Blight Lore: The fall of Gryphon's Crown

Author’s note.

Hello everyone.
You may have seen me and Mammon in the Blight: Lore and Fiction topic which has reached over 10.5 K views with over 425 replies. In those 425 replies plenty of stories were told in the Blighted (pun intended) world of Blight of the Immortals…and a bit in Buccaneers, Bounty and Boom.

However I noticed in these topics that if anyone would want to hop into a story there is a huge backlog to go through. As such I decided to put my current story in this here topic.
It details my favourite map in Blight, Sanctuary, and the drama that could’ve taken place in the city of Gryphon’s Crown, the spot where a lot of the zombies spawn at the start of a game.

Since each city that falls to the Immortals has a story, I thought…why not give this one a try?
I will first detail some background on the city I came up with, along with Mammon who gave me some ideas, before I give you a prologue. I will release the first chapter and after a few days give the second and so forth.

Hope you’ll enjoy!



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Encyclopaedia Alundria

Gryphon’s Crown.

The Crown of Sanctuary/ The Walled City/ The Sky City.
By Brother Toth of the Gray Council

Located in the northern part of the Sanctuary province near the dwarven kingdom of Coolcraig and the elven forest to the east and north of the river of Rhine. Gryphon’s crown boasts the reputation that ever since it’s creation the city has never fallen hence the moniker “The walled city”. With it’s massive spires and architecture one could easily mistake the city for a dwarven stronghold but keener eyes can see humanity had it’s hand across the entire construction.
It was from here the kingdom of Gryphon’s Crown began and all human villages, castles and settlements in the province owe their allegiance to the capitol.


Gryphon’s Crown began not as a settlement per se but as the name implied a Gryphon’s roost. Some dwarves lived nearby in some caves but what would one day become the largest city of Sanctuary was little more than a few rocks on the plains where the majestic beasts of the sky made their home.
However when human settlers came the gryphon population was all but gone, only one sole buck by the name of Sharptalon who ruled the roost like a king remained.

There are few sources that shed light on what happened but according to dwarven sagas and old myths of Cyclop Priests, the gryphons were engaged in a war with the black dragons that made their home in the mountain chain that would become Coolcrag. These reptilian beasts ruled Sanctuary with a iron paw and used the magic in their teeth to create skeleton warriors to enforce their rule over the land, bring maidens to be eaten and destroy any and all who would oppose them. The gryphons of Gryphon’s Crown were the largest of their kind and strong enough to go head to head with a dragon, some records of Sharptalon seem to confirm this as he was seen with a wingspan the size of a city gate.

A alliance of dwarven gryphon warriors, human tribesmen, early elven settlers who would name the province and the lion-eagled beasts made war with the black dragons and their undead minions which ended in the death of all black drakes and the near extinction of the gryphons. Although the gryphons did manage to return from near extinction, the roost of Gryphon’s Crown never recovered and left Sharptalon as the sole survivor.
When the elves came to settle the land and named it Sanctuary, the war was all but forgotten save for a few songs. Elven scholars to this day deny any such tale and found no proof of any black drakes. They theorize the Gryphons met their extinction by other means such as a lack of food the encroachment of the human settlers.

Whatever the case, the early human settlers saw Sharptalon as a god and worshipped him. They gave the buck some of their livestock and human sacrifices to appease him. In return the large gryphon protected the humans and allowed them to remain in his territory. One legend claims that during one sacrificial offer, five men and women and a child were offered to the beast by a cruel chieftain who wished to usurp control of the clan by getting rid of the competition.
Sharptalon ate the men and women but spared the child. The child who would be named Kar was raised by gryphon. Years passed as a warband of trolls came to the land and raided the village and the dwarven caves nearby The chieftain had grown to old and soft and even sold his own people to troll slavery. Sharptalon saw this and acted. When Kar became a man killed the chieftain and took control the clan. Dressed in a war suit of gryphon bones and feathers, Kar led his clan to victory and ousted the trolls out of Sanctuary.

Gryphon Crown’s royalty claims that they have been descended of Kar’s line. There is some credence to this belief since only the royal family was able to fly on Sharptalon. One such example is at the dawn of the First Troll war when Queen Hrella herself dressed in a similar armour and led the attack against the trolls.
As time went on, the small village became larger and by time of recorded history, a small walled city was created around the roost. Early documentation showed humanity sought contact with the dwarves and hired them to help build the walls. The children of the mountain knew how to build fortifications to not only protect themselves but also as not to upset the gryphon.

Dwarven artisans helped their human peers shape the rocks around them to create thick walls and helped dig tunnels underneath the city to bring in more resources and supplies. In this time some of the dwarves had their own quarter in the city they helped build and some of the old noble houses can trace dwarven ancestry from these times.
It was around this time the city began to expand rapidly and villages nearby became annexed by the gryphon army led by Queen Beatrix, a ambitious Queen who wanted to rule the entire province. A army of men and dwarves struck out and laid claim to countless smaller fiefdoms and added them to Gryphon’s Crown. Sharptalon himself aided in the early days of the expansion by Queen Beatrix’s urging but quickly retired.

Gryphon’s Crown was unopposed until they came upon the city state of Dawnford. The two city-states would engage in bloody wars with each other with one side proclaiming themselves sovereignty over the other.
During one such engagement Sharptalon himself came to a tragic end as a elven arrow struck him in the eye. Both he and Beatrix died that day. In honour of Sharptalon’s sacrifice, the city of Gryphon Crown began erecting tall buildings and spires to invoke the sense of awe the gryphon had on his people. Prince Valiant led a new series of wars against Dawnford and swore his people would not stop until the city-state was well and truly his.
This lasted for several centuries with decades of peace that occasionally was interrupted by short wars over some sleight or insult. The last war prior to the First Troll war lasted one hundred years until it was stopped when the king of Gyphon’s Crown married the princess of Dawnfort and incorporated the city and its villages proper into the kingdom.
With Dawnford now as part of the kingdom, the unification of the province was now complete.

Local features.

Royal Palace; Originally the roost of the giant gryphons it is now the largest building in the city after the last gryphon died. It has the height of five kilometres and twice as wide. It is shaped like a large castle with a large gryphon whose beak provides entrance to the castle. The supposed line of Kar who was the first man to befriend the gryphon is now royalty and lives here. King Leopold III and his court now reside here.

Upper Levels; Nobility, the upper class and knights make their home here. The higher you are in the city, the more important you are. Guarded fiercely by the city guard, people here life a comfortable life without fear of being mugged in the streets.

Lower Levels; The lowest levels of the city, tunnels excluded. The paupers and homeless life here. Although there are a few tall buildings here, they are mostly abandoned and close to collapse although it does not stop people from living in them. Crime lords rule the streets although all fear the one they call ‘The Mole King’.

Grand Forum; The large marketplace where farmers, merchants, street performers, traders, mercenaries and whores ply their trade.
A large stockade is permanently build there for the occasional execution or announcement.
Some claim it to be on par with the large market in the Iron Citadel.

The Lady Jasmine: A well known and luxurious brothel ran by Lady Jasmine herself, a so called descendant of a famous pirate lord of elven and Van Xian heritage. Catering to all walks of life, the rich and wealthy often come here to have their affairs as discretion is guaranteed and the tunnels leading in and out of the brothel avoids scandals coming out.

Tunnels: There are numerous tunnels build by the dwarves that the more well versed people in Gryphon’s Crown can use. A few of them are well known to the public and are used to get to work or back to their domiciles. Not all tunnels are advised to be used however. Plenty of people frequently go missing in the less used tunnels of the city.

Dwarven district; A well fortified corner of the city where the children of the mountain life. Dwarves ranging from Mountain dwarves to Gnomes make their living here. The city guard have no jurisdiction here as the ruling Thane and his hammerers act as the law enforcement in accordance with the crown.
Noblemen often come here to buy dwarven crafted weaponry, armour or jewellery since only they can afford it.

Queen Beatrix’s Cathedral: After the death of Queen Beatrix and Sharptalon, the city fell in deep mourning. In honour of their memory the nobility and clergy decided to build tall buildings to emulate flight. One of the first building is the Cathedral. Complete with tall, now crooked, spires that reach of three kilometres in the sky.
Every year the Queen and Sharptalon are remembered in a week long festival, called the Sky Festival, of fasting followed by a large feast that towers over the tables. All can eat from the long tables within the Cathedral without persecution.

