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iMattyz

From the ashes, nothing this time comes

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“Go, now’s our chance! Charge!”

 

The Elf exclaimed with his usual vim and vigour, bursting from the palace doors of Reza at the forefront of Alliance forces which he had assumed command of. Perhaps not expecting such a swift assault, Pertinaxi men withdrew at first over the small bridge leading up to the royal residence. With his slightly curved Elven longblade, the burgundy armoured figure used all of the swordsmanship skills gained throughout his life, fighting for that very life. One valah engaged him in the melee, but quickly withdrew due to the pressure. Darting eyes, a rapidly beating heart, who was next to best? The pale Elf met his eyes quickly. Khaine recognised him, Auriel - a cowardly magus in hael’unorian service. Confidently engaging the sycophantic sorcerer in combat, superiority was quickly gained. He had tested Auriel’s strength in a prior engagement, and it had been lacking. The same was proven swiftly during the fierce duel for survival in Reza, as Khaine’s sword quickly weaved its way between his opponent’s defences, inflicting a severe blow, though not a mortal one. Victory?

 

“Regroup, in front of the palace!”

 

There was no time. Like a looming storm cloud they were upon him, one from the front, one from the side. The Renatians, having been pushed back initially, had rallied. It was a moment that inflicted the greatest dread in his heart. Nevertheless, the Phoenix did not give up the fight so easily, and so he fought on and on. Suddenly, from nowhere, a spear point thrust toward his face. The Elf’s reflexes weren’t so worn out yet, and Khaine managed to avoid the brunt of the blow, it instead grinding against the side of his platemail. He swung the blade in his right hand, slashing the leg of a Renatian to his right in response, but it was to no avail. At the very moment as the last comrade fell, Khaine’s right arm was ravaged by a strike delivered with the blunt edge of an axe, fracturing it. With what movement he could muster with the damaged arm, Khaine ‘threw’ his bloodied sword to the floor and allowed his own capture. He had been defeated. It was his fault, and his rashness which caused the calamity, the rashness which, for most of his life, had served as a boon. Now, it was his undoing. His final undoing, as it turned out.

 

Conscious thoughts and unconscious action, now was the time for such things. They say ones life flashes before their eyes before death takes them, and it proved true. Unconsciously, Khaine spoke and spoke to his captors, reasoning with them and even praising their prowess in combat. Yet his mind was somewhere else, reliving the two and a half centuries he had hung on so far, many of years of which comprised glories beyond imagining, and many more still were nothing but failures. His children, his loved children. Khaine could barely remember their faces or their names, pushed forward by adrenaline as he was. Now, despite his failures as a father to the oem’ii he had sired, it was the time for ‘what ifs’ and regret. Little Adessius, rowdy young chip off the old block that he was, would grow into adulthood barely remembering what his long-dead father looked like, never knowing the tender touch and loving hold of a parent whose deeds would be retold in stories, but never in person. The child’s mother - Quillian, absentee as she had been, sat on Khaine’s mind as he was gradually heaved to the throne room. Any final contact was now impossible, but the ‘ame almost willed himself to imagine, to imagine the embrace of his partner one final time. It was a luxury he did not have. Before the thought reached its zenith, the smiling face of his lover disappeared for one last time. The Phoenix snapped back into the grim reality his mind had sought to escape, being ignominiously forced to kneel before an unknown figure.

 

Words of a familiar figure, Auriel - the Elf whom Khaine had defeated not an hour before now rang out in the Reza throne room. The reprehensible fellow Mali began to read from a list of charges, as though prosecuting Khaine for some crime. Incredulous, and not going to accept the words of such a dishonourable whelp, the armoured elf interrupted, spitting venomous insults towards his would be adversary. Surprisingly, some of the valah in the room agreed with Khaine’s resentful taunting, much to his satisfaction.

 

It would be one of the last luxuries the defeated child of Malin would endure. After a respectful exchange between the Renatian commander - John Alexander, and Khaine himself, a spear was pitilessly thrust into the Elf’s neck. The final thoughts of a warlike creature who had spent his whole life on the battlefield - Fire.

