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TVC - Chapter 54 - Full Circle

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Get of W'soran

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Under the cover of Reshorn's Illusion Karl and the Necrarch flanked the Great Necromancer, his attention taken up by the furious Sylvanian Marshal.

Karl moved forward slowly, his blade raised.

"I think not." Nagash boomed.

The liche spun stabbing his staff towards Reshorn, a bolt of black magic struck the Necrarch throwing him backwards out of sight.
Karl leapt forward blade flashing towards the god-like being before him but Nagash easily blocked the blow with ease.

"How can you accomplish that which only destroyed his father?" Nagash asked, Karl thought he almost seemed confused by the continuing acts of defiance.

Karl gritted his teeth raising his hand spat out an incantation, summoning shards of ice that flew through the air towards Nagash but with a single word he banished the attack.

Moving with a speed beyond the vampiric Nagash launched his own assault, raining blows down upon the Regent.

Karl mangaged to block each blow for several seconds before Nagash's sword gashed deeply into his leg, tearing through armour it drove Vashanesh's son down on one knee.

"That is your rightful place...you could never defeat me leech." Nagash informed him coldly, raising his blade for a final strike.

"I was never meant to." Karl growled, speaking for the first time.

A whisper on the winds of magic was Nagash's only warning...but it was enough.

Spinning around, Nagash's sword turned aside the attack of an invisible assailant and flashed out in a counter-attack a grunt of pain emitting from his attacker.

The Great Necromancer spoke a word of power banishing Akarin's magic and showing his form, a long bleeding gash down his cheek.

"You think to end me assassin?"

"I shall." he simply replied

Akarin moved towards Nagash, his face devoid of emotion, and attacked with his twin blades.

Karl watched in astonishment, never had he seen the assassin move so swiftly, both Akarin's and Nagash's attacks moved swifter than Karl could follow.
Standing, ignoring the pain in his wounded leg, Karl hurled himself at Nagash's back, thrusting his sword forward.

"ENOUGH."

The Great Necromancer's voice hurled both vampire's away from him, Karl crashing into the rank's of von Carstein wights.

Akarin however had been the target of the Great Necromancer's arcane attack and now lay under the liche's gaze barely concious.

"How could you think to challenge me?"

"Was I a challange?" Akarin asked weakly.

Nagash pointed his staff at Akarin, there was a blinding flash of Green light that lit up the battlefield.

When the light was gone only ash remained before the Great Necromancer.

"You were nothing"
 

Simon von Carstein

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From amongst the remains of Ancalagan Simon rose standing to his full height clothes ripped covered in scratches and minor injuries and he was furious. Watching his brother and his uncle and cousin brought low did not make improve his feelings on the matter. "One way or another. I'll write a poem about the end of Nagash or I'LL NEVER WRITE AGAIN!!!!!!!" He roared racing forward Animessor in one hand and a ball of crackling black energy in the other. He hurled it forward at Nagash and leapt into the air Animessor at the ready.
 

Trevy the Great

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Vekarin strode purposefully towards the shattered remains that were once Simon's great dragon. Balefire and unnatural lightning flickered in the sockets of his helm, bathing the ghastly mask in a fell, purple light. In one hand he held the gleaming Banishment blade as the other reached for the vicious length of the Dark Blade that sat slung across his back.
His mind was consumed by a hunger not his own, and it was as an automaton that he stepped forward towards Nagash.
 

Sweeney Todd

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Unease flared beneath the facade of arrogance that the Guilt wore even in the face of the howling magical storm that blossomed to life from within Lucia. Her body seethed as the wards within fought to contain the rapidly escalating maelstrom that threatened to engulf and consume her.

For the first time in many centuries, her eternal unlife was in danger of being ended. However, the Guilt was not the sort to passively wait for true death to claim her. Raising a hand, her lips intoned the syllables of a new incantation...

**********

"Lucia don't!"

"This is the only way Peter! I love you!"

Lucia's last words were almost completely drowned out as the fabric of reality itself was torn asunder. An unnatural cacophony, the susurration of a thousand score voices in eternal torment accompanied the flood of raw Chaos entering the battlefield.

From a short distance away a shocked Mrs. Lovette turned her undivided attention upon the scene at hand. In a scant few moments the arcane tempest had already surged exponentially in power into a full-fledged magical storm that indiscriminately warped and destroyed anything near it with arcs of ravening power as it expanded. Mrs. Lovette knew that if nothing was done they would all soon be drowned by the very Realm of Chaos itself.

In the eye of the storm stood Lucia, stubbornly grabbing onto the Guilt even while impaled upon her foe's blade. The Guilt on the other hand was attempting to channel and contain the magical energies around her. It was already too late for Lucia, but the Guilt could well escape unscathed if her incantations were successful. Thinking quickly, Mrs. Lovette hurled a bag full of crushed warpstone into the storm. As expected the storm was whipped into a frenzy by the sudden introduction of warpstone.

The Guilt turned to face Mrs. Lovette just as she hurled bolts of purple lightning at the Dreadlord. The Guilt was hard-pressed to fend off the attack whilst simultaneously struggling to get a grip on the paranormal phenomena. Any tenuous control she had managed to seize was wrested away by the warpstone.

A small pack of Ghouls seized a screaming Peter and dragged him towards safety even as a magical duel commenced between Mrs. Lovette and the Guilt. in a demonstration of multitasking mastery, Mrs. Lovette simultaneously undermined the Guilt's incantations while attempting to destroy her with her own powers and raising any nearby fallen. The zombies were swiftly moved to form a perimeter around the storm. Yet more and more were hurled forth even as they were destroyed in an unrelenting march of bone and gristle.

Mrs. Lovette began a final incantation as the Guilt's own took on a measure of desperation. Too late, she realised that Mrs. Lovette was no longer disrupting her sorcery even as she was completely surrounded. Lovette spat a final word and for the first and last time in her unlife, the Guilt screamed in terror.

