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Shadows of the Undying King IC Thread

Sanai

Stylish Deviant
True Blood
#1
PROLOGUE

The End Times have come. Across the battle scarred old world, terrible omens and portents abound, more now than ever before. Anarchy, strife and war are on the rise in amounts not seen before in human memory. In the North, the armies of Chaos amass, united by Archaeon the Everchosen. Even now those armies march towards the lands of man. In distant Ulthuan & Lustria, massive Daemonic incursions beset the ancient powers of Order, and in Tilea & Estalia, humanity is being drowned by verminous hordes of Skaven, finally united in purpose and conquest by their terrible horned god. In Bretonnia, the bastard child of the king even now leads a violent rebellion. Within the Empire itself, hordes of beastmen are on the move, and the cursed province of Sylvania has openly declared its independence, protected by a magical Wall of Bone.

In graveyards, crypts, ancient battlefields and forgotten tombs across the Old World, the dead are stirring from their slumber, arising on creaking bones and looking upon a changed world with eye sockets that are empty but for flickering balefires, awoken and sustained by unprecedented saturation's of dark magic. Yet, those among the undead who have the glimmer of sentience are uneasy. They can sense a darker power, like a terrible black shadow cast across the world, that is preparing to return from beyond the grave. Those who would call themselves Lords of the Dead are undeterred however, as they call out to the undead, drawing them towards themselves like moths to a dark flame, ready for old plans to finally come to fruition.

The End Times have come, but at whose hand will the end come? Will it be the forces of Chaos? Or will it be at the hands of another power?

CHAPTER ONE: A COURT FOR CORPSES

In the crumbling ruins of an ancient castle in the Border Princes, a ritual was underway. The Dread Moon known as Morrslieb in the tongues of man, is rising in the night sky. The nine chanting, robed figures within the castle know that this is not the optimal night for such a ritual- normally, this ritual would be carried out on Geheimnisnacht, but their master has insisted that it must be now, that there is no time to wait. So they are standing in a circle, within the uppermost chamber of the fortresses one intact tower, chanting words from a language that was dead when the Empire was still just a grand ambition in the dreams of an Unberogen warrior.

In the center of the circle of chanting necromancers, there lies built into the stone floor an empty circular pool, ringed by a circle of nine Wights, each of the ancient undead warriors holding a struggling captive in their icy grip. In the center of a complicated arcane sigil inscribed within the tiled depression of the pool, lies a hideous creature. While it bears a resemblance to the human population from which it was born, it is unmistakably inhuman, its nightmarishly chiroptean features setting it apart from mere mortals. Its naked form is all lean, corded muscle like that of a powerful predator, and its face is a freakish visage, with large, black eyes and rows of needle sharp fangs, which even now are in motion as it mouths the same words that the necromancers are chanting.

As the chanting builds to a painful crescendo, the foul words being spat into the air by throats ravaged by time and the use of dark magic, the Wights all draw their ancient, corroded blades in one smooth motion. They wait a few moments for the appointed time, and then the armoured, skeletal warriors draw their blades sharply across the throats of the nine sacrifices, and the blood starts to flow, directed by the magic of the ritual and the carefully inscribed sigils to collect in the pool.

As the pool fills and the corpses of the sacrifices slump to the floor, drained of every last drop by the blasphemous incantation, the level of the blood filling the pool suddenly starts to recede. Slowly at first, but gaining in speed until it can be seen running across the floor of the pool in rivulets towards the figure lying in the middle, the blood is drawn inwards, absorbed by the horror lying at the bottom of the pool.

As the last of the blood is absorbed, the creature in the center of it all suddenly sits bolt upright, an unearthly scream escaping its ravaged lungs. As the ritual concludes, the scream changes in pitch and timber, turning from the maddened howl of a monster to the scream of a man. The nine figures slump, momentarily exhausted by the strain of the ritual, and the figure within the circle stands, his naked form no longer horrific to look upon. The vampire now looks like a handsome noble (because no one can mistake the haughty, arrogant sneer upon his face for that of a commoner) with the lean body and narrow hips of a skilled swordsman. From his head springs long, raven black hair, and his sneering face is a well sculpted visage complete with sharp cheekbones, an aquiline nose and perfect, albeit fanged, teeth.

Sanai Morden, the dread Vampire Count of Callistaire, stands upon the balcony of the lonely tower, surveying the city below. As his undead attendants silently fit his black armour to his body, bony, withered fingers pulling tight various straps and buckles, he notes that the city is still burning. The raging inferno below had defied all attempts to suppress it in the aftermath of the battle, to the point where Sanai had called of his efforts to save the city. His fists clenched as he recalled the events of the past few days. The orkish horde that had descended upon the city within the Border Princes that he had spent so many years manipulating and binding to his will had seemingly come out of nowhere. Even the powerful army of undead minions that he had been mustering in anticipation of these troubled times had been unable to prevent the wholesale slaughter of his mortal thralls.

Now, his fortress, and the kingdom around it, lay in ruins. Only one tower remained fully intact, and the nine sacrifices he had just expended to restore his noble countenance in the yearly ritual he had plagiarized and modified from those of the Druchii Witch Cults had been the last mortal survivors of his kingdom, excluding his cabal of mortal necromancers of course.

With his mortal minions wiped out, and many of his sentient undead minions having fallen to the greenskin invaders, Sanai knew he would have to improvise to carry out his plans for the coming months. There was still much that had to be done. While manpower was not an issue, as the corpses of the dead could be employed to serve time and time again, it was the lack of thinking servants that was the issue. Sanai's plans would require him to travel far, and he would need those that remained of his retainers to remain here to continue marshalling his army.

