Blight: Lore & Fiction


#362

Blood on the snow.

Chapter 2 of the Tale of Two Kings.

MORGANNA

Gwenhierblade made quick work of the undead woman. With one swift stroke the Queen of Alestria severed the Immortal’s head from her shoulders. Black blood sprayed from the wound and showered the pure white of the snow in it’s darkened crimson. She risked a quick look around to check on her forces and thanked god that none had fallen to the undead.
A small force of Alestrian knights fought tooth and nail against the blighters, as always her bodyguard Elswin was by her side and like her he was covered in blood. Elven arrows dropped a few more blighters ahead as dwarven bullets and curses sang a moment later while the Orcs gleefully chopped away.
The one good thing winter brought was that the undead were a lot slower and easier to handle. A former soldier clawed at her as it gurgled but it was so slow she could’ve walked three times around it before it could even move. She quickly ended it’s suffering, another countrymen she couldn’t save but at least send his soul to heaven.
A large thud shook the ground. As she turned to see the source the ground shook once more. A shower of snow came down along with bits of corpses and ground as Fron the giant withdrew his large club from the ground. The giant had taken his charge as protector of Pitted valley seriously and charged out to face the undead mob that headed towards the city before Morganna had time to properly organise a warband to secure the road for the incoming envoys from north of her kingdom. Envoys who no doubt were fighting for their lives at this very moment.
“RALLY!” the Queen cried." Baron De Schacht is across this hill!"
“My Queen!” Elswin placed his hand on her shoulder." We got a problem."
“We don’t have time, Elswin!” she replied." What is it?!“
Her bodyguard sighed.” The troops are fighting again."

“Oi, point ears!” a dwarf shoved an elven archer." You took my kill!“
The elf smirked as she pulled her arrow from the corpse.” Should’ve been faster then."
“In my culture, kill stealing is dishonourable.” an orc warrior replied as he pulled his axe from the frigid zombie." Then again, elves have no honour.“
More rangers frowned.” Why do you know of honour, greenskin?!"
“More than you!” The dwarf blunderbuss replied." At least they didn’t come halfway through the war like some pointy eared tree hugging cowards!“
The elves drew their bows and knives as the orcs and dwarves took up their weapons.
“ENOUGH!” Morganna marched through the snow.” Am I leading a warband or am I leading a kindergarten?!"
The warriors looked away ashamed.
“Apologies, your highness…” one of the dwarves muttered in his beard.
“We meant no disrespect.” one of the elven archers bowed.

Morganna sighed, she had no time for this." Chief Turok!" she pointed to one of the Orcs with a large bloodied mace." Help Fron clear out the rest of these blighters with the dwarves and then turn back to Pitted Valley! Alleria!" she pointed to one of the elves." You will follow me.“
Turok spoke up.” My queen, we can go with you!“
She had no time to explain that the orcs and dwarves were to slow to reach the envoy in time. That they were excellent fighters, loyal warriors who marched with her since Orangecraig months ago and she felt great pride at fighting alongside them. But if this peace treaty had any chance of succeeding it was worth sacrificing hurt feelings over it.
“Do as I command!” She got on the horse Elswin fetched for her.” You have your orders, MOVE!"
She did not look back as her household knights and elven allies ran across the snow field hillock but she felt the glare of disappointed warriors at her back.

When she reached across the hillock and charged over it, she saw a large convoy surrounded by more undead. They were easy to handle yes but the sheer number of them was nearly to much for it’ escort.
De Schacht’s banner was waving in the cold wind, a white bear on a gray field, standing fast as his armoured men were fighting a bitter cold battle. Goblin archers were on top of the caravan coaches as arrows flew into the undead targets with semi-accurate skill.
For a moment Morganna admired the goblin’s courage…but soon saw a big chest of coins in the middle of the undead horde. It seemed the paymaster had thrown the goblin’s pay in the dead sea so the goblins were forced to fight for their masters. In her mind’s eye she heard Uncle Thror laughing.
She drew Gwenhierblade from her scabbard and held out the tip towards the undead horde and cried out a incoherent battle cry.
“FOR ALESTRIA!” Elswin translated for her." FOR THE QUEEN!"

The battle was forceful and brief. Human steel and horse hooves cleaved and stomped the undead apart. A few men died but thankfully not to many.
Morganna cleaned her sword as the largest carriage opened it’s door, revealing its occupant.
A well dressed bald man covered in rabbit fur and purple attire stepped out, followed by several hangers on. His bodyguard, who had not a single speck of blood on him, his mistress, his jester and several other lordly types.
“Queen Morganna!” The man smiled forcefully." I thank you for your assistance."
“Baron De Schacht.” she returned the smile." It has been a long time."
“Oh yes, ten years ago I believe at a gala. Just before you were shipped off to Orangecraig. Forced to live with the little bearded folk.” His mistress chuckled as his jester sang a crude phrase.
"Seven dwarves and a young princess, the stories say they were digging for gold but we all know what else they do leaves a mess…"
Elswin frowned." It is custom for a lord to bow for her Queen."
“Not my Queen.” De Schacht replied." I told you, my city of Brugen and the Vlaanders province are now independent. If you wish to be friendly with us it will have to be done with a proper treaty.“
Morganna gave Elswin a look before her bodyguard could reply. She regained her composure.” Exactly, my lord. So let us move before more Immortals appear. My knights and elven friends might not be so quick next time…" She arranged her horse." We shall be your escort to Pitted Valley, quickly now before the sun sets."
She did not look back as she knew the baron was fuming. With that the Queen led the escort towards the city.
“Excellent diplomacy, my queen.” Elswin said with mirth. Morganna did not reply but returned a wicked grin as well.

The escort rode back to the fortified city as the elves scouted the forests around it first before they entered the city proper. Morganna rode next to the carriage that held the baron as the banners of the Alestrian Unicorn and the Brugen Bear waved side by side by their bearers.
One of her knights spotted someone in the crowd and turned to his Queen. She knew who Ser Trevor saw and gave a nod. The knight smiled and rode off. A moment later as the escort passed by she saw Ser Trevor kissing his husband, a baker she recalled from an earlier conversation, full on the lips like no-one was watching. Newlyweds, she thought with a smile as the escort drove on.
Armed guards saluted the queen as she passed. The people cheered at the return of their men. Most were humans from all walks of life but the odd dwarf and orc were there as well.
“The people love their Queen.” Baron De Schacht said." You have them well in your hand.“
She waved at the crowd.” We’ve been hell together these past two hundred days, they deserve some merriment.“
The baron chuckled.” Agreed. It is the same in Brugen and the other cities in Vlaanders when I enter."
“How so?” Morganna already regretted asking.
“Because I saved them. It was the Brugen Bear that held off the undead while the Unicorn was mauled to death in Queenspark. While you were busy rallying your…non-human friends, I had to rely on my own devices to protect my people.”