Outer and inner Walls; The city walls are the tallest walls on Alundria, the Citadel’s excluded. Made of thick stone and manned at all times by men and dwarves, the city ever since it’s construction has never fallen. Since then it has faced Trolls, Orcs and of course the Blight on several occasions. 500 men guard the walls that stretch around the entire city. Crossbows, bows, blunderbusses and cannon’s are placed across the wall behind locked boxes where only the guard has the keys off.
Although the outside walls are restricted, the inner walls may be seen by the public with some portions serving as museums and gift shops for tourists.

Sorceress tower: A crooked spire located near the palace, the tower was constructed as a watch post in the early days of Gryphon’s Crown but was changed into a arcane library by the then-ruler the Sorceress Morganna I, the only mage of the royal bloodline. Although at certain nights when the moon is high one can see strange spectres walking passed the open windows, the local populace do not seem to fear the tower but do not test their luck by trying to enter it.
During her tenure as Queen, Morganna spend most of her time in the tower where she perfected her magic crafts which helped save the kingdom when Warchief Gorvar the dragonrider came to invade Alundria with his orcish hordes. On her deathbed she made it her testament that it became a school for wizards and sorceresses for those who lived in Sanctuary. Although the Citadel send tutors to teach the Queen, they have no jurisdiction in Gryphon’s Crown and since then all students who enrol and graduate from the Tower do not answer to the Citadel but to the crown itself.
No-one knows what the tower looks like on the in-side save the wizards who life there. Some say that the tower is bigger on the inside than the outside, it being able to house an entire castle. Other say that there are tunnels separate from the ones across the city connecting the tower to the royal palace so the sorceress could conduct her magical experiments on unsuspecting victims kidnapped by the royal guard.

Famous people of Gryphon’s Crown.

Kar: The first king of Gryphon’s Crown who was able to tame the large gryphon called Sharptalon.
When he was a boy, Kar and his family were send by the wicked chieftain to be fed to the gryphon in order to consolidate his hold over the clan. Although his entire family was eaten, the boy was spared and was raised by the creature. Years later when the trolls came during the First troll war, it was Kar who slew the old wicked chieftain and led the clan to victory. It was from his line that all kings and queens of Gryphon’s Crown come from. His armour, a war suit of gryphon bones and feathers, is centred in the royal palace along with other priceless artefacts.

Sharptalon; The ancient gryphon that made Gryphon’s Crown his roost for centuries. One of the last Great Gryphons that make present day creatures look like dogs compared to great elephants.
A fierce and territorial creature that mostly left humanity alone and preferred to feed on cattle and other livestock, although records show the beast had an unnerving bloodlust when tearing through enemy soldiers be they human, orc, troll or even undead.
He could only be ridden by descendants of the line of Kar and even so it was more akin to a partnership than a bound a rider would have with his mount. Sharptalon sometimes could grow displeased with his rider and a few kings and princes were either thrown off from a great height or eaten. Sharptalon and Queen Beatric both fell during the early years of the war with Gryphon’s Crown and Dawnford when an elven archer slew the beast with a single arrow through the eye.

Queen Beatrix: Also known as the Queen who fell. It was under Beatrix that the kingdom expanded aggressively and annexed several villages and keeps under her banner. A very militaristic leader who was stern but just. She fell during the first battle for Dawnford when she and Sharptalon fell from the sky into the river of the Rhine after a elven archer shot the great beast in the eye, her body was found a week later. The Grand Cathedral of Beatrix was made in her honour.

Queen Morganna I: The first and only member of Kar’s bloodline who had the gift of magic.
Well known for her part in stopping Warchief Gorvar during the Second Troll war, Morganna was a sorceress whose quest to learn more about the realm of magicks often clashed with her royal duties. And when she did rule it was mostly to tax the people to further her experiments in the realms of magick.
As such it was mostly her younger sister Altrissa who ruled the kingdom as a steward. Since Morganna never married, although records show she did have lovers and might have had at least one child, it was Altrissa’s children who inherited the crown.
She was a powerful magic wielder and was able to slay hundreds of orcs with just one of her spells. Although she was not an effective ruler, people do remember her fondly for the victory against the orcs.

King Leopold: Also known as Leopold the Fat. The ruler of Gryphon’s Crown during the start of the Second Blight.
An obese and cowardly man who used his political machinations and cunning to stay one step ahead of a rebellion. Before the Blight came to Sanctuary, Leopold had the food stores emptied and send to the capitol and flattened any rebellion mounted against him. When the Blight did come he shut his army up in the capitol and waited as the land around it died. When Mountain King Freya Dainsdottir and Prince Halmadir led the charge against the Blight, King Leopold send his forces to assist. Although his planning did save more lives, he is forever known as Leopold the Fat and he is not remembered fondly.

The Mole King: A mysterious mob boss who has been around ever since the city was probably build centuries ago.
His men manage to sneak in and out of banks, rob caravans, assault political opponents and evade capture due to their intimate knowledge of the tunnel system. Most of the criminals in the lower levels work or know someone who works for The Mole King. No-one is sure who he is. Several sheriffs claim it is a title passed from one mob boss to another over the years while other claim it is in fact the same man, or dwarf, from the start.

Lady Yasmine: A beautiful half-elven woman who owns the brothel named after her. She is a descendant of a pirate lord and a Van Xian captain. She caters to the rich and wealthy but also offer services to the lower classes. She offers her services herself rarely these days but would do so for a lot of coin. It is claimed she is in league with the Mole King and the Crown.

Ser Harold Barnsworth: The current champion of Gryphon’s Crown, the son of the mayor who recently returned from his grand tour in the south of Alundria. When he returned to his homeland his caravan were beset by the Children of the Light, a zealous cult led by Mother Mercy. This proclaimed crusade was terrorizing the land as the rogue Cyclops Priestess tried to weed out the corruption of the Undying Ones, mortals who ally themselves with the Blight. It was Harold who rallied his escort and survivors of the attacks to harass the Children. After a political marriage which earned him support from the capitol, and the purchase of some orc slave warriors, he managed to capture Mother Mercy and broke the crusade of the Children. For his efforts he was made a knight and was given a spot in the Court as a advisor.

Captain Hroth: Captain of the city watch and the second dwarf to hold the position.
Veteran of several wars against the Blight he now retired to the ‘quiet’ life of keeping the people of the city safe from both outside and domestic threats. He runs the watch like a army with strict regulations and codes of conduct. However he looks after his boys and girls and if a member of the guard ends up killed in the line of duty, many more criminals end up dead in the following weeks.
However it is still rumoured he frequently accepts pay from the Mole King.

King Leopold III: The current king of Gryphon’s Crown. Known for his fondness of wine, wealth, women and tourneys but not considered a good warrior by any stretch of the imagination, Leopold is not a bad king. He frequently donates to the church to feed the poor and kept friendly relations with the neighbouring kingdoms. He thrives under pressure and has led Gryphon’s Crown, both the kingdom and the city, to many successful campaigns against enemies of the crown and great fortunes of trade.
This will be the first time he will face the Blight, an enemy he cannot outmanoeuvre or out buy.



The city was dying. It did not take a genius to see that. The lower levels were flooded with the dead, both the moving and unmoving kind. Fire raged wildly across the upper levels and smoke darkened the sky.
Despite it being noon, the smoke blotted out the sun and rendered a perpetual darkness over the city. The screams of crying women, the dying and the moans of the dead likewise filled the air.
The guard fought as best as humanly possible. Despite the undead tide of teeth and rot, armoured men struck out with their swords and spears. A few wizards tried to stall the tide for just a bit longer just to save a few more people. Another blockade of hastily arranged carts and crates collapsed under the weight of the dead as a few members of the militia, men who would’ve been called criminals or worse, rushed in with their clubs and knives to halt the flow for even a moment.
Only the dwarves in their sector seemed to be faring better. Their axes cut through the dead like a knife through butter as their shields held back the Immortals. But even the well formed formations of the children of the mountains and their stubborn nature had to give up their ground, inch by bloody inch.
The royal palace, a large castle shaped like a gryphon, was also set aflame. The royal guard, men in splendid armour with helmets shaped like a gryphon’s beak, fought on without their king. The dead and living alike would burn under the melting rock in a cacophony of death.