So, with his armour fitted and in place, Sanai descended to the throneroom of his fortress, which was now exposed to the cool night air, its roof having fallen in during the fighting, and closing his eyes, he cast his will about, using his dark powers to draw the undead towards him.

If I will it, they will come, Sanai thought, smiling to himself, as he waited, while his necromancers worked to create a dark shroud over the former kingdom of Callistaire, protecting their master, and his industrious minions, from the hateful glare of the sun.

 

The Archivist

Archivist of the word The
True Blood
#2
The rustle of bones flittered through the vast library of the barrow. The corridors had long grown out of proportion with the physical, bone golems taking hours to trudge from one end of the complex to the other.

In the centre of the labyrinth of ivory bookshelves and duty tomes, a hooded figure sat at a desk, reading a book. He brought thumb and forefinger, skeletal both, up to his face, motioned as though he were licking them with his non-existent tongue, then turned the page.
The faint sound of a bell reached him. In a movement, he slammed the book shut and laid it to one side (exactly in the centre of a dust free rectangle) and stood, his chair scraping backwards in the gouges its stone legs left in the floor.
"Who dares disturb my studies!?" came his voice, sonorous and scratchy. He thrust his hand in the air and summoned a lightning bolt, striking the centre of a perfectly round charred spot on the ceiling.
He summoned a vision in front of him. A swarthy adventurer, pushing open the rusted entrance, danced in his glass eye.
"Hmmph. He looks no more studious than the last. Berkein!"
A bone golem had settled into a position moments before his command. The freshly named Berkein (four hundredth to bear the name) bowed it's head of femurs and clattered away into the dark to deal with the intruder.

As the wight finished the book, he lifted it in his right hand and, with a swirl of darkness, sent it back into the depths of his library. He raised his left hand, but before he could summon a new book a feeling crept over him. His eye danced as a prophecy revealed itself to him.
"I see. Well..."
He looked around, noting for the first time the perfectly scoured floor, the mark on the ceiling and the outlines in the dust on his desk.
"Berkein! We're leaving!"
The four hundred and first golem to bear that name, a child-sized mass of ear bones, trundled up to him.
"It is time for The Archivist to return to his place in the world."

The wight left through the rusted door, a bone golem closing it behind him and Berkein (the 401st). They headed north east, towards a certain castle...


---


It was only a moment after the barrier of darkness had risen that the wight entered the throne room from where he had been reading, hidden in an alcove with Berkein (the 401st) acting as his lectern. He bowed to the vampire.

"Greetings, powerful king. Do not be alarmed by my presence: I am The Archivist, Holder of the Seven Tomes. I foresaw your return and have come to offer my services as an aide, an advisor, a seer, a librarian, a mage and a scholar."

Behind him his bone golem shifted its body mass, presumably attempting to bow it's non-humanoid form.
 

Sanai

Stylish Deviant
True Blood
#3
Sanai was surprised to find that no sooner had he sat down and begun broadcasting his necromatic summons, a wretched looking creature had stepped out of an alcove in his throne room and introduced itself.

Expressing his surprise by raising an eyebrow archly and leaning forward in his throne, the vampire replied in a a cultured Tilean accent. "Welcome to Callistaire Archivist. I had not been expecting any arrivals so soon, though I suppose your claims of being a seer would explain how you arrived so quickly. Before we talk business, my obligations as a host demand that I ask if you require sustenance or lodgings of any kind after your travels. Furthermore, I must apologize for the state of the place, my last guests were somewhat... unruly". As Sanai spoke of his previous "guests", he looked meaningfully towards the large pile of bones and crude orkish wargear that had been gathered in one corner of the hall, that was even now gradually dwindling in size as a work party of zombies slowly removed armfuls of the orkoid remains from the hall.
 

The Archivist

Archivist of the word The
True Blood
#4
The Archivist remained in his bowed posture for a moment longer.

"I require no sustenance beyond access to the Winds, and I require no sleep. All I ask is to have access to your library, whatever quality it may be."

He unbowed himself and gestured at Berkein (the 401st).

"If you require servants, I will animate more bone golems to service the castle."
 

Sanai

Stylish Deviant
True Blood
#5
Sanai nodded thoughtfully.

"Giving you access to my library is the least I can do in return for your services. I had quite the collection of arcane lore and esoterica, but unfortunately a pack of goblins broke into the castle library during the recent.... unpleasantness. Luckily some of my pets dealt with the goblins, but not before they made an unfortunate mess of the place. I had given the task of cleaning up the mess and cataloging the losses to one of my necromancer subordinates, but he isn't exactly the brightest of my servants. Perhaps while you are there you can give him some assistance. On the matter of your offer to provide bone golems, I would be happy to accept, so long as creating them is not too taxing for you."

As he finished, Sanai accepted a goblet of blood from a skeletal servant. As he sipped from the goblet, he frowned. Greenskin blood, he thought. This is what I get for allowing the mortal populace to die.
 

The Archivist

Archivist of the word The
True Blood
#6
The Archivist bowed once more.

"Thank you, my liege."

He turned and headed over to the bone pile. He summoned a book into his left hand, opening it in front of him. He began reciting something archaic, and bones began to shift and stir. Every so often a zombie would pick a bone from the pile before Berkein (the 401st) nicked it from their dull hands and tossed it back in the pile.

Several minutes later the bones had organised themselves according to their type. The bones then began shifting over each other, forming into a good dozen or so bone golems of various shapes and sizes. Here a golem made entirely of skulls assembled itself into a squat, fat shape; there a golem made of claws assembled into a spindly, razor-edged body.

