The light of a new dawn strains futilely against the hungry, preternatural fog, betraying nothing. Not even a breath of wind rises to disturb the sea. The only sound, the straining of wooden strakes as three unseen Drekkar longships ride easy on the calm sea. The hungry fog devours all.
Awake Warrior. My enemy is before you. This world is blighted by the scourge of rebellious heresy. Exterminate the heretics and unbelievers, crash upon them as the sea and rend them asunder. You are my Verlorn, shieldbreakers, eathershatters, break their fortress and raise my standard above the smoking ruins.
The will of the Goddess races across space and time to the sound of an etheral thunderclap. Her will ignites the conscious souls of her Verlorn warriors, infusing them with righteous rage and banding their souls in the steel of Her will.
A shockwave of unseen sources rolls outward through the fog. The deeper gray forms of statue-still figures loom out over the bulwarks. At the prow against carved figurehead of crashing waves is the lifeless statute of a Minotaur. Thunder resounds across the water. Out through the mist the icy blue light burns in the eyes of the graven forms. At the stern of the longships a searing piller of blue light erupts racing skyward. As one the statues begin to move the blue light fading from their eyes.
The minotaur, now conscious, gazes around him and blinks yellow afterimages of the searing blue light from his vision. He traces the afterimages to the stone alter at the stern of the ship where blue light still radiates from a great gem reflecting and refracting off of the dense fog into a sphere of diffuse blue light that surrounds the ship.
The fleet has arrived.
A thought skitters across the edge of minotaur’s consciousness What Fleet? and is gone in an instant. His mind suffused in the certain knowledge of righteous purpose. The heathens must be purged in the name of Meave! Only she can save us from the Hunger
From the port bulwark the minotaur peers through the fog at two more Drekkar longships slicing through the waves. Seven times as long as they are wide, the trim lines of the Drekkar recurve into a great crashing wave at prow and stern. A pale blue light diffuses across the fog over each ship. Muffled in the fog is the sound of breakers. The bow of the Drekkar churn the water white in their wake as the great sail draws fully. Stillborn thoughts skitter along the edge of half a dozen minds before being flashing out of existence No Oars…. No Wind… .
The Minotaur rests his hands on the grips of two short bladed axes. The grips are clearly well worn from use. Wrong…. the grips are somehow wrong…
But that thought is cut off and immediately forgotten. From the calm of the fog a crushing peal of thunder deafens the world and the minotaurs vision is once again dazzled by the pale blue light erupting into the sky. A gale wind rises from the reverberations of the thunder and the Drekkar now rise upon the crest of an enormous crashing wave. The fog resolves into a beach surmounted by a clifftop stronghold. The breakers withdraw from the beach and are swallowed by the great wave. Wind and sea carry the Drekkar over the beach to crash upon the highlands leading to castle. Meave’s tempest crescendo’s with her fury as the roaring gale shrieks and shreds the sails and races up the cliffs to tear at the black and white banners on the walls.
Purge the heretics. Break these Summerlings on the rocks. You are my Verlorn, the vanguard, shatter their will and reap their souls in my name.
The deafing roar of Maeve’s gale subsides, but the din is taken up by the devilish crackle of lighting as the Stormcallers deliver the first taste of Maeve’s fury. Righteous rage and purpose again surge in the concious souls of Her warriors and all other thought it lost. From each Drekkar a 60 voices bellow bellow and roar as the warriors surge forward. The Minotaur vaults the bulwark onto the beach, his blood beginning to rise to the chaos of the battle. The warriors of Meave’s vanguard, the Verlorn, the Lost, rush towards the outer gate of the fortress.
The Minotaur leans forward without thought and charge on all fours recklessly to the front racing to close with the enemy. The heretic warriors boil out from their open gate as their own spellcasters and siege engines begin to answer our stormcallers in kind. The Minotaur’s blood pounds in his ears and thought flees as instinct takes over. The momentum of the heedless charge carries him broadside into a Centaur Legionaire sending the horseman crashing down upon the confessor behind him. The Minotaur rolls to his feet and is immediately thrown off balance as an arrow pierces leather and hide and buries itself in his left shoulder. The Minotaur’s vision shifts. He lies before the walls of a desert castle on a bone dry plain, with an arrow tearing at the muscles of his shoulder. He spins and spots the source–a ranger on the wall. The blood song flares in his soul and he bellows in rage at the fates that placed a wall between his axes and his kill. He rolls forward reaching for the net on hit belt. The Minotaur’s vision shifts again as I feel the net impact and entangle the ranger on the walls of the clifftop castle and he pulls on the rope sending the ranger tumbling over the rampart to dry moat below with a bone shattering impact. The Minotaur turns and his berserkers rage roars anew as a poleaxe scores scores across his thigh–the legionnaire is up.
