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TVC - Chapter 54 - Full Circle

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Sweeney Todd

Master Vampire
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The blast of dark energy slammed into a hastily summoned magical shield with a thunderclap that threw out a roiling cloud of smoke and dust in all directions.

Ears cocked, the Judge cautiously advanced forward towards where she last saw Sweeney Todd. A slight whistling in the wind was all the warning she got of a razor blow aimed at her throat. Instinctively, she shifted on the spot and raised a sword to parry, allowing a semi-concealed Todd to strike deep into the underside of her left shoulder.

Only as she reeled slightly did the smoke disperse, allowing the Judge to see exactly how much damage she had inflicted upon her opponent. Todd's magical capabilities were no match for hers, and so her spell had eaten through his relatively poor magical defense, a part of his armor and placed a large blackened scorch mark that occasionally dripped dark ichor across one side of his chest.

Despite the grievous wound however, the only sign that Todd was any worse for the wear came from his slightly slower movements. Pain was not the only thing he was resistant to either. Those cold eyes that could elicit completely irrational fury out of others did not appear to bother Todd much as he unleashed a flurry of seething green bolts of raw magic at her. The Judge almost casually dispelled the magical attack with the wave of a hand and the muttering of a few syllables, but Todd had already anticipated that outcome and swiftly moved in. A nonstop whirlwind of death sprang forth from the dancing razors as Todd sought to keep close, making sure that the Judge would not get the opening to unleash another spell at him.
 

Disciple of Nagash

The Perverted One
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It was time to end the fight. The Judge could sense things were starting to unravel, that something was amiss as the power behind the Legion stuttered more than once. Although this duel had proved to be a welcome distraction from the weaklings she had faced through the years, it had to be removed.

Unlike others of his kind, the vampire seemed to be able to accept his shortcomings, and now was adopting a fighting stance that no longer gave her time to launch a spell potent enough to destroy him. Flashing silver blades were forming a net that required most of her formidable skill to deflect, but not all.

With a twist Maatameses blade shrieked along one of the razors, the master vampire driving herself forward. In truth there never had been a true challenge to her, after all she was a Master Vampire, the progenitor of her line. It would take more than lesser Get from another line to kill her. A snap of her wrist caught the razor blade in her hilt and snapped it. Even as this happened she felt the other razor trying to strike home. The perfect stance of her body however removed any easy target and it simply skittered over her black armour.

As she closed in for the kill her senses heightened, the enemy vampire seemingly slowing down to a crawl. The blade in her offset hand lanced forward, spearing her opponent through the shoulder. She could see his eye's widen in momentary pain, his arm spasming and dropping the razor that was still trying to pierce her armour. Brutely she kicked the now unarmed vampire off her sword and into the dirt, laying the tip of her right hand sword at his throat before he could rise.

"Well fought," the cold words came as she leaned forward to end Todd's unlife.
 

Sweeney Todd

Master Vampire
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Sweeney Todd could hardly feel anything as the Judge’s blades took him through the heart, for darkness swallowed his vision whole…

**********

In spite of the freezing wind, or because of it, the intricate overlapping lattice of scourge marks both new and old that was etched deep into his back burned. However the bite of the pain was insignificant compared to what he kept in his skull.

Condemned to a bleak and miserable existence, fear, rage and anguish festered deep in his heart every night as he languished within his cold, dark cell. The memories of what he had lost grew heavier day by day, and as months turned into years, hate and longing began to eat away his sanity.

On particularly still nights he swore he could see the wife and daughter he had been taken from pass by his cell. Todd had long ago resolved to win his freedom and return to his wife, but could only wallow in his powerlessness as visions assailed him once more…

RETURN
**********

Amidst the roofs and spires of uptown Nuln an odd gargoyle perched. Unflinching eyes gleamed within an alabaster set as they perceived a carriage drawing up to the opulent mansion that its gaze was fixated upon. Even from a distance, the scent of undeath was unmistakable. A clutch of Lahmians wearing the guise of noblemen and noblewomen disembarked from the coach, and with nearly the entire coven present, tendrils of Dhar practically wafted off that place.

A familiar face triggered a rush of recollection. Todd recalled the shock discovery of who Turpin really was, and what he had done to his family. He had eluded Todd back in Marienburg, and it had taken Todd years to track him here. Every iota of his being told him to immediately charge in, tear them all from limb to limb and paint their lair red with their own blood as he burned it to the ground. His self-control that held him back, a tinny voice of reason in his head that told him he didn’t stand a chance. At least, not yet.

Still watching from the shadows, a vengeful Todd began to weave his plans.

DESTROY
**********

Ichor dribbled down his cheek as the newly sired Sweeney Todd drank deep of precious blood. When he had gone missing search parties had been sent into the woods to find a potential escapee. Todd had singlehandedly butchered one of them, and now stood amidst their corpses. The red mist that was The Thirst subsided briefly, enough for him to perceive the silhouette of his sire stalking towards him.

A wordless bellow echoed from the cliffs of the mountain pass as an Ogre raiding party announced their presence. From amidst the ranks of the heavily armed convoy, Sweeney Todd watched calmly as the ground shook beneath the massed Ogre charge.

The fist of one of Harakhte’s line slipped past Todd’s guard and connected with his jaw. Pain shot through nerves and up into the forefront of his skull. Flesh stung at a flying guillotine’s caress as it grazed past. An iron-shod staff snaked out from Todd’s hands.

Todd fearlessly stared down a champion of the Ogre tribes. The swift strides they took towards each other felt like they could last forever. The rest was drowned in a blur of adrenaline and violence as they dueled to the death while battle raged all around them.

Several throwing stars coated with virulent poison thudded into the wooden pillar behind Todd as he leant out of the way. Figures clad entirely in black silently dropped down from the rafters. Ninjatos wove a humming web of dull metal as the assassins moved in with the speed of undeath, whilst the master watched.

With a grunt he removed a stake from his side, one from a foolish Witch Hunter whose entrails now lined the floor. He drunk deep from a cup that was the decapitated head of a Brettonian knight. The rapier of a Lahmian hunter pierced through his lung even as his razors tore open his throat. Yet no matter what was thrown at him, the dark fire within him yet burned-

SURVIVE
**********

A bestial howl pierced through the dimensions. Rime caked on the Judge’s armor from standing in the path of the new breeze, an unholy wind that came straight from the pits of hell. The cry of the one she had already defeated briefly tore a hole in the veil between dimensions, and as she watched vengeful spirits poured into reality from the portal to beyond.

Gibbering echoed around the Judge as the specters swooped in to tear at her with ghostly claws. With a word, she unleashed a wave of magical power that blasted them away. Yet there were more. Two in particular hovered besides a standing Todd, the spirits of Todd’s mortal family that she didn’t know about. Absorbing the essence of the banished specters, wraiths came forth to cleave her in twain even as Lucy and Johanna arched back and screamed.

