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Myen'Tal 08-16-15 12:50 AM

Bleak Eternity
Hello, Heretics, so I came up with a cool idea that I think will be a good story to delve into. This is in the 40k setting, and some of you may recognize the characters in this beginning scene. This is a story mainly about: Daemons. Once again, not sure where this will go, but we'll see where this takes us :).

EDIT: I realize that this beginning might confuse some people. I will begin a revision tomorrow to add more clarity to everything. As it stands now, this is mainly a follow up to The New Word.

Bleak Eternity

A voice on the edge of Mirathir's mind whispered into her thoughts. You wish to repent. It is not easy.

The Forlorn City. Nothing more than a daydream of some deity's twisted vision of heaven made a reality. This was a plane of pleasant dreams and good intention exploited to meet the whim of voracious demonkind. A far-flung realm in the warp that was beneath the heel of no Dark God. Bliss and ignorance reigned supreme in this isolated kingdom. A Demoness once ruled over everything within this heavenly bastion. She spread her religion of enlightenment and eternal life across the stars. All in the effort to lure the souls of mortals into her realm. Souls that she branded and made her own, cursed and twisted into her minions.

The angelic voice would not leave her consciousness. This eternity you live is a lie. Do you not remember what you were?

Mirathir was one of her chosen prophets, ancient and powerful too.

The fallen eldar prophet's ire was rising. Trade your leash to another master. It is not all bleak prophecy. You can be free.

The religion of the New Word was lost with the demise of its creator. The tyrannical Demoness was cast in the abyss by one of her own. Her own hopes were dashed at the height of her ambitions. For she would have done what few entities of her power had ever dared beneath the eye of the Dark Gods. She had invaded real space and brought her word to the mortal plane. Now she would never return. It did not help matters when that traitor happened to be one of your few remaining friends throughout the millennia.

Mirathir smiled. I trade this leash to this entity in faith that she may rend these bonds placed between us. Be gone, spirit, I shall not suffer such an irritating wretch to challenge me.

Dazzling sunlight drifted through glassless arches into the throne room. The floors were built of alabaster marble and furnished with fine sapphire rugs. Golden braziers hung from the cupped hands of angelic statues that held up the ribbed vault ceiling. The more Mirathir inspected them, the more alien and out of place they appeared in this hall of demons. The Raven Prophet wore an elegant white robe with a gold trim. The blasphemous markings singed onto her face made her embarrassed when she looked upon the beautiful faces of the mortals that tread the throne room reverently. Her long raven hair spilled across her shoulders and down the small of her back.

A voice reminiscent of the sound of rushing waters spoke to her. The Raven Prophet looked up toward the throne that appeared to be built by stone that shined as if pieces of the moon. The Demoness that sat upon it was inhumanly slender, but robust with densely corded muscle. Her skin was the color of crystal green waters, her eyes dark as the abyss. Long columns of raven hair poured down her demon-forged armor and spilled across her four arms, which sat upon four arm rests. She lacked her former master's curved horns, but possessed a beatific face of a female humanoid creature.

Nyst revealed beatific and sharpened teeth in a wolfish grin. “For millennia, I dreamt of the day that I would awake from my eternal slumber and rise again. On the damned planet the humans called Tarmathon IV, I was cast into limbo. My former master, Ba’zariah, had thrown the very essence of my mind into the raw storm of the warp. I asked myself, ‘Why would my most beloved master do such a thing’? I had already searched the past for an answer and found it a rather base irrationality of hers: primal fear.

“For I, my dearest one, am no mere pawn of the Gods. I am not put into place lightly, pretending to be the most critical piece in the puzzle. I know that am only one thread in a myriad of others that the deities of the immaterium control. If eternity has taught me anything, it is that demonic kind of certain magnitudes should never be content with weaving threads for those above them. They should desire to weave just as many threads for themselves.