Konrad the wizard, who had seen over seventy summers, oversaw all of this from the Sorceress tower and penned it all down with precision. Mere moments ago his apprentice rushed in and urged him to flee.
“The dead are nearing our gates, master!” she cried." We have to flee!“
Konrad gave a sad smile.” Then who will write what happened? Who will tell our story?"
“But the dead-” his apprentice urged.
“The dead do not read nor will they destroy my records.” He stopped penning for a moment and placed his quil in the ink pot. The old wizard took his staff and straightened himself before he walked over." My child, I’ve seen many lifetimes already. I’ve learnt much of the arcane as any man could, I’ve known friendship, love, fear, anger and fought in to many wars to count. I’ve lived a long life…" He gave a weary sigh. “To long even. I would only slow you down.” He placed his gnarled hand on her shoulder." I know you and the kitchen boy have plans for the future. Do not let your loyalty to me get in the way of that. Life, my child. Life…and when the Blight has gone, return here and tell the story I will have written for you."

The apprentice wanted to refuse, tears sprang in her eyes. She held the wizard who had been more of a father to her than her own. The senior sorcerer held his apprentice in return for a moment before he stepped back and shoed her off wordlessly in much the same manner he had done before when he send her back to do her chores.
He heard her sob only once as she rushed out of the room, the sounds of panic and horror erupted from the corridors before the heavy wooden door shut itself.

He was seated on his comfortable chair near the balcony as a lit candle floated nearby to give him light. He caught faint scents of smoke as his hand went over the paper with the same finesse he had as a younger man.
His wards told him a few of the other wizards also decided to remain along with some arcane constructs to help protect the tower…to delay the inevitable when the undead herd would smash through the door.
There was nothing else Konrad could do but keep writing and tell the story of the crown of Sanctuary. The walled city. The sky city. He would write of the fall of Gryphon’s Crown.
And like all stories it all started with a death.


The mole king.

Chapter 1 of the fall of Gryphon’s Crown.

Gryphon’s Crown was under siege by the Blight. Although it was as if the world ended a month ago when the dead attacked, Bruna Griffsdottir was used to the moaning now. She heard it the moment she woke up, during the day and when she went to bed in the house she shared with her lover and little sister. They lived in a small house on top of an abandoned high rise building near the eastern edge of the city. During the summer it had a lovely view on the great forest of the elves to the east and in the distance on a clear day you could see as far as Dawnford. But during the winter it was a cold place and much akin like living in a box. The walls did not keep the cold out to well and most of the coin went to buying kindling and measures to try and keep the warmth in. On most winters Bruna and her household could manage but with the Blighters outside work and food dried up quick. As did their coin.

The last of the coin went with Tina to cover her school and food for the day. Bruna swore an oath on her mother’s deathbed that at least one of Hilde Griffsdottir’ daughters would make something of herself.
The dwarven blood on her grandmother’ side must’ve been quite strong despite it being mixed with human parentage because Bruna made sure every day that her sister went to school and had a future.
Bruna put a scarf around Tina’s neck despite the protests.
“I don’t want to wear a scarf!” Tina pouted angrily." It itches!" Tina looked much like a younger version of Bruna. A long haired brunet girl with brown doe eyes, both looking quite pretty but in a common kind of way. Where Bruna looked a bit stockier, due to her dwarven heritage, Tina took more from their father’ side and seemed more lithe. No doubt when Tiny Tina’s growth spurt would begin she would outgrow her bigger sister to in no time.

“I don’t care if it itches.” Bruna scolded her sister with a slight pat on the head before she gave the small bag of coin to her sister." You are to stay warm and do as I and Master Endrick say. Did you finish your homework?“
Tina rolled her eyes.” Yes…"
“Do you have enough for today’s lesson and lunch?”
“What do you do when you get to the ground level?“
A weary sigh.” I follow the path you showed me and stay in the sights of the guard at all times…“
Bruna nodded.” Good. and when school is done?“
Another weary sigh.” I follow the same road back and go straight home…”
“Good.” she kissed her little sister on the forehead." Now off you go.“
Tina placed the money bag inside her stitched blue coat and buttoned up.” But I want to work today. Look!" She pointed to her own hands." Small fingers, I can steal purses from pockets and everything.“
Bruna shook her head.” We don’t steal, Tiny Tina. Now go, i’ll see you here after school.“
Tina held the coin bag inside her coat. She looked up at her big sister, a sad look in her eyes.” This is the last of the money isn’t it?"
Bruna only replied with a sad smile and pushed her sister out the door into the white blanket of snow outside.

She could see her own breath as she waved her sister off. It was a cold day that day for certain. She heard Frina’s coughs before she saw her half-elven lover come down the stairs. Those coughs said enough, Bruna would be the only one strong enough to work that day.
“Did I just miss Tina?” Frina asked.
Bruna nodded with a smile at her lover and guided her to the breakfast table where their meagre meal awaited, some porridge with honey stolen from a merchant three days ago and a lukewarm cup of tea. Frina had always been delicate, that came with being an half-elf, but her beauty and smile always earned her coin in the theatre.

“You’ll stay in today, sweetling.” Bruna kissed her on the forehead.
“I have to go today, dear…” Frina coughed." The Globe is looking for a new actress for the part of Dawn. I studied all night to get all the lines right."
“Sweetling if you go now all they’ll see is a sick woman who coughs every five minutes.” Bruna ate some of her porridge." What about the small theatre? People loved you in that Ophra Elswin play.“
Frina took a bite from her breakfast.” Not many people go to that one anymore…it’s either the Globe or nothing…"
“Well…the Globe or the public execution…” Bruna took a sip from her tea." It’s Mother Mercy on the chopping block today. A lot of people going to see it."
“You’re going to work there today?” Frina stifled a cough.
“Aye, plenty of people there with purses who would love to see some street performance after a beheading.” Bruna finished her breakfast before she drank the rest of her tea." I’ll be back by lunchtime." Bruna opened the closet that held their coats and picked up her lucky hood. A white thing shaped like an eagle’s head with it’s beak being the tip of the front part of the hood. She found it on a sleeping dwarf on a cold night the previous year, just something to keep her head warm. Ever since she started to wear it her job for some reason became a lot easier. She never left the house without it, even on the rare few dates with Frina to a restaurant when the money was there.

Frina coughed as Bruna put on her white coat." I’m still going to that audition."
“No you’re not! You’re to ill.“
The half-elf stood.” We don’t have the money for me to sit idle. If I don’t go we’ll starve!”
“Don’t you worry about the money, I got that covered.” Bruna put on her shoes." I’ll see you later.“
Frilna wrapped her scarf around herself.” Don’t treat me like an invalid! I’m sick, not dying!“
She glared.” My mother was sick to first before she died in a winter like this. You’re not going, end of story!“
The sickness was gone now, replaced by anger.” You’re just like my mother, always telling me what to do! I left home to escape that!“
Anger replied to anger.” If you want to get yourself killed, fine! I won’t stop you!" Bruna snapped and wrapped the scarf around her own neck angrily.
“Bruna-” Frina tried to say but Bruna left the house and slammed the door behind her.

She hated arguing with Frina. They’ve been arguing for the past three days. It always started over something stupid like leaving the door open and letting all the heat out or who ate the last piece of bread without notifying the other. The passion of their love seemed to have died out. No sudden romantic surprises, none of the constant compliments, no sudden adventures in the higher richer areas of the city, no out of nowhere shag.
The last time they made love was over two months ago.

When they first went out, the world seemed just a tad bit brighter. The exotic actress whose voice could melt your inside, whose urge for adventure always kept you going to places you would never expect, eating fine foods and drink with the elite. Bruna didn’t expect the fire to remain lit forever, they were together for three years now and she loved every moment of it…but still she didn’t want that fire to be completely gone and replaced by the muck and gray of normal every day life. But she loved her so much. Wished for nothing more than be together with her. But that feeling of embers made her lash out.
She wasn’t angry at Frina but at herself. The last of the money didn’t go Tina’ studies. There was a bit more but it was spend at the Lady Jasmine.

She spend the night there with one of the men, she even forgot his name. He was handsome looking and she could afford him. She just wanted to feel something. The passion felt good in the moment, for the hour she had him he had her any way a man could be with a woman. Afterwards when she left the Jasmine the guilt struck her like a mallet. That was a week ago. Never again, she swore.
She would work hard to give Frina the house she deserved, to give Tina the future she deserved.
The first thing she would do with the money is get a doctor for Frina, fix that cough. And then they would dine like kings on the best food the black market had to offer.