Maatmeses was no frail-hearted human, but the pure force behind their cries sent her reeling back. Fending off the wraiths took but a moment. In that moment a razor almost tore off her forearm with eye-watering speed. The beast within that Todd kept shackled with his mind had torn free, and she stared into the blood red pupils of a creature that ate murder and breathed out hate
 

Disciple of Nagash

The Perverted One
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The Judge back-peddled as fast as she could. She was a creature of rage herself, and knew a beast when she saw it. Her own anger had nearly consumed her many years ago, and whilst it had almost proved her undoing, it had also granted her immense strength.

That all consuming loathing attacked her now. With the full wrath of the creature inside him unleashed Maatameses saw very few had, Sweeney Todd loosing control. The vampire had for so long fought to keep his anger in check, instead focusing on his martial techniques. Now that knowledge combined with furious strength to temporarily almost make him equal of the Judge.

Almost.

The pure shock of his attack nearly succeeded. Blows rained faster than she could deflect and blood gouted from gashes torn into her. The black armour proved worthless again the strength employed, and it was only by her own sword skills that Maatamses kept her head from being removed.

A vicious punch knocked a couple of her teeth out, and she felt her own anger starting to unshackle. Instinctively she clamped down on it, struggle to ensure it was not unleashed. It could not happen again.....not after what resulted before.....the devastation even by vampirics standard.

Her cool facade cracked for a moment as she stumbled backwards once again, driven by the powerful blows of her foe. Snarling in anger she heard a rumbling, and it suddenly dawned in her head that even in his mind consuming rage Todd had known exactly was he was doing.....


OCC: Time to end it....
 

Sweeney Todd

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Reluctant to reveal her true self, the Judge withdrew in the face of Sweeney Todd's wrath. No undisciplined retreat this was; her millenia worth of skill kept her alive as she fell back while Todd tried his best to rip her apart. The duo stood in the center of a balefire whirlwind, the hateful screams of the tormented souls Todd had inadvertently summoned giving voice to the silent snarl etched across his face, as beast and spirits attacked with the unified purpose of tearing the Judge asunder.

With every passing moment the wounds the Judge was dealt got increasingly severe. Her armor was mostly proof against the gibbering spectres and wraiths, but not against Todd's immense strength. However, her counterattacks seemed to be doing little if anything, thanks to the prodigious resilience of the Strigoi line. She deflected one of Todd's blows and was in position to deliver a riposte when a powerful wave of pure sonic force from Lucy and Joanna Barker smashed her off her feet and broke a few bones.

One could only be pushed so far before choler would flare; the Judge had inadvertently opened the Pandora's box of Todd's inner beast, and now her turn had come. A maelstrom of destruction came to life as Sweeney Todd and his impromptu court of vengeful shades crashed headlong into a storm of steel and raw arcane power. He waded through lightning and hellfire, only for the two to land a blow on each other simultaneously. For the first time since his transformation, Todd reeled back as he was almost bisected by a grevious blow across his torso, whilst the Judge's left arm was cloven straight through.

Before the Judge could claim any further triumph, the rumbling she had earlier heard resolved itself into the looming shadow of the Unholy Patisserie. Impelled by Todd's subconscious will, the massive war engine smashed into the Judge. The broken Dreadlord simply disappeared under its bulk, whereas the braking construct hurled its master several meters. In its wake a previously occupied Mrs. Lovette hurried onto the scene. She was too late do anything but conjure up a web of energy that both healed and restrained Todd.

Relative silence broke out from mutual annilhilation. But whether Todd could emerge from under the grip of the all-consuming beast, none could say.
 

Disciple of Nagash

The Perverted One
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Nagash took a step backwards, then another, as he wielded Mortis with every ounce of skill he had gained in both life and death. His giant form which normally inspired fear into his opponents was proving to be a hindrance. Against Vekarin's consummate skill Nagash simply could not fully defend against the devastating combination of the Dark and Banishment Blades.

The feeling started so small that Nagash did not even realise what it was. The swords still clashed, time after time. The word around had dissolved as the mighty Liche fought two battles. In the physical world he strived against an opponent who was perhaps the deadliest warrior in existence bar his sire. Trained for years in the art of dealing death, equipped with arcane items that rivalled those forged by his own hand, Vekarin was an engine of pure destruction.

Yet inside Nagash fought another battle that was just as deadly. Realising the strain he was under, another foe had launched her own attack, striking with power against his mind that would have slain lesser mages in an instant.

Your time is almost up

He could hear the Lahmian's words, could sense her power, power that one of her kind should not have. It burned like a beacon through the darkness to his witchsight, and in it he saw that the world would not simply lie down and perish. Nagash desired a neverending world, where nothing happened, nothing felt without his say. Lesa's will surged in defiance of this, passion and anger flaring through her aura like strikes of fire, every hurt, every wound, every ounce of her being focused into one complete assault.

With a roar Nagash lashed out, both in mind and body. Mortis smashed into Vekarin's mirrored shield, shattering the reflective surface. In his mind dark hate tore at Lesa's mind, drawing on her own feelings to drown her in anguish. As the attacks struck home Nagash felt a flicker of triumph, knowing that the pitiful creatures would feel true fear, know that even despite their best efforts they could not stop him.

But when he looked once more at them, the flicker died, the other feeling growing stronger. There was no fear in their eyes. From within his helm Vekarin's eyes shone with unstoppable resolution. His shield arm was torn and ruined, yet through the pain he still gripped his sword, ready to strike once more, even at the expense of his own life.

Likewise he sensed the Lahmian struggle to her feet, raising her head high as she stared defiantly at the giant from her outcrop. He could actually see her in the distance, long hair billowing in the wind, as she prepared to give her last.

How did this happen? Nagash cursed as he took another step back. His immense strength was beginning to fail. Scores of wounds cried out in pain across his body, no longer could he heal himself, his power lent to his army. Only now did he begin to realise his arrogance, his mistake.

He had thought the vampires like him. Thought that they would not fight united, certainly thought they would not die for one another. Yet now he saw that everything had been building to this. Every attack beforehand had been a willing sacrifice to chip his formidable defences. Every scratch, every cut adding to the total. They had known from the start they would not best him in single combat, but that had never been the intention. He had thought himself victor, had ignored what he had thought minor wounds.

The feeling welled up inside as Nagash realised the situation he was in. His magic was drained, his body damaged, his soul torn in two. He could already see the truth death staring at him once more, those countless years beckoning. The fear turned into terror, the Great Lord of Undeath finally experiencing the sensation after so very long. The destruction of the Black Pyramid meant that it was very likely that he would not be able to return to this realm, that he would finally be cast into the underworld to finally face the most terrible of judgements.

A world where he was powerless.

A world where he was not a God.

A world where he was no longer in control.

A world where he could be hurt once more.

"No!" he hissed. The army of Nagash faltered for the final time as the Liche prepared to forstall his destruction at any cost. Legions upon legions crumbled to the ground as Nagash drew in his magical might, Acolytes screamed as their souls were consumed in an instant. He cared not for anything under his command, only that he would not face the true death.

