The Palace of Skulls


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Whut inna wide werld o'sports is uh goin on heer?


Stuff an' nonsense son, stuff an' nonsense.....


A shambling horde of undead plod after the pale floating girl. She halts and the grove of cypress nearby begins to blacken and erupt in fungus, rotting incredibly fast. A glowing green light appears and a black suit of armor appears through a rent in the thread fabric

You have declared my coming, Tsar? The pale girl asks

I HAVE, DREAD MISTRESS The huge construct repies, his three gems sparking above his flame-wrapped eyes.

Excellent. Soon we shall bring our Army of the Damned to their sanctums and bazaars, and oh the crows shall have such a feast!

I STAND READY TO DO THY BIDDING MISTRESS

Yes, of course you do. You will be my Herald and my Marshal, dear Tsar. My Army of the Damned is yours to command. Serve me well.

AS YOU COMMAND DREAD MISTRESS

The large armored construct walks to the head of the massive army of corpses. He unsheathes his glowing runic green greatsword and points towards the west.

FORWARD TO THE THREADS OF LIGHT!

The army shambles forward, with Innocent Blood and the Steel Tsar at its forefront

Scarab Sages

Hey now! I thought I was the resident Lord of the Undead and all-around Bad Ass Mo Fo....


The army shambles closer, the zombies, skeletons, ghouls and vampires crushing everything in their way. The Steel Tsar rides a skeletal smilodon, its fang skull set in a ghostly roar. Innocent Blood floats by his side, the ground underneath her slender feetwavering and sprouting fungal growths as she passes by. More and more undead emerge from the ground as the Army of the Damned travels closer to the Threads of Light


The shadow of a black dragon circling casts itself over the company; with triple protections in place, Smagnavast dives down to hover with skillful flicks of his wings near the vampire leader of this army. He addreses her:
I gather that you're in charge here?


Smagnavast the Black wrote:

The shadow of a black dragon circling casts itself over the company; with triple protections in place, Smagnavast dives down to hover with skillful flicks of his wings near the vampire leader of this army. He addreses her:

I gather that you're in charge here?

"Pff. Ony because there is nobody else with the accurate level of strength at this current instance."


Smagnavast the Black wrote:

The shadow of a black dragon circling casts itself over the company; with triple protections in place, Smagnavast dives down to hover with skillful flicks of his wings near the vampire leader of this army. He addreses her:

I gather that you're in charge here?

Innocent Blood looks up and smiles

I suppose I am. What do you require dragon?


Innocent Blood wrote:
Smagnavast the Black wrote:

The shadow of a black dragon circling casts itself over the company; with triple protections in place, Smagnavast dives down to hover with skillful flicks of his wings near the vampire leader of this army. He addreses her:

I gather that you're in charge here?

Innocent Blood looks up and smiles

I suppose I am. What do you require dragon?

"I am inclined to believe that the nearby dragon, whose name I have heard but am currently incapable of recalling due to certain circumstances which render me significantly disoriented, is planning on ascertaining your collaboration in regards to certain matters which you are, with very little doubt, fully aware."


The dragon addresses Innocent Blood.
You seem to be charging in with very little strategy beyond attack and kill.
You don't appear to have any goals other than just 'kill everything and raise undead' which relies on brute strength and little finesse.
And sooner or later, you will exhaust your strength, and then what enemies you have left will turn on you.
If your allies don't betray you first and turn on you for their own purposes, that is.
At present you and your army offer me interesting possibilities. I am offering you the opportunity to surrender to me now and become my vassal.
You can settle down here in the swamp, make occasional raids against your enemies, and pay a tithe in return for my protection.


Smagnavast the Black wrote:

The dragon addresses Innocent Blood.

You seem to be charging in with very little strategy beyond attack and kill.
You don't appear to have any goals other than just 'kill everything and raise undead' which relies on brute strength and little finesse.
And sooner or later, you will exhaust your strength, and then what enemies you have left will turn on you.
If your allies don't betray you first and turn on you for their own purposes, that is.
At present you and your army offer me interesting possibilities. I am offering you the opportunity to surrender to me now and become my vassal.
You can settle down here in the swamp, make occasional raids against your enemies, and pay a tithe in return for my protection.

"Hmm. I was significantly nearby to the actual reality of the egomaniac dragon's original intentions.

"Dragon, what reason do you possess to prevent you from expecting your respective 'lackeys' to cease any semblance of obedience at the original opportunity?"


The dragon spares The Mask the briefest of glances:
Since you feign the ignorance of needing it spelled out for you - I doubt that you can be as genuinely stupid as you pretend to be - at present, I and my allies are not at war with the lady here.
If she presented herself as my vassal and then rebelled - well that would be rebellion, and I would be inclined to duly chastise her for her temerity.


Smagnavast the Black wrote:

The dragon spares The Mask the briefest of glances:

Since you feign the ignorance of needing it spelled out for you - I doubt that you can be as genuinely stupid as you pretend to be - at present, I and my allies are not at war with the lady here.

"I had never made any pretension that you were. I have to go."

The raven vanishes.


Have to go now... Relatives visiting for Easter, and I'm about to be thrown off the computer, since we need the room for accomodation. Will try to get back on tomorrow.


Smagnavast the Black wrote:

The dragon addresses Innocent Blood.

You seem to be charging in with very little strategy beyond attack and kill.
You don't appear to have any goals other than just 'kill everything and raise undead' which relies on brute strength and little finesse.
And sooner or later, you will exhaust your strength, and then what enemies you have left will turn on you.
If your allies don't betray you first and turn on you for their own purposes, that is.
At present you and your army offer me interesting possibilities. I am offering you the opportunity to surrender to me now and become my vassal.
You can settle down here in the swamp, make occasional raids against your enemies, and pay a tithe in return for my protection.

