Chapter 3 The Paths to Power
Rumors of the strange, yet alluring, Heroic Souls have spread throughout Mordavia. Some claim them to be sent by Gebelises as the saviors of creation; telling grand tales of selfless acts and heroic prowess. In stark contract, others claim them to be sent be Herros as reapers of destruction; giving warnings of sinister acts such as sacrifices and dark rituals that the Heroic Souls openly participate in. Ignoring such rumors, or at least the incredible dangers involved in even meeting the Heroic Souls, many savvy and ambitious individuals and factions have decided to make for the frontier in an effort to vie for the favor of the Heroic Souls.
Currently, Mordavia is experiencing a Magical Renaissance much like the times described before the cataclysm. The Proclamation of Expansion seems to have been a major success for the Princes; acting as the perfect catalyst to excel the magical research and industrial expansion of Mordavia even further. It has also given the powerful factions the perfect excuse to amass large military forces near their neighbors borders. Now, many envoys have been sent to the frontier town to utilize the Heroic Souls in what seems like a race for power within the frontier
Episode 1 The Road of Fortune
Each of the Heroic Souls were given their new Noble contracts. The previous contracts involved the collection of vast amounts of resources. Now, the motives of the Princes seem more obvious, with the most recent contracts all requiring the nobles to scout a road from the frontier town through the most dangerous parts of Eredeti. Whichever Principality can establish a road into the frontier first will be able to move many of their military forces into the area. This will give them influence and control and the territory and its rare resources and ancient pre cataclysmic secrets, and most importantly more access to the Heroic Souls. These contracts were the most difficult yet, promising to be quite deadly. Thus, the contracts were sure to reiterated that failure would lead to the ruination of a noble, which is considered by almost all nobility to be certainly more embarrassing, and for many even worse, then death.
In an almost unprecedented political move, Prince Kel of Sargon arrived in the frontier town as a reward for the winners of the Tournament that took place at the Sargonian Festival from the previous episode. The Prince awarded the winners with a personal audience. Afterwards, the Prince spoke of great ambition, peace, unification, and a new age for Mordavia. If there is one thing predictable of the nobility of Mordavia, it is that they greatly dislike being left out of the new trends. So it is rumored that if Prince Kel has taken such personal interest in the frontier and the Heroic Souls that the other principalities and Princes of Mordavia are not likely to be far behind.
Before the last Cataclysm Master Sleuth willingly trapped himself inside of the Abyssal Vault of Gluttony so that the Heroic Souls could escape to fight Katalium. He also made the assumption that if the previous Abyssal Lord of Gluttony had survived a Cataclysm in the vault that it may work again. Indeed he was correct. A little, too correct. He did survive, but was forced to sustain himself on the endless Abyssal Wine of Domination and Golden Cheese. He was also forced to “roleplay” as the King of the ancient pig wildkin tribe and the wife to, the real ruler of the tribe, Queen Pigg.
The Heroic Souls arrive with the help of the Demon Amon, who is seeking to free Abyssal Princes in exchange for Wishes. They became easily distracted by the endless amounts of Abyssal Wine that forces the drinkers to become dominate to everyone, unknown to the real dangers Amon was able to keep it from consuming them all in a dominated frenzy. They fought many waves of the Pig Wildkin who were especially tribal, vicious, and immune to magic. After unlocking several of the secret gates they finally found Sleuth behind the final gate.
They conversed for a long time “negotiating” as Master Sleuth seemed unwilling to budge on allowing them to free him without making a deal. Until, the wailing cry and Queen Pigg could be heard getting closer and closer. They finally made ground on a deal and Sleuth decided he wanted 5 Signatures, the Heroic Souls were generous and overpaid with 7. So they made a Deal. Sleuths freedom, the Signatures of the Heroic Souls to owe Master Sleuth a favor, and Master Sleuth owing a Wish to Amon.
Queen Pigg finally arrived with guards wielding lethal slaps.. Sleuth told Queen Pigg his true and resentful feelings of her that he had been harboring for centuries. After making her Cry the Guards almost stopped Sleuth but they attacked just a moment after the rifting was completed and the Heroic Souls made it back to town. Sleuth stayed in town for some time, being especially open to the Heroic Souls to to his new found freedom as well as the residual effects of the Abyssal Wine. His intention was to make deals and gather signatures from Heroic Souls in exchange so that they will owe him a favor, most likely involved with participating on his team for the Demon tournament that woul take place in 2 months.
Lazarus, a blind elf of the Right Hand of Gebelises, hobbled into town with his two soldiers helping him. He claimed that he could change a demon into an elf. He asked if any wished to try but none came forward. He said that he wished to save thee Demon’s Souls turning them into elves again and the Heroic Souls argued over the ethics of changing who a person is. Lazarus used his great abilities to preach of Geb’s light, grace, and mercy, and the Abyss being a pit of despair and deceit. Lazerus then revealed that he needed the help of the Heroic Souls to assist him in a secret plan involving the demon tournament that would be taking place in the frontier town in just a few short months.