Drawing up to his full height the Great Lord of Undeath raised his hands to the sky, commanding the magical heavy clouds to his will. Strike after strike fused the Liche with more and more power, the air turning greasy with arcane potencies.

"I will not be DEFEATED!" Nagash screamed to the heavens, his baleful gaze turning to the hated Blood Dragon. Him, and the Lahmian. Hate bubbled over in his heart at the two, at the two who had made him feel such terrible things, things he had thought to never feel once again. He would not stand for this, be be fearful, to feel helpless. He would take control, and destroy anything in his path as he always had.

Surging with godlike strength, Nagash unleashed his power.
 

Trevy the Great

Vampire Progenitor
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A daemon is a powerful thing.
A swirling eddy of the infinitely complex realm of chaos given form, raised out of the pandemonium and shaped by the very thoughts of mortals into something entrusted with occult purpose and blessed with the unholy strength to fulfill it. It is a manifestation of pure emotion; a creature birthed from the womb of mortality’s deep psyche, their most powerful desires, their darkest fears made manifest in iron flesh and fell intellect.
And it is the emotions of mortals; those unalienable wells of the subconscious that give them power, for it is not only the unearthly strength in their arms that makes a Daemon strong, but the very thoughts that mold them from the entropy of Chaos.

Nagash unleashed his howl of rage and with it a torrential storm of energy. The skies split with dark fire; nature violated and abused as comets rained from the skies in cruel mockery of the ancient religions of man, wreathed in lightning that flashed blue and red and purple all at once. The very atmosphere groaned as the arcane bombardment rent it, the air itself set alight and the ground splintering underfoot.
Yet for all its fell glory the deadly storm from the heavens was eclipsed by the rage that was made manifest in Nagash’s own body.

Burning with the brilliance of a thousand dark suns, the Black Lord’s skeletal form burned with soulfire. Colors turned inside out and light reverberated as the winds of magic; the ever powerful, enigmatic forces that shaped the world around them were unwilling bent to Nagash’s will. His frame alight with unholy energies, the necromancer outstretched his hand toward Vekarin and turned night into day.

There was no peal of thunder for the Blood Dragon, no fateful tolling of bells, not even the shriek of souls lost in the brilliant blast of light that erupted from Nagash’s outstretched talon.
It was as if all sound had left the world. The ring of steel, the boom of cannons, the screams of battlecries and the shrieks of the dead and dying ceased with a terrible abruptness, as if they had never sounded. All that existed in that moment was the blinding light.
It was a sensation so foreign to him. Perhaps it was death; a fate reserved for only a handful of his kind, that felt so alien for the white light was itself so familiar. He experienced second of clarity that was out of place in the urgency of the battle that had raged around him, pondering the moment as the brilliance of Nagash’s unleashed rage engulfed his vision and he saw nothing but the white light.
Soon, feeling too left him; the weight of his armor, the grip of his weapons and the sting of his wounds fading as his vision had; the sensations of battle draining away only to be replaced by feelings older, irrevocably changed and muted over the span of millennia, yet still as familiar as they had been when he had first experienced them.

A hot wind wafted past the ancient vampire’s face, rustling a mane of ruddy hair that adorned Vekarin’s head. Were those the sands of Khemri he smelled? The dusty odor assailed his nostrils; replacing the stink of death and the copper odor of blood. Warm stones lay beneath his bare feet; they were carved, shaped, smoothed by the impeccable skill of a master artisan. Vekarin stood confused for a moment; the warm air blanketing his naked body. He stretched out his arms at his sides, raising them to the unseen heavens and he felt the soft touch of sunlight on his skin.
Sunlight? Such was anathema to his species! He would soon begin to burn under its bright gaze.
His heartbeat quickened at the prospect of such injury.
Heartbeat?

Vekarin opened his eyes, his vision resolving from the brilliance of Nagash’s final attack. He stood before the royal palace of Lahmia; it’s marble surfaces shining in noonday sun; baroque gold filigree and inlay glinting from tall obelisks and pillars. The long, stone walkway leading to its gaping entrance empty and inviting; lined by statues of the ancient rulers of and city so that they could judge all who entered with the wisdom of the ages.
It was as magnificent in its shining glory as it had been the day that it was constructed, yet coldly quiet and empty.
Vekarin took a step forward, brushing his hands along the familiar stones; memories of a life long past flooding into his mind. He noticed that his skin of his arms was bronzed from the hot, Khemrian sunlight; color that had long since left it for the pale aspect of death.

“Are you dead?”

The voice returned; even here. Even in this empty place.

“Why, of course you are! But that is nothing new, Vehki-Rhan.”

Vekarin suddenly felt blind and deaf. Mute to the world. His vampiric senses were gone; he could feel only what he felt, only hear what was there to be heard. The sound of his own blood rushing in his veins filling his ears, his own heartbeat almost deafening him.
He whirled around, stumbling dumbly in the brightness, the padding sound of his bare feet on the pavement echoing softly from the statues that looked down upon him disapprovingly.
“Where are you!?” He yelled, angry. He was alone, confused, and his voice sounded weak in his ears; possessing none of the clarion reverberation that it had in death.

“I am here.” The voice said softly, and Vekarin turn again. Standing before him was the armored form of Abhorash; the master vampire wearing the bronze armor of a Lahmian palace guard. It was a vision so familiar to Vekarin’s eyes; yet inherently wrong, twisted in a way words could describe. Perhaps it was only the fault of memory, mused Vekarin, but it felt more sinister.

“Who are you?” Inquired Vekarin weakly, tiredly.

“I am everyone you have ever known; all those you have betrayed. All those who loved you and deserved your love; and all those you never showed that courtesy. And yet none of them at all.” The Abhorash-thing replied.

Vekarin stared at the Abhorash-thing dejectedly; he felt an all-encompassing tiredness in his body, a fatigue that belied movement or thought. It was the weight of ages pressing on his mind; the countless centuries breaking his resolve.
“I do not understand.” He said, simply, quietly.

In an instant, the vision of Abhorash was gone. In its place stood the tall form of Victarias; the light, flowing robes and intricate, bronze armor of Neferata’s handmaiden girding her lithe figure. She was dressed as she had been at their wedding, and seeing her filled Vekarin with an overwhelming despair and crushing regret that he had not felt in millennia.
Yet she too felt wrong. Perhaps it was her face; a furrowed brow that Vekarin had rarely seen on her features that made her smile seem somehow cruel.

“You were never meant to understand.” The thing said to Vekarin; “Only to obey. You were not a leader, Vehki-Rhan; you were never meant to be. You were a pawn, only, a soldier in this great war; and you have ever been loyal.”