With a vague dismissal The Archivist sent the golems on their way, and unsummoned the book (The Medicinal Properties of Saltwater) in his right hand. He hadn't even looked at the book throughout the process.
He headed off to seek the library, Berkein (the 401st) following on behind.
 

Get of W'soran

CN's Lord of Masks
True Blood
#7
Sigmund von Müller pulled at his reigns to signal for his nightmare to stop, the beast growled in annoyance for the steed liked to travel in the sun no more than it’s master. The von Carstein vampire glared up at the source of the hateful burning light before glancing back at his retinue.

Two score of the Knights Sepulchral followed him, they where almost utterly mindless except a glimmer of intellect and will that still remained, not that it affected their fighting ability. It was especially noticeable with their Captain, the one Sigmund had nicknamed Bright-Eyes in his boredom, the Wight seemed to have more conciousness than many of his kind and it occasionally responded to the vampire's voice . The skeletal warriors were in perfect marching columns and not for the first time Sigmund pondered his surprise that his master had given them to him. Scattered alongside the knights and vampire where huge wolves that where not often seen abroad from Sylvania but they had followed the immortal, drawn to his dark power and had stuck with him since then although there numbers changed constantly as they wandered off and later re-joined the group whenever they chose.

There had been another amongst their number, Greiger von Carstein who Sigmund had been sent to serve alongside...or more accurately under. The elder vampire had been one of Konrad’s spawn, whether or not he had been mad before or his sire had just passed his own insanity on was unknown. Although his superior in the Drakenhof Order Greiger was utterly unsuited from this mission, perhaps Mannfred had thought to use the brute to bully the power they searched for into submission but that was not Sigmund's methods and so he had to be free of the thug.

Sigmund had gotten lucky the wolves had warned him, in their own way, of the Imperial approach before the humans saw them. Informing Greiger they both attacked the mortals, however he had "accidentally" got split off from his superior and what a shame that was after all the knights had been under Sigmund's command and rode with him, the wolves had stuck with Sigmund also. So poor, stupid, Greiger was all alone and no matter how strong he was the humans had been too many and he'd been cut down and decapitated.

As thanks Sigmund silently left with his soldiers, the humans had done him a great favour after all so he spared them.

Once alone Sigmund had taken his men of the main roads, a stupid travel route that Greiger had insisted upon, and travelled across country towards the Border Princes.

And now here he was, at the border to those lands. The vampire squinted, used a hand to shield his eyes from some of the sun's rays, it really was getting far far too bright out here. He briefly contemplated trying to summon up some cloud cover, he had decided against it because the weather was simply too good and it might give him away if the Empire's warriors where near by...or any other unpleasant encounters. In retrospect it had probably been to much of a precaution, he looked up again and shook his head...it didn't matter anyway, he'd been in the sun too long and his strength was too sapped for weather-working.

Sigmund turned his mind back to his mission and wondered how he was ever suppose to find his target since Mannfred's ever so useful instructions had been "One of us with territories somewhere in the Border Princes". Wonderful.

This is going to take forever! he despaired unhappily.

The Vampire was contemplating his miserable situation when he felt it, a dark will crashed into his mind and washed over him...a summoning. Sigmund contemplated the feeling, it definitely came from one of their kind...powerful, dark, arrogant. He turned his head slightly and knew that he was staring straight at the source.

A smile touched the von Carsteins lips...maybe it wouldn't be so bad after all. Giving the reigns a lazy shake the nightmare started forward once more, wights and wolves following quietly.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It still took a few days of travel, the Templar took the least direct routes possible trying to stay out of sight of even the lowest peasant. Eventually he reached his destination and Sigmund felt rejuvenated only moments after passing under the Dark Cover, it assumed his swift recovery was at least partially thanks to the Dark Magic that emanated from the shroud above.

Sigmund took the sights in as he travelled, devastation was everywhere. The Vampire Lord he had been sent to find was supposedly master of a Kingdom of some sort, if this was it then it severely dropped his value to the Count, the place was utterly destroyed.

The von Carstein couldn't help but feel a tinge of regret, perhaps if he'd taken a more direct route then he might have been here when the...battle or whatever took place then perhaps he could have helped or at least had some fun.

Eventually the vampire reached the Tower, it seemed to be the last truly intact structure in the land. Outside the entrance he dismounted, removing his sword from his saddle and buckling on his sword belt, he considered the helmet but left it where it was, once done he turned to face his knights and wolves.

"My pets." he said kneeling down to pet the largest of the animals, a colossal creature he had named Niko after a dog he had once had in his mortal life, it was clearly the Alpha of this dark pack. "Go and wander this ruined kingdom, search for others to join your family...expand your numbers, they will be drawn here by the dark power that saturates this place. I will summon you when I have need you of."

The Doom Wolf barked, it's tail swung back and forth like that of an excited pup, it ran it's head hard up against the vampire in a demonstration of affection that almost knocked Sigmund onto his ass.

Barking once more Niko turned and ran off with his family. Sigmund had no idea if he would find any, if it was possible at all for their kind to exist in this part of the world but it could do no harm to look.

Standing back up he looked towards Bright-Eyes "You will all stay out here, we are guests and a show of force would be completely impolite. Look after my mount, I will return when I have met the Master here."

The wights all remained unmoving, as their kind most often did, except for Bright-Eyes who actually nodded slightly as he watched his master with glowing blue fires which served as his eyes.

