The Second Corruption 3767

Raising their armies, each marched toward the appointed place. The vanguard of each host saw the other; the leaders knew their foes sought the same treasure; and each spurred the other to hasten all the more. At dawn, the two forces found themselves arrayed across the open field. In its center, Grimm stood, emaciated, mad, laughing with daemonic glee.

The armies charged, almost unbidden by their masters. Sorceries and spells of all manner crackled in the air. The blast of Man’s weapons, the howl of beast warriors, and the screams of the dying all filled the place with the symphony of a massacre. Ophelia and Jeraziah both watched in mounting horror as their people hurled their lives away on the field of battle.

At the climax of the butchery, a crack like thunder deafened the assembled armies. For a moment, all fell silent. The ground shook and rumbled and split open where Grimm had stood. Flames and ash and lava spewed forth. The stench of sulfur flooded the glade. At the pit’s edge, a claw emerged. Then another. And more. Pulling themselves up from the inferno below came daemons by the hundred, returned once more to Newerth.

The Hellbourne had come again.

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