Bruna made her way downward, through the slightly decayed stairs and ladders of the high rise building that once served as an apartment. She had neighbours in some of the rooms but most kept to themselves. Mostly people with little money like her, criminals hiding from the city watch and spice addicts.
She didn’t make her way groundside entirely like Tiny Tina but jumped off a higher level towards the ramparts.
The first time she saw the undead clawing at the walls her heart stopped. It was as an ocean of death given teeth and claws. Most of the undead were human or gobbos but there were times she swore she saw Blighters who were once children as old as Tiny Tina. The thought of losing her little sister to the dead was always on her mind.
She swore a second oath to her dead mother, if the dead were to break through the wall and the end would come…she would make sure Tina wouldn’t come back as one.

“This is all King Halmadir’s fault…” she heard a voice grumble. She reprimanded herself, to sunken into her thoughts to notice the guard’s footsteps on the snow. Quickly Bruna darted to the side behind a small wall on a lower rung of the wall. She swore the guards that snuck up behind her should’ve seen her but ever since she started wearing the white hood, she seemed to have an easier time avoid being seen.
It did not take long before she saw two of the city watch walk side by side, bearing the tabard of Gryphon’s Crown. Both were human, one a older pudgier man with an eyepatch and the second a younger man who was about her age.
“What are you on about?” the second younger guard replied.
“Well King Halmadir is supposed to guard out east flank, aye?” The first asked to which the second grunted in affirmation." Well ever since we captured his daughter the undead have come through. Doesn’t take a genius to find out he’s led them to our walls.“
The younger guard raised his brow.” Are you daft? No human being would ever send the dead on their enemies! Especially not a goddamn war hero like Halmadir.“
Their footsteps stopped as the older man pointed his finger.” You said it! Human! You can’t trust an elf. Pointy eared tree huggers…" he motioned to the undead below." A month ago when their giant spiders scaled the wall and attacked us, it wasn’t the elves who came to help! We had to rely on ourselves! Proper steel spears and dwarven shot!"

Bruna remembered the start of the siege very well. Although she had her family holed up in their houses, they could see the action from above very well. The fighting was fierce at first, as was with every siege when two mortal armies fought. The undead did not have appliances such as ladders or rams but they had giant spiders that could swallow men whole and giants that could smash gates to kindling.
When Tina started to cry, Bruna told her that the city’s walls, ramparts and gatehouses were made by the children of the mountain, for their kin intermarried with the human nobility long ago. They sculpted the walls like a artisan would sculpt clay, they provided blunderbusses and cannons that could blow holes through giants and had built tunnels all under the city for easy access. The steel gates were made from the strongest of metal the mountain holds to the north had to offer and brave men and dwarves defended the wall. As long as the city existed, Gryphon’s Crown would never fall.

Bruna saw the spiders climb up the wall as they met steel spears, dwarven shot and the ferocious tenacity that was the proud defenders of Gryphon’s Crown. When the spiders slew some of the defenders, their corpses did not rise to join the attackers for the Cyclop priests and priestesses had blessed the fallen with eternal slumber. So when the proud human and dwarven drove off the first few waves of undead it was only a matter of time before the old game of any siege began. One side starving out the other.
It would be until spring when reinforcements could arrive from the knights of Dawnford to liberate the city. By then many wold either have died of the cold or starvation. She held her arms around herself to try and keep warm with short bursts of shudders. A trick she learned from her mother.

The younger guard seemed to share Bruna’s thoughts." Doesn’t matter if the Blighters never get through, we’ll starve to death before spring’s here…“
The older man nodded. He paused for a moment before he spoke.” Say lad…you ever heard of the mole king?“
Bruna hid behind the post still but leaned in close, she heard of the mole king before…
“The mole king?” the younger man asked.
“Aye. The king rules the surface and the Cyclop priests rule the hearts of men but the mole king rules the underworld. It’ said he is one of the dwarves who helped build the city so many years ago. A simple builder with an nose for business. He build tunnels across the city, short cuts from place to place. Hideouts, eavesdropping spots, dead drops, smuggle roads, the whole shebang. His small gang of himself and some of his fellow builders is now the ruling elite of the entire Gryphon Crown’s underworld. Any bank robbery, any murder on an official, every bribe only happens with his say so.“
Bruna frowned, sounded like a fairy tale.
“So…what’s that got to do with this?” the younger man asked.
“Well…” he pulled the younger man closer.” I know a man who knows a man that can get you some smuggled in food for a fair price…none of that extra tax that goes to the king for…renovations.” She saw the older man hold up his fingers as quotation marks.
The younger man looked shocked.” But…that’s an capital offense!“
His older colleague replied with a snort.” Cant support an family with my salary, especially with the food prices rising."
“Dear God…” the younger man sighed." …is this normal? I mean do the others know?"
“Oh aye, even the captain buys her food from the black market. It’s either that or start eating the flesh of the dead like those poor sods we found in the slums last week.“
She heard the younger man gulp.” I…tried to forget that…“
A moment paused as both looked over the sea of the undead himself, Bruna trying to stop her teeth from clattering.
“So…do you see this mole king?” the young guard asked.
The older man shook his head.” No, he only sees you when he wants to see you.“
A few moments later the guards started to move on.” If you change your mind, just ask me alright Daniel?”
“Ta, Irwin…” the younger replied.

Bruna waited a few more heartbeats before she walked a bit further on the ramparts. She got off a few steps later towards a shortcut to the main forum of the city.
She knew the alleys like the back of her hand, which ways to go. She passed by people who sought warmth around burning metal barrels, a ‘gift’ from the king to look after his people. Shame about the no food thing but you can at least roast yourself on the fire, Bruna thought angrily.
She ignored most of the pleas for alms, she had nothing to spare herself. She took a right turn after the bird splattered statue of some dwarf when she heard faint moans.

At first she thought a person was in trouble and quickly ran to the noise. She quickly stopped when he saw the noise in question was a dalliance between one of the city guard and a maid, a red haired girl of elven descent she guessed by the ears. His trousers were halfway undone as he had his way with her, his head covered in the nape of her neck as their lovemaking reached a crescendo. Bruna felt like an idiot for a moment until he could see a glimpse of the guard in question. The scar on his cheek and the long flowing brown hair was all she needed to see. Captain Convenus, one of the captains of the more richer side of town. Married to the bastard daughter of the king and supposedly in his good graces. She frowned, why would anyone risk an affair with someone as mundane as a maid?

She caught herself staring and quickly made herself scarce and walked quickly towards the forum.
Several men, both human and dwarf, were straying salt around them to melt the snow. When none looked she pinched a small bit and put it in a small bag. Something to spicen the food with later.
The cold dissipated when she reached the large forum. A large crowd of people milled around the giant stockades. Loud muttering and speech covered up her steps perfectly. Two guards were stood on the stockades, their eyes hidden behind visors. She saw a goblin behind a stall, selling rotten tomatoes for the upcoming execution. One gold coin for five tomatoes, a bargain. Already a huge row was filing in front of the stall as the goblin gladly sold his wares to the crowd. Looks like he was making a killing, pun not intended.

“Over there, look It’s starting.” She heard one of the crowd say. Bruna’s gaze went to a small opening forced by the guard as they had the prisoner in their midst.
Bruna is no stranger to executions, she had seen her fair share, but to see a Cyclops Priestess in chains and battered was something new. People began to boo at her, calling her a killer. Heretic and betrayer. But yet she kept her chin held up high. A Cyclops priest ascended the stockades with more guards.
It was time to get to work.

She unclipped a small knife from her belt and picked her target. A fat merchant with his purse on his belt was intently staring at the proceedings. With a quick flick of the wrist the man was separated from his coin. She quickly placed the coin purse in her coat before moving on.
“Children of God, hear me!” She heard the priest shout." The time for justice has come! Before us stands the woman who once was called Mother Mercy, now Abigail the disgraced daughter of King Halmadir! Leader of the Children of Light who is guilty for mass murder, theft, desecration and heresy!" More boos and tomatoes were thrown.
Bruna did not care as she picked another target, this time a wealthy older looking woman holding arms with younger man. Her son or lover, Bruna didn’t care. Another quick flick of the wrist and so to her purse was now in Bruna’s hands.
Two bags now. On a good day she would stop and not risk it. But she had to keep going, to get that money for Frina.
"It’s her fault the dead now scale our walls! It’s her fault we now have forever lost the cure to the Blight and the aid of our friend King Halmadir! Were it not for our saviour Lord Harold Barnsworth she would still be litting the countryside ablaze in what she claims is heresy!“
This made Bruna look up. There was a cure to the Blight?
The priest turned to Mother Mercy.” How do you plead?"
This time Mother Mercy spoke. "The cure was not a cure but a mix of dark magicks and heathen rituals. All those involved deserved death by cleansing fire. God himself told me to save your souls. I did as he asked. " She closed her eyes, despite the bruises and purple the former Priestess seemed serene. At peace. "…my task is done. Now I will rest."
The audience booed loudly once more. Bruna noticed a few did not however as if they gave Mother Mercy silent support.