She heard of those devices. Baron De Schacht used criminals who were on his payroll to secure the borders and smugglers to get food to the cities. He used goblin mercenaries as canon fodder to soften the undead before his knights could smash the weakened horde before the goblins could reanimate.
He sacrificed villages of two hundred people so three more villages would be save.
He was a monster driven by cold calculus and ambition…and a real threat to her reign.
The people of Vlaanders thought of him as a hero and saw him aid them in their time of need. After the Blight was defeated, his forces would be stronger than Morgana’s. Giving a man like the baron independence was folly but there was no real choice.
Best case was to draw the baron into the blight, appease him with some offerings…and wait for a weakness.

“I know the feeling.” the Queen replied." Were it not for Uncle Thror and my friends we would still be in Orangecraig, waiting to be slaughtered. To have at least the southern capitol back…fills me with hope.“
He spat.” Hope does not warm fires or feed your belly. Coin does and making the right choices. You’ve done that so far, my Queen. But there will be a time you’ll have to make a wrong choice to do something right.“
She frowned.” With all due respect baron, for a man who nearly died you come across as very patronizing. Were I to make a wrong choice you could’ve been dead.“
The baron chuckled.” Perhaps you should’ve made that choice."
This man confused and sickened her. He was the complete opposite she was. And she was forced to call him friend. He withdrew from the conversation as the escort made their way through the streets of Pitted valley.

When they reached the Townhall, Marshall Raynor was there waiting for them.
“Welcome back, your majesty.” he bowed." I heard the hunt went well?“
She laughed.” You make it sound like we were out hunting foxes!" Elswin helped her from her horse as stable boys and girls helped her knights from their war horses.
“Immortals hungering for flesh, foxes…same thing.” Raynor shrugged. His eyes turned to the carriages as the baron and his entourage climbed out, Brugen men and goblins skittering about." I retract my statement…it seems you were out hunting boars…"
“Careful, Marhshall…” Elswin said." His jester hears everything.“
Raynor sighed.” Fantastic…" He motioned her to follow." Your troops made it back, the people are cheering for Fron. They’ve taken to the big lug."
“He was good in that fight, I have to admit.” Elswin added.
Morganna nodded." Very good, anything else?"
“There have been some fights in taverns lately…” Raynor opened the doors for them." Mostly dwarves and orcs fighting elves. They believe the elves aren’t pulling their weight enough with the grain from Falcon’s Hold." He held up his hand." And don’t get me started on the Children of Light. If they didn’t help out with the soup kitchens we would’ve had a bloodbath by now.“
The Queen turned to the Marshall.” Are you saying there isn’t enough grain?" She heard otherwise from Ser Trevor. His husband, who was one of the few bakers in the city, claimed elven grain was different from normal grain and less was needed to make bread.
“Prince Ithalen assured me, alongside calling me a short lived peasant among other things, that there is enough grain for the whole of winter.” Raynor replied." I tend to believe him and I’ll have words with the troops about our relations with the fay folk of Falcon’s Hold."
“Very good, Marshall.” Morganna rested her eyes on the baron as he helped his mistress dismount from the carriage." The last thing we need is more enemies…"

The baron behaved very well all things considered. He did not complain about the state of the Townhall or the size of his room. He complimented the chefs for their cooking and even joined in with prayers. The only slip up he made was that before the prayer to thank god for the meal he said he only worshipped one god and not the spirits like the elves did. He did so as his eyes lingered on Prince Ithalen. Thankfully the Prince did not hear or was not baited by the baron’s taunts. She also noticed Elswin’s attentions were elsewhere during the meal. He received extra roasted potatoes from one of the serving girls as she gave him a wink. The blush on his cheek was adorable. She didn’t mention anything and had small talk with General Redbeard of Coolcraig in Sanctuary.
“We managed to secure a holdout near Queenspark.” He belched before dabbing his bright crimson beard on his lips. She was used to dwarf dining from her years in Orangecraig and did not raise her brow like Ser Trevor did." Our gnome kin got a outpost in the forest nearby, cleared out the blighters there, and the thaig we’re hiding in has been completely reclaimed by the children of the mountain. Some really good fighting in the tunnels there, reminded me when I fought alongside your uncle when we reclaimed Orangecraig. Dwarven axe and hammer turning the blighters to grey mush!" He gave a hearty chuckle.
“That is good news.” Morganna tore some bread and dipped it in her soup." What has my uncle planned?"
“So far? Nothing.” Redbeard gulped some ale." Winter is shite for warfare. Our artillery will get stuck in the snow and our powder will get wet. Us dwarves can handle the cold but if you want to reclaim your city, your men will die in droves in the snowy peaks before we get down." the dwarf picked up a chicken drumstick and jammed it in his mouth before proceeding to speak with his mouth full. “We hold up for now, reinforce the thaig via our tunnel network and come spring we shell the shite out of the hordes outside of your home.”
“If we’re lucky, we might have men from Vlaanders to join in with the assault.” Morganna drank her soup. The last thing she wanted was have the baron help her reclaiming her ancestral home. But like always as with Prince Ithalen, she had no real choice.

After the baron announced he would retire and that the negotiations could continue tomorrow if the Queen wished it. While his mistress moaned and sighed and complained as she clung to his arm, he handed coins to the servants and thanked them for their service.

“Slimy as a toad that one…” Ithalen snorted." And twice as large.“
Morganna had to stop herself from agreeing with the elven prince. A thought of glass houses and rocks crossed her mind.” He is an ally in this war, Prince Ithalen. We need as many as we can if we want the Blight to be driven out of Iron Crown."
“Some allies are not worth having.” He picked out a book from the shelf. The prince had asked for an meeting alone with her at the library. For a moment she feared it would be another secret tryst but so far the conversation had been mostly about the baron.
His blue eyes darted over the contents of the book." The Legend of the White Bear of Brugen…"
“You are reading about the baron’s ancestry?” Morganna asked.

