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Fantasy Midnight - The War of the Shadow (Interest Check: Open)

Magnar

King of the Underworld


I saw that the Host of Heaven was dark and rode no more in the sky. The icy gates of the land were opened, and the fallen god rode forth with a crown of iron and a sword of flame. His raiment bled the blood of the innocent and he smote all the lands of the world. His form was of fire and shadow, and his name was Sorrow.

-- Vesra Anu, Prophecies of the Last Age.

The Tithe At dawn the headsman woke us and told us it was time. The whole village lined up along the edge of the cornfield, which was strewn with cut stalks and the debris of the harvest. It had taken over four days for all the fodder to be gathered and stored for the winter. Nearby the sheep and boro pens were full of animals mostly calling for their breakfasts. In the village the windows and doors of every house were flung open and the hearths were cold. Today was the day of the tithe. We stood there, in a line, for over three hours before they arrived.

The legate rode in on the lead wagon with his guards. Eight wagons in all filed into the village. The headman, head bowed, approached the legate and announced our willingness to provide the tithe to the Dark God. With a grunt and a wave of his hand, the legate dismissed the headman and sent the orcs into the houses and barns. Almost immediately, there were sounds of breaking furniture. I heard screams, and the sounds of people being hurt. I ignored it. It was better not to hear. Women buried their heads in their husbands chests as they tried to stifle their tears. Then the orcs came and grabbed men to start loading the wagons ~~ it was well past midday when the loading was done. Seven out of ten parts of the harvest were loaded on the wagons. An equal amount of animals were also taken, bleating in fear as they were tethered to wagons for the trip back to the city of Bastion.

When they were done the legate announced the Dark God's blessing on us and commented on the wisdom of our headsman for not trying to hide any of the harvest. The legate reminded us that the Dark God only punished those who were disloyal.


***​

In the ageless time before the dawn of history, there was a war in heaven. In desperation, the lords of light severed the black spirit of the dark god Izrador, casting him out of the celestial kingdom above the world of Aryth.

The gods succeeded in vanquishing their brother, but Izrador corrupted their magic and turned their victory against them. As the fallen gods spirit was severed from his physical form, so too was the celestial kingdom severed from all contact with the material realm. The lords of light discovered that they could no longer commune with their mortal children. This cataclysm shook the foundations of the world and came to be known as the Sundering.

The dark god fell to the earth, his foul essence staining the land with its evil shadow. Weakened and bodiless, Izrador retreated to the ice and cold of the far north. There he slumbered, slowly recovering his strength and dreaming of vengeance across aeons of time. Empires were built and crumbled to dust, races were born and died, and the Shadow in the North grew deeper and darker.

Three times the dark god rose, and threatened the nations of Aryth with iron and fire. The first time he was defeated by a proud host of elves, dwarves and Dornish men lead by Aradil the Witch Queen.

The second time, races of good held the Shadow off long enough for aid to come from an unlooked for ally.

By the time of the third rising, the free peoples of Eredane were battered, bitter and distracted by their own infighting as well by the insidious corruption sown by the dark god’s spies over the years. Four of the land’s greatest heroes fell prey to his dark promises and betrayed their people, leading his hordes from the north, claiming their title – the Night Kings.

This time, the dark god won.

Shadows fall and hope has fled
Steel your heart, the dawn will come
The night is long and the path is dark
Look to the sky for one day soon
The dawn will come


The Shepherd’s lost and his home is far
Keep to the stars, the dawn will come
The night is long and the path is dark
Look to the sky for one day soon
The dawn will come


Bare your blade and raise it high
Stand your ground, the dawn will come
The night is long and the path is dark
Look to the sky for one day soon
The dawn will come

It is now the Age of Shadow.

Accompanied by the creatures of the Dark Lord, the Astiraxes, the light of hope in the world has faded and is almost extinguished. The last beacon of goodness in the world lies in the great forest of Erethor, where the Witch Queen Aradil holds the armies of Shadow at bay behind a magical shield that they cannot penetrate. Yet the great Elven Queen is only mortal.

Soon she too will fail, and the barrier will fade. When that happens, the armies of Shadow will invade, and the Elven Kingdom will die. The final light of the world will be extinguished, and darkness will cloak the land. The will of Izrador will reign unchecked.

The humans have been subjugated and made prisoners in their own cities, ruled over by brutal orcish overseers. The few remaining dwarves have been driven back into their mountain holdfasts, sealing themselves from the world. Most have been fed to the meat grinders within the dark citadel of Theros Obsidia. The nomadic halfling tribes have been all but extinguished and the lucky ones sent to work in orcish slave camps. The gnomes aid the war effort in secret, under the guise of aiding the Shadow and sailing their dark ships. Yet it is a futile effort and doomed to fail.

Magic, weapons and literacy are illegal in this shadow-wrought world. It is this tormented land that you become unwitting and unwilling heroes, and it is here that you will be hunted down mercilessly.

Yet, amidst the final days of the world, and the ever deepening shadow, a glimmer of hope is found. An ancient artifact falls into your hands, one that the Shadow desperately wants and one that maybe, just maybe, contains within it a secret both great and terrible - one that in the right hands could end the reign of Izrador once and for all.

