A day in the life of a unfriendly Overlord:
The City of Night,
The City of Night had earned its name. The sprawling mountain city carved of obsidian and granite from many tens of thousands of slaves whose bones now paved the streets was occupied practically to overflowing by many races. And yet no structure was built within half a mile of the Citadel-Palace itself. And yet on every streets Khaelesh's Elite Guard patrolled with eagle eyes. As the party advanced on the City so to were they advanced on by the same part of Elite Guard that had delivered the challenge to begin with. The mouthpiece of Khaelesh turned his gaze to Morvin. "You have come to the City of Night with the Book of Khaelesh." It said. It was not a question. No servant of Khaelesh would dare approach the city without the price demanded of them. "Speak."
Morvin approached the voice of Khaelesh, he felt much more... attuned to the world around him, as if jsut being here granted him some measure of power... underlying the dread he felt as to the source of this dark power and who controlled it all. The effect of the maze where he no longer felt his magic had faded now and as he looked at the mouthpiece of Khaelesh he somehow, 'sensed' that whatever he said or did, the Dread Lord would hear and see it as well, right here, right now. He bowed and still, with his head bowed, he gestured to Lolth, the massive Drider Mattriarch approaching bearing the book they had retrieved from Khaelesh's temple in her hands, treating it almost reverently as Morvin took it, ignoring the urge to sigh at the weight of the book in his hands and a shiver of fear as the power trapped inside. "I have come to return the possession our Dread Lord Khaelesh has tasked me with retrieving." He could not hide a certain tone of... pride... in his voice as he said that. "I request, a humble servant to it's master. To return the book to our dread lord." And be rewarded as promised, he added silently.
The figure simply nodded and turned his horse. "Follow and do not stray. The denizens of the city can be unforgiving." He said riding towards the Palace. The point was reinforced by the sight of a Cyclops, or perhaps Minotaur, in the dark alley nearby grunting with sounds of pleasure and something much smaller making much different sounds obscured by the shadow that Morvin could only just see through. And perhaps wished he did not.
The Citadel-Palace itself rose in high columns of black basalt and obsidian, artifiical and magically crafted it radiated fear and Morvin could see not mere victims of Khaelesh caged on the wailing wall. But instead Seraphim, Archangels and even an Smattering of Higher Daemons lay caged and tormented on the wall. What power could be required to so cage such beings beyond the confines of an unholy dungeon?
A hint was seen in the size of the gates into the Palace within which you were lead unerringly into a vast roofed structure. The shadows so deep that things seemed to move within them. Indeed, on closer inspection you'd realise things did in fact move within them before something vaster than anything Morvin had ever seen moved. It's black flesh coated in blackened scales that seemed to reflect and strip the light from the air itself as it moved. A pair of bright eyes flashed open in the dark filled with a cold intelligence that could almost be felt.
"Come before me." A voice rumbled as if from a thousand throats and yet one. The deep intonation seemed almost to come from beyond the grave and laden with such power as to send Morvins magical senses afire so strongly he practically itched with awareness of magic. "Identify yourself before me. You all look alike to me." It seemed in the presence of the Great Master Khaelesh beneath whose shadow all beings cower in fear and devotion the Voice of Khaelesh was permitted no voice where the master could make his own heard.
Clumsily sliding off the back of his horse with the massive tome in his hands Morvin could hardly keep his eyes away from his lord and master, ore more importantly the claws and fangs he had glimpsed, trembling in fear, not even bothering to hide it, which would be futile he realised he approached the Dread Lord. Bending a knee and bowing his head, the book of Khaelesh he had recovered from the temple lifted up before him, gritting his teeth as the muscles in his arms send spasms of pain through his upper body. "Dread Lord, I am Morvin, the Iron Handed, your humble servant." He said when he was ordered to identify himself, with only a slight tremor in his voice to his satisfaction. "I have fulfilled the task and have returned with your prize." He added, his head still bowed... and for some unfathomable reason imagining how quick he'd die if his Dread Lord decided to just kill him if he had a mind to it.