Vekarin slumped to the ground, falling against the pedestal of King Rakhash II, the ancient ruler’s lidless, stone eyes staring unblinkingly at Vekarin’s failing body.
“I am loyal to no one.” He whispered, staring dumbly at the carved stones beneath him. The Victarias-thing stepped forward gracefully, its footsteps making no sound on the stones of the walkway. It knelt beside him, taking his chin between its hands and guiding his eyes to its.
Vekarin looked into the eyes of his former lover, a sight so familiar, so comforting that it almost surprised him when he tried to pull away. There was a darkness in those eyes, a sliver of something that did not belong. A strand, as if a crack in the pupil of her dark eyes, a crevice through which shined the true colors of the thing before him.
A fissure that shined violet.

“Now you speak in riddles, Blood Dragon.” The Victarias-thing whispered, “You have been loyal to no one in death; not your sire, not your wife, not even yourself; yet in your actions you have always been my puppet, danced to my tune. You did not know it, but everything you have accomplished, every task you were set to since the beginning of your mortal life has been my design; every road you have travelled leading you here; every strand of fate, every thread of destiny carefully guided by my hand.”

Images flooded into Vekarin’s head; memories long buried, fragments of events that he had forgotten ever occurred. Images from his life in Lahmia, the battles against the priest-kings of Khemri and the flight from his ancestral city; his long campaigns leading armies of the dead against the myriad foes that he had battled over the millennia; honing his martial skill against the most formidable opponents that he could seek out. He saw the fateful conflict with Kekarsarun, the chosen of the Great Changer, and the depth of his folly was brought home to Vekarin.
Even in the sacrifice of his most powerful mortal servant Tzeentch’s plans were manifest, and the final blow was struck against Kekarsarun was as the final nail sealing Vekarin’s fate. Kekarsarun’s armor, the plate that had protected the Blood Dragon from his varied and powerful enemies was not a spoil of conquest, not a boon from the Chaos gods, but merely a conduit of the Changer’s influence.
In his arrogance, Vekarin had opened his mind and soul to the machinations of Chaos, and it had irreparably corrupted him.
He saw then Victarias as she had been, before Morr’s prison had broken her utterly; he saw her laughing and smiling, an expression of happiness on her face that felt alien to Vekarin, so long had it been since he had laid eyes upon it. The scope of his failure to his lover was also laid bare before the Blood Dragon, and tears rose unbidden to his eyes, spilling down his chiseled features before splashing onto his chest and quickly disappearing beneath the hot, Khemrian sun.

“Your choices were your own, Vehki-Rhan, but no matter what path you trod, it would ever lead to my door. You are an aspect of my will, Blood Dragon, and our wills are one in the same.” The Victarias-thing whispered.
“You set out to accomplish a task; and I would see it completed, but you must have known that with all of his power and occult might; no mortal, no petty collection of Vampires can hope to kill that which is immortal.”
Vekarin looked at the Victarias-thing with resolute eyes, tears still fresh on his face.
“I can do it; I will do it!” He murmured.
The thing masquerading as his former lover leaned in close to Vekarin in a mockery of a tender embrace, and whispered in the Blood Dragon’s ear.

“Not alone.”

He felt rejuvenated, as if the unholy strength in his long-dead muscles had returned tenfold. His eyes opened to the stormclouds gathering overhead, peering through the hollowed eyes of a grimacing skull. The pain of his wounds had subsided, and no longer could he feel the chill wind through the many rents in his broken armor.

“Stand aside.”

He heard the voice as though muffled, the words not fully intended for him, yet its reply was as loud and clear as the sun on a cloudless day.

“Never.”

It was Victarias’ voice, and Vekarin found the strength in his healing muscles to lift his body from the packed earth, the repaired plate of Kekarsarun clinking coldly.
Before him stood the baleful form of Nagash, his skeleton still blazing with unholy fire; the sockets of his massive skull alight with rage and pain… and fear. He had a long talon outstretched to the figure that stood, tiny as if a mortal compared with an immortal god, silhouetted in the nimbus of power that wreathed Nagash’s form; tall, lithe figure in dark armor.
 

Trevy the Great

Vampire Progenitor
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The ground pounded under his boots; the unearthly, vampiric power of his body pushing him to a velocity that caused the chaos of the pitched battle around him to melt into a entropic blur. Only his target was clear to Vekarin’s eyes; the skeletal form of Nagash shining like a dead star fallen to earth.
Power coursed through the Blood Dragon’s vacant veins; a strength that felt both unfamiliar and addictively sublime. Arcs of energy scattered like lightning from his regenerated armor, a rainbow of colors flashed about him as he moved and his eyes blazed with unholy power.

He dropped the shattered shield that had bound his wrist, holding at ready his twin blades; each radiating unimaginable energies. The shining spike of the Banishment blade blazed with desire to annihilate the fell creatures surrounding it while beside it the obsidian shadow of the Dark blade burned somberly with a black, unquenchable thirst.
His cloak billowing about him, Vekarin hurled a roar at Nagash, his battlecry as a chorus of damned souls shrieking with unbridled rage.

Victarias deftly sidestepped a blast of baleful energy that could easily have vaporized her as her swords deflected a powerful thrust of the massive blade, Mortis. She whirled about to take advantage of her foes’ opening, her blades spearing with supernatural precision. As massive and terrible as Nagash was, he was not slow and, his body radiating with energy, he was not powerless. His massive weapon flashed up to knock aside Victarias’ darting attack, the impact sending the Blood Dragon stumbling back. With a thrust of his empty talon, Nagash bellowed a damning incantation. The air about him screaming in protest, a jet of raw energy flashed out at Victarias; arcane runes burning themselves into the space between them as his attack hit home.
As a jagged hole was burnt through the black, laquered armor of Victarias’ chest, torching the ground behind her and sending mercurial drops of molten steel and flaming chunks of incinerated tissue into the air, Vekarin’s cry cut through the air. Victarias fell silently to the packed ground as the massive warrior charged past, blades raised.

When the two enormous figures collided, it was as if the earth itself had grown still. Even the silent legions of undead that surrounded them may have turned their sightless eyes to witness the cataclysmic duel, so quiet the din of battle had grown. Vekarin heard no sound as he approached Nagash, the tumult of the struggle about him growing still and time seeming to slow so as to accommodate only the Blood Dragon and the Black Lord.
Mortis was swung high, an arc of coruscating power trailing behind it as it whirled about to parry Vekarin’s deadly brands. The moment was captured in eternity, a split-second of pent energy that lasted both for millennia and no time at all. Then, with a whip-crack of power as loud and awful as a thunder strike, the three weapons collided.
There was a shockwave as the power of the blades repelled one another, the energies of their wielders similarly deflected, sending the combatants stumbling back and throwing clouds of dust up about their duel.

As the pair righted themselves, a second blast of energy radiated from Nagash, dark sigils imprinting themselves into the earth and air like blackened embers in the wake of the immense discharge.
Vekarin was thrown back by the attack; the runes etched into the dark plate of his armor glowing anew; reflecting the surge of magical energy like a wave breaking upon an indomitable rock. As he regained his balance yet again, Nagash advanced upon the Blood Dragon, his enormous sword whirling with a skill practiced for longer than any living creature could remember.
 

