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Shadows of Nektulos

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Shadows of Nektulos

Post by Ronson on Sun Aug 08, 2010 8:19 pm

From the saddle of her unholy steed, Lanys T'Vyl, the child of Innoruuk, the Prince of Hate, surveyed the trolls as they marched through Nektulos Forest with all of their belongings and wares from Neriak, the dark elf city they called home for a time, to the city of Grobb in the Innothule Swamp. The frogloks had finally lost their foothold in Grobb and now the smelly, foul race of trolls had their home back.

A crooked grin slightly pinched Lanys' dark, becoming features. While Lanys saw no need to get involved in the skirmish between froglok and troll, she was pleased that the frogloks of Mithaniel Marr and their foolish, unwavering faith in their god of truth and valor had been humbled. Once again, she thought, the frogloks felt Innoruuk's hand of Hate squeeze their slimy throats. The darkened frogloks in the Rathe Mountains coupled with the trolls' return to Grobb further spread evil into Antonica. It was time for the Dark Reign to further spread its fingers of evil over the continent.

Lanys was anxious to put into practice the magic she had learned from Venril Sethir's -- the Curse of the Bound. The curse was so powerful it tainted the ancient dragons of Norrath and Lanys believed the curse could bring an end to Firiona Vie, a half-mortal like herself, and the Chosen of Tunare, the god of nature. With a few alterations in the incantations and reagents of the Curse of the Bound, Lanys believed she could not only ruin Firiona, but also enslave her. Some experimentation was in order and she had a plan in mind.

She kicked her steed into motion and made haste through the forest, making a cursory survey of the lands and then turned to Neriak where dark fates would soon unfurl by her ebony hand.

"Bow to me, Cristanos," Lanys hissed to Queen Cristanos Thex as she brushed her silvery mane in her chambers. Cristanos did not see Lanys enter, but was in no way surprised to see her standing in her doorway.

"Great Mistress Lanys. What brings you to Neriak this day?" Cristanos asked as she crouched on one knee with her eyes cast at Lanys' feet.

"You must serve me now in a way that may indeed please you. You will provide a subject that is strong in will and skill. I need a suitable sacrifice that will aid the greater good of the Prince of Hate's children in Norrath," Lanys said nonchalantly as her eyes grazed over the ancient tomes and artifacts Cristanos kept in a bookshelf. She picked a tome of arcane magic from the shelf, the Velui D'Xon Exium, an ageless work that contained the origins and requirements of dark elven necromantic magic. She opened it and deftly turned the pages with her long ebony fingernails.

"I have a potion you must deliver to this sacrifice. No suspicion must be raised as the heart of the sacrifice must not be stressed and the mind not clouded by fear. Send prayer to me when you have completed this task and I shall come to gather the sacrifice. I must have your best necromancers at my disposal also," Lanys said matter-of-factly as she put down the tome and took an intricate obsidian bottle adorned with runes from her wrist satchel. Cristanos immediately recognized the language as one of Sebilisian origin.

"Do not disappoint me," Lanys said.

"Your will be done, Mistress," Cristanos said, remaining on one knee. "The Dead will serve you well once more."

"Be quick about it. When we see this done, we will have in our hands the one thing that may bring all of the embracers of light to their knees," Lanys said, revealing a wicked smile with teeth that nearly glowed against her dark skin.

As the bright face of the Luclin moon glared down on Norrath that eve, Queen Cristanos sent one of her handmaidens from the Lodge of the Dead to request an audience with her husband, King Naythox Thex, in Nektropos Castle. It had been a long while since they'd spoken. In fact, the last time they parleyed was shortly after Lanys had beaten and battered the king and dragged him to the queen's feet to make a point -- that she was to have Neriak's full support in her war against Firiona Vie and Norrath's Keepers. Cristanos was certain that even as the king lay broken at her feet that day, he could feel her satisfaction and pleasure at seeing him in such a state.

A young wisp of a Teir'Dal page returned late that night asking to speak with Cristanos personally as he had brought news from the king. Upon entering, the page announced that Queen Cristanos was "permitted to see the king."

Cristanos froze when she heard the words fall from the page's mouth. In her wizened heart, she knew Naythox was goading her, treating her like a commoner.

Fine, she mused, she could play this game just as easily and perhaps with more flare. She eyed the page and smiled, biting her bottom lip ever so slightly, bringing a devious bent to her otherwise pleasant expression.

She blinked her eyes slowly and began to whisper under her breath, her hands making practiced and elegant movements as they danced under the light of the lazy flames that formed over them. The page was mesmerized and hopeful he was about to receive a rare reward.

Cristanos stared deep into the eyes of the page and laughed as her arms extended gracefully in his direction. The flames slid from her forearms and hands like a snake would shed skin and they licked the floor as they sought out the page. The flames were not hot to the touch . . . at first. He watched in wonder as his body became bathed in the orange light of the flames. They were beautiful and alive.

Then he screamed. The flames sought out the marrow of the page's bones and seeped beneath his skin without extinguishing. In an instant, the young dark elf could feel every bone in his body ignite with fire, his flesh burning from the inside out.

A bewildered look melted across the page's face. And in mere moments, a smoking pile of ash lay on the ground where the dutiful page once stood.

"Vuzea, come to me," Cristanos called to her handmaiden. "Sweep up this mess of ashes and put it in a satchel. Dress a lowly servant appropriately and request to speak to the king personally with a message from me. Simply tell him, 'We received your page's message and the queen will attend within the hour.' And make sure the satchel is handed over at that time."

