Call of the Gods
25/9- 30/9 790 AoS
A needle of light shone through the dark clouds, illuminating a Gateway. Old, worn, and covered in vines it looked like it had stood for thousands of years. And yet, this is the first time any living mortal had seen it. Its sudden appearance was made only stranger by the growing sunshine that surrounded it. For 276 years the darkness had lingered at the edge of the city’s outlying fields but now it was lifted slightly, pulling back like a curtain to reveal this new Gateway. By the time news reached the palace and an envoy had been sent to investigate, a crowd had already gathered. The blue-grey mist that shrouded the entryway swirled and shimmered, obscuring any view of what was on the other side. None in the human city were alive who remembered what purpose the Gateway served. But the royal House knew what it was: the entry to the Battle Arena. Scrolls had been kept about what life was like before the darkness, and the purpose of the Battle Arena to fight for the glory of the Gods. There was no question; the Gods had called upon them. A contingent of the strongest, swiftest and wisest were dispatched to investigate what wonders - or horrors - lay on the other side of the Gateway. When they arrived other Houses had begun to gather, appearing through their own Gateways. Old friends greeted each other, ancient foes kept their distance. Both Ambrians and humans were uneasy about why they had been summoned. Would the Gods punish them? Would they be allowed to fight again and earn back their honour? Normally when the Gateways opened, Houses would spend the day fighting and return home. But this time the Gateways remained open, so they set up camp and waited. They had been cut off from the Battle Arena for so long, not even the immortal Ambrians knew what would happen next.
The Call of the Gods was answered. The Houses stepped through their individual Gateways and found themselves on Aeos Island. They were greeted with a sacrifice from the The Blood Priestess, spilling the traditional first blood to open the festival. Games, quests and tournaments followed, watched ever closely by The Warmaster . Mages and other magical beings visited the Church and were led in prayers and devotion by sibling The Prophets , one blind and one deaf. The Troubadour and their Troupe were the centre of stories and mischief in town, spreading tales, cheer, and magic. But not all was so peaceful, as Monsters soon began attacking the town. When the Gods opened the Gateways for the Houses to use, other older Gateways opened, too. The monsters could not be defeated with normal weapons but magic seemed to keep them at bay. It took many days for them to be dealt with, and a major quest was undertaken to find and either destroy or capture the monsters and close the dangerous Gateway. On the first day a mortal human by the name of Lord Edvard, along with his servant Gerret, decided to run a council of the Houses to determine the laws of the town. At first willing participants, the Houses soon wondered at Lord Edvard's intentions. It was soon clear that Lord Edvard sought power above all else, and contracted goblins to steal the Warmaster's powerful magical spear. Enraged, the Warmaster managed to find her spear and uncover Lord Edvard's plot. All those seen dealing with the mortal - whether intentional or not - were in the Warmaster's eye, and some were even imprisoned along with Lord Edvard. In keeping with town laws, and supported by the will of the Gods, the Blood Priestess announced that a trial by battle would take place. A line was drawn and the Houses had to choose a side - either in defence of Lord Edvard or to rally with the Warmaster. As the forces were given time to muster, a whisper on the winds told of the presence of a sword that could kill a god. The guardians of the island - the Warmaster, Blood Priestess and the Prophets - were worried. If it had been found, and depending on who possessed it, could spell danger for them. When the final battle took place on the last day, the Rangers and half the Pirateers stood with Lord Edvard. The Hyborians, Fal'Asrai, Senka, Khatunate, Emerald Legion, and the other half of the Pirateers stood behind the Warmaster. The Kurohasu, Eldar and Free Company appeared to stand out of the fight, not picking a side. When it looked like Lord Edvard's side had been routed, the Warmaster strode forward and accused Lord Edvard of having the god-killing sword. The Eldar leaped into action and drew Yulthaesa, the God-killing sword on the Warmaster, felling her in one foul swing. Chaos ensued as to who could be called the winner of the battle. Lord Edvard claimed victory and his freedom, but the Warmaster's allies called him a traitor and the mortal fled with his servant. In the end, the winner of the trial by battle was the Warmaster's forces. But the Gods did not appear to favour the Warmaster as they let her be killed. Perhaps they saw her growing tyranny, perhaps she had overstepped her bounds. Without Lord Edvard or the Warmaster, the Houses left Aeos Island. The Prophets later had word from the Gods that the Eldar had snuck into the church in the morning before the final battle and dedicated Yulthaesa to Rikvaka, the God of the Eldar lands. Once the Houses had returned to their lands, they eagerly awaited the disappearance of the darkness. The Blood Priestess had promised them if they spilled enough blood on Aeos to please the Gods, then the world would return to normal. But it did not come immediately. Days, weeks, months passed by. The Houses grew restless.
The Call is answered
* * *The Blood Priestess stared at the ground where The Warmaster had fallen. The grass was scorched black by her death’s blood, but tiny purple flowers were blooming. The scent of battle still lingered in the air and she could hear the song of blood calling to her. “Priestess.” The voice startled her. “Prophets,” Calline answered. “Our numbers dwindle even more,” Arael lamented. “Where is the Troubadour?” The Blood Priestess had not seen them since the battle. Leara answered, “They have gone wandering, again.” Leara smoothed her composure and her brother darted her a look. “The Gods have spoken to us.” “We know what must be done.” Calline nodded. “Yes. We must find a new Guardian.”