Jin Chan and the Curse of the Rulian Marsh

The soldier was going to die, and he knew it. We made him as comfortable as we could, piling blankets for him next to our fire. I tried to help ease him to the ground.

“Don’t touch me,” he warned. “And burn my body in these blankets when I’m dead.”

We would. Even without his orders, we would. The growths on his face and arms made sure of that. He had stumbled into our outpost on the border between Death’s Cradle and the Forest of Caldavar, exhausted and repeating the same phrase: “Jin Chan is here.”

After a quarter hour near the fire, his breath seemed more labored than when he’d arrived.

“Wine,” he said. “Throw it, don’t come close.” Continue reading Jin Chan and the Curse of the Rulian Marsh

The Black Legion

To let you know who the Black Legion is, I will first tell you who I am. As a youth in the Scout village of Seclu, I was faster and better with a blade than any of the Pathfinders, those of us training to become Scouts. I hold the village record for the youngest daemon kill, at the age of ten. I slit the creature’s throat without it seeing my face—an honorable Scout kill. Continue reading The Black Legion

The Redemption of Prisoner 945, Brutavious, and Baaracko

Ferl the gaoler staggered into my tavern stinking of the dungeons, ripe enough that even the Blacksmith playing pegs near the door caught a whiff through his greasy mustache. Ferl left the door open to the cold night winds cutting through the streets of The Capital, earning a scowl from the Blacksmith that died against the gaoler’s back. It was nice to have some fresh air to move the smell of him around, but I gave a tilt of my head to the Smith, who kicked the door shut with a grumble.

When Ferl was on the other side of the oaken slab—shaped by my own hands, thank you—I had to step back to keep my eyes from burning. The smell was unlike anything I’d experienced. If I hadn’t known every face in my tavern that night, I would have sworn on the Codex there was a daemon present. Ferl stared at something between us only he could see, the eyes of a haunted man. Continue reading The Redemption of Prisoner 945, Brutavious, and Baaracko

Dr. Beebo and Loofy

The chiprel named Beebo had barely survived the battle between Maliken and the Sins. His time tethered to that seething brute Wrath by the power of the Grimoire seemed like a fever dream in which he became a different animal, unable to control his behavior.

But it was worth it. It let him feel the power of the book. He had followed that feeling of power to the dark storage room, risking capture or worse from the inhabitants of Hell’s Keep, and found the tome on the floor next to an empty sandstone sarcophagus. He strapped the Grimoire to his back and peeked into the corridor just as Maliken stormed around the far corner. Beebo scurried beneath a pile of monk’s robes stained with crusted blood. Continue reading Dr. Beebo and Loofy

Rise of the Neutrals

From the Journal of the Grenyew Antling Camp, Day 7 of the Splinter Moon:

The Red Cedar Camp was raided yet again, our brothers and sisters used as fodder in this endless war that draws us in against our wishes. We know not who the raiders were—those who appointed themselves Legion or the aptly-named Hellbourne. For us, they are all a scourge. Visit the fresh mounds in the Spirit Glade as proof.

Our Antlore Healer has seen enough death. In his long, honorable life, he has mended countless Antlings who have fallen from trees, been swept downriver in a flood, even tussled too long with a Vagabond. But what he has faced in the years since war came to the forest—the amputations, the mercy killings, and most of all by far, the burials—have taken a toll on him. He is gone for stretches of time that grow longer, sometimes not returning until the moon has swelled twice. Continue reading Rise of the Neutrals

The Rise of Ra

Part 1: Anubis Awakens

The words echoed within the sarcophagus.

“I remember.”

To speak something other than the name his Hellbourne brethren had given him—Pharaoh—felt like flexing muscles that hadn’t been used in ages. The heavy gold and dry wrappings adorning his body shifted as he inched the sarcophagus open.

A blue glow filled the cavernous room outside. Pharaoh stepped from the stone tomb and surveyed the piles of discarded treasures, weapons, artifacts. Continue reading The Rise of Ra

Sinful Revolution – The March on Maliken

Part 1: The Sins Return to Maliken

Maliken stood among the blood and screams of the deepest dungeon of Hell’s Keep and felt the Grimoire drawing near. He climbed the wide steps made of human and beast skulls and strode through the sludge-filled streets to the Ancient Cathedral to meet the Sins who would be the Legion’s downfall.

