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|The Herald of Doom|
Lore[edit | edit source]
Andrei Ostry was a farmer, a simple man of the earth. Amongst the hard-scrabble farmers of the southern edge of the Aeran Highlands, Andrei was nothing special. Like most, he spent his winters battling the bitter cold, his spring and summer planting and his autumns harvesting in preparation for the coming cold. No one could know that deep in the fiber of this simple farmer lay the soul of hero, let alone the will of an emperor.
But that all changed when, one winter, the Inveterate Khan, the undead liche Rodar and king of the twisted monstrosities he called his ""beastmen"" decided to ""rest"" his abominations at the Ostry farm. The beastmen laid waste to the farm killing Andrei's family - his father right in front of him. Andrei survived and vowed that, from that day forward, he would devote his life to stopping Rodar and ending the unloving creature's existence. They came to call him the Berserker for the rage he would show Rodar's soldiers when he fought them.
For years he stalked Khan Rodar, always foiling his attempts to invade the northern territory, not that Andrei noticed or cared for the adulation of the people his action brought him. He lived for vengeance and each escape of the liche lord was a failure in his record as far as he was concerned. Over two hundred times Andrei had had the ever-living Khan within sword strike, but each time the monster had managed to escape. Even in the times when the blade struck true, it seemed as if Rodar was unaffected. In time, Andrei began to consider the problem and he came to a startling conclusion: The king of the beastmen survived by hiding his soul! If Andrei was right, he need only find that vessel and destroy it, allowing the corrupted soul to finally pass on beyond life, to meet its fate with the Titans, ending Khan Rodar once and for all.
Rodar had spies everywhere; beastmen he had altered to be unassuming or outright impossible to see. They brought word to him of the Berserker's new crusade to find the Khan's soul and Rodar felt fear once more. He knew that Andrei was right; the undying king had secreted his soul away, safe - he had thought - from the predations of those that would seek to end his reign. If Andrei could know this, what other secrets of the undead lord did he know? Did he know where the soul was hidden?
Rodar devised a trap for his would-be killer: Deep in his flesh pits, the lord twisted and shaped the flesh of his followers forming them not into beastmen, as was his normal course, but instead fusing them together into something that at first seemed more bird than man, then later, as the last traces of humanity were transmuted by the dark corrupting magic of the liche, less bird than dragon. As his work completed, blood red light filled the dark pit so that his creation stood for a moment in black silhouette. Two heads, each with crooked beaks meant for rending flesh, joined at the shoulder to the body of a dragon, its wings more birdlike than reptilian, it stood upon two legs, each ending in the three-taloned claw of a raptor, a predator of the sky. The light faded as, for a moment, the silhouette seemed to shrink and contract upon itself, but as sight returned and the light of the flickering torched held sway once more, all that was left at the bottom of the pit was a single red egg. It seemed to pulse and glow in the dim light as if it had a heartbeat of its own. The Inveterate Khan lifted the egg to his hand with a gesture of magic. Soon, he would know if the Berserker had kenned his true weakness, or the berserker would lie dead at the claws of the beast that lay waiting inside the egg in his hand. With a gesture, he handed the egg to a winged beastman and bid him fly.
The rumor of a secret sanctum was spread the same day. Supposedly high in the mountains of the torn fold, it was said to be the true home of the Inveterate Khan, his place of final refuge. Andrei suspected he would find not the Liche's body there, but rather the refuge for the wretched creature's soul.
The way up the mountains was hard and at those heights winter never lost its hold upon the land, meaning each step was a fight against not just the terrain, but the biting cold as well. He had brought nine men with him on the journey, each with a past as storied and legendary as his own. They were the best of the highlands and yet, with each leg of the ascent more and more of them gave up or worse, met their end in accident, leaving only Andrei and his resolute determination for vengeance to see the sight of the so called Sanctum of Rodar. A fissure wound its way through the mountain and here as the Berserker's path crossed the fissure for a third time, a set of stairs had been carved into the rocky sides of the chasm, offering a route down into the darkness below.
Andrei took the stairs carefully, easily spotting the simple deadfall traps spaced in a regular pattern throughout the descent, to land finally on the broad rocky floor of the rift. He was near its end, he saw, and where the two walls would join to form the edge of the chasm, a wall had been carved, with a large stone door three or four times the adventurer's own colossal height. The single stone door seemed massive, far too heavy for anyone to open and so Andrei reasoned there must be some hidden mechanism or magic to move the door.
Though they called him the berserker, he had grown shrewd in his years pursuing the liche. He had long ago abandoned pure rage for the course of cold vengeance and so he had learned not just the patterns of his prey, but some of its magic as well. Casting out, he sang a single note of the Titan's tongue, imaging in his mind a cyclone of force sweeping away darkness and forced concealment to reveal to him what was actually there. For a brief moment he saw the door as it was with the fog that had been placed there removed: The door itself was nothing but an illusion. So powerful it fooled the hand into thinking it touched stone and the body that it could not pass, but an illusion all the same. He stepped through and - save a slight tingle as the illusion crumbled against the confidence of his will - he felt nothing as he passed. Trap after trap proved easy for Andrei to disarm or avoid. His pursuit had truly turned Andrei into a hunter of unparalleled skill. As the one-time farmer finally breached the inner chamber of the sanctum, rich golden light poured forth from the opening doorway.
