities for the upcoming war. However, old enmities between the two kingdoms get in the way. Knight Godric must find a way to convince the wizards to change their mind, and thereby enlist their support. To do that, he must find the Pendant of Mastery hidden in Dragon Utopia. This relic will serve as a sign of reconciliation between the peoples. It goes without saying that Godric must avoid at all costs a clash with the potential ally's troops.

Godric: In my lifetime of service, this is perhaps the most delicate task that my liege has given me. Find the Pendant of Mastery, hidden in the lands of the very Wizards we are trying to befriend!

Inquisitor Dominic: So... where do we start?

Godric: At the beginning. Let us first assemble an army, Dominic, for I do not doubt that the road will be long and present its fair share of hazards.

Godric knows how Cyrus loves magical artifacts. He came to know that this artifact is in the hands of the dragons, who dwell in their utopia in caves under Silver Cities.

Dominic: There is a garrison. Indolent, but large enough to cause trouble.
Godric: Here's a pretty picture! There's no way around them, and if I attack them the mission is a certain failure.
Dominic: Would they leave on their own?
Godric: Not unless something scares them away… Well now, isn't that an interesting thought!
He knows that he cannot fight with Academy armies, so he build up large army which scare off the defenders of the range garrison, and after that he entered wizards lands.

If he fail… Godric: Blood and martyrs! We can forget about the alliance with the wizards now. Queen Fiona will have my head, if there's any left after the demons are finished with us.
He succesfully avoid mages and their armies, slip to the underground (where he freed elven hero Gilraen, who helped him) and defeated dragons in their city (fought dark elves on the way), and finally get the Pendant of Mastery.
Dominic: Is... Is that it?
Godric: Yes, Dominic. Yes!!! Onward now, to give this pretty bauble to the her Highness and then take the field against the demons. Griffin eternal!
Godric gave it to queen Fiona, and she gave it to Cyrus. Cyrus, pleased with this worthy present, agreed to aid Holly Gryffin Empire.

951 YSD. 5th Eclipse - War of the Gray Alliance
The demon invasion is a reality, but the demons are confronted by a combined force of Haven knights, Silver League wizards and Irollan elves, the Gray Alliance. Emperor Alexei Griffin, elven king Alaron and archmage Cyrus with their armies pursue the demons into the very underworld and forced them to retreat to their capital, Ur-Hekal.

Sovereign feared they can win and began closing the gates. Alexei Griffin with his army rushed through the closing gate inside. Cyrus thought the attack was ridiculous and did not participate, and Alaron hesitated in fear, but then the gate was closed and Alexei and his forces fought the demons and were all killed inside the hellish Ur-Hekal.

Soul of Alexei is rescued by a mysterious and legendary Dragon Knight, elven archdruid known as Tieru, and part of soul is bound up in an artifact called the Heart of the Griffin (this artifact have the power to banish demons back to Sheogh).

As a powerful druid, counsellor of the king, and authority on the demons, Tieru was there to help in the war. He stayed with Alaron outside the citadel, however, and did not take part in Alexei's suicidal attack.

Emerald dragons left Irollan that day, ashamed by acts of their elves allies.

Alexei's son Nicolai, aged 6, ascends the Imperial throne.

By the day of the eclipse, Isabel Greyhound is born. Demon sovereign, Kha-Beleth, marked her with his demonic power, so she can give him a child – Demon Messiah, half man half demon, able to walk on Ashan like human and wield chaos magic like demon.

952 YSD. A Tear for Ossir


The Fifth Eclipse War cost dearly to all members of the Grey Alliance. The border towns of the Griffin Empire are in ruins, and the wizards of the League of Silver Cities are still counting their losses. The elves of Irollan were not spared either, there is an urgent need to rebuild their ruined towns. With this in mind, king Alaron of the elves has ordered the ranger Ossir to the eastern border. His mission is to find the Tear of Asha, a powerful artifact that will help his people to rebuild their cities.

Alaron: We need your skills and your training, Ossir. The way is far, and I do not doubt that the our unrepentant brethren will cause trouble.

Ossir: If I do not return with a Tear of Asha, my king, it will only because I have died in the effort.

Alaron: Do your best to avoid that, yes? The only tears I want to see are those of Asha, not of your family.

Ossir found out that the way to the Tear’s location can be found only by following the riddles on singposts.

Elven hunter Sylrael: Thirdan? That name rings a bell...

Ossir: It should! He died one of the wealthiest men in Irollan.

Sylrael: And yet, this lake had been fished for centures... Am I the only one that finds that odd?

Ossir: Hardly! Let us being our hunt here.
-
Ossir: Another odd sign. Though it's true that wealth is no good when you're dead.

Sylrael: There are ancient warrior graves in the caves here... not that the idea appeals to me but...

Ossir: We must say a brief good-bye to the forests, Sylrael and head underground.
-
Ossir: Where I become wiser.

Sylrael: I'm not sure that such a place exists for you, Ossir.

Ossir: Very funny. But there are such places in these lands.
-
Sylrael: Does that mean what I think it means?

Ossir: Crypts again! But the question is, which crypt is the right one?
-
Sylrael: I don't suppose that means that we can go home now, does it?

Ossir: Wouldn't we both like that! Let's think, Sylrael - it can't be too far.
-
Ossir: That one is a bit clearer, at least.

Sylrael: A bit, yes, but I would still prefer a detailed map and signposts.
-
Sylrael: Sounds like the effects of some wizard's magical device.

Ossir: Or something much bigger.
-
Ossir: Hmmm... Short and to the point.

Sylrael: That's a pleasant change.
-
Sylrael: "Will get you there", eh? Not soon enough for me.

Ossir: Patience, Sylrael, patience.
-
Ossir: No, not that! Was it so simple?!

Sylrael: I believe deeply in the Harmony, but this still makes me want to kill someone.
-
Ossir: But I've been there already! Am I as blind as a dark elf?

Sylrael: Next time I'll bring brighter torches.
-
Ossir: We're close! What do you say to that, Sylrael?

Sylrael: Sometimes I'm tempted to drop everything and retire.

Ossir travelled through the land, searching for signs, fighting dark elves in underground caves on the way.

After a long time he finally found the location of the Tear of Asha (which was ironically hidden near the first singpost).

Ossir: For Sylanna and the Harmony!

Sylrael: And a long walk home...

954 YSD: Hot Pursuit

Three peaceful years after the end of the Fifth Eclipse war, the Irollan elves announced a big festival for the heroes of that bloody conflict. One of these heroes was Dougal, a commander of the former king Alexei Griffin, who decided to take part in the Archery tournament. Dougal found peacetime a bit boring, and figured that an archery contest would be just the thing to add a bit of excitement to his life. After all, his skills were only needed for entertainment in those pleasant days - there was no sign of trouble on the horizon at all...

Dougal was ordered by Queen Fiona to find the hidden village of brigands on his way to the tournament.

Dougal: Muster the troops, Alaric. The queen has asked us to flush out a band of brigands on our way to the tournament.

Archer Alaric: Brigands! That's all? After fighting demon legions, taking care of a few ne'er-do-wells with clubs and sticks is an afternoon stroll.

Dougal: Orders are orders, Alaric. At least it will give the troops a bit of practice.

Dougal quickly found village of Eastglade and dealt with bandits . After that, the demon lord Rock stole contest prize – Unicorn horn bow, and tried hard to get quickly to his city, Ur – Kurgan.

Alaric: Demons! I thought I would have smelled them, even this far away... Just like that scum to grab the prize. Let's have at them!

Dougal: I'd rather have a thousand arrows in my back than see demons in these lands again... Come, Alaric, let's make sure this band doesn't get far.

Dougal chased him and finally defeated him before he managed to get to his fortress.

Alaric: That's what we call justice in Griffin Empire!

Dougal: Yes, but I'm surprised that the demons were so bold. I don't like that.

Alaric: Well then what do we do, sir?

Dougal: It seems they've forgotten the lessons that they learned from the Grey Alliance, and I think it's time to refresh their memories.

If he failed to catch the demon…

Dougal: Too late! It seems that the demons have escaped this time.

Alaric: Bah! It was just a small band, and they were lucky.

Dougal: Maybe so, but a victory will make them bolder. The next round may come all too quickly.

Dougal gathered army and destroyed demons who blocked elven city of Halthilloth (where the festival will take place).

After that, Dougal smashed Ur-Kurgan from the face of the land - he cannot allow the demons to found a stronghold in the border lands between the Griffin Empire and Irollan.

Dougal: Elrath be praised! It has ended as it should - the demons chastized and the bow in our hands.

Alaric: What's the inscription, sir?

Dougal: "For services old and new"... Let's go home, Alaric. It will be a long time before the demons dare to crawl out of their holes again!

Agrael’s Trial (Not dated, but fits here)

Trust... it is not gained easily, and should only be betrayed if it's really profitable. I suppose that Agrael is trustworthy, though that is a very relative term among demons. But still... I need to test his strength, his will... hmmmm...

Kha-Beleth and Agrael, in Sheog…

Kha-Beleth: Agrael! How kind of you to come see me. I trust that your project is advancing?

Agrael: Of course, lord. The Soulscar shall soon be yours – body and, of course, soul.

Kha-Beleth: Terrify, subvert, enslave, dominate... The workload is killing me. Oh, wait, I'm immortal. Hahahahahahaha

Agrael: Is that " immortal" or "immoral"?

Kha-Beleth: I like that. That is all. Oh, wait, one more thing. It appears that I let slip a comment indicating that you are now my right hand, with an appropriate army.

Agrael: Thank you! My lord...

Kha-Beleth: Oh, not so fast. Apparently four other ambitious demons believe you are unworthy. They hope to remove the title – by removing your head, of course. Better keep your horns sharp and your teeth jagged.

Agrael: You must be getting soft in your old age, my lord. You actually warned me first.

Kha-Beleth: Hahaha, go! Or I'll dream up some further sport to help pass my years of incarceration.

The demon sovereign has lost his aide on the earth, a reliable eavesdropper and a loyal executor, who has been administering his will in the surface world implicitly. The job of honor is vacant now, and Kha-Beleth is going to fill it as soon as possible. Which of the ambitious demon lords will be found worthy of the great honor and become the dark sovereign’s right hand man?

Many demon lords and princes resent Agrael's position as Kha-Beleth's right hand. They are eager to prove their own superiority by destroying him, taking both his head and his place in the hierarchy. For Agrael the task is equally simple: survive.

Beneath Agrael's city, in the very heart of the steaming lake, artefacts of power have been hidden (belonging once to one Dragon Knight, who entered hell and try to convert the demons to Asha). As the relentless attacks of the demon princes increase, these relics could be of great value.

Raelag entered the cave under the city…

Archdevil: We have guarded these gates for the lords of Ur-Kurgan since the Seventh Dragon locked us in Sheogh. We willingly serve its new lord.

Agrael: Ur-Kurgan is mine; give me your allegiance and you will be repaid in glory and blood.

In a long war of attrition, gold is of great value. If Agrael can seize and hold all the gold mines in the region, he will gain 5000 extra pieces of gold per day.

Agrael seized all the mines on the way.

Lord Nebiros is an experienced and dangerous demonlord, known for his luck as well as his self-interest. If he is freed from prison, he would certainly be glad to help crush the Demon hordes that Agrael will face.

Raelag have found the prison and freed Nebiros…

Nebiros: I am Nebiros, and I shall be glad to serve you. The demon princes fear me... and they rightly should.

Agrael: Nebiros... They call you the Chosen of Urgash.With a title like that, I much prefer to have you on my side.

After one battle, Agrael met Succubus seducer on the battlefield…

Succubus seducer: Arrogant scum!

Agrael: And my name's Agrael. How do you do, Miss Scum? Or do your friends call you Arrogant?

Succubus seducer: Laugh now – you'll be spitting blood soon. You have many enemies, and they have many friends.
Agrael: Yes. Spies have told me that your masters, those pampered demon princes, are so eager for a piece of my skin that they're actually considering standing up! In mid-orgy, no less. Such energy...

Succubus seducer: When they come to flay you, they will bring not only their demon hordes but also countless worshippers, mobilized from across Ashan!

Agrael: I see the entire Scum family holds me dear to their hearts. Well, their hearts are welcome here. Harvests are difficult ... and blood is an excellent fertilizer.

After some time…

An emissary of Kha Beleth, Biara, is crossing Agrael's territory in the midst of this war. Should this hero reach your city safely, you Agrael will able to use her troops in his army.

After Biara reached Ur-Kurgan…

Biara: I thank you in the name of Kha-Beleth himself, Demonlord.

Agrael: And you... your name? I have an odd feeling that we shall be meeting again.

Biara: My name? For the moment I shall keep it to myself, lest you conjure with it, and attempt to do something... naughty.

Agrael: He he he. It is an odd succubus indeed who pretends to be upset by that. Until the next time, then.

Agrael have found Seer's hut, where Oracle of chaos dwells…

"Insane?" asks the Seer. "No, I'm not insane. Certain visions and truths can only be obtained in certain places -- and under certain influences. What I need now is the Pendant of Mastery; it is hidden to the north and defended by puissant guardians. Bring it to me, and I shall share my experience with you."

Raelag found the Pendant and brought in to the Seer – and was rewarded with experience.

Agrael met Shadow matriarch…

Shadow matriarch: Agrael! Such a pleasure. Or should I say Raelag?

Agrael: Silence! I know your dirty secrets as well, sister of the Soulscar. You should know that silence is golden, and loose tongues can be lethal.

Shadow matriarch: ch: So courteous! But my lips are sealed... for a price. Bring me what I ask, and I shall aid you to weaken your enemies.

Agrael: Let's hope your… devotion is as solid as the gold you request, sister.

Shadow matriarch: Thank you my lord, and please, do come back. I can help you once a week, if the price is correct.

Agrael can pay her gold every week, and she curse his enemies for seven days…

Agrael finally destroyed all demon princes…

Kha-Beleth: Brilliantly done, Agrael. You're almost as good as I am.

Agrael: Flattery! You must have a particularly unpleasant task for me.

Kha-Beleth: Hah! Unpleasant in certain ways. Not in all. Do you like the smell of apples?

Agrael: What?

Kha-Beleth: There is a child, growing up in an orchard, in the Griffin Empire. No harm can befall her; she must not fall ill. She has to grow up sound and strong. And a virgin.

Agrael: A virgin?? Hardly your type, my lord.

Kha-Beleth: You would be surprised, Agrael. Indeed you would.

Kha-Beleth send Agrael, his trusted dark elven cultist from Soulscar clan, to wach over Isabel.
Agrael was a perfect tool for the demon sovereign. Being a dark elf he was skilled in stealth and subterfuge, and being a mortal of Ashan the demon sovereign did not have to worry about complex rituals to keep him alive.

Agrael was always near her and watch her as she grows, and fell in love with her over the years.
Last edited by Cabal on Jan 14 2009, 19:33, edited 3 times in total.

Cabal
Leprechaun
Leprechaun
Posts: 36
Joined: 09 Jan 2009
Location: Karlovy Vary - Czech republic

Postby Cabal » Jan 10 2009, 12:01

PART III

969 YSD. 6th Eclipse - Queen Isabel's War

An eclipse not forecast on any calendar grips the Empire in a panic. The demons emerge in force and march towards Haven's capital (to get Isabel Greyhound and bring her to Kha-Beleth to bear him a child - Dark Messiah) This war will be known as Queen Isabel's War. The history books will say that the war lasted only a year or two.

Heroes of might and magic V

Talonguard cathedral, wedding day of king Nicolai Griffin and Isabel Greyhound..

Nicolai and Isabel are coming to altar and priest, cathedral is full of wedding guests (Godric is here too).. (Nicolai is in full plate armor, even with his sword..)

Nicolai: Feeling nervous, my dear?

Isabel: A bit. Mostly I feel silly in this dress.

Nicolai: Isabel?? We are here to celebrate, not declare treason. Besides, you look radiant.. Elrath himself smiles on the Griffin Empire today.

Priest: (Raised his hands to make silence) We are gathered here today to witness the marriage of our beloved sovereign Nicolai, king of our holy Empire, to our fair lady Isabel, jewel of the Greyhound duchy (Nicolai takes Isabel by hand, they smiled on each other..)

Ground shakes and Nicolai draws the sword – archdevil shows up and cut down the priest..

Nicolai: All go!! to Godric- Take Isabel to safety! (Godric takes Isabel and draws her out of the cathedral..)

Isabel: No!! Nicolai!!

Godric: Come lady, quickly!

Nicolai casts protection spell and strikes the archdevil, but the demon vanished - in invisible form, he looks upon Isabel and Godric, and then shows himself and attacks Nicolai. They fought for a while, then the demon vanished again..

Isabel: (drawn out by Godric, near the door, calling on Nicolai) Behind you!!
Nicolai turned just in time, defending himself from the mighty blows, and finally fall down.. Archdevil approaches him, Nicolai stands up and, evades attack and hits the demon – archdevil, mortally wounded, stepps back and falls through the window to the river deep bellow..

Nicolai is exhausted, but heard something and turns from the window – to see more archdevils…

Godric closed the doors of the cathedral, Isabel snatched out from him..

Godric: City is on the siege! We must retreat to the Summer Palace.

Isabel: No, I cannot leave him!

Godric: (takes her by hand): Come! This is war, and you are not a warrior.

The are running down the stairs..

Isabel: I wish I was Godric.. Perhaps I should be..

The Queen

A king falls, a queen rises

The Queen


The invasion of the demons is grim news for the Griffin Empire. King Nicolai has been forced to postpone his wedding, rushing to the front lines to lead his knights into battle. Waiting expectantly in the safety of the Summer Palace at Whitecliff, lady Isabel receives joyless tidings.

Isabel has two protectors – knight Godric (brother of Fiona, former queen and mother of Nicolai) and Beatrice (abbes, who lived with Isabell and look after her - in fact, real Beatrice was murdered short time ago by Biara, and it is now Biara in disguise)
who refuse to let her leave the safety of Summer Palace…

Isabel: You've been acting a bit oddly, Beatrice. Are you feeling well?

Beatrice/Biara: Me? Well, it's, I'm... homesick, I suppose... feeling edgy and bored...

Godric: It may be boring, ladies, but at least it is far from the war.

Beatrice/Biara: Not for long. Another messenger arrived this morning. The demons have taken Hardwick and Thornham. Either we go to war, or war comes to us.

Isabel: Any news of Nicolai?

Beatrice/Biara: He's fine, but... Milady, he is young and unsure of himself. He's too embarrassed to ask for help. I know he forbade us to leave...

Godric: And we shall obey him. Young or not, he is the king. You were ordered here, and I was ordered to protect you. It's quite simple.

Isabel: But the Empire is in peril. Shouldn’t we do something?

Beatrice/Biara: Why was Nicolai so opposed to asking the elves and the mages for help? Or the dwarves?

Godric: The elves have been slow to recover from the last war. The mages? Blasphemers led by Cyrus, a man with delusions of godhood. Besides - Nicolai hasn't forgotten that Alaron and Cyrus came back alive from the War of the Eclipse, but his own father did not.

Beatrice/Biara: Still, if he were here he might command us differently.

Godric: Perhaps, if it really is that bad...

Beatrice/Biara: Two more towns, Godric. How bad must it be?

Isabel: Please, Godric. Though you do not like him, take word to Archmage Cyrus. Their magic would be of great help against the demons.

Godric: There is wisdom in what you say, but that Cyrus... And the king’s orders...

Isabel: For the empire, Godric, which is greater than any one king. Even one we love so dearly.

Godric: As you wish, Milady. Griffin eternal!

Beatrice/Biara: And what about us? Shall we take word to the elves?

Isabel: You should - you have the wisdom to negotiate with Alaron, and are practiced in the art of diplomacy. As for me, I've always felt more comfortable in a camp than at court.

Beatrice/Biara: But we could go together...

Isabel: Me? Go to Irollan? Beatrice, I'm surprised at you! At the abbey you were so overprotective.

Beatrice/Biara: You'll stay here, then?

Isabel: Not at all. I shall raise a militia - that is more suitable to my talents.

Beatrice/Biara: That's too dangerous!

Isabel: I shall be surrounded by soldiers in the heart of the Griffin Empire. Safer than anywhere else, I think.

Beatrice/Biara: As my queen commands.

Isabel: Go quickly! You will find me somewhere between here and the battlefield. To war!

Beatrice/Biara: To war!

While Godric and Beatrice are appealing for assistance, Isabel will scour the nearby countryside for willing subjects—hopefully she can raise a militia strong enough to start her own movement in this fierce war.

Though the regions around the peaceable Summer Palace are not the best place for finding new recruits, Isabel has no choice. One hundred peasants will serve as a basis for an army which will be able to defeat any foe.

As it is impossible to create a powerful army without professional warriors, she must to recruit twenty-five footmen in addition to peasants.

Isabel is forced to fight some peasants on the way..

Peasant Leader: Get off our fields! We don't want you here!

Isabel: What do you mean by this disobedience?

Peasant Leader: They say the war goes badly, Milady. We hear that the demons are killing everything and eating the dead. We don't want to go!

Isabel: Cowards! The Griffin Empire shall emerge victorious.

Peasant Leader: Well then they can do it without us. We're staying here, now get off our land!

Isabel: You will fulfill your oaths to your lord, even if you must do it in chains. Take them!

Isabel quickly dealt with them and proceeds through the land. A group of rebellious conscripts and peasants captured a garrison in the south, and they refuses to surrender. Isabel must take back the garrison and suppress the mutiny.

After that, Isabel build up an army…

Isabel: That should be enough troops, I think. But if I don't lead them myself, they'll desert along the way. I'll be with you soon, Nicolai!

Rebellion

The path to the front lies through the ruined lands of the Griffin Empire, where rumour and superstition run rampant.
The Queen will have to strengthen her forces and persuade dissenters if she hopes to continue on her path.
The army will do better if it has a reliable base in a well-fortified town. In such a fortress, new recruits can be found and tired warriors can rest and heal their wounds. In addition, a fortress provides gold for development. Strongbow would be a perfect place for Isabel's troops, so she must capture it within a week -- while her army is still battle-worthy.

Isabel: The town of Strongbow is well named - the best archers live there, and I need archers for my army.

Capturing Strongbow would not only provide a base for Isabel's troops, but would open up other opportunities. The archers of Strongbow are the best in Empire, and a hundred of them would considerably strengthen her army.
Isabell first captured town of Strongbow (renowned for its archers and marksmen) and started building up an army..
Isabel: The archers see things my way, but they say that Ashwood rejects the rule of the king. I have to settle this with their mayor.

The town of Ashwood has become a town of rebels who do not accept the rule of their king. Something that could be handled diplomatically in times of peace becomes a grave danger in times of war. The pacifying of Ashwood will not only bring more gold to the queen's treasury, but will also raise her prestige within the army.

Taking control of Ashwood puts Isabel one step closer to her reunion with Nicolai. The brave queen decides to fortify the town and continue her push into enemy-infested territory to meet up with her love and join him on the battlefield.

Isabel: That should be enough. It's time to get these troops to Nicolai. We shall hurry as if Crag Hack himself were on our heels!

The Siege
Demon scouts are in Griffin Empire. As feared, the scouts were but the vanguard of a larger demon army headed by a demon lord. They are pillaging the Empire, leaving ruin in their wake. Now the time has come for Isabel to pass her first great trial - to fight and defeat an enemy hero and secure the area around the town of Ashwood. She will have to draw on all the skills she has learned in order to succeed.
Now that Isabel has captured Ashwood, she has an excellent staging area to continue her crusade against the Inferno armies. Isabel ecountered a new threat: The vanguards of a demon force appeared in the very heart of the Empire. Scouts have reported that the countryside is crawling with demons, hell hounds, and the like—they must be purged immediately. The queen must defeat them before they gain a foothold.

To make the first task more simple, Isabel should build a jousting range in her town. This will attract paladins, implacable holy warriors, to her cause. These paladins will prove most effective against the evil of the demon lords.

Isabel: Scouts have found demon patrols in the neighborhood. I hope the troops are ready - they'll soon face our demonic foes!

Isabell builded up city of Ashwood and recruited mighty paladins to her militia army. After that, she started cleaning land from the demons. She found and destroyed all demons in the area….

On the battlefield full of dead demons…

Isabel: So that was just a recon force. No matter, with one victory under our belts the troops have gained confidence. Griffin eternal!

After that scouts have been banished from the area, Kraal, a feared demon lord that commands a wicked army of his own, showed up and fought Isabell.

She managed to defeat him along with his armies.

Again, on the battlefield full of dead demons…

Isabel: Why was there a demon army here, so far from the war? What would they want? (Obviously, Kraal tried to capture Isabel..)

Beatrice/Biara: (Back from her „mission“) My queen! A letter from king Alaron! He is sending two legions of blade dancers under the command of Findan.

Isabel: Findan? I have seen him at court - he's an emissary, not a warrior. Still, it's far better than nothing. Well done, Beatrice. The Empire thanks you.

Beatrice/Biara: I live to serve, my queen.

Isabel: Sir Tomas! We leave at first light. The Elves are sending troops!

Sir Tomas (the squire): Hooray! Griffin eternal!

The Trap

The Demon Lord Agrael prepares to rout elven troops that are marching to assist the Empire. Isabel will have to outmanoeuver the enemy army and prevent the Demons from implementing their plan. The united forces of Isabel and elven king Alaron should be able to put an end to the invasion and save Nicolai.
Beatrice's diplomatic mission was successful -- Alaron, the elven king, will come to Isabel's aid. Isabel must join her forces with Elven army in order to defeat the Demon Lord Agrael.

The rumors tell that Demon Lord Agrael is skilled in all kinds of magic. A priest warns Isabel
that while she may have the courage to take on the demon army, she should learn how to wield the mystical arts. Isabel agrees with the priest’s assessment, but she laments the lack of time for serious study. Brightwood is well-known for its magic guilds - the perfect place for the young queen, who has decided to fight her enemies not only with the power of steel.

Priest: Lady Isabel, your might as a warrior is impressive but your knowledge of the arcane is limited. To fight these demonical abominations, you must learn something of the magics of Elrath.

Isabel: I agree, Father, but I don't have the time or the resources for this.

Priest: The town of Brightwood had a seminary of Light magic, but the demons ruined it. If you take it back, Lady, you could obtain its knowledge.

Isabel: Excellent. I will do this, and quickly!
Isabell first fought her way to Brightwood…
Isabel: Leave it to the demons to corrupt everything, even the tower that held the knowledge of magic! I have no choice but to rebuild it from the ground up.

…and rebuilt the city, learning secrets of light magic…

Isabel: Such wonders I have learned! It's time to destroy the demons, with the light of Elrath guiding my hand!

After that, she gathered her army and searched for the way to meet Findan and his elves.
A river crosses Isabel's way to the location where she is to meet Alaron's army, and the bridge has been destroyed…

Isabel: Look! The bridge is destroyed as well. Now what?

Beatrice: There is a Seer not too far from here. The advice of a Blind Brother, servant of Asha, would be useful.

Isabel: A Seer! They speak in riddles and half-phrases and send you on wild goose chases. We don't have time.

Beatrice: It's that, or we sit here waiting until the scouts find another way.

Isabel: Ah! I can't twiddle my thumbs doing nothing. Very well, Beatrice, let's go find this Seer of yours.

Isabell visited the seer, Blind brother, living southwards from the ruined bridge…

She learned that now, the only way to cross the river and reach the woods of Irollan is the Boots of Levitation. They can be found in a crypt somewhere in undeground , where their former owner was buried…

Isabel: Boots of Levitation? Lying in a crypt full of haunted souls whose sleep I must disturb? It won't be pleasant, but it's the fastest way to meet up with Findan. I'm afraid I don't have much choice.

Isabel found the way to crypt, where she had to fight the restless spirits who haunt the crypt in order to get the artifact…

Isabel: It could have been worse, I suppose. Time to put on this fine footwear and go meet Findan!

After that, Isabell have crossed river and.. walked right into Agrael’s devious trap…She is waiting with knight Thomas, Beatrice and a few footmen for Findan… Then Agrael came..

Isabel: Hello. Findan, I presume. I am Queen Isabel. Thank you for remembering our old alliance -

Agrael: I fear that Findan will be late, Isabel. (horned demons show and attacked the soldiers…)

Isabel: What? Who... who are you? Elves, allies, to me! Beatrice, your weapon!

Beatrice / Biara: I think not, Isabel.; Ha-ha-ha... (Changing)

Isabel: Beatrice...? What?! (All soldiers are dead)

Later, Isabel is sitting, hands bound in magical chains. Biara is taunting her..

Biara: Your dear, insufferable Beatrice is finally doing something useful - fertilising the vegetables at the Summer Palace. What's left of her, anyway.

Isabel: What? How?! When did you-

Biara: As soon as Nicolai announced you were going there. Poor Beatrice... she was so trusting. And I can be very persuasive.

Agrael came…

Agrael: Knight Tomas appears to be wounded, Biara. Perhaps you could tend to him.

Biara: Yes. Yessss!, thank you, my lord.

Agrael: Leave us! (Biara and horned demons went away)

Agrael: I'm sorry. That's... not what I wanted. But the demon sovereign gave clear orders. Killing Beatrice seemed the easiest way…

Isabel: Easy for you, black hearted-

Agrael: I know it hits you hard. She practically raised you. Her abbey was like a second home, and the apple orchard became your favourite playground.

Isabel: What? How do you know?

Agrael: But my master's after you. Not Beatrice.

Isabel: The demon sovereign? Me? Why?

Agrael: He wouldn't tell me. All I know is that he sent us to deliver you to him.

Isabel: I will die before I see that happen.

Agrael: No-one, least of all I, would like to see that, Isabel.

Isabel: Really? So what do you want, and who are you?

Agrael: Me? I am Agrael. A mere soldier in a greater war. And war demands sacrifice.

Isabel: So, „soldier“, what do you intend to do with me?

Agrael: If I could find a means for you to escape thic fate, if the two of us could disappear, would you trust me?

Isabel: Trust you?! A servant of the demon sovereign? The murderer of Beatrice?!

Agrael: As if I had a choice! I will do what I can to protect you...for now. (Agrael see that Biara is near and go away, Biara scratch her head, thinking about what she heard…)

The Fall of the King


As a result of an artful intrigue played by Agrael and his succubus helper, Biara, Isabel is taken prisoner. Soon she will be taken to Sheogh, the centuries-old prison of the demon sovereign.

Her only hope lies with Godric, who has returned from his mission to the wizards of the Silver Cities. Though his diplomatic mission failed and he brings no new allies, he must free the young queen from prison near the city of Dunmoor.

Dunmoor, an old fortress which has survived many assaults, will provide a shelter for the queen in these troubled times…

Godric met his daughter, Freyda, and started search for Isabel…They saw camp of pasant soldiers..

Godric: What do you see, Freyda?

Freyda: A peasant militia. Flying the Griffin banner, and another - some kind of flower.

Godric: An apple blossom. At last, that will be Lady Isabel. By Elrath, she had me worried. First Cyrus laughs at us, then Isabel disappears... It has been a long month, Freyda.

Freyda: Father... Why did Archmage Cyrus reject our request?

Godric: I don't know why. Something to do with the last war, I think, when Cyrus refused to follow our king... I would dearly love to see that arrogant, gutless old... Hm. Excuse me.

Freyda: Permission to agree heartily, sir?

Godric: You have it, Freyda. But enough chatter - we've a kingdom to save! Griffin eternal!

Freyda: Griffin eternal!

They came to the camp, it is now deserted and set in flames..

Godric: Where is she then?

Freyda: No one knows. She went off to meet Findan and the elves two days ago and never came back. Our scouts found signs of a hastily broken camp there. No elves, sir, but traces of demons.

Godric: Demons! By Elrath! Any word of Abbess Beatrice?

Freyda: None, father.

Godric: We're off again then, Freyda. Two ladies of the Griffin Empire have fallen to the demons, and I won't let that go unpunished.

Godric has freed Isabel, he defeats three lord sof the pit, guarding the prison..

Isabel: Your strength has never been appreciated as much as today, Godric. Thank you for delivering me.

Godric: It is my duty, Lady. Though joy at your rescue is lessened by the news of Beatrice's death.

Isabel: And of King Cyrus's arrogance. One day he'll pay for that.

Kenald: Lord Godric! Lady Isabel! Scouts report a small army of demons headed to Dunmoor - no more than a few days' march.

Godric: We can fortify the walls and lay in foodstocks.

Isabel: No! That will be Agrael. I won't sit here and wait for him - it's payback time for Beatrice and for all of the Griffin Empire.

Godric: Lady, our position is stronger if we stay.

Isabel: We have defeated them every time we have taken the field against them. We are rested and prepared, Godric, and it's time that Agrael and his minions felt the wrath of Elrath!

The seized Dunmoor. Agrael and his demonic army came back to capture Isabel again, but Isabel and Godric defeated him…

Godric: I must congratulate you on your prowess in battle. You have something of the warrior queens of old in you!

Isabel: The Greyhound blood runs true, Godric. But I am angry that the monster Agrael escaped. I fear he is collecting more troops and preparing a siege. Perhaps your idea of fortifying the city is best.

Godric: Very well, Lady Isabel. I shall give the commands.

Isabel: It burns at my heart to sit and wait, but at least this will split the demon army and ease the pressure on Nicolai.

Godric: You are thinking like a true monarch, Lady. I am most impressed.

Dunmoor is heavily guarded fortress. From within, Isabel and Godric can withstand enemy attacks while they plan their next move. Losing Dunmoor is almost certain death, the young queen and the old knight must defend it at all costs.

Demons are continuously attacking Dunmoor..

Godric: The demon reinforcements are a concern, Lady. I fear that the next assault will be our last.

Isabel: What can we do, Godric?

Godric: There was a relic near Dunmoor from the War of the Bitter Ashes - the Tear of Asha, a gift from Elrath himself to king Brian Falcon of the old Empire. If we could find it, our armies would be unstoppable.

Isabel: Beatrice once told me of it, but it has been lost these four hundred years!

Godric: Its secret was left with the Unicorn duchy, my lady - with my family. There is a series of obelisks that will lead us to it.

Isabel: Lost artifacts of legendary kings... We grasp at straws, Godric.

Godric: We grasp at survival, Lady Isabel. But, to be practical, I should go to seek help from Nicolai as well.

Isabel: Very well, Godric. With the demons attacking us, Nicolai should be able to move quickly. May the light of Elrath guide you! But first, tell me how to find those obelisks.

They found the Tear of Asha and build Elrath's Sentinel in Dunmoor..

Isabel: Glory to king Brian Falcon! The light of Elrath shines upon this city.

They survived another demon attack..

Godric: The demon reinforcements are a concern, Lady. I am glad we decided to hold out here.

Isabel: Can we hold them off, Godric?

Godric: I do not know. I begin to worry... With their army besieging Dunmoor, though, I doubt that Nicolai is hard pressed. I think it is time to turn the tables and ask him to help us.

Isabel: I don't know...

Godric: Above all else, my Lady, we must keep the future queen of the Griffin Empire out of their hands. I shall undertake this mission personally.

Isabel: Very well, Godric. With the demons attacking us, Nicolai should be able to move quickly. May the light of Elrath guide you!

Godric must go by the road through the demon lands and remote garrison. Godric fought through demons and sucessfully reached way to Nicolai….

Isabel: Well done, Godric! Now it is up to me to hold out until Nicolai arrives. Hurry, my love!

Nicolai arrived with his army. Agrael decides to prevent Nicolai from taking Dunmoor and rushes to attack. ..

Isabel has prepared her army, and assembled unit of paladins..

Isabel: He has made it! Was there ever a king so regal, a warrior so strong? I am coming, Nicolai! We shall be reunited on the field of battle, though all the infernal hordes of Sheogh lie between us!

Agrael decides to prevent Nicolai from taking Dunmoor and rushes to attack. The way for Isabel is free now and her new aim is to get in time on the place of the battle between Agrael and Nicolai. But she came too late…

Nicolai fought a group of horned demons and banished them with Heart of the Griffin. Then, Agrael shown up, and Nicolai is ready to banish him with the power of the Heart of the Griffin..

Nicolai: Come, demon lord. By the soul of my father, I'll send you back to be cleansed in your fires! (Nicolai uses Heart of the Griffin..)

Agrael: Not today, young king. (It has no effect on Agrael – he is not demon…)

Nicolai: Who...? What are you? (Agrael mortally wounds Nicolai by demonical spell unleashed from his staff..)

Agrael: Well. Things just got simpler. And a lot more complicated. (Agrael leaved the battlefield)

Godric found dying Nicolai and hold him…

Godric: Rest, my king. I have called for a healer.

Nicolai: A healer... too late. I am beyond healers. Beyond even the mercy of the Archangels... No ordinary blade did this.

Godric: Are you sure?

Nicolai: I can feel... something. Demon magic... poison.

Isabel arrives..

Isabel: Nicolai! Nicolai!

Nicolai: Isabel? Isabel! Uhhh...

Godric: Lady Isabel... no, please. You do not want to see him, to remember him this way.

Isabel: Oh my love, what has he done to you... I came to save you. I failed...

Nicolai: Not you, my love. Not you... me. My kingdom... no heir to the throne. All... is lost.

Godric: The Empire is saved, my king. For this, you will be remembered, as your father was.

Nicolai: The kingdom... Godric, swear to me-

Godric: Anything, my king.

Nicolai: Queen Isabel... she will rule in my stead. Guard her. Protect her!

Godric: But - she was not crowned. She-

Nicolai: Swear it!

Godric: I swear it, my king.

Isabel: Nicolai!

Nicolai: Isabel... may Elrath guide you. Guide us all... (Nicolai died)

Godric: The father, and now the son. By the Light of Elrath, who shall I be forced to outlive next?

Isabel: Your Light! Your Elrath! Where was he when Nicolai was killed, when Beatrice was murdered?

Godric: Lady Isabel, I-

Isabel: Queen Isabel.

Godric: Lady, I-

Isabel: Queen Isabel.

Godric: Queen Isabel. Don't... I mean, please do not-

Isabel: (She take Heart of the Griffin and hold it) Elrath, if you've never listened before, listen now. By the blood of my love, of my family, I swear vengeance on all demonkind - their Sovereign, their kin, and the beast Agrael who did this today!

Shortly after that, Nicolai is about buried in Hall of Heroes and Isabel is preparing the burial. Godric is sent after Agrael, and must take him alive back to Isabel…

The Cultist
A Demon must decide

The Betrayal

Although Nicolai is dead, Agrael has failed in his mission of capturing Isabel, and attempts to flee the wrath of Kha-Beleth, the demon sovereign.

Because they are perceived as having been treacherous to the demon sovereign, Agrael and his succubus Biara must find sanctuary from his wrath. Unfortunately, the Haven hero Godric is breathing down Agrael’s neck, leading a masive army to seek revenge for Nicolai’s death.
The chase is on, and Agrael's life depends upon it. Godric is tirelessly pursuing the remains of the demon army, and Agrael's fate is uncertain. How will the demon sovereign react to the news of Agrael's failure?

But there is little choice for Agrael. The lands of the demons -- Sheogh -- are the only place where he can find shelter from the wrath of the Empire.

Somewhere on the borders of the Griffin Empire..

Agrael: You were quick, Biara. What news of our enemies?

Biara: Strong Griffin forces block all the major roads between us and the city of Gehenna. Our imp scouts have reported an elite unit, led by Godric, that snaps at our heels.

Agrael: Godric? I thought that Isabel would want to take my head herself.

Biara: Isabel? She has departed in tears, taking her favorite corpse to its funeral. Godric has become her instrument of vengeance. And he wants you alive.

Agrael: So no friendly towns, no reinforcements, and no chance to rest... Nothing like a little challenge to spice up a dull week, huh?

Agrael rushed to reach the border of Sheogh, but Godric is near and tirelessly hunt him.

Agrael reached the entrance to the underground (he must find keymaster first to ester)..

Agrael: The gates! Where is that damned tunnel and the gates to Sheogh? If I hadn't used them myself I would almost swear they didn't exist.


Agrael ran through underground caves and went back on surface, reaching Sheog bordur - but demon lord Erasial and his demonic army is waiting for him..

Agrael: What's this? Attacked by that scum Erasial and his horned idiots? Ah. Perhaps the Sovereign has discovered my independent mind set. That means trouble...

Agrael defeated him and cornered him with Biara…

Agrael: So, squirming imp, let us discuss your death. Tell me why you were here, and it will be fast. Otherwise, I shall turn you over to Biara.

Biara: And it will be excruciatingly slow. Please, Erasial, refuse to talk.

Erasial: No! I... I was told to get two things - One is the artifact that Nicolai used in the battle - the Heart of the Griffin. The other is... your head.

Agrael: My head? Why? The demon sovereign knows I am loyal.

Erasial: You lie! You have betrayed him, and he knows! Kha-Beleth will protect me! He will...

Kha-Beleth show himself..

Kha-Beleth: Yes? What will I do? Go on, please, tell me. Give me orders. I love that.

Erasial: Master! Master! I did not mean it!

Kha-Beleth: You failed. You lose. You pay..

Kha-Beleth banished Erasial and then turned on Agrael..

Kha-Beleth: I know of you and your ambitions. You are strong, but I am patient. You're next.

The Promise

Biara: What is this "betrayal" of which Erasial spoke? Aren't you one of the sovereign's most powerful agents?

Agrael: I will explain later. Now is not the time to talk - now is the time to run.

Biara: No! He knows I'm with you, so I am tainted by your treachery. I'm risking my life and I deserve to know now, Agrael.

Agrael: If you wish. Something happened while I was undercover in Griffin lands... it made me question Kha-Beleth's plans.

Biara: Question our sovereign? You would consider that?

Agrael: Considered it, and done it. Now he knows, and... How does he know? Who spied on me?

Biara: (hastily, it was she..) It doesn't matter now. Wait... he mentioned "your ambitions"... you want to replace him, don't you? To rule Sheogh in his place? That is madness!

Agrael: Ah... well... I should not give my plans away so easily, but...

Biara: If anyone could do it, it is you. And you will remember those who helped you, yes? So what is the next step, my lord? Or should I say, my Sovereign?

Agrael: To get the Heart of the Griffin. You saw it in action.

Biara: Yes! We must have that.

Agrael: I know where they keep it - in the Griffin kings' mausoleum, The Hall of Heroes. It's in the middle of the empire, well-defended.

Biara: So there will be a lot of killing. What's the bad news?

Agrael: You know, Biara, I'm glad I have you as an ally rather than an enemy.

Agrael knows well what that means to be an outcast, pursued by former enemies as well as former allies. Now he must move quickly if he wants to survive.

His goal is to defeat Veyer and capture the Heart of the Griffin, a powerful weapon that can be used against other demons.

Agrael and Veyer both seek kings mausoleum, Hall of Heroes, and both ran to be there first. Agrael managed to be slightly faster - and he met Empire army, led by knight Stephan, who guards mausoleum...

Agrael: I am not here to kill you, I need to get the Stone that lies within - a demon army is heading this way. Move aside and I won't spill your blood.

Stephan: Demons have committed enough atrocities here, you filth. I won't be the one who betrays my dead king and lets you desecrate his tomb. Helms down! Shields up! Griffin eternal!

Agrael is forced to defeat him, and shortly after that he met Veyer..

Agrael: So my old enemy Veyer and his army want to come and play, huh? So be it!

They fight for Heart of Griffin, first with thein armies, and then in the mausoleum.

Veyer is much digger and stronger, and is attacking Agrael with his huge axe, Agrael is defending..

Veyer: I look forward to cutting off your head and bringing your skull back to Kha-Beleth.

Agrael: My skull will stay right where it is, Veyer. Unlike yours, it actually has brains inside.

Veyer finally hit Agrael, and he is pushed near dead Nicolai. Agrael takes Griffin Heart from dead Kings neck and used it on Veyer, banishing him..

Moment later, image of Tieru show up..

Tieru: Who disturbs the rest... a demon! But you touched the Stone, so you can't be... Approach me, stranger.

Agrael: You are an illusion. From where do you speak?

Tieru: Ah... that is why you were not affected by the stone. Interesting. Agrael, I presume?

Agrael: You have one up on me. And you are...?

Tieru: Tieru.

Agrael: Tieru! My former master had much to say about you. It was all quite passionate, and none of it was nice.

Tieru: Former master? That is reassuring news. If you have disowned the demon sovereign, why are you here?

Agrael: He seeks this (shows Heart of the Griffin) , and I don't want him to have it.

Tieru: Then we share a goal. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you were high in the counsels of Kha-Beleth?

Agrael: For years I was his agent in the Griffin Empire.

Tieru: Then we can help each other. Kha-Beleth wants to destroy you, the Griffin army hunts you for killing their king, and now something even worse comes.

Agrael: Worse than that?

Tieru: Indeed. A Demon Messiah - more powerful even than Kha-Beleth. It might mean the end of everything. We need each other.

Agrael: Where do I find you?

Tieru: South of the elven capital in Irollan. The Irisus Sea. There is an island in the shape of a crescent moon. If you live to make it that far, don't worry. I'll find you. Hurry!

Agrael: (to Nicolai's corpse) Well, dead king, I think you will have a great deal of company before this comes to an end.

The Conquest

Agrael must travel a long, hard road to get to Tieru. He will have to cross the lands of the elves, and they are hardly disposed to allow passage to a demon lord. Agrael, however, is not about to let a few angry elves stop him from reaching his goal..
Agrael is near the border of Irollan. He must first attack the border garrison and fight his way past into the elven lands of Irollan, but border garisson is guarder by elven hero Gilraen..

Gilraen: Turn around and leave, demon! Your burning feet shall not tread our meadows.