They waited for him in the central chamber.

Maliken surveyed the wicked work his Envy Parasite had done. Green mist swirled around Envy’s tentacles, slipped between his sharp teeth. He clutched the Grimoire in his claws. The ancient book glowed from the assembled evil around it. Continue reading Sinful Revolution – The March on Maliken

The Seven Deadly Sins – Envy

EnvyAs Maliken turned the decrepit pages, he began to understand the power contained within. Each of these basal desires could hold a powerful sway over the masses, if only used by the right wielder. He knew that perhaps the most powerful force was the one most capable of corrupting others and that was Envy– a force that even the great king himself knew too well. It was the coveting of power that made young Maliken take his first treacherous steps toward corruption.

He bound down the stairs of the Cathedral and entered the filthy streets of Hell’s Keep. The scent of death and decay permeated the city and the cries of anguish from the dungeons below the surface echoed from the sewers.

Maliken’s mind drifted off in delight at the screams and cries of pain. As he thought of the many ways to break an enemy, his mind fell to one of his favorites and suddenly it dawned on him. Make them watch as those they love are lost to them. Not killed per say, but corrupted and twisted into a mockery of what they once were.

There was only one creature that found purpose in taking everything from someone in such a fashion. It could not only make friends betray another but also force the helpless being to watch everything that they did, unable to stop it. One creature who coveted so much he would even steal enchantments before wearing the very flesh that once hung from your bones as his own. That creature was Parasite and he was the living embodiment of Envy. Maliken strode quickly to the dungeons and found the demon there in the darkness.

“Your power is nothing compared to what I can offer you. You can corrupt the souls of men, turn their hearts away from the things held dear and make them covet those things that are just beyond their grasp,”said Maliken. “I will give you power to warp their vision and cloud their minds so all they see is that which they cannot possess. I will grant you the power to plant the seed of Sin in the hearts of Men. Will you take it, demon?”

There was only one whispered word in response.

“Yesssss….”

Parasite suddenly seized with power as Maliken channeled the dark energies from the tome into the creature’s demonic body. A cloud of dark green mist poured into the chamber and where once a mere demon stood, there was instead the primal essence of Sin – not seen since the first fall of Man. A wicked grin formed over its face as it contemplated the scope of its new abilities. Nearby, a captured legionnaire laid on a torture rack and Envy, still grinning widely, leapt into the wailing soldier’s body.

Maliken broke the bonds holding the prisoner to the rack and he tumbled to the floor. The legionnaire struggled to his feet, but fed by the power of Envy found his wounds knitting shut. The once great Legion warrior realized that he was now a prisoner within his own body and his eyes seemed to scream with terror as a green haze fell over his vision. His mouth twisted into a wicked grin as Maliken leaned over and whispered the names the others who were ripe to fall. Envy walked over and picked up the effects of the prisoner – his massive axe and the hood he wore to cover the features of the keeper of law. Maliken handed him the tome and sent him out of the dungeons, on the road to the City of Iron. As Envy hurried off, Maliken’s mouth twisted into a wicked grin of its own.

The Seven Deadly Sins – Sloth

SlothEnvy left Hell’s Keep and began traveling toward the City of Iron wearing the skin of the legionnaire to ward off the attention of the Legion scouts. The book that his master, Maliken, had given him guided him toward the next unwitting avatar. He marched for four days and nights without ceasing or breaking for food or water. The demon did not feel the pain of the body he inhabited and did not notice the bloodied and blistered feet of his host until his gait began to falter. Noticing the strength of his body beginning to fail as dehydration and fatigue took its toll, Envy decided that he no longer needed this form and destroyed it from the inside out, tearing free of its flesh. Envy always relished the sensation of terror as his host felt the demon emerging from his flesh. The demon longed for the exquisite pain of death and release that he could never have. That was his curse– to always want to be released from the pain behind his wicked grin. Continue reading The Seven Deadly Sins – Sloth

Official home for all HoN Content.