Sigmund looked down at himself, his armour was completely uncovered by the dust from the road and running a hand over his hair he felt that it was utterly immaculate. He pondered if this was some strange side-effect of the armour's protective spells.

Pleased with his appearance the vampire entered the tower.



Sigmund reached the Throne Room and strode in confidently. The vampire knew he cut an impressive enough sight, clad in the black plate of the Drakenhof Templars and one hand resting lightly on the pommel of his sword. He ignored his surroundings completely, chin held high casting an arrogant figure as he moved directly towards the throne.

Stopping before the Lord of this place Sigmund clicked his heels together and bowed deeply, in the manner of an Imperial Courtier, he held the bow deeper and longer than he felt was truly needed for the difference in station between a member of such a high Knightly Order and a Lord of a backwater but he preferred to err on the side of caution, as he had always done.

Straightening up he looked directly at the man and admitted he was pleased since from the sight of this Lord it was clear he was of noble lineage although obviously not as noble as either the von Müllers or the von Carsteins.

"Greetings Great Prince." Sigmund said politely and respectfully, he didn't know which title this vampire used, the Border Princes where a political mess and every Lord and Lady seemed to used a different title of address. "I am Sigmund von Müller, Templar of the Order of Drakenhof and servant of Count Mannfred von Carstein of Sylvania."

He paused for a moment to allow his master's name to sink in before continuing, there was no reason to rush the introductions. "My Lord seeks allies in the coming days, equals to share in the these days of change, as a token of good faith he sends me. If you wish it, I am to serve at your court, as a loyal retainer and in return he requests that you only consider opening diplomatic channels with Sylvania."

This was not completely true of course, Mannfred would no sooner part with a servant than he would anything else, the Count had become unsubtle and, in Sigmund's opinion, unstable. It was, in the Templar's best estimation, a boon for all involved if Vampire Lords began to work together in some manner. Sigmund couldn't care less if this was what Mannfred wanted, this was what he would do.

"Although I fear all I can offer is my own humble skills as a warrior as I only brought two score wights, known as the Knights Sepulchral with me."
Sigmund said, he had no idea if this man would know of the infamous skeletal knights but it didn't matter. At the very least he would get an immortal Templar in his service.
 
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Count Vashra

Lord of Shadows
#8
Johann could sense the call from Castle Callistaire, the darkness pulling at his soul. Currently sharpening his Dark Knife after a recent underestimation of one of his would-be victims' ability to resist the Crown of Blood long enough to scream for his guards to remove it, and the Vampire. He had escaped, but blunted his sacrificial blade in the fighting. The Crown was hidden, as usual, under his clothes. He smiled. Maybe the creature calling the Undead - it could be a Vampire, it could be a Liche - would have the right authority to be worthy of the Blood Crown.

It was time to go. He left the Vampiric Bloodlines section of his research room, and found a Skeletal Steed to requisition.

Not long after starting his ride, Johann caught sight of a group of heavily armed Skeletons led by an armoured knight - a Vam,pire, according to his senses. He bared his fangs for a second, sitting on his steed out of sight some distance behind. This was Sigmun von Muller, a Vampire he had been watching for some time, with his Knights Sepulchral. Sigmund was strong, and in servie - maybe a get - to Mannfred von Carstein, making him highly ranked, and a possible choice for the Crown. That gave him two choices, so far.

Johann waited for the group to move on before trailing them at a safe distance. His Vampirric nature/scent/whatever you wanted to call it may expose him, but Sigmund seemed focused on reaching his goal. He gave the Vampire a day's head start to drop from his attention - he clearly wanted to be no seen, judging by his route - and then arrived at the Castle.

the scene was an absolute mess. The Castle damaged, corpses outside, the after echo of a regeneration ritual. Maybe the Vampire - he was certain of that, now - would appreciate a keen mind to assist him.

Johann dismounted and let his steed collapse, having no further need for it. He entered the castle, Knife and Crown hidden on his body, and soon found the Throne Room, to find Sigmund there.

He bowed. 'Lord, I am Johann von Carstein. I felt your dark call, and hurried to answer it. I have good technological skills and a keen mind, and would be delighted to assist in any way I can.'
 
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Malochai

Moderator
Staff member
True Blood
#9
Volker was tired of this place, he realised suddenly. He tried to frown, before realising that it was beyond his ability, and it took him a while to determine the cause. Rage swept over his consciousness, and without even thinking he swept towards the small human village which had grown around the boneyard, glimmering scythe appearing in a bony hand. A presence accompanied him, and a sense of terror fell over the settlement, until only a couple of raggedy guards stood in the street, shivering in their mouldy tunics and rusted mail jacks. One of them approached, a pocked sword held in trembling hands, and he seemed to skim over the space where Volker hovered, before his eyes slowly returned and fixed on the wraith. He opened his mouth to scream, but then the undead beings eyes locked onto his, and a chill lethargy fell over his entire body. He could do nothing but watch with building horror as a hand, devoid of skin or muscle, slid from the cloth confines and reached towards him …


Come the morning, the villagers of that small, insignificant place found the body, withered and frail, nothing like he had in life. They retreated back to their homes, bolted their doors and lit candles in the windows. Volker had already left, pulled by the compelling tug of a summoning across glen and dale, marsh and plain.

---​


Volker Moritz looked up at the crumbling ruins of the tower, having felt an irresistible draw to this place of recent death despite the distances he had had to travel. His death had somewhat freed him from the bonds of life, although he would never admit such foolishness, and he had travelled extensively, although only to the places considered haunted and gaunt by the living - no doubt, his presence being what caused such ideas.