Disciple of Nagash

The Perverted One
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Darkness shrouded the fell form of Nagash as he moved towards the vampire. The power drawn into his withered form was beyond anything Vekarin or Lesa had ever seen. The edges of his body could only be seen as marks of black as reality twisted, draining the light. Shadow wrapped his very being, giving him a wraith-like visage that struck terror into the dead hearts of the vampires he faced. But even through such absolute darkness the twin orbs of Nagash’s gaze burned, his hatred turning the green witchlights into glaring white.

Throughout the ages his name had been used to frighten children, his horrific deeds and terrible power told over and over as cautionary tales. Many had believed that a creature of such absolute evil, a creature that had once been a man and now combined such human hunger with the powers of a god had never truly existed, that surely it was an exaggeration.

Of those that now looked upon him, if any such doubts existed they were quashed in an instant. It was no mere necromancer or Liche that roared his anger to the heavens. The being preparing to vent his wrath could only be described as godlike, and with each stride the ground shuddered.

Lesa could barely open her eyes as she fought with every ounce of her control to keep hold of what remaining power she had left. Nagash cared not where the power came from, and all over the battlefield more and more of her kind were crumbling to dust as the ancient liche drained the very magical essence from their bodies. Her clenched fists draw blood, teeth gritted as she refused to give way.

“I will not fail!” she hissed, forcing herself to look past the pain....to try and draw on anything that would push past the torture. Unbidden and unwanted, something even more painful surfaced, a memory that for a moment she nearly pushed away, until Lesa realised that if anything could overcome the agony of Nagash’s might, this could.



”Can you do it?” he asked of her, his mortal eyes boring into hers.

To anyone else she would have sneered in response, but not to him. Though only a mortal man, the man who was her tutor in the art of the heavens was perhaps the wisest she had ever known.

“I can and will.”

“Even against your own kind?”

“The Dark Lord is not of my kind!” Lesa snapped back, anger flaring at the insult, “he wishes to create a land of the dead, where nothing lives, nothing changes. How would my kind even survive such a thing?”

The wizard stared at her for a moment with pursed lips. He had long know when she truly was, had accepted her despite what others would think. He had long seen past what people where, but what instead they might do, and he had seen something in her.

“The portents show he will attempt to steal the sword tomorrow night,” he finally continued, “you must not fail.”

“I will not,” Lesa assured him, “though how history can be pivotal on such a man. He is of no importance, no connection.”

“If that is all you have seen my child, then you still have much to learn,” the wizard chided her, “he is not simply just another vampire. The dead blood in his veins will carry him far, and more so his humble beginnings will make him into something rarely seen in your world, a diplomat. He will have the patience to avert war and draw your kind together.There will come a time when that will be needed, when no longer can your kind stand alone. Though he will be one of many, he will be the catalyst.”

“So that is why I must seduce him?” Lesa asked, eyes thoughtful.

“He must be put on the right path. As things stand at the moment he will be rejected by his own kind. He must forge a name through deeds of strength, through battle. Only then will he stand amongst his peers.

You must make sure he follows this path, lead him, light the fire within.”

The old man coughed, his whole body wracked with the effort. Lesa could see he did not have long, a few weeks at most, and the thought saddened her. It seemed only yesterday he was a young man.

“I will not fail you,” Lesa said, gently kissed him on his forehead as she left.




More memories flashed by, of meeting Milosh, of the whirlwind romance that followed. At first she had played the part, knowing that what she did was necessary. Yet as time passed something had blossomed between then. Knowing her duty she had tried to resist it, yet there was something about Milosh, something insatiable and before she knew it she had fallen for him. Even then for a while she had been able to resist it, but then that one night…..



The two lay in grass, staring up at he night sky. In the dark woods the stars seemed to shine all the brighter. After the carnage they had wreaked in the nunnery earlier, they had lain there exchanging stories of their pasts.

Milosh had listened, opened mouthed how he realised how ancient Lesa truly was. Stories of meeting the man-god Sigmar before his ascent to power, how she had lain with him before battle. Of travelling through Bretonnia, where a misunderstanding after she was seen bathing in a lake, had seen her brought before the King. Being held by Drachenfels, used for many years yet learning much of forgotten lore from him. The last story has made him laugh out loud,

“It was true!” she said joining in his mirth, “the poor fools, unable to see through my guise, began to think they were attracted to men!” The final story had been how she helped found the colleges of magic, under the guise of man, yet her intrinsic magical aura still held an attraction.

“Oh I can imagine the torment it caused them,” Milosh chuckled, pulling her close to him. Since their escape together they had become inseparable. Two seemingly kindred souls, twistedly perverted, both thirsting for more power and knowledge in the arcane arts. They had spent hours talking, engaging in depraved acts and simply having fun. Milosh had never felt so relaxed around another person, and Lesa seemed to feel the same.

Looking searchingly into his eyes she grew serious,

“Why?” she said, Milosh looked at her in puzzlement, not quite sure what she was asking,

“Why what?” he asked, worry creeping over him at her sudden change of mood. Lesa sat up, turning her back to him she looked upwards at the sky once more. For a moment he thought she was not going to reply, but then slowly she began to speak.

“All my life, I have been used or used others. Men, women and others who thought to use me, have me as a trophy. Think they love me, when in reality they know nothing of who I am. I have done things that most would find disgusting, depraved. Things that would make people turn away from me.” She stopped, faltering for some unknown reason. Sitting up beside her Milosh put his hand on her shoulder reassuringly, only to have it shrugged off.

“Tell me Milosh, why would you be any different? Why should I waste my time, risk my heart to someone who is just going to use me?” As she said the last part she turned to look at him, eyes alight with a mixture of anger and hope,

“Well?”

As the silence stretched Lesa shook her head, before slowly making to rise,

“I thought so,” she said in a sad tone.

“Stop.” Grasping her shoulder once more, this time he pulled her close,

“I know who you are. I know the legends and the story of the Siren. Even if they are all true, I don’t care. After everything I have heard, before and here tonight, my feelings or thoughts have not changed, not will they ever do. It is who you are, and who.....

“Who what?” Lesa pushed gently. She felt him tense behind her, before he finally answered,

“Who I love, “he said in a quiet voice. Turning round she saw the truth in his eyes, and a smile lit up her face. Holding him tight she kissed him hard, conveying in that single moment her happiness and relief. Pulling back the look she gave him set his heart aflame, as she said the words he had dreamt of so often.

“I love you too.”




After that night everything had changed. Lesa yearned to tell Milosh the truth, how their meeting had been planned but for once her courage failed her. After finally finding someone who accepted her for who she was, she could not take the risk that he would turn away at the deception. So she had hidden it deep in her heart.

Years had passed, blissful years. Then....



”NO!” Lesa’s scream echoed, “I will not do this.”

“Then you damn all us. You damn the world including him.”