The roiling vortex streamed into the Guilt and her immediate vicinity, contained by Mrs. Lovette and a solid wall of rotting flesh. The Dreadlord and anything near her simply ceased to exist, falling into the rift between realms amid the laughter of thirsting gods. From within the unliving chain of bodies a supernova blossomed to life, an explosion releasing a deluge of radiance and eldritch power across the entire vast battlefield.
 

Disciple of Nagash

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Simon never reached Nagash as the crackling Staff of Ages crashed into him mid-air, hurling him back to the ground. Standing to his full height the Great Necromancer took a moment to check the ebb of the battle through his minions. Despite the unexpected potency of his foes the Nagashi army was slowly gaining the upper hand across the battlefield. Far away to his left the enemy flank was on the defensive, slowly being enveloped by the more numerous Nagashi cultists and dead. Time and time again the power of Nehekhara flowed from the champion in their midst, but it was not enough.

On the right he sensed the tear in the fabric of reality as another Dreadlord was consumed, defeated by her own arrogance. The shock wave tore apart the dead in its path before encountering a potent barrier as Nagash exerted his will, sheltering his forces from the worst of the arcane tempest.
 
A thought was all it took to absorb the raw power and send it surging through the army at his command, pushing them faster to the inevitable conclusion. The fools that faced him had never taken into account that he would not have to use his own innate strength to animate his forces, that his tactical genius had long ago worked around this downfall. Now faced with an army feed with limitless energy, commanded by the a being of his potency, there was little he could do to stop him
 
Nagash forced his mind to step back from the exultation of the moment, remembering the hard earned lessons of over confidence. Whilst he still stood he was not totally unharmed. The attack of Vashanesh and his kin had drained some of his magical reserves, and a few of their blows had struck deeply enough to take time to fully heal. Though none seriously threatened him, enough of the lesser wounds would eventually start to wear him out.  It was time to draw this to an end.
 
With a gesture ribbons of dark mist rushed forth from the glowing skull on the Staff, twisting into razor sharp edges that sliced through the air towards the recovering form of Simon. Sensing the approach of another vampire a thought from Nagash sent more streams of power off into the distance…
 
The ground shifted around Vekarin, causing the Blood Dragon to pause for a moment. Cracks and strange slithering followed and it was only when something flickered by his head that he realised what was happening. With a terrible roar the hill sized form of Ancalagan fused back together under Nagash’s power, balefire eyes flaring with the entombed soul’s wrath. It was filled with nothing but a burning desire to tear and rend, and as it caught site of the armoured warrior in front of it, Ancalagan carried out its terrible desire.
 
NB: Ghouly, will send you a PM as need you to attack next
 

Get of W'soran

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By the time Nekhlior reached the Council magi he appeared fully healed, although he wasn't fool enough to believe it himself.

Seeing Lesa the Necarch frowned and glanced around him, his heighted arcane senses viewed the weaves of magic she channeled.

"It would be foolish to disturb her, how about you just rest for now brother?" said the annoying apparition of V'azrin.

Ignoring him Nekhlior sent his senses surging over the battlefield, veiwing the other vampires.

He reached Reshorn and attempted to wake the vampire but the blast of Nagash's attack and weakened the younger Necrarch too far and his mind had shut down to heal.
Searching around the area became difficult as Nagash's raging power began to obscure his sight.
Pushing onwards he found the von Carstein Karl lying unconcious amongst his own troops, he had shattered bones throughout his body but he still swam on the edge of conciousness.

Nekhlior prodded at the other vampire's mind.
"Awake son of Vashanesh...awake or die."

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

Karl groaned and slowly sat up, hissing in pain as he felt damaged ribs grinding against one another, looking down at himself he saw bones sticking out of his torso and his left arm was twisted and limp.

"Reshorn?" he asked after a moment glancing around after hearing a rasping voice that had woke him but seeing nothing except the Sylvanian wights which stood protectively around the Regent.

With a hiss Karl stood and lifted his sword with his functioning arm.

"Why am I always the one getting beat up." he muttered to himself.

Sensing Nagash he glanced towards the fighting and sighed, he couldn't even heal himself so fighting was out of the question.

Instead the regent limped of through the Council forces in search of Micrea or Akarin.
 

Count Darvaleth

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Kraskor spiralled around in the sky upon Bloodclaw, the undead black dragon struggling to maintain flight in the face of such magical disruption. Down below Nagash was proving an impossible adversary, and above the skies were thick with Abyssal Terrors and Winged Nightmares, bearing Nagashi Necromancers into the air to spread their foul rituals. Kraskor tried to speed his mount on faster, his Red Blade slashing through the air, felling Fell Bats with every sweep as the sky became even thicker with creatures. Kraskor let off a blast of crimson lightning, knocking a necromancer off his mount and sending him spiralling to the battlefield below, and causing a small group of the swarming monsters with him as their magical source was lost. It was not enough.

As long as Nagash drove on the forces of the enemy, there was little that could defeat him. And as long as he had his infinite power, he could not be defeated; and so neither could his army. It seemed nobody was his match in either magic or combat. Kraskor brought his dragon towards the rear of the Council forces, away from the main battle-line. Kraskor realised that this fight could not be won simply with pure, brute force; something else was needed, and it was needed fast. Kraskor engaged the Link with his master:

"Master Nehklior!" Kraskor sent, "I realise this may be a bad time, but as a warrior of countless battles I can see when we are not winning. Continuing to fight Nagash like this is suicide; we need a weapon to defeat him with, a weapon which we can use to turn the battle in our favour." Kraskor thought hard before continuing, "Master, do you think you would be capable of summoning a mighty artefact, so very closely tied to Nagash' destiny, if I brought you a Book of Nagash to channel the power through? I also have the soulstone of Zacharias if you are in need of some sheer magical force. I believe I have an idea that may well see victory."

