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

The Seven Deadly Sins – Pride

PrideJeraziah sat on the top of the dais in a throne made of brass and iron. Next to him sat the empty throne made of wood and bone that belonged to his sister, Ophelia, although she rarely spent any time there. She was much too busy keeping the beast tribes in order and moving throughout the kingdom to be bothered with any of the details of keeping the Domain of Man safe and running smooth enough to keep the demons at bay.

“It’s best that she not be here in any case,” he thought as he looked over to the empty throne. “After all, her place is among her own people, and even after all these years they do not know much more about running in civilization than they did before. Thank Sol for their numbers on the battlefield, but they have little place among civilized men.”

He was already frustrated from the morning’s reports of raids on some of the outlying farms. Not every beast was willing to let the old ways die, nor was every man willing to see them as more than savages.This was Newerth’s eternal problem… not man vs. demon, but man vs. beast. Although he had come to love his sister, her people were always so unwilling to adapt to the new ways and embrace the progress that they had made. How it frustrated him to know that Sol offered these primitives a better path and they refused to walk it! Continue reading The Seven Deadly Sins – Pride

The Seven Deadly Sins – Lust

LustEnvy walked for some time to reach the edge of the encampment. He knew the soldiers from the battle against the Horsemen were still being treated in field hospitals as their numbers were too great and their wounds too grievous to be transported back to the city. He was surprised that the Grimoire had drawn him here, to the sick and wounded, in search of the next host. He was glad that his supernatural strength allowed him to carry the tome even with the tiny limbs that the chiprel body possessed.

Envy found a temporary structure, not much more than a hastily erected wooden frame and awnings. There were several holes in the awnings that served as windows, letting the rays of sunlight inside and the stench of slow death and sounds of suffering escape from within its canvas walls. The deamon in disguise heard a melodic voice softly singing from within and, after tucking the book away in the crevice of a nearby tree, scurried up to one of the makeshift windows. Continue reading The Seven Deadly Sins – Lust

The Seven Deadly Sins – Wrath

WrathEnvy hurried on as fast as the legs of the Chiprel could carry him. With the tome strapped to his back (thanks to the belt of one of those soldiers under the influence of Lust), he was able to move through the trees and rooftops much more quickly than before. At this point, Envy had grown tired of this body and was looking forward to being back inside the body of an unwilling host so that he would be fulfilled once again.

As he drew closer to his goal, the sky went from its normal blue color to a more subdued hue.. almost gray where the sun could not peak through. The smell of sulfur and burning gasses filled the air and burned the sensitive nose of the chiprel Envy wore as a skin, even from this distance. Soon, before he could even see the towers that guarded the city. he spied the smoke belching from its foundries. Envy climbed a bit higher for a better look and saw the city just at the edge of his field of vision. This was the hub of the Human/Beast Alliance. Continue reading The Seven Deadly Sins – Wrath

The Seven Deadly Sins – Greed

GreedEnvy’s wandering thoughts snapped back to the present. He looked behind him at Jeraziah admiring himself in his shining shield and smiled. As Frederick, he had free reign of the castle and quickly ushered the dignitaries, generals and other guests from the cathedral halls. With four of his brethren awakened, his power was growing even stronger. The Grimoire of Sin felt lighter in his hands as he left the tower and headed through the marble gates.

Envy looked around at the men and beasts that wandered the streets of the city. How long would it take for the corruption to take hold in them as it had their leaders? How will the common man react when he sees that his idols have once again failed him? How good will it feel to see them all in utter ruin and chaos, beneath the heel of vice and indulgence? Continue reading The Seven Deadly Sins – Greed

The Seven Deadly Sins – Gluttony

GluttonyA familiar hum of power coursed through the Grimoire. Envy swiftly moved across the battlefield and knew that the next vessel was not far off.

“Can it possibly be this easy? This obvious?” thought Envy as he looked across the scarred landscape.

At the edge of the battlefield sat the corpulent composite creature of chaos known as Devourer. The patchwork demon was the most ravenous creature that the human magi had ever summoned in their wars against the beasts and the monstrosity was known for consuming every creature it was able to get it’s hook into. The creatures it didn’t finish were simply added to his patchwork body.

Envy strode confidently towards the demon, the now comforting power of the Grimoire clutched tightly in his hand. As he neared, the Devourer looked up from the corpse he was gnawing on, distracted by the immense power that was so close and he knew that he must have it. The Devourer lashed out with his hook and wrapped it around the creature holding the powerful relic and tried to reel it back in to be consumed but it did not move. Continue reading The Seven Deadly Sins – Gluttony

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