Battle Crown of Necros

The Tiara of Annalise

Story of the crown's inspiration
Chaos raged as they fought to push back the emporer's mages. Fire raced along one side of the battlefield, blocking retreat while coralling and choking their fighters.   Alric pushed more energy into his death spell and commanded his wraith forward, sweat beading on his brow from the effort. Screams rose above the roaring fire, above the clashing of swords in front of him, and above the spellcasters. But still, the fire did not subside.   Too many. There are just too many of them, he thought. Even if they could hold out until nightfall, the Rhovani would not be able to get past that fire.   Alric launched a necrotic spell over the battlefield, aiming for their row of mages, only for the spell to be blocked and to dissipate. He reached into his pocket, fingering his last lifestone. Would it even make a difference?   A feminine figure pushed past him and drew closer to the physical fighting. Every instinct in him wanted to pull her back, to push her behind him and shield her from the violence. He tamped down hard on those feelings. She would only kill him for the insult to her pride.   He wanted to look away, to not witness her death, but he could not. Time seemed to pause and the spirit energy around them shifted, then swirled. Faster and faster, unseen power swept past him and through him. His breath caught in his throat, and he wondered at who could command the spirits this way.   The woman rose into the air, her raven-black hair shimmering in the setting sunlight. The swirling energy intensified, and soon an unnatural wind whipped at them. Slowly, the emporer's men began to fall. He opened himself to the spirit energy around him, astounded at the amount available, and his mouth fell open in shock. He had never witnessed this level of necromancy.   As the tide of battle shifted, Alric slipped back to his tent and called for his aide.   "Find a woman's crown, and fast!"
 
Despite being dented, slightly bent, missing a few gems, and suffering from mediocre craftsmanship and imperfections, the Tiara of Annalise is a national treasure of Necros.   It was commissioned in 388 DE during the Great Uprising by the leader of one of the rebel forces, Alric, a necromancer whose participation in the uprising and Reginald Emerson's schemes included the creation of a necromancer nation upon defeating Emporer Imbrianus.
  He ordered the crown to be ready quickly, sacrificing quality to the desire of quick decisions and strong leadership.   Legend has it he was so impressed with a necromancer's power that he offered her the queenship of the soon-to-be nation Necros. His troops rallied behind her, many reporting a boost in moral and confidence just being in the presense of such a strong necromancer.  
Just seeing her there with us on the battlefield made us feel invincible, unstoppable. I would follow her anywhere, even into death.
— Excerpt of a soldier's letter
  She soon agreed, and this union between Alric and Annalise was said to have changed the efficacy of this particular rebel unit overnight. Records indicate she wore the tiara into every battle thereafter.  
Moonlight glinted off the dark gems of her tiara, and I almost felt bad for the poor bastards in front of us. Almost.
— Rebel soldier during the Great Uprising
 

Death of Annalise

Annalise died in battle near the end of the Great Uprising, never experiencing the independence of Necros she fought so hard for, and neither becoming a queen in truth. Nevertheless, she is celebrated as one of Necros's greatest heroes. In her dying moments, she managed to take out several high-level mages, striking a major blow to the empire and altering the course of history.
Commissioned
388 DE
Special Properties
None, mundane
Item type
Jewelry / Valuable
Current Location
Owning Organization
Raw materials & Components
Gold, onyx, emeralds

Wars of Wennovi

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Annalise's Death
Everything slowed and Alric’s attention snagged on a simple arrow: basic fletching, no special markings, just a plain arrow hanging in the air. He followed its trajectory straight to Annalise. Where was the witch tasked with shielding her?   He screamed out a warning, but she did not react. The spell formed in his mind before his hands could even orient in the right direction. He pushed everything he could into a simple burst of energy designed to knock it off course.   Too late. The arrow sank into its target.   Alric shoved his men out of the way, desperate to reach her. He sank to his knees beside her where she was already gasping for air, the wet crackling indicating the arrow having pierced her lung.   “Healer!!!” he screamed.   Pain etched her features as she reached up to touch his face.   “Hold on. Just hold on. I’ll get you help.” As he said it, she dug her fingers into his face and smiled. He felt a pull on his energy, and hope flared that she would heal herself. She crushed that hope when on the edge of his consciousness emerged connections to powerful mage energies.   “No, Annalise. No! Don’t do this.”   The foreign powers grew to dizzying heights, burning through him. Should he try to release some of it? Annalise let go, cutting him off from the painful deluge of raw energy.   She rose into the air one last time, the magic coursing through her shining in an eerie way, making her frighteningly beautiful, despite the arrow protruding from her chest. She pointed to the enemy force and death magic poured from her directed toward the witches and the mages she had not fully sapped. Their dying cries pierced the night.   She fell to the ground with a heavy thud, and Alric knew she had taken the enemy magic users with her into Na’arin’s realm.   The stolen mage energy buzzed through his veins, making him feel godlike as he blasted the remaining enemy soldiers and witches with necrotic spells faster than ever before while screaming his rage into the night.   Eventually, he fell to the ground, exhausted. The dwindling sounds of fighting, surrendering, and dying reached his ears while his guard helped him back to his feet.   Alric scanned the battlefield, and the glint of dark gems caught his eye. He pulled Annalise’s tiara from the mud, smearing the dirt and blood in his effort to wipe it clean. The day was won, but what had they lost?


Cover image: by S_L from Unsplash

Comments

Author's Notes

Thank you for reading! For more of my WorldEmber 2020 articles, click here.


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12 Dec, 2020 23:53

Interesting piece! I am surprised that necromancers seem to be very respected in your setting. That is rarely the case. And it's a nice touch that this treasure would be pretty worthless without the rich history it carries!   A little note would be: it makes little sense to use the tiara image twice.

Check out my world World Behind the Veil!
13 Dec, 2020 00:08

Thank you for your feedback. Hopefully, I've cleared it up a bit. Necromancers are only respected in Necros, but are feared and hated everywhere else. Again, thanks! :)

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13 Dec, 2020 01:50

Tight little article. I'd have thought that a necromancer of middling to upper levels would have some plan in case of death. Does the crown have any special properties?

13 Dec, 2020 02:00

Thank you. Those are good points. I'll have to think about her exit strategy, maybe even write another piece of prose. Thank you for your comment :)

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13 Dec, 2020 15:55

I love the origin story - your prose is very evocative, and I'd love to read more of the story. I really like when a mundane item takes on such symbolic power.

Emy x   Welcome to Etrea!
15 Dec, 2020 05:46

Thank you so much! :)

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13 Dec, 2020 16:58

This is a really nice article! I love the story that inspires the crown.

Author of Interarcanum.
15 Dec, 2020 05:47

Thank you! :)

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17 Dec, 2020 22:58

Should you ever write a novel of these times, I am interested in reading it. Life and death in death-like veil. The stories were in particular very enjoyable.

People venture to Ædeos-the world of ideas and concepts to gain knowledge, craft... magic. Not every mind can bear it. Not every mind cares...
18 Dec, 2020 06:26

That is high praise. Thank you so much :)

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18 Dec, 2020 19:09

I love the story behind the crown! The prose surrounding the article is great to read, and I like that the crown was made sloppily because its symbolic value is more important.

creator of the Kaleidoscope System, an alien star system shaped by a colorful radiation source   SummerCamp 2021 Pledge Document
21 Dec, 2020 03:21

Thank you :)

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