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  1. Blood, Snow and Shadow “When your City is in flames with the walls crumbling around you and the very air in your lungs is choked with ash and ember.. When your citizens are hung from the walls and the banners of the Black Sun hang from the ruins of your Keep.. it will be too late to renounce your False Gods. We offer you this one final chance at Salvation.” - The Barrowlord Astark to the imprisoned High Prince of Fenn, Vytrek. In all of Fenns long and storied history, this would be their darkest of days. A day forever to be remembered, where the Stalwart Light of the few stood against the coming dark in what was to be their final hour. The actions that played out this day would determine the fate of their city and their people as they stood on the very brink of annihilation. And yet.. The Nations of Almaris did nothing, standing on the sidelines and choosing to battle their Descendant brothers and sisters in petty disagreements between Nations and perceived insults. Killing and maiming each other over material possessions, land and titles. If only they knew that once Fenn had been reduced to ash and rubble and the banners of the Blackened Sun hung from their walls.. That this host of Xion, this Legion of the Damned would be on their doorstep next. And so the embattled defenders of Fenn stood alone. The Ivae’Fenn, the Vigilants, the ordinary citizens of Fenn and their Azdrazi allies.. Surrounded on all sides as the jaws of death closed in on them. With a Prophecy foretold, warning of the coming events, they did all they could to bolster their defences and forge new weapons. But would it be enough? ❄ The Battle of Fenn Begins ❄ And so that fateful day arrived, an eerie silence taking hold of the city as the defenders stood ready. The Archvigilant of War assessed the defences and the nervous defenders, he had faith in his people and in Wyrvun to carry them to victory. Several lines of defences had been set up between the main gates of the city and the Keep, the once peaceful city had been turned into a veritable fortress that stood ready to receive the Blackened Host. And so it began.. The silence would be broken as thousands of trumpets pierced the wintry air and the howling winds of the blizzard that still ravaged the city. They could not see their foe, the unhallowed fogs and blistering blizzards obscuring their sight to nothing. Yet, the Children of Fenn had prepared themselves, wearing magical helmets to detect the heat signatures of their foes in the mists. Bang. Bang. Bang.. the Gates of Fenn were battered relentlessly, the cries and moans of the undead crying out for the blood of the defenders in the names of their dark masters. Then, with a thundering crack would the gates be breached and the horde of the damned poured through into the streets of the city. “Open Fire!” The command was relayed to the defenders, several ballista and regiments of archers readied their weapons before unleashing a hailstorm of projectiles into the breach and the horde swarming through it. The projectiles glinted under the blackened sun overhead, their arrowheads of aurum and thanium seeming like a descending storm of stars that laid waste to the first wave. Arms and armour fell to the ground as phantasmal warriors were slain in the hundreds, being manifested and banished to whatever realm they had come from. Yet it was nowhere near enough. The first line of defences were quickly overwhelmed, an intense aura of dread taking hold of the city as the undead horde butchered and slaughtered their way through the Fennic defenders without mercy. Chanting the name of their Forsaken Lord and offering up Xionist chants to the Black Sun that lingered overhead. Those who had not succumbed to the butchery that took place in the first line of defence quickly retreated, falling back to the second line as Ballista's were reloaded and arrows were knocked in place. ❂ The Dark Lord Arrives ❂ From the midst of that carnage a towering figure clad in armour wrought of infernal design stepped forth, their stygian gaze coming to study the defiant defenders that stood in opposition to the Children of Xion. The Forsaken Lord of the Xionist forces had arrived, flanked on either side by an honour guard of towering stone Knights that pulverised any would-be assailant that dared neared this Dark God. A discordant choir of voices would make their presence known, booming forth from the armoured husk of that Forsaken Lord. “Children of Fenn, you have had your chance to repent and forsake your False Gods for years. And yet you still stand defiant, willful slaves to higher powers that care not for you or your kin! And so.. With a heavy heart does the