“My mentor always taught me to know my allies as well as my enemies for you don’t know when one might become another.” He gave a confident grin before he read some more." It says here his ancestor, Baron Roderik De Schacht eloped with a princess from Queen’s Maul without her father’s consent. On the way to Vlaanders they were beset by a large white bear that terrorized the province, not even Alestrian knights nor hired elven rangers could slay the beast." He took Morganna aside." Again you can see this is a legend." This made Morganna smirk as well as the elf continued." Roderik charged at the bear with his lance and pierced it’s heart against a tree. This impressed the people so much they called him ‘Roderik the Iron Arm’ and he took the white bear as his sigil. Bandit lords and Troll chieftains feared Roderik as his iron arm would smash every army to opposed Vlaanders.“
Morganna nodded.” The De Schachts were good friends to the crowd as well, during the Second Troll war they held the north side of the kingdom long enough against Gorvar the Dragon Riders orc army that my ancestors were able to rally the rest of Alestria and drive them back to the sea."

Ithalen nodded and closed the book." It’s a shame a line has fallen so far into villainy."
" And yet he is our only chance to bring peace back to Iron Crown." the Queen replied.
The elven prince placed the book back." What do you offer him in this treaty?"
“Besides independence?” he nodded." We need to discuss that. What’s on the table so far is an increase of land and a alliance in blood.“
Ithalen’s face went pale.” You don’t plan to marry that boar, are you?!"
“Of course not!” Morganna snapped. That came out to fierce she reprimanded herself." Of course not." she restored herself." But I did offer my brother’s hand to the baron’s daughter."
“Oh…” Ithalen looked away." How does your brother feel about that?"
“I don’t know. The message has not reached Orangecraig yet.” Morganna folded her arms and looked upon the collection of books. Filled with stories, legends, accounts of history, recipes of alchemy. All that knowledge." I am sure he will hate me for it. I am doing the exact same thing my parents did to us…as their parents did to them.“
Ithalen went through his smooth, long, white hair with his immaculate fingers.” We are all slaves to our family’s wishes…not all can be like Prince Halmadir who chose love over duty and was rewarded with heartbreak."

The two stood in silence for a moment. Snow ticked against the glass of the library, the night as black as tar outside. The faint sound of the wind howling could be heart despite the crackling of the fire place.
“You seemed very distraught at the thought of me marrying the baron.” she said eventually.
“Well…you deserve better is all.” the prince looked away as he replied.
She cocked her head to the side, she swore she saw the prince blushing as he said it." Oh…who do I deserve then?" She placed her hand on his shoulder and made him turn.
He looked very different now. The man who blackmailed her into a affair seemed afraid.
“You deserve a man who…treats you with respect.” he said." Who loves you for who you are." She could not believe it, he had actually fallen in love with her. A thought came to her, she saw a chance to use this weakness. Her right hand went to his chest where his heart was while the other went around his waist.
"And do you love me, Prince Ithalen?"
She felt him tremble in her arms, a pale skin with flushed cheeks.
“Y-yes.” he managed to utter.
“Show me.”

He kissed her deeply, all inhibitions gone. Raw passion took over both. Both went to a quiet corner of the library where none could see. This was different from previous times. Earlier he was in charge, he was the one who made the demands. Now the tables had turned, she had him. Had his heart in her hands. Morganna kissed him once more." Show me how you plan to use that silver tongue of yours." She helped him undo her belt and lower her garments. She threw back her head and gave a sigh of pleasure as he knelt before her and showed her how he intended to use it.

ELSWIN

There was nobody else but them in the kitchen in the late hour. Her cries filled the room as their warmth added to the fireplace next to them. Terrence Elswin’s bloodied armour was strewn across the floor before the bear rug as were her apron and chef’s attire. It had started a month ago, with shy looks and smiles. During a meal Terrence admitted he loved the roast potatoes to one of the servants. And for every meal afterward he always received extra potatoes and sometimes even seconds. After some urging from Trevor, Terrence went to meet the chef. Sarina was of mixed descent, her father was a Alundrian sailor but her mother was from Arabiana. Her hair was as black as night and it had a strange shape to when she took off her hat, a hairstyle consisting of a mass of very tight curls that stick out all round the head. He did not know why an exotic woman like her was in a backwater Alundrian city like Pitted Valley but he thanked God for her being here. When his duties allowed it he went on walks with her, enjoyed watching the puppet shows and plays that she liked. It only became physical after a close call with a Dread Lord that nearly cleaved him in two weeks prior. Were it not for a dwarven bullet that pierced through the undead lord’ skull, he would no longer be among the living. He had told Sarina he cared for her but like the gardener always told him, deeds say more than words. That was the first time they made love and since then he was addicted to her and vice versa.

Their lovemaking reached a crescendo before she rolled off him, he caught his breath and held his lover close as she rested her head on his chest.
“That is one way to thank me for the roasties.” she said in between breaths. He gave a laugh before kissing her forehead.
They lay there for a moment, enjoying the heat they shared and the heat of the fireplace.
“Another close call today?” she rubbed his stomach with her tanned hands.
“Aye.” he replied." Had to save this baron from the Blight."
“The bald man?” she raised her brow." He seems very unpleasant."
“He is.” he agreed." He’s a criminal, a murderer…but the Queen says we need him to help reclaim Queenspark and the rest of the province."
“By working together with an evil man?” She shook her head." My mother had a saying from the homeland. When you have to choose between two evils, pick neither."
“Your mother seems like a very wise woman.” Terrence smiled." Wiser than mine."
“Did they not raise you?“
He shook his head.” No…
She raised her head, her almond eyes resting on his, a small smile on her lips.” Then who?"
"…my gardener did."
She gave a laugh.

A loud cry shook both from their comfort. His training took over, he quickly put on some trousers and picked up his blade." Stay here!" he bade her as she dressed and rushed outside.
He was met upon a screaming servant girl who pointed in front. A bloodied corpse was leaning against the wall, a elven man with his ears cut off…and pierced above him with bloody lettering above him.

ALL ELF BLOODS WILL DIE.