“When I was eventually discovered by you in ruins you had no right sifting through, I finally foresaw my opportunity to tip the scales in my favor. I schemed for another millennia alongside you, guided you toward a more… enlightened damnation. One not wrought with so much pain, suffering, or madness. By your side, I regained my mind and my power, but it was never enough. It would never be enough until the Demoness of all our nightmares had perished by a clever ruse.”

Mirathir listened, a knowing smile on her lips. “I never knew you detested our master so fiercely. I assume your silence was intended so as not to tempt fate too early?”

Nyst inclined her head in agreement. “It was. Yet even so, Ba’zariah was too arrogant to ever suspect betrayal from another she had so thoroughly weakened. Vengeance was incredibly sweet in that moment. Not even a taste of bitterness on the tongue.” Her forked tongue slithered over her teeth. “I savored what little I could, but now she is gone forever. I would be remiss to say that I do not miss her. Even if only to rend her soul for all eternity.”

Mirathir replied in her soothing tone. “Let us not look to the past. Our alliance with the Thousand Sons is broken. Our invasion of Tyrannus has been broken. We should look to the next threat of conflict.”

“Simple.” Nyst grinned. “That would be here, in the Forlorn City. The minions of Khorne have come for our souls. Their legions are at our gates or so they say. I must turn them back.”

“Those are demon wars, Nyst.” Mirathir shook her head. “These conflicts, do they not happen often? I mean in the mortal plane. The Imperium maybe on the brink of collapse, but it is regrouping.”

Nyst groaned with impatience. “Imperials, Imperials, it is all you ever talk about as of late. It will take them centuries to rebuild what has been ruined. Do not concern your weary head with these cretins. If I must war in the mortal plane, I would choose a new foe to combat. After all, you forget that there are multiple threats that plague the Marathon Sector.”

“Nyst.” Mirathir said. “We are attempting to win a war. Not wreak utter devastation because it is enjoyable.”

Nyst answered with a smug grin. “The young Tau could defeat you if you ignore them long enough.”

The Raven Prophet knew how displeased she must have looked. “More of your intuition or actual prophecy?”

“That answer.” Nyst winked mischievously. “Is not for mortal ears, no matter how blessed by a fallen god. Be gone, Shape Shifter, and see for yourself. When you have seen the truth, gather an army from your liberated stronghold.”

Mirathir arched a brow. “And what will you do?”

Nyst boasted, confident. “Challenge the Blood God’s slaves. I’m afraid I can spare you no angels. I must call every demon to my host!”

Myen'Tal 08-16-15 02:38 PM

UPDATE: Made some edits, it should be clearer now who Mirathir is and where she is. If it still confuses people, feel free to let me know :grin:.

Myen'Tal 08-16-15 06:35 PM

Mirathir strode through the open doors of the throne room and down the one hundred stairs that led deeper into the Fortress of the Abyss. A sense of vertigo wrenched her stomach as she realized that she walked amongst the clouds. Brilliant shafts of sunlight twinkled against thin spires forged from solid bricks of gold and onyx. Every tower displayed their walkways, completely wall-less and revealed thousands of robed figures that scaled them like ants.

Mirathir thought haughtily. Hmph. Same arrogant creature that I have always known. Ascending to the throne has not changed her.

Beneath Mirathir was an endless metropolis that stretched out like the heavens. Rushing waterfalls and rivers ran through the polished streets in an intricate network. They formed a myriad of shapes in the grander scheme of the Forlorn City. In the skies above, winged Greater Demons possessed of angelic forms maintained order across this strange realm.

Mirathir both admired and hated this place, for it was a paradise and another vision of hell entwined together. While the sun shone above the tallest spires, there was an eeriness to its brilliance that she could not explain. Everything hear seemed perfect and yet, those who dwelled here seemed to scream silently for release. This immortal plane existed in a state of limbo that made her truly afraid if she delved into thought too much.