Agrael: Move aside, flower-sniffer! I have spoken with Tieru. I must pass through to the Irisus Sea.

Gilraen: Tieru? He is but a legend, and your hooves will not scorch one blade of Sylanna's grass.

Agrael: Tree-shagging pixies! I don't have time for this. Kill them!

Agrael defeated Gilraen and his army (Gilraen manager to run away..)

Agrael: They fight well for star-gazing poets. If I am going to make it to Tieru, I'll need to clear out the towns on the way.

A new enemy faces the demon lord, an elven warrior Gilraen who has sworn to destroy him.
One more, one less... given the odds it makes little difference, but "one less" is still better. Gilraen is prepared to meet him again soon.

The elves are a proud people, who would rather die than face dishonor. The way across their land will not be a casual stroll, and Agrael must be prepared for the many dangers that he will face on his path. He must capture all three elven cities in the area.

After he capture first city…

Agrael: The town I needed, but not this letter. "For the glory of Sylanna" - who writes tripe like this? Gilraen, of course. "The stain on my honor cannot be purged but by a ritual duel" - is this all they think about? I have more important things to do than reprimand petulant florists. Gilraen's welcome to become my enemy if he wishes, but he would do well to learn that those who make that choice seldom live to make too many others.
After some time, Agrael realised that circle of druids has enchanted the land, so more and more creatures join elven armies every week. The way through the heart of Irollan could prove deadly if Agrael cannot overcome the druidic magics that assail him. Only after destroying the druids' power can the demon lord hope to achieve his goal.
Agrael: Gilraen, fortified towns, and now these raggedy druids and their hedgerow sorcery pester me! Druids! Either they get out of my way or I'll grind them into the dirt they're so fond of worshipping.

He capture second elven city and found druid grove..

Agrael: Gentle druids, it's harvest time.

After the battle with the druids…

Agrael: At last the way is clear to Tieru. And the irony of having to kill so many so that I can save the world is not lost on me.

After the second battle with Gilraen..

Gilraen: You have made a mockery of me and my name! Take my head and finish it.

Agrael: If your name means so much to you, stay alive and restore it. Dying is the easy way out.

Gilraen: I can't live with this humiliation.

Agrael: Then do it yourself! Life is too precious to be thrown away so easily, poet. One day you may figure that out.

Agrael captured last elven city and proceed further…

The Ship

Agrael must seize the elven seaport of Erewel and in order to set sail for the Dragonmist Islands to find Tieru. Alone against a whole country, without support and cursed by all, Agrael will either triumph... or die….

Agrael: Tieru isn't so far, but the battle's not over yet. I still need a ship - and the city of Erewel has plenty of them.

Agrael first captured elven town, but every day Agrael's army is losing troops as the elves are deserting, unwilling to fight their brethren…

Agrael: So the elves are deserting, are they? Temperamental troops at best. I need some demons that I can control, and there's a Sheogh outpost not too far that will do nicely.

Fortunately, there is a solution to this situation. Demons, his former allies turned enemies, built a fortress accessible from the elven woods. Those creatures would not dare to betray such a powerful demon lord, he will be able to drive them before him into any battle.
Agrael entered underground and captured demon city Ur-Nebyrzias, where he gather a demon army…

Agrael: Now we're back up to strength. A few hungry demons and the shipyard is as good as mine!

After that Agrael captured anothew two elven towns, but way to Erewel is blocked by very strong garisson. Agrael tried to find another way by underground tunels, and there is such way – blocked by shadow dragons..

A shadow dragon arrived…

Agrael: A shadow dragon! What do you want with me?

Shadow Dragon: We harvest, we stock, we convert. You will do us a favor.

Agrael: I may do you a favor. What is it? And why should I help you?

Shadow Dragon: One hundred archers. Elves. One hundred.

Agrael: That will take time, and while archers are plentiful time is not. What do I get in return?

Shadow Dragon: Something suitable, something for your little needs. Don't bargain! Start harvesting!

Agrael: You no longer command me, and your deals are always double-edged.

Shadow Dragon: Take our advice, take our help, give us elves. It will be worth your while.

Agrael: Yes, that was precisely what I needed right now.

Dragons! One can never know what to expect from these mysterious creatures. They can be powerful allies... or dreadful foes.

The dragons want Agrael to bring 100 Hunters or Master Hunters to them. If Agrael can manage to complete their quest, the road to Erewel will be cleared.

Agrael made his decision and either hand them over the elves…

Shadow dragon killed the elves..

Agrael: I don't feel very clean after that deal, but they provided an interesting reward. The road to the sea is open.

or Agrael fought the dragons….

Agrael: I've had enough trafficking in lives. Either the dragons let me through, or I'll grind them to shadowy dust.

After that, he came to Erewel, captured it and set sail in ship to Dragonmist island.

Agrael: I'd like to think that the hard part is over, but somehow I doubt it. I wonder what that fog is? All the dock hands were whispering about it…

Agrael's Decision

Agrael's quest is nearing its end, all that remains is to find Tieru somewhere in the magical fog of the Dragonmist Islands.

Agrael: Hmmm... The fog... They say it's alive, even hungry, and as old as Kha-Beleth himself. It's best that I avoid it if possible.

Tieru, a master of the Dragon Knights who has seen much of known history, has promised to help the rogue demon lord protect Isabel. Agrael has done well to get this far, and only one thing remains - to find Tieru somewhere in the mystical fogs surrounding the islands.

Only by using the Eyes of the Magi can Agrael push back the dreadful fog and locate
Tieru’s hideout.

Agrael fight his way through the sea, islands and underground, and finally reached Tieru (sitting on a high cliff…).

Agrael: So, could you try to explain this all to me, from the beginning?

Tieru: Very well. In the beginning, our mother Asha created the stars from the coarse matter of the cosmic egg...

Agrael: No! The Demon Messiah!

Tieru: I was just kidding. Well, then, you know of the War of the Eclipse - twenty years ago.

Agrael: Of course. The combined armies of men, elves, and mages fought Kha-Beleth. That's when King Alexei - Nicolai's father - died.

Tieru: Yes. I created the Heart of the Griffin then, saving a fragment of Alexei's soul when he entered Sheogh and Kha-Beleth took him. The brave fool. Like father, like son.

Agrael: Who are you? Really?

Tieru: A humble servant of Asha. I have spent the last two hundred years fighting the demon sovereign and his plans. And now, when I am old and tired, you show up to complicate things.

Agrael: Not I. I am simple. I only want to defend the Griffin Empire.

Tieru: Then why did you lead the army that fought Nicolai? How many Griffin soldiers died with him? Come, Agrael, there cannot be secrets between us.

Agrael: It... It is Isabel.

Tieru: By Asha's eight heads! I tried to factor every force and power into my plans, and forgot the oldest and messiest one.

Agrael: I watched her grow up, almost from birth. Kha-Beleth sent me to keep an eye on her.

Tieru: Do you know why?

Agrael: He never said. He must have foreseen that she would be the queen of the Griffin Empire one day.

Tieru: No, there must be more to it than that. I have a guess...

Agrael: Enough of Isabel. What of your dire warnings? And this Demon Messiah?

Tieru: It is the greatest of Kha-Beleth's efforts, to bring a half-human half-demon into the world. Unlike demons, it could remain in this world permanently. Unlike humans, it could wield the magic of Urgash.

Agrael: How? When?

Tieru: I do not know where, or how. That is what I am striving to learn.

Agrael: So how can I help?

Tieru: Change. You no longer follow the demon sovereign, you need to free yourself from his tainted magics.

Agrael: This is possible?

Tieru: The Rite of True Nature - it is exhausting and painful, but it will purge you.

Agrael: And Isabel?

Tieru: First you, my friend. Then we go to war to save the world.

Agrael: The world is your concern, Tieru. As I said, I am simple. I only want to save her.

Rite starts, Heart of the Griffin is given to Tieru, lying on nearby stone..

Tieru: You are ready? Once I start, I cannot stop.

Agrael: The sooner we start, the sooner I can act.

Tieru: Excellent. (Tieru started casting)

Biara shown up and try to steal Heart of the Griffin, Agrael used Heart with the spell…

Agrael (to Biara): Leopards do not change their spots, nor succubi their alliances. Bad decision. Bye-bye, sweetie.

Tieru: That was certainly effective. But the next time you see her, you better be prepared.

Agrael: What do you mean? I just killed her.

Tieru: Not at all. The Heart of the Griffin creates a portal, it sends the demons back to their realm of Sheogh.

Agrael: What?! You mean that all those demons that Nicolai destroyed...

Tieru: They were simply banished back home.

Agrael: So... the demon army is as large and powerful as it ever was?

Tieru: Precisely.

(Tieru told Raelag/Agrael his story, how did he became a Dragon Knight – about the events of the Day of the Tears of Fire)

The Necromancer
The Undead rise, the Griffin falls

Meanwhile, in the Griffin Empire, Isabel's position as queen is challenged by archbishop Randall and other local lords (lord Caldwell, duke Duncan from the Stag duchy), who began a rebellion. They want the Andrei, young boy and cousin of Nicolai, on the throne.

The Temptation

The Necromancer Markal (disciple of Sandro, former astrologer of queen Fiona, exiled by Godric and Nicolai after her death) decides to use the situation to his advantage, pursuing goals obscure to all but himself by joining queen Isabel in an alliance. He must traverse lands guarded by wizards to reach the frontiers of the Empire.

Markal is talking to queen Fiona's invisible spirit (he has her urn with ashes, and is talking to the tombstone where it lies..), somewhere on the Heresh/Griffin Empire border..

Markal: Have you heard the news, dear? It appears that your son Nicolai has just died.

Markal: Mm? But you should be happy. Just think - he has his whole afterlife ahead of him, rrripe with possibilities.

Markal: Eh? No, I haven't forgotten the day that he and Godric had me banished. Together with Cyrus and those crrraven Mages...

Markal: And his poor fiancee - she would do anything to see her love again, no? In any shape or form? After all, not even half of the peers and lords support her the rest want Archbishop Randall and that boy Andrei, Nicolai's cousin, on the throne. Turmoil, turbulence, treachery... The living are so hot-blooded, hmm?

Markal: Pay her a visit? An excellent idea. Let's pack our bags, then, shall we?

Markal: Oh, but you must come along. I'm sure you're just dying to see the towers of Talonguard again, no?

Markal has much to do to accomplish his plan. But that dosen't worry him, he has practiced a lifetime of meticulous planning to get where he is. The first phase of this plan is to reach the Empire, the city of Vigil.

The Wizards of the Silver Cities are the old enemies of the necromancers, and their patrols tirelessly watch the Canyon of Buried Alive. A meeting with the wizards would end in bloodshed, and that is not in Markal's plans... yet.

Markal luckily slip through the ranks of wizard heroes (Amin and Dgum) and reached the Griffin Empire.

If he is not lucky…

Markal: Blast! A fine plan goes awry. And so I must wait a few centuries... Asha, Queen of our Nether Realms, let me rest in thy contemplation until the time for revenge is again ripe...

If he is lucky…

He travelled to the city of Vigil (part way underground), and found that queen Isabell and Godric is in dispute with some rebels, city is besieged….

Markal: Griffin Empire rebels? Civil war? Now isn't that charming. I help defeat the supporters of duke Duncan, and Isabel owes me at least an audience. Isn't it lovely when fortune favors the pragmatic?

After the battle, Markal came to Isabel and her army, alone…

Isabel: I am in mourning and have slept badly, so I will not mince words. What do you want?

Markal: To see Nicolai again.

Isabel: Are you sick? He is dead, old man. He lies in the mausoleum at The Hall of Heroes, next to his father.

Markal: Indeed. He lies at peace, but he could rise again - if you wish it.

Isabel: Nicolai? Rise again... Who are you?

Markal: Your husband knew me as an astrologer and mage. I was a close friend of his mother. In fact, I carry a part of her with me wherever I go.

Isabel: Astrologer? Mage? What kind of magics are these if Nicolai was even beyond the help of Elrath's Archangels?

Markal: The Archangels are limited, Elrath himself is subject to certain laws. Asha the Spider Goddess, however, is above them all. She made those laws, and revealed their secrets only to a very few.

Isabel: The Spider Goddess? Asha has many faces and you refer to the darkest one. You speak of necromancy! This is heresy, old man. I would be off the throne and you would be burnt at the stake if I condoned it.

Markal: Really? I was not aware that you cared so much for the edicts of archbishop Randall. In fact, I thought he wanted to replace you. However, if my offer does not interest you...

Isabel: Wait. How? How could this be so easy?

Markal: Easy? I did not say that. The key lies in four artifacts that were stolen from me by king Cyrus.

Isabel: King Cyrus? The Archmage?

Markal: I hear in your voice that you feel as I do for dear old Cyrus.

Isabel: It would mean war...

Markal: It would mean justice, I think. Even vengeance for Cyrus's treachery. Most of all, it would mean... Nicolai. The rightful king... Your lord and liege... Your beloved...

Isabel: Very well. Let us see what it will take to get those artifacts. But be aware that I will be watching you - very carefully.

The Attack

Isabel’s desperation to see Nicolai again, even if it means breaching the natural order of life and death, has her believing every word that slips between Markal’s chattering teeth.

An alliance is made between Markal and Isabel, a pact between the dead and the living. The next step in the necromancer's scheme is to visit Lorekeep. Once a hive of necromantic activity in the Griffin Empire, this city was destroyed by fanatic knights. Its lands are now in the keeping of the mages of the Silver Cities, Markal's mortal enemies.

Godric heard the news from Isabel..

Godric: Markal and his evil magic! This is worse than treachery, this is blasphemy!

Isabel: I have given him protection, and my word.

Godric: But I have not! I have never trusted him.

Isabel: Why? He said he had been a counselor of queen Fiona, your own sister!

Godric: Did he tell you that I exiled him, with Nicolai's blessings, the day she died?

Isabel: What? No, but still, his plan has merits - return a king to the throne, chastise the mages. Should Cyrus go unpunished? Did he not laugh when you asked for aid?

Godric: Yes, he laughed at us - and at Elrath, and at our piety.

Isabel: The mages have no dragon, Godric. They are godless. Worse, they would make themselves gods...

Godric: And Cyrus is the worst of that arrogant lot. But our empire has been weakened, and war...

Isabel: The kingdom is fragmenting, only Nicolai's spirit can restore peace.

Godric: Maybe. Still, I do not trust Markal. We exiled him once for his schemes and treacheries, I fear what may happen if we let him return.

Isabel: We are wasting time, Godric, and the Empire needs us. As the queen I am going, and by your oath I ask that you follow me.

Godric: I remember my oath, and I will go with you. But that does not mean that I agree.

Lorekeep, the great city of necromantic magic, lies in ruins. Only there can Markal hope to find the ancient knowledge of the artifacts needed to revive king Nicolai. To restore Lorekeep, Markal will need to build a Citadel.

One of the artifacts currently lies in the city of Hikm. The capture of that city will not only bring the Amulet of Necromancy into Markal's posession, but also will start his war of vengeance against the wizards of the Silver Cities.

Markal and Godric crossed the sea, fighting mages on the way.

Markal stands before the ruined city of Lorekeep, defended by mages…

Markal: Lorekeep was a mighty center of magic, dedicated to the most elusive of Asha's teachings. Had mad king Oleg's fanatics not burned it to the ground, my mentor Sandro would not have died the final death. I will see it rebuilt. And when it is strong, the Mage's town of Hikm shall be the first to hear the news.

Markal liberated the city and rebuilt it to its former glory…

Markal: The glory has been restored! A new sanctuary to Asha's wisdom rises, and we shall conquer all! That is, the Griffin Empire shall conquer all, of course.

Titans, guiding nearby portal to Hikm, run away when they saw great undead army. Markal then attacked and seized the city of Hikm and with it the Amulet of Necromancy.

Near the gates of Hikm…

Markal: Isabel, my queen, congratulations on your brilliant leadership. We have taken the first steps towards rebuilding the Griffin Empire.

Godric: And you have taken the first step in your vengeance.

Markal: It irks you that we share a common goal. But don't let your ill will override your manners in the presence of the queen.

Markal: May I have the Amulet?

Isabel: I would rather hold it until the four are together. I have a responsibility to an entire nation, Markal.

Markal: You do not trust me? This wounds me deeply.

Godric: Please, queen Isabel, let me hold it for you.

Markal: Him! My queen, he, er, cannot comprehend the magnitude of our vision.

Godric: I have always had, and always will have, the interest of the Griffin Empire as my sole guide.

Isabel: You will give it to me when I ask for it? When we are ready?

Godric: Of course, my queen. Griffin eternal!

Markal: Even better, my queen. Griffin undying!

The Invasion

Markal is facing a new task: He must obtain the other three artifacts required to create the Vampire's Garment. They are the Staff of the Netherworld, the Cloak of Death's Shadow, and the Ring of the Unrepentant. To do this he must seize the Silver Cities and defeat three great mages, each of whom possesses one of those artifacts.

Markal: Cyrus, that idiot, broke the Vampire's Garment into four elements. The Amulet of Necromancy I have, But the Ring of the Unrepentant, the Cloak of Death's Shadow, and the Staff of the Netherworld remain to be acquired.

Staff of the Netherworld, second part of the artifact needed for reviving king Nicolai is held in Ziyad. When city is captured, the artifact will fall into Markal's hands. The Staff of the Netherworld is a powerful artifact which can curse a whole town, converting it into a necropolis. In these necropolises, Markal will be able to reinforce his army. The act of converting a city means, inevitably, the death of all the wizards there. That way Markal both gains a town and sets terror in the hearts of his enemies.

The Cloak of Death's Shadow is kept somewhere in the city of Bahiyaa. To get his hands on it, Markal must make sure that this city falls as well.

The Ring of the Unrepentant is the most powerful of all the Necromancer's artifacts and is kept in Al Safir, the capital of the Silver Cities, by Cyrus himself. Capturing this city will not only bring the Ring to Markal, but also will seal the fate of the wizards.

Markal and Isabell (Markal in Lorekeep and Isabell in Bayworth) build up their armies and started to attacking wizards. Isabell conquered city of Sihaarn, which is later too turned into necropolis.

Markal first captured city of Ziyad and with it the Staff of Netherworld…

Markal: Ah, the Staff of the Netherworld. Lovely. With this I shall convert the perverted mage towns to the truest ways of Asha. Perhaps I shall even use it to tap a jaunty tune on Cyrus's tombstone.

Markal turned the city of Ziad in necropolis.

Markal: The staff was quite a coup but I'm afraid it's not quite enough, what shall I do for an encore? Hmmm, an army of one thousand skeletons should do nicely.

Victory is assured if Markal can raise an army of numbers such as the world has never seen.
The necromancer now has the means to accomplish his plan.

After he gathered enough…

Markal: Such a lovely sight. One thousand soulless puppets, devoid of hopes and fears, helplessly bent to my will - it's enough to bring tears to my eyes.

In short time he besieged and conquered city of Bahiyaa, obtained the Cloak and cursed it with the Staff to another necropolis.

Markal: The Cloak of Death's Shadow! Cyrus's troops shall cower before me. I slip closer to my goal, and the noose slips tighter around Cyrus's neck.

Alaron, the king of the elves, has sent an army to aid the wizards. While Markal is busy with his own problems it falls to Isabel to defeat the elves.

Isabel: The elves! What are they doing here! What fool sent them to meddle in this? I shall speak to them... perhaps I can convince them to remain neutral. As seen, master hunter shoots from behind a footman and a peasant…

After the fleet is destroyed, Isabel is on the battlefield…

Isabel: Once again good people die for opposing us. Nicolai, my love, please tell me that the results will be worth the cost.

Markal finally attacked Cyrus in Al Safir.

But Cyrus ran away to the magical realm of the Ring of the Unrepentant…

Markal: There goes Cyrus, sneaking away with the aid of that charming ring. My ring. I shall have it back, with or without the finger it's attached to, but to do that I'll need more power. Twenty bone dragons, I think, should be sufficient to tip the scales.

The magic realm of the Ring of the Unrepentant is hostile to all exept the ringwearer. While Cyrus holds this artifact, Markal's army will sustain heavy losses. A large army of powerful creatures will be needed in order to succeed.

Markal conquered Al Safir, build a strong army of 20 bone dragons and followed treacherous archwizard….

Near the portal…

Markal: Wherever you are, Cyrus, I have my dragons. The sands in your hourglass fall quickly indeed.

The Regicide

Cyrus has slipped into an alternate magic realm in an attempt to hold on to the ring. However, this strategy may turn out to be his fatal mistake, as Markal commands an army of skeletons and bone dragons that can smash anything in its way.

Markal: And now the hunt, the kill, and the ring will be mine! It's enough to make you glad to be alive... almost.

Markal needs to find Cyrus in the magical reality of the Ring of the Unrepentant, defeat him, and capture this last element of the Vampire's Garment. He has not forgotten that it was Cyrus's troops who occupied Heresh and killed his master, Sandro.

As the upcoming battle leads to an inevitable victory, Markal is content to wait. In the end he will have the pleasure of fighting Cyrus, the cowardly murderer of Sandro, who ran here to hide in the Ring of the Unrepentant's magic realm

Markal followed cyrus through the maze full of magic monolits and portals and finally cornered him and killed him along with his soldiers.

Back in Ashan…

Markal: Triumph, my queen! Cyrus was loath to give up either the ring or his life, but I have taken both. Prepare the troops. We leave for The Hall of Heroes!

Isabel: Excellent!

Markal: Griffin undying!

Godric: Don't forget that you are the queen, Isabel. It should be you giving the orders, not Markal.

Isabel: We are allies, Godric. Stop worrying.

Godric: I disagree, Isabel. I think that we need more worrying - much more worrying.

The Lord of Heresh

Markal is almost ready to recreate the Vampire's Garment. The only thing that remains to be done is to take the Necromancer's Amulet from Godric and go to the Hall of Heroes, where Nicolai's body lies. There, Markal will perform the Rite of the Night to bring the dead king back into this world.

Near the city of Hikm, Godric is near the gate with two archangels, Isabel is on the road to the city with archers.. And Markal is watching from nearby cliff…

Isabel: I have come for the Amulet of Necromancy.

Godric: I still don't trust him. Markal has ruined an allied kingdom, raised hordes of undead, and now he orders you about like a scullery maid.

Isabel: You forget yourself! I am the queen.

Godric: Yes, you are queen - unless Markal crooks his finger. You have fallen under his spell, as Fiona did.

Isabel: No! I am doing this for the Griffin Empire. It is too late now for second thoughts. I order you to...

Godric: No, my Lady. I can no longer obey you, and I doubt that Nicolai would reprimand me.

Archers attacked, Godric is shielded and archangels casted darkness on archers…

Isabel: You think that Nicolai would prefer treachery? When he returns, let us be sure to ask him.

Godric: Enough!

Markal: So Godric has fortified himself in Hikm, and thinks to defy me? He seems to have forgotten that his daughter Freyda is in Newpost, and not with him. If I capture her and escort her in chains to Lorekeep for "questioning," the old fool will have no choice but to come and attack me. Really. Chivalry. It's soooo predictable.

A new obstacle has appeared in the Necromancer's path. Treacherous Godric, who learned of Markal's plans, has barricaded himself and the Amulet of Necromancy in Hikm.
Markal will have to find a way to get the artifact. To lure Godric out of the city, Markal must find the proper bait, and Godric's daughter will serve well. Markal can take her from the prison near the city of Newpost.

Markal and Isabell build their armies, and Markal then ride back to Newpost (town where Isabell is now), where he kidnaps Godric’s daughter.

Freyda is captured and escorted by wraiths..

Markal: She is a lovely bit of booty, that Freyda. And now a slow march to Lorekeep. We have to give Godric time to prepare his rescue, hmmm? Planning takes time for those of little imagination.

Godric is just a man, weak with his own fears and sympathies. He will do anything for the life of his daughter. Markal must bring Freyda to Lorekeep to begin negotiations.

This riles Godric, but the girl’s father dares not step foot outside Hikm, because he knows Markal will do far more unspeakable evil than murder his daughter if he gets his bony fingers on the Amulet.

Angels and archangels left isabel…

Isabel: What! They desert me, to follow Godric? But I am their rightful liege. Markal, you'd better deal with this quickly or we shall be nothing but a handful of generals with no troops!

Godric sends a small army of archangels to intercept Markal as he takes the girl back to Lorekeep.

Markal: He sent angels instead of coming himself! Delightfully unexpected. I'm tempted to thank him - I've never had the opportunity to kill an angel before.

After the battle…

Markal: The wings of dead angels are far more useful than the nasty birds themselves. Now I can fly straight to Hikm to chat with Godric. Perhaps I'll bring his daughter as well - after I kill her and resurrect her as a wight. Or perhaps not. It takes time to do these things properly.

Markal was in a hurry at this point; his grand plan was coming to fruition and he was more focused on that than on his personal entertainment. Freyda was no longer useful to him as he had already neutralized Godric, and he had better things to do than involve himself in petty vengeance.

With these wings, he can fly to Hikm and challenge Godric directly….

After the battle…

Isabel: Come, Godric. With the Amulet your king will be restored, and he would want you by his side.

Godric: I do not know what will be restored, but the king that I knew has passed beyond our reach.

Isabel: Godric! You made a promise to Nicolai. Fulfill it, or be known as an oathbreaker.

Godric: In my heart I do not believe that this is right. Oath or no oath.

Isabel: Guards! Take Sir Godric and put him in chains.

Markal: Who knows what plots he may hatch, stubborn and vengeful as he is? Alive, he cannot be trusted.

Isabel: I cannot, Markal. He served the empire loyally, for many years. For this I will spare him.

Markal: Let us hope that you do not live to regret this.

Godric is thrown in prison, Markal with Isabel begin their march to the Hall of Heroes…

Cabal
Leprechaun
Leprechaun
Posts: 36
Joined: 09 Jan 2009
Location: Karlovy Vary - Czech republic

Postby Cabal » Jan 10 2009, 12:34

PART IV

The Warlock
A hero is forged

Meanwhile, after his purification by Tieru, Raelag (former Agrael - dark elf; originally demon cultist from Souscar clan) began to fulfill his plan to save Isabel. He travelled to Yg-Chall

The Clanlord

Clan Shadowbrand, having lost their chief, follow custom and declare a tournament of heroes. An obscure warlock named Raelag hopes to win the tournament, take the clan's Ring, and become Clanlord.

Raelag arrived before Yalya, Keeper of the Law of clan Shadowbrand (and her two shadow matriarchs). Another dark elven heroes (Eruina, Sorgal, Vayshan, Kythra, Yrwanna, Yrbeth and Sinitar) are already there..

Raelag: My name is Raelag. Like the others, I wish to fight for the title of Clanlord.

Ylaya: News of the death of a Clanlord travels quickly indeed. Well, you have the right, as all Malassa's followers do, although you are not of the Shadowbrand clan. I am Keeper of the Law - judge and arbiter. And before we start, I must ask - do you know the rules?

Raelag: Instruct me.

Ylaya: The tournament is open to all. You have one month to prepare, and then you will descend to the caves and fight one another. If you arrive early to a fight you must wait until your opponent arrives. There is one winner, there is no second place.

Raelag: No matter, I did not come here to almost win.

Any Warlock can try to become the leader of a clan of Ygg-Chall, but few manage it. The most common mistakes are bad preparation and overestimating one's capabilities.
Raelag must use the time before the tournament to prepare himself thoroughly for the battles ahead. He has one month to prepare himself and build up suitable army.

After that, the preparations are over and now the outcome of the tournament depends only on Raelag's talent and luck. He had to defeat all of seven other contestants and obtain the the Ring of the Shadowbrand to win the tournament.

Raelag wisely waited and watched other warlock, as they fought each other. After they became weaker and some of them were defeated, he finally striked and won leadership over the Shadowbrand clan. He claimed Ring of the Shadowbrand..

Raelag: The Ring of the Shadowbrand, mine! And with it, the rule of the clan. It has been a twisted road that led to this place, but it is only a stepping stone.

The Expansion

Raelag, who now leads clan Shadowbrand, hopes to weld all the uncoordinated dark elf clans into a single, mighty state. Powerful and wily, Raelag needs to be well prepared for this enormous task.

Ylaya: What will you do now, Chief of the Shadowbrand?

Raelag: War brews among all the peoples of Ashan, and I would unite the clans before they are picked apart. What can help me to do this?

Ylaya: That is not for me to know. You must find Malsara, the Daughter of Malassa.

Raelag: And where is she hidden?

Ylaya: If I knew that, I could have answered your first question. May the shadows guide you, Raelag.

No one had any doubts about the fate of the clan, which had been doomed to extinction. Yet strong neighbours do not want to accept another Clanlord, even a tournament winner.
Raelag needs advice and a secretive, powerful Daughter of Malassa is the best place to get it.

Raelag found black dragon Malsara…

Malsara: Who are you who grows large in the eyes of my worshippers? Do you seek to replace me?

Raelag: Never. I too seek knowledge, and power. For my own gain, but for your glory.

Malsara: Honest, at least, if dangerous. But knowledge is power. Why do you not content yourself with knowledge alone? Ancient secrets of Ashan lie undisturbed, waiting to be uncovered. Seek them out, bring them to me.

Raelag: Right now I need power more than knowledge. Help me in my quest, and I shall help you in yours.

Malsara: You dare to bargain with the dragons?

Raelag: I have already bargained with demons and prophets...

Malsara: So you do not fear me?

Raelag: I worship you. I fear nothing.

Malsara: You will, one day. You will fear that which you love the most. But go, hero, with my blessing. Find one of the Tears of Asha, they fell ages ago when Sar-Elam gave up his life and Asha banished her own brother, Urgash. A clan building a city around this relic cannot but prosper and grow. Unite the clans, conquer your enemies and tithe unto me their knowledge, their secrets. Go!

The dark elven citizens of the city where the Tear of Asha is taken will build a legendary structure called the Mother of Darkness. This edifice will bring increase the city's might and magic, making it unusually powerful and prosperous.

The goal is clear - Raelag must build the Mother of Darkness in Virbeth, his new capitol.
He started his search for Tear of Asha, and go on the surface, where he defeated one garisson of clan Nigtshard…

Raelag: The Tear of Asha lies this way, through the lands of clan Nightshard. It is up to them whether they will be my allies or my slaves.

Clan Nightshard always wanted to take the Shadowbrand lands, and Raelag's attack upon one of their cities has loosened their inhibitions. Raelag must act quickly to capture all of the three Nightshard cities in this area, outstripping his enemies and preparing for his trials ahead.

Raelag continue his search and on the way captured first city of Nightshard clan..

Raelag: If I am not careful the Nightshard will call to their neighbors, the Soulscar, for help. I cannot let a messenger - or a spy - escape to Soulscar territory.

As Nightshard lost its first city, the panic began to spread (a good sign). But there is a bad side to this situation, Nightshard will now surely try to ally itself with the powerful Soulscar clan. A war with the Soulscar could upset Realag's plans, and he must stop all messengers who could escape to reach their territory. Luckily it is known that messengers will follow Nothern and Western roads that lay not far from entrance from dungeon.

Shadya ( a Biara in disguise), a powerful female warlock, shown up, she wants to join Raelag „for revenge over the clan Soulscar“ (which killed her family, that is her backstory)

Shadya: Greetings, Clanlord. I come to join your cause.

Raelag: You can sign up outside. Speak to captain Sorgal.

Shadya: Don't brush me off! I have been waging war against the Nightshard for years. Let me be the sword that strikes your enemies!

Raelag: Why you more than others?

Shadya: Your troops are good, but they lack my skills. Infiltration... seduction... and assassination.

Raelag: Hmmm. True. You know poisons? And stealth?

Shadya: I have been called the Spider, and the Shadow.

Raelag: Can you move fast?

Shadya: In the blink of an eye.

Raelag: Then I may have a special mission for you.

Shadya: Thank you! I swear that I shall not disappoint you.

Raelag: Not more than once, anyway..

..If Raelag failed to stop messenger…

Raelag: Malassa's bile, the Soulscar will be alerted! These chilly caverns are going to heat up.

The moment of truth always appears when you least expect it. The Soulscar clan has sent a powerful army which should deal with the upstart once and for all. It is now up to Raelag to try and defeat the Soulscar army, otherwise certain death awaits him.

After the battle with Soulscar army…

Raelag: On the other hand, this news can travel as quickly as the messengers can run - that anyone who tries to fight me will be crushed. Hmmm... maybe I'll send a few of my own messengers as well.

Raelag soon conquered rest of the Nightshard cities (on the way, he freed from Griffin Empire prison Vladimir – powerful necromancer, who helped him in his quest)..

Raelag: And thus the Nightshard clan becomes part of mine. A bad year is starting to get better.

He also found Tear of Asha and brought it to his capital, Virbeth, where he built Mother of Darkness…

Raelag: I wouldn't have described myself as power hungry, but I have to say that this feels great.

The Cultists

Now that he's ready, Raelag is going to clash with clan Soulscar - the mightiest of the clans of Ygg-Chall. If he defeats them, he'll see zero resistance from other, smaller clans. But there is one complication: Rumour states (as Raelag good knows) that the Soulscar are in military alliance with the demon lords.

Raelag: The decision is taken. The Soulscar refuse to yield, they will understand that this was a bad decision when we have to scrape them off our boots.

Ylaya: Why such fury, Clanlord?

Raelag: They would make us slaves, with demon overseers. I knew them once... I will never feel safe in Ygg-Chall as long as they live.

Ylaya: You are right, Raelag. Demons are the enemy of all of us, the Soulscar must be crushed before the rot spreads.

Shadya: But they are powerful.

Raelag: I've crushed demons before, and I look forward to another opportunity. Tell Sorgal to mobilize - we go to war!

Cities are the source of power for all clans. They serve for recruiting armies and provide the economic base for a clan. Capture their cities, and the clan will cease to exist.
This is Raelag's new goal.

Raelag (and Shadya) must conquer all Soulscar cities to crush their resistance. After he seized two of them (they are six Soulscar cities), demons came..

Raelag: So the Soulscar have invited their old friends to the party. No problem there - killing demons together with their cultists is becoming one of my favorite pastimes.

This is what Raelag was fearing - the demons, Soulscar allies of old, hurry to their aid. Raelag must destroy their armies, which threaten his conquest of the Soulscar .

Raelag fought few waves of demons, and finally fought last one - demon lord Deleb - and destroyed his armies.

Raelag: I don't imagine the demons will be back for more after that beating. Hey! Sorgal! Bring me a bootscraper!

After that he quickly conquer rest of Soulscar cities and therefore united the clans.

On the last battlefield, Raelag (with Shadya near) crushed by his spell (meteor swarm) last Soulscar army.. One dark elven assassin is still alive….

Raelag: You seem to be the only noble left alive. I have a question for you.

Argoth: You! I know you! (Raelag is former member of thic clan..)

Raelag: Silence! One more word, and I shall kill you and bind your soul to a leper's cloak. Where is the Burning Mirror?

Argoth: Never.

Raelag: You wish to spend eternity rubbing against diseased flesh?

Argoth: You wouldn't! Even to me.

Raelag: I would, and with pleasure. The Burning Mirror (artefact, which will show him Kha-Beleths plans) Where is it?

Argoth: In the Archdeacon's chamber! Behind Kha-Beleth’s idol!

Raelag: Thank you. I'll make it quick. (Raelag possibly killed him, not shown..)

Near the Burning Mirror…

Shadya: You seem to know much of these beasts.

Raelag: I was one, once. Now... if I remember correctly...

Using the Burning Mirror…

Kha-Beleth (through the Mirror, talking to Veyer): No, I will not empty the hells for you, coward. Go with what you have, and come back with the Griffin Queen.

Veyer (through the Mirror): But the Griffin knights are mighty, Lord. They have turned from Elrath, recruited bone dragons and armies ripped from the afterlife!

Kha-Beleth (through the Mirror): If you wish to know more of the afterlife, Veyer, just continue to disobey me. Go! And be successful.

The March

Raelag (with Shadya) wants to interfere with the demon sovereign's plans for Isabel, but he is short of time. The quickest way lies through an underground labyrinth, and Raelag is going to risk it.

Raelag: This labyrinth is the quickest route from here in Ygg-Chall to the demons in Sheogh. If I'm fast enough, I can catch Veyer's army before it moves.

If Raelag is going to stop demon sovereign from capturing Isabel, he must hurry. Veyer's army will soon leave Sheogh and march towards the Griffin Empire, setting a trap for the queen.

Raelag and Shadya entered the labyrinth, but found that the Keymaster (black dragon) is dead and the key from the gate on the way to Sheogh is stolen...

Near dead keymaster..

Raelag: Work this messy must have been done by demons. Malassa's bile! They have killed the Keymaster and stolen the key. Without it we risk getting as lost as they are.

Shadya: We can hurry back the other way, take the long route.

Raelag: No. I'll risk it. The assassin can't be far ahead, and I'm going after him.

Shadya: We're going after him, Clanlord.

Raelag searched the tunnels and went through the portal…

Raelag: Oh, look. I think we've found our assassin - demon lord Grawl, his master's favorite mongrel... Let me search in my pack for something rusty and jagged.

The accursed demon sovereign has forseen everything. The demon lord Grawl has stolen the key to the gate from the labyrinth. Raelag is running out of time to find him and retrieve the key.

Grawl escaped through another portal, and Raelag chased him (the portal leads to surface) and fought with him…

After the fight, on the battlefield…

Raelag: The key! It's time to go kill an army of demons. I'll keep their brains as a memento - if I can find a thimble small enough.

Raelag entered the way to Sheogh..

Raelag: There it is - awful old Sheogh. This is the best way to appreciate it - passing through at high speed.

Raelag's Offer


The shortcut through the Labyrinth has brought Raelag to the Demon's lands, the wasteland of Sheogh is all that lies between him and Veyer's ambush. Here Raelag will have only himself and Shadya to depend on.

Raelag: There'll be no help and no quarter here, demons aren't exactly famous for their hospitality.

The time has come for the final fight against Veyer.

The burning lands of the demon lords of Sheogh now lie between Raelag and Isabel, and the warlock can expect no help in this accursed place. Raelag and Shadya must reach the borders of the Empire.

The way is guarded by strong garrisons full of demons, but some of them can be avoided by underground shortcuts. Raelag fought the demons and used shortcuts, and on his way, he conquered three demon cities, but they were all immediatelly blown up, so he cannot get any reinforcements.

First city…

Raelag: What is Kha-Beleth up to? I needed those resources! He's playing at "scorched earth", the old cockroach.

Second city…

Raelag: I don't mind working alone, but this is ridiculous. Malassa's bile! Find me a town that's permanent!

Third city..

Markal: Enough! Somebody bring me the trickster that's doing this - or at least some of his major body parts.

Finally, he reached the border of the Gryffin empire. Isabel with Markal are near (they are on the way to Halls of Heroes, to ressurect Nicolai), but so is Veyer.

Raelag arrived just in time - Veyer's and Isabel's armies are preparing for the battle and there is a chance to frustrate the sovereign's plan. He must attack the demons first and save Isabel!

Raelag fought the demons his black dragons burned archdevils. Veyer saw that and saw that Isabel is near. He striked down her squire and tried to kill her, but, Raelag banished him by a spell, saving Isabel…

Raelag: Are you hurt?

Isabel: Not at all, thanks to you. Pardon my surprise, but I did not expect help from a host of Dark Elves.

Raelag: The ways of Malassa are mysterious indeed. I am Raelag, Clanlord of Ygg-Chall.

Isabel: You have the thanks of the Griffin Empire, Clanlord. I am...

Raelag: Queen Isabel. I know you.

Markal arrived…

Markal: Well, thanks to all, then, and we must be on our way. We have important business.

Isabel: Wait.The queen cannot go. She is in danger.

Markal: Danger? Here? Preposterous.

Raelag: Hear me out! I would not have come so far, leading an army, if I did not have a good reason.

Isabel: A moment, Markal. What did you say? I am in danger?

Raelag: Yes. This is the second time that a Demon army has come to the heart of the Griffin Empire, both times they came for you.

Markal: Ignore him, my queen. He sounds like a madman.

Raelag: Mad, you say? Mad for trying to figure out Kha-Beleth's intentions?

Isabel: There can be truth in madness, Markal.

Raelag: Lady... Queen Isabel, Kha-Beleth and the demons are after you, and only you. You must come with me. Bring your guards, if you wish. The journey is long but safe - through the lands of Irollan. (He want to take her to Tieru)

Markal: Queen Isabel is going to the Hall of Heroes, to recall her husband's spirit and restore her kingdom. The ravings of dark elves, sadly, are of somewhat less importance.

Isabel: I apologize for Markal's tone, but he is right. We have done much to get this far. Perhaps we can meet again, in more auspicious circumstances.

Markal: Come, my queen. Out of our way, if you please.

Raelag: Sooner or later I am going to get tired of saving her life.

Isabel and Markal arrived to Hall of Heroes.

Markal is preparing the ritual, skull in hands...

Markal: Soon now, my queen, you shall be reunited.

Isabel: Hurry, Markal. I am...

Markal: Excited?

Isabel: Afraid.

Markal: Why? I see nothing to worry about. (Markal completed the ritual and brought Nicolai to „life“)

Isabel: Nicolai! Nicolai! (Nicolai is „alive again“, but his form (and amazingly, armor too) is tainted, he is a vampire now)

Nicolai: What have you done! I was at peace. I sat before Elrath, beside my fathers, out of time and place…

Markal: Oh, that must have been lovely.

Nicolai: Then I was ripped, ripped as an unborn child from a womb. I am cursed now, do you see? I cannot go back! My soul is damned!

Isabel: No! My love, please, do you not feel, when you look at me...

Nicolai: When I look at you I do not see my bride. I see warmth and life, and I want to feed on it. (He goes to Isabel)

Isabel: (In fear, backing up..) Nicolai! Nicolai!

Markal: Stop. (Nicolai stopped, and fall on his knees)

Isabel: (Touched Nicolai and quickly stepped back) What happened? What went wrong?

Markal: Is there a problem, my queen?

Isabel: Nicolai. Nicolai! He is cold! Cold, so cold... (She fall on knees before Nicolai and broke down in tears..)

Markal: Well, the queen of the Griffin Empire can't be seen like this, hmmm? I suppose I shall have to run things until she feels better. Really. Such a tragedy. (Markal crushed skull in his hands to dust..)

Markal seizes the chance to declare himself ruler of the Griffin Empire…

The Ranger

Defending honor and country

The Refugees

War is inevitable. Small clashes happen every day in the borderland between the once allied nations of Irollan and the Griffin Empire. Elven king Alaron, whose domain has been destabilized by Agrael's raid and the fighting in the Silver Cities, wants to defer the beginning of the war at all costs.

Lord Caldwell and his people (possibly archbishop Randall and prince Andrei) , elven king Alaron and his captain - former elven emissary in Talonguard – Findan - met on the border of Irollan..

Lord Caldwell: Thank you for seeing us, king Alaron. The undead have rendered the Griffin Empire unsafe and impure.

Alaron: In these times we must remember ancient alliances, lord Caldwell. That is why I asked Findan to be here - he guards our borders, and was previously an emissary to your court at Talonguard. What do you wish from the Elves of Irollan?

Lord Caldwell: To be blunt, land. We seek a place for our families far from the blight of the necromancers.

Alaron: If I give you shelter, will Markal not bring war to me? What of our forests, our fields?

Findan: There is a risk to the Harmony, my king, but we cannot ignore old allies.

Lord Caldwell: Please, High king. You have land on the border that is lightly forested and unpopulated, let us use it. If war comes, we will be your buffer.

Alaron: You know Findan who maintains our borders, he was emissary to your court at Talonguard. He will act as guide and liaison. See lord Caldwell and his people to safety, but do not at any cost cross into Griffin Empire lands. The elves of Irollan will not be the first to spill blood.

Findan: I agree, my king. But still, I will not permit any foreign troops to cross our frontiers.

Lord Caldwell: Thank you High king, and you, captain Findan. The grace and honor of the Elves remains undimmed by time.

Findan is guarding Irollan/Griffin Empire border.

Findan has long served his people, most recently as a guard at the borders of Irollan.
War now looms between elves and humans, but the order to attack will not come...
Findan's task is defensive -- to hold the borders of his beloved land.

Irollan suffered heavy losses in the war with Agrael and the defeat of their army by Isabel. More time is needed to prepare for another war. With Irollan unready, Findan must be careful not to cross the border and risk all-out war with the Griffin Empire.

If garrison is taken by the undead…

The enemy has managed to seize one of the frontier posts, crippling the border line of Irollan. Findan will have to regain control over this strategically important location

Findan: The garrison must be re-taken, harmony must be re-imposed.

When garrison is taken back by the elves…

Findan: The garrison is restored, harmony maintained. Praise to Sylanna!

Findan protects the garrisons and routed few attacks of the necromancers.

Unexpectedly, a demon army (led by Biara – possibly on her way to Tieru) has appeared at the borders of Irollan. Findan must stop them at all costs and prevent another demon invasion.

Findan: Demons invade us? Irollan shall not succumb to their fiery swords.

Findan fought her and stop her invasion. (Biara managed to run away..)

On the battlefield, elven master hunters shooted down last demons..

Findan: That's one less threat to worry about. Though I would have liked to have captured the demon's leader.

Sprite arrives..

Sprite: I come from Alaron. The High Chief would have you return to the capital -undead and Griffin armies have invaded Irollan and we are almost encircled.

Findan: I will link up with other border troops.

Sprite: The king has ordered all of them back to defend the capital. You must come as well - Syris Thalla cannot fall.

Findan: I can't stay here and wait to be overrun. Very well. Tell the king that I am on my way.

