|THE DISCIPLES SERIES
|ART BY ME
THE NECROMANCER'S SPIRIT - I
Ten long years had passed since the First Great Wars, leaving Nevendaar in a state of chaos and devastation. The Emperor Demosthene secluded himself in his stronghold ; his spirit dimmed by the lost of his Queen and their only son, the beloved Uther.
Grand counselor Hubert the Lalye was rumored to be the true power behind the throne. Hubert has indeed taken advantage of the sorrowful kings's growing isolation. Although he claimed Nevendaar was in good health, all could see the plague of corruption and depravation, he had spread throughout the empire. Justice was no longer a luxury all could afford...
Hubert led the Empire to ruin... indulging in feast and debauches, which he paid with the Empire's treasure. From this audacious decadence, numerous sects and agitators were born. Erhog, leader of a death cult, took over the Barony of Ammennir. If she was not stopped, her influence would surely grow. It would be the death knell for the Empire and the Highfather.
THE ALLIANCE - II
Erhog the Dark was gone and her death coat annihilated, she disappeared into her temple when it crumbled to ruins. The antidote was brought to the emperor Emperor Demosthene but it did not bring him out of his silence. He remained secluded in the tower, becoming darker and more wretched, weakened by the treacherous attack upon his person.
During the harsh battles against Erhog, corrupted nobles, making sure nobility got their due, looted the Empire's treasure. Many peasants had no food, and the gear of starvation forces them to follow petty agitators who claimed new leadership for the Empire.
Soon, Nevendaar found itself on the brink of revolution. Hubert the Lalye proposed to replenish the Empire's chest with his... personal belongings, in exchange for the royal crown of course. Evidently, many nobles accepted the offer, fearing the loss of the aristocratic privileges.
The Empire was divided. On one side of the schism were the virtuous nobles, who remained true the Emperor Demosthene; opposing him, Hubert the Lalye, the newly crowned prince of opportunism gathered renegade forces. The only solution for the Emperor's followers was to seek the help of the Mountain Clans. Empire's emissaries were urged to seek Slookarijj Darkstone, member of the Clans Council and friend of high king Morok Cloudkeeper.
Fortunately, Morok Cloudkeeper, remembering his alliance with Demosthene during the first great wars, agreed to help in these most desperate times. At last, during the Council, Hubert de Lalye succeeded in assembling a small force.
Uther, the Emperor's lost son, had still to be found.
ANTAGONISTS - III
Before long, Hubert the Lalye had assembled a considerable force. Moving north, his army meet little resistance, and those cities which refused his ruling were quickly crushed. The heads of all dissenters were displayed on pikes throughout the Empire... warning all of the fate of those who dare to oppose Hubert the Lalye's rule.
By the time, news of Uther return had spread. Uther was reported to be leading an army of Clansmen down the peaks of Griffin Heights to cleanse the Empire of his father's enemies.
The emperor Demosthene decided to move his court north, to the fortified city of Fhindar. Inquisitor Philipp d'Agincourt resided there ; he would surely ensure the emperor's safety in these grievous times. Demosthene hastily prepared his troops, knowing that the divided forces would shortly meet.
The defeat of Hubert the Lalye raised morale in the realm, no one thought Uther capable of overcoming such a treacherous enemy.
The emperor Demosthene's illness miraculously heal; his bitter heart reconforted by the return of his long lost son Uther; he knew he finally had the means to restore peace to his lands.
UTHER'S CRUSADE - IV
Like a poisonous serpent, Hubert the Lalye's influence slithered throughout the Empire, spreading everywhere the seed of depravity... Many petty nobles sprung after Hubert's death, declaring themselves sovereign, depriving the true Emperor of his realm.
In a dream, Demosthene saw his empire aflame. From the trees poured blood, putrid fruits fell to the rotten earth, and the blowing winds were as death's breath. In the midst of this nightmare, an angel appeared and gazed silently upon him. Demosthene awoke knowing the dream was an omen...
As Demosthene's weakened condition prevented him from waging war, he ordered his son Uther to defend the Empire. Uther's strength soon became legendary, for he could defeat man twice his size. His ruthlessness was unmatched as he marched south with his troops to subdue the disobedient nobles.
Morok Cloudkeeper's madness did not prevent Uther from recapturing the disloyal cities; Uther's armies crushed all the sudden territory dissidence; Demosthene could finally return to his capital to rest.
SLENDER AND BARBARISM - V
Reports from the east soon reached Demosthene. A soulless horde relentlessly assaulted the Elven Lands. Victory would enable to pass through High Annullia, and ultimately to Nevendaar.
The Undead Horde had lain silent for a decade, as their fool goddess Mortis had forsaken them. No one knew what the return of the fleshless goddess portended, or why she had once more breathed life into her minions.
Although the elder race requested no aid, Demosthene dispatched a small regiment to assist them, knowing that only Elves stood between the Empire and the putrid throng.
Mortis' newly born angel presence on eastern lands was a surprise to all. His slain body was burnt and buried in holy grounds insuring that never again will he be arise from beyond.
The Hordes defeated nothing could stand in the way of the Empire; the triumphed troops returned where the Emperor had prepared a banquet.
THE CELEBRATION - VI
It was a the custom in Nevendaar to crown a royal successor before the emperor's death. Demosthene felt the time had arrived for him to pass the crown to his recovered son, Uther. Tiding of the upcoming ceremony were sent throughout the realm ; all would surely attend...
Uther was mature for his age, and the burden of leadership did not seem to frighten him. His great deeds in battle were legendary, and many peasants thought him blessed by the Highfather.
What had Uther experienced during the decade he had been lost ? Some maintained that he had been raised by angels, who granted him pureness of the heart and mighty sword. All thanked the Highfather for his liberation, and prayed for a brighter future.
Uther's treason left all distress and speechless. Demosthene was dead and his successor drew strength from Bethrezen himself.
How could mere mortals fight an enemy such as demon Uther.
Nonetheless, faithful nobles and priests tried to unite the populace during those dark times; they agreed together to launch an desperate assault on the accursed demon.
BINDING FORCES - VII
Uther had managed to enfeeble all - pulling strings in the shadows, turning the elves against the Undead Hordes, the Empire against itself.
Emissaries where sent throughout the known world seeking assistance. Five messengers were to meet the Elves, three passed through the Griffin Heights seeking support from the Mountain Clans, and eight wandered the Empire gathering all those willing to die for the cause.
Uther never claimed the vacant throne. All knew that he craved something greater... An alliance has to be formed for the mortal to overcome Uther, the aspiring god, the new ruler of Hell.
With rage, courage and faith, the Empire's troops defeated the abomination that Uther had become.
Only the allied forces could had overthrown the neophyte deity; it was a blessing that many had come to the Empire's aid. Alas, the realm was still ablaze and without a successor.
It took only a few years for Uther to reduce the Empire to rumbles but its lonesome deeds will take decades to undo.
Many years will pass before a new sovereign appears bearing the mark of kingship. Many years of chaos and ceaseless fighting. For all nobility crave to rule but few truly possess the virtue and the leadership necessary to occupy the throne.
The Empire will never forget those dreadful documents. Even if they succeed in rebuilding their once prosperous and peaceful realm.
Uther's demented aspirations to replace Bethrezen brought only chaos to the realm. In the end, his ambition was his own doom.