Kraskor's great dragon landed with a roar behind the Council forces as Kraskor turned to face the battle. He knew that the battle would not be won unless something very specific could be brought to bear upon Nagash, and Nehklior just might be the one to summon it.

"If you are able, head towards the rear of the Council forces, and meet me there."
 

Get of W'soran

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Nekhlior tilted his head as he listened to the voice of his apprentice.

"Now what is he up to?" murmered the Necrarch before turning and heading of towards the rear of the army.

V'azrin's shade snickered.
"A Blood Dragon with an arcane idea? I've got to see this."

__________________________________________

Karl lay under the scrutiny of the Sylvanian Necromancers, this particular coterie was apparently Ademus's best, as they were necromantically fixing his body.

"Really, it would be more important for you to lend your strength to the Marshal's attack!" Karl protested although lying on his back in utter pain hardly lent one authority.

"Sorry Regent but our Master instructed us to ensure you came back alive and we do not wish to disobey him." one of the Necromancer's said.

"Besides we're unsure what happened to the Marshal after he attacked Nagash." another stated.

Karl frowned, this was worrying for he had been unable to find Akarin either and he still had to look for Simon.

Turning his gaze to the lead Necromancer Karl hissed.
"Hurry."
 

Simon von Carstein

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Simon staggered to his feet and on impulse raised his hands shielding himself with his own powers as the first wave of Nagash's attack struck him. For about five seconds he held it back before the strain became too much for him and the energy began eating into his flesh. The Spirits surrounding his form began screaming as the sheer power assailed them.

Smon's face turned bestial as he threw himself into the air ignoring the pain and calling on the abilities he had stolen from Drakus of Strigos centries before he somersaulted over Nagash turnng with Animessor he thrust the sword at the Lord of the Undead "If I die here then you will at least know that you can still feel pain!!!!" he cried out as Animessor pierced Nagash's underarm.
 

Count Darvaleth

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Kraskor scanned the ranks of the Carstein forces, anxiously waiting for Nehklior. Finally he saw the Necrarch making his way towards Kraskor's dragon. Kraskor jumped from the saddle and crossed to Nehklior, speaking quickly:

"Master, I think you and I will both agree this battle is not going well. Nagash is the lynch-pin of the enemy forces, but whilst his armies attack us, he is untouchable, and whilst he is untouchable, we cannot hope to defeat him." Kraskor took a breath, "However, if we were to distract him with something that he could possibly ignore, we could strike at him when he is not focussing," Kraskor turned and saw Simon von Carstein striking towards Nagash, "If we act quickly now then Simon may be able to penetrate his defences!"

Kraskor burned a runic circle into the ground with red flames that sprouted from his hands, as he continued, "What could make our forces strong enough, and at such a sudden moment, that even Nagash could be distracted? Simple; the Staff of Damnation," Kraskor's pace quickened, "if you could summon the Staff, and use it not on a small group of our forces, but on the ENTIRE Carstein line, Nagash will have to divert his attention to strengthening his own Undead to fight back; and THAT'S when we strike at him, for the tiny fraction that his defences are lowered."

Kraskor finished the circle, and turned to Nehklior. "I realise it isn't simple, however, to summon the Staff, or spread its power along the entire Carstein line. It is now, then, that I must confess a sin," Kraskor reached down to his waist, and brought up a great leather bag, "When Drake von Carstein was possessed by this power, I knew we could not simply leave it behind us. I had a feeling its power could help us here on the field..." Kraskor opened the bag, and took an ancient Book of Nagash from inside it.

"I realise it's dangerous, but nothing else could summon the Staff, or spread its effects along the entire Council forces. We need the Staff now, whilst Simon battles Nagash," Kraskor turned nervously, watching as Simon moved ever-closer to the Great Necromancer, "Can you do it, Master Nehklior?"
 

Get of W'soran

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Nekhlior rubbed his chin, it was a possibility he supposed.

"It will be energy-consuming brother...too dangerous by far for one in your condition to accomplish...you need to heal." the shade said, repeating the same warning it had been issuing since Nagash's attack.

Ignoring the shade the Necrarch nodded slightly and reached forward taking Nagash's tome, giving Kraskor the Staff of W'soran to hold.
The power of the ancient text pulsed in his hands, it's arcane influence reaching into Nekhlior mind.
It tempted him, it dared him to use it to his heart's content, to push his abilities to their limits.

The ancient vampire pushed aside the urgings, the Books of Nagash would destroy those who give into the primal desire for power the tome promised.

"I can do it." Nekhlior admitted after a few moments of consideration.

Nekhlior stepped towards the Runic circle Kraskor had burned into the ground and hissed a few soft syllables.
The runes became far more complex, growing in size and filling gaps with Nagashi runes.
Within moments Nekhlior was standing in the centre of a complex ritualist summoning circle.

"Step back apprentice." Nekhlior said in a quietly commanding tone, although one more suited to the classroom than the battlefield.

Magically he flicked through the text swiftly showing a familiarity with this piece of Nagash's work, stopping at the desired spell.

Within a few moments he began chanting words of power, reading directly from the book.

Tomes where odd things, the weakest of which where only lists of incantations and ritualistic practice but the most power such as the one Nekhlior now held where so much more. One could know the words from the book, the exact instructions by heart but without the tome itself to draw power from then the Necromancer's work would be lessened.

For this summoning the book was necessary.

After a few minutes the chanting had risen to a deathening level, an unnatural wind raged around the Necrarch who now seemed to be trying to shout above it's roar.
The air infront of Nekhlior began to shimmer as a shape solidified.

Reaching out a hand towards the shimmering shape Nekhlior grasped at this shape whilst snapping the Book of Nagash closed and screaming a final word.

In the blink of an eye the wind had died down completely and the Necrarch stood with Staff of Damnation, examining the artefact with interest.