The Emerald Ones

King Alaron met Findan..

Findan: Why are you here, my king? Everywhere the demons and undead press us hard - the Harmony shudders. The city needs you.

Alaron: I know. But the army is crippled, and until the emerald dragons return to us we will be helpless before their hosts.

Findan: Emerald dragons? They have not been seen for twenty years.

Alaron: I know! How well I know. We must get them back. Listen to me, Findan. I'll tell you how Alexei, Nicolai's father, died.

Findan: Is this really the time for a history lesson?

Alaron: For this lesson, yes. Twenty years ago, when we fought the hosts of Kha-Beleth, in front of his prison, he feared we would win and started to close the gates. Alexei and his household knights charged in, hoping to kill the demon sovereign once and for all.

Findan: Very brave.

Alaron: If Cyrus and I had followed... who knows? But I thought it unwise, and Cyrus thought it suicidal. I had a moment of doubt, and then the gates closed. We watched as the demons destroyed the flower of the Griffin Empire...

Findan: You did not join?

Alaron: I hesitated when I should have acted. The emerald dragons deserted Irollan that day, Findan. Because of me. I would go to make amends, but I must defend our city. To be frank, I do not know if they would listen to me.

Findan: Where do I start?

Alaron: The Blazing Sands. Those shores are in the hands of demons, so take enough troops to defeat them. Hurry! Irollan hangs in the balance.

Findan must find dragons in the region of the Blazing Sands -- now occupied by the demons -- and enlist their support in the war against the undead. Without their aid, Irollan is doomed to failure.

War is threatening, and the lands of Irollan will soon be invaded by the armies of the necromancers -- even now they are massing near the borders. Findan hopes to enlist the aid of the emerald dragons, who disappeared from Irollan after the War of the Grey Alliance.
But the task will not be easy as the Blazing Sands, the ancient home of the dragons, is under demon control. Findan must find emerald dragons and assemble twenty of them in one army.

Findan gather army and started to search for dragons and fight demons. He conquer one of their towns, and found emerald dragon held as prisoner by demons….

Findan: I freed from prison a lone emerald dragon;
he tasked me with this: I must free his kin.
He told me to seek them through secret obelisks.

After that, he sought obelisks, which revealed the hidden emerald dragons to him. He met them all and with them travelled back to the capital of Irollan, Sirys Thalla.

Findan: Such beauty, and hope;
emerald dragons once more
defend Irollan.

The dragons are willing to forget past disagreements if Findan helps them to clear the Blazing Sands of the demon blight.

Findan agreed and fought on, conquered two more demon towns.

On the battlefield, near last conquered demon city..

Raelag: A promise fulfilled;
The demon towns retaken.
dragons shall return!

The Defense

While Findan was absent, the army of the vampire lord Nicolai besieged the capital of Irollan, Syris Thalla. Findan will have to break their lines and lift the siege. The future of Irollan, the honor of the Elves, and quite possibly the fate of all of Ashan are at stake.

In the moments when Findan arrived, Syris Thalla, the ancient elven capitol, was captured by the enemy (heroine Anwen cannot hold off the undead)! The loss of Syris Thalla is not just the loss of a city - it is the loss of a symbol, a grievious wound, which Nicolai has inflicted upon the elven people. But Findan still has a chance to save his land. The future of his whole nation is now in his hands.

Raelag: Syris Thalla fell!
Her gardens rot and sicken.
Fear me, undead host.

Findan quickly fights his way to the capital..

King Alaron is still fighting, but his last soldiers are butchered by the undead and king himself is mortally wounded by their magic. Findand managed to save him, as emerald dragons burned the undead army…

Alaron: My fault... all my fault...

Findan: Rest, my king... The dragons are back - we will save Irollan...

Alaron: For how long? A week? A month? You must end it, Findan. Swear to me. Find Tieru, the sage. He will tell you the secrets of Kha-Beleth. Do what I did not have the courage to do!

Findan: My place is here, defending Irollan...

Alaron: Find Tieru before they do! Learn how to destroy Kha-Beleth! If not, all the warriors on Ashan will not suffice to defend Irollan! Tieru needs your help.

Findan: Where will I find him?

Alaron: The Irisus Sea. Dragonmist Island.

Findan: Shaped like a crescent moon. I know it.

Alaron: Swear to me!

Findan: Very well. I swear.

Alaron: Leave me, then. You are needed elsewhere, and I go to be judged by Sylanna.

Alaron joined in the forest (turn himself into a tree) to be judged by Sylanna..

Syris Thalla is free, but there is no doubt that the enemy will try to retake it.
This must be avoided at all costs, though Findan is its only surviving hero. If he should fall, no one will be left to defend the city.

He defeated many of their atacks, and after that, he started second phase of his plan…

Raelag: Tieru awaits me,
but Syris Thalla is weak
and needs more heroes.

The second phase of Findan's plan is to free two skillful military leaders who will be able to defend Syris Thalla while he is gone.

He sought to free Talanar and Diarel, two elwen heroes, inprisoned by necromancers somewhere in the land. He split his army, half is left in Syris Thalla to defend it from necromancers, half went with him to free two skillful military leaders who will be able to defend Syris Thalla while he is gone for search for Tieru. He searched the land, freed elven city of Erewel and conquered one necropolis.

Finally he found prisoners, one above and one under ground.

Findan: Two valiant heroes,
blooded and fierce in battle,
command in my stead.

The time has come to keep his promise and meet with Tieru. But if Findan leaves to travel to the Dragonmist Islands, Syris Thalla will be attacked. The city garrison must be prepared to repulse attacks. Findan assembled 50 elder druids, 30 silver unicorns and 10 green dragons do defend it.

Findan prepared the army…

Findan: A strong garrison
that can weather any siege
guards our capital.

Now he is ready to meet Tieru..

Findan: At last I depart
for lost and fog-shrouded isles.
Tieru awaits me.

The Archipelago

Now that an army led by Findan's apprentices stands guard over Syris Thalla, nothing prevents him from traveling to the Dragonmist Islands to meet Tieru. There, he will learn the truth of Alaron's worries of a menace endangering the whole world.

The Dragonmist Islands are a dangerous place for any unwary traveller. But now that the fog has gone, finding Tieru will be easy.
Perhaps Tieru himself lowered the mist to permit Findan to find him more quickly?

Findan: More than Tieru's home lies hidden in these waters,
say ancient legends.
Ancient artifacts are said to be buried here;
and the elves need them.

One of the legends about the Dragonmist Islands says that many ancient artifacts were hidden there. Looking for Tieru, Findan care to find these artifacts, as they may help him to win the war against the Undead.

Findan fought his way through the islands and caves under them, finding artifacts on this way. Finally, he nearly reached Tieru, but suddenly the demon army landed on the island.

Findan: Demons move quickly!
I run to defend Tieru.
Haste, haste, and more haste.

Findan fought Nebiros and his army of demons, but before he can stop her, old Dragon Knight and druid Tieru is killed by Biara (meteor swarm), who stole Heart of the Griffin and scroll with purge spell.

Findan found dead Tieru..

Findan: Alaron warned me too late...
Spirit of Tieru shown up….

Findan: What is... Master Tieru?

Spirit of Tieru: The succubus has killed me, stolen the Heart of the Griffin, and made her escape. At last Alaron did something right to send you here. But, as usual, he was too late.

Findan: Do not speak ill of the dead!

Spirit of Tieru: I will speak ill of anyone who deserves it. Besides, I go to join him in the afterlife where we can trade insults. Listen, I must be quick. I found out that Kha-Beleth laid his mark on an infant born on the day of the eclipse some twenty years ago.

Findan: Marked? How?

Spirit of Tieru: Don't interrupt. That infant was queen Isabel. Kha-Beleth's plan is to force her to bear a child, and that child is the one we must worry about. He will be the Demon Messiah, able to walk Ashan like a human yet wield the power of Chaos magic.

Findan: A living apocalypse...

Spirit of Tieru: Indeed. Now listen. I have put the last of my energies into an artifact - a scroll. Use it in a rite - a rite that must be performed on Isabel by a powerful mage, to purge her of Kha-Beleth's taint.

Findan: But I am no sorcerer.

Spirit of Tieru: Find one - a great one. Go to the Silver Cities and start with Zehir, the son of Cyrus. First get the scroll I made and the Heart of the Griffin from that succubus, then get word to Zehir.

Findan: It doesn’t sound easy.

Spirit of Tieru: Nobody said it would be easy. You're Ashan's last hope! Now get moving!

With luck, the death of Tieru does not mean that all is lost. Findan must pursue the murderers and solve the mystery of Tieru's death.

Findan pursued Biara to nearby island and defeated her..

Biara: Do not kill me! If you do the magic of Tieru dies with me.

Findan: Mercy is mine to give, if you deserve it. Give me the scroll, and I shall decide your fate.

Biara: I will buy my life with the one thing you seek.

Findan: The scroll.

Biara: For my life.

Findan: Of the two of us, only I can be trusted. Give me the scroll, and you may go.

Biara: You swear to this?

Findan: Upon my honor. Upon the honor of Irollan.

Biara: Oohh, lovely. I cannot ask for a higher oath from an elf. Here - you keep the scroll. I'll be going. It's not every day one kills a legendary Dragon Knight and gets pardoned for it. Ha ha ha.

Biara disappeared, (along with the Heart of the Griffin, Findan obviously forget to get it from her or was just glad that he can get at least the scroll)…

Findan: If I were not oathbound...

The Vampire Lord

While Findan was absent, the elves succeeded in lifting the siege of Syris Thalla and liberating much of the elven kingdom. But victory is not at hand yet, from southwest, Irollan is threatened by the vampire lord Nicolai. Findan will have to defeat this mighty foe.

Unused Opening Cutscene (from the data files)

Findan: I need to take most of our forces to capture Isabel, Galan. The more I think of Tieru's words, the more worried I am for Ashan.

Galan (bladedancer): So why do you need me?

Findan: I need someone to go to the Silver Cities. I can find Isabel, but I can't perform Tieru's rite on her. You must bring me a mage.

Galan: Just like that? Tie one up and haul him here?

Findan: Of course not. Find Archmage Cyrus's son, Zehir. Tell him everything. Take Alaron's pendant - they'll know you speak for all Irollan. Go like the wind - go and find him!

Findan's main goal is to fulfill Tieru's will, and save the world from the danger that Isabel potentially carries. However, Nicolai and his army are standing in his way, threatening Irollan.
Findan must forever banish Nicolai from the lands of the living

Findan: Alas Nicolai, a noble king and ally,
is my greatest foe.
Though the darkened skies chill my heart and strain my eyes,
I will not be stopped.

Findan (along with Talanar and Dirael) build up the army and attacked blighted land of necromancers, conquer necropolis cities, fought ghost dragons on the way..

Findan: We fight ghost dragons!?
These wretched fallen godlings
do not belong here.

After the battle with ghost dragons…

Findan: As the dragons die
Irollan’s pure light returns.
Coincidence? Not.

Findan finally found and fought Nicolai, but shortly after Nicolai have risen again…

Findan: Raised again, my foe!
Eternal Night lends him strength;
I must bring the dawn.

Night Everlasting envelops the lands controlled by the undead, allowing Nicolai to rise again and again. The Seer says that this problem can be solved if phoenix are present in the army. He has some and can give them to Findan if the latter fulfils his condition and finds the ancient dwarven artifacts: Dwarven Mithral Cuirass, Dwarven Mithral Greaves, Dwarven Mithral Shield and Dwarven Mithral Helmet - The Seer believes that only the hero who can manage to collect all these artifacts deserves possession of such majestic creatures as phoenix.

Findan: The dwarven artifacts,
once found, will signal the end
of Nicolai’s days.

Findan seeked and found all artifacts…

Findan: I found four relics,
as the Oracle insisted.
Now... the end begins.

He gave them to Seer and get phoenix in return. Now, he can finally destroy Nicolai and put him to enernal rest.

Findan: Cruel necessity
requires Nicolai’s death.
Alas, I am ready.

Findan: Irollan's pure light
shines upon me once again.
It ends, Nicolai.

After the last battle, Nicolai, is surrounded by the elves…

Findan: May this death be your last, king Nicolai.

Nicolai: Would that it were so, Findan. But what of my soul? It was stolen from Elrath, and will walk in emptiness.

Findan: I do not know. But I must destroy you.

Nicolai: I won’t oppose you. Quickly, now, Give me rest...

Findan: Ashan is out of harmony, when an old ally must thank me for killing him - a second time. Ahhh, Tieru. This may be harder than even you thought.

Tieru and his master hunters shooted Nicolai, and he died with the dawn….

The Mage
A mage confronts evil

The Defiant Mage

Zehir, son of Cyrus, Archmage of the League of the Silver Cities, wants to avenge the death of his father by punishing the murderer, Markal. His first step will be capturing Kadashman, a town of the Silver Cities now defiled by the undead.

Zehir and his tutor, wizard hero Narxes…

Zehir: So Markal took all his armies with him?

Narxes: He left some garrisons. They have returned to the Griffin Empire to resurrect their king, oh First of the Circle.

Zehir: Look, can you just call me Zehir?

Narxes: Yes, First of... Zehir.

Zehir: Try "Zehir the First", it sounds better. Let’s see. Markal is busy with his rebels and his attack against Irollan. And he still fights the demons.

Narxes: Put that way, it almost sounds like good news.

Zehir: It is. We must move quickly, before he can react. Build up the army, and then push back the undead. We’ll restore the luster to the Silver Cities, Narxes.

The once proud and beatiful city of Sihaam was cursed by Markal and became Kadashman -- a necropolis, where eternal night reigns.

But fate smiles upon the young mage, the undead armies are busy elsewhere and the city is not heavily guarded. Capturing Kadashman will be the first step in a campaign to liberate the Silver Cities.

Zehir's goal is ambitious, and he has much to do to reach it. To liberate his homeland, Zehir must become great even among the greatest of the wizards.
But war is an effective if brutal teacher, and Zehir can quickly become powerful as long as he keeps learning.

Zehir fought hard the undead, and he got some battle experience…

Zehir: Finally! I'm done with training and studying - now it’s time for action!

Zehir attacked Kadashman and defeated necromancers in this cursed necropolis.

Zehir: We’ve won back the town! I’ve got an army now, Markal, and every single Eldritch Arrow has your name on it.

The Liberation

Now that the leaders of the undead are busy warring in the lands of Irollan, Zehir has a chance to liberate the towns of the League. The Wizard will have speed and urgency as his main allies, but this may be not enough to defeat the necromancers -- they are also well versed in magic.

Zehir: Here we go. First I’ll take back all of our towns - even the boring ones - and I’ll dig up every bit of Sar Elam's lore that I can find in their libraries. And then the party is really going to warm up...

The three main Silver Cities were captured by the undead. Ulamburiash and Yafiah were cursed and transformed into terrible necropolises, where evil necromancers are recruiting new armies. Only great Al Safir was able to resist Markal's curse.
Zehir must liberate all three cities and return independence to his country.

Zehir fought hard to clear the land from the necromancers, defeated countless undead, liberated former Silver Cities, defeated and seized Newpost, city of Gryffin empire. Finally liberated the capital, Al-Safir.

Zehir: We did it! The only thing that's left of the necromancers is the smell.

The fight against Markal is at hand. Zehir must prepare himself, and ensure that the murderer of his father receives the justice he deserves.

Zehir rebuild Al-Safir to its former glory (its Magic Guild, most importantly), and prepared his army.

Zehir: Well, that's finished. I've mastered all the arcane lore of Sar-Elam, and now I feel like finding something to blow up. Like Markal.

Now, with all of the Silver Cities liberated and all the secrets of their arcane lore known to Zehir, the time has come to strike at Lorekeep, the seat of Markal's power.

After the Lorekeep was destroyed..

Galan: I come... with a message... from Irollan.

Zehir: You look exhausted. Rest first, and eat. Then we can talk.

Galan: Only running twelve days... test of manhood was worse... this is urgent...

Zehir: You see, Narxes? This is what I mean when I say urgent. Now, not after the next study break. Tell us.

Galan: It is from Tieru.

Narxes: A wise man, but unstudied. Too devoted to dragon mythology - can't think logically, you know?

Zehir: Narxes!

Galan: Tieru told us that the eclipse was used to mark a child as the mother of the Demon Messiah.

Narxes: Oh come. Prophecies? Who believes them?

Zehir: We all believe the ones that come true - with hindsight. Besides, my father spoke to me of this one. So, Galan, do we know which child was so marked?

Galan: Queen Isabel.

Zehir: Oh, my. Is Tieru certain of this?

Galan: He was sure. The demons killed him to try to keep the secret.

Zehir: Of course. That's why they keep invading like this, in small groups rather than ravaging hordes. They're here with a purpose, they're trying to get her. So we need to stop Isabel before...

Galan: Before the demons get her. There is a rite, one of Tieru's.

Narxes: Really. You can hardly call his dabblings rites.

Zehir: Narxes!

Galan: He put the rite on a scroll. Our leader Findan has it, and he is attacking the Griffin Empire to get Isabel.

Zehir: Well, Narxes, it will be a long time before we can study in peace and quiet. Call the battle mages! Let the Circle summon troops and servants! We march for Talonguard!

The Triumvirate

The young mage now faces a new task: to save the world from the evil that Isabel carries. Zehir will have to force his way through the Griffin Empire and join up with the army of Findan, who has defeated Nicolai.

Zehir: This town of Westwall will be a tough nut. High walls, moats, undead armies, Griffin knights... I have little interest in commiting suicide.

Narxes: Perhaps we should go home? I'm no Solmyr!

Zehir: I agree that we're a bit short on legendary djinns, but there must be something we can do. Wait. Undead and Griffin knights - they wouldn’t fight side by side willingly. And remember what Galan told us about lord Caldwell and the rebels.

Narxes: So?

Zehir: Rebels. Rebellion. It’ll be easier if the Griffin knights are on our side. But they won't follow me - they need a Griffin leader!

Narxes: The locals have told us that Nicolai's uncle, Godric, is in prison here. Perhaps he could...?

Zehir: Of course! The enemy of my enemy... Westwall will fall! Hey... that rhymed.

Zehir has crossed the border of the Griffin Empire. The young mage will have to cross hostile lands to meet Findan, who has already begun his attack on the Empire.
Together they hope to fulfill Tieru's last wish.

Somewhere here there is a prison where the valiant knight Godric is being held. Zehir decides to free him as this famous knight could help him to gain allies, helping him cross the Griffin Empire more easily and lead its freed armies better than himself.

Zehir found the underground prison and casted spell to set Godric free…

Godric: What death-magic is this...

Zehir: Quiet! I must be quick. Do you remember me?

Godric: Young Zehir! We met, briefly, while your father was busy laughing at us.

Zehir: He was not known for his philanthropy. But I am here to help Griffin put things right.

Godric: Then you have a large task before you, young Archmage.

Zehir: Believe me, I know that. I need your help, Godric.

Godric: Me? I am old and imprisoned. I have failed my king, my nation, Elrath... My time is past.

Zehir: I disagree. Would the Griffin knights follow you if you were freed? We could fight together against the Necromancers.

Godric: Take the field against Markal and his abominations? I may be old and worn but just break me out of this place, young Zehir, and you’ll see how the old hound hunts the weasels.

Zehir: Excellent!

Godric: One thing, however. You’ll help me free all the towns under his sway?

Zehir: Absolutely. It's party time!

Zehir understands Godric's wish to liberate the Griffin Empire from the necromancer's control. He is willing to help the knight, especially because these towns will be of great help in the upcoming war.

They came to garrison of Empire soldiers, guarding the way – they deserted and joined Godric…

Godric: They’re fine troops, all they needed was a leader to convince them of their errors. Whoever thought that at this age I’d have to learn the arts of diplomacy!

They started to liberate all four Gryffin cities.

Godric and Zehir, standing in front of Empire city…

Godric: When Griffin troops fight beneath an enemy banner or are holed up in one of their towns, they won't listen to diplomacy. That's when we have to do things the old-fashioned way.

After they liberated the cities, they met with Findan..

Zehir: We have come farther and faster than I had hoped. But it has been savage.

Godric: So many have fallen. Some that I knew...

Zehir: Yet Isabel and Markal are still at large.

Findan arrives…

Findan: Not for long! We have Markal cornered. Archmage Zehir and Lord Godric, I presume?

Zehir: Greetings, Findan of Irollan. It is an honor. So tell me, what is your plan?

Findan: For the elves the next step is simple - death to Markal!

Godric: Agreed. Heartily!

Findan: But that won’t be easy. Markal is no fool and he has prepared himself. His power resides in three legendary relics, the first is the Black Crystal.

Zehir: He has that? It lets you tap into an infinite well of magic. He can fire off spells all day and never get tired.

Findan: I fear it is so. Second, the Cursed Garrison.

Godric: I have seen it in action. It provides him with a constant stream of fresh troops - or freshly rotted troops, I should say. It makes his armies endless. It must also be destroyed.

Findan: Third, he has managed to find a Tear of Asha. It increases the power of everything he rules.

Godric: He must have taken the one from Dunmoor, and corrupted it to suit his needs.

Zehir: Let’s each take a target - I'll blow up the Black Crystal, Godric destroys the Cursed Garrison, and for Findan the Tear of Asha. Once we’ve destroyed them all, my friends, we’ll celebrate on their smoking ruins!

Findan: We agree with the intent, Zehir. For the Harmony!

Zehir: Griffin eternal?

Godric: As things stand, my friends, I would be content if the Griffin Empire lasts a few more days. I am no longer so bold as to predict eternity.

Markal found shelter in the town of Bel-zeri, which is blocking the road to Griffin Empire's capital city of Talonguard. Defeating Markal is more than just a strategic goal, as all of the heroes have their own reasons to bring him down. Victory, however, is not going to come easily.

Three heroes fought Markal together, destroyed Black Crystal, razed Cursed garisson and fought Markal himself.

Three heroes cornered Markal…

Markal: I accept your surrender.

Godric: Vile scum! For the abuse you have inflicted upon Isabel and the Griffin Empire!

Findan: ...for the butchery you committed in Irollan...

Zehir: ...for just about everything you have ever done anywhere!

Findan: That should cover it.

Markal summoned group of wrights, Godric and Markal fought them…

Markal: Well, I guess you'll just have to kill me; send me to the afterlife. You know, that's the best news I've had in weeks.

Godric and Findan stiked Markal with swords…

Zehir: Stop! Wait! (Zehir burned Markal with fireball to ashes – but as it looks like, his skull somehow survived or was restored, it can be found in HoF)

Godric: What's all this noise?

Zehir: Just making sure.

Godric: Of what?

Zehir: That he, at least, won't be resurrected.

Findan: There are certain advantages to having a talented Archmage on the team.

The Alliance

The war against Isabel and the undead reaches its final stage. Zehir, Findan and Godric will have to capture her and perform the Rite of True Nature. If all goes well, it will help the queen to avoid the terrible fate of becoming the mother of the Demon Messiah..

Zehir: Talonguard still stands as does her queen. Tell me, Godric, as a loyal knight and follower of Elrath, how do you feel about queen Isabel?

Godric: Lady Isabel must be healed. Barring that, she must be sequestered.

Findan: We may have to kill her...

Zehir: I would rather not.

Godric: I would rather not.

Zehir: If we can avoid it. The Harmony, Findan...

Findan: If there are demons involved, there can never be a Harmony. Let’s get into Talonguard, that’s the first priority, and then we shall see how to handle queen...

Zehir: Agreed.

Godric: Agreed.

After the deaths of Nicolai and Markal, nothing can stop the heroes in their mission to save Isabel. The only problem left is Isabel herself, who stands at the head of the Griffin Empire's forces. There are rumors throughout the lands of Isabel's insanity, and the heroes may have no choice but to capture her by force.

Three heroes fought their way through the southern dead lands, and seized four necropolis cities of the undead. After that, they reached sunny and green land near capital of Griffin empire, and liberated four haven cities…

On the road to Talonguard, heroes saw dark elven army…

Godric: What is this? The clans of Ygg-Chall again?

Zehir: Again?

Godric: They came and helped Markal and Isabel destroy a demon army.

Findan: Dark elves are allied to our undead enemies? We’ll simply crush them, then take Talonguard.

Zehir: Findan, they must have a reason. Let’s talk to them first.

Findan: But these are dark elves, who turned from Sylanna!

Zehir: They, too, are part of the harmony.

Findan: Ah... yes. I fear I have been too long at war.

Godric: Not much longer now, my friend. Come, let us parley first, and then see if we must come to blows.

Again, as they did before, an army of dark elves has emerged to protect the young queen.
At that time Raelag's forces saved Isabel, so no one can be sure of who is on which side now...

Heroes approached dark elven army, Shadya came to Raelag at the same time…

Raelag: Shadya! I barely sent word...

Shadya: Our spies told us of Zehir, Findan, and Godric. I came immediately. However...

Heroes arrived…

Godric: Who are you and what are you doing here, blocking the highways of the Griffin Empire?

Raelag: I know you, Godric, but not your friends. Out of courtesy, however, I shall go first. I am Raelag, Clanlord of Ygg-Chall, and I am here to kill demons.

Findan: I am Findan of Irollan, dark elf. We're going to Talonguard, and if we must crush you to get there few tears will be spilled.

Raelag: Really! Such anger. It's so... unharmonious.

Findan: How dare you!

Zehir: I am Zehir, Archmage of the Silver Cities. Our business is with queen Isabel.

Raelag: What sort of business?

Zehir: There is a... concern, other than the undead.

Raelag: Demons?

Zehir: Exactly, it's actually a sort of...

Raelag: Prophecy?

Zehir: Exactly. A sage...

Raelag: Tieru...

Zehir: What? You know him as well? He gave Findan an artifact for a rite. It is her last hope.

Raelag: I see. So you wish to perform this rite on Isabel?

Zehir: Exactly.

Raelag: Then I will join you.

Findan: You will not!

Raelag: I will see that she is given every chance. I do not want to see her harmed.

Raelag: None of us do. But if she cannot be healed...?

Isabel is waiting for them. She is still mad from the effects of Markal’s influence and the shock of seeing her beloved turned into a vampire at her own hands. She will fight, since she doesn’t know who to trust anymore.

Five heroes defeated her and take here to the Talonguard cathedral – to perform the Rite of True Nature..

Deleted Victory Cutscene (from the data files)

Raelag: Isabel!

Isabel: Yes?

Raelag: You should have come with me.

Isabel: To see Tieru?

Raelag: No, before Nicolai's death.

Isabel: You! You are the one...

Raelag: I wanted to save you from all of this - Nicolai, the demons...

Isabel: You are the beast Agrael! The one who killed Nicolai!

Raelag: Nicolai was called to Elrath, Lady. As for Agrael, the demon lord sent to watch over you, he no longer exists. Because something unexpected happened. I fell in love. I wanted to take you away, to save you, and then Godric returned from the Silver Cities…

Isabel: Nicolai. What have I done to you...

Raelag: I was trying to escape, with my forces, but Nicolai came to stop us... I cannot say how sorry I am. I hoped to make it up to you. To protect you, to defend the Griffin Empire, to fight the demons...

Zehir: Excuse me, Raelag, but we must perform the rite. We should hurry - it will take time to prepare. Isabel, the rite...

Isabel: Let it be done. Purified or dead, I will be better off than now.

Ritual started, five heroes gather around Isabel, lying on altar…

Raelag: Be strong, Isabel. Have faith. We will get you through...

Zehir: Please, Raelag. I must concentrate. (Zehir started to cast Ritual spell)

Shadya came closer, casted a spell --- Kha-Beleth shown himself…

Kha-Beleth: Clean geometry, fresh ingredients, perfect diction… You do good work.

Shadya changed her form to her true self – Biara (with Heart of the Griffin in hand) She jumped on altar and have taken Isabel to Sheogh..

Kha-Beleth: But not good enough. (Kha-Beleth disappeared..)

Raelag: (Running) Isabel! Isabeeeellll!!!

Heroes thinking…

Raelag: Can we follow them?

Zehir: They are distant - geographically and spiritually, in the demons' jailworld of Sheogh.

Findan walked to altar and picked up Heart of the Griffin, dropped by Biara…

Findan: What about this?

Raelag: The Heart of the Griffin! I know it was made to banish demons, but can we use it on ourselves?

Zehir: Ahhhhhhh... Ahhh... Ah-ha! (Zehir hold it, thinking…)

Raelag: Well? Can you? Can you send us as well?

All heroes are teleported to Sheogh…

Zehir: How's that!

Zehir's Hope

The unexpected outcome of the Rite of True Nature compels Zehir, Findan, Godric and Raelag to follow Biara to Sheogh, where the sovereign is imprisoned. They hope to make up for their failure and save Isabel.

Raelag: Kha-Beleth’s lapdog, Biara, should be here in Ur-Hekal. The only question we’re going to have is who gets her head.

Isabel was captured by the demon sovereign, and he will do everything to fulfill his chosen destiny. The heroes have little time to correct their mistakes and save the Griffin queen -- and the world.
Heroes fought through the garrisons and reached Ur-Hekal..
The way to demon sovereign's Palace is blocked by Ur-Hekal, the demon capital sheltering Biara, place where king Alaexei died some twenty years ago. Heroes fought the demons and seized Ur-Hekal, and captured Biara. All the heroes have their own reasons to confront her, but the overriding one is that Biara knows where to find Isabel.They must capture Biara and find the way to Isabel and the demon sovereign.

After the fight...

Zehir: Oh Biaraaaa. It's payback time.

Biara: Idiot. Fool. Falling in love with that child. You almost ruined everything...

Raelag: I take that as a compliment. I enjoy ruining your plans.

Zehir: And we enjoy helping him do it.

Raelag: That was for Isabel! (Striked Biara with spell)

Raelag: That was for Shadya! (Striked Biara with spell)

Biara: What? I was Shadya!

Raelag: Fine, then that's just because I like hitting you. (Striked Biara with spell)

Zehir: That one, Biara, was for all of Ashan. (Striked Biara with spell)

Biara: Stop! Enough. Kill me and your girlfriend dies too.

Raelag: What?

Biara: Isabel. She lives. Spare me, and I will lead you to her.

Raelag: I will twist your body and soul until you beg to tell me!

Zehir: Don't, Raelag. Don't become like them again. Where, Biara? Where is she?

Biara: Come. This way.

Raelag: It's a trap.

Zehir: Traps can be blown up, Raelag.

Raelag: Not with Isabel inside! If she is the bait in the trap, I'm willing to spring it.

They are finally in front of the citadel of Kha-Beleth. First, they destroyed shield that surrounds citadel with catapults. Now, they are ready to attack demon sovereign, Kha-Beleth.

Heroes are standing before Kha-Beleth and his demons…

Zehir: Where is she?

Biara: Ha-ha-ha...

Kha-Beleth: What perfect timing. I was just about to put the kettle on. Raelag, is it? Might I have a word with you?

Raelag: My friends call me Raelag. You can call me Agrael.

Kha-Beleth: Such petty rudeness. Can’t we discuss this like gentledemons?

Raelag: What do you want?

Kha-Beleth: She does have that glow, doesn't she? Bearing my child so agreed with her.

(Isabel was impregnated by the demon sovereign, who accelerated her pregnancy and then stole the child. The child will be raised for another twenty years under the protective eyes of demon worshippers.)

Isabel is here, guarded by demons…

Raelag: You...

Kha-Beleth: Look. I have the child, I don't care about the woman. You can have her back.

Raelag: If...?

Kha-Beleth: If you help me get rid of these pesky friends you brought along.

Raelag: Never. I won't betray everything that I have struggled to gain, even for Isabel.

Kha-Beleth: You see what spending too much time in the Griffin Empire does to your sense of priorities? If you won't join with me, then you will die here!

Raelag: Remember when you told me that I was next?

Kha-Beleth: Yes?

Raelag: I wasn’t. You are.

The last fight begins.. (Biara slips away sometime during the fight).

Heroes won, and now are, striking spells on Kha-Beleth..

Raelag: Take that! There's plenty more where that came from.

Findan: Take that! Evildoer!

Godric: By the Light!

Zehir: Take that!

Kha-Beleth: This is only a battle. The war will still be mine. (Kha-Beleth teleported himself away)

Zehir: What did he mean by that?

Raelag: I don't know - it’s your job to figure it out. I just want to get Isabel safely away.

Zehir: Agreed. With Tieru's artifact and Sar-Elam's wisdom, we can heal her.

Findan: Not so fast. She has been tainted. She should stay here.

Isabel: Hey!

Zehir: You would make her stay?

Findan: Of course. She has given birth to the Demon Messiah.

Raelag: Malassa's bile!

Godric: No. I say we save Isabel.

Zehir: Stop worrying! I can open a portal to the Silver Cities. There we can restrain her, if it is necessary.

Godric: Are you sure you can?

Zehir: Sar-Elam was a greater mage than even Kha-Beleth.

Findan: You may be bartering with the future of the world...

Zehir: Not at all, Findan. You must trust me.

Findan: Very well. Let us see…

Events after campaigns – my speculation…

All heroes were teleported to Silver Cities. After that, Zehir may have repeated cleansing ritual. Findan went to rebuild Irollan, Zehir started to restore Silver Cities.

As I see it – Isabel had enough and was completely tired and burned out (she lost Nicolai and then damned his soul by her pact with Markal, then she break down and Markal started bloody war, all because of her weakness – and then Biara captured her, Kha-Beleth raped her and she gave him a child – Dark Messiah – after a few days of magically accelerated pregnancy). She just want to forget all this madness and rest for a while – and here was Raelag, who love her and just wanted to protect her!. They most probably travelled for some time together (Yg Chall is near Griffin Empire) so they talked and after some time, she started to like him and want to spend some time with him.

Isabel told Godric to go back to Griffin Empire alone, and that she will come later, after some rest with Raelag . Godric started his long way to the Griffin Empire, Isabel and Raelag reached Yg Chall – Raelag left his armies and disappeared with Isabel to his secret home.

On the way, some demonic cultist have stolen from him Heart of the Griffin (Isabel most likely gave it to him to take it back to Hall of Heroes), which was used to bring Biara back on Ashan (how???). She masked herself as Isabel, told Godric that she has changed her mind, and they travelled together back to to Griffin Empire…

From official story – Chronicles of Ashan - The Demon Sovereign, the Prophecy of Sar-Shazzar, and the Dark Messiah

By Jeff Spock, Writer, and Erwan Le Breton, World Coordinator

King Alexei's soul is stolen (well – Heart of the Griffin, stolen from Godric who is on his way back to Empire, I think) and in 971 YSD (Just after end of HOMAM V) its power is used to bring a succubus to Ashan; a succubus named Biara who arrives at a moment when she can take the place of the true Isabel (As I see it, she just came to Godric and told him that she has done her part with Raelag) The real queen remains lost in the wastes of Sheogh with her protector, Raelag... (Sheogh?? Zehir teleported them all to Silver Cities!! –They are in Yg-Chall!!)

After some time, Isabel/Biara and Godric are back in Talonguard, in the spoilt Talonguard cathedral..
(Outro)

Godric: Praise the Light that we have made it back soon..

Isabel/Biara: I think the Talonguard cathedral will need new doors.

Godric kneels and pray, and Isabel – Biara in disguise – talks to herself…

Isabel/Biara: I think what the Talonguard cathedral really needs is a new priesthood, (she kneels) and you as your new god my lord!!

Godric came and put his hand on her shoulder..

Godric: Come Isabel. We have much work to do.

Isabel/Biara: You cannot imagine the half of it, Godric. A would like to get started immediately. (Her eyes glows red..)

Cabal
Leprechaun
Leprechaun
Posts: 36
Joined: 09 Jan 2009
Location: Karlovy Vary - Czech republic

Postby Cabal » Jan 10 2009, 12:45

PART V

New enemies (same time as start of the events in Hammers of Fate)

The echoes of the latest War of the Eclipse swept over the world like a mighty wave, and some used that to their advantage. Yrbeth, the child-prodigy among the dark elf warlocks, took advantage of Findan’s absence and seized a number of elven towns. Their inhabitants dead, the towns are now controlled by elementals summoned by the powerful witch. Findan has come back from war, but will not be able to rest. Duty demands that he liberate the occupied towns and defeat this enemy before his war is truly over.

Findan returned from Sheog and just arrived home to Irollan. Elven armies are fighting with elementals, led by renegade druids…

Findan: Galan, what is this. Renegade druids, you say? Markal... Kha-Beleth... Have not our people already suffered enough?

Galan (wardancer): Would that your homecoming were more agreeable…

Findan: Some homecoming, when duty calls relentlessly. And so, we must go.

Galan: We have some news from the captured cities. The false druids have lost favour with Sylanna - instead, they have been summoning elementals in great numbers.

Findan: A grim task indeed.

Galan: There must be a way to fight them!

Findan: There certainly is. They are both rash and foolish, or just forgetful. They should remember our chosen enemies fall like leaves in the wind.
One shouldn’t trust his foes of old: time has no power over old resentments, and the price of confidence may be too high. While Findan was fighting the demon sovereign side by side with Raelag, another sorcerer, Yrbeth, has attacked the elven towns. It’s time for requital, and it’s time for Yrbeth to die. All the towns captured by the enemy must be liberated to restore peace in these lands.

Findan fought elementals and liberated four elven cities, one after another. After that, he entered underground and besieged dark elven city of Thilgathal, last stand of Yrbeth. After long battle, he was able to defeat her.

Findan: And so they wither, corrupted druids who turned against their own kind. The end may be just, but it is still not pleasant.

Galan: And you Findan… What will you do now? Will you be our next High King?

Findan: By Sylanna's grace, that is a role I seek not and desire not. My wish is to rest, quietly, contemplating the peace I have won.

Temptation (same time as start of the events in Hammers of Fate)

Upon the death of Archmage Cyrus the role of Supreme Mage of the Circle was given to his son, Zehir. On Zehir’s right hand is the Ring of the Unrepentant (taken back from Markal), the magical artifact that leads to a dimension that became his father’s grave. Faced with difficult political and administrative tasks in rebuilding the Silver Cities, Zehir often wishes he had his father's shrewd diplomatic skills to help deal with other powerful mages -- his cantankerous co-rulers.

Zehir returned from Sheog and started to rebuild Silver Cities…

Zehir: Narxes! Where did this come from?

Narxes: (looking in to the scroll) Uhhhh…

Zehir: Really? Where exactly is "Uhhhhh"? Narxes, this text indicates that my father may still be alive, locked in the dimension of the Ring of the Unrepentant where Markal killed him.

Narxes: And you wish to bring him back? You weren't that close…

Zehir: He still didn't deserve to die like that. Besides, he could help me counter the intrigues of the Wizards of the Circle. Really. The next time I save the world, I'll leave those whining old ninnies out of it.

Narxes: Whining old ninnies! Zehir, those are the most aged and respected wizards upon the face of Ashan!

Zehir: Well, at least we agree on "most aged". Narxes, I'm going to chance it. If I can bring my father back, it will be better for the Silver Cities.

Narxes: I agree, Zehir. But still…

Zehir: No "buts". Let's go! Look at this. Here we are chatting when there's work to do.

Cyrus was not an ideal ruler, and his subjects and allies were often reproachful. But the Supreme Mage did not deserve to die the way he did. Perhaps his son Zehir will be able to right this injustice. To do so, he needs to find the place where Cyrus died, within the magical reality of the Ring of the Unrepentant.

Zehir travelled through the magical reality, which now resembles desert canyons with a big lake, connected by portals. Finally, he found portal which leads to the island in the centre of the lake, and then travelled through the last portal to the underground, where Cyrus died.

Zehir found his father, Cyrus, surrounded by a red and green mist
(– in fact, it is a trap made by Markal, and as i looks, his soul is now hidden there with undead army – he must left the undead there when he first entered the magical reality of the Ring)…

Zehir: Father! Do you hear me? I have come to revive you!

Cyrus/Markal: Get on with it then.

Zehir: Hello? Did I just hear "thank you"? Did I just hear "What an amazingly talented Wizard you must be"?

Cyrus/Markal: Oh, uh, yes. Thank you. Very good. Uh, … Get on with it then!

Zehir: That… doesn't sound like you, father!

Cyrus/Markal: Look, boy, we don't have time to chat. Get me out of here and then we can talk all you want.

Zehir: That doesn't sound like you… or like him, I fear I should say…

Markal: (Changed to his true form) You're close enough for me to take it. Yes!! Freedom! I'll have my vengeance on you, Zehir!

Zehir: Markal? Father… You wove your web well, follower of the Spider Goddess.

Markal: Youth. So trusting. So… ripe for the harvest. He moved to Zehir…

Zehir: I'm looking forward, Markal, to removing the prefix "un" from the adjective that best describes your kind.

Zehir fougt Markal once again and destroyed him even in this form.

The Union (same time as start of the events in Hammers of Fate)

The death of Markal spelled the end of the short reign of the necromancers. In some remote or hostile areas, however, necromancers lived in relative peace with their neighbours and were spared the subsequent bloodletting. The Vale of Sorrow is one such place, and Giovanni (vampire lord and necromancer, brother of undead princess Lucretia (they were nobles in Bull duchy) hopes that it will stay that way. His hope is based on his alliance with lady Ornella (young noble from the Bull duchy) whose kin cursed her for loyally serving queen Isabel and her twice-dead husband. The necromancer hopes that using his alliance to his best advantage will let him make a stand for the Vale of Sorrow.

In the Vale of Sorrow, near Heresh/Gryffin Empire border…

Giovanni: This war has gone on too long. I'm tired. Dead tired. That was a joke, Pelt.

Pelt: (plague zombie): NNrrrrrr…

Giovanni: Your conversational wit overwhelms me. Praise the Spider Goddess that I at least have lady Ornella to talk to.

Pelt: Grrrggghhh

Giovanni: I see that I shall have to plan my strategy without the aid of your penetrating analytical mind, Pelt. Hmm. The wizards control three towns, and I must drive them out or we shall all die the final death. Even you, my verbose sidekick.

Pelt: Ahhhhkkkhhh (falls to the ground)

Giovanni: Yes, thank you, that helped a lot. Let's see. I can create troops as I need… but they are simple skeletons, not useful for much. I must find a way to develop them… perhaps Ornella could help… She has skills that I lack.

Pelt: Brblblrrllblblr (stands up)

Giovanni: I'm afraid I have to interrupt our little chat, Pelt. I have an army to save, and some wizards to chastise.

They came to the gate, where Ornella is waiting…

Giovanni: Lady Ornella, dear friend and ally, I come to you in my hour of need.

Lady Ornella: What do the necromancers want from the Griffin Empire?

Giovanni: Oh, so blunt. Actually it seems to me that we have need of each other. I can raise armies of skeletons, but they need training which we are ill-equipped to provide. They are brutes of little finesse.

Lady Ornella: And you do pride yourself on your finesse. So I see what you need from me. And what do I need from you?

Giovanni: Are you not curious? Would it not be pleasing to learn all that can be learnt in a long life dedicated to… finesse?

Lady Ornella: Giovanni, you speak of seduction.

Giovanni: No, no, no, dear Lady. Not seduction… instruction.

Three towns of the Silver League support the mages who wish to eliminate the last necromancer. But once these towns fall the Circle will have to retreat, leaving the dead to rest. This is the task that Giovanni and Ornella must perform.

Giovanni and Ornella build up armies in their cities, and together attacked mages.

Giovanni: Lady Ornella, you were marvellous. The Wizards have been driven back, and we have secured a safe haven.

Ornella: All is well for you, then. But my duchy has disowned me for helping you. I must throw myself upon your mercy.

Giovanni: You poor dear. And it's all my fault. I must make it up to you somehow. Perhaps I could find an enjoyable way for you to pass your time in exile…

971 YSD. Hammers of Fate

Hammers of Fate

Queen Isabel's war is over and the Griffin Empire is on its knees. The Empire is paralyzed by a vicious civil war, having barely recovered from the massive conflict against the demon hordes and the undead legions.

Isabel/Biara, now worshipped as a Saint, leads a merciless inquisition to purge the Empire of any trace of corruption. New archbishop – Alaric – is mindless fanatic, and butcher Laszlo is now prominent commander of troops.

Rebel forces gather at the fringe of the realm to counter the queen's fanatics. Meanwhile, from the north awakens a new power. After centuries of isolation, the mountain lords once again fuel their forges and blow their war horns...

Angels and archangels have left Griffin Empire armies, as they feel the taint in false queen..

Freyda's Dilemma
Civil war splits the Griffin Empire

The Rebels


The Griffin Empire is falling apart. Refusing to accept the rule of queen Isabel/Biara, some members of the nobility (DukeDuncan -most likely descendant of Brandon Falcon, son of last Falcon Queen Maeve Falcon-, lord Caldwell, former archbishop Randall, princ Andrei) are openly opposing her. Her recent canonization has hardly helped matters, and they whisper that she has not been the same since her return from Sheogh.. No doubt these rebels will soon be dragged before a court of justice, which will inflict a harsh penalty on those who betray of the throne.

Freyda and Godric are training the troops, Freyda defeats group of squires…

Godric: Good. Good! You fight well. You're strong, disciplined, loyal...

Freyda: It sounds like you're complimenting a dog, father.

Godric: I should add stiff-necked and unpredictable, perhaps.

Freyda: No traits that I should be ashamed of.

Godric: True. And I fear that your talents will be needed soon. The great game of politics is occasionally played with living pieces.

Freyda: As it is now…

Godric: Those stories sadden me. I loved her, protected her...

Freyda: Protected her?

Godric: I don't like it. Isabel crowned queen and made a living saint by the red priests of the new church... Rebellious lords seeking asylum with former allies... that snake Alaric named Archbishop... And where did the angels go?