#363

Oh my, this was a good chapter. Your best one in a while, with all the intrigue and different characters (despite me having trouble remembering some). This takes place during the 2nd Blight war event, was it not? 200 years after Dawnford fell and was retaken? I do still remember the intrigue with the elven prince and like where it headed, same with the racial tension element that is being added now.


#364

Thanks Mammon!
Yeah this is set 100 years after the Thror storyline/the Dawnford storyline which is the start of the 2nd Blight War.
I like the idea of how an alliance between the Order and Chaos races wouldn’t be all sunshine and roses so adding racial tensions in there plus some political powerplay going in within the human kingdoms itself seems interesting to add in the rich playground that is Blight of the Immortals.
I’m glad you liked it, wasn’t quite sure how the sexy shenanigans would go down but kinda glad I wrote it in, makes sense and it does pay off later on in the story.


#365

Chapter 16: Hellhounds

Weary from a long journey with too little rations to sate their hunger, two figures slowly wander through the desert.

‘Just a bit longer and we’ll be home.’

‘I know, I know. I won’t collapse on you just yet, pal.’

Suddenly, an unearthly howl echoes through the desert, sending shivers through both orcs.

‘Please tell me that wasn’t coming from the village.’

The silence gave the worst possible version of the answer neither wanted to hear.

‘Oh hell…’


#366

Was that your own illustration for the hellhounds?!
Was pretty good man!
Cale seems like an interesting character ripe for development and glad to see Dahra made it out.
I think you got the orc mindset down to a t, I live how their curses also involves the sun.
Kudos, really digged this one.


#367

Jup, I made it but it’s traceart for the most part so nothing special. Hope you still remembered the dragon brigade guys who suddenly showed up out of the blue :wink: Thanks for liking it!
P.S. With this chapter this story has reached the 100 page milestone.


#368

Oh yeah I recall now! I knew Krognar sounded so familiar!
Also grats on 100 pages!


#369

Thanks, and thank you for the likes, ironically it gave me the 100 likes given and received achievement. :smiley:


#370

Hey Mammon, if you like you can always write a Encyclopedia Alundria entry if you like.
I found those really got my juices fluing creatively.


#371

No need, I know what to write next, but I’ve got to pace myself. This isn’t the only story I’m working on, and the other one is more high-maintenance.

What about you, got some inspiration for your next chapter?


#372

Yeah got some Vampire stuff lined up.


#373

I’ll do vampires later, in my current game a certain thing inspired me.
Just a short that needed to get out of my head. And of course it stars two of my favourite races, dwarves and orcs…

A debt paid in a different coin.

A duststorm always heralded the coming of either two things, an actual storm…or an invasion.
Unlucky for Chieftain Frella of the Dustwalker tribe, it was the latter. The Chieftain was dressed much like a desert maiden, light leather which made her flexible and with a sword. Her only token of station was the baby dragon skull her father used as a crown. The crown she took from his still warm head and placed on her own in the midst of battle and led the orcs to a glorious victory against the human province of Tranquilstead.

Worse of all it was not the humans or the dwarves that came to fight her clan but the living dead themselves. The Blight.
She snarled at the sight of the rotting tide that came towards her home. Buffsarid was ready for battle. Warriors stood ready at the walls, axes drawn. The Dragon Brigade were being blessed by the Shaman Priestess, calling upon the blessing of the sun.
The fortress was surrounded by heavy wooden palisades, the sole sign of civilization in the surrounding desert. The sight of the distant mountain hold of the dwarves was the other, the gatekeepers who made sure no orc would pass the bridge that connected both sides of the large river called ‘The Watering Hole’.
“We’ll need all the blessing we can muster…” A large older orc male walked beside her. Unlike the other orcs who were dressed for the climate, half naked or dressed to combat the sun’s rays, he was dressed in forest leather.
Chieftain Krull of the Laughing Trees clan came from the forests south, fleeing from the Blight that conquered the Wolfspond mana pool. He and his clan, unlike the other refugees that existed of peons and slaves, were warriors. Although their numbers had lessened, they stood proudly side by side with the Dustwalkers.
But even so it was obvious both clans would meet their end here.
The undead horde outnumbered them six to one. A wave of death that would consume every soul within the fortress. Every man, woman and pup would join the blighters before the end of the day. But that was fine. They would go down fighting.
“We are orcs, uncle Krull.” Frella picked up her sword from the wall she had leant it on." We do not need blessings from the sun. We earn our blessings with steel and flesh." She gave her peer a grin." And when our souls return to the sun, it will be on the wings of honour and glory.“
Her father said those words to her when she was a pup every time before he went raiding. To die in battle was the greatest honour that could happen to an orc.
She turned to the undead horde again. Her eyes fell upon a female orc amongst the rotting horde. She was dressed as a queen of the orcs, she looked quite intact despite being her being the leader of the undead. A big smile on her face. A Queen of lies whose words turned brave warriors into cowards and trusting allies into enemies.
Frella aimed her axe at the Queen.” One way or another, her head will be mine. This I swear to the sun and the honour of my father."

Krull chuckled." You are indeed your father’s daughter…"
“Chief!” one of her younger warriors ran towards her." The blighters will be here within an hour!“
Frella glared.” I to have eyes, warriors. Why do you tell me this?!“
The warrior gathered her courage.” The…females, those who do not fight, are considering…to smother their pups, to end their suffering."
The warriors around them stopped what they were doing. Frella felt all eyes fell on her.
The Queen of lies’ magic worked her way into the walls of her home. Her troops were on the verge to becoming as weak as their spineless Nihilist cousins in Park. She had only one chance to turn this around. To make her people face death with honour.

A moment passed before she spoke." What is the colour of my skin, warrior?“
The warrior blinked confused.” Chief?“
She was on him, axe to his throat.” WHAT. IS. THE. COLOUR. OF. MY. SKIN?!"
“Green!” she cried out." Green!"
" IS IT PINK?!" Frella smacked the warrior down." PINK LIKE A HUMAN?!" she gave her another good kick as the warrior rolled off the stairs, now even the courtyard with the Dragon Brigade had their eyes on her.