The ruined remains of Count Sanai Morden’s fortress sang to him like an elven orchestra, the heavy shroud of Skyish as much of a draw to him as a pile of shimmering gold to a dwarf. Death, and recently, he said to himself, even going so far as to make the motion of sniffing the air, as if he had the ability to smell anything which lingered on the air, although it could be nothing but dust and ash, death and decay. His eyes, a flickering green balefire, scanned the area, but he could see nothing of note in the newly restored colours of his vision, which still required some getting used to.


However, Volker did sense the will that had drawn him here, powerful and arrogant, as were all of those who had bound him to their will during the long centuries of his undeath. Within that construct lay the arrogant fool who sought to command him. With the barest will of effort, he sent his insubstantial form floating across the ground between himself and the courtyard, a black void noticeable even in the unnatural darkness lingering over the siege-ravaged keep. The presence of recent deaths, less than a week before, lingered in the air and he would have licked his lips, had any flesh still clung to the ethereal glistening bone of his skull.


The closer he got to this vampire, the greater the sense of dark magic he got, and in this place, where so many had died, he felt like basking eternally - or at least until the deaths grew stale and the magic moved elsewhere, as was its want. Standing before the great keep doors, Volker was about to glide through the doors and announce his presence to those present when another vampire approached, followed by a coterie of wights and wolves. They swept across the yard, through the doors - which then promptly swung shut with a resounding thud behind them.


Anger flooded the wraith, and he almost flew through the door and up the tower to where the vampire had just finished rambling. A frigid chill feared the air, and had any mortals still inhabited this place, they would have experienced a bone-deep fear which would root them to the spot whilst he tore their soul from their body and devoured it.


Who is it that has the audacity to summon my presence? he demanded, his voice projected directly into the minds of those sentient beings present; his hood fell away and revealed his fleshless face, looking surprisingly substantial.
 

Sanai

Stylish Deviant
True Blood
#10
Sanai had been surprised at how useful the Archivist's golem servants had been in the past few days. They seemed far more capable than the zombie and skeleton servants he was having to make do with in the aftermath of his kingdoms desolation. He had quietly instructed two of his necromancers to covertly study the golems, in hopes that his minions would learn how to replicate the process.

After a few days waiting upon his throne, Sanai was gratified to see that he had guests. A pair of vampires, Mannfred's get by the look (and sound) of things, who had just introduced themselves with the usual insincere courtesy he had come to expect from Sylvanian vampires. He was just about to reply, when what appeared to be a wraith glided into the room and demanded to know his identity.

Impertinent creature, Sanai seethed, as he drew upon the wind of Shyish, ready to force his dark will upon the creature. As he looked upon its face however, he paused for a moment. This wraith seems unusually articulate for one of its kind, he thought. Sanai did not need more slaves, he needed lieutenants, so perhaps some diplomacy was in order.

"I am Sanai Morden, Vampire Count of Callistaire, sired by Kheran of Old Mourkhain. I bid you all welcome to my kingdom, and apologize for the mess." he said in a clear, strong voice.

Then, he turned his gaze to focus on the two vampires. Normally, he would address Johann first, as those who bear the Von Carstein name tend to get offended if not given precedence over other Sylvanian vampires. However, Sigmund claimed to be an emissary of Mannfred himself, so Sanai decided to treat the two as equals.

"Brother vampires, I gladly accept your offers of assistance in these troubled times. I am always happy to find common cause with Sylvania, because what other land comes so close to recreating the glory of long lost Mourkhain? If there is anything you need during your stay here, do not hesitate to ask. When the rest of our guests arrive, we will have much to talk about."

As he spoke, he gestured towards a small door, which opened a few moments later to admit a trio of the newly created bone golem servants. The three golems approached the pair of vampires, stopping a respectful distance away. One opened a magically sealed vessel, pouring the cunningly preserved blood into the fine goblets held by the other two golems. Sanai had saved his reserve of magically preserved blood for his guests, while he himself subsisted on the bitter blood of greenskins. As the golems offered the goblets to the two vampires, Sanai turned his attention to the angry wraith, which was no doubt a little angrier now having had to wait for its vampiric betters to be attended to.

"Friend Wraith, I apologize if my summons have inconvenienced you, but my plans require the presence of talented and unique individuals such as yourself. I offer you my hospitality, and a chance to be part of a great venture. Align yourself with my cause, and you will have the opportunity to avail yourself of whatever it is you desire, whether it be wealth, power, glory or even vengeance against the living. On another note, you seem to have me at a disadvantage. When I tell my court tales of my meeting with such a fearsome and infamous creature as yourself, with what name will I instill fear into their hearts?"
 

Count Vashra

Lord of Shadows
#11
Johann took the proffered blood, enjoying the taste as the blood ran down his throat, into his system, invigorating. 'Thank you, Count Sanai.' He finished the drink and returned the goblet to the golem who had originally offered it. Johann looked at the wraith. How foolish of it to say- think what it had just...thought. He would think of it as 'thought', just to keep sane, he decided. The Count seemed powerful, certainly beyond the abilities of a mere wraith. It should...float? more carefully.

'Count Sanai, I have but one request at this time. I would like a lower room of the castle to use a a workshop. I am technologically talented, and would like to offer my service to any who desire it.' A workshop in the lower levels would give Johann an out of the way place to conduct experiments, and 'interview' potential candidates for the Crown.
 

Get of W'soran

CN's Lord of Masks
True Blood
#12
Sigmund sensed Johann before he saw him, Sigmund ignored the approach of the other vampire standing completely still as he approached, then the other invited himself.