Freyda: It worries me too. Sometimes I think that Isabel is-

Isabel/Biara arrives on horse…

Isabel/Biara: Yes, what am I?

Freyda: You are... the queen, of course…

Isabel/Biara: I am glad to hear your protestations of devotion, Freyda. For you are going to war.

Godric: Freyda! To war? But I am the commander of the Griffin armies-

Isabel/Biara: No longer. I thought to name Laszlo, but I think Freyda is more suited. You shall be my advisor, Godric. Your experience is too precious to risk on the battlefield.

Godric: But... Freyda! She is... she is...

Isabel/Biara: She is the most able commander we have. Can you name another? I thought not. You depart in three days.

Godric: Three days! That's not enough time to muster troops.

Isabel/Biara: We are in a hurry. More troops will follow. We are recruiting new units. Stronger, more... obedient. Make yourself ready.

Freyda: My queen.

Isabel/Biara leaves…

Godric: New troops? Leaving unprepared? Promoting that beast Laszlo? Hmmm… Surround yourself with loyal troops, Freyda. Be careful.

Freyda: And you, father. Whatever game is being played, you are one of the key pieces.

Godric: I know. But no matter what, Freyda, remember. The Empire is greater than any one person. Cleave to your duty, to Elrath. Griffin eternal!

Freyda: Perhaps, father. I hope so.

Freyda, Laszlo and new archbishop Alaric - together with army – are on borderland between Griffin Empire and Irollan – the land where former elven king Alaron let lord Caldwell with prince Andrei and former archbishop Randall (and their loyal people and families) settle down. They arranged a talk of truce…

Lord Caldwell: To what do we owe the honour of this audience?

Laszlo: We have come for the boy, and to arrest you for treason.

Freyda: Laszlo! We are here to talk, uncle. And to find a way out of this impasse.

Lord Caldwell: I see no impasse. We, faithful worshippers of Elrath, are living in peace in the lands of our allies.

Alaric: You have betrayed the Empire, disobeyed our sainted queen, and kidnapped the young prince Andrei!

Randall: The child is the nephew of our deceased king Nicolai and the legitimate heir to the throne. We are in elven lands; the false church of Isabel and her heathen followers have no business here.

Alaric: False church! You shall burn for your heresy. We are here to see that loyal subjects - like yourselves - obey Saint Isabel's wishes.

Lord Caldwell: Saint?? She has dallied with necromancers, brought ruin to the Empire, and now fashions herself a saint!? Elrath himself will judge her.

Freyda: Please, uncle. Let us settle this peacefully.

Laszlo: Give us the child and surrender.

Randall: Or else?

Laszlo: Or else I'll chop you into pieces too small for the maggots.

Freyda: Laszlo!

Lord Caldwell: Infidel! Heathen! By Elrath we shall destroy you!

Lord Caldwell, Randall and their soldiers leaved and went to their camps, preparing themselves for battle...
There are always people opposed to the existing order -- outlaws, bandits, trouble-makers -- who jump at any cause to take up arms. They are enlisting in the ranks of the rebel army, which is now organized into two camps. One of these camps is commanded by lord Caldwell, and it must be destroyed.

The other rebel recruiting camp is located to the east of lord Caldwell's. Archbishop Randall leads it, and Is busy creating an army of fanatics in his own image. The camp has too to be destroyed.

Freyda, Laszlo and new archbishop Alaric are on the road, elven hunter shoots down one consript…

Laszlo: They're firing on us! Those meadow-skipping pointy-eared elves!

Freyda: I see you've noticed that their arrows are pointy, too.

Laszlo: Forest freaks. And the peasants are supporting them!

Freyda: How do you know this?

Laszlo: Smiling One of them told me.

Freyda: I see. Could I speak with him as well?

Laszlo: Neither he nor the rest of his village are able to talk any more. (Laszlo burned village and its inhabitans…)

Alaric: Your dedication is exemplary, Laszlo.

Laszlo: Ignore the arrows! We ride straight to the rebels!

Freyda: And fight them single-handed? It's difficult to attack with dead troops, unless your name is Markal.

Alaric: Fortunately, reinforcements are on the way.

Freyda: Finally! When and where?

Alaric: Well, they have been encircled. We need to break them out.

Freyda: So we go to the aid of the reinforcements? What an original strategic plan.

Alaric: We will get the new troops, wipe out the peasant villages, and force the elves to confront us on our terms. That will be the end of this Sylvan distraction.

Laszlo: Hah! I'll go find a dull spoon to cut their hearts out with.

Every day, the attacks of elven archers slow down the troops' progress and cause casualties. It is hopeless, however, to chase them in their own woods. An easier way is to deprive them of food supplies, forcing them to emerge from the forest and meet you in battle. They are receiving help from nearby peasants' farms; by seizing the farms you can bring your enemy to their knees.

Freyda and Laszlo are losing units in ambushes set up by elves. They seized all vilages and attacks stopped.

The reinforcements sent by queen Isabel were ambushed and were forced to retreat. They are now hiding in a swamp whose exits are being watched by elven rebel sympathisers. Freyda must free the allied troops so they can join her cause.

Freyda found the way to swaps and fought with elves, freeing allied troops (red soldiers – new cruel and fanatic troops, fully dedicated to Saint queen).

Day after day, new warriors appear under the rebels' banners. It would be practical to eliminate them before they even reach the recruiting camps. The fewer the number of fighters who find their way to Caldwell and Randall, the easier it will be for you to complete your tasks.

On her way, Freyda fought and defeated every unit of rebelling soldiers.

At last, Freyda and Laszlo found and destroyed camp of former archbishop Randall, who died in battle. After that, they did the same with the camp of lord Caldwell… (When they arrived to his camp, prince Andrei with small group of soldiers succesfully slipped away – he is sent to Stag duchy, to duke Duncan..)

Freyda is talking with defeated lord Caldwell, her uncle…

Freyda: Uncle, how could you?

Lord Caldwell: How... could... I?? How could you? Turning against your own blood, against Elrath.

Freyda: I serve the queen!

Lord Caldwell: Your loyalty was never in question. But the queen - who does she serve?

Freyda saw Laszlo and Alaric, and attacked and killed her uncle, sparing him from torture…

Alaric: And so the traitor perishes. Your faith is an example to us all, Freyda. Even one's own family must be purged of the demon taint.

Laszlo: If you were really dedicated you would have tortured him for information first. I did that to an old comrade of mine. It took both eyes, eight teeth and two limbs to learn that they sent the brat to the Stag duchy.

Alaric: So, Duncan thinks he can play hide and seek in his forests? He will soon learn that our zeal will burn even the thickest woods. To Horncrest!

Freyda: The blessings of Elrath on your soul, uncle.

The Suspicion

According to the latest edict from Saint Isabel, the rebellion in the Stag duchy is nothing but the demons' latest attempt to punish the Griffin Empire for its victory against them during the war. The rebels are led by demon cultists, and the Imperial troops have been ordered to fight the heretics and apostates without mercy.

Freyda, Laszlo and Alaric, near some village…

Alaric: New reinforcements will soon be- (villagers turned into demons, red soldiers – crossbowmen and vindicators - started to fight them…)

Freyda: What was that??

Alaric: Demon spawn are everywhere! Only by purging the wicked in the fires of our faith shall we end this plague! (Alaric burned the demons and village with spell…)

Laszlo: Kill them all. Better a dead innocent than a dead soldier.

Freyda: There is something odd here.

Alaric: Wherever there are demons you will see unnatural acts. Put your worries aside; further reinforcements are coming from the queen. With them we shall flush out and destroy any trace of this pestilence.

Laszlo: I like these new troops. Let me lead them!

Alaric: A moment, Laszlo. Freyda commands: the new troops shall join her ranks.

Laszlo: No! She doesn't understand...

Alaric: Freyda must learn appropriate strategies for the new Empire we are building.

Freyda: As you wish, Alaric. But I would rather have a score of archangels by my side. Where have they gone?

Freyda is followed by Laszlo, who acts on his own will, but follows her…

They come to the first big village, killed some demons on the way. Village is set on fire, villagers mercilessly killed by soldiers..

Freyda: We have found nothing. No temples, no altars, no portals, nothing.

Alaric: Then where do they come from?

Freyda: Where did you discover the demonic troops? You found them, not I.

Alaric: They are everywhere! The hamlets, the cottages, the farms - they must be burned out!

Laszlo: Let's start with that one. (rides to burning village to enjoy the slaughter..)

Freyda: Monster! Barbarian! Those are citizens of our Empire.

Alaric: Demon-worshippers must be brought to justice!

Freyda: Your version of justice seems to consist of very little proof and quite a lot of flames.

Alaric: We work under the sainted Queen's mandate! Purge your minds of any doubt as we purge the demon-lovers. (walks to village)

To cleanse the Empire from demonic cults once and for all, Freyda need to teach the apostates an unforgettable lesson. The towns that have sided with the rebels will be to wiped off the face of Ashan!

Peasant estates that show signs of a demonic presence have to be burnt to the ground: this is how Freyda will stop the cult from spreading. This sacrifice is necessary to ensure the future of the Empire.

Not every dweller of the cursed villages worships demons, but to acheive great goals innocents must occasionally suffer. Laszlo believes that eliminating all who can possibly be concerned with the cult is the only practical method. Freyda disagrees, and is willing to spend time saving the innocent. Perhaps these people, who will owe their lives to the young commander, may some day repay their debt.

Freyda and Laszlo went through the land, burning all villages and razing all cities in the area. They fought the villagers (turned to demons), saving some of them, who were obviously human and wanted to join ranks of red soldiers…

Unused ending scene – interesting!!...

(Freyda is tired, going to sleep – as it looks from text.. Perhaps she saw the scene with Kha-Beleth after praying to Elrath in a dream – so it looks…)

Freyda: Rebels, new troops, demons... there is too much going on, and I am too tired to think clearly. I pray to thee, Elrath, to guide me to the truth...

Meanwhile, in Talonguard, Isabel/Biara…

Kha-Beleth: Biii.. aaa ... raaa...

Isabel / Biara: What?!

Kha-Beleth: Do you forget... so easily... your master?

Isabel / Biara: What!? Kha-Beleth... my lord...

Kha-Beleth: Yesss... I am not so easily banished, my slave... It hurts me that my wishes are so easily forgotten...

Isabel / Biara: No, my lord! I have been working to fulfill your vision...

Kha-Beleth: My son... lives. In twenty years he comes. I would have no power that can stand against him.

Isabel / Biara: No power?

Kha-Beleth: None. Humans, elves, undead, all my enemies... even the mountain lords, the plains nomads, the watersnakes. Ruin them. Shatter them. Bring them to their knees.

Isabel / Biara: Your wish is my command, master.

Kha-Beleth: It is also your pleasure, is it not? War, fire and chaos... I know they stir your blood, Biara.

Isabel / Biara: Yes, my lord.

Isabel / Biara: Who after the elves and the Unicorn and Stag duchies? Duncan's making it almost too easy for us. The Bull? The Wolf? Perhaps I could convince the two dukes to kill each other over me. Oh, it's not easy being the queen...

Alaric, waking up Freyda…

Alaric: Freyda! Wake up! Your queen would speak with you!

Duncan

The rebellious Stag duchy is living its last days. Heralds are proclaiming the royal armies' triumph in the markets, and minstrels are composing songs about it. There's but one small thing left to be done: capture duke Duncan and prince Andrei, the main instigators of the rebellion. A fair inquest will undoubtedly reveal their implication in demonic cults.
Freyda is training peasants to conscripts, Alaric came for her..

Alaric: No time for rest. Saint Isabel demands an audience.

Freyda: Her wish is my command. (Freyda with Alaric came to magical stone, Laszlo is waiting there…)

In Talonguard, Isabel/Biara left the gates, guarded by two red fallen angels, briefly talk to red priest-zealot (who obviously informed her that magical stone is ready and she can use it, and left) and then came to stone…

Isabel / Biara: Freyda! I have heard reports that you question the methods of my Archbishop.

Freyda: He has killed many peasants, my queen. Inevitably some innocents, your loyal subjects.

Isabel / Biara: You disagree with him?

Freyda: Yes. With him and with his actions.

Isabel / Biara: You are much like Godric, who voiced the same reserves. Your father is now reflecting with leisure upon his rash words - in the prisons below Ivan's Tower.

Freyda: What?? You imprisoned a lord of the realm? One of the most reknowned knights in the history of the empire?

Isabel / Biara: He is old, and his words show that his wit is failing. Don't you fail me as well, Freyda. If you do ... well ... there are a few Inquisitors wondering who would be the first to make that tough old warrior scream.

Freyda: What?

Isabel / Biara: Are my wishes clear? Are they?

Isabel / Biara: Are they?

Freyda: Yes... my queen. I shall obey.

Isabel / Biara: You see, Alaric? Laszlo? She can learn wisdom. See that she remembers it.

Alaric: Of course, Saint Isabel.

The war against the rebels enters its final stage. Seizing the Stag duchy will put an end to the civil conflict, and probably earn the queen's blessing for doing so. What can be done to bring all the towns of the Stag duchy under Freyda's control? Without the protection of their walls, the rebels will lay down arms.
The rebellion is led by two men: duke Duncan and prince Andrei. The latter is only the symbol of the treachery; Duncan is its organising power. He is an experienced commander able to put up determined resistance. He is to be taken alive and sent to the capital, where his judgement -- and punishment -- are already being prepared.
Freyda foughts through Stag duchy, seizing mines and cities. She must left every mine guarded by group of soldiers, or rebels take them back quickly. Finally, she besieged Horncrest, the capital of the Stag duchy and last stand of duke Duncan.

After the fight, Duncan is on his knees in burning gate of Horncrest…

Duncan: You I know, Alaric, and word of your butcher Laszlo has preceded him. But this? Like other Inquisitors you seem to have an unholy fetish for Iron Maidens.

Freyda: I am Freyda, Countess of the Unicorn Duchy and Lord High Constable of the queen's Armies. And you are about to lose your life, or at the very least your tongue.

Alaric: Very good, Freyda.

Duncan: Wait... You! You're Godric's daughter!?

Freyda: Amazing. You can actually add one plus one and come up with two.

Duncan: Oh, but I did. Please excuse my imperfect grammar.

Alaric: Where is the child? Where is prince Andrei?

Duncan: He is with an old friend among the dwarves of the Winterwind clan.

Alaric: You traitor! Sending the prince of the realm off to rot in their grim mines?

Duncan: Grim mines? Your ignorance shines like a beacon, Alaric. I'm surprised you don't attract moths.

Alaric: Ignorant heretic! Freyda, Laszlo, silence his mouth by removing his head.

Laszlo: I'll do things to you that will scare the trees.

Freyda: Wait. He is a Duke of the Empire. Killing him will encourage the Queen's enemies.

Alaric: True. What do you suggest?

Freyda: Send him under guard to the capital. He will be at our mercy, away from his friends and allies.

Laszlo: Let me kill him!

Alaric: No, Laszlo. Freyda may be right. If we make a martyr of him, we may encourage other rebels. Very well.

Alaric: Come, Laszlo. We must speak with the queen. (Alaric and Laszlo leaved…)

Duncan: I knew that you were too beautiful to be so bloodthirsty.

Freyda: A trite phrase from a trite man - it shows how little you know of women. Captain!

Squire: Yes ma'am.

Freyda: Take him from here to Talonguard. By back roads. Let him guide you.

Squire: Understood.

Freyda: The longer I am with those two, the more I question what is going on in the realm.

Duncan: Join with me, then. With us. Fight them!

Freyda: They hold my father. I must be patient...

Duncan: I know Godric. In your place, he would not hesitate.

Freyda: Saying is easier than doing. Good luck, Duncan.

Duncan: To you as well, Freyda. May we meet again.

Negotiations

The triumphant war against the rebels is almost over. What's needed now is to arrange the extradition of prince Andrei, who has fled to the lands of the Griffin Empire's northern neighbours. Few doubt that the dwarves, impressed by the might of the Imperial army, could do anything other than deliver up the last demonist to the Empire's inquisition.
Stag duchy is near the border with Grimheim, land of dwarves, so Freyda starts her mission in recently captured city of Horncrest.

Freyda should talk with dwarves, which are guarding border of their lands.

Freyda reached the border…

Laszlo: They refuse to hand over the child. I say we go and take him! I'll do things to them that will terrify their ancestors!

Alaric: Though I share your sentiments, Laszlo, we are not ready for that. I have requested a parley.

Freyda: Let me talk to them. Laszlo has difficulty communicating with anything other than his fists. (Laszlo leaves…)

Grimheim Defender: Yes?

Freyda: May the light of Elrath illuminate your path, and the fires of Arkath light your forge.

Grimheim Defender: Uh, and yours. Nicer'n that other knight. What d'ye want?

Freyda: To go to Tor Hrall - to speak with your leaders about a diplomatic matter.

Grimheim Defender: There are rules - always have been. A fee to enter, and no odd troops.

Alaric: Why? We are here on a mission of peace, bringing the blessings of Elrath-

Alaric: Bring all the blessings you want, but none of those brimstone-smelling red thugs. And there will be a toll as well.

Freyda: Alaric, you can wait with Laszlo. I'll come back with the boy.

Alaric: I don't like it! They are treating us like servants.

Freyda: It's their land. Just try to keep a lid on Laszlo. I shall be back as quickly as I can.

The dwarves' demands to the army that is going to cross the border of the dwarven kingdom are simple:
1) Bring 15000 pieces of gold, 15 boxes of crystals, 15 bags of sulfur and 10 gems
2) Only the following number of troops are allowed to cross: 100 Conscript 80 Marksmen 50 Squire 30 Imperial Griffins 15 Inquisitors 5 Paladins
3) Not a single warrior from the Empire's new type of troops is allowed to cross the border of the dwarven kingdom.

On her way to fulfill dwarven demands, Freyda cleaned all territory of rebel troops and captured their town, Lostdale (remnants of Stag Duchy rebels).

Finally, she met all dwarven conditions and crossed the border.

The frontier is behind, and Freyda's way leads to Tor Hrall. This is the dwarves' only town open to foreigners, and most likely where prince Andrei is hiding. Freyda will have to negotiate with the dwarven warlord Wulfstan, known for his cantankerous disposition.

Freyda is in throne room of Tor Hrall. Wulfstan and his brother Rolf awaits her.
(Meanwhile, Laszlo taked command over Horncrest and Lostdale, and attacked the border garisson…)

Freyda: We have come for prince Andrei.

Wulfstan: I told duke Duncan that he'd be safe. Where's Duncan?

Godric: Duncan... has been arrested for treason-

Wulfstan: What?! Has the Empire gone mad?

Rolf: Humans are always hot-headed - and they lie.

Wulfstan: Not Duncan. As we say, he has fire in his heart and cold steel in his guts.

Freyda: The queen of the Griffin Empire is worried. He's going to the capital to explain himself, that's all.

Wulfstan: Sure. This stinks like month-old lard.

Earth shakes and entrance to the room is in fire. Messenger came…

Berserker: Lord! They are attacking!

Rolf: What?

Wulfstan: What?

Berserker: The humans! Laszlo assaults Tor Hrall!

Rolf: Diplomatic mission, eh? Liar!

Wulfstan: Scum. Take them to the border.

Rolf: What?

Wulfstan: They had safe passage in, they'll have safe passage out.

Rolf: Fool. Take them! They're valuable pawns.

Wulfstan: Not me. I gave my word.

Rolf: You do that too much! First prince Andrei, now this...

Wulfstan: Get out of here. Go!

Rolf: You gave your word, ninny. I did not. I will hunt them.

Freyda is escorted outside…

Paladin: We should continue, my lady. Rolf and his armies chase us without pity.

Freyda: Laszlo! Hunting imaginary demons, butchering peasants, and now ... starting a senseless war!

Freyda: I am finished with their slaughter and their insanities. Forgive me, father, but my conscience and my faith leave me no choice. I go to war - against Alaric, Laszlo and his mad queen!

The negotiations have failed! That killer, Laszlo, broke the age-old treaty and trespassed on the frontier of the dwarven kingdom. It's too late to try to explain anything. Every dwarf sees Freyda as an enemy, and her task is simple: break away from their lands and stay alive. Outnumbered and desperate, Freyda must still survive to work out the Empire's problems.

Freyda run through the dwarven land, plundered dwarven treasury, fought wolves and dwarves (from whom she obtained Greaves of the Dwarven Kings; Helm of the Dwarven Kings; Cuirass of the Dwarven Kings and Shield of the Dwarven Kings).

She found Hut of the Magi and got the quest-
Find dwarven Greaves of the Dwarven Kings, which was captured by dwarf, straight to north from here there will be Dwarven treasury. If you will do it for me, ill show to you some useful places.
-for Greaves of the Dwarven Kings, Magi showed her usefull places on her way (or not, if she dont give them to him..)

On the way, road is blocked by dwarves, who need from Freyda one think -defeat all the wolves in my woods and I'll let you through. You can find them northwest of here, just below the Dwarven treasury.-
Freyda killed wolves and can continue on her way.

After that, she have found mine, guarded by deep hydra. She killed her, and freed some dwarf-
We were digging in that mine and weve found fast way to eastern mountains but that creature almost eated us, ive escaped but my cousin... poor Karla... Save him and he will give to you key which will open door to the mine.
-who gave her key to mine. Now she can travel through the mine to another part of the dwarven land.

Or, she can pay to Keymaster –Bring him 5 gems, 10 crystals and 5000 pieces of gold, and he let her through the gate to SAME area as through the mine…

Freyda arrived to prison-There are two holes with forms like the Helm of the Dwarven Kings and Greaves of the Dwarven Kings. It seems that door will open when the items are placed in the holes-
she used the artifacts, and freed one paladin, who joined her.

Finally, she entered underground…

Freyda: From hunter to hunted. Not an easy transition. I must rest... Elrath, guide my steps!
…and escaped by magic portal.

Meanwhile, somewhere in the underground tunnels of Ygg Chall…

Thralsai: I chafe at all of this. An absent Clanlord, rumour of war on the surface, tremors in the... structure of things.

Assassin: It has been thus since Raelag disappear-

Thralsai: Don't say that name! He killed my family, ruined my clan. Had I not feigned loyalty, I too would be dead.

Shadya/Biara: Thraaalsaaai...

Thralsai: Yes? Who?

Shadya/Biara: I am coming... Shadya/Biara shows up in flames, walks to Thralsai..

Shadya/Biara: Would you see a return to the old days? To the power of the Soulscar?

Thralsai: I seek nothing else! But... you are Shadya! You were his right hand!

Shadya/Biara: Things change. Old lies become new truths. I repeat: Would you see the Soulscar rise to the glory of old?

Thralsai: More. Than. Anything.

Shadya/Biara: Are you prepared to remember... old allegiances?

Thralsai: To forget them would be akin to treachery.

Shadya/Biara: Gooooood. Plan. Think. Bide your time. Old friends have not been forgotten.

Thralsai: And old enemies?

Shadya/Biara: Will never be forgiven. She disappeared…

Thralsai: I feel the need to celebrate! Bring me a slave - a fresh one. And towels for the blood.

Assassin: As you wish.

The Choice

The dwarves, who had always been neutral, have responded to Laszlo's attack by waging war on the Empire. Even worse news is that Freyda, daughter of great Godric and a renowned commander herself, has gone missing. That will make the response of Isabel's armies even harsher, and the dwarves will have to pay much, much more for each drop of Human blood...

Freyda and paladin Armando are on their way to from dwarven lands…

Paladin Armando: My lady?

Freyda: Yes, Armando? What weighs on your mind?

Paladin Armando: Many things, and I speak not only for myself. We're far from home, hunted like rabbits. First by Dwarves, now by Duncan's troops.

Freyda: Succinctly put. Even though we're rebels, they think we're enemies.

Paladin Armando: We must convince them otherwise.

Freyda: We'll have to find Duncan. Luckily he has other talents besides chasing women. Is there a guide who knows the paths as well as Duncan?

Paladin Armando: I'll find one, my lady.

Freyda: Excellent! We'll join forces with him. Then let those who desert The Empire and Elrath find a safe place to hide.

Paladin Armando: Griffin eternal!

The rebels do not like Freyda, who they remember as their enemy. But there is a man who trusts her and could help her win their confidence. That man is Duncan, now confined in a prison and waiting to be taken to Talonguard. Freyda has to liberate him -- the sooner the better. The way to Duncan's prison leads through the rebels' lands, and they will surely attack her small force. The best way would be to seize one of the towns, hire reinforcements, and set Duncan free before the rebels can join their forces to rout Freyda.

Freyda captured small dwarven city of Fjori and travelled through underground. She left tunels back in Stag duchy, and sadly, she is forced to fight with remnants of rebelling soldiers, who are at war with red army of false queen. She captured one city, build up an army and finally found Duncan. After the fight with his guards she free him…

Freyda destroyed smoking garisson with spell. Duncan walks away from smoke…

Duncan: Ha haaa! When I woke up this morning I was about to be dragged in chains from my homeland to the dungeons of a mad queen. Yet here I am, safe and sound, rescued by a blessed angel of mercy.

Freyda: Is that so? When I woke up this morning I was tired and irritable - and little has changed.

Duncan: Hmmm. I didn't know that angels were so grumpy. So, saviour-whose-radiance-brings-light-to-these-dark-forests, what next?

Freyda: Things have got worse. That scum Laszlo attacked Tor Hrall-

Duncan: Laszlo! I'd like to make him a head shorter.

Freyda: -and your friend Wulfstan has got himself in trouble for protecting Andrei.

Duncan: Aahh. We've got each other in trouble over the years, but never like this. I must help him.

Freyda: I can't go - I must save my father.

Duncan: Of course. He will be in trouble as soon as they get word of your change of heart.

Freyda: I'm worried. It's a long journey...

Duncan: Look. I'll help you get to Gustav's Bend - you can hire a boat there. It'll save you days of travel. But then I must go to free my duchy and my friends.

Freyda: Thank you, Duncan. For an uncouth rebel, you're not a bad man.

Duncan: For an arrogant countess, you're not a bad human being.

Freyda: Griffin eternal!

Duncan: For our freedom!

Duncan leads the rebels again, and Freyda can count on his aid in delivering Godric. They need to seize a port town, from which Freyda can travel quickly back to the heart of the Empire. She should not delay her departure, for the scouts report that a landing party will soon be arriving to help Alaric's forces. Freyda and Duncan must prepare for battle.

All three rebel cities are now under control of Freyda and Duncan. They build up an army and smashed red armies, seized their two cities. (Interstingly, they found Skull of Markal in undead-infested caves…).

Freyda now have access to the shipyard, and prepare for sail to Talonguard. Red fleet shown up and tried to stop her, but she destroyed it.

After that, she say farewell to Duncan…

Freyda: Well fought, Duncan. Thank you. I... must go now to free my father.

Duncan: I'd help you, but I'm needed here. I won't rest until the print of my boot is firmly marked either on Laszlo's retreating buttocks or in the loam above his grave.

Freyda: Certainly. It is your duty. I'll be back as soon as I can. I would see you again... side by side on the field of battle.

Duncan: Is that so, Freyda...? I can think of other places where I'd much rather be side by side with you...

Freyda: First things first, Duncan. We have an Empire to restore.

Duncan: Ah, yes. But empires require heirs. And that means-

Freyda: You are a dangerous man, Duncan. Fare thee well!

Duncan: And you. Until we meet again.

Alternate Campaign Ending

Freyda: Well fought, Duncan. Thank you. I... must go now to free my father.

Duncan: Come! We have a duchy to free. I won't be happy until the imprint of my boot is firmly marked on Laszlo's retreating buttocks.

Freyda: I can't go -- I must save my father.

Duncan: I understand. I too would like to see the old knight by my side. But I must see to my people.

Freyda: Certainly. It is your duty. I'll be back as soon as I can. I would see you again... side by side on the field of battle.

Duncan: Really? I would see you again... at the top of the highest tower in Horncrest, in a robe, the last rays of sunset turning your hair to red-gold fire.

Freyda: First things first, Duncan. We have an Empire to restore.

Duncan: You're right. But I sincerely hope that second things will come second.

Freyda: You are a dangerous man, Duncan. Fare thee well!

Duncan: And you. Until we meet again.

Wulfstan's Defiance

Corruption in the Stone Halls

The Border Zone

For hundreds of years no army dared to enter the lands of Grimheim, the dwarven kingdom. Even those hungry for the riches of the dwarven mines knew that the followers of Arkath make relentless enemies. But now, war has come from where no one would ever expect it -- their old neighbours and allies, the men of the Griffin Empire. It's time for the dwarves to remember their prowess as warriors, and to make sure their foes remember it as well.

The battlefield - dwarfs are slowly losing the battle against Empire red soldiers…

Rolf: How can you be so dumb. Hard to believe we're related.

Wulfstan: Blame your mother, not mine.

Rolf: Your duty is clear. Give up the prince. End the war.

Wulfstan: Coward. We get attacked, and you want to give in. A thousand years of dwarven kings just wept in their graves.

Rolf: Such stupidity. Plus you let one of the invaders go! I chased her army all the way to the border.

Wulfstan: You're from my clan. My word is binding for you, too. You broke your own oath.

Rolf: Not as I see it. I go to talk to the king.

Wulfstan: Go, you gutless worm. Don't risk war to keep your lands - you might dirty your clothes. Go cry to the King's Council.

Rolf: I go! And when I come back you'll sing another song.

Rolf walks away…

Wulfstan: Most likely I'll be singing victory hymns, and Laszlo and his red fanatics will be singing dirges.

Rolf: You're too drunk and stupid to beat him.

Wulfstan: You wouldn't know. I am sometimes drunk, but I'm always smart. You... you're just sometimes drunk.

Rolf: We'll see. We'll see what King Tolghar and High Priest Hangvul say about this.

Wulfstan: Hangvul, eh? I'd better get word to the clan. No telling where this storm might hit.

Wulfstan commands three towns…

Patrolling dwarven territory has been the task of the beastmaster Winterwind clan for hundreds of years, though they know how to fight as well as hunt. Now it's up to Wulfstan to ensure that the lands entrusted to him remain in the hands of the dwarves. He must hold at least two towns.

In Runic Shrine dwarven heroes can learn Runic Magic is their racial talent. This kind of magic allows dwarfen heroes to create magical runes and place them on dwarfen creatures in the battle temporary improving creature's stats or giving them some additional combat abilities. Creating any rune will cost some amount of resources such as wood, ore etc.

His enemies have the advantage of reinforcements from the great Griffin Empire; on Wulfstan's side he has little more than guts and experience. Numbers count when armies clash, so Wulfstan must mobilise and build up a powerful army and hire 300 Shieldguards.

Wulfstan build up the towns, defending them from the attacks of red armies. After some time, he amassed great army of Shieldguards and other units.

The Ambush

While the main force of the Dwarves makes preparations for throwing back the invaders, a few bold warriors perform daring and risky raids to the enemy's rear. Their task is to pin down the enemy forces, forcing them to return again and again to the territories they have already captured, scattering their troops and preventing them from regrouping.

Somewhere in Grimheim…

Wulfstan: What is it, Hrolgeir?

Defender Hrolgeir: Rolf. He's taken little Andrei. Killed your shield-guards.

Wulfstan: Stinking bastard. Hard to believe he's kith and kin!

Defender Hrolgeir: Any orders?

Wulfstan: Aye. Follow him. See where he goes. I'll have something to settle with him when this is done and over.

It is a point of honor to liberate towns seized by the invaders. On top of that, Wulfstan's army is running short of supplies so this is a point of survival as well. Wustan must retake Asbrand within two weeks.

Wulfstan quickly fought his way through garisson and enter underground tunnels. He fought red soldiers (who were fighting with dwarves in their tunnels) and finally liberated Asbrand.

The dwarves don't favour towns very much, and many of them prefer dwelling outside of their walls. This was one of the reasons for the dwarves' defeat at the beginning of the war. It's now time to liberate the dwellings occupied by the enemy and restore the compatriots' freedom. Wulfstan must liberate dwarven dwellings, and has just two months for it.

Mountain mines, sources of many kinds of wealth, are the key to Grimheim's prosperity. Unfortunately, their wealth is currently going to the enemy. Wulfstan would do well to re-gain control over their treasures.

Wulfstan rebuilt Asbrand and cleared tunnels from red soldiers, liberating dwellings and mines.

Losing a liberated town would be a blow to dwarven morale, plus it would give the enemy army a chance to rest and repair. That is why Empire is sending a huge army to the walls of Asbrand, hoping to retake the town. Wulfstan's must stop them.

Great red army, led by hero Andreas, came to dwarven tunnels to defeat Wulfstan. He was able to succesfully defend Asbrand and destroyed Griffin army.

At the same time, in throneroom of Tor Myrdal, dwarven capital city…

King Tolghar: What do you mean, traitor? Everyone knows you don't like Wulfstan. Your accusations are a bit far-fetched.

Rolf: But he is! He started a war with the Griffin Empire.

Hangvul (dwarven hero (he lost his left hand and eye in the long past wars with the dark elves – they captured him and crippled him, bat he was later able to run away and in time made artificial hand and eye) and High Priest of the clan Deepflame): Really? Just out and attacked them? Who - his friend and neighbour Duncan, or did he mount a siege on Talonguard?

King Tolghar: Eh? What about this prince who's causing all this trouble?

Rolf: Well... He, uh, has a Griffin prince…

Hangvul: Ah! Yes... Asylum is not granted lightly. Wulfstan should have thought a while before he tied the Stone Halls to his friends' quarrels…

Rolf: Uh, exactly! That's what I meant. He's acting without thinking of our people.

Hangvul: I fear, my king, that we may need to take another look at this… incident.

King Tolghar: Really? But Wulfstan has always been so strong, so sure...

Isabel/Biara shows up in a flash and red flames…

Isabel / Biara: King of the Stone Halls, my Lords. I beg an audience with you. I am Isabel, queen of the Griffin Empire.

King Tolghar: You! It is your troops who attack- how did you get in here?

Isabel / Biara: It is a form of projecting one's image. Using a portal.

Hangvul: Curious. I thought only demons and heathen wizards knew that trick.

Isabel / Biara: We have learned much from the captured cultists.

Hangvul: We have heard of your obsession in this matter. But that is your business. The border war is ours.

King Tolghar: Correct. Speak carefully, we are at war.

Isabel / Biara: Wrongfully so. A renegade war chief named Wulfstan is holding one of our princes. (In fact, Rolf has him now..) And this war distracts you at a time when the dark elves are re-arming...

Hangvul: There have been a few minor clashes...

Isabel / Biara: Sadly, our hands are bound by treaties signed with the Clanlord, Raelag. We must support them in times of war.

King Tolghar: Then we will defeat you, twice.

Isabel / Biara: The thing is that… you see… with the... proper incentive, a meaningless treaty with the dark elves could be forgotten, and our border war ended.

Hangvul: Hmmm… Yeees?

Isabel / Biara: The prince. Give us Andrei, and you shall have a free hand to punish the dark elves for their pride.

King Tolghar: What is this! Broken treaties, sacrificed princes...

Hangvul: Think, your majesty. A firm link with a strong Griffin Empire, a chance to drive the cave scum out of their holes... there is much about it that I like. With but one small flaw in the metal...

King Tolghar: Correct. Uh, what is it?

Hangvul: Our young friend Wulfstan...
Looks like King Tolgar and Hangvul were persuaded by Biara…

The Guerrillas

The dwarves' guerrilla warfare yields fruit. The Imperial legions' advance has been stopped; they are occupied with gathering reinforcements and licking their wounds. The time is perfect to deliver a few hard blows, breaking their spirit and depriving them of supplies. Word will circulate across Ashan of the grim strength of the warriors of the Stone Halls, and the punishment they inflict on their foes.

Wulfstan continue his war againts Griffin red armies, but he needs some other heroes to help him..

The success of an army depends greatly on its leaders. The Imperials know it better than anyone else, and they have captured a hero who would otherwise be dangerous to them. Wulfstan's task is to set him free and enrol under Wulfstan's banners in three weeks.

Wulfstan entered another part of dwarven tunnels, searching for prison. He met some groups of dwarven soldiers and send them to block the way of enemy patrols. He eventually freed Helmar, and helped him escape underground and escort him to road, earning 50 berserkers from him.

Freyda meanwhile seized one dwarven town and run somewhere else. (She is in trouble to reach Talonguard, obviously…)

Merasgar would be a good base for Wulfstan; he should capture it. After a long search of the way to Merasgar, Wulfstan found it and fought it from the hands of red army led by Valeria.

To continue the war the Empire needs money, so there is a steady flow of gold from Talonguard to the front-line forces. It can be blocked, and the enemy's lifeline cut, by seizing the caravans that carry gold to Laszlo's army. The caravan is expected to pass these lands in one or two weeks.

Wulfstan had little time to build an army, and then caravan shown up. He attacked and destroyed that caravan, and dealt a blow to Griffin Empire army.

After the battle, Wulfstan is with his army…

Wulfstan: Well done, lads! A few more lickings and those red rogues will run for home!

Berserker: Forge and Fire!

Herald came…

Wulfstan: Greetings, Herald, what news from Tor Myrdal?

Brawler: I bring news to true-hearted dwarves-

Wulfstan: You'll find no others here.

Berserker Herald: King Tolghar has called a conclave of the clan leaders. War has been decreed against the dark elves of Ygg-Chall-

Wulfstan: Hah! How many wars do they want to fight at once? Our clan is stretched thin enough by this one.

Berserker Herald : And also, er.. uh...

Wulfstan: Come on, out with it, lad!

Berserker Herald: By their writ, Wulfstan, of the Winterwind, has been named traitor and outlaw-

Wulfstan: WHAT?!

Wulfstan soldier 1: Shut up and go home!

Wulfstan soldier 2: Let me kick him first!

Wulfstan soldier 3: They're all mad!

Berserker Herald: I call ... I call on all true-hearted dwarves to heed the word of the king and cut themselves off from Wulfstan. A price has been put on his head, and he will be hunted down!

Wulfstan soldier 4: Shave his beard!

Wulfstan soldier 5: Cut his heart out to see what a 'true' one looks like!

Wulfstan soldier 6: Dress him in pink and purple! He's gone mad!

Wulfstan: Allright! Enough! Why do they call me a traitor?

Berserker Herald: You have made war on our friends, the Griffin Empire.

Wulfstan: Me? It was either that, laddie, or hand them the keys. Go home. You've got your answer. We'll keep fighting until our lands are free, whoever comes against us.

Herald leaved…

Wulfstan: Rolf and Hangvul, I'll bet.

Wulfstan: Good news, boys! In his kindness, Arkath's sending us a few more butts to kick!

Soldiers laughed…

The Brothers

Though king Tolghar thought to bring the war to a rapid end at the negotiating table, he forgot -- or was not told -- that Griffin Empire troops still occupy parts of Grimheim. Regardless of what declarations have been made or what the consequences may be, Wulfstan is not going to let Laszlo occupy his home soil.
On the road…
Defender: Good news, Warlord. The Griffin troops are pulling back.
Wulfstan: They are, are they... good. I'm not shocked. A rabid dog like Laszlo needs gold to buy his army's obedience.
Defender: But they've left many troops in Tor Hrall. And they're digging in.
Wulfstan: Let 'em. By fire and forge, Arkath willing, we'll grind them down until the only thing left in the land of the Stone Halls is their bloodstains.
Wulfstan has driven most of the Griffin army back to the Stag duchy. A powerful garrison has been left in Wulfstan's home town of Tor Hrall, however, to shield Laszlo's withdrawal it's time to reclaim the town for the dwarves and restore the territorial integrity of the kingdom. Having done so, Wulfstan will find it easier to negotiate with the king of dwarves who has declared him a traitor.

Fighting his treacherous brother was not easy, and Wulfstan's forces are exhausted. It goes against his experience to count only on his ally's aid, so Wulfstan should reinforce his army with warriors he trusts most of all the dwarves. He should reinforce at least ten groops of them.

Wulfstan recruits more warriors on the way, paying them for their services.

Politics upsets the well-planned campaign. The worst news is that the attacking army is led by Rolf, Wulfstan's half brother. When the future of the Stone Halls is at stake there's no time to sort out relationship. Rolf's attack has to be repulsed.

Wulfstan and Rolf fought on the battlefield…

Rolf is losing battle, his soldiers are almost all dead, one of the last talk to him...

Rolf: By the blood of Arkath, I'll have my vengeance on Wulfstan!

Shield-guard: You use Arkath's name too easily, and for your own ends. I'll stay with Wulfstan.

Rolf: You too, a turncoat! Once I'm back in Tor Myrdal, I'll have all your heads!

Shield-guard: If you can take it, it's yours.

Rolf: By the clans and the forges, Wulfstan. You're a dead maggot!

Rolf runs away… Shieldguard walked to Wulfstan…

Wulfstan: So he's gone back to Tor Myrdal, eh? Stirring up more trouble, no doubt. Well, once we have Tor Hrall back he'll have a hard time making good on his oaths.

Shield-guard: There's more. Rolf was also worried about Duncan. Someone set him free, and he's harrying Rolf's troops.

Wulfstan: He's free? If you were a lassie I'd kiss you. My old mate Duncan is loose and causing trouble. Y'know what they say - two hardheads are better than one! Let's go find him!

War is an ordeal for all who take part in it. Some become traitors, and others prove their loyalty. Now, when Wulfstan's forces have been sapped by months of fighting, his old friend Duncan appears. It's time to meet up with Duncan and ask him to lend a hand with Laszlo. And Duncan is probably going to like that idea very much.

Wulfstan started search for Duncan. He fought his way near Tor Hrall, and met his friend and his army in little village…

Duncan: Wulfstan. You mad rascal. It's damn good to see you.

Wulfstan: Duncan, alive and well and breathing. Somebody broach a keg!

Duncan: Not now. We still have... I'm sorry I dragged you into this.

Wulfstan: Bah. If you get scared of doing what's right you might as well lay down and die. Besides, things were bound to blow up with Rolf sooner or later.

Duncan: Indeed. What do the clans say?

Wulfstan looked around and they went farther from their soldiers…

Wulfstan: The Winterwind side with me - they like integrity. Hangvul will sway his Deepflame priests. The others - Grimsteel will follow the king, as will Hearthguard. Stonefist, Stronghammer… who knows? I'd guess the new War Under the Mountain will worry them more.

Duncan: The dark elves as well? Why? Where? When?

Wulfstan: They probed us a bit, and Tolghar went after 'em hammer and tongs. That's his problem though. We need to clean up our own mess first.

Duncan: Deal. But it won't be simple. I wish Freyda were here.

Wulfstan: Yaaaa... I bet you do.

Duncan: What? She's got a great strategic mind!

Wulfstan: And a few other things going for her as well, if you know what I mean.

Duncan: Even the rocks know what you mean. Anyway, she's off to save her father. The more trouble we can cause for Alaric and Laszlo, the easier her path will be.

Wulfstan: There you go! We both want to stomp on Laszlo's neck. Let's get going. Just one thing... You'll invite me to the wedding, won't you? Or at least to your Stag party.

Duncan: Wulfstan? Old friend?

Wulfstan: Yes?

Duncan: Shut up.

Wulfstan: Hahahahahaha!!!!

Now its time to strike on Tor Hrall and liberate it from red armies. Wulfstan and Duncan besieged the city and finally destroyed Griffin Empire occupants.

Laszlo

The alliance negotiated between queen Isabel and king Tolghar goes well. Together, hand in hand, the two great nations will bring the light of Arkath and the wisdom of Elrath to other peoples. Minor skirmishes between dwarven rebels and the Empire's regular forces will not overshadow the treaty; especially since the rebels on both sides will soon be eliminated.

Near Tor Hrall..

Duncan: Your scouts have seen her too?

Wulfstan: Aye. She's in trouble, and needs to hurry.

Duncan: I'm worried. If Laszlo knows she's escaping, he'll send word to Talonguard. And then Godric...

Wulfstan: I wouldn't like to see that happen.

Duncan: Me neither. Let's give them something else to think about, shall we?

Duncan is primarily interested in recapturing the capital of his duchy -- the hometown that he lost in the war against the Empire. Wulfstan understands his friends' feelings and is willing to help him, just as Duncan helped Wulfstan to liberate Tor Hrall.

Another reason to seize Horncrest is Laszlo -- everyone has a vendetta against that butcher. And the Empire, having lost its infamous commander, will think twice before unleashing a new war.

Wulfstan and Duncan build an army and started to clear dwarven lands near border between Grimheim and Griffin Empire- Stag Duchy. Wulfstan have found Tear of Asha and build Blazing Anvil in Tor Hrall, which game him amazing powers and strength to fight Laszlo.On the way, he too freed from prison dwarven hero Brand, who will help him in his war.

Suddenly, Laszlo and his huge army travelled directly to Tor Hrall.

On the battlefield, Laszlo is nearly defeated and stands alone before Wulfstan, Duncan and their armies, but he started to cast some dark magic…

Wulfstan: What is it? What's he doing!

Duncan: Damned if I know. By Elrath, he's a vicious bastard!

Wulfstan: You're always too polite. I'd call him a-

Dwarven warrior: Warlord! More red troops coming!

Laszlo casted meteor shower, dwarven and human soldiers are falling down…

Wulfstan: Blast!

Duncan: Knights of the Stag! For our freedom!

Wulfstan: Dwarves! Warriors of the Stone Halls! To me! To battle!

Meanwhile, Freyda finally reached her father, Godric, but the message that she is coming came before her. Godric is almost dead, lying on his shield on the grass near the Ivan's Tower…

Freyda: Father! Oh no... Elrath preserve us...