“We are Orcs!” Frella cried out." Our skin is green but our souls are made of the hottest of fires! It is about damn time ALL of you remember that!" Frella stepped down from the stairs, her uncle by her side." I want every abled orc, no matter what gender or age, to grab a weapon and man the walls! I want you all to meet your deaths that it will be retold in song for generations to come!“
She saw her clan smiling at her and the look on their faces was that one of pride. She to felt proud of them, her heart felt like a volcano ready to burst.
“WE ARE SUNBORN!” she raised her axe in the air.” WE WILL NEVER FADE AWAY INTO THE NIGHT! WE WILL BURN OUT LIKE THE STARS THEMSELVES! FOR THE DUSTWALKERS! FOR THE LAUGHING TREES! FOR ORCKIND!"

If the Blight had ears, they would’ve heard the war song of six hundred orcs, ready to fight to the last breath. To be remembered. To be honoured.
As the dead began to bang on their gates there met with orcish axe and fire…and the sound of whistling before their rear guard disappeared into a ball of flame.
“The sun has heard us!” one of her warriors shouted over the din of battle.
Frella slammed her axe into the skull of a rotting orc, the creature fell down as she withdrew the axe. She turned to her right as Krull dispatched his blighter with a swift strike that severed the blighter from shoulder to groin.
Both chieftains glanced at each other. It wasn’t the sun that blew away half the horde…but dwarven shell.

===============================================================================

Dwarven muttering filled the underground throne room that was the court of Mountain King Brunhilde Hralgardottir of the Morning Mountain hold.
The Mountain King, a stern but young female dwarf was seated on her golden and marble throne, oversaw the mutterings with a impassive visage.
“The Blight is moving East towards the scum of Buffsarid.” One of the Gnomes reported. A small group of them were stood in the throne room before the Mountain King. The night previous a clan of Gnomes arrived at the gates and pleaded for sanctuary. Although the Gnomes were fae-touched by the elves they were still children of the stone…if a bit mossy on the surface.
The clan were ‘neighbours’ of the Laughing Tree clan orcs and frequently skirmished with them in the forests to the south until the horde came through their forest and destroyed Wolfspond.
" We had to fight trough several groups of them to get here, your majesty." The gnome who spoke’s blue tunic and scythe were still coated in blood." Several smaller groups are headed here but the largest concentration of them, led by a Queen of Lies, is headed towards the orcs."

“How long until they arrive?” A general asked.
“A day, perhaps less…” the gnome replied.
More muttering in beards occurred until a thane of the Gryphon Warriors raised his hand to speak." Well I say good riddance!" a chorus of agreement followed." Let the orcs deal with the Blight! They raided us time and again in the past! We lost kin to them!" he waved his mace to the crowd around them as more people agreed." Fathers, brothers, sons!" He turned to the Mountain King." Your highness, we lost your father during one of the Dustwalker raids half a decade ago. We should let them rot as we shore up our defences!"
Cheering and hands clapping followed the statement of the thane. A thunderous applause happened.

And then Mountain King Brunhilde raised her own hand, and the throne room fell silent.
She raised herself from her throne, adorned in the best mithril armour and decorated in the runes and symbols of her ancestry. She picked up the axe of her father that was passed down from parent to child for centuries. One day her own daughter would carry the axe.
Brunhilde turned to her people." I want the artillery batteries ready within the hour." confused mutterings happened. She slammed the butt of her axe on the throne as a loud thud carried across the room which made everyone fall silent.
“Within the hour. We march east towards Buffsarid. I want every warrior be they groundling, cloudhead or treehugger be ready by then.” If there was disagreement nobody voiced it. The word of the king was law.
And so it was that dwarven shell fell upon the blighted horde.

==================================================================================

The battered gates of Buffsarid opened once more. Frella and Krull rode out with some wolfriders towards the dwarven host.
They were greeted by the banner of Morning Mountain, a rising sun behind a lonely mountain.
Dwarven warriors, battered and bloodied, parted ways as the orcs rode towards the large portable throne that was Mountain King Brunhilde. Dwarf and gnome had a weary eye on the chieftains but did nothing to anger the orcs.
Frella did not care, she expected to die today. Be it Blighter or dwarf treachery.
Both leaders locked eyes with each other, orc and dwarf. Bitter rivals and enemies.
The Chieftain of the Dustwalkers dismounted from her wolf. She opened the satchel that was on the wolf and threw it’s content in front of the dwarven throne. The head of the Queen of lies.

“Brunhilde.” Frella snarled.
“Frella.” Brunhilde replied.
“Let’s not waste niceties.” the orc said." Why did you save my people? You KNEW those shells taking out the blighters would mince them good enough for my forces to destroy them." She stepped closer. Dwarven weapons went up but a hand from their Mountain King lowered them again. As if nothing happened Frella spoke." My father slew yours, why did you do this?"
“Simple.” Brunhilde leant forward." Because you will owe me a blood oath.“
Frella’s green skin went pale.” You…know of the blood oath?"
“To defeat your enemy, you must know them. Their art, history, customs…” the Mountain King stepped down from her throne." Your people place honour above all else. You may raid, pillage, rape…but you know honour. You know what it feels like to be in debt to someone. So that is what you will be, orc. In debt to me."

Frella growled, she felt her uncle’s hand on her shoulder. It was the only thing that stopped her from dishonouring herself by slaying the damn dwarf female where she stood.
The dwarfess continued." So you go home and tell your clans, tell all of your kin that you owe me this debt. You tell them the dwarves proved themselves your betters this day." She picked up the head from the Queen of lies and handed it to one of her warriors. For one moment she smiled. “And this skull will be the evidence of the act. May your sun guide your path, Chieftain Frella. Chieftain Krull.”

With a snap of her finger the dwarves stood back in formation…and began marching back home.
Frella remained where she stood as the Mountain King went back to her throne, her throne bearers bearing the throne on their shoulders as they carried her off back home.
The orc chieftain remained where she stood until the last of the stunty folk were out of eyesight. When hey were gone she fell to her knees and cried her frustrations out to the dying sun.


#374

Brunhilde Hralgardottir. Now that’s a name that rolls of the tongue…

Nice story, Gorvar. A bit unfair to the orcs that they now own a blood oath to dwarves who were more numerous, better prepared and equiped, especially considering that they themselves had just two heroes from which one was useless. Ah, who cares? Dwarves rule.


#375

I was inspired by my current campaign in the Watering Hole game. A large stack of Orcs led by a Queen of lies was headed to my town. In it’s strong state I couldn’t destroy it but when I claimed the dwarven hold and used a artillery card I managed. The story came from there.


