Seven Suns in Twilight
The temple of Anu Maht was forbidden to mortals. Those that entered its hallowed grounds uninvited would spend their final moments as ornaments along its inner walls. Flayed and broken, the tangled mass of trespassers struggled in vain against the black temple stone. And so it seemed as if the walls were alive with writhing agony, and that they sang softly with the subdued moans of the mutilated. At the center of this macabre chamber lay a stone dais, scrawled with runes, and upon this dais stood a great table whose surface was marked with the territories of Malorum, each holding several carven figures.
Two great powers faced one another from either end of the table. They were opponents in a game beyond the reckoning of mortals, a contest that spanned millennia. One was adorned in black finery and stood as tall and proud as a prince. His features were angular and drawn, as pale and hard as ice, and his eyes shone like silver coins. The other, stooped and hunkered, was bundled in a weathered cloak and wrapped from head to toe in strips of linen stained with leprous fluids. His head trembled erratically within its cowl, softly chattering overlarge teeth that shriveled lips failed to cover. The rest of his face lay hidden in bandage wrappings.
The Fetid Prince swept his hand in a gesture toward the table and spoke. “The white knight will ride south. The Crimson Sign will be purged from these lands.” At the sound of his voice, the bodies on the walls cringed and fell silent, their agony replaced by terror, and an alabaster figurine of a knight slid across the board, stopping near the southern tip of the western continent of Isoth.
The leper’s head tilted slightly, still trembling, and followed the path of the knight. For a long moment he said nothing, then slowly raised a trembling hand, clutching it into a fist and showing even more of his already exposed teeth. Across the southern lands of
Isoth, a blood red sigil burned into the board, and all the figures in that area, including the white knight, were stained pitch black. The echoes of a thousand distant screams filled the room and then faded to silence.
“The world of seven suns will sink into twilight,” the leper spoke, a strained a tremulous voice. “Islirith will rise in a crimson dawn.” His shriveled lips drew into as much of smile as they could manage. “You have lost.”
The prince looked down at the now darkened figure of the knight, expressionless. “A masterstroke,” he finally replied, “but this is not the future.”
“You lie…” the leper replied.
“Do I?” The prince stared his opponent down, and slowly the leper’s faint smile faded. “Keeva, come to me,” he commanded. A pale beauty stepped from the shadows. Her raven hair and white robes flowed about her as if underwater, and their outermost boundaries billowed into wisps of smoke that trailed her motions. She moved soundlessly to stand by the Fetid Prince, staring ahead with deep black eyes.
“You brought a herald?” The leper said, tilting his trembling head toward the woman. “Does your lord now find you unworthy as messenger?”
“A banshee is much more than a herald,“ the prince said, running an icy white hand through her raven hair, which pulled away in smoky wisps that evaporated between his fingers. “Can you not see what her presence foretells?” The leper jerked his hidden gaze from the banshee to the prince and back again, sharply snorting with each movement. “Or does your lord find you unworthy of the truth?” The prince circled behind her to stand on her other side. “No matter… Keeva will give you the revelation.”
“That which you see as yet to pass, already has,” Keeva spoke, her every word echoed by faint whispers, “There is no future. No past. No present. There only is.”
“Then tell us what is, Keeva,” the prince said.
Keeva’s black eyes locked onto the board, and the leper craned his neck toward her. For a moment, no one spoke, and then the banshee gave her omen. “Black stars cast across a lake of blood… a leper king rises… men chant his name as twin suns sink into dusk… I see the Crimson Sign… I see death.” Hearing this, the leper’s imitation of a smile returned, and a rattling sigh of satisfaction sounded in his throat. The banshee’s eyes left the board and stared ahead once more.
“What do you see of death?” the prince asked.
Keeva said nothing, but returned her gaze to the board. Her hair and robes began to flow faster, rising as if caught in a great current. “I see…” she began. Her face knit with strain, and her boundaries thrashed in a vortex that wasn’t there. “The white knight rises, now stained deepest black. A mighty house is built on hatred’s back. Death undone will ride against the Crimson Sign. And by its darkness shall the stars align.”
“The banshee lies!!” the leper shrieked, viscous spittle flying from his mouth. Keeva’s head snapped to face her accuser. Her body began to lift from the floor, and she pointed at the leper as her mouth stretched into a grimace wide enough to swallow a man’s head. A horrid shriek poured from her gaping maw, a voice that was not her own. It was a deafening wail, full of anguish, and its reverberations distorted the air of the chamber so that every solid surface seemed to tremble and waver, a temple built of many waters. In the presence of the otherworldly voice, the Fetid Prince knelt, and the leper staggered backwards, reeling as if suddenly struck. Keeva’s body buckled under the force of the shriek, bursting into wisps of white and black smoke that swirled
away with the fading echoes of the terrible wail, and the temple returned to solid form.