Godric: My daughter. Freyda. Amidst all the tortures, all the horrors, only one thing really terrified me. That I would die before I could see you again.

Freyda: You won't die! I'll get you out. We will fight together to free the Empire!

Godric: No, you will fight for the Empire. I have done all I could, for decades. The bell tolled for me the moment the messenger from Laszlo arrived.

Freyda: Laszlo... Don't give up! It's not your way. My troops have the hallways, we can be gone-

Godric: Don't lose that! What you feel right now. Never. Keep fighting! It will be hard, my daughter. But if you persevere, I know in my bones that we will win.
Freyda: Of course. I must. We must... father...

Godric: And when that day comes, when the empire is saved, I will be there to share it. But for now, I...

Godric died, meanwhile six achangels surrounded Godric and Freyda and casted their spell…

Freyda: Father! Faaaaatherrrrrr!!

Voice of Elrath, the Dragon of Light: Heed... his... words. Receive... my ... gift...

Freyda: Laszloooo! Freyda used gift from Elrath (looks like Elrath himself want to avenge his great worshipper Godric), given to her by the archangels, and send powerfull spell on Laszlo, who is still casting his dark spells.. purple lighting striked him and burned him - deep, burning crater is all what is left from him…

Wulfstan: WHAT was that scream?

Duncan: … Freyda … ?

Wulfstan: If she has a voice like that, lad, I'd have second thoughts about marrying her. But she's done for Laszlo! Good girl, that one.

Duncan: Whatever magic he had, Freyda's scream broke it. Let's finish it.

Wulfstan: Duncan, old friend, I have never before felt so much like cracking skulls.

Duncan: Forward! Tonight we'll see each other again, either over roast deer…

Wulfstan: Aye. Or in the halls of our fathers. Forge and Fire!

Finally they crossed border and started attack on red armies in Stag duchy. First, they liberated Lostdale, and Duncan rebuild his army there. After that, they besieged and liberated Horncrest.

Cabal
Leprechaun
Leprechaun
Posts: 36
Joined: 09 Jan 2009
Location: Karlovy Vary - Czech republic

Postby Cabal » Jan 10 2009, 12:51

PART VI

Ylaya's Quest
Turmoil in Ygg-Chall

The Spy

The short reign of Raelag, who combined the dark elf clans into one state, ended with his disappearance (Raelag rescued Isabel in Sheogh and after that, they travelled together and now they are hidden in his secret place in Ygg-Chall.). The clans are free again, and everyone hopes to determine their own fate. Some are willing to challenge again the Mother of Shadows and convert to living under another Dragon's patronage, while others will have to take Raelag's way and restore the rule of Malsara.

Ylaya, the Keeper of the Law of clan Shadowbrand, is praying in the temple…

Ylaya: ...for Shadow is always here and there, watching from close or afar, drinking your words and screams... in Her abyssal womb lie all the forgotten memories and the buried secrets of the past...

Malsara, daughter of Malassa, show up (she was black dragon before and now is a shadow dragon..)

Malsara: Yl..aaaa..yaaaaa...

Ylaya: Oh Mother of the Shadows! I obey.

Malsara: Yesss... Heed me... Look to the Soulscar... they have rebuilt old altars, revived their old rites... their minds are hidden… even from me…

Ylaya: What can I do to execute your will?

Malsara: Learn... lay bare their plans...learn of their rituals... expose their new loyalties…

Ylaya: Your will shall be my will; your needs my needs.

Malsara: As it should be... She teleported out…

Thralsai (new leader of the reborn Soulscar clan) has learnt a rite that involves sacrificing numerous creatures to the Demons. The location where the rite will be held is kept secret, but hunting down the future victims can be helpful in finding it.

The rite that was kept in mind by Tralsai is very complicated, and to find those creatures who are to become its victims is very difficult. Maybe the oracle will help to identify them.

Ylaya left the tunnels and searched for Oracle. She finds him soon.

The Oracle says that the mages towers (Hut of Magi) can help in identifying them. But to be sure, none of the Towers must be missed.

Ylaya searched for Huts of the Magi and killed all marked creatures, hidden on the surface and in the tunels (dark elves and thein servant races). She avoided Soulscar guards on her way, because she must act in secret.

After that, she spied on meeting of Thralsai and Shadya in tunnels…

Shadya: Gooooood. Plan. Think. Bide your time. Old friends have not been forgotten.

Thralsai: And old enemies?

Shadya: Will never be forgiven.

Thralsai: I feel the need to celebrate! Bring me a slave - a fresh one. And towels for the blood.

Assassin: As you wish.

Shadya: I will teach you a new ritual... one that requires new sacrifices. Careful - you must not be found out.

Thralsai: Excellent. What must I - Listen! I heard something. A spy! Ylaya run away…

Shadya: What was that?! No! The spy must be found!

Thralsai: Shanris! Warriors! A spy! Find him and bring him to me. And the guards who failed their duty. Grim raiders follow Ylaya.

The Break

A true adept of Malsara is like a shadow: she's quick, imperceptible and relentless. The flames of war do not cover the dark elven land of Ygg-Chall yet, but their warmth already heats the angry heroes of two great families - clan Shadowbrand and clan Soulscar. Once again, as before, their confrontation will determine the future of all the citizens of Ygg-Chall.

On the surface…

Ylaya: Soulscar heretics! They would enslave our peoples to their foul infernal lords. They dare to spurn the path of Tuidhana!

Blood Sister: Their corruption runs deep.

Ylaya: Their blood shall run as well, this I do swear. We must go warn our kin. The Shadowbrand must learn of Thralsai's lies and Shadya's fate.

Blood Sister: We live to obey, Shadow Sister.

Ylaya has discovered Thralsai's secret, and the leader of clan Soulscar will not take that quietly. Ylaya's sole hope for escaping Thralsai's revenge is to flee to her homeland. She has but two weeks to pass the first frontier garrison. As the clans' leaders conflict with each other, none of them will follow Ylaya to the lands of the neighbor.

Thralsai isn't going to let Ylaya get away easily. There is another demonist trailing Ylaya, and she has only three weeks to escape the pursuit.

Home is near, and hope burns bright in Ylaya's heart. She has one final effort to make, however. If Ylaya manages to cross the final boundary in four weeks, Thralsai must consider the first battle of his war as a loss.

Ylaya succesfully fought all three garrisons and escaped from enemy land.

Meanwhile, in Grimheim, King Tolghar, Hangvul and Rolf are standing before great dwarven army, in front of the capital city, Tor Myrdal…

Hangvul: The fighting is grim, Your Majesty. Our troops are brave but even so...

King Tolghar: What do they fear? Why do they not fight?

Hangvul: They face poisons, knives in the dark, traps... If the eye and hand those cave maggots took were still good, I'd help them. But... who could?

Rolf: Truly, my king, they are willing but... undisciplined. They are loyal, but lack guidance.

King Tolghar: I see. It is my duty. I must go.

Rolf: You? It is... too risky. You are… hmmm... aged, your Majesty, too old to lead troops to glory. Those days are over.

King Tolghar: Old, am I? Unfit for battle? If Arkath has chosen this as my fate, I'm not afraid to meet it. I'll lead the troops myself!

Hangvul: But your Majesty, you are needed here. There are ceremonies, meetings, and paperwork.

King Tolghar: We are at war! I see my duty now. I must go. He left and go to the city…

Hangvul: As your Majesty wishes.

King Tolghar: Summon the warlords! For fire and forge!

Rolf: Bring the King's armour and his weapons!

Hangvul: He was a beacon of hope in his time, but his metal rusted over the years. We need a stronger king.

Rolf: Someone like... me for instance?

Hangvul: Don't take me for a fool. We all know of your ambitions. But remember I do this for the Stone Halls, not for you.

The Meeting

War rages under the mountains of Ashan. The faithful of Malassa find themselves fighting not merely the dwarves, but their own dark elf kin as well. Desperate times require desperate measures, and the dragon-gods may recruit anyone at all when an entire nation is in peril.

Back in the temple, Ylaya is talking with Malassa again…

Ylaya: Your suspicions were correct, oh Shadowed One. Again they spurn your words to laud Urgash!

Malsara: Once again… is twice too many. Death... shall be the least of their worries... ahhhhhhh... I must speak... with an old ally...

Ylaya: Yes?

Malsara: There was... a Clanlord... grim, arrogant... but loyal... he is gone, but I feel... he is not dead...

Ylaya: Described like this, you must speak of Raelag.

Malsara: Yessss... Once lost, twice born… But first you must find my children... my little ones... they deserted Thralsai... it will be easier, if you wear the garb of their masters...

Ylaya: The raiment of Tuidhana? It is lost.

Malsara: Find them! Yesss... and then... find Raelag...

If anyone can save the dark elves it's the former Clanlord of all Ygg-Chall, leader of Clan Shadowbrand, Raelag. Now that Ylaya knows the location of the portal that leads to his secret asylum, she can ask for his help.

More ears than those of the demon sovereign heard Thralsai's prayers. Malassa, the Dragon of Shadow and the patroness of the dark elves, listened in anger and removed her blessings from her people. As a result the shadow and black dragons, their strongest creatures, serve the warlocks no more. But there is a way to summon them again, if Ylaya can prove herself worthy. The Daughter of Malassa (black dragon) shouldn't leave Ylaya's army to be under protection and, of course, it must survive.

It will be easier to persuade the dragons if Ylaya collects the eight legendary dragon artifacts known as the "Raiment of Tuidhana." This task is not an easy one, and Ylaya may lack the time or energy to fulfil it.

Ylaya started her search for dragon artefacts, cleared garissons guarded by the undead and fighting demons, humans, dark elves and dwarves on her way. She crushed all opponents and seized thein cities. After long search, she finally found all dragon artefacts (dwarven and dark elven units were fighting over them) and have Raiment of Tuidhana, complete set of armor and weapon made from dragon body. She gave Raiment to the Seer, and he open the portal to teleport to Raelag for her. (Or she entered the maze of teleports with Raiment, and fought her way through to last teleport to Raelag).

Raelag and Isabel, in Raelag's hiding place…

Isabel: Not that I dislike your home, but we have dallied long, and the Empire needs us.

Raelag: Ha! You do too dislike my home, but I'm not offended. I don't like it much either –

Ylaya teleported in, unit of Raelag's minotaur guards shown up…

Raelag: Who are you? Speak quickly, or die quickly. Your choice.

Ylaya: You must remember me Clanlord, I am your Keeper of the Law, named Ylaya.

Raelag: Ah! Of course… and you are here for … ?

Ylaya: Malassa's daughter said to seek you out.

Raelag: Here we go again. She needs me? Things must be stirring.

Isabel: But the Empire…

Raelag: It is unwise to ignore the summons of Malassa, my love. So, what is it this time?

Ylaya: The Soulscar lord, Thralsai, ambitious fool, has reforged their alliances of old. Your fallen sidekick Shadya holds his leash.

Raelag: Shadya! You don't know, do you. She's not one of us, but a succubus in disguise - Ashan would be a better place if her clever head was separated from the rest of her body.

Isabel: Then we have no choice?

Raelag: Did we ever? We're pawns in a game of dragons. Very well, Ylaya. We shall come.

Ylaya: What can we do? We're few, and they are strong. Their armies have the aid of demon troops.

Raelag: The Soulscar have one great weakness, though. They're slow learners.

Dragons

Two fates, two variants of Ygg-Chall's future meet at last on the battlefield. On one side is power-mad Thralsai and his demonic allies; arrayed against them are the experience of Raelag and the mystical powers of Ylaya. It is here, near the resting place of the heroes of old, that the dispute between Chaos and Shadow will be settled.
Raelag: We have to hold the town. We're lost without supplies and reinforcements.

Isabel: You spoke of the dragons -- will they breed here?

Ylaya: No. They deserted us for Thralsai's sins. They will not change their minds so easily.

Isabel: We can help-

Raelag: Not with this. Malassa is quite particular about her worshippers and their acts of devotion.

Ylaya: Raelag is right. I must do this alone.

Isabel: Good luck.

Raelag: Your task will be easier with the armour. Hopefully it will be more comfortable than the one I once wore...

Ylaya: Malassa's wisdom be with you, Clanlord.

Halris is the only town controlled by Ylaya, Raelag and Isabel. Losing it means being deprived of a reliable base and reinforcements -- and probably losing the war.

The dragon lair is hidden somewhere in the caverns, and Ylaya's must find it. If she does so, she will be able to enlist the dragons' support and greatly improve her chances of defeating clan Soulscar.

Ylaya travelled long way both underground and on surface, she seized one dwarven city on her way and finally arrived into the dragon lair.

Black Dragon: It is good... you smell of shadow, not of sulphur... you wear the skins of the masters...

Ylaya: Malassa summons you! I speak her words; from her I bring you orders to obey. The faithless Soulscar must all be destroyed.

Black Dragon: It is good... even glorious... when duty and desire are one...

Blood maizen arrives…

Blood Maiden: It has been confirmed, Shadow Sister. They are besieged, and Thralsai's forces too numerous to count.

Ylaya: The enemy moves fast - we must hurry, then. Our allies need our reinforcements now.

Black Dragon: And our enemies… they need… our instruction…

202 black dragons joined Ylaya, and she hurried to get back to Halris to defend it from Thralsai.

Meanhwile Raelag, together with Isabel, hold off city of Halris against numerous Soulscar attacks. Finally, Thralsai and his great army arrives.

The war against Thralsai is coming to a climax. Everything will be decided in this last battle, against Thralsai in person, and the best of his troops. Ylaya, Raelag and Isabel must find a way to defeat him.

Raelag, Isabel and Zlata destroyed his army completely.

On the battlefield, Raelag and Isabel are talking near small lake…

Raelag: My love...

Isabel: Yes?

Raelag: I have been contacted. There is a need-

Isabel: I don't like the sound of your voice. What is it?

Raelag: Your... Kha-Beleth's child… I have to go. He must be stopped.

Isabel: I would go, but… what was done to me… the thing that came out…I couldn't face it. But we had so little time!

Raelag: Yes. I have to go. He must be stopped.

Isabel: Don't! We barely... (Sighs) Yes. I know. In this thing, duty must come first.

Raelag: We were lucky, Isabel, to have had any time at all.

They sit and enjoy each other.. Shortly after that, Ylaya arrives…

Raelag: Ehmm.. Ylaya. Escort Isabel to Horncrest. There she can rally loyal Griffin troops. With their help, she can push back the fanatics of the demon queen.

Ylaya: Yes, Clanlord. When will you be back?

Raelag: Very soon, if I have any say about it.

Ylaya: Go quickly, then. Ygg-Chall needs all your strength.

Isabel: As does the Griffin Empire.

Raelag: Oof. Sometimes I wish that I had been born to do something simple - breed lizards, pick mushrooms...

Isabel: Fortunately for Ashan that's not the case. Take care...

Raelag: Goodbye, Isabel.

Raelag walks away into the mist of the silent battlefield…

The Decoupling

Shadow is strongest where there is little light, and luck favours Dark Elf fighters while they war in their vast caverns. But no one can tell what will happen when they stand in battle, on the surface, against the children of Light and Fire. Perhaps new allies will come to the aid of the clans of Ygg-Chall in this battle. Or perhaps they, too, are but pawns in the game that Order and Chaos have played since the day the world was made -- and they will be sacrificed accordingly.

Ylaya and Isabel are in the caves under the Stag duchy…

Ylaya: I miss him as well, lady. But be strong…

Isabel: That is a refrain that I have heard all too often. It is, unfortunately, correct.

Ylaya:To Horncrest, then?

Isabel: Yes. to Horncrest. If the Stag duchy has stayed loyal, and sided with the dwarves, we will have a powerful ally.

Ylaya: And if not, they'll pay a heavy price.

The town of Horncrest, the capital of the Stag duchy, has seen much lately. It has seen numerous masters, the death of the butcher Laszlo, and now serves as the last stronghold of the rebels. Rebels, of course, who oppose their queen while not even suspecting who she really is. Ylaya and Isabel are headed there, hoping to tell the people of the Empire the truth about their ruler. Ylaya and Isabel must reach Horncrest within a week.

Ylaya and Isabel travelled through the underground tunnels and arrived near Horncrest just in time.

Horncrest is besieged by the armies of Alaric and Tolghar, so Ylaya and Isabel must come quickly to the help of their future allies.

They have lifted the siege and destroyed red armies, led by hero Lorenzo.

In front of the gate of Horncrest, is dark elven army led by Ylaya...

Wulfstan: Dark Elves? Here? We're at war!

Ylaya: Of course you are at war. It's what you dwarves do whenever you are sober and awake.

Duncan: Hold, Wulf. They didn't lift the siege just to attack us. Besides, she has a point...

Wulfstan: Hah. Next time you need a duchy saved, I'll make sure I'm drunk and sleeping.

Duncan: Let me thank you and apologise for my sober friend. But he has a good question. Why did you help us?

Ylaya: We all fight demons. It's a common cause. Malassa looks upon you as a friend.

Duncan: I applaud both Malassa's principles and her good taste in messengers.

Ylaya: If I had known the rebels had such charm the siege would have been raised more rapidly. But what of Isabel's fanatical troops?

Duncan: We destroyed Laszlo's army, but a… good friend sacrificed herself for the victory.

Ylaya: Perhaps you'll let me help to soothe your woes. In Ygg-Chall we are skilled in certain arts…

Duncan: Such a generous offer. How could I resist?

Wulfstan: You're a piece of work, mate.

Duncan: And who is- what?? Isabel is coming…

Ylaya: May I present queen Isabel of the-

Wulfstan: Arkath's boiling gonads!

Duncan: You! Murderer! Demon-lover!

Isabel: Wait! That's not me. The queen who sits on the throne is an imposter. A demoness, a succubus.

Wulfstan: Easy to say, and a bit hard for us to check.

Duncan: Why should we believe you?

Isabel: Would a true Griffin queen consort with demons? Kill Godric? Burn peasants?

Duncan: No argument there. But how do I know you're not her?

Ylaya: I have travelled with her, and Raelag. I believe her.

Duncan: I see, but did you know the real queen Isabel?

Freyda show herself…

Freyda: I knew her quite well. The false Isabel - she is fat, well-fed, satiated. This one is rather... leaner.

Isabel: And angrier. Thank you, I think. Are you satisfied, Duncan?

Duncan: Yes! Freyda…We heard an echo, a scream… I thought you were dead.

Freyda: Your period of mourning was admirably brief.

Wulfstan: That's unfair.

Freyda: My apologies. I didn't realize you heard it… I saw… Elrath.

Ylaya: You have the look of one who has been touched by a visitation of the dragon gods.

Wulfstan: Aye, we heard the scream. Laszlo died right after, coughing up blood. Good show, lassie!

Isabel: I'm glad you're back, Freyda. We must all stand together if we hope to win - or survive. We have a duchy to free, a war to end, and a demon queen to cast down.

Freyda: And a true Isabel to raise up!

Isabel: I've had enough of thrones, Freyda. Once Talonguard is ours again, I'll let the peers of the realms choose who they wish, as long as it is not me.

Success in the war against Alaric and Tolghar is hampered by demon raids. These clashes weaken the heroes' army, hurting its chances to win. It would be perhaps a good idea to capture the demons' towns and stop the Inferno invasions.

Heroes entered underground and claimed all three demolic cities. On the surface, they liberated Lostdale from red armies and then started to build up great army, which can strike through the border to dwarven lands and attack Tor Hrall.

Not more than two months separate the heroes from their next encounter with an Imperial army. This one will be led by Biara herself in the guise of the queen. If they hope to achieve their lofty goals, the heroes must first seize Tor Hrall where the enemy's army is in waiting.

Archbishop Alaric is talking with Isabel/Biara through the magic device (he is leading red armies near Tor Hrall..)

Alaric: They are fully engaged, my queen. Dwarves, dark elves, and rebels.

Isabel / Biara: (Somewhere in burning, scorched land…) Good. Then do as I said.

Alaric: You are sure? It will throw the world into turmoil.

Isabel / Biara: And that is a good thing. Do as I command, Alaric. Share my glory. Share my... pleasure.

Alaric: Of course! As you desire. (Red armies are retreating)

Freyda and her army…

Freyda: What is this? They pull back?

Squire: Perhaps they're expecting reinforcements. Or it's a feint.

Freyda: No. Their position is too strong to need either. They're leaving.

Squire: But that makes no sense!

Freyda: Not to us. Only to them. And that makes me very, very worried. There is some greater plan at work here.

Ylaya and her army…

Ylaya: What goes on?! What treachery is this?

Blood Fury: The Haven troops withdraw. The day is ours!

Ylaya: Today we'll be triumphant, I don't doubt. But strange news, this... what will tomorrow bring?

Duncan and his army…

Duncan: Ha ha! They retreat! Uh, hmmm... They retreat?

Paladin: What do you mean?

Duncan: No, what do they mean. Do they toy with us? Mock us? No... Ah! Regardless. We'll finish their allies first, and ask questions later.

Wulfstan and his army…

Wulfstan: Tis a sad day for our people. He was a weak king, and he chose a bad ally, but...

Defender: But what, Warlord?

Wulfstan: But he'll die in war before he gives up. Too old, too proud, and too foolish.

Defender: He forged the armour, he can die wearing it.

Wulfstan: Aye, let's get it over with.

King Tolghar is ready to face all five heroes…

Heroes destroyed Tolgar's armies and killed old dwarven king.

In front of Tor Hrall – Duncan and Freyda are talking, Wulfstan is coming through the gate…

Duncan: So why did they do it?

Freyda: Simple. It served their ends.

Wulfstan: What's wrong? We won!

Freyda: But what did we win? Though we crushed their allies and won back our own territory, they remain as strong as ever.

Isabel: All their fighting was done by puppets. Biara and Alaric are still more powerful than any of us.

Ylaya: Reflect, Wulfstan, on where we find ourselves. Duncan's once-proud duchy laid to waste, Freyda still unwanted in her home, and you shall be accused of regicide.

Wulfstan: Uh...

Isabel: We must decide what to do. For my part, I'm tired of running. I'll raise the duchies. The demon cultists must be exposed and destroyed.

Freyda: My duty also lies with the Griffin Empire.

Duncan: I also have some scores to settle... Ylaya, your troops would be invaluable, and with the Soulscar destroyed your position in Ygg-Chall is strong…

Ylaya: Disturbance on the surface of Ashan has always been reflected in Ygg-Chall. In helping you, I help my clans as well.

Wulfstan: We're with you too. It'll take a lot of talking and yelling before we're welcome in the Stone Halls again.

Isabel: Then, my friends, I recommend we rest and get ourselves ready to move quickly. When war comes, we cannot be caught unprepared.

All five heroes kneels and prepares some spell…

Meanwhile, somewhere in the desert, Raelag is talking with the spirit of Tieru…

Raelag: You say you serve a higher purpose, but your only purpose - as I see it - is to make me travel a lot.

Spirit of Tieru: At least you still have the good sense to listen to me. Are you ready, then?

Raelag: Always. Could you be a little more specific? East, you say?

Spirit of Tieru: If I could be specific I'd give you a map. I have certain handicaps - I'm dead. What do you expect?

Raelag: Hmmm. Very well. I doubt there'll be demon cultists among the orcs, so I'll start with the Free Cities.

Spirit of Tieru: Good luck, Raelag. As usual, you'll need it...

Raelag walks in some portal…

Elsewhere, Alaric reports to Isabel/Biara, in barren, burnong land…

Alaric: My queen, I have done as you command…

Isabel / Biara: Lovely. The dwarven king?

Alaric: Dead.

Isabel / Biara: The dark elves?

Alaric: Their strongest clan shattered.

Isabel / Biara: And they think they can corner me now. Poor fools. I have one other card to play, Alaric. A strong one. Life is so very good, my Alaric.

Alaric: I live to serve, my queen.

Isabel / Biara: And your service shall be most richly rewarded. But there is one final task…

Alaric: Anything.

Isabel / Biara: The boy. Our little Andrei, who caused us such trouble. Bring him to me. I have need of him. Or at least, need of his blood… Hahahaha!! (Biara changed herself in her true form, just after Alaric left…)

Biara later killed prince Andrei and used his blood to desecrate Heart of the Griffin – from now on it will not banish demons, but bring them to Ashan instead. She claims that she must do that to „clear“ prince from demon taint. Blue Priest Melchior have taken the body of dead prince and buried it on secret place (By the time of Tribes of the East).

Cabal
Leprechaun
Leprechaun
Posts: 36
Joined: 09 Jan 2009
Location: Karlovy Vary - Czech republic

Postby Cabal » Jan 10 2009, 13:06

PART VII

Tribes of the East

Rage of the Tribes
Qurog

A Murder of Crows

Nights grow dark as starry lights of our brothers and sisters disappear, taken as slaves by steel men of Empire who follow lords of Raven. Tribe's tears tell us to act; warriors' hearts tell us to fight. But shaman says: listen to your ancestors.

Orcish army is in the camp near Raven duchy, their shaman and hero, Kujin (female orc), is speaking to their people…

Kujin: Kunyak and Batu, our great ancestors who broke the wizards' chains and freed us, spoke to me. Here is my vision…

Kujin: Batu threw her* oracle bones. Three symbols rose from the dust. First was a demon. Batu said, “They fight life itself, our Mother Earth. They are the true enemy. We protect life, it is our purpose.” *(Kunyak was speaking about Batu as if he was a male – it was a long time ago , so this could be just her mistake, which find its way to all ancient stories..)

Orc crowd: Batu… great shaman speaks. Urrrhh. Aaahww.

Kujin: Next symbol was a dragon king, a young man, standing before us. He gave a dark dragon skull to Kunyak, to guard for the chosen one. Kunyak said, "The successor will be like orc, half demon, half man. He wields power to change the world - or destroy it."

Orc crowd: Kunyak! Great warrior! Orc son rule world! Wooooaahh!

Kujin: Last symbol was a spider, dead but not dead. She cut the web of demon lies spinning over our world. Batu said, "Orcs will meet a Spider wearing the face of a man. This Spinner will help us save Mother Earth… as Orcs have done before!

Orc crowd: Ooooooh! Aaaaaah!

Kujin: This message is hope. The ancestors say wait for spider omen. Then orcs win more than freedom, Orcs will be freedom’s champions.
Kujin walked away, to orcish hero Gotai. Qurog, orcish warchief (who adopted and raised Gotai, when his parents were killed by yetis), speaks to his people…

Quroq: Tribe! You hear shaman’s council. Shaman says wait for sign. Only sign I see is butcher's knife! Orcs in chains! You think when orcs were slaves, Kunyak sat on ground, waiting for signs? Like Kunyak I pay my freedom now, with my axe.

Orcish warrior: (crushed spider with his boot) Ha! Quroq is right! Look, see spider omen here under my foot!

Orc crowd: HA HA HA AH AH ARGHH SNORT!

Quroq: Quroq leave at dawn to free brothers and sisters. You want more signs, you stay and wait!

Orc crowd: RAHHHHHHHHH. QUROQ, QUROQ!

Kujin: (To Gotai) Must stop this! Quroq speaks like Empire’s swords are rusty. Like one noisy orc can break a hundreds of chains. Like if the ancestors' voices worths nothing!

Gotai: No, Kujin. Quroq speaks from the heart; tribe's heart beats with his. He says tomorrow we go to hell… tribe follows.

Quroq: Prepare for Battle! This day Quroq lead orcs to power…. Orcs will rule world!......

Battle griffin was spying the ocs, and leaved their camp…

On another place, Archbishop Alaric is with his red army is on the battlefield, full of dead Empire rebels…

Alaric: Reinforcements to the left flank. Send my personal guard. Glory to the Queen!

Vindicator: High Priest Alaric, a griffon scout arrives...

Battle griffin arrives and shrieks on Alaric…

Alaric: I must see the queen. As she predicted, the orcs are on the move.

Vindicator: But Sire? We are in the middle of a battle?

Alaric: These are her orders, and she is the queen! Do not let me hear you questioning them again.

Quroq, who dreams of of glory and hates the "Steel Men", is invading the Raven Duchy. Quroq will have his revenge for their taking of orc slaves - and the more blood shed, the better. His goal is to take Voron Peak, the capital of duchy. But that is only the beginning of the hunt - for men.

Quroq found centaur slaves and their overseers…

Raiding parties from the Raven duchy have taken slaves from outlying orc villages. These angry warriors would be more than happy to break their chains and join Quroq. Their overseers, however, must be dealt with first.

Peasant overseer: Get back to work. Dying isn't an excuse. These carts aren't going to pull themselves. HA HA HA Overseers are bullying centaurs near the fields, centaurs are forced to pull full loaded carts.

Peasant overseer: What are you looking at, huh?

One of the peasants on the fields looked on the nearby forest and run away…

Peasant: Orcs! Run! Run!

Quroq and orc warriors attacked from the forest…

Quroq: Father Sky!!! Death to my enemy!!!

They slaughtered the guards and freed centaurs…

Quroq: Free brother centaurs!

Quroq: Quroq: I, Quroq, great orc conqueror, chosen of Kunyak, liberate you!! YOU ARE FREE! Quroq frees all orc slaves. All!

Happy to fight inhis army and live under his protection, the centaurs have built a base in his outpost.

Quroq sacrificed enemy troops who joined him in a Sacrificial Pit to Mother Earth to gain some experience.

Quroq found the place where goblins are slaving in the mines… "Goblins not meant to break Mother Earth! Goblins born free!" cry the goblins. "We die if no one saves us!”

Kunyak burned another farm, and shortly after that, he released goblin slaves and killed their masters. Goblins joined him and built their base on his outpost.

Quroq burned another farm and found a prison full of orcs…

“Release us, Warchief!” the slayers yell. “Set us free and we will pledge our hearts to your cause!”

He set them free, and they join him and build a base in his outpost…

Quroq Khan, Warriors are now free! We will avenge brothers and sisters. Follow you to end of Mother Earth.

Quroq found cyclops, tortured by archers…

"Cyclops are guardians of the orc peoples. Ahhhhh! They hurt us and make us work! Free us, and the mightiest warriors of Father Sky will join you!"
Quroq freed them, and attacked Raven duchy capital city of Raven duchy, Voron Peak.

In the burning, corpses filled streets of Voron Peak, group of goblins chase one archer, but suddenly, chieftain appeared from behind the corner of one building and killed the archer…

In front of the burning cathedral, shamans, sky and earth daughters sacrificed one priest…

Next to the city walls, orcish army is gloryfiing its leader…

Orc crowd: QUROQ! QUROQ!! QUROQ!

Quroq: We followed our hearts! Father Sky gave us victory!

Orc crowd: WAHHAHAHAHAH ORCS!!! QUROQ!!!

Quroq: The shaman’s dream spoke true, I, Quroq will claim skull of Dragon King!

Kujin and Gotai, near Quroq …

Kujin: I see. So now he interprets oracle bones…

Gotai: Kujin… Your pride blinds you. This is Quroq’s day. We have victory.

Quroq: Orcs run no more. Orcs will rule! Men, elves, dwarves and even demons will kneel to orcs!

Orc crowd: ORCS!!! Rule WORLD!! QUROQ! QUROQ!

Kujin: Quroq is conqueror: he thinks to wield the axe and bones in the same hand. Gotai… this is not our way…

Gotai: No, shaman… this is our future! QUROQ!! QUROQ!!! QUROQ!

Near another human city, Alaric commands huge red army…
Alaric: HA HA HA HA… Barbarians… Like delirious wolves let them gorge their bellies and take their naps. When they scatter. We’ll hunt them down, one by one.

The Will of Asha
Arantir

Last Soul Standing

The Kingdoms of the Death lords, scattered throughout the lands of Heresh, have lost all interest in furthering the plans of their one Goddess, Asha. The troubles in the realms around them have allowed them to live their undead lives unchallenged, and a quiet and lethargic peace has settled unto these once dangerous and active territories. Arantir has come out of his studious isolation preaching that he is the chosen of Asha, and that Heresh shall once again be united under the rule of a single High lord. His magical powers are more than sufficient to back his words. Numerous necropolises have fallen or been convinced to join him. The Vampire lord Giovanni, has been taming the lands around his kingdom, hoping to offer them as a consequential gift of affiliation to the chosen one. Lady Ornella, a Griffin countess turned disciple of death, is one of Giovanni's many exuberant accolytes. He has a special mission for her. In exchange she hopes to finally be given the final rites to conversion and become a necromancer.

Giovanni shows himself on the way, where lady Ornella was waiting for him…

Giovanni: Listen closely, Ornella. Lord Arantir has already conquered half of Heresh. The rest is bound to fall.

Ornella: But… Why? You told me he was a humble scholar…

Giovanni: That's what we all thought… until he offered Asha’s "final death" to four powerful necromancers.

Ornella: Rather grandiose for a bookworm. So how will you impress him? Recite poetry?

Giovanni: Indeed, something suitably epic. I intend to earn his favour by offering him the city of Iluma-nadin on a silver platter.

Ornella: Lord Malfroy's castle! I thought him your friend? And he sets a most sumptuous table…

Giovanni: As any good friend would, he will die for me. We'll let his ghost choose the wine when we toast Arantir's success. For now, I have a task for you.

Ornella: Command me, my lord.

Giovanni: A Magic gate recently appeared in these lands – it blocks the way to Iluma-nadin. I want you to find its key.

Ornella: And then... am I prepared to assault a city?

Giovanni: You've have much power, Ornella - I've taught you how to raise the dead. Further secrets shall be yours once you give me Malfroy's city… and his head.

Ornella: Giovanni, how romantic! But, is it really necessary?

Giovanni: The fewer living souls in Heresh in the days to come, the more valuable Arantir will deem our own.

Lord Giovanni has entrusted one Lady Ornella with an important mission, the capture of Iluma-Nadin, one of the key necropolises of the North-Western outer regions of Heresh. This city would indeed be an impressive gift for the rapidly advancing High lord Arantir. Giovanni has started Ornella's training along the path of the Death lords, and she is now able to raise dead and bolster her army. Still, the task is daunting, for spies have reported that the city is expecting reinforcements, as if they are preparing for a siege. Ornella must capture the city before reinforcements arrive if she wishes to continue to bennefit from her Master Giovanni's good graces, and finally obtain the full powers of a Death lord. She has three monts.

Ornella fought some new types of skeletons and zombies – skeleton warriors and rot zombies…

Ornella: I've never seen such troops before, Master! The tally stone of secrets you've been keeping from me has just been notched.

Ornella: I've never seen such troops before, Master! That's another entry in the log of secrets you've been concealing.

Giovanni: You lift your pen too readily. They are new to me as well… fascinating! They would make us the envy of Heresh – and of Arantir.

Giovanni: There is an old witch, a friend and confidant of the local lords... She should know the way to create them. Find her and persuade her to share her knowledge with you. As for me, I must go find more of these troops.

Ornella is intrigued by this new species of undead. They are stronger and faster than any she has ever seen before. She asks herself if there are lost secrets that have escaped the knowledge of even her Master Giovanni, perhaps even High lord Arantir. Ornella thinks that the wearily witch might have answers to her questions, and it would indeed be just the sort of gift that a young and aspiring apprentice would give to her protector.

The road to Iluma-Nadin is blocked by a magical portal that can only be opened with a special key. This key was broken into two halves by Malfroy, the previous lord of the city and hidden in separate places for reasons only known to him. To make matters worse, Malfroy has made arrangements with a new breed of ghost dragons to ward over each half of the key. Ornella must locate the dragons, recover the two halves (upper and lower half) of the key and seek help in order to make the key whole again. Only then will she be able to resume her journey.

Ornella found enemy hero and city – necropolis. She attacked the hero and seized the necropolis. She met a mage…

Ornella: What is a book worm doing burrowing so far from his library? Looking for garlic I presume…

Librarian: I'm on an errand, retrieving tomes of ancient lore for the wizard Menelag (Menelag is (will be) associate of Phenrig (who will be tutor of Sareth, the Dark Messiah) and will be, or is now, lord of the free city of Stonehelm)

Ornella: Menelag, you say? This name sounds familiar. I shall mention it to Giovanni… I suggest you get into a tower before the sun sets.

Ornella found and fought some bone and ghost dragons…

Giovanni: After study the gate has delivered its secrets, Ornella. The key fragment you've just found should help open it, but you'll need the other half.

Ornella: It is probably kept by the same kind of guardian, so I'll keep my eyes open for another similar creature.

Giovanni: One last thing: they key is of a highly magical nature and cannot be mended by a simple blacksmith's forge. You'll need to use an Elemental Conflux; you'll find one to the north.

Ornella captured another enemy necropolis and found a witch hut near…

Having discovered the origin of the extraordinary undead creatures, Ornella now wishes to learn how to create them herself. The Witch says that she has almost mastered the magic that drives them but needs to make a few final experiments. She is willing to share her secret if Ornella will bring her 10 Mercury, 10 Glowing Ore (Ornella seized glowing mine short time before) and 50 zombies to finish her study.

Ornella brought her all she needs…

Giovanni: Bravo Ornella! Now these exotic creatures are part of our legions!

Ornella: How charmingly ghastly. Your Lord Arantir himself might even stop and take notice.

Ornella can now build in her cities upgraded buildings and train her undead sldiers to new types of units.

She also found spectral and ghost dragons near her second necropolis, and after she defeated them, she found second part of the key..

Ornella is certain to have found the two halves of the magical key. Now she must mend it. The only place where it can be made new again is the place where it was forged, the Elemental Conflux. 15 ore must be placed in the conflux in order for the fires to burn bright enough to mend the key.

Ornella travelled through the teleport and restored the key in Elemental Conflux. After that, she used the key on the portal, which leads her near Iluma-Nadin.

Ornella: You were right about the key, my Lord Giovanni! The way to Illuma-nadim is now free. What's the next course for this banquet?

Malfroy: Fools! This is madness! Are you also in league with demons?

Giovanni: Malfroy! Old friend… Calm yourself. It's me Giovanni, not some horned fire-spurting demon lord!

Malfroy: Blasphemous sorcerors from the Silver Cities have taken control of Illuma-Nadim. I built this portal to lock them inside and spare the rest of my fief their depradations. Now you've just opened the cage to set free the hellhound!

Giovanni: Malfroy, as a host you were without equal. As a strategist and death lord, you are without merit.

Giovanni killed Malfroy, and Ornella fought her way to Iluma-Nadin through the demons.
Finally, she besieged the necropolis and fought the demons inside…

In front of the gates of Iluma-Nadin…

Arantir: You have served Asha well, Lord Giovanni, and in Her name I accept your offering. Heresh will again be the fulcrum that guarantees Her balance.

Giovanni: My lands and legions are at your service, Lord Arantir. Asha uses all.

Arantir: Asha uses all.

Giovanni: Might I call your attention to the exploits of Lady Ornella, my apprentice, who felled the gates of Illuma-nadin. She is my gift of allegiance to you.

Ornella: Huuuuh, Giovanni!

Arantir: I have heard of her resourcefulness. Are you ready, child, to join us, serving Asha for eternity or until the final death?

Ornella: Yes, High Lord, Arantir. It is my deepest desire.

Arantir: Then soon it will be both your deepest, and your only, desire.

Arantir teleported them on another place, near the great chasm…

Arantir: Take your place at the center of Asha's web. Stand alone there, and soon you shall join our endless host.

Ornella walked to the higher ground in the middle of the chasm, Arantir came with her and started casting a spell…

Arantir: Asha, Spinner of death, completer of life. Accept this servant's desire and leave her only will.

Arantir: Beyond Life! Beyond Death! Embrace Ornella, Death lord of Asha…
Giovanni run to Arantir and tried to stab him from behind, but Arantir turned and striked him on knees with a spell…

Arantir: Fool! You thought I did not know of your murderous ambition?

Giovanni: You were such a feeble acolyte, always buried in your books… Who taught you to master such power?

Arantir: There's power to be found in books, if first you learn humility. I surrendered to Asha. Her will is my own. And her plans for Heresh don’t include the petty and faithless.

Giovanni: She'll receive me all the same; it is her way. I'll find you in the next life and smite your soul. Asha uses alhhhhhhhhh. Giovanni is burned to death by Arantir…

Ornella: Master Arantir… I … I’m at a loss… I didn't know... (Ornella is changed to vampire and necromancer, death lord)

Arantir: You are clever, child, but too easily duped by a frivolous and foolish master. You have much to learn. Should I bind your soul to a decaying body? An obedient ghoul you would make...

Ornella: High lord, allow me to do penance! Let me prove my devotion to Asha...

Arantir: Asha uses all, even the living during their brief and ignorant lifetimes…Very well, tell me why there were demons here, in Heresh.
Ornella: The troubles in Illuma-Nadin were caused by the Silver Cities. Demon worship grows unhindered in the Wizards' lands. The name "Menelag" was pronounced on several occasions.

Arantir: Menelag… hmmm. A renowned scholar of the Silver Cities. I've read his writings on the Demise of demons and the Origin of orcs. It is time to pay our neighbors a visit.

Arantir: As for you, my child, servants will take you to Nar-Ankar, where your spirit shall be further purged in the crucible of the Goddess. Asha uses all.

The Grim Crusade

Heresh has now been united under the leadership of Asha's chosen, Arantir. The High lord has accomplished the will of Asha, but the capture of Iluma-Nadin confirmed his suspicions. Asha called him for a greater task. Demons now walk the soil of Ashan, and they are supported by corrupt sorcerers from the Silver Cities. Arantir must now unleash his legions of undead into the lands of the wizards to route out the taint of chaos before it can become a true threat to the balance of Asha.

Wizard: Corpse lover! Idiot believer in incomplete prophecies. Prepare for your final death!

Arantir is attacked by wizard (Nathir)… He defeated him.

Arantir: How opportune. You were heading north, to Heresh. What was your purpose? Speak or I shall bind your soul to a dung fly.

Wizard: I.. I.. was escorting reinforcements to my brothers in Illuma-Nadim. We have… taken up residence… temporarily, in the city.

Arantir: Your lease on Iluma Nadin has expired, as have the lives of your brothers who are now before Asha explaining their impertinence. Now tell me ignomious one, who is the head of your depraved movement!

Wizard: We are… inspired... by the Lord Orlando. He is the Hierophant of our cult… he's gone underground.

Arantir: A demon, within my grasp. I shall find this coward of chaos, and send him back to the Sheogh from which he came!

Arantir must find the source of corruption seeping out of the Silver Cities. The wizards of this land have sworn their loyalty to the children of Urgash. The demon taint must be wiped clean, and to do that, Arantir must discover its true source, and seal the breech that has allowed chaos a chance to seep into Asha.

Having discovered that the Wizard charged with reinforcing Iluma-Nadin was but a mere pawn of some greater power, Arantir decides to backtrack his route and discover who was giving orders. Arantir must find the leader of the Demon Cult quickly and discover the extent of his plans. The balance of Ashan is at stake. The underground seems to him to be the logical place to start his search.

Ilm Azhaar, the great academy of magic, is protected by the imposing walls of Manaar. Rumour says that other forces, dedicated to more demonic purposes, lurk in that city as well. Arantir, the chosen of Asha, must breach the walls and discover the city's demonic secrets.

Arantir's final death is at the hands of one who is still an infant (Sareth, the Dark Messiah!!). Asha won't allow her High necromancer to die before this pre-ordained confrontation.

Arantir have found the resting place of a few death knights…

Arantir: Greetings proud Guardians of the Spinner. May Asha free you of living boundaries long enough to serve her sacred purpose. Join me and we will serve her together.

Death knights: Greetings Death lord. Asha has told us to meet her favoured here, but only to follow should he prove his strength. She sends you a message: Of great power must My destined champion be, then shall he crush chaos' seed and restore My balance.

A troop of death knights camps in this hut, awaiting Asha's chosen one. They carry the message that Arantir must prove he is experienced enough to be able to accomplish the tasks that Asha has called him to carry out.

They joined Arantir after he was more experienced…

Arantir: Hail, guardians! I come to see you fulfill your pledge.

Death knights: Greetings, favoured one. We look forward to fulfilling our destiny beneath your command. Asha uses all!

Arantir found another necropolis and was stopped by a zombie near the city…

Zombie: Lord Arantir... Vampires... sleeping... await Death lord... underground...

Arantir: Vampires, my loyal servant? Most interesting. A welcome addition to Asha's legions, should I find them.

The underground has not been visited for centuries. Dormant vampires have been waiting for a call to battle from Iluma-Nadin's ancient lord. These masters of death would be a welcome addition to Arantir's legions. The new High Lord is convinced that Asha has brought him here to call upon them for the battles he now faces.

Arantir seized second necropolis, entered underground and met vampires…

Arantir: Vampires, here? And from the emblems on your armour, you have been in torpor for quite some time… Who are your allies? And whom do you owe allegiance?

Vampire: We are a contingent of the army of Sekhbeth, Lord of Illuma-Nadin. He told us to await his call to war.

Arantir: Sekhbeth? Then it is my fate to inform you that he was burnt at the stake by wizards during the War of the Broken Staff, a century and a half ago. I am Arantir, the new lord of Illuma-Nadin and I claim your allegiance as his rightful heir. Ironically, Sekhbeth's forgotten preparations have been remembered by Asha. I've awakened you for war.

Vampire: Thank you Master. We heed your call! Asha uses all!

Arantir conquered all three tombs of the vampires, and vampires joined him – he can build their mansions in his necropolises now.

On his way, Arantir met a seer…

Seer: Arantir, favoured of the Spinner. You come for knowledge… seeking a man of magic who tracks chaos' taint. His path and yours are interwined.

Arantir: I know his name, it's Menelag. Can you tell me his intentions, seer?

Seer: Ah, the question that I feared... Then my final words you now hear. He hunts a thing that will one day be the object of all of your desires, though its power he does not understand (Skull of Shadows).