The staff was, ultimately, far weaker than W'soran's staff but it had the unique ability to invigorate a large number of undead soldiers.

"Now for phase two of your plan." the Necrarch said with a smile to Kraskor.

Holding the tome under one arm and raising the staff above his head with the other the vampiric sorcerer began chanting once more.
 

Count Darvaleth

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Kraskor handed the Book of Nagash to Nekhlior, and took the mighty Staff of W'soran. As soon as his gauntleted hands touched the ancient staff he felt liquid energy coursing through him. Kraskor smiled grimly; Nagash would have more than mere augmented Undead to distract him.

Nekhlior took Kraskor's basic runic circle foundation, and tailored it for the summoning, weaving complex patterns that Kraskor not only had no hope of reproducing, but many he didn't even recognise, let alone understand. Nagashi symbols writhed in the scorched, and Kraskor stood back as the summoning began. The Book of Nagash empowered Nekhlior; he was truly a mighty sorcerer.

At last, the Staff of Damnation materialised, and Nekhlior began the second phase of the strategy. It's unique power, coupled with the vast energies of the Book of Nagash, and the supreme skill of the Necrarch; this triumvirate of incorporeal power grew and grew, a great nimbus of light suffusing Nekhlior as he chanted. It grew until it was almost blinding, and then, suddenly, it shattered; a great wave of green energy blasting outwards from the runic circle. Kraskor suddenly felt invigorated, capable of anything; the feeling then passed. Such was the power of the Staff, combined with Nekhlior and the Book, that it even affected vampires; but its true effect was already rapidly unfolding.

All along the Carstein line, every single zombie, skeleton, ghoul, wraith, creature, spirit, and monster; every single one glowed with a green fire, their movements twice as fast as before, their strength triple, and their constitution four-fold. All along the battle-line, the Carstein forces pushed back, Nagash' relentless advance critically faltering, and threatening to become a full-scale rout; blocks of skeletons smashed through lines of even the sturdiest Nagashi warriors, and swarms of zombies pulled their opponents under as they ran amok.

"It worked!" roared Kraskor, turning to the Great Necromancer. Kraskor knew that Nagash would soon bolster his own forces, or dispel the effects of the Staff; but that would be one moment he was not concentrating. Simon had reached him now, and began a titanic duel; Kraskor knew what he had to do.

Kraskor raised the Staff of W'soran and began chanting a spell he did not even know existed; the clouds above became even stormier, and a cyclonic eye in the storm appeared above Nagash. It was then that Simon struck, and then that Kraskor unleashed his spell:

"If I die here then you will at least know that you can still feel pain!!!!" screamed Simon,

"Feel pain, Nagash! Feel infinite pain!" screamed Kraskor, bringing the Staff crashing to the floor. The heavens opened, and a single, infinite bolt of searing energy crashed down onto Nagash; a crimson lightning bolt of pure magic which lit up the entire battlefield for a brief moment, slamming into Nagash just as Simon's sword-stroke connected with Nagash, and just as he was distracted by the Staff of Damnation's powers.

"FEEL PAIN!"
 

Disciple of Nagash

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Like a wave crashing over a rock, the cultists swarmed past the unmovable form of Graveclaw. Frenzied by the power that Nagash was funnelling into his troops, they did not seem to see the danger the massive Strigoi presented. Scores were torn apart his powerful muscles, the black armour buckling and tearing as claws the size of knives ripped through them. Yet despite the carnage that was wrought the Council’s line was still faltering, the ghoul horde behind Graveclaw being slowly pushed back.

In moments Graveclaw was left on his own, an island in a sea of fanatics. Whilst Graveclaw had never been the most tactical of the Council he had an animal’s instinct for danger, and his instincts were screaming that the Council were losing this fight. With the most powerful of the casters trying to negate Nagash and his acolytes, there were simply not enough left to support the Council’s dead. As Nagash’s army struck them down they were no longer raising to continue the fight, or worse if they were, it was under the thrall of the Great Necromancer.

As a lull in the swarm came for a moment Graveclaw reared up, standing over eight foot of pure muscle. A short distance away he saw Vlad struck down by the giant form of Nagash, saw his sons racing to intervene and saw their failure. Something had to be done and quickly, and it seemed the only person nearby was him.

“Stupid Carsssteinssss,” he hissed in an aggravated tone, breaking into a run to a nearby outcrop of protruding rock, “usssless ass alwaysss.” As he crested the top he bunched down before pushing off with his powerful legs. The leap was massive, covering half of the distance between Graveclaw and Nagash. A unit of Nagashi cavalry chose that inopportune moment to charge, not realising their movements brought them into the path of the falling Strigoi.

There was a shriek of crushed armour as both rider and steed were driven into the ground. Flipping over a second rider in front of him, Graveclaw tore him from his mount and swung him round like a club. The living mace held in the vampire's claws battered another two riders out of his way as Graveclaw continued his rampage with single minded fury.

Faster and faster he moved, powerful leaps and bounds vaulting him over the enemy, scarred hide tougher than iron turning aside enemy blows, monstrous strength pushing aside everything in his path. Around him Graveclaw could sense something else was happening, even over the magical aura of the battle. Someone or something else was unleashing potent magicks, but whether they were for or against the council he couldn't tell. Regardless of the matter he continued forward, until suddenly everything red.

From the sky a bolt of blood red lighting had torn into Nagash, sending out a shockwave that for a moment threatened to throw Graveclaw of his taloned feet. Hunkering down the beast gritted his teeth and forged through the tempest, unsure of what he would find.

****

Lesa had gone beyond pain, beyond the bone numbing fatigue and into a trance of some-kind. Her eyes whilst wide open did not see the battle, her mind consumed with powering the Council's army, shielding them from attentions of Nagash and his arcane underlings. With the exception of Nagash himself, no other wielder of the necromantic arts had mastered such a feat, and yet for all her strength Lesa was slowly dying once more. Acting as a loci for such power was straining her mind beyond measure, whilst her body was being ravaged by the power.