Lesa glared at the them, restraining herself from ripping back their hoods so she could see who spoke to her. Only the name of her old tutor had brought her to this secret meeting without telling Milosh.
She had thought the prophecy forgotten, that somehow the paths had changed. Deep down she knew she had been foolish, but for once her heart had soothed her mind and allowed her a semblance of happiness, happiness which had now been broken.

“For centuries we have waited for this, “ one of them spoke, “the instructions were very specific. Although we had doubts about contacting one of your....kind, the wisdom of those before us it not always understood, yet it cannot be ignored.

You must-“

“I know what I must do,” Lesa shouted, eyes alight, fangs bared, “I was there when the damned prophecy was written!

But things have changed, they are not as clear as they once were. The prophecy was unclear what would happen to him if this path was followed, what if something should...”

Silence filled the room before the one that seemed to be the elder spoke.

“As the time draws near so do certain paths become clearer. Once set upon we may be able to divine its end.

If you do nothing, then we will all surely perish. If you do what is asked, we will do all in our power to help you.”




Atop the outcrop Lesa wept as the memories came flooding back faster, the agony over what she had done far outstripping anything that Nagash could through at her.

After the meeting Lesa had done what she had to do, had betrayed the one man who had loved her, had accepted her. It was by her hand that Milosh’s magical experiment had failed.

She had known well in advance of Simon von Carstein and the painting he would have that would heal Milosh. It had been no accident that his ethereal form could only be healed by the one thing Simon had.

Unbeknownst to Milosh and all the other vampires of the Council, their meetings, their gathering of strength had been far from coincidental. They had all been following a path, a prophecy laid out by powers far greater than themselves, set in motion and watched over by Lesa.

She had thought she could deal with the guilt. Not at deceiving the others on the Council, that she cared not about. But about deceiving Milosh, the guilt gnawed at her heart every time he looked at her, every time he placed his trust in her.

And then the unthinkable had happened. Whether the wizards had truly tried Lesa didn’t know, but that final moment when Milosh was ripped from her grasp…



Finally free Lesa ran across to Milosh , wrapping her arms around his broken body, she held him like she would never let him go,

”What have you done?” she said, stroking the hair out of his face, ”you can’t be serious, you know what is at stake Milosh.” A half smile lit his face as he cupped her cheek in his hand.

”I know. But I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t stand there and watch him hurt you anymore.” Shifting himself, he sat up, holding his wife as close as possible.

”You are worth more to me than anything, than the world.”

”As you are to me,” she replied, ”I thought I was going to lose you back then.” Running her hands over him she could feel his various wounds, and she felt scared at how close her husband had truly come to death. They lay there for a while, simply content in each other’s arms. As time went on Lesa sat back up. Glancing round the room to make sure they were truly alone, she whispered into Milosh’s ear,

”What now? I assume you have an idea of how we are to escape?” As Milosh pulled back and looked in surprise Lesa realised she had been wrong.

”I thought with you pretending to agree with that bastard you had a plan,” she explained, ”never mind, we have some time to think of an escape.” There was no response from Milosh, sitting forward he closed his eyes and for a moment Lesa felt a flash of panic,

”What is the matter? Are you ok?” she said, not sure what to do. Milosh looked back up, and as he opened his eyes, she saw they were red with tears.

”Do you remember? Do you remember the promise I made?” he asked. Lesa stared at him, wondering why this was important now,

”Why? I don’t und-”

”Do you?!” Milosh said again, this time is voice betraying his pain.

”Of course I do,” Lesa said, ”I never forgot.”

.......
Sat in the corner she was crying, feeling stupid and knowing for what she had done she would end up alone once more, suddenly strong arms wrapped around her, holding her as if they would never let her go.

” I'm so sorry, I’ve messed everything up,” she sobbed, ”please don’t leave me.”

”Don’t be silly my love,” a strong voice soothed, ”Lesa, when I married it I made a vow and I will always stick by it, whatever mistakes you make I will always be by your side.”
.......


”But why is that important now?” Lesa asked, uncertainty making her worried. Milosh looked down at the floor, taking a deep breath that he didn't need.

”I have never lied to you Lesa, and I have never broken a promise.” he said.

”I know. I know” Lesa said, trying to soothe her husband, but he held up his hand,

”But today I can’t keep that promise any more. As much as I want to...I can’t” Lesa felt her insides turn cold, not yet realising what Milosh meant,

”I don’t understand?” she whispered, lifting up her husbands face, ” I love you! What do you mean you can’t keep your promise?” Crimson drops trickled down Milosh’s face as he saw his distraught wife,

”I can’t stay by your side anymore. You are everything to me. There is only one way for you to leave here alive.” He paused, the pain of this hurting him more than Arkhan ever could, ”and that is without me.”

”No!” Lesa cried, ” I thought it was a lie, just something you said to him, to give us a chance to escape.” Shaking his head Milosh tried to pull Lesa closer, but she pushed him away,

”You can’t leave me!” Lesa sobbed as she finally broke down in tears, ”Please! We can think of a way, I know we can. I won’t leave you here with him.”

”There is no way,” Milosh replied, trying to reach out to her, ”I am already bound to him. I had to do it. To make sure you would be safe.” Turning back to Lesa snarled,

”Why won’t you fight? Why aren’t you angry? How can you just accept this?!” The last part she screamed, her voice echoing in the chamber. Milosh knew she was hurting, he could see the pain etched in her face,

”Because it’s the only way! Do you think I want to do this? To spend the rest of my without you?” he said back, before slumping back to the floor, ”I did it because you always have and always will come first. As long as you are ok, nothing else matters.”

”It matters to me,” she said, ”I can’t live without you, I won’t-”

”You will!” Milosh said, his head snapping back up to look Lesa in her face, ”You will carry on, and you will live a full and happy life. For me, you will do that.” Forcing himself to his feet, he pulled her towards him, holding her close.

”Whatever happens I will not stop loving you. This is the only way. I could not carry on knowing I had failed you. But this way, whilst we may not be together, I know you’ll be ok.”

Finally breaking Lesa wept into Milosh’s chest, knowing that she could not change his mind. Milosh was the only man who accepted her for who she was, even loved her for it. He had always been there, whenever anything had happened, she knew she could rely on him. In over a thousand years he had never failed her, and even now, his final act would be to save her.

”You know I will never give up,” she whispered, ”I will look for a way to release you. To bring you back to me.” Looking up at him, Lesa could barely see through the haze of tears, knowing this would be the last time she held him.

”Even if I have to bring the gods themselves to their knees, I will bring you back.”

”I wouldn’t expect anything else.” Milosh whispered back.

Time is up.”

That sentence was the most horrific thing either of them had ever heard, and they clung to each other, desperate not to let the other go.

”I love you.” Milosh said, before pressing his lips against Lesa’s. In that single kiss Lesa felt everything that was her husband. His strength, his honour, his power, and his overwhelming lover for her. And her heart shattered as it was taken away.

”I love you too” she said back. Holding him tight she tried to stay in her husbands arms, only to be cruelly pulled off by Arkhan.

