WORLD PLOT: JUNIS 1021 A.ORDER. - Kull Krimson
Kull Krimson, Cavalier of Guildhall
LOCATION: Temple of Grotar, Forlorne Mountains
SUMMARY: Deep under the Temple of Grotar, Krimson and Gorefang attend the Herald of Grotar who makes plans to return Grotar to the world. Kull Krimson is a major Plot Character who has troubled Evermore for over 20 years. He’s been an enemy of the town, responsible for slaughtering them on at least three occasions. But he’s also been allied with the Guildsmen of Evermore on a few occasions. The last time he was in Evermore, the Guildsmen rescued him from Red Robed Karthydian fanatics who were going to obliterate him to start a war between Karthydia and the Orc Empire. Most feel Krimson owes the Guildsmen of Evermore.
Commander Krimson, First Knight of the Order of the Fist, followed Gorefang, the Emperor of the Orcs down the dark hall. Behind him walked a dozen other orc overlords from around the Empire, arguably the most brutal men and women in the world. A few were Guildsmen, but most were commoners who had risen to power by sheer size and ferocity. Their faith in Grotar had strengthened their wills and bodies. There was nothing common about these killers.
The wide stairs led down, twisting and turning, deep into the heart of the Temple of Grotar. They paused before a set of massive bronze-doors three times the height of the tallest orc soldier. The doors had been carved with twenty symbols. He recognized the etchings as mana symbols. He noted heat, cold, electric, holy, profane and all the others he’d seen as an apprentice and learned about after the elemental convergeance. He did not recognize the ones shaped like an hour-glass or a swirl.
The doors opened as they approached as if by magic. He felt the power wash over him, causing his skin to tingle. His long air and wild beard tugged at his skin. He’d only felt this kind of power once before, when he’d come to Evermore after the convergence of stars, when the energy was shifting and the bindings of chaos and order were breaking. How could there be so much power so far from Evermore?
They entered a vast underground chamber deep below the fortress, a place he had never been and did not even know existed. The walls, ceiling, and massive supporting pillars were all made of crystal. Lenses focused mana energy, pure power pulsed through the columns and swirled through the walls and ceiling.
“This stinks of the Five,” Gorefang growled, his hand drifting down to his sword. The orc despot, hated everything to do with the Five old gods.
“This…” replied the Herald motioning around himself, “is the reason why the orcs settled in the Forlorne Mountains. The five holy places in Evermore radiate the most power in the world, but there are other places almost as strong. This is one of them. Another is on the border between nations of Holt and Dale. A third exists under the Obsidian Fortress, which was why Karthis fled to the desert. A fourth is on the border between the Ansaki Fens and the nation of Andor. These are places of power used to control the flows of energy. As magic becomes stronger in the world, these places will become more important.
They walked together toward the center of the crystal cavern where the Herald of Grotar stood on a dais in front of a crystal altar with colored gemstones along its top. Below him standing in a silent circle facing outward were two score robed priests of Grotar. They waited respectfully as the Herald turned the crystals. Strands of energy flashed between the crystal columns, snapping and crackling as bursts of colored lights flashed over the room.
The priest of Grotar began to chant softly, “In the darkness, in the night, fist of Grotar, fist of might.” Krimson new the chant by heart, but did not join in. This was ceremonial magic. Twenty years ago he would have scoffed at the idea of commoners dancing and singing to manipulate magic, but that was before they had learned the Cult of Shivakas truly had powers. Guildhall had been so naïve to dismiss ceremonial magics. There was power in the practice of ceremony that could not be denied.
The Herald spoke as he worked. “More than two decades ago fisherman pulled my prison from the Lake of Evermore. High Priest Vorath released me from that spirit chest and I returned to you, expecting to find greatness. Instead, I found a nation of weaklings who had lost their place in the world. My heart was broken.”
“I learned that you had overthrown the Five and freed the world from their tyranny. Orcs had guided the world for a thousand years, until they were betrayed by this Guildhall. Our great Empire was laid low. Orckind lost our ancient heritages. Guildhall took your strength, your will, and your pride. Guildhall weakened you, oppressed you, and forced you to become,” he paused, and then spoke his next word like a curse, “farmers and merchants.”