At the center of the golden room stood the egg upon a golden pedestal. It pulsed and beat with, Andrei presumed, the beat of the undead Khan's life-force. Confidently he strode forth and in one fluid motion, drew the axe from his belt - his father's axe - to cleanly strike the egg in twain. A roar and a hiss punctuated absolutely darkness as the light in the room died. The sound of cracking followed and then a rush of air as something knocked the farm boy to the ground. This was not the soul of the wily Khan Rodar, but a monster!
Rolling in the darkness to avoid the snapping hissing strikes of the beast, he barely managed to retain hold of his axe, but as he regained his feet, the trusty blade seemed to shine in the darkness, ready to bite flesh and cleave skulls for its master.
They say the mountain shook for three days and all expected it would erupt with Hephaestus' fire at any moment, but when fire did finally adorn its peak it was not the fire of Deep Forge, but the twin fires of the monster, with Andrei - the Berserker - atop its back, his axe in hand. As the beast took to the skies, it turned southeast, seemingly totally under the farm-boy's control! Andrei had not only beaten Rodar's monster, he had tamed it for his own!
Atop the wild dragon, Andrei winced as he held his hand tightly to his side. Dark red blood seeped from the wound at his side. He doubted he had much time left. The fight to tame the monster beneath him had nearly killed him and he feared time would finish the job. Desperate to finish his quest, he headed straight for the liche, for the center of the monster's power: the palace of Rodar himself.
Andrei had a desperate gamble in mind: He believed the monster would be expected to return to its master and would pass unchallenged and so far, he was right. As he urged the beast to circle around the city of Rodar, none rose to attack and no alarms filled the night air. Beneath him, atop the castle's tallest tower, stood Rodar. The monster had not yet seen Andrei atop his beast. Instead, he motioned impatiently for the beast to land. He wanted to see into the things mind, to verify the death of Andre and be done with it. Now was Andrei's chance. He urged the twin headed dragon not to land, but to instead swoop down upon the liche. Surprised by the sudden dive, the liche stood frozen as Andrei again kicked the dragon, causing both heads to belch flame engulfing the dry dead flesh of the liche in perdition's flames. Andrei knew the flame would not kill the monster, but he hoped it would keep him distracted long enough that Andrei could.
Andrei leapt from the dragon's back, rolling as he hit the stone floor of the tower-top. He sprang up mere inches from the liche, his axe in hand.
""You almost had me, Rodar."" He said as he brought the axe back to strike, ""You used my pride against me."" The axe bit deep into the liche's shoulder, as it parted under the pressure of the blade the arm snapped and crackled before falling into dust, consumed in the flames even now engulfing the liche.
""Now I return the favor."" He raised the axe again and brought it down into the liche's skull. So powerful was the strike that the axe continued into the monster's torso only stopping as it struck the gold and glass vessel hidden where the monster's heart would be. Rodar's attempts to defend itself ended suddenly and red light poured from the wound as the sound of breaking glass carried clearly across the tower-top. The monster's soul, now free of its vessel, dissipated quickly in the night air as the still burning body slid sickly off Andrei's axe to fall into a burning heap that slowly smoldered into ash. It was finally over.
When Andrei saw the trap for what it was, he had seen in its design the truth behind what Rodar himself was - The liche was nothing but a cowardly and arrogant man that would flee from death itself - and he knew then where Rodar had hidden his soul. Rodar had hidden it with the only person powerful enough to keep it safe, in his mind: Himself.
Pride, Andrei realized, moves men to evil, but it moves them to weakness in equal measure. As he surveyed the land of Rodar, he realized he would have to keep this constantly in mind; if he could survive the wounds of the night, he now had an empire to claim and rebuild, not with evil and pride, but with tenacity and strength.
Tips[edit | edit source]
Turn and Burn - Flames of Perdition and Dive of Devastation work fantastically together to give you a great alpha strike against a single target, but don't forget to get out of that fight quickly before your mana runs out!
Watch your health - The Imperial Dragon is a good scrapper, but it's not immortal. Against a tank or something that can do a lot of damage this can be a problem that turns the tide of war against you, so pay attention and know when to bug out.
Pairs best with - Something offensive. The mana usage of the Imperial Dragon isn't too bad, so you can splurge for a weapon with high burst-damage potential and high mana cost.
Avoid the big hit - Dive of Devastation can be extremely useful to avoid the high damage one shot of a number of skills, it is also a great way to bust through mines to reduce the damage you would otherwise take.
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