Almost like a distance echo she sensed the battle between Nagash and the Carsteins, followed by the potent spells cast by Nehklior and Kraskor, and then something changed. It was small, a slight distraction of her enemy, a temporarily lull but Lesa noticed it and with the quickness of thought lashed out with a blow to Nagash's mind.

****

The Nagashi army stuttered, the witchlights flickering as the mind behind their focus recoiled from the combined attacks, each strike enough to slay a lesser being outright. The living cultists felt the cold pang of fear as the strong will that had guided them faltered. In those moments the forces of the Council and their allies ripped into their enemy like they were rotten wood, thousands slaughtered with ease.

Cheers roared out as many of the necromancers and vampires sensed victory and pushed forward, arrogant with confidence.

How wrong they were.

A boom echoed over the battlefield as Nagash rose from one knee, bracing on his staff with both hands, armour pitted and smoking. With a wrench Animessor was tore from where it had stuck into his underarm, flung somewhere into the warring masses. A vicious strike from the staff cracked the side of Simon's head and drove him to the ground once more.

The air around Nagash shimmered with his unbridled rage, at the audacity of those who had dared to strike him. His rage turned into a deathly shriek that hammered into the vampires, many dropping to the ground as their minds shattered. Raising his eyes to the sky the Liche started to chant, sketching eldrict symbols that flared in the air. In seconds the dark clouds seem to grow heavy, turning as black as tar. Purple energy crackled along the shimmering surface as it became heavier and heavier, swiftly pushing inwards into a massive orb of pure gelatinous dark magic. There was no finesse to its creation, no manipulation to the magical power. It was simply death made form, and with a downward strike Nagash drove it to get the ground.

It hit the Council's lines with the force of an erupting volcano, its mass enough to hit the outcrop where Lesa stood and further back in the lines where Nehklior and Kraskor stood. The acidic touch was deadly to anything in its path, eating through armour, bone and skin with effortless ease.

"It is time to end this" Nagash snarled, reaching down to pick up Mortis. As he stood back up a crackle of lightning illuminated him for a moment, and in that instant the damage dealt to Nagash was clear to anyone who looked. The Liche had withstood attacks that would have felled a score of Greater Daemons, and Simon's enchanted blade had struck deep enough for its magic to hurt him.

However it appeared that Simon's deed would be his final undoing as he laid prostrate before Nagash, Mortis swinging down towards his head.

With a roar Graveclaw caught the blade between two his two massive calloused hands, muscles bulging and straining as he pushed back against the strength of a giant. Blood dripped from Graveclaws mouth as he gritted his teeth, feet shifting in the dirt for better purchase as he added the power of his legs.

The act of defiance only infuriated Nagash further, who lashed out with the Dark Gaze, driving the bolts of magic from his eyes to Graveclaw and Simon. Sensing the incoming rain of death, Graveclaw twisted his body and finally managed to push Mortis from its intended target, the black sword driving into the ground barely a foot from Simon's head.

The following bolts of magic struck hard, but Nagash had underestimated the pure innate resilience of the Strigoi. As the explosive effects of the magic died down Graveclaw slowly stood back up, rage filled eyes staring fearlessly into the witchlights of the Great Necromancer. His hide was blacked and burned, in some places the powerful sinew and muscle showed through gaping holes. But it was far from enough to keep the Strigoi down.

From where Graveclaw had crouched, Simon's form was still whole. Though also burned and blacked in places, the presence of Graveclaw had no doubt saved the Carstein's life, an irony considering the years spent both yearning for each other's death.

Finally the moment between Graveclaw and Nagash snapped as the Strigoi pounced. Through driven by his immense muscles, Graveclaw's strikes did little against the armour of Nagash, skittering off with barely a mark. A roll dodged a decapitating blow from Mortis, a forearm blocking a sweep from the staff that would have crushed rock. It did not take long for Graveclaw to realise for all his strength and toughness, he just did not have the tools to stop Nagash.

But then, that was never his intention.

The next few strikes seemed to drive the vampire back, but for those who knew what they were looking for it became painfully clear what Graveclaw was waiting for, and then he struck like a thunderbolt. As Nagash overreached and unbalanced himself Graveclaw used his bulk to pull Nagash down towards him, and then he finally did what he had come for.

***

Another scream of rage echoed over the battle, but this one was like a solid wall of pure hate.

Lesa was still numb from her efforts, especially from having to divert her remaining reserves of power to protect herself from Nagash's dark attack. The arcane shields surrounding her had only just managed to stave off death, but most of the supporting vampire and necromancer acolytes laid dead, their minds destroyed.

As the scream died down, Lesa immediately knew something had changed. The limitless power behind Nagash seemed to had dampened somewhat, as though his power reserves were being interrupted. Whatever had happened, Lesa knew they had to take advantage of it.

Vekarin Lesa's thoughts echoed over the aether, you must strike now!

****

Graveclaw limped around the boulder, before finally crashing down the ground. Blood pooled around his body, the grievous wounds on his body testament to Nagash's wrath when he realised Graveclaw's intentions. The blood loss was immense, but he was safe now, having crawled the battle into the nearby mountainside. A brief thought flashed across the Strigoi's mind, wondering if they thought he was a coward, that he had fled from fear.

An irritated snort dismissed it, he did not care for their thoughts. He had done what he had needed to do, what Mistress Lesa had asked of him. He was now tasked with guarding an artefact most potent and he would not fail in that task. Grimacing with pain, Graveclaw stood back up and hefted Nagash's Crown over his shoulder, before loping off into the night.
 