"Johann?" he thought to himself "I don't recall him and I thought I knew everyone who bore the von Carstein name."

Sigmund continued to stand perfectly still when the wraith appeared except his hand slid away from his sword's pommel, revealing the red bat of the Drakenhof Templars, and gripped tightly to the weapons grip but there was no swift strike from the intruder so Sigmund's hand subtly shifted back to rest onto the pommel once again.

Sigmund turned to watch the Bone Golems enter and raised an eyebrow.

"They look like they could be useful in battle, strong and durable I bet." he thought to himself.

The von Carstein vampire took the goblet from the undead servant and raised it slightly in Sanai's direction before sipping at the blood, the vampire smiled in appreciation "Thank you for your hospitality Count."

The vampire quietly waited for Johann to make his request in a show of manners although in truth he just wanted to stay to hear the other vampire's request. After the man had finished Sigmund bowed slightly to Sanai.
"Count Morden would your tower have some form of fencing hall where I could practice, if not just a large empty hall with a high ceiling would do, then somewhere I can store my Wights and their mounts after I use them to help with my fencing practice."
 

Sanai

Stylish Deviant
True Blood
#13
Sanai considered both Vampire's requests carefully before responding.

"Johann, the castle has a large workshop which would suit your needs perfectly. It is adjoining the castle smithy, but has a smaller adjoining room if you require privacy. Sigmund, the castle barracks had a sparring hall adjoining it. Unfortunately, the roof was caved in by a greenskin stone thrower during the battle, but the castle ballroom survived intact. It should provide ample space in which to practice your swordplay. Your wights can store their steeds in the stables. You will find them within the castle courtyard. Merely ask one of the golems if you need directions, and they will lead you wherever you need to go."

Satisfied that the two vampires would be able to find what they need, Sanai directed his gaze back towards the wraith, waiting for it to frame a reply.
 

Get of W'soran

CN's Lord of Masks
True Blood
#14
Sigmund nodded, he would make do with whatever petty facilities where available.

Sigmund give another bow. "Thank you Count, then please excuse me so that I may go ready myself for practice. I shall await your summons." he stated handing the now empty goblet to a skeletal servant.

Turning the Templar strode out of the room and down the tower, on his way he gestured for a Golem to follow him, he went back to his Wights and had them stable their skeletal steeds as he stables his own nightmare.

He glanced at them but there where forty of the warriors with him and he wasn't going to march around with that many dead following him. Sigmund silently commanded thirty-five of the undead to stand outside the Tower whist Bright-Eyes and four of the Wights trailed after the vampire as he re-entered the fortress.

"The ballroom." he said to the Golem, the abomination made a stiff motion which the vampire assumed was a nod.

Sigmund followed the Golem to the hall, and looked around with a smile.

"This would do fine" he thought to himself waving the Golem to stand away to the side.

Sigmund unsheathed his longsword and moved through a few solo forms before commanding one of the wights to join him, he would spar with it before commanding another to join. He would eventually have all five of the Wights attacking him at once, leaving Bright-Eyes to last.
 
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Count Vashra

Lord of Shadows
#15
'Thank you, Count,' Johann said. He immediately left the Throne Room and found the workshop. He did want privacy, given what he would be doing later on, so he took the smaller room.
He set up materials on a workbench, and began work on a belt. When it was completed he tied it around himself and then constructed a scabbard which he attached to it. Johann put the Dark Knife in the scabbard, then wondered what to do about the Crown of Blood. Wearing it was out of the question for now, and it was uncomfortable hiding it on his body, so he found a niche on a wall where he could hide it until needed. he waved his hand, and a cloud of shadow covered it, merging into the darkness of the wall, hiding it from all but determined sight.
His workshop set up, Johann waited for either a summons or a visit.
 
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Malochai

Moderator
Staff member
True Blood
#16
Volker wanted to sneer at the vampire who tried to use honeyed words to sway him. A mortal, foolish and pathetically romantic as they were, would probably have been convinced, their ego suitably stroked, but he was simultaneously more and less than them. He couldn’t be bought with words, especially the empty graces of a vampire. And yet something stopped hom from the rejecting this creature outright, and leaving. Maybe it was simply the vast amount of death he supped from, maybe it was the promise of power and vengeance.


You have the honour of addressing Volker Moritz, Sanai Morden of Callistaire. You offer me wealth and glory; what can I do with money, given I have no physical body with which to spend it on? What use is glory, when all fear my very presence? No, those I have no use nor wish for. For now, all I need is the place where death most recently occurred. There I shall consider your proposal. Once more, the voice was projected directly into the mind of Sanai, excluding everyone else. The ethereal emerald balefire of Volker’s eyes stared directly into the vampires eyes, almost daring him to break the contact first, as if such human competition wasn’t beneath him.
 

Get of W'soran

CN's Lord of Masks
True Blood
#17
Sigmund ducked and weaved around the attacks, he pivoted on the ball of his foot and rammed his elbow into the side of a wight's skull, and leapt back as another one of the undead made a stroke at his shoulder.

Bright-Eyes stepped in from the right, his blade blurring down so fast that Sigmund barely caught it on his longsword.

"STOP!" he roared.

The wights stopped immediately, their arms falling to their sides.

Sigmund let out a deep breath, they had been sparring for at least an hour out of that he'd spent the last fifteen minutes fending off attacks from all five. He had refrained from attacking back with too much force, being concerned about damaging them needlessly.
Putting a hand to his face he rubbed it over his cheek and pulled it away with a frown.

"Huh, I haven't seen my own blood in a while." he realised.