”No! Please, take me with him,” she begged, clawing at the Liche with all her strength. He answered her, not with words, but with incantations. Screaming she felt magic wrap around her and the last thing she saw was her husband, running to her, before a silver bolt hit him in the neck.




He had been given the same choice has her, yet he had chosen to damn the world, to give Nagash back his power to save his wife.

It was then Lesa had realised how wrong she had been . She had given everything for duty , to save millions of others that she did not know, but in doing so it had cost her the one she had loved.

The price had been too high.

The pain was too much, it consumed her soul, became everything she was. The shackles on her body were cast away as Lesa open the floodgates to her potential and bathed in agony as power poured in.

****

Nagash sensed the power and knew that something else, something powerful was happening. Whether it could truly threaten him remained to be seen, but before that he had another problem to deal with.
Another spat incantation hit Vekarin with immense power, the runes once more flaring in his plate. This time however the power did not relent, instead focusing on one small point. In an instant Vekarin moved, realising what the Necromancer was trying to do.

His speed saved his life, but not without costs as the left hand side of his breastplate melted, burning through the cloth and into the meat beneath. The smell of burnt flesh added to the stench of death in the area, but before Vekarin could register what happened Nagash struck once more.

Mortis lanced forth, the seven foot blade aimed with perfect precision at the gaping hole in Vekarin’s armour….
 

Trevy the Great

Vampire Progenitor
True Blood
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Messages
8,386
The world is ever spinning; sphere never ceasing-never tiring in its eternal rotation., the paths of the stars etched into its ever-changing surface. It was in this dance that all of reality whirled around the Blood Dragon. To him, it was not his body that he sent twisting away from the fatal blow, but the entirety of creation that he willed to move about him, blurring together like memories long-past and throwing Nagash’s blow wide.
It was a strange sensation, and with it came a moment of clarity to the massive warrior’s mind. In an instant he viewed all of reality; all of time in its infinite strands and immeasurable complexity. His mind was breaking as his body burned with unearthly energies.

Even with the unnatural speed that Vekarin avoided Nagash’s deadly blow, he could not avoid the Black Lord’s blade entirely. Spinning like a dervish, his ragged, violet cloak billowing about him, Vekarin brought both blades down to connect with Nagash’s, tendrils of multicolored power pouring from him, lighting the darkness that Nagash’s attack had left in its wake. The very matter of the skeletal figure’s huge blade seemed to run like water, its sorcerous blade cracking under the alien power exerted upon it. Nagash withdrew his attack with a lightning motion, bringing the sword high above his head; half in preparation for his next attack and half to evade the raw entropy radating from Vekarin’s body.
The gesture was in vain, for as soon as Mortis’ enormous blade left those of Vekarin, it was whole again as if nothing had tarnished its dark majesty.

With his open talon, Nagash drew upon a fraction of the near-limitless power that he had ransacked from the field about him, sending a wave of magic to assail Vekarin. The Blood Dragon did not flinch at the arcane attack; the umbreal runes burning themselves into the air about him reflected from his armor like spray from a seashore. The tiny fissure opened by Nagash’s onslaught was a crack in the vampire’s occult defenses, however, and on it the swell of power caught like a flame on a dried parchment, burning away layers of dark iron and biting deep into the flesh beneath.

His head bowed as if fighting against a strong wind, Vekarin brought up his obsidian sword, the darkness of its blade stark even against the shadows cast by the black lord. The weapon’s thirst for power pervaded the air around the Blood Dragon as it broke the tide of power radiating from Nagash, greedily absorbing the energy directed at, its glowering aura growing even more.
As Nagash’s attack broke in the covetous presence of the Dark Blade, Vekarin ducked under his opponent’s outstretched, skeletal arm with the consummate grace of a dancer, twisting as he did so. The vindictive length of the Banishment blade cut into Nagash’s dark talon, leaving a burning gash that glowed with power. Using the momentum of his attack, Vekarin continued to press forward, the Dark Blade cutting through Nagash’s long robes. Although his attack did not physically injure his enemy, the Dark Blade rapaciously absorbed much of the power that Nagash had collected, delving deep into the skeletal wizard’s reserves of magical energy.

Nagash’s ill-gotten energy sapped like a leak from a pipe, a tendril of darkness following the black length of the Dark Blade as it continued to consume his power even as a trio of powerful strikes drove Vekarin back, tearing a great gouge in his runic armor and causing the Blood Dragon to stumble away from the massive skeleton. Loath to lose his advantage, Vekarin regained his balance quickly, once again pressing against the enormous sorceror’s defenses. A spiderweb of energy traced itself about Vekarin as he whirled his twin swords with a calculated series of blows; a lacework of shining power left in the wake of the Banishment Blade contrasting starkly against the darkness trailed by the Dark Blade. It was an onslaught of lightning-strikes that would have shattered the body of any mortal and torn asunder the defenses of any vampire.
 

Disciple of Nagash

The Perverted One
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Magic bled from Nagash’s form, a wound felt deeper than the rents in his mortal body. Worse still he could sense the thief of a blade his opponent wielding, swiftly drawing in the sorcerous stream before Nagash could stop it. He had thought himself angry before, but it was nothing to the murderous black rage the tore though is corrupted soul, spilling forth into his every action at this violation. How dare such a creature have the audacity to steal power from one such as he! Both of his opponent’s swords stuck time and time again, one burning his flesh where it touched, one draining necromantic energies that fuelled him.
 
Yet for all the damage they did, the Liche had unimaginable reserves to draw on. Weathering the deadly storm he crashed through Vekarin’s attacks, lashing out with murderous intent. Mortis never came near the vampire who moved with the grace of dancer, the Dark Blade flicking the much larger blade to one side. Preparing to strike once more Vekarin’s fluid movements were crashed to a halt as a torrent of magic drove him to one knee. There was no form, no shape to the attack, only pure force of a rainswept river. Glowing with twisted light, Vekarin’s plate held true as he forced himself against the current. Too late did he realise both attacks were but a feint. Neither blade nor magic assailed him this time. Instead a clawed hand lashed out, twisting and burrowing into the gap in his armour. It was barely enough for one of the elongated fingers to fit, but it was enough.
 
As skin made contact Vekarin felt a coldness begin to spread through his body like rot. Throughout the ages many had studied the works of the Great Necromancer, and had wondered had such a seemingly worthless spell amongst the workings of a genius. To put someone in such close proximity to their foes seemed madness to the physically weak necromancers, but the Liche had always known that certain situations required different tools. A spell that relied as much on the caster’s innate strength of will as it did magic. A spell that when used correctly forced such a potent surge of dark magic through the caster’s hand, that anyone within their grasp reduced to dust. The Hand of Dust.
 
In the hands of a powerful necromancer was terrifying.
 
In the hands of Nagash it was devastating.
 
Already the muscle around Nagash’s finger was starting to crumble, and he held onto Vekarin in a grasp that would not be broken, pulling the vampire closer to look at him with the witchlights that were once his eyes.
 
”Now this ends.
 