Brawl Oakenfist was leading a large group into the ancestral spirit realm. As they approached the edges of the realm, upon the shores of the void, they noticed a black figure arise from the darkness, drinking a red glowing liquid from a large goblet, the absorbed essence of ancestral spirits of the halforcs. Katalium, who was apparently a Gate Walker himself but working with “the Truth” to hunt down their enemies. Kalalium, upon realizing the Heroic Souls ahd gate walkers among them, he suddenly took immediate interest in them. Oakenfist attempted to interfere by casting powerful binding magic but Katalium took no care in what he had to say and seemingly obliterated Oakenfist and his binding wards with a single powerful attack. Katalium
then circled the Heroic souls slowly, as he told them why he was there and that he would absorb all of their souls. Two of the Heroic Souls were both halforcs and gate walkers. Calling upon the power of the ancestors the two halforcs suddenly had special ancestral swords that manifested for them. They both fearlessly charged Katalium. While surprised, Katalium fended them off with one hand while he continued to sip his goblet. After a valiant fight Katalium began to absorb the halforcs souls while their party remained inside of the waning energy of Oakenfists ward all as they looked on helplessly. Then with a strange and furious aura, Oakenfist emerged just in time to save the halforcs, Katalium asked who Oakenfist really was, and it was revealed he was a relative of Morgrim, who is Kataliums ancient rival and sworn enemy. Katalium became furious and took a final sip of his goblet before casting it aside and withdrawing his vile claws. An epic fight ensued with dispels and attacks that would instantly kill less mortals. Oakenfist gained the upper ground but Katalium told him that using enough energy to cast him from the Ancestral Realm would also mean Oakenfist would never be able to enter his own ancestral realm upon death. Oakenfist accepted this and used most of his remaining power to send Katalium flying to the ground, Oakenfist then grabbed Katalium hurled Katalium through the air and banished him forevermore from the ancestral realm of the halforcs. Then after saying his goodbyes, Oakfist faded into stardust.
A Vampire Ball was hosted by the Heroic souls with an invitation to all vampires as well as their friends, allies, and servants. Upon arriving at the frontier town tavern, McCormick was attempting to be fashionably late. It worked except that Lord Itzal was made it there just moments after he did. The party started slow as people began to eat. McCormick spoke to Pryia who mentioned that she was sent there in Lady Fangs place, when McCormick told her that she was being offered as a potential bride made her quite upset as she walked off to brood in a dark corner. McCormick saw Lord Raphael as well as Alistar Poe, who was said to have sent McCormick the letter that “warned” him of the cursed position of Mayor. McCormick mentioned that a gathering of pre-cataclysmic vampires is never a good sign. He also gave some foreshadowing hints about having never wanted to come back to the frontier town, but he was compelled by a dream to attend. But while he was here he might as well boast that his Priya would surely win in the battle of the Brides.
The Ball gained a lot of momentum as the night went on, and all was normal until the music began to play and McCormick started to see a beautiful vampire dressed in a flowing red dress. He began to ask others of this, but no one seemed to have seen this phantom woman. After consuming his fill on blood McCormick then started to have vivid visions and began to interact with this invisible vampire in font of people around the party, this kept going until it was announced that the Bride choosing ceremony would begin. That is when the ancient traditional rules of the vampire festivity was revealed, Vampire Lords who were unawakened in their bloodline could select one of the chosen Brides, all of the brides who were not selected were to be ritually sacrificed. Pryia presented herself fiercely exclaiming there the competition if a sham and if anything, she should have already been selected. Daina was meek and polite, and Arwin had a long and intimate conversation with Lord Zex. He, predictably, selected his Elven PeT Arwin as his bride. Itzal allowed it but only if she would be turned into a Vampire, with the specifics to be decided later.
The elder vampires then turned to discussion before decided they must continue with tradition and sacrifice the non-selected brides. Itzal dominated an intrusive Vampire Hunter and had him come to handle the sacrifice. Right as he was about to deliver the first killing blow, Moonlight Sonata began to play, and McCormick yelled out for them to stop and that Anya, Queen of the Vampires, was present and had some things to say. McCormick explained that the Queen saw this tradition as misogynistic and that effective immediate the new tradition will have the woman select their mates and the males will be sacrificed. This was received with loud applause and cheers form the woman of the crowd. He then told them all to kneel, everyone looked on in confusion and once McCormick explained again that this was the Queen of vampires, Itzal decided to not take chances of this just being McCormicks madness and took a knee, followed by the rest of the crowd. The intrusive Vampire Hunter was dominated by McCormick and commanded him to kill himself.
As the Vampire Hunters blood was still warm as it flowed upon the floor of the tavern, McCormick commanded Itzal play appropriate Ballroom music and told everyone that they must dance. Spectators outside or those who didn’t want to dance were dominated and forced to dance or else they were killed. The rest of the town attempted to rescue the innocent bi-standers, with shenanigans such as dancing the dominated victims right out the door.
Eventually the Queen began to demand souls from McCormick and that some 30 Souls would suffice and that they should start with the elves. Many became frightened by this command, until Alistar Poe approached McCormick and told him that it was a good time to leave, McCormick attempted to dominate him, but Alpo seemed immune to the sirens song. McCormick agreed, but before leaving his final order from the Siren was to initiate Heroic Souls into her ranks by allowing them to listen to magical music box that had an eerie red glow emanating from the cracks. Then the other Vampire Lords left into the darkness before the morning sun. McCormick said they would arrive again early next year for another Vampire gathering.