/\/ecronis left Chesire Castle once more, leaving his new thralls within to await his return. He headed out on the zombified panther he had animated the previous week. He had to find faster transportation, but he would have to find a dead horse first, or make one...
/\/ecronis headed out for a nearby village, intent on getting a new, faster mount. After an hour of riding, he reached the outskirts of the town. It was dusk, so he would have to wait a few more hours for the villagers to go to sleep. He didn't want to draw to much attention to himself until he finished rebuilding his unholy army. He waited until the streets were nearly clear, and then set out. He looked around until he found a stable. There he inspected the horses and chose one, then set his hand upon its face. His hand glowed with a sickly yellow-green aura, and the horse began to shudder and neigh in agony, but it was too late. It fell to the ground, its lifeforce drained from it in seconds. /\/ecronis shook off the short moment of euphoria that came wtih the stealing of another's lifeforce, and then chanted a short incantation. The horse rose up again, its flesh paling and its eyes turning black and pupil-less. /\/ecronis lead the horse out of the stable and out of the village, then hopped up upon its back and looked at the undead panther waiting for him. It nodded its head and turned around, heading back for Chesire Castle. Then /\/ecronis rode off on his undead steed to the next location that he needed to visit.
He arrived there the next day in the middle of the afternoon. He cursed the sun silently for the twentieth time that day. Its infernal rays continued to scald him and nearly blind him. He needed to find shade somewhere to recover from the sun's debilitating light. He parked his mount under a large willow tree and dismounted. He took a few moments to rest before he looked up again to gaze upon the site he had come to. It was a massive ring of stones, each three times as tall as a man, and twice as thick as a man at their bases. They arced up into claw-like tips, all pointed toward the center of the ring. In between the large claw-stones were several smaller ones, each the size of a man. /\/ecronis left the shade of the tree and walked into the ring of stones. Inside the ring of claw-stones was a large patch of dirt, where no grass would grow. In the center was a small stone dais. /\/ecronis walked up onto the dais and looked around the ring warmly, fond memories of the place filling his mind. He remembered all the great festivals and ceremonies held here each year. He remembered his initiation into the Klaw of Kurusk cult, and the deadly Test of Induction, where he had to defeat a massive troll-ghoul with only his then-meager necromantic arts. Ah, he was but a boy then, but he could remember those days clearly. He smiled as the memories flooded back to him. Then he remembered what he was doing here and returned his attention to the matter at hand.
He recalled the incantation the Master had used during the initiation and repeated it, channeling all of his black mana into the dais. The artifact responded, and a pedastal grew out of the stone and rose up. A book materialized there, with the symbol of Kurusk painted upon it in blood. It was bound of black leather and the pages were of human flesh, every rune in it was written in human blood. /\/ecronis breathed in the smell of death and decay that permeated the book, even though it was magically preserved not to decay. He flipped through the book until he had found the page he wanted. He placed it back upon the pedastal and began the incantation. As he chanted, the ground around the dais began to rumble and shift. Massive forms rose up out of the ground and turned to face the dais. Once the incantation was complete, /\/ecronis was surrounded by three dozen troll-ghouls. He grinned and uttered a command in an infernal tongue not heard since the days of the cult, and the troll-ghouls turned around and shambled out of the ring and into the surrounding field.
Then /\/ecronis flipped to another page and began another incantation. Once it was finished, strange, violet mist flowed forth from the large ring of stones surrounding the dais. Each stream of mist floated over to dais and then coalesced into a wraith-like form. Soon /\/ecronis was surrounded by five score wraiths, each resembling some kind of priest, wearing phantasmal, hooded robes and holding ethereal bone-like staves. The wraiths spoke in an eerie, whisper-like voice.
What have you summoned the wraithen priests of the Clawed One for, mortal?
/\/ecronis replied to the gathered wraiths, "I have called upon you, my brothers, to aid me in bringing about the prophecy of great Kurusk! Though the Cult is long-dead, I yet remain, and I wish to bring about Kurusk's wonderful nightmare-realm! When we bring the Clawed One to Phaema, he shall claim it as his, and the cult will be reborn into Kurusk's world! We can continue our service to the Clawed One and regain his divine favor! We shall be his chosen once more!!!"
The wraiths were silent for a moment as they studied the necromancer, and pondered his proposal. Then they responded.
Ahhh, yes, we remember you now mortal. You were one of our initiates, one of the few who survived our fall to the Guild. We are proud to see one of our children rise again, with the power to bring about the Clawed One's dream. We shall aid you as we can, but you must bring about Kurusk's genesis yourself. Our power is limited in this mortal realm now, and we cannot bring about his great return ourselves. But we cannot wait forever. If you do not bring about the Clawed One's rebirth soon, we will find another to take on the great task who is more worthy.
With that, the wraiths resumed their mist-like forms and floated into the book, disappearing. /\/ecronis grimaced and growled, "I shall prove my worth, great elders!! I shall bring about Kurusk's nightmare realm and I shall be his chosen one! I shall be his avatar and all shall fear me!"