Arantir: Can you just tell me if I need to end his life, and should it be before or after I put an end to this demon presence?

Seer: Yes. You will end his life, but not before he meets someone greater than you – one who holds the destiny of Asha in his hands. Asha and Urgash shall kneel to his will, and you will try and sway his choice with your dying breath, as I look upon you with my own.

Arantir build a great army and defeated three wizard cities. Way to Manaar, last city, is blocked by his powerful magic that might do great damage his legions. Reason would seem that another path should be found as quickly as possible.

Arantir found key tent and is able to go through underground gate, guarded by demons. Arantir defeated a demon lord, Gamor. The demon was able to escape, but during his flight he dropped a very intriguing key. It was most definitely forged in the fires of Sheogh, leading Arantir to think that its purpose is to open a demonic lock.

Arantir has discovered a secret path, that has never been exposed to the light of day. Accustomed himself to the unweary comfort of pitch black darkness, he welcomes the opportunity to avoid the barrier that protects Izdihaar, surprising its occupants from within the very heart of the city. An impressive gate blocks the entrance to the underground passage.

The key dropped by the demon during his flight from battle fits the lock perfectly. Arantir is puzzled by the demon's stupidity, and wonders if this could be part of a clever trap. But Arantir eventually decides that Asha has simply tipped the balance in his favor and crosses into the passage and mystery waiting beyond.

Arantir went through the underground, and found way back to surface, near the city of Manaar. He destroyed it quickly.

Arantir is with his army in front of the burning Manaar, talking with a wizard…

Arantir: You have met this demon-worshipper named Orlando? Tell me of him.

Wizard: I've… I’ve never seen him… only heard tales. Other wizards speaking... Archmage Menelag was very curious about him.

Arantir: Menelag again! He shares dangerous company... Is he himself a demon cultist?

Wizard: Nothing directly, sire. But he was in the libraries, seeking ancient lore on demons and the legacy of the Seventh Dragon. He’s a grand scholar…

Arantir: Where did he go after leaving your city?

Wizard: To the Bull duchy… He followed the Lord Orlando.

Arantir: The Bull duchy! Queen Isabel's borders are corrupted by chaos. This ends now. I will not have demon-worshippers walking freely upon the face of Ashan. To the Griffin Empire!

The Bull's Wake

The extent of Giovanni's network was in adequation with his personal ambition. Dormant cells of undead had been cleverly hidden within the borders of the Griffin Empire. Arantir sends Ornella to consolidate them under his rule and to enrol them in his fight for the restoration of Asha's equilibrium. Ornella must enter the Bull duchy and find Giovanni's hideouts. Their exact location was kept a secret even from her.
Arantir sends Ornella on a mission to gather the remaining hidden cells of Giovanni's network. Meanwhile, the High necromancer must tend to final affairs within Heresh in anticipation of his potentially long excursion into the Griffin Empire. After Ornella has accomplished her task, and demonstrated her abilities and loyalty to the chosen of Asha, she will meet him in the East.

Ornella met vampires in disguise as peasants…

Ornella: Remember me? Countess Ornella. I was once a friend and servant of your Lord Giovanni. He has met his final death I'm afraid, now I serve an even greater lord: High Necromancer Arantir.

Vampire: Then we will now serve you Milady. Know that there are many undead like us, living in the deserted villages, dark forests, and ancient graveyards of this region. They too might be willing to join your army and walk again!

Ornella: Asha uses all.

Vampire: There's s also Giovanni's old castle. It is deserted, and in ruins now, but should you seize it, it would serve your plans.

Ornella: My thanks for your aid. May Asha bless you for your timely information.

Local Vampires confirm Ornella's suspicions that numerous undead cells await Giovanni's call to service. They would certainly join her, the servant of Arantir, Asha's chosen.

Old Giovanni's castle would seem to be an excellent base for Arantir to continue his excursion into the Griffin Empire. Perhaps Giovanni has left some clues behind as to why he had developped such an intricate network.

Ornella scoured the land, gathering undead from old graveyards and battle sites, and finally found and liberated Giovanni's necropolis Adad-shuma from red human troops.

Ornella again start her search for the hidden undead…

Vampire prince: Death Lords! Uhh... speak to masters... me can't... uh... conjugate...

Ornella: Greetings, faithful disciples of Asha. I shall have need of your zombies for Asha's struggle.

Vampire prince: Who am I to denyz Asha's will? Though these zombies are hard-working... Tell me, would you rather have the Zombies, or reap the bounty that they produce?

Ornella: Fascinating. What exactly is your offer?

Ornella can choose between to také zombies to her army, or gain 300 gold every day and let them where they are..

After that, she found last of the hidden undead…

Ornella: The loyal followers of the Spinner swell our ranks. Asha's blessings are fulsome indeed.

Wraith: Death lord! We come at Asha's behest, that our final deaths may serve her favoured ones.

Ornella: May your devotion be its own reward.

Ornella fought some red heroes and finally met Arantir…

Arantir: Ahh, my child, your talents multiply. Asha has chosen well.

Ornella: Thank you, my Lord. Asha uses all. What is my next task?

Arantir: This demon-lover Orlando. Though he is as evasive as a beetle ghost, we must corner him. Redirect our troops, Ornella. They are to search for a soulless creature. Tell them to follow the demon stench.

Your spies have found Orlando's scent. He is certainly hiding in one of the Bull duchy castles, unafraid of the Death lord legions hot on his trail. Arantir is appalled by the fact that the demon-worshipper is even more at home in the Griffin Empire than he was in the Silver Cities. Orlando must be stopped.

Arantir and Ornella captured first red city. Ornella brought captured vindicator before Arantir (they are in front of the gate of captured city…)

Arantir: Congratulations Lady Ornella. A brilliant battle.

Ornella: Asha uses all, High Lord Arantir.

Arantir: Look at his terror. We are getting closer to this nest of demon worshippers - fear is their drink of preference.

Vindicator: DEMONS! You speak treachery. I don't follow hell’s children. Queen Isabel will find you and strip the festering flesh from your blasphemous bones!!

Arantir: Then tell us how is it that a certain Orlando, pawn of the demons, walks your land freely.

Vindicator: A demon could never tread our sacred land. The reformed church of Saint Isabel and his eminence, Archbishop Alaric, hunt them day and night!

Arantir: A reformed Church you say. And this Alaric. I've never heard of him. Who is he?

Vindicator: The bishop of the town of Flammschrein. Saint Isabel has declared it our holy city. Alaric is mighty before Elrath! A glance from his most sacred brow will burn your stinking flesh to ashes!

Arantir: Stinking flesh you say? You shall smell it for centuries!

Arantir: We have all the information we need. Add this new recruit to our army.
Arantir killed the prisoner and ressurected him as a rot zombie..

Ornella: Shall I prepare the troops to scour the Duchy in search of Orlando?

Arantir: No. Asha has shown me our mission. The Griffin Empire is holy no more. We must stamp out its corruption. The Red Queen Isabel is certainly a vector of the plague, but to find its true source, we must move on to this "sacred" city, on to Flammschrein…

So said Arantir, but still, they continue to search for Orlando. They captured another red city and finally stands before the last city of red armies, and Orlando himself.

They defeated him, but he slips away by some magical means…
Ornella: Orlando has escaped again. What cowardice drives him, that he so fears his own death?

Arantir: Death he cannot know, but he fears something worse. That he fail here and be sent back to Sheogh a weakly imp, to face the torments of his brothers for millenia.

Beasts and Bones

The Bull duchy has been washed of the Demon Taint and the lifeless bodies of its most blasphemous subjects recruited into the ranks of Arantir's legions. The chase for Orlando continues as he once again managed to escape into the neighboring Wolf Duchy. It has become obvious that something is rotten in the government of the Griffin Empire. Arantir has discovered that the Demon Cultists hold the town of Flammschrein in great esteem and claim it to be the holy city of their new religion. Arantir knows that if Ashan is to be cleaned of the taint of Chaos, the heart of this cult must be ripped from its body.

Ornella: I know this land. My father called it the "Golden Fountain". It's famous for the wealth of its gold mines.

Arantir: Gold! Whot does Asha care for for shining baubles. Worldly possessions are illusion.

Ornella: True, but we know that our enemies need it to pay their troops and to bribe the local mayors so they do not rise up against the cruelty of the Red Queen's regime. In addition, assaulting Flammschrein will be difficult and expensive. With this gold we both weaken them, and strengthen our own position.

Arantir: Raising two faithful with a single spell, hmmm? Though mining is beneath our calling to Asha your point is well made, child.

Orlando continues to spread the demon taint somewhere in the Wolf Duchy. Flammschrein, the revered city of the Demon cultists, must be captured and cleansed.

The Demons' ambush was easily thwarted by Arantir's inspired legions... Too easily! Arantir suspects that the enemy is simply attempting to weaken his army with a long campaign of small skirmishes, confident that over time they will defeat him. Orlando must have succeeded in opening a portal directly to Sheogh where the Hell spawn reinforcements would be practically infinite. Arantir must find and close the breach seeping demons from their prison.

In spite of his contempt for oppulence, Arantir accepts Ornella's council that the gold of the Griffin Empire would be put to better use by the legions of Asha than by the henchmen of the potentially tainted Queen Isabel. The campaign to conquer Flammschrein will certainly be lengthy and costly. In preparation for the war that is sure to ensue, Arantir decides to build up a stock of treasure for the greater purpose of Asha. (For controlling all gold mines, Arantir will start the next mission with +10,000 gold.)

Arantir searched the land, and met orc hero Kilghan…

"Burn their stinking flesh and collect their bones!" The orc warchief orders his army to attack Arantir without any warning or chance for the Death Lord to parley.

After the batlle…

Arantir: Arantir: Orcs? Here? How fascinating. From what I've read, these look to be a band of scouts and raiders. We need to find the bulk of their army and parley with their leader.

Arantir: Do you know, Ornella, the nature and origins of these splendid warriors? It is said that they were made using demon's blood.

Ornella: Really, they certainly inherited their charm and looks.

Arantir: Sadly, yes, or perhaps history would have been kinder to them ... it is also written that they are immune to demonic magics. Alas, they do not seem immune to stupidity.

Arantir: While I look for their leader, Ornella, make sure that we consolidate our city to keep our army supplied. The city walls must not fall to the orc raiders!

Ornella: Yes my Lord. I will not fail you.

Arantir does not want to fight the orcs. Their legend of courage and valor is written through numerous tomes of lore in Heresh libraries. Arantir knows they are the bane of Urgash's children. He must find their leader and make a proper introduction.

Necropolis is attacked by orc marauders, but after the citadel is built, orcs stopped the raids.

Arantir and Ornella are near the guarded garrison…

Erik (champion): Countess Ornella? Is that … you?

Ornella: Lord Erik! How pleasant to see a familiar face.

Erik: You're as fair as ever Milady. But you seem… sickly, and in such grim company.

Ornella: It's a beautiful but long story. May I introduce you to Lord Arantir, my… Mentor.

Erik: You have taken the path of death, Ornella. I see this and grieve. Though I do not share your view of Asha, there are worse things than Undead Lords roaming our lands. In memory of your father I grant you passage.

Arantir: How generous of you, young man.

Erik: My companions won't be so kind though, so I suggest you avoid our garrisons. There's an underground passage, to the west, that will take you beyond our army.

Ornella: Thank you Erik. I... Bid you well.

Erik: Farewell Milady. Who knows, our paths may cross again, in more pleasant circumstances.

Arantir and Ornella travelled through the underground to the lands, controlled by red armies. The entrance to the underground is near orc stronghold, which is guarded by army too great even for Arantir. Underground is guarded by demons, looks like Eric betrayed them. They won and proceed back to the surface, to the demon lands.

A Portal, allowing demons to escape their prison realm of Sheogh, has been opened somewhere in this region. They found and destroy this demon portal.

Arantir destroyed one demonic city, and continue his search for Orlando and Flammschrein.

The Infernal town captured and the ghosts of the demon cultists questioned, Arantir now knows without a doubt that Flammschrein is the center of the New Church of Urgash, and that Orlando has taken refuge there.

Near the bridge on the way to Flammschrein..
Blue Priest (inquisitor and most possibly Melchior): Halt! Who treads so blithely on Elrath's holy ground?

Arantir: Followers of Asha. We have business with demons... and orcs.

Blue Priest: How d'ye mean business? I too have business with demons, primarily in administering their last rites.

Ornella: Then you'll be happy to find a town of theirs south of here, burnt to the ground.

Blue Priest: Fire with fire, eh? If you're looking to fight demons, you should head up to Flammschrein. Just keep traveling – you'll find it in the next region, off to the northeast. Their corrupted church is ruled from there, protected by fanatics – the Bloodsteel Legion. When I've fulfilled the true Queen Isabel's orders and collected enough troops, that will be my target.

Arantir: May Asha bless your efforts, then. Hurry in your task, or you shall find nothing of the demon church but a smoking hole.
Shortly after, Arantir met orc hero Kilghan…

Arantir: Greetings Demon-Slayer. I come in Peace! I must speak to your leader.

Orc: You rotting wizard, you smell of death, We will grant your wish, scalp your flesh with our knives. Our Shaman will talk with your bones, hahahaha!

Arantir is forced to fight him once again, and to capture haven city in orc hands…

After that, Arantir met Kujin and her army…

Arantir: May Father Sky light your path and warm your days.

Kujin: May Mother Earth fill your belly and cool your nights.

Arantir: Greetings Proud Chief. I am Arantir, High Lord of Heresh.

Kujin: Greetings High Lord Arantir. I am no Chief, I am Shaman Kujin, daughter of dreams. How does a Lord of Death know Orc greetings?

Arantir: I have read much on those born to fight the first demons. Tell me, Shaman Kujin. What are Orcs doing so far from their lands?

Kujin: I’m collecting bones from those who would enslave our people. You have many bones too. Who do you take them from?

Arantir: Not from those destined to slay demons.

Kujin: Yesss... I saw you in a dream. You are Asha's Spider.

Arantir: Me? No… I am but the Spider's servant. Do Kujin and the orcs still vow death to all demons?

Kujin: Forever! Our new warchief brings us to chase demons back to hell.
Arantir: Then you know of the danger and we have a common goal.

Shaman Kujin, perhaps we could work together.

Kujin: Let us take council. We have much to discuss.

Kujin: I have seen our omen!

Conversation continues after fourth orc mission…

Heart of Darkness

The ghastly smoke drifting from the walls of Flammschrein smells of corruption. Arantir is close to unravelling the mystery of the New Church of the Griffin Empire that welcomes demons and all who bow to the exiled god, Urgash. Asha has guided Arantir here to restore her balance, and stamp out the taint of Chaos. He has vowed to do so, must his quest lead him to the final death.

Vampire spies have reported back to Arantir that Flammschrein is located somewhere to the North-East and that it is heavily guarded. The High Lord, chosen of Asha, will have to use all of his talent and resources to breach the corrupted city's walls, and put an end to the demon taint.

Arantir met group of paladins…

Arantir: Asha uses all. She has led me to you, who betrayed her son!
Ghosts of innocents call for your confession in blood!

Paladin: Alas Death Lord, it is true! We are guilty. We found out too late that Alaric and Lord Orlando were in league with demons. For our rashness, we have been spurned by Elrath.

Arantir: Ignorant or not, you are guilty and must pay the price of your sin with your lives.

Paladin: Death Lord, wait, hear our plea! We know your cause is just. Free our souls from the Demon Lord who stole them, and we shall serve by your side as loyal knights undying.

Arantir: So be it. Your devotion might serve me in this final battle. Asha uses all.

Elrath has punished a group of Paladins for bowing to Urgash. Their souls are now held captive by a Demon hero. If Arantir can destroy this guardian, the Paladins would be eager to redeem their errors by accepting an Undead life as Death Knights, serving Asha under her chosen's command.

Arantir found the demon and banished him…

Arantir: The demon who held your souls breathes no more.

Paladin – Death Knight: Then we are yours, Death Lord. Asha uses all!

Arantir and Ornella conquered all four Empire cities, and march to last garrison, but there, they met ghost of Lord Fulbert…

Ghost of Lord Fulbert: Death Lord! Yesterday's enemy, today my brother servant to Asha, hear my lament!

Arantir: I greet you unrestful spirit, and I listen. Be quick. I have urgent matters to attend.

Ghost of Lord Fulbert: I am Lord Fulbert, former regent of Flammschrein. I was murdered by Alaric's mislead minions. Avenge me, and I will reward you with your cold heart's deepest desires!

Ornella: Master Arantir, I doubt that a Griffon Ghost could give us anything of worth.

Ghost of Lord Fulbert: Wait! There is a barrier that blocks the way to Flammschrein. It is built with demonic magic. You cannot destroy it. Lest you are prepared to send four of your most powerful disciples to cleanse the altars that you will find near the surrounding castles.

Arantir: Indeed your knowledge serves Asha. What else do you know?

Ghost of Lord Fulbert: Only that the ritual will most certainly drain your disciples of all their lifeforce. And that the even with the barrier down, the city won't be easy to conquer. But if you slay the traitors who stabbed me in my sleep, I will tip the scales in your favour!

The ghost of the former Lord of Flammschrein has told Arantir the reason that he refuses to leave the land of the living. He will reward the High Necromancer generously if he will avenge his death.

Arantir seek and found the assassins of Lord Fulbert…

Arantir: Followers of chaos! Your payment for murder shall be to offer your souls to Asha.

Assassin: Spare us! We admit to having committed murder – many of them, actually – but we can be of use to you.

Arantir: Speak quickly. The sands of your time run fast.

Assassin: To the northwest, a succubus guards a secret demon portal. Give us our lives, and we will destroy her for you. And believe me – after that, we will never again be seen in these lands.

A group of Assassins, realizing that they are no match for the Death Lord, propose an interesting bargain. "Lord of Darkness, should you spare our lives we can serve you in a task that is beyond even your own powers. A Succubus guards a portal to Sheogh where legions of demons filter into these lands. She protects it with a terrible flame that would surely smite you. Now though you can surely destroy the portal, we can take care of the demon. It is our specialty. Does our offer sound fair to you?"

(Demonic heroes are attacking from the portal, but Arantir can kill all of them, or spare the assassins and destroy the portal)

If spared – not worth it…

The gang of Assassins, having been spared, are good to their word and are off to eliminate the slippery Succubus. But it befalls to Arantir to destroy the portal. For that, he will need to use the altar. A Spell Power of at least 10 is required for this ritual.

If Arantir killed the assassins and returned to ghost of Lord Fulbert

Arantir: Lord Fulbert, the task is done, I have sent you the pleading spirits of your murderers.

Ghost of Lord Fulbert: Thank you Lord Arantir, here is your reward, use it as Asha intends!

"Thank you, Dark Lord, I shall soon go to rest. Before, I offer you passage from any one of these portals. Choose wisely, and when you are ready, I shall honour my word."

Arantir have chosen one of three portals - one way is full of mines, one leads to three Sylanna's Ancients, an one to a prison with knight hero – Valeria, daughter of Lord Fulbert – best choice…

Valeria: Thank you, Death Lord. My father, Lord Fulbert, was murdered by demon cultists! I must have my revenge!

Arantir: Revenge you will have, child of Elrath. Join us in Asha's name!

The demons protected their town well. But every stronghold has a weak spot, and Flammschrein is no exception. To dispel the magical barrier Arantir must capture all the other Griffin cities in the region. Near each one there is a sacred site, resembling four magical columns: Arantir must place a powerful Necromancer - but not himself - at the centre of each of these sites. He can then perform a rite to destroy the barrier - a difficult task, but a necessary one.

Arantir send four necromancer heroes to the altars, he is forced to send there Ornella too…

Ghost of Lord Fulbert: Ah, my noble Dark Lord. Carry on your destined path. You have a great deed to perform. May Ashan remember your name, as shall I for eternity.

Arantir: Ornella.. Are you prepared? This ritual... It might bring you the true death.

Ornella: High Lord… I undertand. And I accept. Asha uses all. I will offer my spirit to her gladly so that you, her favorite, might stop this corruption. Farewell, master.

Arantir: Farewell Ornella! My Child!

All four heroes died in the ritual, but the way is opened…

The magical barrier has fallen. Arantir has succeeded. Flammschrein is within his grasp. The fate of Ornella is now in Asha's hand. Arantir wearily continues his mission.

The army, spewed forth from Sheogh can be seen in the distance. Asha has brought you here to cleanse her lands of their taint.

Orlando has nowhere else to hide. Arantir has chased him to his last stronghold in the Griffin Empire. It is time to restore the balance and send the leader of the Demon Cultist movement back to Sheogh.

Arantir defeated Orlando and banished him along with his army. He entered the chapel in liberated Flammschrein, and found a strange purple glowing crystal. He moved closer, and suddenly, two arch devils appeared.

Arantir slayed them by his spells, and destroyed the crystal. Spirit of Queen Isabel (well, just part of it) appeared in the place where the crystal was destroyed.

Isabel's spirit: A Death Lord. What? Has all been lost? Does your Asha ally herself with demons? Has Elrath fallen?

Arantir: No, your majesty. Asha has sent me to stop this corruption.

Isabel's spirit: I thank Her. I am relieved… but my thoughts are cloudy. I suffer living nightmares!

Arantir: What has been done to you, Queen Isabel?

Isabel's spirit: They took my blood… just after I birthed a monster, forced upon me by Kha-Beleth, the Demon Sovereign.

Arantir: A true horror, tortured queen. But... why would demons do this?

Isabel's spirit: That child… they would make of him a Dark Messiah. I've seen a dark skull, made of shadows, a Dragon's head. They need it to breach their prison walls.

Arantir: They seek the relics of Sar-Elam! The false Isabel has given herself to Urgash.

Isabel's spirit: The real Isabel is... I am… elsewhere... gathering troops to throw down the usurper.

Isabel's spirit: Please. You must free my essence, release me. Your magic can end this corruption.

Unused line - Arantir: A Demon-queen? But then, where is the real Isabel… I can sense you're not her ghost. Just a memory of herself, born from the blood she spilled when her son was born.

Arantir: Yes, spirit of Elrath's queen. I shall send you back to your true body.

Arantir: Soul torn asunder for chaos' goal, return to your vessel. And may no one use this memory for Urgash's foul purpose! Asha uses all.
Trapped part of Isabel's soul is restored to her…

Arantir: False Red Queen! I send you Asha’s greetings!

Elsewhere, Isabel/Biara is going to meet Alaric, but suddenly, she is changed back to her true form. She slayed two vindicators, who were guarding the gate…

Biara: What? It cannot be!!! … Oh well, all wicked things must come to an end. Time for a change of plan.

Red soldiers are running away and are butchered by Biara - her demonic fire and demons, who started to enter through helgate (opened by Biara – explained after fourth orc mission), burning the city and killing all people…

Elsewhere, real Queen Isabel is talking to her soldiers…

Queen Isabel: And you… You shall bring justice on all of the Griffin Empire.

Squire: Be wary, Queen Isabel! What's that?

Inquisitor: Dragon of Light, have mercy!

Part of Isabel's soul just returned to her…

Queen Isabel: What have they done to me!!! A demon! His fire! Elrath… please… NO!

Arantir: Asha! It is a blessing to be your tool. Order has been restored, the living armies of your children will strike the final blow. But a new path opens before me; a grave urgency. I cannot stay! I must find the Skull of Shadows before they do – before this demon spawn releases the powers that could unravel the web that is our world. Asha uses all.

To Honor our Fathers
Gotai

Collecting Skulls
At the same time as Arantir started his campaign…

" Gotai... I have raised you like my son, in ways of our tribe... wanted tribe to rule all Ashan! But my pride... thought I had blessing of Kunyak... Father Sky, I Quroq, Second Khan of all Orcs, will fight on in Gotai's axe. Avenge me. Kill priest of slavery. Kill Alaric! "
So says Quroq on his deathbed. But will a young warrior like Gotai be permitted to lead all the tribes of Ranaar? The Orcs must have a contest - a very special contest - to see who the next Khan will be.

The battlefield, full of dead orcs and knights…

Elsewhere, In the orc camp, Khenghi is talking to orc heroes,who wants to become a new Khan…

Khenghi (goblin witch-doctor): Quroq failed. Many Orcs dead. Quroq dead, no true son, no heir. Orc ways give path. Need new champion. New Warchief must prove strength.

Khenghi: Go to Raven lands, kill Orc enemies. All enemies! Orc with most heads, new Warchief.

Gotai: I swore an oath to avenge Quroq. I go now to kill Alaric, and Queen of Steel Men. Have no time for head hunting.

Kujin: Wait, Gotai. Khenghi is only a witch-doctor, but Khenghi is right. First you must become Warchief. Leaderless clans are weak.

Gotai: Leader? I live but twenty winters! Orcs will not follow warrior so young.

Kujin: Your spirit is old enough! Now, use your mind. Alone you will not avenge Quroq. You will die. But with our tribes beside you, the Queen will surrender her body back to Mother Earth.

Gotai: Wise council, Kujin. I will take heads. And with Orc army, greater than all before us, I will avenge our Khan.

It is a fair contest, and a bloody one - perfect for the Orcs. Gotai must pillage the lands of the Griffin Knights, taking 1000 heads of his enemies. Should he be the first to do this he will be named Khan of the Orcs -- and the skulls will make a suitable decoration for the yurts of his tribe.

Gotai started his quest, and he has only one opponent, orcish hero Kragh…

Kujin: Psst! Gotai! Talk to the goblins. They will steal heads from your rivals if you pay them.

Gotai: Kujin? This is test for Khan. You ask me to steal?

Kujin: Gotai must use all the Orcs to become Khan - both cunning and strength. This is the true test.

Gotai: Heh heh. Yes, I see. Thank you, Kujin.

Kujin has met some Goblin scouts who have no love for Gotai's rival - they are willing to help, for a price. If Gotai can find the Goblins and give them gold, they will steal heads from his rival.

If Gotai can keep at least half of his Orc warriors alive, they will follow him to his next mission.

Gotai found goblins…

"Gotai give gold, we give Gotai lotsa heads! Good deal!"

Gotai paid gold to goblins…

Gotai: You bring me heads.

Goblin: Yes, heads. Gotai good Khan.

Gotai: If Father Sky and Mother Earth choose me, I will remember Goblins always.

Goblin: Goblins remember Gotai Khan.

Gotai collected enough heads and returned to the orc camp, to Kujin…

Gotai: Now Kujin. What dream do you see for new Khan? Contest is won, Shamans make me Warchief, but not all Orcs agree. Many challenge me.

Kujin: The bones have spoken; you won the contest. He who fights Gotai now, fights Mother Earth. Trust her ways… They are old…

Tengal (executioner): Gotai's bones are not old enough. I will take Quroq's place. I am heir to Kunyak! Rule Orcs! Rule World!

Gotai: Your heart is poison, Tengal! You seek glory, not good for Orcs. Orcs will follow Gotai!

Tengal: No! Strongest wins! That is way of Orcs. We fight! Attaaack!

Orcs started to fight between themselves, Gotai seeked Tengal and killed him…

Gotai: Those who fight me, fight Father Sky!

Gotai: Now! I order – Khan of Orcs orders -- honor our dead.

Gotai: I must visit all tribes, defeat every chief if they refuse me as Khan - like Tengal did.

Kujin: Gotai, no. Many brothers will die. Let me visit our tribes. I will speak with Mother Earth's voice. I will get them to follow you.

Gotai: Cannot wait, Kujin. Quroq's spirit cries for vengeance.

Kujin: I do not say wait. Father Sky has chosen you. Take those who are loyal and go. I will meet you with many clans.

Gotai: Good. Path is chosen. Alaric will die, and Quroq will be avenged. It is the will of Father Sky.

One Khan, One Clan

The contest is won, and Gotai is now the chief of the Orcish army in his right. He is eager to take his rightful place as the head of the Horde, make it to the Griffin Empire as an irrepressible avalanche and invade the Academy. Even the fact that some of the Clans of the Orcs haven't yet heard the news about the new leader's appearance and sworn loyalty to him can not stop Gotai: the delightful moment of revenge is so close! But Gotai has a loyal aide who will call on these chiefs and tell them who is their only leader now.

The chiefs of the four northern Clans are still unaware of Gotai's being recognized as the leader of the whole nation of Orcs. Kujin will have to bring this news to them and put down those who'd not like it. But war is not to be declared: the she-Shaman's task is a diplomatic mission, not a bloody slaughter. Thus, her task is to reach all Orc Clan's towns and talk to their leaders.

The walls of Osol-Aih are adorned with the rotten corpses of those, who tried to take them by force. Kujin realizes that sieging such a strong town will do little good and is hoping that its chief will be convinced to accept Gotai's rule easily.

Kujin travelled to Osol-Aih…

Toulain from Osol-Aih: Greetings Shaman Kujin. Mother Earth blesses us with your presence.

Kujin: Greetings Great Chief Toulain. I have come to raise warriors for the new Khan.

Toulain: We have heard of Gotai. Good Khan. Goblin hunters speak well of him. We will follow.

Kujin: Father Sky blesses us. I have more tribes to see, but tonight we celebrate the coming of Gotai.

Toulain joined Kujin…

Baishin-gal is one of the most well-protected Orcish strongholds in the region, which makes it a very important strategic town for Gotai. Kujin must speak with its chief and do her best to make him to submit to the new Horde's leader deliberately.

Way north is blocked by untamed cyclops…

Untamed cyclops: The time is not right for you to pass. My eye who sees all does not yet know you. Continue your path or I must end your life, now!
Kujin travelled east to Baishin-gal, and is forced to fought her way through the garrison.

Finally, she met chief Dulgan…

Kujin: Greetings Chief Dulgan… We've come a long way to bring you news of Khan Gotai. He has need of brave warriors.

Dulgan of Baishin-gal: Hmmm. New Khan? This is good. It means war soon to come. Gotai fight to free Orc slaves? Have heard of this.

Kujin: Yes.... Free the slaves. But the Chief better come quickly, or there will be no slaves left to free.

Orc: Our clan longing for battle. Long time we hide. No more! We join you. Now time for feast and dance at bonfire!

Now that Kujin have made friends with the nearest clan to the shipyard, the Cyclops will recognize her as an ally to Mother Earth's cause.

Untamed cyclops: Aw! Our seeing eyes see you as our Mother Earth's Shaman. It is time for us to join your quest!

The Orcs of Harakh have long been known for their ferocity, intractability and hatred for strangers of any race. That is why Kujin anticipates explicable resistance from their chief, but will do anything to avoid direct confrontation and obtain his cooperation in a peaceful way.

Kujin must travell by ship on sea if she want to reach another clan, and she was attacked by elven and dark elven pirates…

Pirate: What have we here, Orcs? Are you looking for booty? Or have the Demons' bane taken to a life of fishing?

Kujin: Haha. No, Elf . Fishing is boring -- fish, don't fight back. We only seek passage to our brothers homelands.

Pirate: I see. Then travel lightly, and leave the treasures to us. We've no quarrel with you.

Kujin: Good. May Father Sky blow no storms for you, may his winds speed your travel.

Kujin: Greetings Chief Mangu. Your tribe is hard to find. I come in name of the new Khan, Gotai.

Mangu of Harakh: Greetings Shaman Kujin, walker of dreams. Lands are dangerous here. Dark Elves roam waters.

Kujin: Orcs are strong now with a strong Khan. Join us, and orcs will travel Mother Earth's paths freely.

Mangu: Then we join you. Let us go see this new Khan. But first we have big celebration!

The warriors of Ull-Dash Clan know the secret of Luck, which helped them to win many seamingly desperate battles. Kujin does not want to put their ability to the test right now and is determined to demonstrate the best of her diplomatic skills during the conversation with their chief.

Kujin finally stands before the garrison of last orc clan…

Gork: Hey, ugly shaman! Go cast spells some place else! Only bones we need are bones of dead enemies! Or... maybe roasted chicken!

Orc: Shutup, Gork. Gork only thinks of eating.

Gork: Yeah, Shaman, take your stupid bones and big dumb Orcs and leave, or we make stew with your sprakas!

Orc: Stupid Gork. Shaman is female. Where you get sprakas?

Kujin: Hmmm ... good thing Gotai needs muscles, not brains. I need to make these Orcs weak, so they are easy to beat.

Kujin defeated Gork and stand before chief of Ull-Dash clan,

Batal of Ull-Dash: Shaman Kujin, go, we do not follow Quroq Khan. Our Shaman's see bad future for Orcs. We wait for new Khan.

Kujin: Ahhh. Now I understand why you fight us. It is better to talk first, chief Batal. Quroq died freeing slaves. Gotai is our new Khan.

Orc: Gotai? New Khan? Hmmm. Must see Shaman. If true then we follow Gotai. Go with Kujin.

Kujin: And I want to see your Shaman. I need to teach her how to read bones better. But I also see future. It tells me we will have a big celebration.

Father Sky's Fury

Gotai is crossing the borders of his native steppes for the second time in his young life. This time things are different. He is no longer following his Khan, he is leading his people as Father Sky's chosen successor. His actions as the new Khan will be closely judged by his restless horde, and he must act decisively and courageously in order to prove to all that he can avenge Quroq and punish the Griffin Empire for the years of slavery inflicted on the Orcs.
Glorious victories inspire and make one forget caution - this is a mistake of many. But for some it becomes fatal. This includes Men: they're still thinking that the Orcs are brought on their knees, and nothing endangers the Empire. Gotai thinks different - and he is eager to show the Men the depth of their error.

Gotai wants to teach the Steel Men a lesson and wreak such havoc that their desire for slaves will be quenched by the fear of reprisal. He decides to burn and destroy the lands he crosses, leaving a scar in the memory of the Griffin Empire for generations to come.
Gotai met demons on his way…

Gotai: Demons!? Father Sky, Sheogh has opened its gates. We call on your strength.

Khenghi (Goblin Witch-Doctor): Father Sky! Mother Earth! Help kill demons!

Gotai: Attack! Kill them all!

Horned Overseer: What are Orcs doing here? They're not in the plans.

Horned Demon: Shut up! Get ready for their charge. They are nasty when they are mad.

Warrior: Death to Demons!

Mauler: For the children!

Warmonger: Gotai Khan!

Gotai killed the demons. Later, he found fire and water elementals in fight. He helped one side..

Water…

Water Elemental: You have helped us quench the fire that boils. Who are you?

Gotai: I am Gotai. Khan of Orcs. I follow Father Sky and Mother Earth.

Water Elemental: We know them, and their children. Those who aid the waters shall have the waters' aid in time of need.

Gotai: Orcs thank you, spirits of water.

Fire…

Fire Elemental: You have helped us boil the water that quenches change. Who are you?

Gotai: I am Gotai, Khan of Orcs. I follow Father Sky and Mother Earth.

Fire Elemental: We know Father Sky and Mother Earth. Our blaze will light your victory when the hour is dark.

Gotai: Orcs thank you, spirits of fire.

Gotai build an army and destroyed all farms, three rebel and three red cities (rebels were fighting red armies, but Gotai destroyed both).

Goblin Trapper Khengi is spying on Alaric and his armies, which are on the other side of the river…
Alaric: Lack of sleep is not an excuse I'm willing to accept! We must move faster and catch them. The Orcs must be stopped in the name of Queen Isabel. They are a stain on our holy soil… Tell your troops that I will send their souls to hell myself if they don't...

Khengi left the place and run to Gotai, to destroyed human city…

Gotai: Father Sky! We give you victory! Walls of men tremble and fall!

Gotai: Speak, Khenghi, master of disguise. Have you found track of my father's killer?

Khengi: Yes, Gotai Khan. But Red Steel Shaman not run. Alaric chase Gotai. Follow orcs.

Gotai: That fool! Where is he?

Khengi: Cross water must. River. Many days.

Gotai: Then hunter will be prey and prey will be hunter. Father Sky has answered my desire. I follow my heart, and Alaric comes to me. I will honor Kunyak's grave, then avenge Quroq!
Last edited by Cabal on Jan 14 2009, 22:13, edited 1 time in total.

Cabal
Leprechaun
Leprechaun
Posts: 36
Joined: 09 Jan 2009
Location: Karlovy Vary - Czech republic

Postby Cabal » Jan 10 2009, 13:13

PART VIII

Mother Earth's Wisdom

Having rallied numerous clans to Gotai's horde, Kujin has decided to take the shortest route to her meeting point with the new Khan, a path shown to her in a dream. Her trek will take her through the Mystic Mountains, where wisdom is as valuable an ally as brute force. The presence of demons is a bad omen, and Kujin hopes to counter it by finding the sign sent to her in a vision, the Man of the Web Weaver. She must protect and strengthen her army for her reunion with Gotai, while staying true to her Orc nature, and slaughtering any demons she that might stumble across her path.

Kujin follows the path shown to her in a dream. She is eager to rally the new Khan, and reinforce Gotai's horde, but Kujin knows that the path Mother Earth has drawn out for her risks to try her own patience. She must remain watchful and learn as much as possible about anything suspect she encounters. This is Mother Earth's way.

Kujin met one devil on her way to Gotai…

Kujin: Demons in Griffin Kingdom! Chaos scrapes the skin of Mother Earth. Now my vision is clear. Our world is in danger! Earth and Sky have united Orcs to destroy our greatest enemy. May my claws run deep into the hearts of red deceit. For our children!

The presence of demons confirms Kujin's worst interpretations of the visions sent to her by Mother Earth. Gotai has been called upon in a very dark hour, the children of Urgash walk the lands of Ashan once again. There is no time to waste, Kujin must send the Demon leader back to Sheogh as quickly as possible. Then she will continue her quest to reinforce the Horde.

Kujin met Seer…

Kujin: Greetings Oracle man. I look for a way out of your too tall mountains.

Seer: Ahhh! A walker of dreams who seeking flightless path from the pinnaclesencircling her cloudy quest. The gate exists, though only a sage assisted by marvelous objecs of preternatural knowledge can avoid the price exacted by nature's spirits.

Kujin: What? Do wise men always speak like this? A portal, guarded by elementals. They will test my wisdom.

Seer: Well, I suppose so. If you just want to be boring and pedestrian about it. Hmf! Orcs are just no fun.

Kujin was teleported to another place…

The first portal dug into Kujin's memories like a Yak tick, and the shaman was able to learn that successive portals wil require even greater wisdom in order to pass without waking their guardians. Kujin needs to find artefacts that will increase her knowledge. A Tarot Deck would be a good place to start.

Kujin found on her way some rebel soldiers – Paladin, Blue Priest (Inquisitor) and six Squires, making a last rites for the dead prince Andrei…

Kujin: Halt! Knights are burying their dead… The Orcs respect brave enemy. Mother Earth cries.

Melchior, the Blue Priest: Elrath, take the last Griffin heir unto you, and deliver unto us a new king, deserving of your blessing, that the Empire may rise anew.

Paladin, Blue Knight: Your Emminence! Orcs!

Human soldiers prepared themselves for battle…

Kujin: Hail, Knights of Griffin. I am Shaman Kujin, Daughter of Dreams. We honor your dead. We do not come to fight.

Melchior: I am Melchior. Priest of Elrath. We have had enough of fighting and blood. And now this... We lay to rest the last child of the Griffin household, killed upon order of the Queen.

Kujin: Queen? The Queen of your Empire kills the child of your Empire?

Melchior: It is not the true queen. It cannot be. She slew her nephew, our prince and heir, draining the blood from his veins, claiming it was necessary to cleanse the empire.

Kujin: Might I show respect for royal child's bones? In behalf of all Orcs.

Melchior: Yes… All are welcome to honor the passing of our prince. We cannot refuse your request.

Kujin: Mother Earth, hold fast his body, Father Sky, welcome his spirit.

Melchior: What is this? What did you do?

Kujin: Strange words rise from Mother Earth... The child's blood was taken to change a magical Heart. This Heart should keep demons away, but now it calls to them. It brings them.

Melchior: Sacrilege! She used the Heart of Griffin when she slew him. And now she will use it to summon her allies!

Kujin: Then we fight together. We come to kill demons, not knights. And never the children!

Melchior: Thank you, Shaman Kujin. For Andrei, and for Elrath. If we do not join together, we shall all be slaves of demons...

Kujin: Ha, ha, ha. Mother Earth has a good sense of humour. Now Steel Men need Orcs to free them from slavery!

Kujin found home of another Seer…

Bandits have robbed the Seer's hut, something intolerable on the Mystic Mountains. If Kujin can roust them, she will earn a handsome reward, and perhaps teach a lesson to other villains straying from the path of wisdom.

Kujin has defeated them, and get a Tarot Deck as a reward…

Kujin met another Seer…

Kujin: Greetings Oracle man. Don't tell me. I must be wiser to get out of these lands.

Seer: Indeed. But it is I who am supposed to show you the future, and to tell you that there is a way here for you to learn more.

Kujin: I know. I'll look for it. But I grow sick of these mountains. How about a deal? I'll teach you how to throw bones; and you show me where to go for wisdom.

Seer: Ha ha. Tempt me not, Shaman. I already see too much as it is. And thanks for the joke you're going to play on my brother. Ha ha ha. It will be funny to see his face.

Again, Kujin is teleported to another place. She found another Seer nearby…

A kind and apparently poor Seer has saved a litter of wolf cubs from certain death by taking them under his roof. Unfortunately they have grown into fierce animals that he no longer has the means of feeding. Kujin can buy them for a small sum, doing both herself and the mediocre fortune teller a favor.

Kujin bought those 30 wolves. Later, she found another Seer…

Kujin: Greetings Oracle man. Don't waste your breath. Wisdom, Elementals, Portal, and object of power. I know, I know. In fact I'm looking for work here as a Dream Walker. I'm starting to like this mountains.

Seer: But… but… this is my corner of the mountains. We don't need anyone…

Kujin: Well we'll see. Humans here will like bone readers who talk straight. It will be a nice change. Better than funny riddles. So, you want to sell your hut?

Seer: Bahh… no. It's not for sale. Please, there's a portal not far from here. Take it, be wise, find a relic. And if you promise not to set up competition, I'll tell you about the Sunken Temple as well...

Kujin was teleported to another area…

Kujin has learned that a Sunken Temple can be found somewhere in the area. She decides that the treasure rumored buried there would potentially be of great bennefit to Gotai's war effort. Kujin is more than tempted to go and pillage it in the interest of fighting Mother Earth's enemies. Luck has nothing to do with it, this is the way of the Orcs.

Kujin sacked the Sunken Temple for artifacts, and later met another Seer…

A seer is willing to heal the wounds of some wandering Orcs he has given quarter in order to make them battle ready again. The seer needs funds to buy the necessary balms and ointments. Kujin must decide if she can spare the gold to help her fellow Orcs and add troops to her army.

Kujin paid the gold and got 40 Chieftains…

Almost near the end of her way, Kujin met demon lord Alastor and defeated him. After that, she met Arantir…

(this is just at the same time as the end of the fourth necro mission)

Repeated part – after fourth necro mission:

Arantir: Greetings Proud Chief. I am Arantir, High Lord of Heresh.

Kujin: Greetings High Lord Arantir. I am no Chief, I am Shaman Kujin, daughter of dreams. How does a Lord of Death know Orc greetings?

Arantir: I have read much on those born to fight the first demons. Tell me, Shaman Kujin. What are Orcs doing so far from their lands?

Kujin: I’m collecting bones from those who would enslave our people. You have many bones too. Who do you take them from?

Arantir: Not from those destined to slay demons.

Kujin: Yesss... I saw you in a dream. You are Asha's Spider.

Arantir: Me? No… I am but the Spider's servant. Do Kujin and the orcs still vow death to all demons?

Kujin: Forever! Our new warchief brings us to chase demons back to hell.

Arantir: Then you know of the danger and we have a common goal.

Shaman Kujin, perhaps we could work together.

Kujin: Let us take council. We have much to discuss.

Kujin: I have seen our omen!

.. and continue, after fourth orc mission…

Kujin: Let us take council. We have much to discuss, I have met our Omen!

Arantir: An Omen, am I? Would this mean that the Orcs have knowledge pertaining to the demon presence in Ashan?

Kujin: Queen Isabel has sacrificed the only heir to bring demons into her Empire.

Arantir: Then my mission for Asha has become clearer. I will take Flammschrein, the heart of their new church's cult.

Kujin: I must lead our clans to Warchief Gotai. It seems, Spider Omen, that our paths must part. Gotai brings war to Alaric, Isabel's High Priest.

Arantir: May Mother Earth give you clear paths, and Father Sky light your way. It has been a true pleasure to meet such a wise Orc Shaman.

Arantir: Thank you, Arantir of the Spider Goddess. But Master of Death must be careful – death is one thing demons don't fear.

Arantir: They do not fear death, but they will learn to fear destiny.

Hunting the Hunter

Gotai's heart tells him that the Orcs need more than a courageous and inspirational Khan, they need an identity greater than each individual clan. In order to give them that, he is leading them to the city where they were created, in the heart of the Silver Cities. Gotai dreams of touching the grave of Kunyak, the great liberator; his instincts tell him that this task is more important for his people than any other he could accomplish during the first months of his rule.

At the same time as when Arantir liberated Flammschrein and restored part of Isabel's soul..

Archbishop Alaric met Isabel/Biara in some city…

Alaric: Your Majesty. I bring you the Orc Invader Quroq's head. I have set it on a pick in front of the parade grounds… They were hardly as dangerous as you feared…

Isabel/Biara: Well done, Archbishop.You have shown me that my favor was not ill placed…

Biara has lost her disguise, as Arantir completed the ritual…

Biara: What? It cannot be!!! … Oh well, all wicked things must come to an end. Time for a change of plan!