 

“Burn me.” the words took the effort of a scream, but emerged as a pained, weak whimper. His last wish expressed, death took Khaine Csarathaire, a brief but empty, despair filled void filling those connected to the aspects as he went. There would be nothing, and then anger and pain, mixed with a deep, acute sorrow.

 

Ravening flames licked hungrily at the Elf’s slain, yet seemingly tranquil form, eager to return him to the Gods which he so revered. It was how the Phoenix had always wanted to go - in battle and by fire. The conquering valah had respected his final wish. As Khaine’s mortal form left the world for whatever came after, a large, blazing phoenix circled far above the Renatian pyre once, sounding a loud, grief-filled cry before flying away, filling the Imperial evening air with light.

 

He had rarely been happy in this cold, dark world. Perhaps the next journey would bring him peace - meeting his fallen friends and loved ones, but that story is beyond us. Let him now rest in peace.

 

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A particular mali’ame would sit on a bench upon Fenn, brushing over her tattoos. Upon hearing of the death, she murmured a prayer to the Aspects. She would then return to her house, pulling the curtains close to block out any light that would remind her of lost Igne.

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“He had stood and fought with honor, more than can be said for his Orenian allies. A shame that this conflict had made us enemies.” thought Ser Carlovac, having presided over his death.

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Ser Uthred Gromach, the Renatian that had managed to disarm Khaine, solemnly watched the Elf’s funeral pyre burn. “He stood and fought... A shame that he stood on the opposite side. His death will be the first of many that repay Ser Frederick’s.”

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A druid cluttered in flowers suddenly dropped the glass bottle he held within his hand, the glass shattering and spilling shampoo all over the floor. His features became pale as he shivered for a split second. The silence in nature caused by the death of a fellow brother eventually subsided into the rising of verdant singing, leaving the druid staring at the floor in deep thought before realizing he’d have to clean up the mess he made.

”Blessed be.” 

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John remained beside the pyre as the flames slowly died down, ceasing to lick at the fallen elf’s plate-clad corpse. The execution had troubled him, caused more by the ominous signs that accompanied Khaine’s passing than brief heartache he felt at the killing of a man. He would carry a sliver of fear with him for a long time. The death of an honourable opponent made him all the more melancholic as he trudged away from the scene, even if the Prince could not bring himself to regret his decision.

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Quill the Legionnaire stood by her lord, gagging within her helm as the smell of burning flesh infiltrated her armour. Nonetheless, she paid her respects to the elf, bowing her head as they burnt his body upon the pyre.

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In her burrow, another druid had tended to the little busywork around her little home. She hummed sweetly as she worked and paused briefly to feed the hedgehog that snuffled around on her table. A moment of peace which was shortly broken.

 

She still was not accustomed to the sadness that swept over her, but the other feelings that came with it drove a spike through her heart in morning for another Brother she had never known. With tears welling in her eyes and and a gasp of breath she leaned heavily on her crook. She spoke softly, heard only by herself, the resident hedgehog, and a little mouse hidden in its hole.

 

“A third...three of them in hardly three years.” She stopped for breath and choked back a sob. “B-blessed be.”

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Frederick nods his head from the Seven Skies, wishing he’d ever get to meet Khaine.

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“I am glad I made peace with you before your demise.” Koralon noted as she received news about the elf’s death. “May you find solace with your spirits, honourable warrior.”

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“H-He was taken too young from us!” Henry Sarkozic would exclaim, wiping the snot and tears away with his sleeve. “Sleep tight, sweet prince.”

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Aelthir laments the passing of the famed Elven warrior that he had grown proud to fight alongside.

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"God was swift in his judgement. He died like a damned fool. I regret it was not I to fell the dog; a pyre is too good for the likes of elves." Lamented Hannibal.

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Henry presides over the internment of Khaine’s ashes, saluting the symbolic body with nary a tear in his eye but certainly a flame in his heart.

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