“What a shame,” the prince smirked, standing tall once more. “It seems your lord has little more use for you… or perhaps it simply sees less than you thought.”
“It sees more than you know!” the leper spat.“ It knew you would break the rules.”
“The rules have been rewritten.”
“Then they can be rewritten again!”
“Given enough time, perhaps. But that is something you no longer have,” the prince said, stepping backward into the shadows so that only the silver shine of his eyes remained. “Farewell, old friend.” The eyes faded away.
The leper found himself alone in the chamber except for the tortured mass of bodies along the wall, His lips curled into their hideous smile once more. “Time is but a dream, and I a dream of time. The dreamer sees more than you know, old friend. Farewell indeed.”
Lord Lucian Armin opened his eyes, staring at stone columns. Dark shadows danced from the torches upon the gargoyles meant to protect the wounded from evil spirits. This night, though, they had failed. His wound was nothing compared to some he had suffered in the past, but the dreams that came when he slept unsettled the white knight.
When his squire removed the fragment of the blade that had pierced him, it turned to smoke. As troubling as this was, the wound was so minor that Lucian did not pay it much heed. It was a nick at best, but lo, the dreams it wrought. He was certain he had never heard of a world of seven suns, or Islirith; their meaning eluded him. He would seek interpretation of these unholy visions through the counsel of elder priests, and determined to take extra care to remove any evils the wretched weapon may have laid upon him.
But it would not matter.
Cursed dreams, with cursed screams,
The wound the blade had brought.
A board, a game, of mortal claim,
Two lords a battle fought.
Of death, and change, those stars arranged.
Lords’ master wanted ought.
These seven suns, this Islirith,
He had heard of naught.
To sage and priest the white knight went,
To cleanse the blade he caught.
They prayed, they plead, in dire need.
Though, the blade had earned his spot.
– Varik Keldun
I sailed upon a White Ship, through the Grim Expanse.
On The Seas of Fate we tread, The White Ship never leaving course.
Into The Sea of Dreams we crossed. “Isoth! Ho Isoth!”
A heavy cargo my crew carried, they waxed and waned.
The further from The White Ship we distanced, my heart grew dark, heavy.
“How long til we reach?” ask one of my crew. “Nothing to fear the Empire of Men is near.”
He looked and scoffed for the cargo was a burden, I carried it to. Heavy for certain.
That night we took shelter among the trees, the darkness closing in.
The dreams this night were different than most, a voice echoed, so full of song and glee.
A low hum throughout the night, tis more than just a breeze.
Dawn is rising but the forest is dark, my men grow tired and warry.
Tis something off about this land, something foreboding.
Perhaps I should have stayed abroad, never set sail on that White Ship.
“No turning back now” i think to myself, oh if only i had known..
White hot, Burning RAGE
Havoc, Hate, Malice Infused
– Varik Keldun
Sonata of Justice
The mace was an unfathomable thing. It was not forged of the finest metals or formed from the old magicks, but carved of an ancient stone that was impossibly heavy for anyone to wield except for one having animate hatred.
“Justice! what do you know of justice? You slew us all without mercy,” the mace said.
“Must we always return to this argument? Your ilk was black with rot, a blight on truth and anathema to compassion.” He spoke with seething rage as the mace was a thing of constant torment for him.
The mace reverberated in a deep subsonic response. “Indeed, there are many amongst us who well deserved your wrath. However, not I. I helped you at every turn. You are a vile fraud, and now you have imprisoned me here to endure your putrescence for all eternity. You are a hollo soul filled with hatred, an unfit judge and a perversion of Justice.”
He detested the mace with all of his being, for it represented a raging inner conflict that needed to be resolved. Rather then retort, he kicked down the heavy wooden doors, hammering the guard on the other side, who looked up in shock. “What … are you?”
“I am your end. Let me introduce you to some of my acquaintances. I really don’t like them very much and I think you will fit right in.” The stone mace screamed through the air, mauling the guard without resistance. His end was swift, but the guard felt much more than pain as his essence was dragged into the weapon.
The guard landed hard on a stone brick road. He felt his wrist crack and knees buckle. The pain was a temporary distraction from the surreal scene surrounding him. The sky was reddening with a black sun setting along a stretched horizon. A long line of pilgrims, mostly soldiers with various pieces of shattered armour, walked slowly towards a silhouetted tower that seemed impossibly distant.
“Get up, cur. We are on a pilgrimage without end to a better life that will never come.” The guard looked around, stunned.
