The Second Coming

A cold and bitter wind howled across a frozen fjord. Frozen remains litter the landscape of those unfortunate to underestimate the harsh conditions of the desolate tundra. Few dare brave this route on foot, fewer still make it out alive, leaving it one of the last truly uncharted places on the material plane. During the warmest of seasons in this frozen hell, some life did appear. In fact, if one knew where to look it offered a bounty found nowhere else. This desolate wasteland was a treasure trove, guarded by the whims of mother nature.

Atop the fjord a mountain rose up, scaling well above the endless clouds and their relentless onslaught of snow and ice. This mountain was visible for miles in every direction with clear weather, a natural marker to navigate by. Fishing in this area was the staple they came here for. On occasion, they risked the edges of the fjord in search of seals, bears, and other game. The crew regularly joked about even the blind being able to catch a season’s worth of food here.

All of this effort would feed and clothe Laeroth’s community for the upcoming winter. With the hunting this season being some of the best he’d ever experienced in his lifetime, his team was busy with preparations for the return journey home. The temperature had been dropping precipitously over the last few days and Laeroth was worried if they did not depart soon they might become trapped in the ice. A death sentence for them all.

Laeroth was no stranger to these sorts of expeditions, having braved these hunting grounds every summer for nearly two decades. As the only one aboard his vessel, he looked towards the shore where his crew was preparing to board the longboat with the last of the supplies. What luck, he mused to himself, as today’s weather was abnormally clear and free of snow. His musing was interrupted when he spotted his son, Daylor. Daylor had taken great initiative in leading the effort to prepare the food and furs to make their trek home. He looked forward to spending another quiet winter season with his son.

In the distance, a glint of moving light pulled his attention away from his son. As his eyes sought out the source of the movement, he noticed that it had begun to take on a necrotic green hue. His eyes finally located the source, a pulsating beacon at the base of the mountain. Laeroth’s skin was immediately covered in gooseflesh; a sense of dread washing over him. Unnoticed by him, all the sounds of the tundra had ceased. The wind, normally biting and blustery, eerily came to an absolute standstill.

Laeroth took in the scene, gauging the change to the environment and ensuring his crew was unaffected. His gaze moved back from his crew to the mountain, noticing that the pulsating light had increased in intensity. The increasing ferocity of the light, caused him to panic. Now certain that this unnatural light might pose a threat to his crew, he frantically began trying to signal them. Daylor and the rest of the crew did not see Laeroths efforts, their full attention drawn up the fjord at the light.

Laeroth remembered the horn at his side and pulled it to his lips. He let loose a piercing note which cut across the silence deafening the landscape. The crew, then Daylor, finally resist the lure of the light and turn towards Laeroths position. His gestures to move are underscored by the panic in his face. None in the crew, despite the distance, fail to see the panic and fear in his gesturing.

Seemingly all at once, the crew began frantically making their way to the longboat. Their acknowledgment of the impending threat is witnessed immediately by their abandoning of a season’s worth of supplies, food, and furs.

At that moment, the source of light reaches peak cacophony. Simultaneously, the silence that had gone unnoticed up to this moment, parted to the bloodcurdling sounds of millions of moans, screams, shrieks, and pure horror. The light exploded outward, sweeping across the landscape as if some physical wave. It blinded Laeroth, who had the good sense to throw himself behind the railing of his ship.

The screams of horror, what sounded like people in various states of dying in the worst possible imagined ways, went on for what felt like days. Too scared was Laeroth that he refused to open his eyes. His palms were pressed painfully against his ears, a futile effort to subside the disharmony of so many suffering souls screaming in the distance. His efforts went on, doubled more so by the realization that his son and crew were exposed without cover from it all.

His measure of time was lost in the chaos, but the pure noise of horror personified finally receded. He tried to blink his eyes open, fearful that the glow might still blind him yet again. Yet, Laeroth found himself in darkness, barely able to make out the parts of his fishing vessel.

Laeroth grabbed a torch, lit it, and raced to the dinghy, frantically rowing towards the position he had last seen his son. He came upon them quickly, his heart leaping into his throat as he came across them all, standing paralyzed in the dark. As if sensing his approach, the entirety of his crew collapsed in front of him, as if struck by some invisible lightning.