The Centaurs back swing threatens to open the Minotaurs’s throat as his vision shifts once more as the blood song thunders in the depths of his soul. Time slows once more and as the fractured visions of hundred battles tumble across his mind. Memory returns. Meave has spent the blood of her immortal vanguard like water in hundreds of battle across scores of worlds. I remember… Lives… and deaths spin accross the Minotaur’s vision. He seizes upon a memory as if taking a book from a shelf. I am a knight on a sandy beach, a centaur poleaxe swings high at gap in my armor at the neck. I catch the haft of his polearm with my shield and re-direct his swing past me, throwing him off balance as my trailing sword opens a bloody gash along his flank. The minotaur’s vision returns to the gatehouse and as the bleeding legionaire stumbles. his left wrist rings from the redirecting the weight of the blow with his axe. The Minotaur selects another life, another memory–a Minotaur raining a whirlwind of blows in desperation and his death throws…. the Minotaur’s conscious mind looses track of the world in the thundering blood song of memory and reality and the thin line between.
When his vision clears the he is covered in blood. The legionnaire is dead a pulverizing blow appears to have severed his spine. The acrid smell of burnt hair reaches him and rage blossoms at the seared and tender flesh. He sees the forgotten confessor followed her comrade in death in his raging attack, her bowels opened–but not without a fight.
Another arrow sends the Minotaur staggering. In the depths of the blood song he distantly realizes he is bleeding from a handful of arrows. He bellows his rage into the morning again and charge through the gatehouse to gain the rampart, dimly aware of his Verlorn comrades spilling through the gate. The Minotraur leans forward to charge the nearest archer, but is sent sprawling to the ground as a Champion leaps to the top the rampart. Another memory surfaces in the blood song, and the Minotaur rolls to his feet chaining the bloody slash into a colossal double strike stunning the Champion to the ground. His axes cry out to end his foe oblivious of the world. The Minotaur brings down a final pulverizing blow, crushing helm and skull, as lightning crackles and lances through his body sending him to the stones. Acrid smoke instantly fills his nostrils with the smell of burning flesh and hair as skin fuses to the leather and iron of his armor.
Memories tumble across his vision. The Minotaur’s life blood spills out on the stone with each beat of his heart. Some of his wounds were not cauterized by the lightning. The bloodsong begins to grow distant to his ears, his heart beats slowing.
I do not want to forget. Not Yet. Not Now.
A templar leaps to the rampart with clear intent. The mind frantic searching A hand seizes on the haft of the Champions greataxe. Time freezes. The greataxe he grips is not the crude axe of a Champion but the adamantite masterwork runic great axe of his own hand. The runes blaze with their true names to his eyes. Charging down upon the front ranks of the human host were the Elven blade weavers and their minotaur Thralls. Certain knowledge returning, Kierhaven… the War of Tears… final victory… my true death. Names and faces spin before his eyes as the battle spills forth from memory…
Rage fills him. No longer the righteous rage of Maeve’s Will, but the feral defiant fury of the mortal snarling defiance into the long night…
I… will… not… forget…
The Templar steps back as the Minotaur unleashes a guttural roar and gains his feet the great axe in hand. Leaping forward the templars overhand strike is met by the haft of the great axe and deflected. The Templar recovers into a righteous guard, the Minotaur leans forwards and charges through the haft of the great axe pinning her sward against her chest as is slammed against a parapet. In desperation the Templar recites the Divine Binding, holy fire radiating from her as the two handed strike unleashes a Carnival of Gore, splitting leather and chain and opening her bowels.
The rampart erupts in twined flames and lightning charring friend and foe alike.
In a distant field known only to memory a warrior falls an inscribed greataxe in his hands roaring defiance as the last stronghold of his blood enemy falls.