The Raven Prophet cast her troubled thoughts from her mind. She descended the hundred stairs and onto the open spire that housed the Gateway Nexus. Portals that swirled with unstable energies lined the circular platform. One look into them and she could see what worlds awaited her on the other side. Each was linked to a world in the Marathon Sector, where the eternal war was being bitterly waged.

A Greater Demon knelt in the center of the spire. She was unlike the centaur creatures that Mirathir had unleashed at the Ghost Crypts. This demonic entity took shape in a humanoid form, furled ebon wings cloaking it from shoulder to feet. The distinctive feature about her was that her pallid skin seemed nearly human or eldar in origin. Her facial features and flowing locks of auburn hair bore similar resemblances. A great double-bladed spear was gripped in one hand and she was clasped in elegant armor.

The Greater Demon bowed her head. “Prophetess.”

“Aenaria.” Mirathir acknowledged. “How fare the mortal worlds?”

The angelic creature looked up and smiled. “Unending war as usual. Do you seek to travel to a destination?”

“Yes.” Mirathir replied. “I seek passage to my stronghold on Tarmathon IV. There are things that must be… foreseen.”

“Of course,” Aenaria pointed her silver-tipped spear toward a random portal. She glared into its writhing contents until the energies became a placid mirror. “You may proceed, prophetess.”

“You are Nyst’s favored champion.” Mirathir said. “Are you going to fight against the blood tide?”

Aenaria smiled. “Fear not for my soul, prophetess. I shall die a thousand deaths and never perish. Though yes, I shall fight against the minions of Khorne, should my queen demand it.”

Mirahir studied the demon for several moments. “Does she compel you by name?”

Aenaria boasted with cruel laughter. “That is how she compels every servant of hers to fight. If that were not the case, I am certain that our city would have perished in time immemorial. Even now, I doubt that we can best the Blood God’s minions. We have been invaded many times. Crushed many weaklings at our gates. Yet I fear that there is a darker scheme in all of this.”

Mirathir nodded, empathetic. “Fear not, Nyst did not usurp the throne of an entire realm because she could not foresee the future.”

“Of that,” Aenaria said, “I have no doubt.”

At that, Mirathir donned her hood and proceeded toward the portal. “May the warp grant you strength, Aenaria. Do not be too reckless out there.”

Treesnifer 08-17-15 02:39 AM

Snif's View
The second post hit a good stride, and I'm glad you went back to edit the first.

I haven't made it to your story, the New Word, yet. I'm only about a quarter of the way through Gods Hall. :blush: But if anything, it'd be perfect if you could broaden the descriptions of the first three paragraphs before delving into the conversation. Maybe arrange their order, starting from afar and then zooming in? Sort of like "Forlorn City..." to "The New Word..." and then your intro "Dazzling sunlight..."

Your conversations are very smooth. I like that. Nothing for me to pick at there. :good:

Nice start. I'm looking forward to reading The New Word!

Myen'Tal 08-17-15 01:24 PM


Originally Posted by Treesnifer (Post 2199514)
The second post hit a good stride, and I'm glad you went back to edit the first.

I haven't made it to your story, the New Word, yet. I'm only about a quarter of the way through Gods Hall. :blush: But if anything, it'd be perfect if you could broaden the descriptions of the first three paragraphs before delving into the conversation. Maybe arrange their order, starting from afar and then zooming in? Sort of like "Forlorn City..." to "The New Word..." and then your intro "Dazzling sunlight..."

Your conversations are very smooth. I like that. Nothing for me to pick at there. :good:

Nice start. I'm looking forward to reading The New Word!

Hey, Treesnifer, thanks for the comment! I'll definitely rearrange the paragraphs and work on fleshing out those descriptions when I get the chance. :)

Glad you're enjoying the other stuff in the meantime!

EDIT: Made the changes!

Myen'Tal 08-18-15 10:46 PM

The world was nothing but inky darkness, broken by flickering vermillion lights hidden behind twisting corridors. When Mirathir finally fluttered her eyes open, she realized that her world was wrong. Why could she see the floors of the Halls of Aurellan as if they were the ceiling? And… she was suspended in air as if frozen in time. The ventilation within the ship made her breath frosty and her hairs stand on the nape of her neck. In the timed flashes of light, she picked out sprays of blood amidst floating debris.