Laeroth stares through the darkness, with only a meager torch to illuminate the devastation before him. In a heartbeat, everything he cared about in this life, was snuffed out. As if to mock him further, a sharp breeze pulling the air towards the mountain extinguishes his torch.

In the darkness, surrounded by his dead crew, movement catches his eye. The light, though greatly diminished and no longer pulsating draws his vision to the base of the mountain. Like an ink drop staining fresh parchment, a towering black necropolis framed by the green light, rises into the night sky. It hums faintly, even at the distance Laeroth stands from it.

Movement again. This time all around him. He both heard and felt his crews rousing. Relief flooded through him as his son and crew began to shake off the mistaken assumption of death. Staggering to their feet, Laeroth rushed to his son’s location. Something was off. They made no sounds a human could make. They made no effort to respond to his calling of their names. None turned towards him despite his pleas. Jerkingly, Daylor and his crew look at him. Their eyes…

Laeroth wasn’t sure at first, but the glow coming from the necropolis seemingly was bouncing off of each of their eyes. It made them all seem unnatural. Laeroths instincts screamed something was off. How was someone whose back was turned to the source of light… how was that possible? He realized all of their eyes were glowing that same green light.

The undead crew turned in unison and marched towards the necropolis, and with it, Laeroths hopes of ever going home with his son…


Sitting languidly atop an intricate throne of bones, deep in the Shadowfell, Myrkul stared out at an empty hall. It has been over 25 years since he last manifested on the material plane. He has strong connections into that plane as his Knights have been spreading His name for decades. The souls reaped in His name have been growing as more mortals are recruited and transcend in His service. Now was the time to address his acolytes in person and to give them new direction…

With a snap of His fingers, he willed himself into the material plane. Massive amounts of necrotic energy are sent out as Myrkul appears in the material plane. A necropolis identical to the one he came from in the Shadowfell was raised in front of him in a flash. A magnificent temple of undeath and unholy energy.

Myrkul extends his senses around him, pleased with the area he chose to establish himself. The surrounding landscape was barren, frigid, and utterly devoid of life, with the sole exception of a single soul out on the ocean, sailing away from him. Myrkul glides inside to the massive hall and takes his seat upon an ornate throne of obsidian and bone. Stretched out in front of him are endless rows of tables and benches, waiting to be filled.

He extends his hand out and reaches into the void, pulling out a small bell. Myrkul sits back in his chair and rings the bell one time, a single clear note that is heard across the plane by those who serve…


The streets of Aquitaine were abnormally busy for this late hour. People rushing about to get supplies and defenses ready for the siege should General Audlanann fail out in the field. The army of Myrkul had slowly been approaching for weeks now, felling one city after another, and this city was ripe with fear. Perfect, Lord Gannonthorpe mused, the hysteria would work well for him. Gannonthorpe had taken great efforts to make his way into the city ahead of the army and it was all for this opportunity. Dawn was only an hour away and he would have to move fast if his many well placed bribes were to pay off.

Gannonthorpe made his way along the central canal, heading up towards the castle. Before getting too close he breaks off the main path, heading down to the entrance of a sewer that should lead right up to the castle. This was his first bribe, as the sewers beneath Aquitaine are a maze and without a proper map he would easily be lost. Right before heading underground Gannonthorpe pauses as he hears the horn of Myrkul sound in the distance. The battle had begun. Gannonthorpe lit a torch and picked up the pace, knowing he had coin on the line would never hear the end of it if he didn’t complete his task before Bronn made it to the castle walls.

The stench of sewage was overbearing as Gannonthorpe made his way down the corridors. Rats and other vermin scurried away as he rounded corner after corner, vowing to kill whoever sold him this map if it wasn’t accurate. A quarter of an hour passed before he came upon the spot marked upon the map, a massive door made of steel. Excellent, Gannonthorpe thought to himself as he pulled out a large vial containing a softly glowing red liquid. Gannonthorpe pops the cork off with his thumb and pours it over the hinges. Upon coming into contact with the metal it began to bubble and hiss, quickly eating its way through the three inch door and the surrounding stone. A few moments later the liquid died down and Gannonthorpe kicked the door in, confident that no one would hear this far below the castles keep.