When Mother Mercy was pushed on her knees, the executioner was brought up. He was a dwarf dressed in black armour and a hood. He moved like a professional, kneeling next to the victim as he whispered to her. She gave a nod and muttered something before he stood up.
“May God have mercy on your soul…and may he forgive us for allowing us to let you so far astray…” the Priest nodded at the executioner. A swift flash and the life of Mother Mercy, Princess Abigail of the elven people…was over.

People cheered as her head landed on the stockades, a fever pitch ignited. Then there was a panic. A chaos. At first she thought she was caught. But then the crowd began to scream. She smelt blood.
Bruna was running, she did not know why. But her instinct told her to run.
She looked up. The guards were hauling off the Cyclop Priest as dark figures were assailing them. The dwarven executioner was fighting some blackness, Bruna couldn’t quite see. A woman screamed briefly before one such black shape descended on her and blood flew from her jugular.
“The dead!” someone cried." The dead have breached the wall!"

Bruna ran back into the alleys, past the confused homeless people she saw earlier.
“Run!” she screamed." The dead are here!" Her lungs were going to burst out of her chest but she kept running. Her heart screamed for a break, a moment to catch her breath. For a moment she almost decided to stop.
Even before the homeless started screaming behind her she knew she was still in danger. She felt a hand on her shoulder, her stomach churned and turned cold, just like the breath in her neck.
A old habit kicked in, one her mother taught her. She threw the salt behind her as an inhuman scream deafened her. She did not stop and kept running.

The next thing she knew she was in a tunnel. She remembered entering one, her path blocked by the guard.
She took a moment to catch her breath, the fire in her lungs extinguished when cold air entered them. She took off her hood and patted off the dirt and dried blood from it. The eagle like beak stared at her. A faint smile appeared on her lips.
“My lucky hood…” she said in between breaths and placed it back on her head.
When she felt she could breath normally again she looked backward. The way was pitch black and filled with grime. But she did not feel lost. She turned to look in front of her and kept going. As if she knew where to go.
Her minds went to Tina and Frina. Were the dead really inside the city? Were they safe? She had to make it out of these tunnels, her sole focus on her family.
She expected the tunnels would lead her to an exit or a sewer…instead she arrived at what could be described as a underground castle.
Torches were all over the place, making the area feel nice and warm. The damp was gone, tapestries and portraits hung on the nice clean marble walls. She saw statues, piles of coin on tables and a large table.
At the large table was a dwarf, a old dwarf who was tinkering at some mechanical contraption. A large green single eye binocular was over one eye. Across of him was a bowl of soup and a spoon…but it was facing away from him, towards her. She turned around and saw the entrance she just came in was gone, replaced by a marble wall.

“Come now, Miss Griffsdottir.” the dwarf said in a kind voice." I do not bite."
“How can I trust you?” she asked.
The dwarf looked up from his work, a kind smile." Because I wanted to see you. No-one can see me unless I want to them to." He motioned her over. She hesitated.
“I promise you will see your lover and little sister again and I promise you they are quite safe.” he smiled.
"The attack at the market place was not aimed at them. And before you ask…the Immortals have not breached the walls. Not yet anyway.“
She shuffled her feed.” Do I have your word?“
He placed his hand on his chest.” As a child of the mountain and by my beard, I give you my word."
Bruna always followed her gut feeling and had a excellent judge of character. She knew who the trust and who to avoid the moment she first lays eyes on them. Now she felt…like she could trust him.

She stepped forward cautiously before sitting down across of the old dwarf. Her habits kicked in again as she took off her head and politely placed it on her lap. The chair felt nice and comfy. Like she could sit back and fall asleep. She fought that feeling however. She took up the spoon and gave it a sniff. The old dwarf did not say anything and waited politely for her. She took a sip from the soup…and eagerly began eating more. She couldn’t recall the last time she had tomato soup.
“You probably can guess who I am.“
She gave a nod.” The mole king.”

“Aye.” he confirmed.
Her eyes scanned him. He seemed more like a tinker, a kindly grandfather than a kingpin of crime." I thought you would be different.“
He looked confused.” Different how?“
Bruna shrugged.” Just…different. Perhaps bigger? More scars? Not…" she waved towards him.
The dwarf looked to his vest before he went back to her." Oh, this? It’s my casual wear? Normally I do wear a suit of some kind when I meet anyone. But since time was of the essence there was no time for formalities…" he leaned back." How do you like my hood?"
Bruna’s eyes went to her hood on her lap.
“Oh yes, that hood was mine once. It served me well in my early years…I had it from a dear friend of mine from Arabiana. Her organisation all wore a similar attire. It’s a strange thing. With it you move more swiftly, know you way around every street and tunnel. One of my wizards had it tested and believed the hood enhances your mind in such a way that it…liberates your subconscious.” He placed his machine down and took off his one eye glass. “Tell me…have you ever heard the story about a mother being able to lift a whole cart with her bare hands to save her child trapped beneath it? Or of a miner being able to hold a wooden beam long enough for his friends to escape a collapsing tunnel?”

Bruna decided to try the soup and found it delicious." I heard some of those, yes.“
The mole king smiled and placed a finger on his temple.” The mind is our greatest gift and our greatest curse. For without thought we would be like the Immortals outside. A beast forced to act on our base impulses. Eat to life, not life to feed as my nan used to say."
“Why did you call me here, Mr Mole King?” she asked." Do you want me to return your hood to you?“
He shook his head.” No, if I wanted it returned to me you wouldn’t be here. It took me a year to find out what exactly. It was when you outran that vampire that I knew you had that little something more. Potential to be what I need to protect this city.“
She raised her brow.” Protect? All the stories say you are a criminal mastermind. You organise gang wars, smuggling rings…"

He leant his head on his hand." True, I do all these things…because if it wasn’t me I would be someone else. Someone more inclined to incite riots, target the weak constantly and promote violence against the king. I helped build his city, I’ll be damned to see it fall."
“The Blight?” she took another spoonful of the soup.
He shook his head." Far worse my dear…my friends in Arabiana and Van Xia have recently confirmed that their largest threat has made landfall in Bucktooth Bay and have begun their march south towards us. You’ve managed to outrun one of them…“
Her mind went back to the black shapes that attacked the crowd, the blood and limbs that flew everywhere. The inhuman scream that nearly deafened her. She only saw a glimpse, a pale face of a creature. Long fangs, caked in blood, in a black robe.
“What were they?” Bruna asked.” Why did they attack? “
“As to why I do not know but as to who…the Citadel once called them the Liberus Nocturna. The living night, eager to devour the mortal realm. You will know them as vampires.“
A chuckle came from Bruna’s mouth.” Vampires are a myth! They are just like black dragons and monsters that sleep under your bed.”
“Oh but they are real and you believe it to. If you didn’t you wouldn’t have thrown that salt over your shoulder.” the older dwarf sat up.” We believe what we want to believe. Some people believe Halmadir abandoned Sanctuary and Gryphon’s Crown because we killed his daughter, others believe he left the land because he couldn’t bear the shame…The hood has trained your mind to be open, to be able to see the monsters that sleep under your bed. There is a reason why we keep telling stories to each other ever since our ancestors first huddled over the campfire. To bound and to remember. To keep growing as a species."
The thief looked confused. “I…don’t understand.” She placed the spoon on the now empty plate.

The mole king smiled." Your God has created your people and mine to take care of the land. To mould Alundria to what we want it to be. He has given us independent thought for a reason, both for good and for ill. I love the mortals. I see them help others selflessly in their soup kitchens, I see them beat their children and cheat on their wives, I see them build structures that take decades to create, I see them rally under a banner to defend those whom they love, I see them create works of art that echo across history…I see them use the gift God gave them. This evil from Arabiana wishes to undo all that. To destroy free thought and became as mindless as the Blight."
“What do you want me to do? Join your…war?” she frowned." I’m no warrior."