“Warning… breaches reported on deck level 87-A, 87-B, 87-C....” Nareen, Aurellan’s artificial intelligence droned on. “Quarantine in progress. Sealing of affected decks in progress,...”

“Mother?” Mirathir heard her voice echo through the corridors. “Is anyone out there?”

The young eldar adolescent sighed in pain as she forced herself into movement. Her fingers traced the cuts that ached on her body, but none of them were a cause for fear. The holes in her suit had been patched. Mirathir discovered only the fallen within the civilian quarters she and her mother had inhabited. Kin she had once known floated amongst the debris, their environmental suits breached and the air sucked from their lungs. Others had been more fortunate, they had been atomized by the direct hit the deck had taken from the Dark Kin’s devastating dark energy cannons.

“Escape pods,” Mirathir whispered, “I have to find an escape route.”

Mirathir weaved through the floating chunks of wraithbone and remnants of flesh into the corridors of the Aurellan. Distinct popping sounds greeted her pointed ears as she half-crawled, half-glided across the ship’s floor. A more familiar noise answered the use of Dark Kin weapons, Shuriken Catapults. Vicious battle cries shattered the absolute quiet, interrupted by the occasional shrill scream.,

A voice whispered from the ether. “This way.”

Mirathir whirled around, frightened that she had been discovered by the Dark Kin. Yet no matter how keen her eyes, she could not pick out any shapes in the darkness. She was alone.

The voice crawled into her head, firmly, but with gentle tendrils. “Do not be afraid. This way will you lead to her.”

Mirathir could not explain her instinctive behavior in that moment, but within her heart of hearts, she believed this voice her only friend. She uttered under her breath. “Guide me to my kindred, ancestor.”

Mirathir spun around and continued down the path that led away from the sounds of fighting. In truth, she never remembered where the escape pods were kept on the civilian deck. Yet she knew that this strange voice knew and would guide her to safety. She quickly slipped from corridor to corridor, through open doors that she sealed behind her for the last time. No one would follow her or discover her trail.

The voice continued to guide her with its lilting beauty. “Salvation is not so far…”

Mirathir slammed her fist into the control panel of a large slide door and as the door closed, a sense of vertigo wrenched her stomach as gravity stabilized. She fell with a loud thump onto the wraithbone floor, painted by the orange glow of lights shining from the ceiling. The ventilation here was flowing and warm. As Mirathir picked herself off the floor, she unsealed her helmet and inhaled a great gulp of air.

Mirathir arched a brow. Her eyes flicked over a painted message inscribed along the wall. “Proceed through here in case of emergency. Follow the markers to escape pods.” She threw her helmet aside and began to run.

“Almost there…” Mirathir uttered to herself. “Almost there-”

Mirathir skidded to a halt the moment she rounded a corner into another hall. A tall and black figure stood at the opposite end. Judging by his physique, he was an eldar in origin. One look at his heavy segmented armor, painted in sharp green accents and the great klaive that he wielded in both hands, he was Dark Kin. As the figure slowly turned on his heel, Mirathir gazed into baleful red eyes that peered from a horned and skull-like helmet.

The Incubi did not gesture for reinforcements or spare a single word for her. He was alone. Mirathir retraced her steps, her breathing turned to short gasps as the Incubi planted one firm foot after the other in her direction. She broke into a sudden run back the way she came. The Incubi’s heavy footfalls resounded through the silent halls as he gave chase.

Mirathir cried out, slammed her hands against the first door she had sealed in her own haste. She cast thoughts of reopening the passage aside as a shadow twisted around the corridor she had been mere moments before. The pursuit became a twisted puzzle of sorts. Mirathir ducked through random passages and through rooms filled with slaughtered eldar. Even at his highest stride, the Incubi was cumbersome compared to her. Yet that gave her only scant seconds to live as she snagged objects in her haste and stumbled over twisted forms.