As he scaled the stairwell he eventually came out of a hidden passage in a storage area in the basement of the keep. Gannonthorpe shed his cloak and pulled his pack down. His second bribe, now coming into play. He had paid a laundress earlier that week for an Aquitaine’s Royal Knight’s gambeson. As he donned the clothing, strapping an ornate, if antiquated, Aquitaine Knight’s sword to his belt, he heard a shuffling out in the hall. Lord Jagour appeared in the doorway, the final bribe.

Early on in the campaign to lay waste to Antillus, Gannonthorpe, Nerion, and Bronn had sent Jagour to act as a male courtesan within the castle. King Erthil is notorious for his love of young men. A large payment to Erthils personal whoremaster secured a spot for Jagour, and after spending months training, he was more than up to the task. Months spent with the King had garnered all kinds of information about the inner workings of the castle. Jagour wordlessly hands Gannonthorpe a dossier containing all the information he would need before making his way down the stairs.

Gannonthorpe quickly makes his way through the castle, passing several stewards, chamberlains, pages, and even a few knights, the sounds of battle distinct outside. None spared him a second glance. As he approaches the king’s chambers, there is a mere squad of only six men standing guard. As he approaches he is hailed by the captain who asks him his business. Gannonthorpe closes the remaining distance before drawing his sword and slashing it across the eyes of the captain in a single motion.

The captain reels back in anguish and falls to the ground as the other guards rush to his defense. Blades fly at Gannonthorpe who nimbly dodges blow after blow before launching a counter attack. Several impossibly fast and heavy strikes leave two more guards on the ground, each missing limbs. The remaining guards began to spread out, trying to circle Gannonthorpe. He gave them no time, as soon as they broke apart Gannonthorpe rushed the lone soldier on his right, farthest from the door. A quick slash left the guards body standing pitifully, without a head, a moment before collapsing. The other two, stunned by the speed displayed were slow to react. Pivoting quickly, Gannonthorpe rushes the middle guard, closest to him, striking with a mighty blow to shoulder that nearly split him in two. The final guard, frozen in fear, stared sightlessly ahead. A pity, lamented Gannonthorpe, as he struck down the last guard with a single thrust to the heart. He had hoped that the Royal Guard of the King would have been more a challenge.

Gannonthorpe bent down and wiped his bloodied blade on the tunic on the captain, still alive and thrashing about. A quick kick to the side of the head and he was unconscious. Gannonthorpe turned and kicked the door to the kings chambers down. The king breaks down in terror, pleading for his life, tears streaming down his face. The battle outside catches Gannonthorpes eye briefly though the window, he was ahead of schedule. Ganonthorpe looks down at the pitiful king before him, reduced to a sobbing mess, and decides to end this quickly. As he towers over the king he freezes. A bells clear notes chime both in the distance and in his ear. Gannonthorpe breaks into a wide grin and swings down at the king. Once he collected his money from Bronn he had to find his squire, then secure passage north…

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A thick layer of smoke hangs in the air. The stench of vomit and booze linger in every corner of the bar. Whores work their way amongst the crowd, looking to take people into the private rooms upstairs. Lord Arkay sits across from squire Scree at a table in a dimly lit corner. After a few moments Arkay’s squire, Clemmie, returns from upstairs and subtly nods at them as she leaves the bar, confirming their mark. On the other side of the bar there is a commotion as a brawl breaks out. The guards at the base of the stairs run over to help breakup the fight. Arkay smiles to himself, right on time he thought.

He looks over at Scree and nods. Scree blends into the shadows as he stands up and makes his way up the stairs. Moving deftly amongst the rooms where courtesans are plying their trade. Plenty to steal if he had a mind for it, but a bigger prize keeps him focused. A door unexpectedly opens and Scree backs up against the wall, confident in his shadow cloak. Lord Ginko walks out of a room, still cinching his belt, a drunken smile of pleasure upon his face, as he heads back down to the bar, followed by a rather endowed wench.