Trevy the Great

Vampire Progenitor
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Vekarin flew back as the massive form of the ghostly dragon struck again, it's neck, fueled by sinews of shadow streaking like a vast, coiling serpent. Vekarin hit the packed earth with a resonating thud, the impact shattering those few undead nearby that had survived the dragon's rising. Kekarsarun's plate had absorbed much of the power of the claws that raked it, the fell runes that etched its surface glowing overbright where the enormous talons had pierced its black iron surface like the reddening of the skin near a mortal's wound.
Quickly, the Blood Dragon pushed himself up, a gauntlet deftly reaching to grasp the hilt of the Dark Blade that lay beside him. The pits in his mask glowing with an eery light that mimicked those of his attacker, Vekarin stood his ground as the massive dragon reared to attack again. From his helm's grimacing mouth, a deathly sound echoed - a grating, harsh sound that stilled the hearts of those who heard it, reverberating and resonating over the battlefield.
It was a laugh.

"Is this the best you can do, oh great, black, Nagash?", the voice that emanated from Vekarin was not wholly his own, for it contained both his booming clarion and a subversive whisper that spoke only of the doom of those who it reached.
"Is this how you would do battle with me? With the beasts stolen from your enemy - these great, necromantic trinkets; the playthings of children?"

As the once-dragon struck, its bony, beshadowed length striking out again - massive, gaping jaws seeking to envelope its enemy and end the nuisance that plagued it, the Dark Blade caught alight with a brilliant, white fire. It was a dichotomy, the obsidian blade leaping with vivid flames but seemingly unaffected by their radiance, keeping its somber, black hue.
The once-dragon's enormous skull rocketed toward him and as it did Vekarin swung the Dark Blade in a wide arc, the white fire fanning out about him as he did so, bathing the battle in an unnatural light. The flames stripped the shadow from the once-dragon's form like water cleansing blood from a wound and the massive beast recoiled.

Vekarin leaped for the gaping jaws as the head swung back and the once-dragons ancient, ossified wings flew up to protect it from the burning wave that washed over it. Batting one huge talon aside with the flaming Dark Blade, Vekarin plunged the Banishment blade deep into the skull of the once-dragon, deracinating what vestiges of energy that remained trapped within the animal's skeletal bulk. With a flash, the power the fueled the once-dragon vanished within the confines of the Dark Blade - the shadow that had encased it and the white fire that had destroyed it both sucked into the obsidian weapon as rapidly as they had fled it.

Vekarin landed on his feet, both weapons clutched in his hands, and turned to glower at the prone form of Nagash as the remains of the ancient dragon collapsed around him - bones snapping cracking as the energy holding them together disappeared.

"Your time has come now, Nagash." Vekarin whispered.
 

Disciple of Nagash

The Perverted One
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It was happening again. Somehow, despite carefully laid plans of centuries, everything was unravelling.

The theft of his crown had torn is warped soul in twain once more, but even worse Nagash realised something was happening to the magic supporting his troops, and that could only mean one thing. Something had happened to the Metronome.

That creation had been his darkest secret, an engine of immense power that could support his armies with limitless power, enabling Nagash to wield his own innate strength with impudence. His witchlight saw the lines of power flowing from Nagashizzar starting to dull, but before they could die completely sent tendrils of his own power out, taking on the bulk of his army in an instant.

Even for a being of his august strength, suddenly taking control of hundreds of thousands was a strain. Nagash stagged for a moment, eyes blazing as he attempted to solidify control. He would not loose, not again. First he would crush the remains of the Council and their allies, and then every dead in on this rotten world would be sent to look for the thief. The vampire who had taken his crown would soon realise he had no where to hide....
 

Count Darvaleth

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Kraskor cried out as Nagash's black magic swept across the Carstein line, holding up the Staff of W'soran to protect himself and Nehklior. The foul energies scorched Kraskor's skin, but he was otherwise unharmed. Kraskor turned and watched as the mighty Strigoi, Graveclaw, grappled with Nagash, his impossible strength vying for control against the Great Necromancer. Kraskor knew that such an attack was folly, but also knew that such a powerful creature had not survived the years through brute force alone. Kraskor's suspicions were confirmed when the beast triumphantly removed Nagash's Crown, and loped off into the distance.

"Master, the tide is turning. Our efforts worked; Nagash is on the defensive." Kraskor watched in awe as Vekarin approached the Necromancer, wielding two mighty blades of limitless power. Nagash seemed weakened, more than just by the Crown; Kraskor realised that Nagash's presence now asserted itself over his own Undead, rather than the mysterious energy which had held them before. Nagash was truly weakened, but Vekarin would need aid.

"Master Nekhlior, I be your forgiveness, but I must join Vekarin," Kraskor handed Nehklior the Staff of W'soran, before leaping onto his dragon mount. "Vekarin is mighty, but he cannot face Nagash alone. Even combined our powers are not enough; Abhorash, my grandsire, must stand with us, and the line of the Blood Dragons will be united against Nagash; progenitor, get, and grandget, all facing the Great Necromancer. Please aid us however you can; I'm sure you can think of something inventive with those two Staffs, Master."

Kraskor snapped a command to his dragon, which flapped its massive wings and soared into the air towards Nagash. Kraskor drew his blade, his sorceries setting the sword alight with crimson energy, as he withdrew the Soulgem of Zacharias from its pouch, clenching it in his mailed gauntlet. Kraskor's dragon spurned towards where Nagash was standing, and Kraskor let out a mighty warcry:

"You have felt pain, Nagash! And now, you shall feel what it is to be one of your many servants; you will feel what it is to be dead!" roared Kraskor, arching his dragon into an unstoppable dive. Just before he crashed into the ground, Kraskor leapt from the back of his mount, rolling onto the ground and up into a combat stance, as his dragon pulled up and circled into the sky. Kraskor turned to Vekarin, his sire.

"Vekarin..." said Kraskor, his voice soft despite the heat of battle, "Let us finish this together. I with my sire, and you with yours; call Abhorash to us and we will break the Great Necromancer forever."