The eldar girl cried out as she tripped over a discarded shuriken catapult and skidded several feet across the floor of a laboratory. The searing heat of an energy field passed over her body by mere centimeters. She rolled aside on instinct to dodge the next cleaving blow. Sparks flew from where the Klaive smashed through the wriathbone. Mirathir snatched the shuriken catapult in the same movement and unleashed what remained of the magazine.

The Incubi let loose a cruel, boastful laugh as the laser traces embedded themselves into his klaive and sporadically into his armor. Despite the force of the attack, the Dark Kin managed to step forward again and again, even as Mirathir continued to scramble backwards until she was pressed against a wall. The Archon’s elite pressed a firm foot against her chest, a gesture that felt as if a hunk of debris fell on top of her.

The magazine clicked empty.

With a mighty display of strength, the Incubi whirled his klaive over his head for the final blow. Mirathir chose not to close her eyes. In that moment, one of the locked doors clacked open and slid aside. The Incubi twisted around in time to see a machine forged from wraithbone march into the laboratory. The Wraithguard held a scattershield in one hand and a great, crackling power axe in the other. The lighting was too dim for Mirathir to make out the colors that it wore.

The Wraithguard commanded Mirathir telepathically. “Close your eyes!” Before Mirathir could blink, the Wraithguard threw the axe in its grip with a precision beyond mortal limits. The Incubi brought his klaive down to protect his chest, but the blade was angled in such a way that the ghost axe deflected upward and cleaved the Incubi’s helmet in two. The body clattered to the ground.

Mirathir could not repress herself from screaming as fresh blood splashed over her. The ghost axe embedded itself into the wall mere inches above her.

The Wraithguard held no soothing words. “More are coming! Find your way to the escape pods! Hurry, child!”

Mirathir regained her composure as she stood. “Where are all the others?”

The Wraithguard shook its head. “You are the only survivor I have found. Soon to be dead, if you do escape! The pods are nearby. I shall buy you time with what little life remains in these artificial bones of mine.”

Mirathir nodded. “Whoever you are, I owe you my life. Thank you.” She raced through the open door that the Wraithguard had emerged through.

Mirathir discovered the escape pods further down the corridor from the laboratory. When she reached a large view of the galaxy beyond her ship, she froze in horror. She realized that the Wraithguard had spoken more truthfully than she realized. For none of the escape pods had shown signs of use or ejection. At least upon this deck, she would be the only survivor. As she looked out upon the greater space beyond, her gaze was fixed upon the world that awaited her below,

Rumors had it that Tarmathon IV was an empty world, once settled by the Imperium of Man. It’s population had vanished centuries ago. If there was any truth to that, Mirathir would soon discover for herself.

Myen'Tal 08-20-15 01:05 AM

Mirathir opened her eyes. The last vestiges of the immaterium evaporated on the hot winds of the world that she now stood upon. Light from the relentless desert sun fell upon her face, but by now she was used to its harsh glare. Around her, an arid wasteland rose up in a upheaved, uneven series of canyons and plateaus that stretched across the flanks of barren hills. It was once a lush grassland, the Aeretica Wastes. Now all that remained were the ghosts from wars past, fateful battles that had shaped Mirathir’s view of what the galaxy truly was.

No soul would ever die on this soil again. Mirathir looked into the future and realized that such a thing could be true. It had been proven fact for over sometime now.

The Raven Prophet removed her hood and looked toward the opening in the canyon wall. Once upon a time, a great colony from the Tau Empire used to shimmer through that gaping hole in the canyon. The relentless advance of the Imperial Guard had seen it razed it to the ground after much bitter and remorseless fighting, She smirked as her gaze now fell upon a great fortress of ceramite and ferrocrete rise from the remnants of the colony.