Scree chokes back a chuckle as the spectacle unfolds and carries on down the hall. He couldn’t wait to mention this to Arkay and Gannonthorpe. As Scree gets to the end of the hall he pauses and looks around the corner. Two more guards stand between him and his goal. Scree rounds the corner and before the guards could register the shadowy figure in the dimly lit hallway, he had loosed two poisoned needles. They whistled through the air and buried themselves deep in each guard’s neck, paralyzing them. Scree drops his shadowy cloak and approaches the downed guards, slowly drawing his dagger. Two more souls for Myrkul he thought. Scree bent down and slowly sliced the necks of each guard, seeing the pain in their eyes as the knife pierced their flesh and they bled out in the hallway. Scree then heard a shout from inside the room summoning one of the slain guards. Perfect, thought Scree. He wouldn’t even need to pick the lock.

He shrouds himself in shadows again and waits. After a moment there was a sound of a chair being shoved back as a large figure stood and made their way towards the door, cursing angrily. Just as the door is about to open Scree freezes. A bells clear notes chime both in the distance and in his ear. A smile overcomes Scree as the door opens and a tall, muscular woman stares down in shock at her guards. Scree launches forward, decapitating her with one quick strike before she could even draw her sword. One more soul for Myrkul, thinks Scree, as he picks up her head. He’d best hurry, Lord Gannonthorpe would have heard it too and would be eager to move, and he had many miles to travel to get back to his master. They had a long journey ahead of them…

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General Audlanann stands at the forefront of his army, ten thousand strong. The last force left between the army of Myrkul and Aquitaine, the capital of Antillus. The five major cities of Antillus lay in ruin behind them. Across the field, Lord Bronn stares up at a red dawn that was forming.

Bronn looks over to Lord Texan and Lord Nerion and nods. Texan sheathes his axe at his hip, pulling out an ornate bone longbow almost as tall as him, grinning. Nerion finishes his horn of banana almond milk, straps his gargantuan bone shield on, and pulls out his trusty skull hammer, each heading to their own units within the vanguard. Nerion stops to instruct his squire WhosDadIsThis along the way, who was sharpening an abnormally long katana with a polished bone hilt, about tactics in the upcoming battle. Once they were both away Bronn went and picked up Grovekeeper, his massive totem, and slung it over his shoulder and pondered. Months of planning had led him to the very moment. Myrkul would have many offerings today.

Bronn walks to the front of the army and raises his horn as the sun breaks over the horizon, letting loose a chilling sound, signaling the charge. The army of Myrkul surges across the battlefield. Bronn meets the enemy front line with a massive swing of GroveKeeper, sending enemies flying back into their comrades. On the other side of battle, Texan lets loose a flurry of arrows that fell enemies five at a time. Nerion and WhosDadAtThis systemically work their way through the enemy front line. Nerion standing as the bulwark of the unit, flanked by WhosDadIsThis slaying enemies with lightning fast strike from his katana.

Hours of fighting and the unpredictable tide of battle found the commanders fighting side by side. Bronn led the push down the middle flanked by Texan, Nerion, and WhosDadIsThis. Audlanann was a mere fifty feet away surrounded by his royal guard. Bronn calls over for a push towards the general and as the group begins to push forward, they stop. A bells clear notes chime both in the distance and in their ears. Smiles overcome them as they resume their charge. If they wanted time to raze the city they would have to hurry, a long trek awaited them…

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A massive wave breaks against the bow of the ship. Cold and brutal wind propelling it forward at impossible speeds. The ambush spot was chosen well, catching the merchants’ ship unaware from mere leagues away and approaching fast. Lord Daddynasty smiled to himself, by the time the merchant noticed him it was too late to try and alter course. As the last few hundred yards closed, the storm that had been brewing finally let loose with a torrent of rain. Lightning pierced the sky as the ships collided, Daddnasty’s ship punching a hole and latching onto the merchant vessel.

Thunder roared as Daddynasty vaulted onto the merchants’ ship, dual swords drawn, the guards on deck still reeling from the impact. Two slashes too fast for the eye to see lash out, felling both guards immediately. The mortals attempting to join Myrkuls elite rank of Knighthood finally catch up and a brawl ensues on deck. Daddynasty cuts a path towards the aft of the ship where he sees the elite guard protecting the captain. As he begins his climb up the steps he freezes. A bells clear notes chime both in the distance and in his ear. A smile overcomes Daddynasty as he crests the upper deck. At least a short sail awaits him, for now though, more souls for Myrkul…

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