Trevy the Great

Vampire Progenitor
True Blood
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Vekarin felt Negash’s icy grip envelope him as he was lifted off the ground, armor groaning as its straps were stretched taut under the massive Blood Dragon’s weight. The intense cold surrounded Vekarin, dulling his senses and befuddling his mind as his body turned to wafting dust about him. For a moment, Vekarin felt a twinge of fear seize him, a sensation colder even than Nagash’s spell, but it lasted only a moment.
He could see as if looking through closed eyes, watching with a vision not entirely his own. He could discern the strands of time and fate, watching as they wove about one another, crossing, uncrossing, terminating and beginning in a tangled web as infinitely complex as it was vast; and he saw that his strand would not end here, that his fate lay elsewhere, and the knowledge filled him with a sense of macabre purpose. A feral growl emanated from the Blood Dragon’s fanged mouth, a primal sound that paid homage to the bestial nature of his kind. With a lightning motion, Vekarin rammed his obsidian blade into the skeletal forearm of Nagash, the weapon shrieking as it greedily suckled from the vast reserves of power maintained by the necromancer like some vampiric daemon-child parasitically feeding from an unwilling mother.
With his other hand, Vekarin lashed out with the Banishment blade, scoring deep wounds in Nagash’s form; but it was not enough to force the black lord’s hand away from Vekarin’s rapidly decaying body. Enraged by the damage dealt by Vekarin’s weapons and Lesa’s attacks, Nagash’s will was immutable and he maintained his deadly grip, ignoring the multitude of injuries that glowed eerily with a power anathema to his very being, searing into his massive form.
For a second time, icy fear seized Vekarin; had his newfound sight been wrong? Would he indeed die here, his body annihilated by Nagash’s obscene magics, reduced to wafting dust and forgotten by the ages? He could do nothing to break Nagash’s fell grip, and the deadly cold that heralded the decay of his body was spreading across his body like a plague.

Through that darkness that began to encroach on his vision, Vekarin heard a shout; a battle cry that, like a clarion cut through the decay of Nagash’s magic. It was galvanizing, almost heroic, wordless and filled with a righteous rage.

Nagash bellowed a shout of rage, fear and anger, and after a moment Vekarin spied the source of his exasperation. Behind the enormous, robed form of the black lord stood a figure, small and insignificant compared the Nagash’s dark majesty; bedecked in plate armor lacquered to a pitch black. It was Victarias, blood seeping sluggishly from the gaping wound in her chest and her twin swords thrust into Nagash’s back, severing his spine in a single, directed blow.
Vekarin felt himself plummeting as Nagash was forced to drop him. The ancient plate the adorned the Blood Dragon crashed as Vekarin impacted the ground, throwing dirt and the dust of his own body up about him as he did so.
Nagash swung around, Mortis passing over Vekarin’s prone body as the black lord made a backhanded; almost careless blow. Her blades affixed to the necromancer’s decayed body, Victarias had no defense, no time to deflect the reactionary attack. Mortis cut through her armor like parchment, opening it from her shoulder to her waist with a single motion. It was then that the terrible power of the blade was unleashed; magic running along its length for a split second, the entirety of Nagash’s power pouring into Victarias’ body. And then she disappeared.

Metal and leather clattered to the ground, empty and purposeless. The two blades that speared Nagash’s back remained, inhibiting the movement of the massive being. All that was left of the warrior that had attack him was dust in the wind.

Seizing the advantage, Vekarin forced his injured body up onto its feet. He felt so… tired, a sensation that he had not experienced in millennia. He wanted so badly to lie down and let the darkness take him, give in to the terrible injuries inflicted upon him, but the thirst for victory is stronger than any other consideration and, step by step, Vekarin willed his form forward.

Nagash whirled back around to face the slowly limping Blood Dragon; energy pouring from the multitude of wounds that marred the necromancer’s magnificent body.
“Weak, she was, Blood Dragon.” The ancient lord croaked in a booming rasp, “But then, so are all your misbegotten kind. Know that, after I kill you and obliterate this motley conglomeration you call a council; your race will be as your friend here. You will be forgotten by time, destroyed completely.”

Nagash attacked once again with his massive blade, the weapon swinging down in a kill-stroke that promised to annihilate the Blood Dragon as the necromancer had promised.
Again, Vekarin felt power within him, flowing from a source unknown. It radiated from his figure, arcs of multicolored lightning shining from his ravaged armor. His muscles felt rejuvenated, the empty fatigue that had plagued them gone. With a lightning motion, the Blood Dragon brought up the Dark Blade and batted aside the enormous length of Mortis. It was a mighty blow fueled by whatever fell power charged Vekarin’s body that sent sparks of red and blue and green arcing through the air and it caught Nagash off guard. Vekarin’s response was unexpected, and Nagash stumbled for a moment; his balance lost. With a single, great stride, Vekarin stepped forward to take advantage of his foe’s weakness.

With a single, deft motion he speared the Banishment Blade into Nagash’s rotten heart.

“Be silent.”
 

Disciple of Nagash

The Perverted One
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Time stopped.

Finally everything had come together as it have been seen so long ago. The world would never now how close it had come to annihilation, that the factors that had come into play on this fate day were a chance so infinitesimal it could barely be calculated.

In nearly every other parallel to this world the Dark Lord rose, stronger than before. He ground the lands of men into dust and then set his eyes further afield. In some worlds the war was everlasting as the powers of Chaos refused Nagash's power. In many of the parallels his triumph became complete, resulting a world of the dead.

It was not to be in this world.

The Banishment Blade was the ultimate power against the dead. Forged by dwarven masters, never would another of its equal be seen again. With the runes along it's length shining it burned through the canker that was once Nagash's heart. But the Dark Lord would still not be undone. Arms outstretched, eyes blazing at the thundering sky, Nagash fought with every ounce of his will, his spite, his unrivalled rate and for a moment everything stood in the balance.

That balance was broken as a surging torrent of power hit the Dark Lord square in the chest. Brighter than the Sun the magical energy fused with the powers of the blade, sending the coruscating energy burning down the withered veins of the ancient Liche.

For a second Nagash burned, white hot flames licking around the giant as his screams echoed around the valley.

Then the world turned white. There was no sound, the powers involved were beyond such mundane things. Even afterwards those who survived never know whether it was an explosion, a rent to the realms of Chaos or something else. All they knew is that for that moment everything ceased to exist and those not reduced to less than their component molecules were sent flying back.

Another moment passed, and slowly reality started to return to those who still existed to see it.

The valley was devastated, including the armies that had minutes before waged war there. Hundreds of thousands reduced to nothing in an instant. There were no corpses, no bones. Simply scorched and torn land. Those furthest from the battle or protected by the most potent of wards had managed to survive, but it was pitiful few compared to to the numbers that had once been.

But one thing was clear in an instant to those who still had the will to look.

Nagash, the Dark Lord, the Supreme Lord of Undeath, the Creator of Necromancy, the Undying, was no more.
 
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