Innocent Blood laughs, a surprisingly girlish sound

Darling lizard, I have strategy enough. I just choose not to share it. I am not out to rule. I am out to pull the Green into the Black and sing as the last whispers of life rot and die.

She turns to the dragon, smiling faintly. Her black orbs bore into him

I have no allies, thus none can turn on me. I have minions, and only those I have created myself. What I DO have is this:

The pale girl gestures at a distant grove of trees. A pulse of energy races towards them, literally distorting the ground as it travels. The trees sprout fungus, withering and dying most rapidly. The skeletal trees then pull their roots up from the swamp and fall into the Army of the Damned. Dozens of skeletons emerge from where the tree's roots pulled free and also join the shambling horde.

You see, my darling lizard, I have no need of land, fealty or allies. I am Death. I have come to harvest the Green and drag it screaming into the dark realms. When I am through you shall join me as well...


Drawn by the powers, an old friend is freed and reborn. He surveys the scene of destruction.

Ahh, so sweet.


... wrote:
The army shambles closer, the zombies, skeletons, ghouls and vampires crushing everything in their way. The Steel Tsar rides a skeletal smilodon, its fang skull set in a ghostly roar. Innocent Blood floats by his side, the ground underneath her slender feetwavering and sprouting fungal growths as she passes by. More and more undead emerge from the ground as the Army of the Damned travels closer to the Threads of Light

Slowly, a shadow of a large cat stalks into the army. If asked it simple says it is after Devlyn.


If that is your choice, so be it.
I shall not detain your rendezvous with destiny any longer.
It sweeps from the thread.


The raven flies back in.
"Heh, heh. I would be cautious. That dragon will come back to bite you."


Moving through a portal from an undetermined location, rank on rank of the reddish smeared skeletons are marching into the swamp, their eyes glowing blue.


Where the strange skeletons march, the water hisses, bubbles, and evaporates, whilst plants wither and crumble to dust. Those creatures which are able to do so flee them; others simply perish.
Where they are gathering and marching, the swamp is beginning to turn from a place of rot and decay to a place of sterile sand and dust.


Even the occasional stray corporeal undead creature is not immune to the corrosive touch of the strange skeletons, zombies or regular skeletons, the animated and discarded products of itinerent necromancers, collapsing to dust before the strange onslaught. Only incorporeal undead seem untroubled by them for now.


"Brave Madame Serefina ran away, bravely ran away, away...." The raven murmurs.


The strange reddish skeletons continue in their conversion of the thread to an ashen waste.


A shadowy figure observes the skeleton's advance

Hmm. An interesting development ..

Waving his hands, the figure sends a small force of wraiths against the intruders to test their mettle

Scarab Sages

Brainnnnnssssss.......


The cold, life-sapping, incorporeal touches of the wraiths have no discernible effect on the reddish smeared skeletons; they simply ignore the wraiths and continue about their business.


Whilst some had been actively seeking to expand the area of sand and dust, others of the reddish smeared skeletons had begun to excavate in the ruins of the palace, excavating what treasures they could find, but discarding items broken, of little value, or carrying curses. Occasionally, a pile of valuables had been removed back through the portal to whatever place they came from.
Now however, they suddenly cease their labours, and begin to withdraw, leaving much of the ruins unexcavated.


The shadowed figure ponders recent developments as the red skeletons loot his thread

My daughter-in-darkness has been destroyed, as I had forseen. The vultures squabble over the scaps of my home, again, as I forsaw. Such as it will be. It is time to depart.

The form raises thin arms high

UMBRA VENIO SCUTARI!

A swarm of shadows coalesce around the form, then scatter, leaving only empty air.


Ebony Jaguar wrote:

The shadowed figure ponders recent developments as the red skeletons loot his thread

My daughter-in-darkness has been destroyed, as I had forseen. The vultures squabble over the scaps of my home, again, as I forsaw. Such as it will be. It is time to depart.

The form raises thin arms high

UMBRA VENIO SCUTARI!

A swarm of shadows coalesce around the form, then scatter, leaving only empty air.

Candle Lighter flies though, muttering to himself.

"Not good...with her dead, and the others in hiding, the forces of the Black are scattered. It's time to go join the others. And hide."
He vanishes.


Soon the last of the reddish smeared skeletons is gone, and the portal winks out of existence once the last of them has withdrawn. Behind them, they leave an expanse of sand and dust through which the ruins of the palace protrude like decayed teeth, surrounded by acres of dessicated salt flats; only beyond the edges of the flats do the straggling remains of the swamp reassert themselves.


After a period of rejuvenation, the swamp begins to regain its footing. Evil things creep out of their holes and once again congregate. A familiar figure capers about another familiar figure as they exchange words. A chain-wrapped figure looks on.

"Your palace is in ruins."

"That much is obvious even to a fool like you."

"Aye I am a fool, but who laughs last but the fool."

"There is not much laughing to be done here, for my daughter is lost to me."

"Perhaps we can bring her back."

"Perhaps, but we will need to build."

"Aye, build we must, and soon. We shall make an alliance of opportunity, yes?

A fool and a shadow
And a chain-wrapped girl
Shall build up an empire
And rule the world."

"Interesting. I shall contact what few of my minions escaped the last debacle."

"And I shall call my freakish minions, those that escaped the Plains of Roleplay."

"Very well, it is decided."

The three depart and begin their various nefarious tasks

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