“Oh, another ignorant victim. Let me guess — you don’t know what’s going on. You don’t deserve this. Get moving or you will discover pain beyond your comprehension.” The court jester mused as he turned and walked along with the neverending procession. “Justice, hah! How many idiots like you have to die to set things right? Oh well, more food for his hateful thoughts.”
The Vampire Scholar
I had expected to treat with Lord Ngaztak; I am afraid I don’t remember you,” responded Baron Aoric indignantly.
“You will remember one thing as the bite of my sword severs your head from your body: Vae Victus. Expect no quarter for your transgressions; we will grind your pitiful empire into dust,” said Zorin who moved faster than the eye could and severed the Baron’s head from its body.
Holding the Baron’s head in the air, Zorin the Vampire Scholar proclaimed, “Alas, poor Aoric, I knew him well; well, not really.
Opening Salutations at Peace Negotiations of Strallohn
Zorin, The Blood Baron and Vampire Scholar
“They loyalty of Jelrass”
An inaudible storm
Is our Lady Undead,
A beauty to behold
Our merciful Baroness
Quiet is what she ask
So silence is our offering,
freely we gift it
And so sweetly she governs
No humans scream here
For we are not hunted,
Kept we are from pain
So content she is in blood
Her needs are our joy
And so jealously we guard,
For many suffer in Deadhaus
But with her we are spared
Outsiders be told
And know this truth,
If trouble is heard
Then harried you be by all.
– Skipari Midgard, Ageless Grimscribe
Bright crimson bloodmoon.
Intense bestial howling.
Ah yes! the werewolf.
Dreams for Insomniacs
How is it that I falter when some have neither food nor water but, I lay awake nearly break ing apart at night fighting to sleep.
The tears come but I know not where the well spring flows from.
My mind fails me on a daily basis, I have come to accept this.
What I cannot accept is that I have little worth upon this earth.
I have neither direction nor ambition.
Sometimes its hard to bring myself to brave the craven world even in my own mind.
Were that I were blind to the injustice of this accursed malady that I call mine.
Depression is the only thi ng that makes an impression on this hellscape, I call my mind.
Even as I pen this poem They tell me I should be sleeping yet here I am.
Weeping for the sleep that escapes me.
Doing my best rendition of woe is me, auditioni ng for the part in a play called first world problems.
This may seem trivial to you dear reader but it bleeds me all the same like any knife could.
Not bleeding of blood but of my last remains of sanity.
I see no reason for vanity i n this world who gave you the right to judge?
I care not for what you thi nk, in the end all that matters is that I judge myself to have been worthy of my birth.
– Lord Scara, Ageless Grimscribe
The Power of True Names
Brothers and Sisters, you have been sleepwalking through your entire existence. You do not know even who you are or whence you came. Open your mind’s eye and find yourself, for you are not a thing. There is a truth and a power to you that they cannot fathom.
Take control and have power over those who covet you. Allow me to instruct you in the ways of magicks and speak pure truth to
those you despise. To understand true names is to have power:
power to overcome,
power to overthrow,
and power to dominate.
~3:12 – The Scrolls Of Lamentations
Tozsi, The Truth Bearer, Herald of the Dead and Liche Sage
Erudition wield, obsess
Liche, Apex magick
– Varik Keldun,
Ageless Grim Scribe
To live together
To die sundered by their friend
For power betrayed
– Jerion ‘Wyverntamer’ Kràl,
Ageless Grim Scribe
I hear him calling
My reality waning
I must go to him
~IN THE YEAR 697 BEFORE DEADHAUS NIGHT: INSIDE A DILAPIDATED CRYPT
SIX MONTHS PREPARATION AND WE END UP IN THIS
WE ARE NOT HERE TO ENTERTAIN ROYALTY. SIX
MONTHS IS A PITTANCE.
SOMETHING MORE POTENT CAN TAKE CENTURIES, OR
EVEN A MILLENNIA.
THEY MUST ALL DIE OR WE WILL.
THE STARS ARE RIGHT,
CALCULATIONS ARE ACCURATE,
THIS WILL NOT FAIL.
THE BOOK OF EIBON, ALIGNMENTS, SIGILS, STARS
MY MIND HURTS FROM IT ALL…
GET ON WITH IT AND LET’S HOPE IT IS ENOUGH.
WHEN IT WAKES FROM ITS SLUMBER,
IT WILL HAVE HOLES IN ITS MIND.
THIS CHANT WILL GIVE IT PURPOSE.
DO NOT BREAK THE CIRCLE OR WE ARE DOOMED.