“Oh but you are.” the old dwarf replied." You’ve been a soldier all your life. You’ve lived on the streets, stole to stay alive. A soldier can make a mistake during training. He will be scolded but he will life. You make one mistake and you’re dead. Besides…" He leant forward." I know for a fact that you’ve killed. And that you enjoyed it.“
Bruna’s heart stopped. He was bluffing, he had to be. How else did he know?” Even if you are right…" she replied carefully." That was a different me. I’ve changed.“
The old man shook his head.” People don’t change that much…some people are born wolves, some are sheep. You may be wearing sheep’s clothing but your fangs are showing through. You are what you are Bruna, the sooner you accept that the better. There’s nothing worse than be a wolf stuck in a kennel"

The mole king stood up and had a small walk. “I want you to consider. You can steal and sneak, excellent abilities for a spy. The pen is mightier than the sword for a reason, Lady Griffinsdottir. With your help my people can find these vampires in this city and end them.“
The dwarf turned to her.” But that is your choice.” He pulled out two bags from under his table and placed them on it." Some gold to help you until then.“
The thief took a moment before she held out her hood. The dwarf shook his head.” No trade. Remember, if I wanted it back it would be by now." He moved his hand towards one of the walls, a moment later it slid open from the left to the right." If you follow this tunnel you will end at the Lady Jasmine. The staff will not ask you questions. Return there in three days if you want to join us, ask for us." He turned to leave.
She took a step outside before she stopped, gold bags in her coat." Wait, ask for who?“
The dwarf smiled.” The Undying."


Pieces on the board.
Chapter 2 of the Fall of Gryphon’s Crown.

Gryphon’s Crown was a kingdom under siege. It took a bird’s eye view to see that. Even at nightime with the moon out, the winged creature could see all.
The capitol itself was surrounded by all sides by the Blight. The Immortals hungrily scraped at the walls of the city. There was the odd attempt of the immortals who piled up to climb on top of each other like ants to scale the walls but those quickly were stopped by the wall’s defenders. Human spears and dwarven gun made quick work of that. Gryphon’s Crown would outlast the siege…but the surrounding countryside was not so lucky.

Dandy’s Park was burning, it’s defenders had given up on the village and moved southward towards Dawnford. Refugee trains trudged through the winter snow, young and old, man and woman. Many would die because of the cold than the undead.
The creature that flew kept it’s eye on the refugees and did notice they had silent guardians. Elven archers moved unseen through the snow. Any Immortal that got close to the refugees was shot down by a quick arrow.
The creature did not care for their struggles. Instead it flew to the last village near the capitol, called Black Park.

It was a small village with crude fortifications, around a dozen buildings including the inn. It had a dock near the Rhine, in peace time it would’ve supplied the capitol with fish and trade from the river. As the creature flew overhead he saw goblin mercenaries with shortbows among the crude barricades, prone to leave with the first real sign of trouble.
Militia and the odd Knight were the towns only real form of protection. Which was not much.
The creature landed behind the tavern and took a different form. A more handsome form. Much like the humans in his own land of Arabiana it took a more tanned skin and the dress of a merchant as not to rouse to much suspicion. He was here to infiltrate after all.

He entered the tavern and noticed there were not many people in the dead of night. Just a few militia and the innkeeper, a petite woman with long brown hair who was still serving drinks. She looked to the newcomer with a tired smile, the end of the day and the constant worry was obviously getting to her despite her trying to hold it back.
“What can I do for you, hon?” She went back behind her counter and poured out a drink already for him.
The creature sat across of her and gave a perfect smile with his perfect white teeth.
“I would like a room for the night…and a person to share it with.” And with that he already had her.

A hour later after the inn closed, Shala, for that was the innkeeper’s name, was kissing the newcomer fiercely and deeply. She undid the laces of her perfect Arabiana attire and took it off. In turn the newcomer returned the gesture and undid her bodice. His clothes and hers were strewn across the room as their passion ignited in her small room.
She hungered for this all night, a distraction from the long, dark day. Shala did not keep quiet, she groaned and moaned in ecstasy.
“I don’t even know your name…” she sighed as he took her.
The newcomer kissed her neck. “Cambion…” he replied." You may call me Cambion."

They frequently changed positions, some Shala had never even tried before with the men in the village, before it all reached a pleasant culmination. She cried out in pleasure before finally, interrupted by occasional quivers and shudders as the last of the sensation drained from her.
“Cambion…” the innkeeper smiled happily as her newfound lover laid next to her." You were just what I needed…“
Cambion smiled and strayed her hair.” And you are just what I needed…" He kissed her again.
“What brings you here?” Shala asked, regaining her breath.
“I’m on the way to Gryphon’s Crown…” he replied." To find the Mole King.“
She chuckled.” The mole king? Why do you need him?"
“Because we have some…unfinished business.” Cambion gave his signature smile that put her at ease." Do you know how I can find him?“
Shala laughed.” Well…assuming you can get past the dead…I have no idea. However…" she took his hand and kissed it." I heard if you go to the Lady Jasmine you can find him…"

Cambion smiled a predatory grin." The Lady Jasmine? Good to know…“
He began kissing her neck again, making her giggle, before he started nibbling her. Shala winced as a teeth hit her neck.” Careful, you hurt me there…"
He looked to her as his face began to change to something else. Something evil. “Oh, I intend to do more, Shala…” Cambion replied…and sunk his teeth into her chest.
Before she could scream a strong hand fell on her mouth, her pleas for help smothered.
The unnaturally strong creature known as Cambion held her down as he fell on her like a snake on it’s prey, taking chunks of her flesh with every bite.
Blood covered them both and her bed as gore and organs flew around. The last thing Shala saw in her bloody end was the creature jamming his new reptilian maw into her chest and it ripped out her heart, eating it with one gulp.
His hunger was sated, for now. In the morning he would find a way to end the mole king.


It was as if she had been doing this all her life. She jumped and ran across rooftops like a adrenaline filled cat. Her cannon hawkbeak tip hood clung to her head despite the speed she went. A smile came to her lips, it was as if right now she was only truly alive.
“Careful Initiate.” the fellow Undying one next to her warned. Like Bruna she to was human but with short blonde hair and blue eyes. She along with the large orc male and goblin were all dressed in the same black and gray hooded attire." Last thing we want is to have a pancake for a guide.“
Bruna nodded.” Don’t worry, I know these rooftops like the back of my hand!" She assured but then again she never ran across them so fast, especially during the winter with snow covering everything.

She took them to the Lower portion of the city, passed the Grand Cathedral of Queen Beatrix. She did not need to look to see the massive construction in her mind’s eye. A massive building with the statue of the Queen riding her gryphon outside the large wooden doors, the stained windows showing several saints doing their acts of martyrdom, large spires that seemed to pierce the heavens and the symbol of god.
“The Sky Festival is up soon.” Sera remarked." Looking forward to it?"
“Aye.” Bruna vaulted over an chimney." All you can eat buffet with nobody judging you. Also the artwork inside is nice."
“You religious?” Sera asked.
Bruna smirked." Can you be religious as a assassin?“
The blonde assassin jumped off another rooftop before she replied.” You can be, just imagine you have a lot of explaining to do in the afterlife. You?"
“No.” she replied. How could she believe when just outside that very same building a father was killed by some vagrant with a rusty knife, leaving behind a poor wife and two daughters to fend for themselves.

“You think it’ still on?!” the orc named Turok shouted, he was less lithe than his three other peers but could keep up the pace." With the Blight an’ all…“
Sera glared behind her.” Keep it down, you idiot!" She hissed." You want the whole city to hear?“
The orc grumbled.
“Turok has a point though.” Frenzo the goblin replied.” Think there’s enough food?“
Before sera could reply it was Bruna who spoke.” No way the nobles would deny the poor their food. If they want to stop a tide of hungry people smashing in their doors on the upper levels, they better pay up the food.“
Sera nodded.” And we have a steady supply going in the city."
Bruna wanted to ask but stopped as she saw the location. She held up her hand, the other three assassins stopped in their tracks.