/\/ecronis spent a few moments more standing there before he turned and left. He hopped back upon his undead steed and took off, heading for Chesire Castle once more, the troll-ghouls folloing behind him.
(OOC: I shall continue this later... End OOC.)
~ /\/\ist Phantom ~
/\/ecronis, Lord of Undead
Traug, Troll Mage
§hard, Sword Mage
-= December 2, 794 TR =-
/\/ecronis had left his new minions at Chesire Castle the day before, and was now on his way to another place where he could gather more forces. He was riding westward, and would continue for another three days before he reached the mountains and the location he had set out for. Luckily he and his undead steed needed no rest, no food, and no water, so they could travel without stop the whole way.
Three days later, /\/ecronis reached the mountains. He rode up a once-hidden path that was now burnt and scorched in places, with large pits and potholes. When the Guild lay siege to the Klaw of Kurusk cult, they chased a band of cultists back to their citadel and launched fire and lightning at the cultists as they went, scorching and scoring the ground of the path. Then they came upon the citadel and wrought havoc upon it as well. Now, /\/ecronis was riding his steed up the old trail and to the ruined and shattered gates of the broken citadel. It was a series of obsidian towers with spines and spikes protruding at random intervals. Now there were several holes in the walls, and several towers had collapsed. /\/ecronis dismounted and walked over the shattered remains of the gate.
Once inside the bailey, he glanced around and remembered his time here as a budding young necromancer. Here the Klaw of Kurusk trained their new initiates in the dark arts and the ways of combat and of torture. Now all of the small training buildings and workshops were piles of scrap and rubble, the studies and barracks collapsed and shattered. There were a few large piles of rubble which were all that remained of some of the ancient citadel's towers. Luckily, what /\/ecronis was looking for wasn't in any of those ruined buildings and towers. He proceeded towards one of the remaining buildings. When he entered it, he found a pack of ghouls standing in the center of the room, which all turned around to face him. They attacked, but /\/ecronis held them back with a hand, crackling with black power. The ghouls shyed away and quivered in fear, then their eyes glowed violet and they bowed before the necromancer. He left them there and moved on, checking the old stone desks for what he was looking for. He found it in one of the broken piles of rubble on the floor. It was a wand crafted from a long, slightly curved fang, off of a long-extinct species of beast that /\/ecronis could not recall the name of. The wider end of the wand had a large amethyst attached to it, in the shape of a strange, slightly elongated skull, that of the beast from which the fang came from. /\/ecronis placed the wand in a large pouch at his belt, then left the room, the ghouls slowly following him.
/\/ecronis moved onward into one of the still-standing towers. He climbed its stairs and went past every room on his way to the top. There he entered the main room of the tower, a large alchemist's workshop. He inspected the shelves, tables, and cabinets there until he found what he wanted. In one cabinet was a few vials and flasks of potions. He inspected their labels and carefully retrieved a special case from one of the desks. He placed the vials and flasks into the case and closed it, then putting it into the backpack he had brought and leaving the room. As he left the tower and moved on to another, he felt a chill breeze as a number of wraithen forms rose up out of the rubble to the left of him. They flitted to him and blocked his path. They moaned and groaned, raking him with their ghostly fingers. He ignored their chill touch, being undead himself, and glowered at them. His onyx eye flashed with black lightning and the ghosts moaned even louder, then quieted and bowed before him. He went passed them and continued on to the next tower, with the ghouls and ghosts in tow.
He entered the next tower and climbed the stairs to the third floor, then entered the room there. He found ancient books and scrolls lying about, scattered on the floor amid the skeletal remains of the long-dead scholars of the Klaw of Kurusk. /\/ecronis rummaged through the rubbish and retrieved an ancient scroll of troll's flesh. The ancient sages knew that troll's flesh took millenia to rot away because of its innate regenerative properties, and used it frequently in making their scrolls and texts. It was bound by a brown cord woven of human hair, and of course the text upon it would be etched in the blood of some creature or other. /\/ecronis put the scroll in a scrollcase at his belt and went to leave the room. Then he turned around and looked upon the skeletal remains. He uttered an incantation that reanimated the skeletal remains and bent them to his will. Then he left and they too followed him out. He had but one more tower to visit before his business here was done.