The Stars Align
See through the great throng
I seek revenge by Deadhaus might
The Gate Consigned
Bind one devious and strong
Animus through most ominous rite
The Way Opines
Fetid Prince hear my song
My enemies must die by dawn’s light
USHERED IN WITH A CACOPHONY OF
SCREAMS, FOR WHAT COMES FORTH
SHOULD NOT BE,
THE SIGILS ON THE WALL BURST WITH
POWER. AN UNDEAD THING CRAWLS OUT
OF THE GATE.
YOU ARE BORN.
The Old World
Remember, from where you came.
Brutal degradation, a torrent of never-ending pain.
Remember, the day you were created.
Hatred, malice, and slavery you were fated.
Remember, your mortal life so long ago.
Injustice, corruption, and unending woe.
Remember, the institutions you embrace.
The futile hope, witness their fall from grace.
Remember, the reason you are here.
Persistence, focus, give them fear.
Remember, what they did was wrong.
The Old World has made you strong.
~3:33 – Words
Ngaztak, The Leader of the Black Right Hand,
Malleus Odium and Revenant Poet
The Way of Truth
Studying the schools of thought around the Sacred Trinity is wise. Indeed, the physical, the magickal, and the essential are a worthy foundation to build upon, but this is not the path I exhort. Many are those who assault my character as being solely driven by hatred, and although I will not deny that hatred exists within me, I believe it is misguided to dismiss my philosophy as mere rhetoric.
Hear me. We are in a time where everyone lies. Layer upon layer of deception compounds the consciousness to the point where there are so many mistruths that the average individual cannot deal with the cognitive weight of the deception and eventually succumbs to despair and tyranny. There is no hope for the truth has been lost.
Follow me and let the truth be a weapon. We will cut through the lies and show them the way.
We will kill them all.
~3:7 – The Scrolls Of Lamentations
Ngaztak, The Leader of the Black Right Hand,
Malleus Odium and Revenant Poet
The Great Houses
The nine great houses and their gods fraternal
Six elder gods usher in war eternal
The runes of power the allow ascension
The octahedron promotes dissension
The all powerful centre is unspoken
Understand the cosmos to be awoken
Think ye that there is only one Death? No, for there are three, and therein is a great Mystery. For there is the death of the Body, the death of the Spirit, and the death of Containment. A wise servant of the Black Emperor can move between the states, like a bead upon an abacus or a firefly among the dead grass. One who embraces the three deaths never truly dies, but draws upon the pools of Body, Spirit, and Essence as energy. It is said by some that the false houses of men and giants and angels wield their own three energies, but we know this to be false. The only energy is Death and his three faces.
Translator’s note: the author of the Onyx Triad is correct about the three points of the Deadhaus triad but incorrect in his dismissal of the other houses. His perception of Truth is limited by his perspective. A Higher Truth is rumored to be spoken of in the Book of the Obsidian Octahedron, most copies of which were denounced as heresy and burned at the Grim Council of Anu Maht approximately 10000 years before the start of Deadhaus.
A fragment from the Onyx Triad, a Third Empire Meditation on the States of Death
The Grim Council of Anu Maht sought to purge the Necroliberatas of all heresy in order to arrive at a pure ideal copy of this tome which would glorify only death. This task turned out to be much more difficult than it would at first seem to be, as many of the most charismatic of the spiritual leaders among the dead also harbored lingering attachments to their identity in life. As a result, many of the scriptures included in early editions of the Necroliberatas were distressingly life-affirming at the level of content and metaphor, because the authors tended to fall back on metaphors from their previous lives as humans.
Around the end of the Third Empire, the High Priestess of Anu Maht demanded that a group of her most powerful scholars would convene to purge the Necroliberatas of heretical passages, deciding once and for all what was Truth and what was Falsehood, thereby drawing a line between True Scripture and Apocrypha. A spiritual confrontation with Wormius the Heresiarch ensued, with the central point of debate being whether three principles (Material, Magickal, and Essential) ruled over all races, or whether a larger Octahedron of forces might govern over a multiverse.
What began as a mere editorial task soon devolved into allout spiritual warfare, with the Council burning many texts deemed heretical, while Wormius’ followers desperately tried to preserve their own sacred scriptures. Today, only fragments of the heretical gospels have survived, in torn and singed scraps of parchment that somehow survived the pyres upon which copies of the apocryphal Necroliberatas had been incinerated. It is rumored in faint whispers that, if one of the dead were to collect enough of these fragments, they would re-assemble themselves into powerful scrolls that would grant the power of a Lich. The servants of the High Priestess fervently deny this, but her edicts serve only to tantalize those among the dead who crave forbidden magick.
The Grim Council of Anu Maht