The Initiate pointed to a small church, one of many that were spread across the lower levels. The only difference being this one, despite the early hours, it was well guarded by several thugs.
“There, that’s the place Captain Convenus told me where he had to send patrols away from.” Bruna said.
Sera undid her hood for a moment, her short blond hair waving in the wind." Is your intel solid?“
Griffsdottir turned to Sera.” Yeah, after nearly exposing his affair with a maid, he’s been all to eager to give up who he is on the take from.“
Sera nodded and peered into the church.” The vampire will be just asleep now…now is the moment to strike.“
Frenzo frowned.” Why would a vampire pick a church as his hideout? Isn’t that like…A Blighter hiding in a mana pool?“
Sera shook her head.” No, the mole king said vampires tend to corrupt places of worship or bureaucracy for fun. they thrive on the chaos of others but hate chaos in their own ranks…" the blonde assassin took up her daggers." It’s time to give them a piece of their medicine."

Bruna took up her short axe, a memento from her grandmother, and took her place.
A week ago she would’ve immediately shot down the idea to fight a vampire. If anything the mole king said she didn’t have to. When she returned with the money, Frina was elated. She did not question once where the money came from but Bruna knew her lover to well that no amount of juggling or parlor tricks could generate two bags full of coin. The two bags were exactly what they needed to move slightly higher up the city with actual padded, heated walls, flowing water and a good school for Tiny Tina. Frina succeeded in her audition and her new role in the Dawn play would provide them for the winter. Best thing of all, they started to make love again. Having a room of their own helped matters a lot and the fire in their relationship returned.

But three days later she started having visions, daydreams even. She saw a hooded dwarf move around the city, much like she could now. She saw him fight using an axe, quick and strong despite his size. He fought orcs and trolls but the same applied to humans. But only saw them when she had the hood on.
The mole king was right, the hood had chosen her. She was still conflicted, at times she wondered if the hood was controlling her actions.
“The hood is a instrument.” the mole king said.
She confronted him in one of his tunnels. Still the kindly grandfather who was feeding his three small children with bacon and eggs. Two dwarf boys and a human girl. If they were his grandchildren it was all to possible for she saw a resemblance in them.
“How do you mean?” Bruna asked.
“You do not question a knife for cutting something.” the mole king divided the bacon and eggs across three plates." You do not question a sword for doing chopping your enemies to bits. It does what you ask it to do. Same goes for your hood." he pointed to the hood.
Before the children ate, the mole king cleared his throat. The boys looked confused but the girl took his meaning." Thank you granpapa!" the auburn haired girl smiled. The two boys muttered their thanks, glaring daggers as their clever sister.
“You’re welcome, children. Eat up, it’s a long day ahead of us.” the mole king smiled before he motioned Bruna to sit. The initiate did so." What makes you question it so?"
“I’ve been seeing…things.” Bruna admitted.
“Oh?” the mole king took his seat and poured in some warm tea in both their cups. He waited for her to continue.
“I see…this dwarf running across the rooftops. And when I try to follow him…I can.” she took a sip of the tea.
“Is that so?” the old dwarf took his tea." You don’t seem horrified of this…ghost."
“I was to begin with.” she admitted." But after a while it…it felt like it was friendly. Like it was showing me how to do those things. How to run, how to breathe, vault, fight, steal…"
“It senses your potential.” the mole king said." You can only get something out of it when you put the effort into it, which you have been doing."
She paused. "What do I have to do?“
He smiled.” There is a saying I learnt when I was a young man in construction…when something isn’t broken, don’t fix it."
Another moment passed as another question came to mind.
“Are you the ghost?“
He only drank his tea and replied with a smile.” Do you want it to be?”

She could see the ghostly form of the dwarf jump into the church, laying waste to the thugs in a expert fashion. When Sera gave the signal, the four assassins went to work and Bruna knew what to do.
The thugs were all centred around a big coffin, a black dragon served as it’s crest. Their main objective.
Turok went in first, his massive bulk smashed through the window and skewered one thug with his massive sword.
Sera ran up on his back and leapt, taking care of the crossbowmen above them. In a blink of an eye she threw one dagger she pulled out of the now dead thug to a troll bruiser’s head, instantly killing the creature.
Bruna went to work with her axe.
She had never taken a life before. she stole, she lied, she cheated, she saw other people get jumped in the alleys and stabbed to death…but she never killed. When her axe severed the orc’s neck from his shoulders…she felt like she had done it a hundred times before. No remorse. For a brief moment this worried her. She killed a person yet she felt…nothing. That moment nearly cost her her life were it not for Sera killing the orc’s kin trying to avenge his brother.
“FOCUS, INITIATE!” she shouted.
And Bruna did. Every kill that was made afterward was just like a dance. Parry, strike, killing blow. Parry, strike, killing blow. The others could not see the ghost dwarf, fighting alongside them. A silent brother fighting his own silent war.

When the last of the thugs fell, the assassins eyes fell on the coffin.
Sera took out her dagger and nodded to her brothers and sister. Bruna and Frenzo each grabbed the side of a lid and pushed it off. Black dust came from the casket and revealed the form of a noblewoman, dressed in her best. She opened her eyes and was about to lash out, sharp fangs came from her mouth. Sera’s dagger in her chest and Turok’s mighty sword swing made quick work of the creature.
When the head was severed, the body turned to ash and only left behind the dress.
“It’s done.” was all Sera had to say on the matter.
Bruna was breathing heavily, the adrenaline in her body screamed and ran through her blood. She was trembling still, her axe suddenly felt heavy in her hand. Her right hand was covered in blood, the life essence of another being. It was fascinating now, and horrifying at the same time. She could not hear anyone speak. A hand on her back made her jump, Turok held both his hands up." I did not mean ta scare you. You alright?"
She nodded the lie. She wasn’t sure if she ever would be alright.

The four left the church quietly. As they left they saw the cleaning crew was already moving in, Bruna kept her hood down when she recognised some of them were people who lived in her old building.
The four split ways and went back to their homes. It was nearly dawn when Bruna made it back in her bed, her blood soaked clothes in the wash.
She took great care not to wake Frina and snuck under the covers.
Her heart stopped when Frina spoke.
“You’re late…” the half-elf said without opening her eyes. Her voice sounded like it was with mirth.
“Aye…” Bruna replied and kissed her lover." Late night…"
“Heard you sneak out and back in just now…” Frina returned the kiss." You would make a terrible thief.“
Bruna chuckled.” I would…"

The assassin let her worries go and held on to Frina, her anchor to this life. It reminded her of a saying her mother used to say. "No matter what happens during the day, how good or bad, at the end of it you will always be in your bed."
The two held each other for at least a hour before the day would begin anew.


Harold of House Barnsworth should be a lucky man. He was named champion of Gryphon’s Peak, he had a wife who was with child, a orcish shamaness as a mistress and ended the war with the Children of the Light.
So now when he was looking down his villa on the higher levels, he could only see the waves of undeath around the city and the surrounding area, blocking any chance to escape. He saw the guard patrolling the walls as the people down below made their morning rounds. And all of them believed he would be the one to save them all from starvation, civil war or god forbid the Immortals actually managing to break the walls. He knew the latter was not going to happen, the walls would never fall. But starvation was a bigger deal. Worse some people on the lower levels had gone missing during the night, never to return. A cult of serial killers or Children of the Light seeking vengeance, nobody knows.

“All of them believe in you, my boy.” the king said to him the day before." You’ll find a way."
“But what if I don’t have one?” Harold asked.
The king paused." Well…then all will be lost. And none of it will be our problem anymore." He cackled the last bit.
He poured himself in some wine and had a drink to calm himself. All he had to do was to find a way to keep the calm in the city before spring so Dawnford’s Knights could ride in to save the day.
He had entrusted his friend, the Troll Prince Aziboo, to pay off the knight’s academy in Dawnford to make sure they would ride out.
But that was still two months away. He shook his head. Sudden knocking interrupted his thoughts and before even waiting to be beckoned, the door opened.

A beautiful young woman with dark hair and shapely curves entered, one of his maids by the looks of it.
“How can I help you, my dear?” He asked.
“Good morning, Champion, my name is Stella. The King was upset that you parted on such poor terms earlier and asked if I would come and help make amends.” Her bright teeth shone in the moonlight, and as she curtsied her breasts pressed together and offered him a generous look down the front of her dress.
“Oh, really…?” Harold raised his brow and placed his glass down." How?“
By doing anything you require, my Lord…anything that will make you happy.” She rested her small, dainty hand on his forearm and stroked it softly. For a moment he considered declining, after all he was married and he wasn’t sure how Frekkia would respond to it.
When he started to kiss her and undo the front of her dress by then all previous worries fled from his mind.