Biara: Damn Asha and her children… Flammschrein has fallen. You fool. While you were chasing Orcs, the Sacred City has been taken….

Alaric: You… Your Majesty! A demon?!!!! What ? How… Who?… No… I must confess!

Biara: You have pledged your life to a daughter of Urgash… HA HA HA HA. You have served me well.

Alaric: Corrupt the sacred corruption? Yes! Elrath forgives demons that kill demons. Am I a demon? No, I'm Alaric, High Priest of the Light, the BLOODY RED LIGHT!!! HA HA HA HA HA

Alaric ran away, completely insane…Biara started to cast her spell and opened the gate to Sheogh with magic of corrupted Heart of the Griffin…

Biara: Bleeding Heart of the Griffin, the blood of your prince opens the doors to the princes of Chaos. Come to me, my kin. Our prison will soon be no more.

Demons entered through the hellgate, killing everyone and burning the city…

Biara: Kill them. Kill them all. Asha, your years are counted! The wheel is turning.

Orc legend tells that Shahibdiya, the birthplace of the first Orcs, can be found to the South-East of here. Legends say that human criminals were infused with Demon blood, constructing a warrior servant race that turned the tide of the battles in the first war against the Demons. Centuries later the warrior slave Kunyak liberated the Orcs and they scattered; some with Kunyak to the southern islands and others to the steppes of Ranaar. Gotai wishes to perform a funeral rite at the birthplace of their greatest hero as an inspiration for all Orcs. It will also make a statement to the peoples of Ashan that the Orcs are now a free and independent force that must be reckoned with.

Gotai conquered second orcish sttronghold…

Khenghi: Khan! Khan! Khenghi find knight huts. On river.

Gotai: Thank you, Khenghi. Hmmm. This is good sign from Mother Earth. If we cross path, we take stone village. No place to hide from angry Orcs.

Khenghi: Sometimes Steel man hide treasure. Khenghi like treasure.

Gotai: Good, Khenghi. Yes. Treasure could be useful. Maybe we will take knight city.

The Steel Men have built the town of Northcross in an ideal location. It stragically protects all water routes within the region, and would be a great boon for Gotai's plans. His armies would have access to water transportation while taking this advantage away from his enemy.

Later, Gotai conquered Northcross and necropolis.

Gotai has discovered a very strange place, littered with rusting pieces of armour and magic-imbued crystals. He is filled with compassion, as he knows this to be the work of Wizards who play with the secrets of life -- as they did when they created the Orcs. A golem head that he pulls from a fountain speaks to him, telling him that a Gremlin could reanimate their broken bodies. They would reward Gotai and his army generously for his act of compassion.

"The dust of time has sapped the life from our bodies. We need a Gremlin to oil our joints and breathe magic into our limbs. We were made to serve. Repair us, and we will serve you."

Gotai brought Gremlins to Iron Golems…

"Thank you, Gotai Khan! We are ready to serve you. Are we off to seize the wizard? The wonderful wizard of Shahibdiya?"

Over eight hundred Iron Golems joined Gotai and his army…

Gotai gathered great army and conquered three wizard cities, and at last, the city of Shahibdiya.

In front of the gates of Shahibdiya, after the battle, Gotai and his army on the battlefield. Gotai performed a funeral rite at the birthplace of Kunyak…

Gotai: Kunyak, Great Warrior of Orcs of Old. Orcs call upon your memory, upon your strength.

Gotai: Voice of Kunyak taught us: "Now Orcs choose Orc fights, Orcs choose Orc enemy. Orcs choose Orc fate."

Gotai: Mother Earth, remember Kunyak. Let his wisdom be our wisdom. Orcs offer our enemies' bodies to nourish your soil.

Gotai: Father Sky, remember Kunyak. The world knows his courage; let it be with us today. We will show that Demon fire and human pride are nothing before the power of Father Sky.

Gotai: Brothers and Sisters! It is time to avenge the death of Quroq. Kunyak is with us to bolden our hearts, strengthen our arms. Orcs are children of Earth and Sky, and Orcs will change the world!

Gotai has just given prayer at the birthplace of Kunyak, the legendary hero of the Orcs. Blessed by Father Sky for his fierceness, his courage and his sense of duty, Gotai has gained a great bonus to all his attributes (+15!).

Alaric has arrived with an impressive army. He seeks to destroy Gotai's rebellion and recapture as many slaves as possible for the glory of Queen Isabel.
Alaric has found Gotai. It is time for Quroq's death to be avenged. Gotai will settle for nothing less than Alaric's head.

Gotai defeated his army and stands before Alaric and rest of his beaten red guard…

Khenghi: Hail Red Steel Shaman. Gotai, Khan of all Orcs, gives challenge. Last chance to die with honor, get Father Sky's pardon. Now kill Gotai or die at Khan's hand!

Alaric (mad): Honor! Yes honor! And kill… Kill the Demons. You speak like a child, you're small like a child, but you're too ugly. You must be a Demon!

Khenghi: Gotai avenge Quroq. Offers honor. Mother Earth's Shaman calls challenge of Father Sky.

Alaric: Kill this Demon, KILL HIM!!! KILL THEM ALL!!!

Two Crossbowmen shooted Khenghi…

Gotai: You kill Khenghi! You bastards! Have no honor!

Gotai: Alaric, Friend of Demons, you die today and be buried in cursed ground!

Alaric: You lie Demon! I'll have your head!!! Capture him. I want to cut the head off his body myself. I'll give it to Saint Isabel. Maybe it'll change her back into an Angel?

Orcs attacked remnants of Alaric's army and slaughtered them, and Gotai killed Alaric by his axe…

Gotai: Quroq! My Khan, Father of the Tribe. Peace! Your enemy is no more. Sleep on the wings of Father Sky!!!

Kujin and her army came…

Gotai: Kujin! It is done. I have lived to honor my father.

Kujin: It is not done. It is started. I met the man of the spider omen. He attacks the city of the Griffin Empire's Demon Church. The Red Queen brings Urgashes children to Ashan.

Gotai: Then Orcs will finish war that Knights started. Red Queen will die, and Orcs will send Demons back to Sheogh!

Kujin: Yes! Orcs are not alone. Her bones tell me that many armies will come to kill demons.

Gotai: Honor to Kunyak and Father Sky. For our children!

Orcs: For our children!

Flying to the Rescue
Zehir

Dark Ways and Deeds

Though he has finally secured his position in the Silver Cities as First of the Circle, Zehir has no time to rest. With Necromancers, Demon cultists, and Orcs invading in the north he has plenty of new problems to deal with. Rumours of further trouble with Isabel in the Griffin Empire only add to his worries. Zehir must visit the northern cities to see what he can do, and then find out the truth behind the strange stories surrounding the Griffin queen.

Wizards army made guard of honor to incoming Gotai and Kujin, Master Gremlins made salvo of honor to them. Zehir comes to meet them…

Zehir: Orcs in Shahibdiya – not for the first time in history. I'd like to greet you, but I'm not sure how...

Gotai: He he he. We have Orc greeting for strangers ...

Kujin: No Gotai, no axes. Orcs also have a greeting for neutral tribes.

Zehir: Ah! Lovely. What is it?

Kujin: We say “Hello.”

Zehir: What? You... I see... ha ha. Well, then, “Hello.”

Zehir: Right, down to business! You may not see it this way, but you have done us a huge favor by wiping out those demonists.

Kujin: See? Orcs are friendly. Helpful.

Zehir: Ahem... yes. To thank you, and, I suppose, apologize for the nasty bits of our shared history, I would like to give you this. It was left behind when Kunyak led the Orcs from Shahibdiya.

Kujin: The staff of Kunyak!

Gotai: Of Kunyak! Ahhhhhh.... great gift. From time when Orcs found freedom..

Kujin: Yes! The Staff of Kunyak. Kunyak was wise – he said the Demons are Orcs' first enemy, Wizards and Knights are second.

Zehir: Very wise. Veeery wise. I like Kunyak. And I hate Demons.

Gotai: Demons are in Griffin Empire. Griffin Queen is demon, summons demons to city every day.

Zehir: What? So that letter was right. Ah! We defeated the Sovereign in Queen Isabel's War, but it looks like he's still muddling in the Griffin Empire.
Gotai: You!? You fight Kha-Beleth?? King of Demons?

Zehir: In Sheogh itself. With Clanlord Raelag of Ygg-Chall, Findan of Irollan, and the Griffin Lord Godric. We baited him in his lair and struck him down.

Gotai: Huh. Wizards are good. Zehir is good. Orc friend. Zehir wishes to fight more Demons?

Zehir: Not really! I can think of lots of things – twenty-six, actually – that I'd rather do. However: Analyze, itemize, then prioritize – and this comes first by a long shot.

Gotai: Then go to Knights' lands. We collect Orc troops, scattered clans. We go to main city, Talonguard, to wipe out Demons.

Zehir: I'll meet you there.

Gotai and Kujin left…

Zehir: But let's not be too hasty. If something is wrong with Queen Isabel there's one person who will know what's up – my old friend Raelag.

Zehir met Djinn Vizier…

Djinn Vizier: First of the Circle! Your wish is granted; your flying city is here. You may summon it during your travels, but it will require a large space to land – a special space.

Zehir: Finally! Now I can take my town with me wherever I go! Uh, wait... how did you handle the energy question...?

Djinn Vizier: It is your city, it is driven by your own power. You may summon it, but it will consume a part of your soul, eat the precious knowledge that you value so highly.

Zehir: Why must Djinns always give with one hand and take with the other? Humph. Can you show me how it works?

Djinn Vizier: Of course. Like this!

Zehir: Wait! NO! I wanted to... Great. Thank you!

The flying city Ilm-Hijra has one other very useful feature - when Zehir's life force approaches zero he is teleported back there. However, if he both dies and loses the city, all is lost.

Narxes teleported himself in front of the city…

Zehir: Djinns. Ah! Why did the universe create them with such a malicious sense of humour?

Narxes: My lord! Zehir! I have been sent by the Circle with another terribly useful spell for you.

Zehir: Yeeeess?
Narxes: Look – you can summon creatures to help you! You can call units from the Silver Cities direct to your location on Ashan.

Zehir: Another "helpful" spell. I'm almost afraid to ask how it works.

Narxes: How it works? It works like this!

Zehir: NARXES!!

Zehir entered underground…

Ylaya: So you're the great Zehir that Raelag knew; a friend, he said, amusing yet quite wise.

Zehir: “Knew?” “Said?” Don't tell me that Raelag...

Ylaya: The Clanlord Raelag lives, but travels far. A demon-born messiah worries him.

Zehir: Demon-born... Messiah. I see. Sar-Shazzar's prophecies… It all makes sense. Isabel. Turmoil in the Griffin Empire. A distraction. But a murderous one. Kha-Beleth is toying with us!

Zehir: Never. Not on my life. Ylaya, we must go to Talonguard in all haste and with all strength.

Ylaya: Your wishes and my clanlords' are as one; I'll show you hidden ways across our lands. Though on your road you'll meet rebellious clans, who hate all those not born here in Ygg-Chall.

Zehir: I'm not worried, Narxes brought his most dangerous brooms and shovels for the job. Very well. I'll meet you on the far side.

The Griffin Empire is in turmoil, and the queen seems to be the cause. No one knows the queen better than Raelag, the Clanlord of Ygg-Chall. Zehir needs to go to the Dark Elf and see what information he can dig up.

Ylaya cannot come to help defeat Biara if war rages in her own lands. In order to free up Ylaya's loyal troops, Zehir must first secure Ygg-Chall by defeating the Soulscar clan.

Zehir met some dark elven assassins…

Lethran: Ah! A visitor. Isn't that... unexpected. Oh, and convenient for us.

Zehir: It is gloomy here. We can keep each other company!

Lethran: Lovely idea. We'll escort you along the path, if you don't mind.

Zehir: Uh, sure. Great.

Zehir: Where Ylaya said there would be nothing but enemies I meet a Dark Elf offering to help strangers. Riiiight. I think it would be wise to treat these "friends" not exactly like friends, but more like, well... cannon fodder.

With friends like these, who needs executioners? Zehir needs to whittle their numbers down in battle.

Zehir met dwarf hero Thorod…

Thorod: A wizard? What the hell are you doing here?

Zehir: I'm giving out awards for quality subterranean hospitality, but I'm afraid you're off the short list.

Thorod: Ha ha ha! Well said! Sorry about that greeting but I'm in a foul mood - those elven cave maggots stole an object that is precious to my family.

Zehir: Hmmm. I guess they're off the short list too.

Thorod: Never shoulda been on it!. If you find it, I would greatly appreciate your bringing it back to me. I'm holed up here for the moment, keeping an eye on those thieving scum.

The Dark Elves have stolen Thorod's heirloom, a war hammer, causing spiritual injury and rendering him defenseless in this dangerous place. If Zehir can return the hammer, the Dwarf will surely be reward him for his efforts.

Zehir defeated the thieves and returned with Hammer to Thorod…

Thorod: "Arkath's flaming eyeballs! You've found it! Great work, my friend. Let me give you this gift as thanks. (He gave Dragon Teeth Necklace to Zehir)

Zehir conquered all three Soulscar cities…

Ylaya: Efficient, fast, and thorough, young Zehir. My thanks for your assistance with my tasks.

Zehir: Not at all. A bit of worry with the reinforcements from Ilm-Hijra, but nothing we couldn't clean up. I'm off to Talonguard... no, I should speak with Godric first.

Ylaya: Alas. You do not know Lord Godric's fate? A victim of Biara, the false queen.

Zehir: Godric! I heard he was in jail, and sick. But...

Ylaya: Godric's daughter, Freyda, leads the cause. The true queen, Isabel, recruits as well.

Zehir: Isabel versus Biara, eh? Why am I not surprised. Off I go, then, to find Freyda and figure this out.

Tearing the Veil

Zehir has acquitted himself nobly in Ygg-Chall; Ylaya and her armies will come to his aid in Talonguard. However, Zehir now needs to find out what is going on with the rebels in the Griffin Empire. In the hopes of uniting them and helping their cause he has gone in search of Godric's daughter, Freyda, and Duke Duncan.

Zehir met red hero, Lorenzo…

Lorenzo: Heathen atheist wizard scum! You have set your stinking body on holy soil. I will take it as an offering to purify our empire.

Zehir: After my body, are you? You knights are all the same... these repressed tendencies. I'd hate to be a choirboy in your church...

Lorenzo: Raaaahh!

In the middle of the fight, Lorenzo summons demons to help him! Red Griffin troops who believed they were fighting for their kingdom flee in anger. They change sides and join Zehir's army.

After the fight, zehir met red Zealot…

Zealot: My lord! Please... my apologies... forgiveness. There were rumours, but I had no idea...

Zehir: Uh, hello? Look, I'm kind of busy.

Zealot: Yes! Of course. We have work to do. Elrath's work. I know a way to purge the illusions of those foul creatures. One purifying rite, and the wheat and the chaff shall separate!

Zehir: Oh, shall they? ... Actually, that would be really useful. Can I help? Wait... let's see... we would need two more priests...

Zealot: Excellent! There is a sacred place to the north; send them there, then come when, uh, you find the other thing...

Zehir: Other thing? What else would we need... Oh, no. One of those!

Zealot: I'm afraid so. Nothing less than a Tear of Asha.

Zehir: Hmmm... The plot thickens. In fact, it's solidifying.

Zealot is prepared on sacred place…

The critical ingredient for the rite is nothing less than a Tear of Asha. Though Zehir can feel its presence, he needs to seek out the obelisks that will lead him to it.

To hold the magical rite that will deprive the Demons of their human disguise, Zehir needs help in the form of Priests, Inquisitors and Zealots. A Zealot has already offered his aid. Thus, the Priest and the Inquisitor need to be found.

A rite this potent needs all the support it can get. Zehir must move his city to the site where the ritual is to be performed.

These lands are swarming with Demons disguised as Men. To unmask them and reveal their true nature, Zehir must do something at which he excels: performing a magical rite.

Zehir found Inquisitor, and later, the Priest… "Yes! Let the Demons be purged in the lethal fire of Elrath's anger! I shall come to help you." Inquisitor went to sacred place…

After that, Zehir entered unerground and returned with the Tear of Asha, and moved his city near the sacred ground…

The Demon army shows up.. The demons says, "Mad sorceror! Your baubles and charms will not defeat us. We will never leave the lands we have conquered."

Zehir defeated them, and then performed the ritual – all demons and their buildings lost their disguise. Zehir met Freyda and Duncan…

Zehir: Greetings! Or “Hello,” in Orcish... hee hee. Uh, sorry. I'm looking for Freyda, the daughter of Godric.

Freyda: Don't say it. Let me guess. Zehir.

Zehir: Very good. How did you know?

Freyda: Let's just say that not everyone who stops by for tea dresses in a Wizard's robe, brings a flying city, and knew my father.

Duncan: She means “welcome.” I'm sorry, but her courtly manners have slipped a bit in the last months.

Freyda: You know Duncan. Sometimes you remind me of my mother...

Duncan: Clearly she didn't spank you enough.

Zehir: Um, excuse me? Can we discuss how to destroy Biara?

Duncan: Mmmm, yes, sorry. I guess you had a hand in what just happened?

Zehir: Of course! With the help of one of those red priests. Once he realized that he was helping the demons, he had a change of heart.

Freyda: That's our biggest headache. Their infernal magic is strong with lies and illusions.

Zehir: Not any more! The demons can no longer hide themselves – the illusion is shattered. You'll find a few new friends among the ex-supporters of the queen, I imagine – keep an eye out!

Freyda: Zehir, you have done a great service to the Griffin Empire today. We are eternally...

Zehir: Yeah, that's fine. Don't mention it. Look, do we have enough troops to attack now?

Duncan: I don't know. Scouts tell us the demons have been summoning reinforcements. And Wulfstan's tied up at home...

Zehir: Wulfstan? Sounds dwarvish.

Duncan: An old friend, and a great fighter. He leads one of the Dwarf clans but... he's been declared an outlaw.

Zehir: An army of dwarves – I've always been curious about their Rune Magic... hmmm... Show me the way. I'll have a chat with your friend.

Duncan: I can go...

Freyda: No. We'll both be needed here. With the Demon illusions destroyed, the streets will be full of madness.

Zehir: That's it then. See you in Talonguard!

The Red Griffin troops are begging to be forgiven for their foolishness. They are eager to join Freyda and fight for Elrath.

All is clear! The rite has exposed certain towns as havens of demonic evil. One of these towns hides a powerful Demonlord who is responsible for the death and destruction in the region. Freyda and Duncan must kill the beast and raze his cursed castle to the ground.

It's the long-awaited payback time for the loyal armies of the Griffin Empire. Freyda and Duncan must clear out every town that protects Demons; one is located to the north. It would be good to start there so that enemy reinforcements will not be a problem.

Duncan and Freyda now have one red city, and hero Vittorio joined them. They build army and destroyed both inferno cities and their armies.

Summoning the Dragon


Things are moving well - both the Dark Elves and the loyal Griffin Empire troops are massing to attack Talonguard. However, news of Demon reinforcements is worrying and Zehir has decided to talk to the Dwarves. He must find Duncan's friend, Wulfstan, and see what can be done to reconcile the warring Dwarven factions. One thing is probable; the only force strong enough bring the clans of the Stone Halls back together is their Dragon-God, Arkath.

Wulfstan: A Wizard? What brings you from the sandy hills to the Stone Halls?

Zehir: I'm looking for a dwarf named Wulfstan. He was described as friendly, cantankerous, loyal, and less drunk than he pretended to be.

Wulfstan: Ahhhh. You've been talking to my mate Duncan! How go things in the Empire?

Zehir: Better and better. But Biara is summoning demons in her defense...

Wulfstan: And they're thinking a few stout dwarves might turn things in their favor. I'd be more than happy to go, but I'm tied down here by that blasted idiot Hangvul! And Arkath knows where that other idiot my half-brother Rolf is. In fact, Arkath knows where Arkath himself is!

Zehir: So how can I help?

Wulfstan: I'll tell you. Hangvul has been hiding this, but Arkath has been silent for years. Even decades. No one knows why, but because of it Hangvul – he leads the clan of our Rune-priests -- can say whatever he damn well pleases and nobody can call him a liar.

Zehir: So?

Wulfstan: Go to the surface. Find the Earthfire Shrine. It's where Arkath first showed himself to us; a patch of land always green amid the snows. It's the one place that he might be willing to show himself to you.

Zehir: And if Arkath won't intervene ... ?

Wulfstan: Well then, I suppose we all better learn to speak demon...

Even during the worst disputes between the Dwarven clans one thing binds them together: their devotion to their Dragon-God Arkath. Creator and deity of the Dwarven race, his word is absolute and binding - if he can be found. Zehir must find the Dwarven Dragon-God.

Hangvul represents powerful and conservative Dwarven clans. He must live, and declare Wulfstan the new leader, for any peace to be lasting.

Zehir and Wulfstan conquered another dwarven city, and Zehir travelled to surface, where he must find Arkath. He summoned his city and started his search… Meanwhile, Wulfstan fights with forces of Hangvul.
Zehir finally found the portal, leading to Arkath himself, but suddenly, Rolf and his army appeared…

Zehir: (To himself) A dwarf – and an important one. (To Rolf) Tell me, do you side with Hangvul or Wulfstan?

Rolf: Wulfstan? That ill-gotten dolt who takes himself for a clan leader? Incompetent drunken swine!

Zehir: Ooohkay. That answers that question. Wulfstan wishes to bring Hangvul to the altar of Arkath.

Rolf: Nobody is getting near that altar. Not until the number of claimants to the throne is reduced to just one – me.

Zehir: You're on nobody's side, are you?

Rolf: My side. My own side. And neither of those fools, nor some madman dressed like a minstrel, is going to get the upper hand.

Zehir: It'll be sad to see you go. You're a sort of perfection, you know - every unpleasant human trait bundled into a single package.

Rolf's all-consuming ambition made him an easy prey to corruption by the Demons. Zehir has no choice but to destroy him.

Zehir is near the portal, Wulfstan and Hangvul joined him…

Zehir: It took you long enough to get here!

Wulfstan: Some of us have to walk without the aid of flying cities, you know.

Zehir: And you must be…

Hangvul: Hangvul. Pretty clothes you have there, unbeliever. Wulfstan, are you telling me that this girlie boy is going to talk to Arkath? Ha ha ha!!

Zehir: Is he always this nice? Zehir have opened the portal…

Wulfstan: Usually less so. Do you think this is it?

Zehir: We'll know soon enough.

They all entered halls of Arkath…

Wulfstan: It looks right... I don't know. It's been lost for ages.

Hangvul: He thinks he found Arkath? This ninny couldn't find his buttocks without five perfumed slaves to help.

Arkath showed himself, kabooom (looks like a Magma Dragon)

Hangvul: Arkath! Lord of Magma and Ruler of the Forge! The fire of our devotion burns in our hearts!!!!

Arkath, the Dragon of Fire: FAITHLESS!

Wulfstan: He's, uh, talking to you, Hangvul.

Arkath, the Dragon of Fire: I have waited years. At last one comes to wake me.

Wulfstan: It's about time. We've been fighting demons and each other for so damn long now, there's no law or reason. You left us.

Hangvul: Sacrilege!

Arkath, the Dragon of Fire: I left when you failed me; when you failed Elrath and Sylanna. I left when you let the demons and their friends walk across my lands. I left when Hangvul betrayed the souls of the dwarves by turning them from their brothers in need.

Hangvul: Urk, I did no-

Wulfstan: Yeah, you know, we've got a little worry with demons in Talonguard. You wouldn't mind if we go lend a hand and break a few horned heads, would you?

Arkath, the Dragon of Fire: Cleanse the kingdom of my brother Elrath. Wherever the seed of Urgash sprouts, let it be crushed to wither and die.

Wulfstan: At least someone around here gives orders that I like.

Arkath, the Dragon of Fire: It is now to you to give orders... King Wulfstan.

Arkath left…

Zehir: Well, then. Grab anyone you can and take your fastest routes to Talonguard. Do we have any further questions?

Hangvul: Just this. What do you wish of me, my king?

A Flamboyant Exit

The allies have done everything that they can. Nations have been set in motion, armies have taken the field, and soon it will all come down to the moment of truth. Biara must be made to pay for her heinous crimes, and the Demons Sovereign's plans must be thwarted. But it will take magic, fire, steel, and blood to see this thing through to the end.

To weaken Biara and open the way for his allies, Zehir must free the land around Talonguard castle.

The three underground mines help fill the demon treasuries. By taking them, Zehir will start to tighten the noose around Biara's neck.

There are rich Dwarven treasuries here whose wealth would aid the Demons. Those riches would be put to much better use if they are in Zehir's hands.

Zehir conquered treasuries and mines and teleported to another location, and meanwhile Wulfstan destroyed first infernal city in underground caves.

From the southeastern edge of the Griffin Empire, Gotai is marching with a horde of Orcs. He could certainly use a hand eliminating the obstacles in this unfriendly land. Zehir can help him ; but he must first destroy the Demons who are blocking the way.

Two Demons who guard the magical barrier obey their leader, a strong Inferno Lord. Though he may not be a powerful enemy, Zehir does not want hostile troops to his back. It would be a good idea to decapitate this serpent.

Zehir banished demon lord and cleared the way from his demons. He teleported to another location, and meanwhile, Freyda and Duncan destroyed second underground infernal city…

There are two strong Demons keeping guard over the magical barrier. Once he kills them Zehir can destroy the barrier, clearing the way for Gotai's army.

There are loyal Shadow Matriarchs in prison here, held in the underground against their will for refusing to help the demons. If Zehir can free them, they will make useful allies.

Zehir freed Shadow Matriarch from demons, and they joined him…

There are some fighters quartered in a house near the road, and their commander is willing to fight for Zehir -- for a payment, of course. It’s up to him whether to hire them or not.

Zehir hired the mercenaries – Crosbowmen and Thunder Thanes and banished two demon lords. Meanwhile, Kujin and Gotai destroyed third infernal city…

There are still many Dark Elves in the northwest who are hostile towards Zehir and his allies. It's now time to wipe those Demon-worshippers off the face of the earth.

Most of the portals here are one-way, which makes things difficult for Zehir. If he learns the Instant Travel spell, he could get around much more easily.

Zehir summoned his city, found the spell shrine and conquered underground dark elven dungeon, meanwhile, Zlata has destroyed last underground inferno…

Excellent! The treacherous Dark Elves are dead; tomorrow Ylaya and her allied troops will arrrive to capture and hold the underground city. Biara will have one less escape route.

Rumour from Tavern: They say Isabel the Demon Queen is afraid of nothing any more. She’s got an enormous garrison guarding her, and that’s not all!… I’ve heard the Inferno Lords have several towns in the underground under Talonguard… Oh yes, and if someone attacks Talonguard directly, Isabel will just escape to one of them! What do you think this means? This means she can’t be defeated! We’re all cursed, cursed forever!!!

Talonguard is the last remaining demon stronghold in the Griffin Empire. When it falls, the war will be over. But a powerful garrison led by Biara will make this a long and difficult war.

Zehir is ready to attack Biara in Talonguard, Archangels, Untamed Cyclops, Black Dragons and Magma Dragons joined his army…

After the battle…
Biara: To the walls! To the gates! Hurry as if Kha-Beleth himself wields the whip!

Swordsman: Fire! Catapults started fire burning stones on Talonguard…

Gotai: For the tribe! Orcs attack demons near Talonguard, Arch Devil teleported himself into the battle…

Arch Devil: Raaah! Kha-Beleth! Urgash!

Demons are fighing and killing orcs, but Zehir and his army just arrived…

Zehir: Celebrating a little too soon, aren't we?

Zehir: Not a good day to be a demon, hmm?

Humans, Dwarven, Dark Elven and Orcish soldiers are figting demons side by side, and one mixed group is surrounded by infernals…

Thane: Back-to-back, lads! Give 'em hell! ... wait... they'd probably enjoy that...

Freyda send her army to attack…

Freyda: For Elrath! Griffin eternal!

Combined armies surrounded walls of Talonguard and finally broke through the gates, slaying demonkind all way to Biara. Freyda, Wulfstan, Gotai and Kujin, and Isabel cornered her…

Freyda: Your reign of terror is over! Your troops are dead, your allies exposed, your magic broken.

Wulfstan: And you don't look too good, either, heheheheh..

Gotai: Demon!

Kujin: No, Gotai. Biara killed Isabel's husband, Freyda's father (well, Raelag!!). Vengeance is theirs.

Biara: I spit on your righteous purity, and your Elrath. Ha ha haaa! I have done marvelous damage to your filthy little kingdom.

Freyda: It's all over – it will all come to nothing.

Biara: Dogs! I still have the power to tear your screaming souls from your fragile flesh!

Isabel: Not me, Biara. I am beyond your reach.

Biara: You? Still alive? Sickening... No matter! You will have a great deal of pain to undo what I have done. This alone makes my death worthwhile. Go ahead and kill me.

Isabel: My husband, my kingdom... you have much to answer for.

Biara casted a spell on Isabel, but she stopped it and killed her with her own magic…

Isabel, Freyda, Duncan, Wulfstan, Gotai, Kujin Zehir met

Zehir: An old friend once told me that the Demons are exceedingly permissive. They allow anything – except failure.

Duncan: Cataclysmic failure! - destruction of the major demon cults across three nations, death of most of the armies of Sheogh – you know, I wouldn't want to be in her shoes.

Wulfstan: You couldn't, lad. She has hooves; they wouldn't fit.

Gotai: I like him!

Freyda: My Queen.

Isabel: No, not anymore. I have had enough; I abdicate. You shall be queen, Freyda... providing you find a suitable husband.

Freyda: Husband? Uh... yes; suitable, no.

Wulfstan: Second thoughts, matey? Hehehe

Duncan: No, actually. Except for the question of who my best man might be...

Freyda: By Elrath, can we hurry up and get married? Then he can go home and take his sense of humour with him.

Isabel: So be it. Among her crimes, Biara brought the Griffin Empire to an end. Freyda, yours will be a difficult task: to rebuild what was lost. So let the Unicorn Empire be born in joy and hope.

Gotai: And babies. Lots and lots of babies. Hehehe.

Wulfstan: I like him!

All: Ahahahaa

Isabel: Alls well that finally ends well. Another setback for Kha-Beleth; yet I am not so foolish as to call it a victory.

So, Freyda Unicorn married Duncan Stag, and the Unicorn Empire is slowly rebuilding itsef… Raelag is still searching for the Dark Messiah, and Arantir follows his own plans...

Cabal
Leprechaun
Leprechaun
Posts: 36
Joined: 09 Jan 2009
Location: Karlovy Vary - Czech republic

Postby Cabal » Jan 10 2009, 13:22

Part IX

989 YSD. Dark Messiah

The great wizard Sar-Elam, know as the ‘Seventh Dragon’, sacrifices himself during the first great demon incursion to end the Wars and repel the demon incursion. Sar-Elam sacrificed himself voluntarily, donating the powers of his divine soul and body to help lock the demon hordes away in a prison dimension - the Skull of Shadows – a key to this prison - is his own skull. It is a keystone in the structure of the impossibly complex spell that created the demon prison and homeworld of Sheogh. Sar-Elam and his disciples sealed the demons away to prevent their return. There was a flaw, a tiny flaw, a mere blurring of a pattern and a few mispronounced words. Yet this corruption of Sar-Elam's ritual was sufficient to render the barrier between Ashan and Sheogh unstable at times of a lunar eclipse. When such an eclipse occurs, the demons are able to break out from their prison.

Once the incantations were complete and the demons locked away, the Wars of Fire came to an end. The Skull was taken away by the faithful of Ashan to be hidden in a heavily guarded and secret temple, far from prying eyes…

But a prophecy says a Dark Messiah, of both human and demon blood, will raise and break the seal in a thousand years...

A succubus, Xana is sent to a certain demonist, Phenrig, ensuring that the child he raises will make the right choice when the fatal moment comes for him.

Dark Messiah - bonus map in HOMAM V

Ten centuries shall the fortress stand, walls of spirit wrapped in walls of fire
And horned lords shall bow their heads, to one not yet born, of the darkest sire

One century of blood and strife, the moon shall darken and none know why
The resting place at last is found, of the Seventh who soared so high...

A dedicated student raised by Phenrig, a stern mentor, Sareth knows little of his past. He has nevertheless absorbed his lessons in the mastery of the arts of warfare, becoming proficient with both weapons and spells. Sareth has now been sent on a mission by Phenrig, whose uninformative hints and curt explanations tell Sareth only one thing -- that there is much more to this task than he has been told.

Dark Messiah is a young man named Sareth, who was raised by the Wizard Phenrig. After years of studying the arts of magic and physical training in the arts of war, he is finally taken on an expedition to retrieve a rare artifact known as the Shantiri Crystal…

Near Phenrig's Mansion, isolated deep in the hills and far from curious eyes...

Phenrig:

Sareth, my faithful disciple, your father would be proud to see you this day. Initiated into the arts of magic, a fierce and noble warrior - you have all that you need to achieve your destiny.

I'm sending you to the Free City of Stonehelm, to meet a wizard named Menelag. He and I have certain... mutual interests.

Right now, he's looking for an artifact called the Skull of Shadows. Unfortunately he's unable to progress any further in his search…

At least, not without this - the Shantiri crystal that we retrieved. It was worth our pain to retrieve it, don't you think?

However, my dear boy, I am not sending you alone. You'll need a guide, a companion - perhaps even a guardian.

Xana appeared…

Xana: What is your bidding, my master? Am I to…protect…this boy?

Phenrig: One can travel lighter than two, Sareth.

Xana: By the way, my name is… Xana. (Actually, Xana resides in Sareth's mind)

Sareth must deliver the Shantiri Crystal entrusted to him by his mentor Phenrig to the wizard ruler of Stonehelm, Menelag.

If Sareth visited Phenrig in his mansion - "Ah, my child." Master Phenrig says. "There's nothing more I can do for you... For now. Come back visit me later, and maybe I'll have means to help you further."

Sareth reached Stonehelm…

Stonehelm is the oldest of the group of independent city-states called the Free Cities. Built upon ancient ruins on a site where the mountains meet the sea, it has long been a center of trade, adventure, and magic.

Xana : There it is, Sareth – the free city of Stonehelm, crossroads of money and magic. Deliver the crystal to Menelag, and we can be on our way.

Sareth: I hope so. It's been pretty dull.

There are Necromancers in Stonehelm…

Sareth: Necromancers? Phenrig didn't say anything about them...

Striking from their remote citadel of Nar-Ankar, the Necromancers of Heresh are a threat to the region and to Sareth's mission. Sooner or later, Sareth will have to deal with them.

Nan-Ankar - Nar-Ankar, also known as "the Wailing Needle", is the capital city of the Necromancers' empire of Heresh. Nicknamed for the single tall spire in the center of town, it is as grim, cold, and forbidding as the powerful undead lords who live there.

Sareth defeated necromancer hero, and now hold Stonehelm…

Sareth won't have an interview with Menelag as long as the Necromancers' army is at Stonehelm's gates. You have to defeat them before you can fulfill your mission. If you let the Necromancers take Stonehelm, all is lost.

Another necromancer attacked Stonehelm, and he had undead cyclops in his army. Sareth defeated him.

In Stonehelm, the evening after tge battle - Sareth met Menelag and his niece and pupil, Leanna…

Menelag: So you're Sareth. Good to see you, lad. With those Necromancers at the walls... I was getting worried.

I trust you've brough the Shantiri crystal? Of course you have. Good. I'll take that, my lad, for safekeeping.

Let Arantir throw his army against the walls. We'll be off sealing his doom!

Leanna: Don't dismiss Arantir too lightly. There are rumors that he might be the Dark Messiah.

Menelag: Oh, stuff and nonsense, girl. All three of us know better than that.

Leanna: But the time is right for the prophecy…

Menelag: I'll worry about dusty old prophecies. You worry about the expedition. You're in charge of it, after all.

The servants will show you to the guest house. Get some sleep, hero - we sail with the morning tide.

Marksman woke up Sareth…

Marksman: Sir! Sir! Wake up! The manor is under attack. There are Necromancers everywhere!

Necromancer surprised Menelag…

Necromancer: I'll take your precious crystal before I go, old fool.

Menelag: No! Never! Putrid filth!

Necromancer has killed Menelag with some nasty spell and disappeared, while Leana saw it all…

Leanna: No. No!

Menelag: Sareth! Watch over her…she is more important…than you know.

Sareth has came too late…

Sareth: Leanna… please…

Leanna: Poor Uncle Menelag… He took me in when my parents died… Protected me, protected Stonehelm…

Sareth: We'll have to carry on without him.

The Shantiri Crystal is the key to an ancient temple located on an island in the middle of the Jade Ocean. This temple is the last known resting place of the relic called the Skull of Shadows - the very skull of Sar-Elam, the human sorcerer who became the equal of the gods and is now referred as the Seventh Dragon. It is of vital importance for Sareth to retrieve the Skull before Arantir does.

Sareth defeated another necromancer and set sail. On the ship…

Leanna: Sareth, when my uncle died I thought everything was lost. But somehow you managed to get the crystal, the boat... you saved us all! You saved me.

Xana: I feel nauseous. Wake me when it's over.

If Sareth sails near Heresh…

"Come on, Sareth. We need to go to the island to find the Skull of Shadows. Why are you sailing towards Heresh ? It's like going right into the lion's mouth !" Sareth has to admit Leanna is right...

Sareth have defeated another necromancer on sea and landed on some island, where he met some mages…

The wizards living in this floating building have been harassed by the Necromancers since Arantir came to power. They want to join you, but they need to complete their Titans first. The only problem is that they lack a Trident of the Titans to finish their creations.

Sareth killed black dragons, who were guarding the Trident on another smaller island, and returned it to mages who joined him… Later, he found monastery with knights…

The knights of this monastery are willing to fight for the cause of a true hero. But this hero will have to bring them an ancient artifact, the Edge of Balance, to prove his worth.

Sareth slayed Vampire lords and returned Edge to knights, who joined him…
He found demons on another island, but if he have humans in his army, they would not join him…


Sareth finally arrived on Redskull island…

Leanna: What happened here?

Guard (battle mage): Orcs... came from the Temple… drove us out… blocked the entrance. Some men…are still trapped.

Guard: Said they saw a pao-kai... pao-kai...

Sareth: What's a Pao-kai?

Leanna: A degenerate dragon, but they don't live around here. Ylath help us if one does...

Friendly troops were supposed to be waiting for Leanna on Redskull Island... But they were ambushed by terrible creatures called Paokai. Sareth will have to defeat these beasts if he wants to rescue the trapped men.

Sareth fought orcs on their camp and pao-kai, and freed friendly troops. Later, he used Shantiri crystal and opened the way to the temple where the Skull of Shadows was hidden.

According to the scriptures on the temple walls, the path to the Skull will only been revealed to those who have worshipped the three Aspects of Asha, the Spider Goddess.

Sareth found three shrines of Asha, guarded by various cyclops and orcs…

This ancient shrine of the Spider Goddess is both a monument and a barrier. Dedicated to preserving the memory of Sar-Elam and barring the way to the Skull of Shadows, it crackles with arcane energies.

..and prayed upon them. Aratrok shows up..

Aratrok: Warriors! Hunters! The Spider Goddess has spoken. These thieves and demon-friends must not despoil her sanctuary. Remember our oaths; our ancestors! For the clan, for the blood!

Aratrok: Stranger! Demon-spawn! Listen!

Aratrok: I am Aratrok, Chief and Shaman of the Redskull Clan. We are sworn to protect this place, and your demon taint stains it. You go no further, unless your sword arm is greater than mine. No wizard tricks or demon corruption. I will test you in battle, blade to blade. Whose strength is greater? Whose spirit is purer? If you defeat me, on my honor you may walk free.

Sareth has been challenged by Aratrok, shaman and leader of the Redskull Orc clan , who is the guardian of the Skull of Shadows. He will have to face this foe on his quest for the Skull.

Arantir defeated Aratrok and take the Skull of Shadows…

Kha-Beleth: It has been a thousand years, Sareth, since the Seventh Dragon banished our kind from the face of Ashan.

For ten centuries, we have waited for our vengeance. We have waited…for you.

You are the one foretold by the wizard Sar-Shazzar, the Dark Messiah of ancient prophecy. You are my son and my heir, the herald of fire and of blood.

Now take up the Skull of my ancient enemy and shatter the prison that holds me. This, my son, I command you.

Arantir shows up…

Arguably the greatest living Necrolord, Arantir is experienced -- and formidable -- in necromancy and warfare. A devoted servant of Asha and defender of Order, he views Demons as the ultimate abomination worthy only of a quick death.

Arantir: The Skull of Shadows is not for the likes of you, demonspawn.

The Seventh Dragon did not sacrifice himself so that some demon's bastard could undo all his labors.

The Prophecy of the Dark Messiah ends here. Arantir nearly killed Sareth with spell…

Xana: Wake, my love, my prince, my messiah. And arise...

Sareth (in demonic form): Ohhh…what happened?

Xana: Arantir killed you. I used the energy of the Skull to... revive you.

Sareth (in demonic form): I feel…different…

Xana: Not surprising. We're joined even more closely, and some of my powers are yours to command.

Sareth (in demonic form): Where's Arantir?

Xana: Gone, with the Skull. We'll have to hurry to stop him.

Sareth (in demonic form): "Stop" him? I'm going to kill him.

Arantir has the Skull of Shadows, and by using its powers to seal away the demons he will obliterate all living souls in or near Stonehelm. Sareth must prevent this madness from happening, take back the Skull, and send Arantir to the grave... definitively.

Sareth can finally talk to demons…

The Demons living here are veterans of the Eclipse Wars, who maintain their existence on Ashan by draining the essence of magical items. However, they will only follow the fabled Dark Messiah himself, and as proof of that he must bring them the Helm of Chaos...

Sareth defeated untamed cyclops and returned Helm of Chaos to demons, they joined him. He returned to Phenrig…

Master Phenrig - who turned out to have been an agent of the Sovereign all along - is able to summon more troops from Sheogh for you to use. But for this, he needs an artifact called the Ring of the Unrepentant.

Sareth defeated air elementals and returned the Ring to Phenrig, and he get more demonical troops as reward. Finally, he started his way to Heresh, he besieged and conquered Nar-Ankhar, where he found Leanna…
Leanna: Sareth. My dear my l- thank you! By Ylath, thank you!

Leanna: I knew you'd find me… Sareth… let's get away from here, quickly!

Xana: You'll regret this…she's a hindrance.

Leanna: Sareth…tell me the truth. What happened to you…What is that demonic aura? I can't believe you're one of those…

Xana: She wants to own you. She pours poison in your ears. Don't listen!

Sareth (in demonic form):: I'd... like to tell you, but it's not a simple tale.

Sareth (in demonic form):: Right now we have to stop Arantir, before he uses the Skull to destroy all of Stonehelm…if not more.

In Arantir's study, Sareth founds the key to the Green Gate. He can now access the portal leading to the catacombs under Stonehelm...

Sareth entered the catacombs and fought his way to Arantir and his ritual chamber…

This necropolis holds the remains of long-dead kings and wizards; within this chamber their burial ceremonies took place. A holy site for the Necromancers, Arantir has chosen to seal the fate of Stonehelm here.

Arantir: Try to understand, demonspawn. Mage or Necromancer, life or death -- these are two sides of the same coin. But demons… the magics of Urgash and chaos -- they are pure destruction, the negation of all that exists.

Arantir: Your accursed father must remain in his prison, and only the sacrifice of the souls of Stonehelm can guarantee this. Unless, of course, you think you can stop me.

Arantir: A few lives for an entire world. Quite a bargain, really.

Sareth fought him and prevailed…

Kha-Beleth: My son, you have become even more than I had hoped. Ah, the blood that shall flow, the fires that shall rage... Bring me the Skull!

Leanna: The world hangs in the balance, my love. Take the skull quickly, the portal weakens! Together we can heal the wounds of this war!

Xana: The Skull is ours, my love, and with it, the world. But I ask you this - do you really need your father to rule Ashan? You and I could do it without him - together.

Kha-Beleth: Sareth! Now is the time to rid yourself of that cute little plaything. Hurry! My patience is wearing thin…

As the Dark Messiah, it is Sareth's fate to decide the future of Ashan. Will he bring the Skull of Shadows to his demonic father and unleash the legions of Sheogh on the world ? Or will he on the contrary use the Skull's powers to seal the demons' prison ? The choice is his...

Do you want to use the Skull of Shadows to free your father ?

If you answer "Yes", then you will ally yourself with the Demons, shattering their prison unleashing the forces of Sheogh upon Ashan.

If you answer "No", then you will resist the seduction of power and use the Skull instead to seal the Demon Sovereign and his hordes forever in their hellish world.

Good choice…

Kha-Beleth: Traitor! You've grown as weak as your mother! Curse you and Isabel for failing me!

Leanna: Have strength, Sareth. Use some of mine, if you must.

Leanna: Enough! Let the work begun by the Seventh Dragon be finished, here today, by my hand.

Kha-Beleth: Betrayer! I shall hunt you like the cur that you are, you and your pretty friend.

Kha-Beleth: Remember that. I am ancient, and patient. One day I will be free, and I will teach you the full measure of agony.

Bad Choice…

Kha-Beleth: At last! Come to me, my son and saviour!

Leanna: Sareth! No! What are you doing?

Xana: I... have done your bidding, my master. Here is your son, delivered to you.

Kha-Beleth: Xana, some day I shall thank you for your... fealty. All Hell shall echo with your screams of devotion.

Sareth (in demonic form): So, father, I give you your freedom!

