This is the full tale based off of the bard story I made before.
| Part One: City of Ancients
Darlog Urd-Nul pulled his hide cloak tighter around his body as the harsh, frigid wind swirled around him and his hunting party. He glanced around him at the other Orc hunters, there were six left of the twelve that had set out from Dul Norag to investigate a sealed tomb that had been recently found hidden deep in the Nuskeel Mountains. It seemed as if the Gods themselves conspired against them. A few days before, an avalanche had cut off their route home, killing two of their number. Now that they were but a few hours from the tomb, a violent blizzard had rolled in, and two more hunters had frozen, another slipped on a patch of ice and fell over three hundred feet to his doom. There had been no time to administer the Hunter's Rite, and moral was slipping. As the large cave mouth loomed ahead they hurried for its shelter.
It took them mere moment to unpack what was left of their supplies. They pitched several tents, with the backs to the cavern's opening. They quickly built a fire and extinguished their torches. They huddled silently around the fire trying to restore warmth to their freezing bodies. On the other side of their camp the cavern stretched on, row after row of giant ornate columns stretched to the very end, where a giant double door lay sealed shut. Ancient runes, both Human and Elven covered them. Darlog was one of the few of his clan that could read the runes with any hint of understanding. They appeared to repeat the same phrase in both tongues: Intar-nerc ti bal oe ti valcna, bal arek-dul ardura nara ti nerc-litar. Enter not this city of the damned, this tomb guarded by the not-living.
Naturally the orcs paid no head to this warning, shrugging it off as just an attempt to scare off grave robbers. After spending the night they packed up camp and set to work on breaking the seals on the door. They anchored iron hooks into the crack between the doors and wrapped the rope around the nearest columns. Once secured they began strenuously hauling on the rope, and slowly the giant doors opened with a soul-wrenching groan. A blast of fetid air escaped from within the tomb. They unanchored the hooks and packed them away before lighting their torches and venturing forward.
Fire. Blood. Sacrifice. Betrayal. Death.
I feel it. The seals are broken. A thousand years of exile. Freedom. Revenge at last. Power returns to us. Rise! Rise, my Legion! To arms! To war! To vengeance!
The Orcs had descended four floors before the city came into view. The once great city was in ruins. Giant stalagmite towers had collapsed into ruble, a deep chasm had cleaved through the city, and from the depths the glow of magma rose. Giant glowing fungi lay scattered throughout the city, and phosphorescent rocks lay in the cavern's ceiling giving the impression of a field of stars. The Orcs stood on a broad stairway leading down to what where once the main gates. A great cathedral rose in the center, towering over the rest of the city. Though rarely moved by anything, the party let out a collective gasp. Darlog gestured at the cathedral, "If there is treasure, it will be there." They began the long descent into the city. It was many hours before they reached the center, and as they drew near they noticed a soft green glow slowly appear from within. Soon whispers seemed to fill the air, and the group became increasingly unnerved. Creaks and groans sounded from within.
Trespassers. Fools. The living have no place here. Now we are free. Blood will flow. The world will burn. The dead shall rise again.
The eerie voice seemed to come from within their minds, and each looked around in fear. The glow became brighter, and suddenly their torches sputtered out. A shadow, darker then a moonless night loamed before them. The glow filled the room. Before them stood the most evil of beings, a lich.
Fear. Shock. Horror. Disbelief. My power grows. How good it is to kill again.
Part Two: The Fall of Varen
Darlon Fraltvern wrapped his fur cloak tightly around him to fend of the frigid winds as he looked out across his city. The keep stood on the peak of the island, the city stretching out in all directions. The great inland sea surrounding it gleamed with the last golden rays of the setting sun. Lanterns and werelights began flaring to life throughout the city as the sun departed from sight. Even from so high up he could see the watchmen patrolling the indomitable Adamantium walls and towers that divided the city into districts. He glanced at his bodyguard. “It still fills me with awe to know that I am the ruler of the first empire to span this land.” He pauses as he sees a strange light on the horizon. Peering closer he sees black smoke billowing into the sky, blotting out the stars. “By the Gods no… Varen burns…”
James Borean gripped his torch tightly as he stared off into the distance. His shield brother Joreg jabbed him lightly and said, “Look, there, what in the Seven Hells is that?” He pointed at a large patch of darkness that blotted out many of the stars. As James looked closer he realized it was moving towards the city at incredible speed. “Oh no… They have come at last…” He bolted for the nearest tower. “Raise the alarm! Dragons!.”
Chaos erupted as the horns sounded and men donned their raiment of war and poured into the courtyard of the keep before rushing to man the walls. Archers knocked their arrows and warriors loaded giant javelins into hundreds of ballistae. A roar, louder than any thunder, rolled across the city as the beasts dived, unleashing jets of fire that were hot enough to melt stone and metal alike. The air filled with the agonized screams of dying men, and the whistling of thousands of arrows and javelins soaring through the air. Dragons began falling from the sky, riddled with arrows, only to crash into the city below. Buildings were smashed and set alight. Within an hour all within were slain, and the city nothing more than an inferno.