The Fortress of Aurellan hid behind no mighty battlements nor turrets. In reality, it was an ugly parody of the collected spires in the Forlorn City. A burgeoning city spread from the highest towers into the wasteland, encompassed by the same sinister sky that haunted the paradise within the warp. It was only one of many settlements Mirathir had begun after the war for Tarmathon IV had ended. Despite her setbacks on Tyrannus, if the war against the Imperium continued as it had in recent years, Tarmathon IV would evolve from a mere stronghold into a thriving planet.

Mirathir concentrated and thought of Aenaria. Without effort, pain, or embarrassment, the Raven Prophet’s features began to morph into a similar shape of the image she held in her mind. The only pain was that of ebon wings sprouting from her back in a burst of blood. She blinked the stars from her eyes and realized that the transformation was done. She was a guardian of the Forlorn City in all but name.

With a mournful laugh, Mirathir beat her wings and launched herself into the skies.

Myen'Tal 08-24-15 05:53 PM

Aenaria observed the Raven Prophet as she vanished through the portal gateway. The Greater Demon rose to her feet and with a beat of her mighty wings, ascended into the skies. The Forlorn City stretched across the horizon as a sprawling, unending labyrinth. She knew of its limits, however. At the Gates of Sorrow, the Blood God would hurl his legions against the realm’s defense in a hurricane of blood. Despite her human origins, Aenaria was gladdened that she could no longer feel fear.

Aenaria weaved through the Fortress of the Abyss’ ebon-gold spires. Throngs of angelic creatures darted through the skies, she nose-dived and whirled between them. As the Fortress of the Abyss became nothing more than a distant mountain in the clouds, Aenaria descended into the midst of the Forlorn City. The sweeping tiers that formed the glorious realm glistened with solid gold and alabaster, condensed into mind-altering mazes that would keep the mortals reclusive and puzzled.

The angelic demon descended toward her destination: a half-sunken tower that sprang from a writhing lake. The structure was decorated with many white arches on multiple levels, encased completely in polished limestone. The tower was composed of several floors, each slightly smaller than the last. Locked away in the heart of the fourth floor was a great clock that ticked only whilst crimson flames danced upon the tower’s eyrie. The flames would change color every hour, Aenaria knew, and represented something more than the passing of time.

“Aenaria.” Nessana, another angelic demon of coal-black skin and pulsating crimson runes descended from the toppled pillar that she stood vigil from. She revealed sharpened teeth in a lopsided grin. “You are not called. What is it you seek?”

“Nessana.” Aenaria acknowledged with an imperceptible nod. “I have come to gutter the flames of the Soulless Tower.”

Nessana’s smile twitched. “I am not the champion of the Demoness. I am not of rank to halt you.” She glared daggers at Aenaria. “You know the chosen are not ready.”

“They must be, Nessana.” Aenaria leaned on her great spear. “Come, join me. What stage have they reached?” She glided around Nessana and toward the gates of the tower.

“No longer mortal by any means.” Nessana replied. “Give them more time, Aenaria. A few hundred more of our kin could turn the tide against whatever mongrels are barking at our gates! Dark Gods… Pah! They will fall to divine wrath as they have always done.”

Aenaria halted and turned to Nessana. Her expression was bleak. “There is no time. They must be ready for combat as they are.” The silver gates to the tower bellowed open. A shrieking wind rushed from the opening. “As you said, they are no longer mortal. Demonic blood runs through their veins. Their names are written in our annals. Their strength shall be beyond a dozen blood crazed minions. The only thing they lack now are their wings and, of course, their immortality.”

The brilliant light of the Forlorn City faded into shadow, lit only by the flickering presence of dancing sapphire flames upon a thousand braziers. A spherical space distanced Aenaria from the chosen, marked by hundreds of infernal runes that pulsed violet. The Tower of the Soulless was a vast chamber, pulpits carved into nearly every crevice of the limestone walls for tiers beyond counting.