Kraskor's voice turned to a roar once more, "Now, Nagash!" cried Kraskor, "You have felt the wrath of the Strigoi, for your Crown is gone! You have felt the wrath of the Von Carsteins, for their armies crush your Undead hordes! You have felt the wrath of the Lahmians, for even now Lesa holds these armies together and fights your magic! Now, feel the wrath of the Necrarch," Kraskor set Zacharias' Soulgem alight with magic fire, and hurled it at Nagash, its infinite energies unstoppable as the gem smashed on Nagash's breastplate, its power released against Nagash, "And lastly, FEEL THE WRATH OF THE BLOOD DRAGONS!" roared Kraskor, charging into battle with his sire...
 

Get of W'soran

CN's Lord of Masks
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Nekhlior stood with the two staffs for a moment, his head tilted slightly as he watched his young apprentice run off.

"To be young and reckless." Nekhlior said with a smirk to the silence.

After a moment he realised it was only silence.

Glancing around the Necrarch saw no sign of the imaginary V'azrin that had been plaguing him.

Nekhlior frowned, perhaps he had healed...but that should not have been possible.
Then the Necrarch realised his foolishness, the two staves in his hands where channeling large amounts of Dhar through his withered body and although the Sorcerer wasn't actively using any magic it was enough to give his passive vampiric regeneration a much needed boost.

Directing his full attention inwards the vampire entered a trance, actively speeding up the healing process and in a matter of moments he was done, all traces of the damage from Nagash's witchery was gone.

Glancing at the two staves Nekhlior smiled as another idea came to mind.

Turning he strode of towards the Council's main forces.
_____________________________________________

Karl stood silently behind ranks of undead guards, all the Necromancer's that had attended his healing lay dead from some form of magical attack that had come from Nagash.
They had simply been too close to the source, but that mattered not for they have finished their task.

The Regent of Sylvania flexed his hands, his full strength had returned but what to do with it, his confidence had been somewhat shaken a few minutes ago when he had been informed of Akarin's death.

Glancing to his right Karl looked at the young von Carstein Thrall that had came to deliver the news.

Sensing the elder vampires gaze he turned to Karl.

"Have you orders mi'lord?" the Thrall asked.

Karl turned away for another moment before deciding on another course of action.

"Yes...we go to find the Marshal."
 

Trevy the Great

Vampire Progenitor
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The ground pounded beneath him as Vekarin moved, tufts of the packed earth kicked up by his black-iron boots, the enormous weight of the Blood Dragon pushing him forward at unstoppable speed. The ground reverberated with his footsteps, a hollow, throbbing sound that echoed about the battlefield. It was ethereal, a sound that resounded not only across the two armies locked in their mortal struggle but through the souls and minds of all who heard them.

As he charged, raw power gathered about the massive warrior. The winds of magic gusted around him and Vekarin's balefire eyes blazed with unholy energy. The ground itself began to groan in protest, rocks rejecting the warm embrace of the ground and floating, suspending themselves in thin air. The earth cracked beneath the Blood Dragon's rapid footsteps, revealing spiderweb fissures that glowed with baleful violet fire. Those unfortunate enough to be caught in Vekarin's path were buffeted aside by invisible forces; thrown away and ripped to shreds by the howling, magical vortex.

As he neared his prey, Vekarin's violet cloak caught alight. It burned with fire to intense for any natural flame and as the Blood Dragon ran, it began to shape itself, molding itself into myriad unearthly forms. From his back now sprung two wings of flame - great gouts of fire that burned blue and red and purple all at once. With a roar more powerful than the greatest quakes of the earth, the two massive pinions beat once, propelling Vekarin towards Nagash, eyes burning like twin stars and a battlecry that shrieked above even the howling winds on his lips.
 

Disciple of Nagash

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As the soulgem of Zacharius unleashed its magical power Nagash raised his staff, uttering an arcane phrase. The skulls sat atop its length glowed, absorbing the magical attack within itself, leaving only scorch marks on Nagash’s black armour. With a hateful gaze the great liche thrust the staff at Kraskor, turning the attack back on the vampire. The resulting surge of power smashed the Blood Dragon back in a shower of broken armour and blood.

Now only Vekarin remained, but it was clear that this vampire would not go down so easily. To Nagash’s witchsight, the wards ensorcelled in Vekarin’s armour plating shone line miniature suns. More worryingly however was the malignant aura surrounding the vampire, an aura which surged in strength as his opponent attacked. The vampire was in league with something else, something extremely powerful.

The clashing of their crossed blades sent out a shockwave, levelling any caught nearby. Such potent weapons interacted as they were used against one another, the contrasting magicks causing random surges of power to strike both combatants. In combat they were more closely matched than of the others had been. Whilst Nagash still moved with the same devastating speed and power, the earlier injuries caused by the Carsteins was beginning to tell.

Finally the Dark Blade managed to tear pierce Nagash’s fable Black Armour, eliciting a roar of pain and anger. Stepping back, the mighty staff in Nagash’s grasp glowed as he focused his potent arcane strength along its length. The power within grew and grew, until with deadly speed the Liche smashed the staff’s head into Vekarin’s chest. The resulting explosion was like a thunderclap as the staff shattered, sending both vampire and liche flying off their feet into the dirt.

The Nagashi army faltered for a moment, the magic driving them fluctuating. The moment passed almost immediately as Nagash stood back up, power crackling over his now cracked armour.
 

