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Unas the slayer

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 1, 2017
1,148
Northern Italy
GROWING UP

The Child Prince Thuth-Amon was riding back home.
Two companies of horsemen and two companies of horse archers were his actual escort, while the infantry was left behind. They were in a hurry.
Amon-Thuth was at the citadel of Aqaba for a period of play and study, when the priest came with the news.
“Forgive your humble servant, My Prince. Your presence is requested at the Capital, with your Father’s troops…” the priest’s voice became a whisper, as he further lowered his head “…immediately”.
Amon-Thuth stood silent for almost a minute. “Interesting. Are these the exact words of my Father? Did he talked to you?”
“No, My Prince. I received a sending spell from the High Priest Achmed-Ra. Those were his words”.
“That’s even more interesting. Fascinating, I’d say. Is the High Priest giving me orders?”
“I don’t think he would dare, my Prince. It must be something that I…. I don’t know, My Prince.”
“Then we should. This mystery amuses me. Call the troops, we are leaving”.

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

And so, Amon-Thuth was riding back home, upon the back of his horse, Black Beauty.
Black Beauty was a gift from his father Amon-Rha; the Prince gave him the name, and it had been an easy call, given its magnificent coat color. He was 4 years old the first time he rode it… a small child upon one of the most beautiful animal of the King’s stables, that was frantically holding himself to the horse's mane. Probably it was a funny sight, because a young apprentice stableman laughed. He took three days to die.
Amon-Thuth wondered if that apprentice would have laughed also now. Probably not… even if the stirrups were shortened to the saddle, to match the size of the Child Prince, he was more than capable to ride his faithful Beauty.

This was the second day of journey. In the first one, the only news carried by the priest were that there was some kind of military crisis, and that the Prince’s escort should have been very careful.
The implications were not pleasant… they were in the Kingdom’s heart, what should they fear? Nonetheless, scouts were sent on the way.
Amon-Thuth was lost in thoughts, when the priest came closer.
“My Prince, I’ve got another message from the High Priest…”
“I’m listening.”
“He only says that times are hard, and the Kingdom needs the support of the Royal Family.”
“May the Gods curse his worthless tongue! Why can’t he be more clear on what’s really happening?”
“I can only make a guess, My Prince, but… I have a bad feeling.”
“Then tell me your hypothesis.”
The priest pointed a finger toward the horizon.
“Zandri is still more than a galloping day in that direction. And I see smoke…”

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

Zandri, the once beautiful Kingdom’s capital, was now a smoldering ruin.
The stone walls and the towers with the catapults were burned down, molten by magical fire, and the great part of the inner city buildings was no more recognizable. Burned bodies were scattered all across the ruins, more numerous where the warriors tried to organize some resistance.
Amon-Thuth slowly advanced into the city, shocked by the destruction of his home, and by the absurdity of what he was seeing. No way an enemy force big enough to take a capital, could have entered so deeply into Nehekhara without being noticed, without having the whole army ready to fight the invader.
Instead, Zandri was apparently taken totally unprepared, even the Legion of the Hundred Chariots must have been in its distant garrison, as their force was intact, and now they were patrolling the city’s outskirts.

The heat was intense, as there were still portions of the town engulfed with flames; no traces of enemy’s dead, except for stains of acidic goo, that were marking the streets, encircling the heaps of dead city’s defenders… and some of those stains traced strange humanoid silhouettes. Dissolved daemons? Was Zandri attacked by Chaos?
The hypothesis seemed to be confirmed by the presence of some dead, twisted human, marked by Tzeentch’s signs… one of them drapped in robes, near a large horned disk.
They finally arrived in the central square, in front of the smoking temple; walking down the stairs, the High Priest Achmed-Ra was heading toward Amon-Thuth, who spurred Black Beauty to meet the priest. Many questions needed to be answered.

Achmed-Ra knelt before him. “My King…”
“I am not your King! My Father is.”
“I am sorry, My King. Your Royal Father is no more.”
Something cold crept into Amon-Thuth. That was not possible…
“Tzeentch’s scum cannot overcome my Father. What madness are you saying? How was it possible that those beggars took us unprepared?”
“They were leaded by by a great winged daemon, with a vulture's head, My King. A mighty creature, and most of all a powerful wizard. That winged horror teleported through a portal the whole demonic army in front of our gates. And it must have used nothing short of an artefact, to accomplish such a feat.”
Amon-Thuth was following the High Priest on the stairs, and into the demolished temple’s antechamber; over the shattered columns there was something big, an undistincted mass of flesh and feathers, slowly melting away.
“Your Father faced the deamon here. He eventually took it down, but he was heavily wounded, and the demonic minions swarmed him”.
“Where were you, while My Father was facing his fate?”
“I was stuck in combat with a weird sort of massive mechanical construct, I was unable to giv..”
“Enough with apologies! What about my sister?”
“I’m sorry, My King. Your sister was with your Mother the Queen. They were sheltering themselves in the inner tower.” Achmed-Ra pulled from his robe an almost charred doll. “You are the only survivor of the Royal Family”.
Achmed-Ra was still speaking, but Amon-Thuth was no more listening. His Father, his Mother, his dear little sister… all dead. His family was gone. He was the King of a destroyed city, the ruler of a Kingdom taken hostage by invaders that can simply teleport at their pleasure. But at a point, the High Priest said a thing that caught Amon-Thuth’s attention.