Beside the unnatural flames of the braziers, inside the pulpits, were the chosen of the Demoness. The souls of humanoid beings that had made a pact to embrace the light of the New Word. Aenaria gazed upward and counted thousands in the blink of an eye. Human no longer, she thought. The flames of the tower changed the very essence of their souls. Diabolic magic polluted their blood and mutated their cells into evolving into another form that was beyond the trivialities of life and death. Many amongst them appeared reborn as mortal gods, but marred with the features of the demonic.

Aenaria sniffed. She took in the scent of silent suffering and nodded, pleased. “They are ready to fight.” She turned to Nessana. “Gather our kin and prepare these chosen for battle. I shall see the Flame of the Soulless guttered.”

Nessana gave Aenaria a dark stare. “I hope you know what you are doing. Without the next generation of chosen, this realm could fall into anarchy.”

“Are you scared?” Aenaria teased. “The mortals will never be united enough to threaten us. How ridiculous, an angel worried about an apocalypse.” She chuckled with cruel laughter.

Myen'Tal 08-24-15 05:55 PM

NOTE: I have added another part to the first chapter, just before Aenaria's point of view. I don't know if anyone else agrees, but I think I have been jumping around too quickly to other POVs in this story. So what I am going to do is go back and work on Mirathir's POV for a greater part of the first chapter. Then I'll work on Aenaria's and so on.

Thank you guys, for your patience:wink:.

Myen'Tal 08-24-15 10:57 PM

A small part has been added after Mirathir's flashback :).

The Gates of Sorrow

On the Fringes of the heavenly realms, the Gates of Sorrow ascended from the remains of a devastated world. Legend foretold by the most ancient Demons that the Forlorn Bastion was founded upon a paradise conquered after several eternities of war. The realm's predecessors were of mortal blood and the Demoness responsible for their subjugation lusted not for their souls, but their beauty. Time immemorial ago, the Demoness mixed the blood of her kin into the mortal lineage to breed a new form of demon. And so the angelic guardians were born.

One hundred thousand voices lent themselves to the choir of battle cries that echoed across the Gates of Sorrow. The angelic Host was gathered across five hundred battlements, clasped in elegant demon forged armor. Across the scarred and blackened earth beyond the realm's walls, a great legion of mortals and Chosen were arrayed in battle formation. The mortals were nothing, robe-chafe meant to keep the Blood God's legions pinned in place while the elite performed their killing.

The Chosen were something between mortal and demon. They were given possessed armor, things that lived and writhed with thoughts of their own. They lacked the unparalleled beauty of the guardians, but each held the strength and inner will of ten lesser souls. They would fight on as long as sunlight twinkled on the horizon and the angels called from on high.

The angelic guardians created a rolling thunder from the clash of their weapons against glistening shields. Nyst reveled in the clamor as she emerged from the Forlorn City. She knew how divine she must have appeared to their naive eyes. The Demoness towered several heads over the tallest guardian without effort. Her armor was painstakingly shaped into the image of writhing serpents on her shoulders and a howling beast yawning on her midriff. The reforged relic blades were gripped in her four sets of fingers. The Sword that Claimed Souls, the Sword of Flames, and the Sword of Decimation. The last among her blades was a personal favorite: the Sword of Bleak Eternity.

The Gates of Sorrow were too high for Nyst to see anything but a sea of lesser souls. She could not admire their pristine ranks or their glorious standards. Soon it would not matter. The true battle would be in the skies and upon the battlements.

An earth shattering, infernal laugh shattered the tranquility of the realm. Nyst silently observed the skies around the gates transform into a flux of bruised colors. Thunder bellowed and violet lightning streaked down onto the blasted earth. Chitterling voices echoed through the ether, drowned beneath the calls of countless war horns. Rain began to fall, Nyst was unsurprised that her fingers came away from her face streaked in blood. Khorne''s countless hordes arrived through the blood rain. The Gates of Sorrow quaked beneath the march of countless red-skinned horrors.

At last, Nyst thought, something interesting.

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