He took her twice that morning. Once whilst overlooking the city on his balcony, thankfully they were really high up so none of the people below could see, and one more in his bed.
When he reached his second crescendo he rolled off Stella, he did so with a happy smile.
“That was fantastic, Stella.” Harold said.
Stella returned the smile." Oh, I had better." She replied as she gathered her clothing.
This soured Harold’s mood. Before he could reply he saw a old dwarf sitting across of them, drinking a cup of tea.
“Was that alright, your majesty?” Stella asked the dwarf.
“Very well, thank you Stella. You may go now. Please give my regards to your mother.” The dwarf replied.
Stella quickly redressed and kissed the dwarf on his head before she disappeared passed the door, leaving a embarrassed Harold Barnsworth.

When he could speak, he was furious." Who in the name of Alundria are YOU?!“
The dwarf finished his tea.” My apologies, Lord Harold but I tend to only come out in public when I know the other person has nothing on his person to hide. Pardon the deception."
“Just you wait until-”

The dwarf held up his hand." Your bodyguard likewise is occupied with a orc slave warrior you brought her yourself. She thankfully has the same open mindedness you have. Also…" he drank some more tea." Were it not for our common friend, I wouldn’t be here to ask for your help.“
Harold glared.” Funny way of asking for help! Who is your friend?!“
The dwarf smiled.” Prince Aziboo of course. We go back a while, even before King Thror reclaimed Orangecraig. It was he who suggested I should come to you for help."
The naked lord grabbed his trousers and put them on under his bed covers. Aziboo was a close friend of his, were it not for him life in Wildriver Run would’ve been unbearable. He lost count how many fights he end up in with the local troll tribes and Aziboo with the humans. Both taught each other diplomacy and the power of words.
“Alright…what kind of help?” Harold asked.

“Something small to help you take care of that…serial killer issue.” The dwarf placed his tea down before he began tinkering on a mechanical device on his wrist." I need my people to be able to move across the Higher City and the Royal palace undisturbed."
“Your people?“
The dwarf smiled.” You’ll know them by their hoods.“
Harold frowned.” So you want your hooded people to move…undisturbed?”
“Aye. We took care of most of the killers in the Lower Levels but we need to move up before we can end the issue. Also what time is it?”
“Urghm…Nine o’clock I think…” Harold cursed himself when he finally realized whom he was talking to.
“You are the mole king, aren’t you?“
The dwarf nodded.” Aye.“
Harold stood up.” My family told me about this…you worked for with my ancestor, Morganna! Killed everyone who opposed her, including Warchief Gorvar’s chief lieutenants when they besieged the city!”
“I prefer the term co-operated.” the mole king finished finicking with his wrist." But yes. I need your help in this, Lord Harold. A threat is coming, using the Blight as a shroud. If we want to save this city, we need to act now before all is lost."


Thumping on his door woke the Captain of the city watch. His partner next to him groaned.
“By the beards of my ancestors, Hroth…” the other dwarf sighed annoyed." Third night…"
“I know…” Hroth replied tiredly and slid his trousers on." Don’t wait up…"
He stopped when his partner’s hand held his for a moment. Glin could grumble like any other dwarf and withstand heats not all blacksmiths could handle but deep down in his own inner forge, he was a big softy.
“Be careful…” the bigger dwarf replied. Hroth replied with a kiss. Another thumping on his door broke the two as duty called.

Hroth marched along the city wall with his second, a human woman named Naomi. He was still reading the report when they came to the east gate.
“When did this arrive?” he asked.
“Ten minutes ago, sir.” Naomi replied." We had to double-check with the palace but it all checks out."
“A shadow bazaar wants to come in NOW if all times?” Hroth asked his second who nodded.
“Aye captain, apparently the king managed to secure us some food for a hefty prize…and with the shadow bazaar being invisible…“
Hroth turned.” It still means us opening the bloody gate! With thousands of those Blighters outside!“
Noami looked down to avoid the stern dwarf. With almost a sigh of relief she pointed to the gate in question where the other members of the watch were ready.
Hroth was used to the moaning of the undead and trained himself to look beyond them and drone out the nose. He focused on what was important. His eyes spotted a series of brightly coloured caravans that hid under the trees just outside the town.
“Five caravans, captain.” Naomi said.” Guessing by the speed we need to give them…ten minutes.“
One of the guards spoke, a young man named Toby.” Ten minutes against those undead?! No way we can hold them off!“
Hroth glared at the young man.” How old are you, pup?”

Toby’s face went pale, Hroth mused his face was even whiter than when the Blight came.
“N-nineteen, Captain…” he replied.
“Then forgive me if I take your expertise into question, PRIVATE.” He emphasised the word to drive the point home.
Hroth pulled his beard as he pondered." I faced the Blight more times than you people can count. Was in a fair few sieges myself…" His mind racked back to those events." There is a plan…but we’re going to need a lot of gunpowder."
“But Captain.” Naomi said." The king expressed we’re nearing our budget with the blackpowder!"
“I don’t give a rat’s arse! Tell him to bill me! Get me five kegs of blackpowder, twelve blunderbusses and twenty men who know how to hold a bloody shield! I want it ten minutes ago!”

He knew he was harsh with his men, most just signed up for the better food or impress their families or friends. But he trained his boys and girls to be the best. They were the guard of Gryphon’s Crown, the capitol. If they didn’t look presentable, what would the rest of the kingdom think? One man on a wall was worth ten on the ground, that was only one reason the city never fell. One man who can barely hold a weapon cannot hold back the ten on the ground so he damn made sure his one man on that wall could hold back a hundred.

Ten minutes later, the Captain overlooked the operation from the top of the gate. When Naomi came with the go-ahead he gave a nod.
“Signal the caravans to move on my mark.” he motioned to the signal man who used torches. The man nodded and lit his torch.
Hroth made a silent prayer to his ancestors…and gave the command.

Further along the wall, several barrels of gunpowder were lit and thrown off it. The moment they hit the ground, large explosions rocked the ground. Thankfully the wall held but the undead around it didn’t. The huge noise alerted the rest of the horde who crawled to the new empty, blackened space.
The signalmen waved and already the caravan moved swiftly. He waited until the undead at the east gate were thinned enough to begin phase 2.
“Shieldwall, NOW!” Hroth shouted.
On his command the east gate opened as twenty men, including three half-giants, ran out and stabbed the few undead who remained. They created a large wedge with a small opening.

The noise of the caravans began to draw attention, thankfully there was more noise to be dispersed.
“Gunners, open fire!” Hroth commanded. The blunderbusses and crossbowmen fired on the Immortals below. The undead growled at the death of their dead peers, some even eating them, as they went back to clawing at the walls.
A few of the undead did go for the shieldwall but a quick spear to the head took care of it.
The caravans made it passed the shieldwall, when the last one came through the gate the call was given to retreat. With as little noise as they could the shieldwall fell back as the door closed behind them.

Hroth had to restrain the smile he felt. He was proud of his boys but he couldn’t show it.
“Noami, tell the men to keep an eye on the blighters.” He told his second." They might try to go for another ant pile because of the new activity."
“Aye, Captain.”
“And…give them some extra ale and meat from the stores, they earned it.”
“Aye, sir.” Naomi smiled and went out to relay the orders.

The dwarf captain made his way down to where the caravans were.
He moved to the goblin in charge." I hope you’ve a lot of food in there for all this trouble, gobo.“
The goblin chuckled.” Of course I do…" He got off his cart and showed his wares of crated food.
Among the other passengers, which were either goblins or troll bodyguards, there was one human that drew Hroth’s attention.
The human in question looked around the city in question with a big smile on his face. He was dressed in fine clothes which marked him as a merchant, his skin was tanned like he was from the far east.
Hroth tapped the goblin on his shoulder." Whose that?“
The goblin looked.” Oh, some human merchant who calls himself Cambion. Says he wanted to come along, gave us coin to come here. Even said he had people on the inside who would help get us in."
Hroth frowned at this. A cold tingle came along his spine as if someone walked on his grave. He did not trust that man and promised a oath to himself he would keep an eye on him.