“What did you just said?”
“I was saying that the demonic army is marching toward Qhatara. In a matter of few days, they’ll be out of the Kingdom, and we should plan the reinforcement of our borders.”
“Marching? How is it that they not left through the portal that brought them here?”
“My King, the portal was kept opened by the mental power of their leader. With its death, those daemons are stuck here, and they’re just moving as a normal army.”
“Are you saying that those bastards are still here, and you’re boring me with useless details? What were you waiting to tell me that we can kill them all?”
“Because, as your counselor, I think it would be unwise, My King. I’m trying to be pragmatic: Your troops are almost intact, but we have few priests, and the commander of the Legion of the Hundred Chariots is our strongest Hero, I would not risk him to pursue an enemy that’s already leaving.”
“What do you think I’m going to do? That I will stay here playing wargames? I don’t want to let them go when I can strike them dead!”
“I beg your pardon, My King, but you cannot lead the troops in combat…”
Amon-Thuth silenced the High Priest with a stern look. His gaze then shifted to the fragments of a great mirror.
The King’s eyes were two points of white light, enclosed in the black void of the eye sockets, almost too large for the mummified child’s visage.
“Achmed-Ra, I have been eight years old for the last three centuries. Only because I cannot hold the Destroyer of Eternities of my Father, it doesn’t mean that his killers will leave unpunished. Awaken my personal Guards, and put my insignia on the Royal Warsphinx. We march to war.”
 
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Unas the slayer

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 1, 2017
1,148
Northern Italy
Some author's notes

The story takes place in the Old World (before the End Times), in full Tomb Kings age.
However, the impression I wanted to give to readers, was of a tale of Old Nehekhara, at the times of Alcadizaar or even before, with living being as “actors”. For this, I used some misleading hints: the protagonist as a child, the horse called Black Beauty for the skin color, the episode of the apprentice stableman, the story’s title itself… hopefully, you would have considered the setting as “before the Great Ritual of Nagash”, and in this way the revealing at the end would have been more powerful.
It would also be an interesting background for a future army… if only I could find a small-sized skeleton!

That said, I believe this story have the potential to be a full-lenght novel, or maybe a couple of books (afraid I’m not able to do such a thing), with some real character development. The protagonists is a Tomb King, but it starts as a mere “child” that finds himself in the seat of power of his father. He will face challenges that are well known to a king that’s around since centuries or millennia, but for him it would be all new, even the fighting. This “child” must still grow up in his role of king: there are possibilities of a development of the relationships between him and the Hierophant, and also political issues / allegiances with his “neighbors” (maybe Arkhan).

Hope you enjoyed it!
 

Disciple of Nagash

Oldblood
Staff member
Feb 12, 2008
27,732
I did enjoy it and the end was unexpected. I did think I was reading of the Nehekharan Kings before, not the Tomb Kings, so nicely done.

The only thing which I think jarred me a tad was the very specific names (Lord of Change / Soul Grinder). It felt like they would have more esoteric names, and on old worldly type of speech?
 

Unas the slayer

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 1, 2017
1,148
Northern Italy
I did enjoy it and the end was unexpected. I did think I was reading of the Nehekharan Kings before, not the Tomb Kings, so nicely done.

The only thing which I think jarred me a tad was the very specific names (Lord of Change / Soul Grinder). It felt like they would have more esoteric names, and on old worldly type of speech?

indeed, on a second thought i could have been more "generic", for example, saying "They were leaded by a great winged daemon, with a vulture's head"

EDIT: i've "fixed" the story to reflect it. works better, indeed.

Regarding old Nehekhara, it happens i have a short story about that time. No undead, but it's still TK related, as it gives my personal take on who will become a named character. I would be happy to post it.

EDIT: nah, i've already posted it!
 
Last edited:

Disciple of Nagash

Oldblood
Staff member
Feb 12, 2008
27,732
indeed, on a second thought i could have been more "generic", for example, saying "They were leaded by a great winged daemon, with a vulture's head"
Yep, that's the kind of thing I mean 👍 Just seems to flow better with the style.

I should now run forth and read your other story!
 

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