Vuzea K'Myl recognized what had happened as soon as she entered the room. The unmistakable scent of burnt bone and flesh flooded the air -- not entirely unpleasant to the Teir'Dal. And the page she admitted to the room was, of course, no longer there.

Cristanos tolerated Vuzea, a highly intelligent wizard, and found her useful, though she did not approve of her arts. But Vuzea was always a willing and respectful handmaiden.

As for Vuzea, she delighted in Cristanos' utterly evil nature and happily took on all of the deceitful and deviant tasks her queen offered, including this one. Cristanos had some additional orders for Vuzea which she quietly explained as she handed the wizard a small, decorated vial out of a small curio cabinet.

The queen always made a point to be especially alluring when she visited her husband. She knew she was still the most beautiful and most terrifying female Teir'Dal in Norrath -- qualities her husband once admired. And while he hated her more than ever, her intuition told her that he desired her equally.

She walked in the king's throne room and noted that his expression did not change, though his eyes washed over her like a waterfall. She saw a glint of approval in them.

"You are quite a loathsome creature, my queen. Something I used to take great delight in. Now it is somewhat of an inconvenience," The king said from his throne, flanked by four guards who stood uneasily, ready to act. Cristanos assumed they'd been told to be wary of her actions.

"You have turned to ash the very son of Vyeer Yi`Traq, the warrior you delivered to Lanys some months ago. I chose to employ him as a page hoping his lineage would be a benefit to me and now you've all but destroyed that family," Naythox said wearily. "Have you no wisdom in the art of political subtlety? This family was at the forefront of the Indigo Brotherhood and they will be none too pleased."

"The same question could be asked of you, my husband. I do wonder what might be said and done in other kingdoms where a lauded queen is treated with the same disregard and disrespect as you have shown me," Cristanos stated blatantly. "Regardless, what's done is done. Let us have a drink and discuss an urgent matter."

Naythox nodded at two attendants that stood by the door to the king's throne room and both of them left, one of them quickly glancing at Cristanos.

The king stood and walked toward his private dining room in a small but ornate alcove behind his throne. His guards aligned and began to follow.

"Hold," Cristanos said, raising her right hand. "You may not enter. What I must discuss with the king is for his ears alone."

Naythox continued to walk with his back to Cristanos and simply nodded. One guard looked at Cristanos with some suspicion and she smiled back at him, raising an eyebrow, denoting her victory in the matter.

Once inside, the queen took a seat across from her husband at a rectangular ashen table, its edge carved with the runes of the Teir'Dal language. Around the table, the runes repeated, "The Cauldron Binds Us. Hate Above All."

"What is the matter you've come to discuss?" the king asked with remarked disinterest.

"Lanys visited me earlier today. She once again demands the assistance of the Teir'Dal. I agreed as there is no other choice," the queen said smoothly. "As distasteful as this is, she did promise us one thing . . . that we will overcome Firiona and her kind."

"The obsession with the high elf is confounding. We should have greater goals. Set our sights on claiming all of these lands as our father would wish it, not fall behind the failings and preoccupations of his pestering child," Naythox said. "But, as it is, we will aid her."

Cristanos smiled as the attendants entered the room and set glasses down at the table, filling them both with wine.

"Hate above all, my love," the queen said.

"Hate above all," the king said as he drank his wine.

The king saw Cristanos pause and look at him expectantly. In that moment, he knew it was too late to thwart whatever grim design Cristanos had artfully painted and seemed resigned to accept his fate, whatever it might be. His face and body calmly went limp and he appeared to be asleep, right then and there.

"Vuzea," the queen whispered. "Let us go, now!"

Vuzea, dressed as a king's attendant, walked in the room and took a small gray stone, a portal fragment, out of a pocket in her tunic. She spoke quietly and closed her eyes and the air around her hands became hazy and shimmered, just as it does above magma in the Lavastorm Mountains. It was not long before Vuzea completed her spell and a large arch of undulating blue light stood before them.

"Grab him and take him through," Cristanos urged, pointing at Naythox while looking beyond the room to be certain the guards maintained their posts.

Vuzea grabbed the king's arm and tried not to grunt aloud as she heaved him toward the soft glowing archway. As soon as she and the king's arm were touched by the shimmering light, they both disappeared. Cristanos quickly followed into the portal.

Cristanos, Vuzea and the unconscious king were teleported directly into the queen's chambers in the Lodge of the Dead.

"Just leave him there and leave me," Cristanos said. She readied herself to send prayer to Lanys when she heard a cackle and the sharp slap of clapping hands behind her.

"Ha ha! I should have guessed. I really should have. I'm so very pleased at your choice for a sacrifice, queen. I must admit that I underestimated your devious and vengeful nature," Lanys said.

Cristanos smiled and bowed on one knee before Lanys.

"Welcome, mistress. I have done as you asked," Cristanos said.

"Indeed you have. And now we must continue. The king must be moved to the forest at once so our work may begin. It is too dangerous to undertake this experiment in the city. I have selected the finest necromancers of the Dead to help in the creation of this curse," Lanys said, leaning over and tracing a finger down Naythox's cheek. "He will make a fine subject. A remarkable slave."

Cristanos was unsure which curse Lanys referred to, but knew she'd find out soon enough.

The very next morning, a royal entourage of Teir'Dal traveled to Nektulos Forest, their king carried on an ornate slab of obsidian. He was placed upon a great stump while the necromancers began to chant around him in a language onlookers were not familiar with.

News of the king's illness rushed like a river through the city and in its undercurrents were whispers that the king was poisoned and the queen was going to great lengths to cure him. Even more quietly, the name of the Indigo Brotherhood could be heard.


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Join date : 2010-07-24


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