A deep deathly chuckle echoed around the cavernous hall, and Morvin found himself uncertain that it was the rooms acoustics responsible. "You are wise to imagine it." Wings and a great long neck surmounted by a horned head were clearly visible as Khaelesh pulled himself more into the light. And yet the shadows clinged to his form no matter how he moved. While he had moved closer and was more definable it was impossible to shake the sense that he was actually no better lit than he was before. "You did well Morvin passing the trial given you and returning this shard." From the darkness emerged a clawed limb the talons surmounting it as long as Morvin was... if Morvin had been twice as tall as he was anyway. But within its grasp. A book near ten foot high and six wide, and another five deep. It took a moment to adjust your thinking. It wasn't that the book was monstrously large, though it was, it was that it was made in perspective with the being expected to use it. "You did well returning it to me." With a thundering telepathic strike Khaelesh ordered Morvin's company to leave the force of will making them do so. With a single talon Khaelesh touched Morvin on the forehead. "You may open the book to a single page earn the gift bound upon it."
Morvin looked up now, along the talon touching his forehead, trembling all over as he avoided the gaze of Khaelesh looking at him, feeling rather... vulnerable in the presence of this awesome power of darkness, slowly, cautiously Morvin pointed at a section of the enormous book.
As the page opens to reveal its secrets to Morvin dropping the being to his knees with the magics power Khaelesh practically purred causing most beings present to void their bowels. "A gift of magic. A princely gift." Khaelesh might have smiled. Or perhaps snarled. One can't read the expression of such a being so easily. "As a boon for such a favoured one I also gift you a unit of ten of my Elite Dragon Ogre Guard to your service. You may return to your lair now. I may have need of you in the times to come."
The knowledge of magic still burning in his mind Morvin bowed, grasping his head as the whispers of the spell and it's knowledge familiarised itself inside his mind, "My life... is yours... Dread Lord." He managed to utter and then crawled away, before he was able to stand on his own feet and shakily made his way to the exit, where his troops... and the ten Dragon Ogres now belonging to him... or at least belonged to him for the moment, waited for him to give the word to make the journey home. Sneering and slapping the hand away from the Myrddraal who believed he needed assistance get back in the saddle, the ordeal of meeting his master and the effect it had on him would not weaken him, no he felt much... stronger and he would gladly butcher countless innocents to keep this feeling of strength.
A band of schmucks,
Kratocracy of Deimos.
The small party were gathered together in a booth furthest from the inn's entrance and obscured in the dark as the first thing one of them had done was to snuff out the candle that was giving their corner some illumination. There were six of them, a mixed company of which five were silent, broodingly so as they only showed movement as they brought a mug to their lips for a swallow, one hand never straying far to the pommel of a sword or dagger at their side. The sixth member seemed out of place, almost jittery she was as she shuddered and winced, snapping her head back and forth between moments of calm, in those calm moments she was pretty much the same as the others, if not even more so. Eyes gleaming from under a hood and above a facial mask that showed a intelligence and cruelty beyond imagining but then she would gasp and shudder at something only she could hear. The other five at the booth did not notice, or perhaps more likely, they just did not care. Their heads turned as one as a new figure entered the tavern and walked straigth to them, ignoring anything else in his path, stopping before the booth he leaned forward, raising a eyebrow as a shudder went through one of the party but shaking his head as he levelled his gaze to the figure with a nightingale emblem on her hood and leather armor. "I have booked passage on a merchant caravel headed to Lleywon, all we need to do in return for our passage is protect the ship in case pirates or some such show up... which I have been told is rare." He said this all in a soft whisper, Reoran, devoted to lord Morvin and currently on assignment for his lord and master reported to Ulrika, a Myrddraal warrior and captain in the service of the overlord they both served.
Looking at the sixth figure Reoran raised his eyebrows once more but shook his head, she was simply called Mask, trained as a spy and assassin by Reoran at his master's orders to see if humans could make capable agents, in the few years that she has truly acted to the role she has been trained for she has impressed Morvin but Reoran had seen... glimpses... that something might be wrong with his pupil but he ignored that, if she performed liek she was trained to do then he deemed his training a success and may she serve theor common master well. "It will take some time before the merchant leaves... so in the mean time... anyone got a pack of cards?"