Sigmund pointed at the Golem. "Find me a vessel of water and a cloth to clean up with!"

As the Golem shambled off Sigmund turned to the wights. "Return to your brethren except you Bright-Eyes, I want you to wait for a few moments."

"Speaking to them is a bad habit." he told himself silently as they walked off, they would obey silent commands as swiftly as they would to spoken commands.

The Golem eventually returned with, what looked like, a brass bowl filled with water and a ragged cloth.

Sigmund took the cloth "Hold the bowl out." he instructed.

The vampire took a moment to use the cloth and water to clean up his face.

"Thank you. You may leave." he told the Golem, the abomination stared at him for a moment as if it hadn't comprehended then it eventually shambled off.

Sigmund tapped his finger against the pommel of his sword considering before coming to a decision.

"Bright-Eyes, with me." he commanded.

Sigmund went straight to the stables with his servant.

With a few wordless commands the vampire had mounted up and taking Bright-Eyes alongside with 10 other wights. The dozen mounted figures rode out into the ruined city, the vampire was curious and wanted to see the destruction closer up.
 

The Archivist

Archivist of the word The
True Blood
#18
The Archivist sat in the library at a desk. The shelves around him had been rearranged and reconfigured, and bits of ivory had been lain amongst the books. The orc campfire that had been in the room had been removed, a toe-bone golem nibbling away at the char that remained to clean it. He read one of the few books that had survived the greenskin infestation, a treatise on rocks that had been bound in a green cover. As a crow flittered past the window, he made a motion as if to lick his fingers and turned the page.

The faint sound of sword-fighting downstairs reached him. In a movement, he slammed the book shut and laid it to one side and stood, his wooden chair scraping backwards across the floor.
"Who dares disturb my studies!?" came his voice, sonorous and scratchy. He thrust his hand in the air and summoned a lightning bolt, striking the burnt floorboards of the room above, none of which, thankfully, caught alight.
He summoned a vision in front of him. New arrivals, entering the halls of his leige, danced in his glass eye.
"Hmmph. He looks no more studious than the last. Berkein!"
The toe-bone golem had settled into a position moments before his command. The freshly named Berkein (four hundred and third to bear the name, for the two before had been lost to a loose floorboard and a rather interesting totem pole respectively) clattered up alongside him.

"We shall investigate these newcomers for our liege," he said aloud, either out of habit or for the benefit of the necromancer that had been thoroughly cowed by his implacable replacement into simply checking in on how far the wight had proceeded in restoring the library.

The Archivist summoned an ivory bookmark into his left hand, slid it into place, and unsummoned the book with his right. The book reappeared in a swirl of darkness on the shelf right next to him, apparently unnoticed. He shuffled out of the library, his limbs clanking and clicking as he descended the stairwell.

---

The wight skirted the throne room, from which voices could be heard, and instead headed out into the city with his golem by his side. His glass eye glowed as he lay a skeletal hand over his empty eye socket before shuffling off to intercept Sigmund at an intersection. He arrived there five minutes early, sitting down on the fountain and waiting patiently for the steeds to round the corner.
 

Get of W'soran

CN's Lord of Masks
True Blood
#19
Sigmund had rode through parts of the city, the destruction was thorough and he felt some sympathy...or at least what passed for that emotion in the vampire, Sanai's domain might have once been quite pleasant. Still with destruction came opportunity, if Sigmund had arrived when the city was flourishing then the Count would have had little need for him but now...now there was certainly a chance.

"If things go well I may not even return to Sylvania, I made such an effort to remain unnoticed that so long as Sanai agrees to some form of alliance with Mannfred then he will be happy to let go of one insignificant Templar." The Templar grinned at his thoughts of avarice and ambition "I could even tempt a few of the Templars to join me...young ones, easily swayed...my own Templar Order. Then who would stop me from claiming the von Carstein name?"

Sigmund's grin grew slightly wider, he did not after-all want to rule...well not yet and not here, but a position of authority and the ability to raise another higher so as to increase his own power.

Still things could go either way so he'd wait and see, it could end up safer to simply return to Sylvania once his work was done.

"Maybe even Lisette would join me here." Sigmund frowned at the thought, why had that come to mind?

The riders came around a corner and the vampire pulled on his reigns coming to a stop, behind him his wights did likewise.

Sigmund raised an eyebrow as he saw a figure sitting on the fountain, it was some sort of robed skeleton. The von Carstein glanced around looking for a Necromancer but could see none.

Commanding his steed to walk a little closer he looked around again.

"Hello?" he called out, confused as to why someone would leave a perfectly good wight lying around.
 

The Archivist

Archivist of the word The
True Blood
#20
The Archivist rose as the vampire and his servants came close.

"Greetings," he said. "Do not be alarmed by my presence: I am The Archivist, Holder of the Seven Tomes. I foresaw my liege's return and offered my services as an aide, an advisor, a seer, a librarian, a mage and a scholar."

From the depths of the fountain Berkein (the 403rd) heaved his small stature from within and dropped to the ground.

"I wish to learn of you, of your past and your future, for you have offered your own services as I have offered mine."

The Archivist summoned a book, a thick tome bound in dark leather appearing in a dark swirl in his raised left hand. He held it lightly by the spine in his right hand as he lifted his empty left hand as if to write with a non-existant pen, watching the vampire with an expectant look.
 

Get of W'soran

CN's Lord of Masks
True Blood
#21
Sigmund frowned slightly as the Wight spoke. The creature seemed sentient, Sigmund had of course met Wight Kings before but they were always slaved to the will of another but this one said that he had "foresaw" his liege's return and had voluntarily offered his services so he had to be free-willed.