#376

I’m going on holiday for two weeks so I won’t be able to write much or at all.
Don’t let that stop you folks! Keep writing!


#377

Chapter 17: Progress and regression.
Where shit gets serious.


#378

I KNEW IT! Scar is a firstborn!
Good chapter this one. Loved the battle scene and the rather messed up tactic of stemming the undead hordes. Also looking at one’s hands to determine if they are to be fed to the undead or not
Really messed up, loved it. The living can be just as bad as the dead.
Also love your storylines coming together! Can’t wait to read more!


#379

Wait, what? Scar, a firstborn? What made you think that? His family ties with Thallal were already announced in the first chapter he appeared in, and in chapter 2 I said that those who’d challenge the chieftain would be banished before they could do so. Family or not, Baddac was a threat to Thallal and was therefore disposed of before he could overthrow his nephew.

But thanks for liking everything thus far. :smile:

How was your holiday, btw?


#380

Ooooh, sorry. Misread that bit, my bad.
I should reread your previous chdpters first to refresh some bits.
I like the idea of the prodigal uncle a lot mord now than a Firstborn!

Still on vacation, took some time to read your latest. :slight_smile:


#381

Dark Tides.

Chapter 5 of the Vampire Lords of Transylvan.

Twenty-nine years ago in Arabiana, the grand palace of Sultan Mulad II…

Pain was his world. Pain and darkness. His screams echoed through the corridors of the dungeons of the grand palace. He did not know how long he was being tortured, kept awake by the constant pain. Pins, slices of flesh, the flies biting at his wounds.
The Sultan’s words were still clear in his head, shouted at him a eternity ago.

“You befouled my concubine!” the Sultan’s face was all rage, red and trembling like a volcano moments from erupting." You married her in secret and put a child in her!“
Vlad was held back by Arabian men, his face bruised and battered. They were in the throne room which oversaw the city below and the sandy plains beyond via large balcony. Vlad saw several carpet riders flew passed in between punches and tirades.
The Sultan was a fat, little man. Old as well, his beard bleached white which was a sharp contrast from his tanned skin. He shook heavily with every word.
Isabella pleaded for mercy, held back by the royal guard.
“I love him, your magnificence!” she shouted.” Please, give him mercy!"
“SILENCE, WOMAN!” he backhanded her which made her fall to the ground. Vlad was inches away from the Sultan after that. Like a snarling beast he broke away from his captors and bite into the Sultan’ nose. Vlad knew little more after that. A blow to the head, Isabella calling his name and the cries of undignified horror and pain in the Sultan’s voice.

When Vlad came to, it was in this prison. He was hanging upside down as men in black hoods poked, prodded and sliced at him. They never spoke or attempted to communicate despite Vlad’s screaming.
It was only after what Vlad thought was a few day when the Sultan’s Vizier came down.
A black and crimson robed man with a pencil thin moustache and a staff shaped like a parrot. Unlike the Sultan, Vlad always respected the Vizier. He taught Vlad during his long years as a ward, about the customs of Arabiana and it’s people. About how water and food could be found even in the hottest of deserts. How to ride a horse, the language of the Arabians and much more. When he entered the room the black hooded men vacated wordlessly.
To hear the sentence come from him was the final twist in the dagger strike in the chest.

“My boy…I am so sorry…” the Vizier looked horrified.
“Is Isabella alright…?” Vlad asked in a croaked voice.
The Vizier looked away." She is imprisoned, like you. But kept alive and unharmed. She will suffer your fate after your child is born. My master is many things when he is angered but he would never harm a child as is dictated in our sacred texts.“
The ward of Transylvan smiled for the first time since the secret marriage in the temple.” Thank the black dragon…" When he started to think his smile faded and tried to look his former tutor in the eye." What is my fate?"
“Death. A slow one. A painful one. You will kept alive by food and water but your flesh will be rend asunder, sliced, pierced and worse by the Black Brothers. Your mind will turn to that of constant pain and suffering. You will be stopped from trying to attempt to take your own life. You will only die when the Sultan wishes it.”
“But when my father finds out, there will be war!” Vlad cried out." The armies of Transylvan will march on the Sultunates!"
“I know, my master has already marshalled his forces to attack first…” the Vizier winced." Was it worth it, my boy? Was the rutting of a woman worth it? Why couldn’t you have chosen a slave girl like the Sultan offered?!“
Pain racked through Vlad’s body as his back spasmed.
“It wasn’t just rutting!” Vlad screamed.” I love Isabella!" It felt good. To scream. Liberating. It was out now." I love how she drinks her jasmine tea, I love how she moves her mouth when she reads a good book, I love how she can corner me in any discussion from politics to when Alundrian swallows migrate." Tears began to form." She deserves more than being a bedslave to an old man…back home she could be a librarian, a scholar, a warrior…"
“And now she will be dead…” the Vizier sighed, pain in his eyes." I am sorry, my boy. So sorry…"
Vlad’s earlier euphoria was completely gone. Both he and Isabella would be dead. It might take days, weeks, months…maybe even years. But death would come for them. Separate.
“Why tell me this…?” Vlad asked.

The Vizier moved to the captured young man. He took out a piece of white cloth and dabbed some of the blood away from Vlad’s face.
“You deserve to know what is happening, that you do not die completely ignorant…and when your child is born, I will take care of it.” A sad smiled appeared on the Vizier’s lips." It’s all I can do."
He felt defeated, at the mercy of a higher being.
“Face your death with your chin held high, Vlad Drakul…” the vizier kissed the boy on his forehead. He turned and moved as the Black Brothers came back. As did the constant pain.

The pain was his world now. It was all he felt. His eyes were constantly shut now for when he opened them the pain would stop his heart. His mind sometimes went back to his childhood. To the dark forests of Transylvan. The dark trees with bone white owls, a thousand eyes on him but he was not afraid. The ghosts that roamed those woods were his friends, to all Drakuls. His father, a pale gentlemen in black noble attire, sending him off on a black carriage to Arabiana. The Vizier’ lessons…and the first time he met Isabella. The first shy words. The first time he snuck up the onion domed tower to see her. The first time he made love to her. The secret excursions out of the palace into the city. The priest blessing them in the temple…the promise he made.
"I will always come back for you. No matter what heaven or hell that stands between us."
And then the pain came back in full. It always did.