“I met Gorefang in Evermore and, on the night he slaughtered the Guildmasters, I knew that all was not lost. We could reclaim our heritage. Regain our place of dominance in the world. Together we bleed the weakness from our people. We won the Orc Civil War. Together Gorefang, Krimsom, and I ended the orc commonwealth and created the new Orc Empire.”
The Herald arranged four silvery crystals. The energy thrummed through the cavern. “The past two decades have brought into their world a generation of orcs who understand that might makes right and that the strong are destined to rule. We have taken our goblins and ogres from the fields and the mines and trained them once-again for war. The orc nation is ready for the return of Grotar. We are strong and we are ready.”
“And when the last bindings slip free and all the major flows of magic return to the realm it will be possible to bring Grotar back. Soon, we will be able to use this place to create a true avatar. Not the foolish nonsense I sold to Guildhall, but the real power of faith. We will have the strength to shackle a world. Our god will walk the world again.”
For a moment all of the orcs seemed stunned by the magnitude of his words, and then they began cheering. Mad cheering as if they’d lost their minds, while raising fists and beating their chest. Only Krimson remained silent, for only he among all the orcs present, remained loyal to Guildhall in his heart. The others did not notice the grim look on his face as they slapped him on the back, and jubilantly congratulated each.
Krimson met Gorefang’s gaze and the two orcs stared into each other souls. Around them the cheering continued, but Gorefang had stopped his shout of glory. The understanding passed between them. They had always been enemies on the same side of the war, but now they were going to become true enemies. The oath of Guildhall had finally come between them. The Herald of Grotar was moving against the Hall and Gorefang would lead the Empire to war against the world.
Gorefang leaned close and whispered, “Are you ready to face me in the Circle of Challenge?”
Krimson did not reply.
“You and I are true orcs.” Gorefang grinned widely showing teeth. “You have the loyalty of your soldiers, which gives you have the right to challenge me. But I know you won’t, because you cannot beat me in the Circle.”
“I can try.”
Gorefang whispered low. “And you can die.”
The other orcs continued cheering, caught up the possibilities of war, the promise of plunder, and victory and death. The energy snapped and popped. The Herald of Grotar cried out in wild glee, pushing the crystal mechanism, drawing power from the world to this place.
“I need you,” Gorefang said. “You have the best military mind in this realm. I need you by my side.”
“I gave an oath to Guildhall.”
“Then, do we meet in the Circle?” Battle lust began to spread over Gorefang’s face.
“No, my Emperor,” Krimson replied, quickly. “You have not moved against Guildhall. Not yet. My oath remains.”
Gorefang seemed almost disappointed. “Then you will honor our heritage. Might makes right. The strong shall rule.”
Krimson nodded, “Might does make right. The strong shall ever rule the weak, so is the will of Grotar, so is the way of our people. I am the First Knight of the Order of the Fist. My duty is to my order and to my people.”
“And to your Emperor.”
Krimson agreed. Too much of a cavalier’s training was devoted to learning tactics and leadership. Gorefang, as a warrior, only need to learn one thing… to kill. And kill he did. Every challenger. The Emperor of the Orcs was a master of the duel. Krimson considered himself a good fighter, but he could not match Gorefang. Few fighters could.
The only Cavalier who might have a chance would be Ser Peter Debaye. There were some among the warriors guild who could beat him. Surely, Orion McBride. Maybe, that Asgarn, Olaf Freljord. But none of them were orcs. And neither none could hold the position of orc emperor. The challenger would need to be an orc overload with the support of greenskin army. Krimson looked around the room, watching the cheering brutes, knowing that none of them could best the Emperor.
On the altar, the Herald of Grotar continued to adjust the energy flows. “We have a year, maybe less, maybe more. I can be more exact when the final bindings shatter and the last energies break free…”
So Krimson had a year, maybe less, maybe more, to find way to keep his oath to Guildhall and to also honor his heritage. If not, he would have to choose…