Trevy the Great

Vampire Progenitor
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Vekarin rolled as the force of Nagash's spell hurled him back, using his momentum to effortlessly leap back onto his feet. He looked to his chest where an ugly hole had been torn in his magical plate, steaming metal and seared flesh running like water in the face of the unstoppable power of Nagash's attack. Quickly unslinging the shield that hung on his back, Vekarin strapped the mirrored disk onto his arm. It would not be so easy for Nagash to bring his fearsome magical powers to bear a second time.
With a wordless roar Vekarin charged at the rising form of Nagash as it was reflected in the polished shield that the Blood Dragon held up to defend himself from Nagash's reprisal. A second blast of magical force erupted from Nagash's outstretched talon, streaking towards Vekarin like fell lightning; an avalanche of power that no mortal could withstand.
Vekarin's stride slowed for only a moment as the immense force was rebounded of his shield, eye-searing channels of energy refracting in every direction, kicking tufts of burnt earth into the air where they impacted the ground.

Vekarin absorbed Nagash's retaliatory blow onto his shield, a nimbus of power rebounding off it's unmarred surface as the energy unleashed by Nagash's magical blade was reflected. Vekarin struck at the massive skeleton's outstretched arm with lightning speed, cutting deep into the foul armor that girded it with the Banishment Blade before feeling himself being thrown back again by a blow from Nagash's skeletal fist.

Undaunted, Vekarin leaped to his feet, throwing a spiderweb of attacks from his two weapons; a twisting matrix of blows that Nagash could not, now bereft of one of his weapons, block entirely.
 

Count Darvaleth

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Kraskor was sent flying by the force of Nagash's power, his armour cracked and dented, blood flowing from several wounds. It would not kill him, Kraskor knew this; but he could not fight Nagash now, not after this powerful blow. Kraskor's blade had shattered completely; from where he lay, Kraskor lifted the broken hilt, before tossing it aside and spitting a fat globule of blood.

"I need a new sword..." thought Kraskor, chuckling despite the circumstances, which prompted a racking cough. Kraskor held on to his consciousness, and simply lay in the dirt, his body cut in several places, a small pool of blood slowly forming around Kraskor's limp form. He could not pass out now, he would not allow himself to.

Kraskor was witnessing history. He was witnessing the death of Nagash.
 

Sweeney Todd

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The massive explosion of magic from the Guilt hurled the dueling Sweeney Todd and Judge off their feet. Rolling with the momentum, Todd was marginally faster in throwing himself onto his feet and at the Judge. A shallow wound was all he managed to inflict before a counterstrike that would have slit his throat forced him back for a moment.

Blows were traded with a fury that belied the magnitude of the titanic confrontation between the Council and Nagash himself going on in the distance. Totally engrossed in the bout at hand, Todd realized that he didn't seem to be able to land a hit on his opponent at all. Nevertheless, he would not come so far only to fall at this moment. The resolve shone in his eyes as he met the cool stare of the Judge. Despite her calm countenance, he could see something burning beneath. Perhaps it was hate, but it mattered nought as sword rang against razor once more.
 

Disciple of Nagash

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There was barely a blur before the Judge's sword met the silver of Todd's razor. Unlike like many of the other Dreadlords, she almost seemed indifferent at the battle. There was no flourish, no grandiose remarks or movements. Each strike, each blow was the bare minimum needed. Yet for the seeming lack of passion there was no doubt that she was deadly.

Todd was indeed a master of combat, in the ranking of the Council only behind the likes of Vekarin, Graveclaw and the recently deceased Duke. In truth there should not have been many who should be able to stand up to him. Yet the Judge was not only doing that, but as forcing him on the defensive.

In her hands she carried the sister, a longsword in the right, a short sword in the left. Like their mistress, there was nothing overt about them. No runes or anything to show a magical nature. However to anyone with the knowledge to realise, it was clear they were master forged and paintstakingly cared for. There was not one notch or scratch, even after the repeated parries and deflections.

A sudden reversal saw the pommel of the Judge's longsword smash into Todd's face, and with with cold death in here eyes, the Judge moved forward to finish his existence.

OOC: Will finish this fight before finishing the one between Vekky and Nagash.
 

Sweeney Todd

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Sweeney Todd's head rocked back with the impact of the blow, but otherwise the only acknowledgement of his wound was from Todd flicking his blood into the Judge's eyes. It blinded the Judge for a brief moment, but his counterstrike failed to do anything to score a gash in her well-forged armor.

As their gazes met again he suddenly felt his choler flare. His hands twitched with the urge to leap forth and lash out at the Judge. Taking a deep breath, he fought down the strange impulse with the mental self-control honed all those centuries ago. Unfortunately, while he had wavered momentarily the Judge was already on the move. He barely managed to sway aside from her thrust. As the Judge reversed her longer blade into a sweep Todd pirouetted away to a safer distance.

The Judge did not so much as blink when Todd began to reel on the spot as though drunk. As she closed in a razor swatted away the shortsword she often used to parry and the other snaked in towards her throat. Despite her attempt at deflection she could not entirely prevent Todd from cutting a gash running up her jaw and cheek. Todd was too close to be entirely safe however, and one of her blades grated across the links of Todd's mail armor, drawing a shallow cut across the side of his chest. As if sensing their owner's plight, his keening razors pulsed crimson as the duelling duo struck their blades unto each other.
 

Disciple of Nagash

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Her opponent was proving to be more skilled than the Judge has anticipated. The razors in his hands had almost seemed humorous at first, or it would have done if she still entertained that emotion.

But instead of an easy fight, the vampire had shown to be more deadly with those razors than many Sons of Abhorash were with sword or axe.

That said, she was not a Dreadlord of Nagash for no reason. Though she did not have the extreme or flashy powers of the other Dreadlords, Maatameses was perhaps the deadliest. Her skills with both blade and magic, her emotional detachment, it all meant the realistically she did not have any weaknesses, and also had a variety of tools to defeat her foes.

Moving to a defensive posture she expertly parried Todd's strikes, moving herself backwards. Finally she had enough room and launched at attack that Todd was not expecting. Instead of blade, it was a torrent of dark magic that lashed out, smashing into the vampire's chest with unholy power.
 
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