"Interesting." he thought to himself.

The vampire swung down from his horse, his armoured feet making less noise than one would expect as they struck the ground.

Leaving his servants and steed standing behind him he approached the Wight, looking with bemusement as some slave of the wight appeared from within the fountain.

Sigmund turned his attention back to The Archivist, usually the vampire would dismiss such a creature as too far beneath his to be worthy of his attention but he wasn't quite sure what the creature actually was. His curiosity was further increased as it summoned a book out of thin-air, the von Carstein had never seen such magic.

"Best play to my strengths then, cautious it is."

Sigmund smiled, a pleasant expression on his handsome features although his yellow eyes remained as cold as ever. "Greetings to you, I am Lord Sigmund von Müller, a Templar from the Order of Drakenof and an emissary from Count Mannfred von Carstein of Sylvania." he greeted in the educated and aristocratic accent of the nobility of Sylvania, his own accent in life had been similar enough that over the years of undeath it had changed without his noticing. When he introducted himself the vampire give the fullness of his titles although he didn't bother to list his territorial holdings.

"I must say, I do not believe I have met a being quite like you before."

As he spoke the vampire affected the nonchalant arrogance that one would suspect from a Lord, he sat down easily on the edge of the fountain, watching the wight with interest.
 

The Archivist

Archivist of the word The
True Blood
#22
The Archivist didn't turn to follow Sigmund, standing very still whilst making the motions of writing arcane symbols down in the book. His glass eye, however, rotated in it's socket, looking backwards through his skull and the hood of his robe.

"Anything else to add before I proceed? The more you tell me the better I can understand you."

He turned the page. A diagram of a cup-cake, inside which was some odd spring-loaded needle, could now be seen, along with a large chapter title reading 'The Art of Cupcake Assassination and anecdotes thereof'. Skeletal hands pausing to dip non-existent pen in non-existent inkwell, he returned to his writing.
 

Get of W'soran

CN's Lord of Masks
True Blood
#23
The vampire tilted his head slightly.

"What do you want me to say?"

Sigmund tapped a finger on his pommel as he smiled at the skeletal figure.

"My life is a little to long to simply describe from beginning to the current day."

Leaning forward Sigmund leant his elbow onto his leg and then rested his chin on his palm.

"You also have not explained exactly why you want this information?"
 
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#24
Agathe had been wandering the Old World for a little while now, constantly chatting and laughing to herself. Her passage through several cities, towns and villages went less than unnoticed as witch hunters and foolish boys attempted to drive her away. Wherever someone stood up to her, a lifeless corpse lay in her wake. This happened even without heroic bravery as she would often pass through unknowing travellers and households with the same terrifying results and with even less care. This all made Agathe a maddeningly happy ghost however, their deaths fueling her unlife and rejuvenating her. She also simply liked the expressions on people's faces when their attacks could do nothing to stop her, and similarly their faces when they collapsed in a hideous heap after she laughed both eerily and cheerfully at their attempts.

Being unwittingly drawn towards the fortress by the flow of death magic during her wanderings, Agathe made her way through the sidewall of the stone construct, humming as she haphazardly explored the new location. Besides a faint glowing, soft humming, the presence of impending doom she brought with her and the short bursts of insane laughter, she was undetectable and her entrance was somewhat unprecedented. The place felt nice to her though, like a relaxing bath at the end of a long day, the heavy flow of death in the place made her feel homely.

She passed through what seemed to be an abandoned kitchen; cobwebs, rusted pots and pans and rotting, wooden counter tops proved that this place had not been touched in many, many years.
A few more twists and turns in her labyrinthian journey and she found herself inside a bookshelf, still humming quietly to herself. The presence of magic had been here recently but as far as she could see, it had left for someplace else.


Off in search of this new magical source like a sniffer dog, Agathe found her way into a bland area not too far from the inticing castle, made interesting only by the two figures there and the old fountain.
By the fountain stood an old pile of bones, held together by magic and armour. They stood whilst jotting down notes in some arcane book with seemingly no quill, both considered quite a feat by the Banshee. Behind the bones was a dead man, but one that was smarter than the average dead man she knew. He stood and spoke with an air of conceitedness, a dislikeable trait in the girl's mind.
Knowing full well that the vampire standing behind the wight could see her and frankly much more interested in the more dead man and his book, Agathe silently floated over directly behind The Archivist, looking over his shoulder at the picture of a cupcake which understandably made her smile.

"Whatcha readin'?"
 
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The Archivist

Archivist of the word The
True Blood
#25
The Archivist's glass eye swivelled to look at the new arrival whilst he was writing. The fact that his glass eye was still looking through skull and hood did not seem to matter.

"I am writing a report on new arrivals. This book is Herr Kompf's Culinary Killers."

He shut the book, turned to Sigmund and inclined his skull. He then turned to the newcomer, floating in the air as she was.

"Greetings," he said. "Do not be alarmed by my presence: I am The Archivist, Holder of the Seven Tomes. I foresaw my liege's return and offered my services as an aide, an advisor, a seer, a librarian, a mage and a scholar."

Berkein (the 403rd) trundled round the wight to take up the same position he had been in whilst The Archivist had been writing the non-existent report on Sigmund.

"I wish to learn of you, of your past and your future, for you have not yet offered your own services as I have offered mine."

The Archivist reopened the book. He held it lightly by the spine in his right hand as he lifted his empty left hand as if to write with a non-existent pen, watching the shade with an expectant look.
 
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