Kha-Beleth: Rejoice, my son! Together we shall bend Ashan to our will - or break it to pieces.

Dark Messiah
(PC game - story from wikipedia and Marzhins own post)

Dark Messiah

Nearly a thousand years ago the Wars of Fire raged across the face of Ashan. Men, Elves, Dwarves, and their allies pitted themselves against the hordes of Demons. Great devastation was wrought, but in the end the allied forces were victorious. Their victory was largely due to the heroic sacrifice of the wizard known as Sar-Elam, the Seventh Dragon. Using his almost god-like powers and supported by his fellow wizards, Sar-Elam cast the Demons out of the world into a limbo of eternal fi re. From the essence of his spirit, Sar-Elam wove a prison to contain the Demons forever. Something went wrong during Sar-Elam's ritual, however. The magic he summoned failed to create a complete prison; the tiniest of flaws, made by traitorous Sar-Shazzar, remained in the otherwise impervious barrier, a weakness that allowed Demonic influence to seep into the world during times of a lunar eclipse.
Angry but patient, the Demons lurked in their prison waiting… and planning. All that remained of the Seventh Dragon was his skull. Now called the Skull of Shadows, it was spirited away by those loyal to the goddess Mother Asha, creator of the world and source of all magic. They hid it in an ancient temple on a deserted island, far from the machinations of Men, Elves, or Demons. There the Skull sits, awaiting the day when its powers might be needed again.

67 years after Sar-Elam's death, his disciple Sar-Shazzar prophesied that a half-demon, half-human child would one day be born; a walker between worlds who would be known as the "Dark Messiah" and would use the relics of the Seventh Dragon to shatter the Demons' prison forever.
Only three complete stanzas, fragments of the original prophecy, remain. They could be translated as follows:

Ten centuries shall the fortress stand
Walls of spirit wrapped in walls of fi re
And horned lords shall bow their heads
To one not yet born, of the darkest sire
One century of blood and strife
The moon shall darken and none know why
The resting place at last is found
Of the Seventh who soared so high
Last daughter of a forlorn line
Shall guide him into history
Beneath the crypts prophecies clash
The war of ancient enemies

Characters

Sareth
A young man, student of the mage Phenrig. Trained in the martial arts and the ways of magic by his mentor, Sareth is prepared to leave the home he has known and venture out into the world of Ashan. Though great forces are at work and ancient prophecies arrive at their moments of relevation, Sareth is well-equipped to handle the situations in which he will find himself.

Son of a Demon Sovereign, he is prophesied to be the one who will unlock the gate to the demon's prison and allow their hordes to rampage across Ashan.

Menelag
The wizard Menelag of the Free City of Stonehelm led a 10-year expedition to locate his lifetime obsession: the Skull of Shadows. He finally discovered it on a savage island, buried
within a ruined temple of Asha. Menelag and his crew began to excavate the temple and its surroundings, harried by hostile Orc and Goblin tribes. They managed to find the crypt wherein the Skull lay, but were barred from it by an impassable stone door. The only way to open that door was to reactivate the magical energies of the temple itself, using an ancient artifact. In foolish pursuit of his goal Menelag was willing to make any promise, ally himself with any power… and thus he was drawn into certain circles, and thus did he sell his soul.

Phenrig
Phenrig is Sareth's tutor and mentor and has raised the orphan boy since his childhood. Sareth owes all he knows of weapons and magic to the severe but patient tutelage of Phenrig. The boy has grown, however, to be a strong young man. The time has come, therefore, when Phenrig can entrust his young apprentice with a mission of great importance…

Leanna
Leanna is a young wizard of Stonehelm, niece to Menelag and part of the expedition to find the Skull of Shadows. She wishes to retrieve the Skull and use it to defend her city. She becomes Sareth's companion as they search for it.

Aratrok
Aratrok is an Orc shaman, chieftain of the Orcs who dwell on island where the Skull is hidden. He is a devoted and fair leader to his own people, and a fanatical enemy to any people he considers to be a threat. Hatred for demons and wizards flows in Aratrok's veins as it does in that of any Orc aware of his kind's origin and past sufferings. He resent the intrusion of Menelag's expedition and will order his people to fight against them to the death.

Arantir
Arantir is the leader of necromancers. He is fully devoted to the Spider aspect of Asha, and he wants to stop and destroy as many Demons as he can. He knows about Shantiri crystal and about Skull of Shadows, and his ultimate plan is to use the Skull to repair the flaw in the prison of Demons, even if the cost is high – all living souls of Stonehelm.

Xana
A guardian entity (and succubus) who has been magically fused to Sareth's spirit by Phenrig in order to guide and protect him.

Kha-Beleth
Father of the Dark Messiah and ruler of the infernal legions, he waits impatiently for the
day when his son will tear down the prison that confines him and his followers in the empty
spaces between the worlds.

Dark Messiah, Sareth, is after years of studying the arts of magic and physical training in the arts of war, finally taken on an expedition to an old forgotten Shantiri (ancient civilization and rulers of Heresh) temple, to retrieve a rare artifact known as the Shantiri Crystal. In the temple, Sareth (guided and aided by Phenrig's voice and magic) destroyed rival expedition of necromancers, who were searching for the same thing, and later found the Shantiri Crystal.

They renturned home, and Sareth is tasked to bring the crystal to an associate of Phenrig's, the Wizard Menelag, who is also the lord of the city of Stonehelm. Menelag and Phenrig have certain "mutual interests" that involve finding an artifact called the Skull of Shadows. Menelag apparently is unable to continue his search without the Crystal. To guide him on his way, a spirit (succubus, but at that time looking as a beautiful woman) named Xana joined him and reside in Sareth's mind, to help him on the way.

Sareth travelled for twoo weeks on horseback, and he reached Stonehelm just before the necromancers.

Shortly after arriving in Stonehelm, Sareth witnesses an undead cyclops and a small army of ghouls sent by the Necromancers breach Stonehelm's defenses and begin to overwhelm the guards. Stonehelm is under siege by an army, led by Arantir the necromancer.
Sareth is recruited to help in the defense effort by taking control of a ballista. Using this, he manages to stun the undead cyclops long enough for a guard to stab it in the eye, thus killing it. Seeing their most valuable asset destroyed, the remnants of the invading force beat a hasty retreat. Sareth then resumes his search for Menelag.

Upon reaching the front gate of Menelag's manor, Sareth is greeted by Leanna, the young niece and pupil of Menelag. Sareth befriends Leanna, and learns more about Menelag's (and Phenrig's) goals. With the help of the Shantiri Crystal, Menelag hopes to be able to retrieve a powerful object: the Skull of Shadows. It is, in fact, the skull of the Seventh Dragon who sealed the demons in their fiery dimension ten centuries ago. That night, the three enjoy a small feast in Sareth's honor after which Menelag informs Sareth that they will set sail the following morning to resume the search for the Skull.

In the middle of the night, the Menelag's manor is attacked by Necromancers. Sareth fought his way to Menelag. The crystal is stolen by a ghoul, who murders Menelag while he tries to protect his niece and killed the necromancer. Sareth then chases the ghoul through the city roofs to a warehouse, where he finds the way to the underground sewers, full of necromancers Sareth discovers Arantir has an hideout in the city sewers. Arantir wants to use the crystal's power to open a portal to Nar-Heresh, the necropolis city. Sareth manages to steal the crystal back while he released the prisoners and guards with Arantir chased them, and escape through the sewer to the docks – on the way, he suddenly falls down and have a vision. In a dream, he recalls his meeting with Phenrig, except that Phenrig said he send Xana with Sareth to hold him on a leash. He also sees Xana again, but as she transfers her consciousness into his mind, she appears to be a demon, succubus. Sareth woke up back in sewer and asked Xana who she really is, but she told him it was just a necromancers curse.

Sareth met Leanna, and she told him that their ship is full of necromancers. She opened a way to docks by spell, and Sareth cleared the ship from necromancers and goblins. After that, he held the ship from the necromancers long enough, so Leanna and her crew can prepare it to leave. They travelled to the island with the Spider Temple where the Skull of Shadows supposedly is. While en route, Sareth has another dream in which he kills Leanna, and Arantir alludes that she is only the first of many victims.

After arriving, they find the expedition destroyed, and most of the men dead, killed by Orc warriors. Spider Temple is guarded by tribes of Orcs who sweared to prevent any demons (or any human, actually) to enter it. Sareth and Leanna are chased into the Temple of the Skull by a Pao kai which Sareth kills a little later with a gate. Sareth (wondering why all the Orcs are saying he is "tainted by the demons") proceeds alone to the top of the Temple, where he places the Shantiri Crystal and activates the temple. He must fight with leader and shaman of rhe orcs, Aratrok. Sareth killed him, and orcs let him go. Meanwhile, Leanna performs the Ritual of Command which will open the crypt where the Skull is hidden. Leanna half-opened the door, but after Sareth went through them, Arantir reveals himself, and it appears that he killed Leanna, and the doors shut.

Sareth, however, escapes to the crypt below and found the chamber with the room. However, he must first searched the undead-filled catacobs and find four magic gems – The Maiden's Eye, The Matron's Heart, Soul of the Crone and Moonsilk Crystal which he inserted to the Spider statue. After that, the statue opened the way, so he can finally retrieve the Skull of Shadows. Sareth then has a vision of Leanna, Phenrig and Menelag dead, and Xana under her true succubus form - and the Demon Sovereign Kha-Beleth, who reveals himself to be Sareth's father. Kha-Beleth names Sareth the Dark Messiah, and then commands to be released using the power of the Skull. Sareth wakes up to see Arantir, who takes the skull and then impales Sareth on a spike and leaved him to die.

Sareth wakes up alive on the pile of dead bodies (Orcs left him there) - Xana used the power of the Skull to revive him. He gains the power to transform into a demon (in form of sucubbus Xana), which grants him uncanny strength at the cost of health. Stripped of all his belongings, Sareth uses the demon form to fight off the Orc guards as he recovers his items.

He manages to leave the island (by old mines full of Orcs) and returns with the rest of the expedition to Stonehelm. Once there, he sneaks once again into the Necromancers' hideout in the sewers, where he takes the portal to Nar-Heresh. There, Sareth witnesses Leanna - who is still alive - but about to be sacrificied to an avatar of the Spider Goddess -being thrown into a spider pit.

He went to the spider pit and killed giant spider, and he can choose to save Leanna or leave her to die (my choice – save her). Regardless of the player's choice, Sareth entered Arantir's room and read his diary to discover his plans. The Necromancer is about to use the power of the Skull to cast a massive spell in old Necropolis under the Stonehelm, to kill all of its inhabitants, using their souls to craft a new, flawless prison for the demons. Sareth discoovered how to open the portal to Stonehelm, and he (Leanna will try to close the portal) returned there.

Sareth then returns to a besieged Stonehelm, fighting alongside the remaining human resistance (knight Duncan and Percy, his cousin). If Leanna was rescued in the previous chapter, Sareth may visit the Sanctuary of Ylath, (where is mage Delan, Leanna told him about Sareth) - wasn't it "Sylath", the dragon of air, or Elrath, dragon of light??- where he can purge his soul (my choice) from the demonic influence by bathing in the sacred waters, banishing (or destroying?) Xana in the process. Xana make desperate attempts to stop Sareth. If Sareth proceeds with the cleansing, he loses the ability to transform into a demon, but gains the ability to use powerful holy weapons, made from dragons. Kha-Beleth will threathen him, and after being purged, an ethereal voice tells Sareth that he is son of Isabel and give him gifts – bow, staff and daggers made from dragon bones, horn an fangs, the weapons of the Dragon Knights. He can use them now as he is clean from the demonic influence, as the Dragon sword that he found earlier. Voice will not reveal himself though, but looks like it was Elrath or Sylath.

Sareth continued his way with Percy (and killed another undead cyclops), and finally get to sewers, which leads to near the entrance to the Necropolis. He fought another Pao-kai and kill it with the ballista. He opened great door and near the entrance the ancient necropolis over which Stonehelm was built, Sareth is eventually reunited with Leanna. In the ancient necropolis over which Stonehelm was built, Sareth is eventually reunited with Leanna.

If Sareth left her behind in the spider pit, she appears as a Lich, who Sareth then destroys. If Sareth saved her, but did not cleanse himself, she will attack him. If Leanna was rescued and Sareth cleansed himself, she will join him for now (just for a little while), and again later.

Sareth then makes his way through the necropolis, fighting undead, necromancers and another undead cyclops. Ishtvan, son of Vradek, one of the four dead kings of Stonehelm which Arantir raised as liches to fight for him, asked Sareth for help. Sareth released body of Ishtvan from chains, so it can fall into the Abyss, a great burning hole. In return, Ishtvan talked to his father for Sareth. Lich Vradek then helped Sareth to destroy other three undead kings. After that, Sareth can enter the inner chamber with altar, where Arantir wants to complete the ritual.

Leanna joined Sareth again (if he saved her and cleansed himself – how the hell did she found the way ? ). Sareth attacked Arantir (who summoned a Bone Dragon) as he is about to perform the ritual. Sareth fought both and finally killed Arantir.

Victorious, Sareth is about to make his final decision for the Skull.

Sareth may use the Skull to lock his father away forever, or destroy the Skull and free his father. Each option offers a different ending. The ensuing cut scene will vary slightly depending on whether it is Leanna or Xana that accompanies Sareth at the end of the game, giving the game a total of four different endings.

In my ending, Sareth and Leanna used the Skull to recreate the prison of the demons, locking Kha-beleth and his ilk away from Ashan. Before disappearing from this world, the Sovereign says:

Kha-Beleth: Traitor! You've grown as weak as your mother! Curse you and Isabel for failing me!

Leanna: Have strength, Sareth. Use some of mine, if you must.

Leanna: Enough! Let the work begun by the Seventh Dragon be finished, here today, by my hand.

Kha-Beleth: Betrayer! I shall hunt you like the cur that you are, you and your pretty friend.

Kha-Beleth: Remember that. I am ancient, and patient. One day I will be free, and I will teach you the full measure of agony.

And what happened next? What is the cannonical ending? How it comes that Raelag doesnt found Sareth the Dark Messiah – he went to search for him some twenty years ago? What happened in all kingdoms of Ashan in that years? Only time (and Ubisoft ) will tell…
Last edited by Cabal on Jan 25 2009, 14:53, edited 3 times in total.

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Postby Cabal » Jan 10 2009, 13:29

Well, thats all for now. I have not played Dark Messiah yet - starting just now :), so there may be some corrections...

I have a complete history of MM 1-9 and HOMAM 1-3, but sadly, only in my native language : :S
Last edited by Cabal on Jan 10 2009, 15:17, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Asheera » Jan 10 2009, 13:41

Wow nice, will read this when I have more free time, it's huge. Looks promising though :)
No matter how powerful one becomes, there is always someone stronger. That's why I'm in a constant pursuit of power, so I can be prepared when an enemy tries to take advantage of me.

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Postby Cabal » Jan 10 2009, 18:25

Asheera wrote:Wow nice, will read this when I have more free time, it's huge. Looks promising though :)


Well, I hope that you enjoy it :-) I hate it, but I MUST do this for every HOMAM game - and sad but true - HOMAM from Ubi have the weakest story... But still, a enjoyed it :-)

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Postby ThunderTitan » Jan 13 2009, 10:11

Holy Wall of Text... now make it into a video, so we don't have to read any of it. :devil:
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Postby Cabal » Jan 16 2009, 23:33

Video! Holly piece of Urgash! Well, text is all that I could made, take it or shake it!
Last edited by Cabal on Jan 25 2009, 15:10, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Corlagon » Jan 16 2009, 23:49

I don't have much to add here, but many kudos for the really impressive amount of work you've done here in transcribing all these dialogues and finding the Chronicles of Ashan. It helps an awful lot in trying to understand the mess that is Heroes V's storyline. :tsup:

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Postby Avonu » Jan 17 2009, 8:11

But there is a error

In search of power (not dated)

Mal–Beleth is murdered by Kha-Beleth…


This scenerio is after HV - when Kha-Beleth dissapear (and wasn't dead - mistake in scenario descripion).
Also Mal-Baleth from Ubisoft lore is probably Kha-Beleth (another misspelling?).
Oh, and you lacked some info from scenario description/objectives - there are also sometimes important texts.

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Postby Corlagon » Jan 17 2009, 12:37

This scenerio is after HV - when Kha-Beleth dissapear (and wasn't dead - mistake in scenario descripion).


No mistakes, it's before HV, since Veyer is killed in the Raelag Dungeon campaign and alive here. Plus Erasial is mentioned :)

There's more than one Demon Sovereign, apparently, so Mal-Beleth must've been killed by Kha-Beleth as mentioned in that mission and an Inferno town bio.

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Postby Avonu » Jan 20 2009, 12:38

I check it later and see if you are wrong :P or not.

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Postby Pol » Jan 20 2009, 19:14

Sure, do that. We need the proof. ;)
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Postby Cabal » Jan 25 2009, 14:56

Other Lore

Nations of Ashan

HAVEN
Motto:
"For Honour, Order and Duty"
Facts and Traits:
Also Known As: The Squires of the Light
Associated Colours: Light blue, white and gold
Worship: Elrath, the Dragon of Light and its first servants - the Angels
Core Philosophy: Law and Order
Country/Kingdom: The Holy Griffin Empire
Home terrain: Grass
Capital City: Talonguard
Key Symbols: The Holy Sun, the Griffin
Noted Figures: Emperor Nicolai, Queen Isabel,
Godric, Beatrice
Description:
A feudal Holy Empire, Haven is the strongest realm of Ashan. It is a kingdom of medieval knights and monks. The Empire chose the Griffin as its symbol. It is divided into Duches – Greyhound, Unicorn, Wolf, Stag, Bull, Raven, Falcon and Griffin. Tamed griffins are used by the nobility as 'flying hounds', and sometimes as mounts. On the battlefield, Haven troops are known to be extremely resistant, relying more on the mighty power of brutal force than on the delicate art of magic. The heroes of the Haven faction will develop skills and abilities to support the hurricane of steel and fury that will rush into the enemy's rank.

INFERNO

Motto:
"Do what thou willst"
Facts and Traits:
Also Known As: The Demons, the Lords of Chaos
Associated Colours: Black and red
Worship: Urgash, the Primordial Dragon of Chaos - their progenitor
Core Philosophy: 'Might makes Right' ; conquer, plunder and rape the weak, laugh when you’re wounded or tortured, indulge yourself in selfish pleasures, spread anarchy and chaos, corrupt the righteous
Country/Kingdom: Sheogh, the Prison ofFire
Home terrain: Grass
Capital City: Ur-Hekal, the "Gate of the Burning Heart"
Key Symbols: Unicursal Hexagram, Ouroboros (the snake that eats its own tail)
Noted Figures: The demonist Agrael, the succubus
Biara, Kha-Beleth

Description:
"The Demons are ravenous monsters that would burn the world to a cinder just to watch it burn. Demons are an alien pantheon of hostile monsters that are bent on conquering Ashan. Fortunately, they are imprisoned in Hell (a 'dimensional jail' created in the lava core of the planet) and can’t exist for long in the material (surface) world, except when they are summoned by a sorcerer or when they can possess a mortal body. On the battlefield, Inferno troops are famous for their insane brutality in both the might and magic fields. Inferno troops will rush into the melee, while creatures with magic abilities will disrupt the normal order of proceedings and call for demonic reinforcements or to summon the fury of the 'fire element' and set it upon their enemy.

SYLVAN
Motto:
“We dance to the rhythm of the world”
Aka: The Wood Elves
Associated colors: green and brown
Worship: Sylanna, the Dragon of Earth, Nature’s Great Mother
Core Philosophy: Swift as the wind, graceful as the stream, strong as the waterfall, wise as the oak… At one with nature…
Core philosophy: “Live and let live… in harmony”
Country / kingdom: Irollan, the forest maze
Home terrain: Grass
Capital city: Shataqua “New Green”
Key symbols: tree leave, feather, “triskel” rune
Noted Figures: Findan, Chief Alaron
Description:
Sylvans are graceful and patient souls who live in close harmony with the earth. Distrustful of machinery and cities, they keep to their ancient ways and ally with others only rarely.
The sylvan society is built around several people that all experience a symbiotic relationship, making the Sylvan realm a very united nation. long with the elves (druids, hunters, warriors) live wild legendary beasts (Direwolves, Unicorns, Treants…), and Faeries (Sprites, Pixies…).

DUNGEON

Motto:
“Hide, listen, watch, learn… And when the time is right, strike from the shadow.”
Facts and Traits:
Also Known As: The Dark Elves
Associated colors: Black and purple
Worship: Malassa, the Dragon of Darkness, keeper of deadly secrets
Core philosophy: “We rule the shadows, and someday the shadows will rule everything”
Country/Kingdom: Ygg-Chal, the Dark Below
Home terrain: Dungeon
Capital city: Konos, the Maze of Shadows
Key symbols: Snake, featureless mask
Noted Figures: The warlock Raelag, the rogue Shadya
Description:
The Dark Elves are renegades from the Sylvan factions who long ago made a pact with the mysterious Faceless. As a result, the whole nation embraced the darkness and chose to live in the underground world of Ashan, building their cities in the huge caves there.

The Dark Elves worship the Dragon of Darkness, and because their deeds in her name are their worship, the Dungeon society is built around secrecy, plots, betrayal, and occultism. Each town is ruled by a clan with a High Priestess at its head (Shadowbrand, Nightshard, Soulscar). Women are almighty in the Dungeon society, for they lead the religious, political, and military powers. They do not raise their children themselves, but send them to the temple instead, where they will learn all the arts a young Dark Elf must know to survive.

In peace time, the Dark Elves use their very particular skills against other Dark Elf cities, to strengthen their own clans. But in war time, all these skills dedicated to murder and plots are turned on the common enemy. On the battlefield, Dungeon troops are renowned for their superior agility and power, even amongst their basic units. Fortunately for their enemies, this superiority is scarce and comes at a higher cost, for the Dark Elves are few in numbers and each loss is a severe blow to their military might.

ACADEMY

Motto “All secrets will be understood, and mastered, in time.”
Facts and Traits
Aka: The Wizards, the Mages
Associated colors: orange (saffron) and gold
Worship: Wizards do not view the dragons as gods, merely as more powerful beings. With enough study and experimentation, they too will achieve the power of the dragons
Core philosophy: “No Gods, no Masters. Knowledge is Power, Power is Freedom” The universe is a puzzle to be solved… and the ends justify the means
Country / kingdom: The Silver Cities Home terrain: Sand
Capital city: Al-Safir, the Sky Dome
Key symbols: the Silver Star, the Cross of Wisdom
Noted Figures: Supreme Archmage Cyrus, Zehir

Description:
The Academy wizards are proud seekers after knowledge and subjugators of the natural order. The Academy society is dedicated to wisdom and knowledge. The mages spend their lives studying and writing occult research studies.
A senate of wizards, called The Circle of Nine, rules the Silver Cities, though each of the cities maintains a greater or lesser degree of independence. Citizens who are incapable of magic are essentially second class, with an ability to harness sorcerous power being the key to social and political advancement.
Magic is taught in academies in the large cities, as hedge wizardry is frowned upon. These academies are formal places where which school you’re in means a great deal about what you will learn, how you learn it, and how the rest of your life plays out. Wizards tend to cluster into “schools” following the teachings of one great magus or another, and rivalries between schools are fierce.

The wizards rule a people of servant creatures that have been either summoned or magically animated by them.

NECROPOLIS

Motto:
"Life is change, chaos, filth and suffering. Death is peace, order, everlasting beauty."
Facts and Traits:
Also Known As: The Necromancers, The Undead
Associated Colours: Black and fluorescent (toxic) green
Worship: The Primordial Dragon of Order in a twisted version of her destructive aspect
Core Philosophy: “Embrace the Void”. Morbid fascination for death and fanatic devotion to the cause
Country/Kingdom: None (they are a secret society hidden within Academy and Haven) Home terrain: Dirt
Capital City: None (same reason, Lorekeep?)
Key Symbols: The Mother Spider
Noted Figures: High Necromancer Markal, dead Sandro
Description:
Necromancers are a split-order of the Wizards. They study death-magic to become eternal. They can control the spirits of the deceased (ghosts) or raise the dead form their graves (skeletons, zombies). Necromancers believe that pleasures are sensual (linked to our five senses) and that each pleasure leads to pain (being sick from eating too much, grieving the death of one’s beloved, etc.). The solution is to embrace death, which is perfection through sensory deprivation. Necromancers believe in an eternal, unchanging, neutral life rather than maintaining moderation in all things until the next life. High-ranking Necromancers become Vampires: eternally young, beautiful and powerful, but as cold and insensitive as alabaster statues.

On the battlefield, Necropolis troops are generally weaker than their opponents. However their cost is lower as they are less dependent on “material” resources to grow. So they tend to benefit from a clear numeric advantage.
But Necropolis troops also compensate their relative weakness with other abilities. All Necropolis creatures are Undead. Undead creatures are not affected by morale: the dead don't care, you can't motivate them with the prospect of victory and they are not afraid to die. Mind Effects and poisons also don't work on them: they don't have minds or living bodies. On top of that some units will drain life from their enemies or remain untouched by non-magical attacks. "

FORTRESS
Motto:
“For the Clan, for the Blood”
Facts and Traits:
Also Known As: The Dwarves
Associated Colours: Bright red and steel grey
Worship: Arkath, the Dragon of Fire. They and fire are old friends, and their worship is an intensely personal ritual that most outsiders have never seen
Core Philosophy: “Never yield and never lose face”. Be proud of who you are. Defend your kinsmen, your homeland and your honor. Always protect the hearth.
Country/Kingdom: Grimheim, the Kingdom Under the Mountain
Capital City: Tor Myrdal, the Fire-rumbling Fortress
Key Symbols: N/A

Description: Fierce warriors, industrious blacksmiths, skilled sailors and masters of Rune (War) Magic (tattooed bodies, runic weapons & armors…). uspicious of outsiders. Wardens of the Demons (for they live closest to the Demons’ “lava core” prison), rivals of the Dark Elves (they compete for underground territory).
Politics:
Internal / Social Organization:
Each dwarven city has its own king, with a council of advisors from the wealthiest and most industrious families. The King Under the Mountains is the king of kings among the dwarves, and it is he who sets policy and summons them to war. Kingship is not hereditary, though it is a lifetime post. After each king’s death, the council convenes and elects his successor. At such times, the tunnels are filled with both celebration and intrigue, as various candidates court voters and attempt to discredit – or eliminate – rivals.

Dwarven culture is very much male-driven – though women are neither bearded nor as rare as one might think.

Social structure is based around three relationships: family, fostering and fighting. There is a complicated web of apprenticeships that serves to train up young dwarves and cement relations between clans. These ties are precious – a single unworthy apprentice can poison an alliance that has existed for centuries.

While there are numerous ties that bind the kingdom together – race, family, city – the most important by far is the clan. The six dwarven clans are:
• Deepflame – Rune Priests, the religious leaders of the Dwarves
• Grimsteel – a fierce clan noted for its famous warriors
• Stonefist – the clan responsible for mining and building the great underground cities
• Stronghammer – artisans and blacksmiths, creators of the Dwarves’ famed handicrafts and weapons
• Hearthguard – a clan of magistrates and administrators, slow and serious
• Winterwind – the beastmasters, accustomed to the outdoors and friendly with other races.
Clans and families are not the same thing. Families are different lineages within a single clan, with each clan having its own name, battle history, customs and so forth. Ultimately, dwarves always fall back on their clans. While a single city may house families from a half-dozen different clans, at important times, such as the election of a new king, dwarves fall out along clan lines before anything else.

A History

The dwarves have coalesced from a series of scattered clans into a mighty nation, capable of defending itself against all enemies. Children of the Dragon of Fire, they worshipped him in the deep places of the world where magma provided the only light, and in return they were taught the secrets of the forge and the hearth.

At first, the other races were not even aware of the dwarves. Not until the Wars of Fire (28-41 ASD), when the dwarven warbands joined with the others to resist the demons, were they recognized. Once the fighting was over, they returned to their homes under the mountains and had little to do with the other races for centuries. Slowly tunnels were dug between the various dwarven cities, connecting then into a honeycomb deep beneath the earth.

All that changed when the first Dark Elves settled on the dwarves’ borders. A steadily deteriorating situation turned into the War Under the Mountain, in which the dwarves, led by Hathor Deepstrider Orlandsson, crushed the Dark Elves and drove them out. The Dark Elf dwelling places were collapsed, and the dwarves considered their borders secure.

Today, the dwarves still keep a watchful vigilance up. They watch their borders, and no one moves on their lands unseen. They befriend a precious few, and expand their kingdom carefully.

Note that most of dwarven history is actively hidden from the rest of the world. The dwarves have lengthy sagas, eddas, and histories concerning their deeds, wars, and adventures, but these are not shared with the outside world. The things they have seen and battles they have fought within their own domain remain mysterious, at least for now.

The Characters

Arkath
The Dragon of Fire, Dwarven Diety.

Hathor Deepstrider Orlandsson
The leader of the Dwarves during the "War Under the Mountain".

Tolghar
The current Dwarven "king of kings", part of the Grimsteel clan
Warfare:
Armed Forces:
The dwarven warbands are one of the most feared fighting forces in the world. Featuring unparalleled ferocity and iron discipline, they can be mustered on a moment’s notice. In combat, warbands from various cities try to outdo each other in terms of enemies killed, banners taken and the like – war is a game, and this is a way of keeping score. On the other hand, dwarves never, ever surrender. They fight to the death, even when the odds are hopelessly against them. The best death a dwarf can hope for is one in battle, against impossible odds, with a witness who will someday make a song of their deeds.
While they prefer fighting underground, dwarves do occasionally muster on the surface. In the tunnels, where large bands are less useful, they build complicated defensive fortifications and traps. Dwarves who explore unknown tunnels are called Delvers, and they are often the first line of defense against an incursion by dark elves, necromancers and the like.

Chronicles of Ashan

The Skull of Shadows
By Jeff Spock, Writer, and Erwan Le Breton, World Coordinator

The potency of the Skull of Shadows lies both in its origins and its purpose. Literally speaking it is the skull of a dragon, though not from one of the corporeal dragons that exist on the surface (or in the depths) of Ashan. It is the skull of one of the dragon gods, and of a very particular dragon-god at that.

A brief explanation of cosmology and history is necessary.

The world of Ashan was created by the mother dragon and goddess called Asha. Since the dawn of time, however, she has been challenged by the powers of her sibling, the dragon Urgash, scion of Chaos. He seeks to undo or conquer all that Asha built and holds precious. To aid her in creating and protecting her world, Asha created six dragons that tend the physical plane of existence. Each of them is tied to an aspect or element (Air, Earth, Fire, and Water as well as Light and Dark), and each of them created races in their own image to cultivate Ashan and worship their creators.

There's more to it, but this is meant to be brief.

One particular faction developed apart. They are the Wizards, who worship no dragon (or all, depending on your point of view) and strive rather to pierce the fundamental mysteries of the powers and mechanics that govern their world. They studied and experimented tirelessly (and still do), seeking mastery of the rules that Asha laid down when she created the world (or the limits that an even higher authority placed upon her when she did her works, but that debate shall doubtless go on until the fading of the sun).

The first and mightiest of these Wizards, Sar-Elam, gained such an astounding depth of knowledge, and such an abiding love for the works of Asha, that he ascended into the sphere of the Dragon-Gods, becoming himself the "Seventh Dragon." It was he who sacrificed himself voluntarily during the Wars of Fire, donating the powers of his divine soul and body to help lock the Demon hordes away in a prison dimension. And the Skull of Shadows is his skull. One may view it as a lock to a door, though more accurately it is a keystone in the structure of the impossibly complex spell that created the Demon prison and homeworld of Sheogh.

Once the incantations were complete and the Demons locked away, the Wars of Fire came to an end. The Skull was taken away by the faithful of Ashan to be hidden in a heavily guarded and secret temple, far from prying eyes.

But what should happen if the Skull of Shadows was to be discovered by a powerful wielder of magic who is a follower of Urgash? What if the keystone that seals the Demons' prison was to fall into the hands of the prisoners? The answer to that question is as obvious as it is terrifying…



Demons and Orcs - Brother Enemies
By Jeff Spock and Kurt McClung, Writers, and Erwan Le Breton, World Coordinator.

It is YSD 330; an era of calm reigns precariously. The nations of Ashan are expanding, discovering each other, magic and the wonders of nature: harnessing the forces of their world.

Meanwhile, in the heart of Sheogh, the Demons' home and prison, things are stirring…

Asha, the primal dragon of Order has been sleeping and healing within the silvery cocoon of the moon since Chaos was defeated by her champion, Sar-Elam. There was a slight flaw in the wizard's sealing ritual that has allowed the Demons an opportunity to escape. Should Asha be obscured by her twin brother Urgash, the primal dragon of Chaos, the chains that bind him at Ashan’s molten core would be dangerously loosened.

In YSD 330. the races of Ashan bare witness to the first lunar eclipse, and the first demon invasion.

Totally unprepared for the onslaught of the demon hordes, the defensive lines of Asha’s children are swiftly broken and they are forced to retreat. First the Elven lands are overrun. A hurried alliance between the remainder of the Elves, the Humans and Dwarves fares no better. The survivors flee south, hotly pursued, hoping that within the magic of the Wizards of the Seven Cities they will find something to stop this relentless invasion.

Their hopes dwindle and prayers seem in vain. In battle after battle the Demons are victorious; the only resources left to the defenders are fear and desperation…

It is at this point that a daring experiment is made. Focussing the energy of inert earthen elements on a human body pumped full of demon blood, the Wizards discover that they can bring it back to life. Though the beast immediately dies, they learn that they could perhaps combine two fundamentally opposed forces to create a new race, a different race, a race made from a child of Asha and a child of Urgash. Such a creation could turn the balance in the war.

Though their Haven allies are opposed to this atrocity for religious reasons, the Wizards remain pragmatists and explain that if they were only allowed to continue, they could make a powerful army. This new race, later to be known as the Orcs, would inherit strength and immunity to Demon magic from their demonic blood. Their human body would give them fertility and the assurance to walk the surface of the world freely. The desperation of the dark hour, which had chased away all other hopes and alternatives gives the Wizards their opportunity. Reason leaves for brighter pastures. The experiment is repeated in mass.

Failures are numerous: burning bodies, madmen, and beastly freaks are born from their arcane laboratories in alarming proportions. But a breakthrough is made by a wizard named Ishizaar. He discovers that by increasing the concentration of elemental components, notably through augmenting and properly aligning the energetic prisms of gems and crystals, the conflicting forces are confined in a manner that remains stable.

The Orcs are born.

Their coming to the battlefield is like a tornado through a field of crops. Unable to use their magic against the savage power of the Orcs, the Demons are helpless. Fuelled by the power of their blood rage and united by indivisible bonds of clan-like brotherhood, the Orcs turn what was to be the Demons' finest hour into a nightmare of slaughter and rout. Behind the Orc shock troops, the nations rally. Time is now on the side of the allies who use it to develop defensive and offensive strategies incorporating their new elite forces. Their improving art of warfare swings the tide back in their favor, and the Demons days on Ashan seem counted.

The Demon Lords, boiling in anger, refuse to go down alone. They swear that if their legions will not survive the war, neither will the Orcs. Their solution is one of demonic simplicity – with no Orc children, there will be no future for the Orcs.

The demon tactics turn to infiltration and assassination. As their creators drive their Orc slaves to the front lines to fight, unprotected Orcish villages are visited at night by shadowy forms haloed in flames and terror. When the victorious tribes return to their huts, their future generations and hopes are missing.

The diabolical plan came too late however. The Demon troops are destroyed even more quickly than predicted, and with a raging vengeance. The plans that had taken them centuries to elaborate are broken. Their prison is sealed anew. The Orcs live on and give birth to new offspring.

Among the other races of Ashan, the great war against the Demons that started in YSD 330 is known as the War of the Blood Moon – the first eclipse, the first Demon invasion, a horrifying memory of near extinction. In the Orcish counting of the years, the event has a different name: the War of the Empty Cradles.

There are some things that the Orcs will never forget, will never forgive. Though the other races may view Demons and Orcs as but two sides of the same coin, for the Orcs that concept is incomprehensible. The two races, forever, shall be brother enemies.

The Necromancers
By Jeff Spock, Writer, and Erwan Le Breton, World Coordinator.

"Life is chaos, filth and suffering. Death is peace, order, everlasting beauty."

Just what is a Necromancer? Where did they come from? What are their needs, their aspirations? Is there an order among the ranks of the undead?

Let us begin at the traditional place...

While the beginnings of many things are lost in the mists of time -- or at least misfiled upon the shelves of time -- the Necromancers of Heresh have a recorded history that has been well-documented.

Ahhh, documents! Timeless, ageless records that permit the wisdom and experiences of a people to be archived and managed, perused and discussed, as timeless and unchanging as Death itself... Necromancers without lore, Necromancers without a history, is a notion that is fundamentally impossible. For Necromancers are to a soul (which, yes, they do have) thinkers, philosophers, and seekers of wisdom and understanding. Their biggest problem, of course, is deciding when to end a debate; debates can go on forever when the debaters are deathless.

But on to the specifics.

As with many things that concern magic, necromancy began as part of the legacy of Sar-Elam, the great wizard who became the Seventh Dragon. His most gifted disciple was Sar-Shazzar, who went on to carve his own place in history.

Sar-Shazzar himself had a talented student, named Belketh.

In an age when the world was young and vibrant and much of magic was in doing, building, and experimenting, Belketh was a thinker and philosopher. Fascinated with the principles and passages of death -- must we all? do we all? where does the soul go? what exactly ends with death, and what begins? -- Belketh turned less and less to the teachings of his master and more and more to his own reflections and investigations.

At a critical moment he uncovered an ancient manuscript; it was a part of the writings of Sar-Elam collectively known as the Revelations of the Seventh Dragon. This particular chapter spoke of Necromancy, the power of the immortal soul, and the aspect of Asha that was least-known and least-worshipped.

Belketh was struck by the conviction that this countenance of Asha, though it was least understood and most feared, was all-embracing and all-encompassing.

For Asha, the goddess who created the world that bears her name, is all facets of the wheel of existence; the triple-faced figure of birth, life and death.
She is the Faceless Maiden, Destiny's herald, stitching here and there, unseen, to make sure that all the living creatures fulfil their purpose.
She is the Mother, who regards all things as her creation and her children. By giving birth, she set chaos into form and gives meaning to potential.
She is the Crone, wizened and old, who snips the web of life, with a sickle held in gnarled fingers, when the time has come.

The fateful text of the Revelations that Belketh read referred to this third image of Asha as the most powerful, holding sway over the works of the other two. From the rituals and the insights in this document Belketh gleaned two elements that would influence the development of the Necromancers.
One was the image of Asha as a spider, spinning the web of life, administering death through her mandibles when one's allotted time was up.
The other was the temptation of the alternative to life; death was not an end, merely a transformation. The petty desires and needs of the flesh, the destructive passions of the heart, the unreasoning decisions of the brain that piloted this mass of humours and conflicts -- death was the answer to all of that, the reduction of existence to its purest and most changeless form.

All agree that this fragment of the original text is at the origin of the Necromantic Kingdom of Heresh. After this point of agreement, however, all else diverges. On one side are the Necromancers, convinced that this fragment is the core and the essence of the teachings of Asha, and that the rest are dead ends, half-truths, and traps for the gullible and unwary. The other side of the argument, obviously, is that this fragment is necessarily only a part of a greater truth, and that in their dedication to this subset of Her teachings the Necromancers have missed much of Asha's message.

Feel free to debate this with a Necromancer some time, if you have a few decades to spare.

From this point of origin the Necromancers have built a culture and a structure of beliefs, founding a nation that has upon occasion wielded a terrible might.

The Hierarchy of Heresh

To become a lord of the Necromancers is the ideal of all who have chosen this path, though there are many other forms of unlife that have relatively more or less importance. In fact a Necromancer is not necessarily one of the non-living; in particular those who go on embassies to foreign lands are often still in human form. As they gain power, however, they inevitably choose to pass through the portal of death, becoming one of the undead. Little is known of this rite of passage to outsiders, as it involves the bite of the sacred spiders, the Namtaru, who dwell in the catacombs deep beneath the capital of Nar-Heresh.

Those who make this passage first become Asakkus, or "Liches", their bodies desiccated but intact, freed from the passions of the flesh to meditate undistracted.

As the decades pass, and they grow in power, they may earn the right to become Akhkharus, or "Vampires". For a Vampire is the most potent incarnation of a once-human form, one of the unliving lords of Heresh who hold sway over both the dead and undead.
Once a Lich ascends to take the form of a Vampire he ages backwards. The longer a Necromancer is undead, the younger and healthier he looks. The ruling council of the Lords of Heresh all appear to be in their mid-twenties, beautiful and unchanging.

Rabisus, or "Ghouls", on the other hand, are distinctly lesser undead. Formed when a Necromancer forces a soul to remain in a dead body, they are trapped between life and death. They are tormented; filled with hatred for the living. Powerful Necromancers can control them, but otherwise they are wild and destructive. Transformation into a ghoul is used as the ultimate punishment in Heresh, and is a means of permanently removing a soul from the cycle of death and transformation.

Zombies and skeletons are the least potent, mere soulless bodies re-animated by death magic. They shamble about following orders, and even the lowliest Necromancer can command them with absolute authority.

Edimmus (ghosts, spectres and wraiths), finally, are disembodied spirits of the dead. They can be trapped, geased, and commanded by sufficiently powerful Necromancers, though in Heresh they are more often used as scouts and allies. Ghosts can barter their services for favors done for their descendants, for deeds done among the living, or for aid in returning to a body -- living or not -- and entering once more into Asha's great cycle.

Those wishing to further study the lore of the Necromancers and the history of Heresh are invited to peruse one of the great libraries of the Silver Cities, perhaps one of those in Qays or Fidaa. The eager student may even travel to Heresh to learn from the source, though those who do so seem, upon their return, to be somewhat altered...


The Demon Sovereign, the Prophecy of Sar-Shazzar, and the Dark Messiah
By Jeff Spock, Writer, and Erwan Le Breton, World Coordinator

Ashan is a world with a turbulent history, a war-torn present, and an unknown future. While many heroes have had a hand in the shaping of its legends -? King Brian Falcon, Tuidhana, and more recently Queen Isabel and Clanlord Raelag, to name a few -- none of them have had an impact as wide-ranging or as devastating as the mysterious figure known as Kha Beleth, the Demon Sovereign. Though his methods are subtle and intricate his goal is clear: To bring about one certain specific destiny out of the many that are possible?

It began in the year 40 YSD (Year of the Seventh Dragon) when Sar-Elam sacrificed himself in a rite to create Sheogh, the Demon homeworld that is also their Jail. There was a flaw, a tiny flaw, a mere blurring of a pattern and a few mispronounced words. Yet this corruption of Sar-Elam's ritual was sufficient to render the barrier between Ashan and Sheogh unstable at times of a lunar eclipse. When such an eclipse occurs, the Demons are able to break out from their prison.

Break out, yes, but to do what? There are hints in the prophecy of Sar-Shazzar, Sar-Elam's favoured disciple, about a Dark Messiah. This child, born of both human- and Demon-kind, would come to shatter the gates of the Demons' prison and lead them in a holy war to subjugate the nations of Ashan. But where would he come from? Who would dare to sire a half-demon child? How would his presence be kept a secret? And how would the Demons use the eclipses to make this happen?

Unsurprisingly, every lunar eclipse that Ashan has suffered since then and there have been four -- has been marked with an eruption from Sheogh.

The First Eclipse was in 330 YSD, and it resulted in the War of the Blood Moon as Men, Elves, Wizards, and Dwarves fought the demon scourge. To assist their allies the Wizards fused demon blood and human form to create the Orcs, shock troops par excellence against the Demons. The nations of the world learn to be wary of astronomical anomalies...

A second eclipse in 564 YSD coincided with the last council of the Six Demon Lords and the first mention of Kha Beleth, the Demon Sovereign, as the lone ruler of Demonkind. Though the Demons are rapidly overwhelmed their agents are set loose to set up webs of spies, agents, and sympathizers.

Behind the seemingly random and brutal Demon onslaughts, perceptive scholars have discerned the workings of a superior mind bent on pushing the future of Ashan along a path leading to the fulfillment of Sar-Shazzar's prophecy:

With the eclipse that occurs in 843 YSD, the Falcon dynasty's royal line is brought to the verge of extinction. A different prophecy is uncovered stating that the end of that line heralds the end of the world.
A few years later a trove of lore on the prophecies is destroyed or stolen, and with it the world loses much of its wisdom on the Demons and their plans.

in 951 YSD a child named Isabel, heir to the Greyhound duchy, grows up in ignorance of a Demon protector that lurks nearby.
Twenty years later, at the culmination of the eclipse that led to Queen Isabel's War, the queen herself is kidnapped and forced to bear a child to the Demon Sovereign. The child disappears to be raised for another twenty years under the protective eyes of Demon worshippers.

King Alexei's soul is stolen and in 971 YSD its power is used to bring a succubus to Ashan; a succubus named Biara who arrives at a moment when she can take the place of the true Isabel. The real queen remains lost in the wastes of Sheogh with her protector, Raelag...

In YSD 989 a second succubus is sent to a certain demonist, ensuring that the child he raises will make the right choice when the fatal moment comes for him.

The Demon Sovereign waits patiently, weaving his webs of deceit, acting through allies and agents. For centuries he has killed and protected, burnt and built, sowed and reaped. He is still there, waiting and watching, prepared to seize his one precious chance when it comes.

May Asha protect us all...


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