Tuesday, 14 February 2012

The Tale of the Knights of Ebon Scar - PART ONE

War in the Sky 

Come one and come all to listen to a legend, spoken of only in fear by the peasants of the Devil’s Pathway; of mighty warriors, dark portents and mighty battle. Come hear tell of the Men of Stone; the indomitable warriors; the powerful Knights of Ebon Scar. 

Deep in the heart of the Black Mountains lies a secluded valley cut off from the flow of time where huge reptilian creatures wander still, where once, in eons past, they might have wandered far. It is a place ne’er visited by man, for the fell lizards do not welcome visitors except with clashing jaws or crushing charges. It is a valley, known to the few who now remember it, as the Vale of Embers; so called because of the vats of volcanic embers that disgorge, at all times, drifting flakes of smouldering earth rock.

Despite the inevitable rumours of hidden riches, through the centuries, no one travelled to the Vale of Embers and no one made it their home.

That is, until the Night of Blazing Portent.

On this night, in coldest November, omens such as had never been recorded by human hands were seen in the night sky. Above the Border Princes, the stars were diminished by the flicker and flash of mystical light in the heavens. Like the fireworks of Nuln only infinitely brighter and far more foreboding, the outbreaks of light crashed and sundered the night along with peals like the deadliest of thunder.

Two thousand years before, a twin-tailed comet heralded the comic of Sigmar, greatest warrior of the known world, but now another comet came. Fearful peasants gazed up at it as it issued from the heart of the most spectacular and final flash of fell light in the sky. Surely this comet was portent of ill tidings. Surely it foretold of doom. 

Shutters were snapped; doors bolted. Charms were caressed and prayers made to Sigmar, Morr and other darker gods. But still the comet came.

And this time it did not pass in the night, vanishing like a shooting star. It grew and it grew; brighter and hotter, bigger and closer, until the night sky above the Border Princes was blazing on fire with its approach.

And then it fell, soaring over the Black Mountains. For one awful moment there was blackness, as it plunged into the Vale of Embers, and then the night was lit once more by a mighty explosion.

The smoke from it filled the Border Princes from the Black Mountains to the sea and all through the land, the people, animals and darker things, burrowed deep into their homes in terror. As far away as the Southlands and stout Kislev, the impact was heard and felt but none knew of the reason for this dread omen, save perhaps the silent Slaan in their far off ziggurats of stone. They knew what this portended and they shuddered with fear for the long awaited final phase of their plan was therefore soon to come as well. In their darkened chambers they started to initiate their scheme.

For weeks the smoke filled the sky; and in the Vale of Embers, those mighty lizards who had not perished in the blast gazed with uncomprehending eyes into the place of devastation where the comet had struck. It was a huge scar on the land; an ebon scar; that ran fully two miles before the trail of the comet reached its end. There, a huge glowing fortress lay upon its side as though flung down from the heavens; a mighty edifice of steel, fashioned by lore unknown and skills undreamt of. 

From where the mighty bastion had come, no one knew or could guess but clearly, it issued from some far flung mystical realm; some harbour of fell warriors who came now to take this land for their own.

For five days, the Bastion of Ebon Scar remained still and silent as the ash of its arrival slowly settled over it, cloaking the metal beneath layers of white. No sound was heard from within and no light issued from its doors.Until finally, on the sixth day, under the dark moon Morrslieb’s baleful glare, the drawbridge fell and illumination and steam came from within.

Striding from the smokey innards came warriors, never before seen on that great continent: armoured knights of such girth and strength; such indomitable armour; that no man could oppose them. 

The Knights of Ebon Scar paused at the foot of their drawbridge, silently turning their heads from one way to the next, looking out upon this Vale of Embers that was now their home. No speech came from their lips, but as though an inner voice instructed them on this quest, they all stepped into motion synchronistically. 

They strode off into the mists to establish this lands as theirs, and following them came many others. 

The Knights of Ebon Scar had come to the Old World. 

The Men of Stone had arrived. 

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