When the pain stopped, there was screaming. It wasn’t his own screaming. He heard howling, flesh tearing open. His world turned upside down, he threw up, everything felt wrong. He didn’t hear the voices speaking to him, not at first. But they sounded soothing, kind. A cold flask was given in his hand. Vlad greedily drank it. Water, ice cold water. Freedom never tasted so sweet.
“Are you alright, son?” the same voice as before asked.
For the first time in a small eternity, Vlad opened his eyes…and rested them on his father.
It must’ve been over a decade since he last saw his sire, but he looked exactly the same. A handsome face in black armour with a flowing red cape that rested on a blood covered floor.

“Father…” Vlad spoke in a weak voice.
“Count Tapesh.” Another knight in black spoke. It sounded female behind the black visor shaped like a dragon."" We cannot stay here, the royal guard will be upon us with silver.“
Two more black knights were with his father along with several large wolves on hind legs who were feasting on the Black Brothers, pieces of bloody intestines and gore that fell on the ground.
“We move him now, he dies.” the other knight resumed feeding from the dead man he held up with his arm, blood running from his lips to the ground like a man drinking to much from a overfull cup.” His heart is already stopping.“
The female knight wiped her sword on the banner of the Sultan’s sigil.” Then we can raise him. But for that we need to be outside of the city first."

“Agreed, we must move.” The Count replied and lifted his son up. The ward felt cold air rushing passed him, chilling him. He saw swords flashing, men crying, women screaming, wolves howling and mauling. Movement came by to fast, the cold dungeons making way to palace grounds however briefly before the cold black sky with it’s many stars greeted him.
Vlad tried to struggle." Isa…Isabel…" he tried to speak.
“We know of her, we will return.” the count replied. And that was all Vlad knew before his mortal eyes closed forevermore.
The next time they opened, it were the eyes of one of the undead. Those of a Lord of Transylvan. A vampire.

Lowervail on the isle of Oasis, Alundria. Now.

The orc slaver tried to show he was not nervous by holding his arms behind his back, but Vlad heard his heartbeat pounding loudly in his chest. It was best he was, his life depended on this.
A large vat of warm blood stood in front of them which made the room smell like metal. The orc’s necromancer muttered her spells and whittled her Blight potion in the red stroppy liquid.
Thirty young maidens were sacrificed thirty minutes previous to fill the vat. Thirty lives stopped in their prime for an experiment. The screams would horrify his mortal servants like the orc slavemaster and the Alundrian conscripts until their deathbeds. Even now their corpses were thrown outside to feed the bats and wolves.
But it was worth it for just one moment, one chance to have his wife back. Just long enough to get to the Citadel and find a permanent cure for her bloodlust.

When she stirred from the depths of the vat, she emerged like a blood soaked goddess. The Count smiled as his wife levitated from the blood bath enriched by Blight magic. The necromancer moved away as a smile danced on her lips, pleased with her work. Vlad did not care about that, only about his beautiful wife. She was naked as the day she was born and the mortal servants averted their gaze. A few however could not help but stare. A mix of awe and horror on their faces.
Isabella, his Arabian wife, smiled as she landed on the ground and moved to hold her husband as blood trailed beneath her.
“Are you well, my love?” Vlad asked.
“Never better.” She smiled." Even more so than any mana pool."
The count wiped some blood from her cheek before he kissed his wife deeply, a kiss she returned eagerly.

Elvira walked up to the two with a black robe with the black sun sigil and waited until Isabella took the robe and helped her dress.
The Necromancer, Lucy Koning, stood with the Orc Slavemaster. Both awaited the verdict.
Vlad turned to Isabella who gave a wicked grin. Without a word both knew what the other meant. He kissed his wife’s hand as he stood by her side.
“Gorvar, Lady Koning…you both have served Transylvan very well today.” Isabella Drakul spoke." You are both given your lives and more."
“You may have the Orc settlements who submitted to us, Lord Gorvar.” Vlad spoke." And you, Lucy Koning, may be taught Transylvan necromancy by our top Necromancers as we march to Alundria.“
The necromancer and Orc alike bowed deeply.
“Now leave us, we have business to conduct.” Isabella waved them away.
“Thank you, my lady.” Gorvar bowed his head to her.” My lord." To Count Vlad before he left, Lucy giving a curt nod in turn before she followed the orc outside.

They waited until the door was shut behind them before they spoke." They have kept their word." Elvira spoke." And I sense no deception in that blood ritual."
“There is none.” Isabella confided." The necromancer has cursed me of the blood lust. I haven’t felt this good since my heart last beat."
“I am glad, my love.” Vlad smiled." And the orc’s information is correct as well. Our ships have found Bucktooth bay and our way on the continent. From there…we can march on to the Citadel and rid you off your bloodlust forever."
“Still…” Elvira cautioned." We should keep an eye on that orc and that necromancer. They were all to eager to betray their Alundrian kin…“
Isabella raised her brow.” A slaver of the line of Gorvar the Dragonrider and a Necromancer of the Undying who unleash the Blight on her own people? If anything I would be surprised if they sided with Thorondil when our ships arrived on these shores."
“I hate to disagree with you, my love…” Vlad interjected." But Elvira has a point. We’ll keep an eye on them…just to be on the safe side." He offered his arm to his wife who took it with a smile." But tonight we feast. Come, we have several elven prisoners. Their blood tastes like magic itself.“
A wicked grin danced on Isabella’s lips, her tongue licking them.” Perfect." She purred.


“What have you made me do?” Lucy snarled at Gorvar when in private. She poured herself a glass of red wine and downed it all. Gorvar reached out his hand to the wine bottle. Before his green fingers could snatch the bottle, Lady Koning took it away.
“We are in their favour now.” he sighed wearily." If we want to make a few omelette’s we have to break some eggs."
“Thirty young women, Gorvar.” she glared.
The orc glared." Don’t you get sanctimonious with me, Lady Lucy. Your people infect water supplies and bring the Blight. You kill whole families! If anything this must be any normal Tuesday for you."
“Not just that.” she replied." The drug you had me add in there, to supress the bloodlust…it’s the complete opposite." She took another drink." Have you seen that look in her eyes when she emerged? The rage behind it? The power? I just poked a sharp stick into a sleeping bear."