duty of your execution fall upon us. We cannot allow you to be pawns to the Aengudemonica any longer..” “Open Fire!” came that command once more from the Fennic Commanders, another volley of ballista bolts, arrows and javelins descending upon the damned host and the Forsaken Lord. The efforts of the defenders would prove fruitless however, the Barrowlord extending forth a palm and bringing forth the mortal magicks at their command to summon an ectoplasmic barrier of immense proportions that stopped the hailstorm of projectiles in their path. A victorious cry would rise from the attackers as suddenly the atmosphere on the battlefield changed.. Both the Children of Fenn and the Children of Xion fell silent as the shadows seemingly intensified before retreating and being pulled into the centre of the city and the gaping crater that lingered there. The two armies stopped their fighting as they watched onward in terror as the Apparition awoke from its slumber under the earth. As a sickening laugh of a child's voice broke the silence, chaos was unleashed once more. The Apparition was the friend of none and the foe of all, laying waste to both the Children of Fenn and the Children of Xion in droves. It shifted in and out of reality, appearing in the midst of tightly pact formations of troops before tearing them limb from limb in brutal fashion. The forces of Light and Dark resumed their slaughter of one another and did their best to avoid the Apparition's wrath as the very streets of Fenn became slick with the blood of the fallen. There was one however that held the key to Fenns salvation and victory in this seemingly impossible fight, a Draconic Warrior and Champion of the Flame. Standing in the back line and offering aid to the beleaguered defenders, his very presence acted as a beacon that bolstered the faltering hearts of those who were overcome with fear and dread. With ease he laid waste to any hungering geist that managed to breach through their lines, cutting them apart and banishing them with blistering dragon's flame. Yet he was here for one in particular, his fiery countenance studying the carnage before him in search of the enemies Champion and Commander. There they were.. ❖ The Decisive Moment ❖ The Forsaken Lord was cutting a bloody swathe through the battlefield and leaving a great many dead in her wake alongside her Stone Guardians. Though her path of destruction would come to a sudden halt as the Apparition conjured forth a glimmering storm from the skies that unleashed devastation on the battlefield and tore into the Forsaken Lord’s Honour Guard and herself, cutting them apart. This was the opportunity the Fennic defenders needed, a single moment in the shifting events of the battle that would determine their victory or defeat. As the Barrowlord engaged in bloody close quarters combat, their armoured form would come to be destroyed and their true form would be exposed for all to see. The sickly radiant visage of the Wight Barrowlord ascending into the air above the battlefield as infernal weapons hovered around them intent on killing a great many more. Yet, unaware to this Lord the apparition hunted her.. Should the Apparition have claimed the power from this Forsaken Lord, it would be unstoppable. It would be unknown if the Draconic Champion knew this or not, but they were well aware of the opportunity that had presented itself and with their arm reared back a mighty spear of dragon flame was conjured forth and hurled with great speed. It punctured deep into the Barrowlords form, a shrill cry escaping their being as it was torn apart and exploded from within. This was the turning point of the battle and the Hierophant, the Forsaken Lords personal champion, sounded the call to retreat. Their voices booming across the battlefield for all to hear! “The Lord has fallen, retreat!” With this final act would the city of Fenn be saved, the Draconic Warrior watching as the Children of Xion were routed from the city only to watch as the Apparition descended on him in those final moments of the battle.. ↽ The Aftermath ⇀ And so the Defenders of Fenn would win the day, but at what cost? The streets of Fenn were covered with the slain bodies of hundreds and the gutters ran red with the blood of the fallen as the city burned. Many sons and daughters of Fenn had been slain, and the Apparition still yet lived in the Crypts below.. Would they continue to stand alone against this threat? Barely holding on to their lives as week after week, year after year they were assailed by the forces of the dark. Or would the Nations of Almaris finally turn their gaze to Fenn and rally to their aid? Only time would tell.
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