/\/ecronis walked over to the central tower of the citadel. The top two floors of it had been obliterated by the Guild, and a pile of rubble beside it was all that remained of it's top. This tower was twice as wide and twice as tall as the others, and was where the leaders of the cult's many divisions met and gathered their artifacts and their lore. He entered the first room at the ground floor and inspected the shelves their until he found the books he wanted. He put them into his backpack and moved on. In the room at the third floor, he found a number of small statuettes in the shapes of gargoyles, a dozen of them in all. He gathered them into a sack and fastened it to his belt, then moved on to the next floor. In the fourth-floor room, he gathered a half dozen scrolls and put them into his scrollcase. Then he moved on up to the seventh-floor room. There he gathered a number of rings from a small pouch sitting on a shelf, each made of a different material, with a different design and different power. A few had a gemstone set in them, while others had numerous gems embedded in them, and others still simply had intricate designs and runes carved upon their surface. He secured the pouch at his belt and moved on. In the eighth-floor room, he took a small statue, about the size of a cat, and put it into his backpack. It was carved of black marble and in the shape of a vicious, horned daemon, with tiny rubies for eyes and a tiny rune etched upon its forehead, with silver inlay to make it visible. /\/ecronis then moved on the last room he needed to visit, on the eleventh floor. There he found a couple of useful artifacts. On one shelf was an intricately-carved bone crown, in the shape of a ring with many sharp, curved horns of various sizes protruding from the top of it, and with a smoky black crystal embedded in the front of it. On a desk was a rod carved of obsidian, with an emerald embedded upon the tip, in the shape of a skull. On one of the shelves of a bookcase was a small tome bound of some rough, brown, leather-like material with golden runes etched upon it. And in a cabinet was a ring of blackened metal, with three claw-shaped pieces of metal protruding inward, connecting to a small circular piece of metal. It was the symbol of Kurusk. Three claws clutching the heart of one of his foes and squeezing the life from it.
/\/ecronis took this from the cabinet first, then proceeded to take the book and the rod. As he touched the bone crown, he felt a strange sensation, and many wraithen forms flew forth from the crown and surrounded the necromancer. They spoke.
Do not disturb the relics of the dead, mortal. Thou shalt pay dearly if ye does not return all that thou hast taken from this obsidian tomb of ours. We will not bargain with graverobbers.
/\/ecronis gave out a snarl and said, "Why does everyone keep calling me 'mortal'? I am
/\/ecronis, Lord of Undead and liche lord supreme! I am immortal, and I have power over all who have left this mortal coil! Now, do you wish to try my patience and feel my power in a most unpleasant way, or shall you bow to me as all inevitably do?!?!" The wraiths then replied.
We do not take kindly to the foolish threats of old sorcerers who have lost their minds, yon mortal fool. Ye shalt feel OUR wrath at this insolence and inobediance!
The wraiths then struck at /\/ecronis with powerful magicks, but were stunned to see the necromancer shrug off their attacks and then reach out and grab one of them by the throat, his hand pulsing with black power.
"Your necromancy is no match for mine own, you foolish old ghosts! As I said, I am Lord of all Undead, and even your ancient power is nothing to me! I have harvested the secrets of necromancy from many worlds and many ancient necromancers of legend, and I am more powerful than any of them could ever have become in their short, mortal lives! Now, I shall give you ONE more chance!! You shall bow to me and pledge eternal fealty to me, or I shall snuff out your meager lifeforces ONE by ONE and finish the job the Guild started!!!" the necromancer practically roared out. Black power radiated out from his onyx eye and crackled like lightning about him as he tightened his grasp on the wraith's throat. It began to flicker and fade as he did so, its power draining away. The wraiths cried out.
NOOOOO!!!! Please, we submit to thee, Lord /\/ecronis!! We submit!!
And then they bowed before him and made their pledges. /\/ecronis was pleased and released the wraith he had been holding. He grinned sadistically and said, "Alright, my new wraithen slaves. You may join my army of darkness and follow me to glory and the rebirth of Kurusk... BUT I SHALL HAVE NO TREACHERY!!!" He loosed a storm of black lightning upon the wraiths, and they howled and moaned in agony, writhing and flailing. Then they were still, and their eyes glowed violet momentarily. /\/ecronis then turned and left the room. The wraiths obediantly followed.
As /\/ecronis walked down the stairs and past the tenth-floor room, he heard creaking. He opened the door and found a series of sarcophagi lining the walls. The lids were sliding away, pushed aside by skeletal hands. The liches inside hissed at /\/ecronis and said in rough, broken voices, "We shall not let you leave this place alive, not with our treasures and our minions." And then they proceeded to loose lightning bolts and gouts of flame at the necromancer. /\/ecronis raised the obsidian rod high, and the fire and lightning struck an invisible barrier as the gemstone skull glowed with power. /\/ecronis then loosed bolts of black lightning at the liches, striking them down. Then he sent a powerful bolt of black power at each, struggling with their wills and overcoming them. Each got up and bowed to him.
/\/ecronis grinned. "Indeed, I won't be leaving this place alive. I'm already dead." he said with a laugh. "I almost forgot about this room and the cult's expiriments with lichdom, vampirism, and lycanthropy. Too bad all of their other expiriments were lost when the Guild attacked. Oh well." he said and then cackled evilly for a few moments before leaving. His new thralls followed him out of the broken citadel and back to Chesire Castle.
~ /\/\ist Phantom ~
/\/ecronis, Lord of Undead
Traug, Troll Mage
§hard, Sword Mage