The orc slavemaster paused before he spoke." I know. But if that means we can keep the bear looking into the direction we want it to look, it is worth it.“
Lucy’s fingers danced on the glass.” The Citadel isn’t the direction, is it?"
“For Vlad, maybe…but for her, for the other lords…I think it is like that legend you told me.” he shifted to sit up in his chair." It’s a homecoming, a bloody reminder. A vengeance for exiling a whole kingdom for necromancy…“
Both their eyes darted to the map on the table. " And it all starts in Bucktooth bay…”


Bucktooth bay, Alundria.

The black sails arrived in the dead of night and took the village without warning.
The city guard put up a fight, however breath. Von Karn himself, angered by the demotion of being send to occupy a single fishing village instead of leading the main assault on Poet’s Crown.
Worst of all the creature that led the main assault was only just newly risen! A newblood who had the honour of leading a main assault! The vampire grumbled as the train of newly acquired slaves moved towards the beach of the black ships. He ignored their sobbing and curses as his undead warriors pushed them onward, his servant keeping a tally on his scroll.
“The gall!” Von Karn complained to his aide, the half-human creature called Igon.
“My lord?” Igon snapped to attention, his counting forgotten.
“I was there when we saved that boy from that Sultan! In a way, I saved his life! And how does he repay me after ONE failure?!” he poured himself in a cup of bloodwine. He drank the bloodwine deeply but stopped halfway as his eyes frowned at Igon.
The creature jumped." Oh…how, my lord?"
“By sending me here to the sticks!” he slapped his servant on the head." Don’t keep me waiting next time!"
“No my lord…” Igon grovelled.
“For the love of the black dragon…” Von Karn growled some more and poured himself a new drink. As he drank he spotted a new prey. She was smaller than the humans of the village, dressed in bright blue with a red hat. Still quite stocky yet refined in a way. Her auburn hair and eyes unleashed a desire in the vampire lord.
“Igon, what is that creature over there?“
Igon looked up from his tallying.” …that slave over there, my lord?”
“For the love of the night, YES! What else?!” Von Karn smacked his servant again.
“A gnome, my lord!” he cried." She’s a trader from the village further southwest!"
“A gnome…never had one of those before.” he stood up." Igon, you lead the rest of these proceedings. I’ll have my fun." With that he moved despite Igon’s confused protestations.

Von Karn enjoyed the gnome woman. He had mated and drank from many other species across Arabiana but the new smell, taste and feel of the gnome reinvigorated him. This was his first proper mainland Alundrian claim, his first meal as it were. So he took his time with her, after all his mind control powers weren’t limited on a small minded creature such as her. Small, he chuckled at the pun in between kisses and grunts. There was knocking on the door and he heard his servant meekly muttering but Von Karn did not care and in fact increased the strength and speed of his lovemaking to mute the noise outside. The gnome’s cries of passion must’ve been enough to scare the fool away as it stopped soon afterward.

Her moans echoed with each thud in the small home that once was the house of the mayor. His bed was the comfiest of the village, made out of straw but still it did it’s duty. Both his and her clothing lay discarded on the floor as well as a empty bottle of bloodwine. He let her be on top, it gave them the illusion of power before he reached his crescendo. He always allowed his lovers a moment of pleasure themselves…before he drank his fill from their blood. He had done it before with an elf on Oasis before that dreaded attack on that orc village and numerous Arabians and Van Xians alike. Vampires did not sire children so he never worried about offspring and all of his bed mates ended up dead by morning, food for the wolves. But the night before he gave them the night of their lives, full of passion and vigour.

So it was to his surprise when his crescendo came and he wanted to drain her blood, blood was already on his face. A arrowhead was inches from his face, the arrow along with a few more punched through the gnome’s back and chest.
He tossed his dead lover aside, a soft gasp of death from her lungs, as several figures jumped in the room.
The vampire lord managed to get to his sword and sliced one of his assailants dead.
“YOU SPOILED MY MEAL, PEASANTS!” he cried. The figures moved quickly and were very lithe. When he noticed the pointy ears he knew for certain what he was facing. Elves.
More elves poured in, daggers and eyes gleaming white in the sky. Von Karn made the brave choice…of running away.
He jumped through the window and ran to the nearest of his warriors. The confused skeleton was pushed towards an incoming elf as Von Karn made his way to a more…tactical location.

He found his servant hiding behind a table as the chaos around them manifested. The elves did not come alone. Gunfire rained from above and punched through the skeletons as if they were made out of clay. In the darkness one who was not blessed by the night would not have seen the dwarven blunderbusses.
The human slaves were freed and took up the weapons from the dead and joined their saviours into the fray. Already most of his skeletal forces were destroyed and more elves rushed from out of the forest.
“IGON!” Von Karn picked up his servant by the scruff of his neck." This is your fault!"
“I tried to warn you my lord, but you never answered the door!” Igon cried.
Incompetents, everywhere! With a snarl he tossed the half-creature to the ground and mounted the nearest horse.
“My lord-!” Igon tried to warn but Von Karn did not listen.
“You fight your own battles, I’ll fight mine another day!” He replied and left the village and his men to burn for their incompetence. It was only half a minute later when he realized Igon’s warning was not to keep fighting…but to put some trousers on. He considered once to turn around and take the trousers his servant was holding as he to ran from the village. But a few arrows that headed his way made the choice for him as he made his undignified escape.


An elf closed the gnome’s eyes as she muttered prayers.
“May the spirits of the forest take your soul home, sister. Your death will be remembered and avenged.” the she-elf said.
The others in the room muttered in agreement, among them an older elven male. He was dressed in a long green cloak and tunic, a long golden crown on his head, his eyes full of wisdom and sorrow.
“Do we know her name?” the old elf asked.
“Irvina of the Mushroom Leapers, only a maiden.” the she-elf replied." She is…was a trader. She gave gnomish steel for fresh fish to feed her clan.“
He nodded sadly at this.” Clean her wounds and bring her to her clan…do not mention how she came to her end or how we found her. Tell them she died in battle…she deserved a better end than being a monster’s plaything.“
The she-elf bowed.” Yes my king…" As she ran off another elf came in.
"Your majesty! The dwarves and the humans want to push onwards to Poet’s Crown!"
The elf king made sure the body was covered up respectfully before he spoke.“Then we shall. Tell them to gather their forces. And that King Halmadir will lead the way.”