The last War of the Shadow approaches.

Will you stand, or will you die?

***​

In the world of Midnight, evil rules and the last, brave heroes strive against unbeatable odds. The lands of men have been crushed under the iron heels of the Night Kings and their minions and the lands of the fey are besieged on all sides by the dark hordes of the Shadow in the North.

Those who would resist the dominion of the dark god must often do so from the shadows, fighting a secret war that most people believe was lost a hundred years ago.

My intention is to hold an application process for this game. This will be a very dark, brutal but rewarding campaign for those who are accepted. This is a game very much for role-players and mature storytellers who are looking for a deep and rewarding role-playing experience. Your characters may die, and I will not flinch from killing characters off if the wrong choices and decisions are made, such is the nature of this dark world. If that is the case, then you will of course be allowed to create another character to continue.

And one last piece of advice - this is a world where evil has already won. There are no happy endings here — you will die, the only question is when, and whether your death is on your own terms of Izrador’s. I would strongly recommend that in combat situations you don’t engage the enemy head on, as their forces and numbers will always be superior to yours. The general rule of thumb for Midnight is that if you are forced to fight, you are doing something wrong as you run the risk of bringing the Shadow’s hordes on your head.

At this point in time, I'm looking for affirmation of interest only. Once I have enough interest I shall proceed and set up the game threads properly. Ultimately I am looking for five others to join a character of my own creation in this game.
 

Magnar

King of the Underworld
The Fall

Far, far to the north, in the frozen bowels at the spine of the world, a white tower rose up into the night sky. Outside, the sky shone with different colours. Purple, pink, blue, orange set against the glittering canopy that lay over the world of Aryth. There was very little that was pretty left, but this, the aurora borealis, was one of the few things of genuine beauty in this shattered world.

Inside this pale, marble tower of purest white, on the very top floor, a figure sat. Hunched over a wooden oak table, the figure pored over an ancient tome. Behind him, a fire crackled in the background, its light casting a flickering dark silhouette through the window. If the figure was affected or moved by the beautiful tapestry painted over the night sky behind him, he did not show it. Because for Aldherin, Sorceror of Shadow and one of the four Night Kings, there was little room left in his heart for beauty or warmth. All those things he had left behind him long, long ago.

Back when the Shadow took him.

***​

The pale face of an elven maiden looked back at him as he lay on the grass. Overhead in the sky, the sun shone brightly. There was a cool breeze blowing through the clearing. Sighing lazily, Aldherin looked to the sky as he snaked an arm around the maiden's shoulder, drawing her into him and holding her close.

"Would it be that this day could last forever, my love," he sighed again as he closed his eyes, feeling her head lay snugly into his breast.

Alas it could not, and as much as he wished it would, he knew all too well that reality would soon come crashing into his daydream. Already, rumours spoke of dark things stirring in the north, within the Spine of the World. Elven spies had spoken of strange activity amidst the frozen wasteland. The orcs were gathering and forming what seemed to be a unified force. Such a thing was unheard of. Traditionally the tribes of the northern lands spent so much bickering and fighting amongst each other that they were of no threat to anyone else. Yet now they moved en masse. Had something, some unknown force unified them under one banner? It was hard to believe, yet a troubling force nonetheless.

A small yawn next to him banished his fears, even if only temporarily. Looking down with a small smile to the elven lass curled up near him, Aldherin put his concerns to one side. How could he not when his childhood sweetheart lay next to him?

"Are you tired? You'd better take this time to rest up. Its your coronation soon, and you won't have any time left at all to enjoy these moments."

Almond-shaped, blue eyes opened as the girl balled her fist and punched him playfully. "You're such a dour-faced bore Aldherin. Do you have to put a downer on everything?"

Chuckling, Aldherin laid his head on the ground. "Somebody's got to be the serious one of the two of us Aradil."

***​

The distant memory was one of the very few ones that Aldherin still held onto. As he sat, looking at ancient texts, he made a small gesture with his hand. The air in front of him flickered, gradually taking shape as it formed into the image of that pale, elven lass from so many years ago. Looking at it, Aldherin sighed as he whispered, "Everything that I have done, everything that has happened it is all because of you Aradil. You may deny me, but you cannot deny to yourself the truth that you desperately keep hidden inside of you."

***​

The armies poured out from all sides. Meeting them, the elven forces stood firm. Standing away from then, Aldherin tried to block out the screaming and the clash of sword upon sword. His people were dying. Back in the great forest of Erethor, Queen Aradil was trying desperately to weave her magics, to cast the spell that he knew would save the dying remnants of the elves. This was not a battle they could win. And yet, as the armies of orcs boiled forth, ceaseless and neverending in their numbers, Aldherin knew that everything that he was doing, everything that his army was doing was nothing more than a delaying tactic. They could not win this fight. As he marched forth that day, Aldherin knew he was going forth to die.

And die he would, with pride, keeping his love safe.

There was a reason he was standing here, at this point, even as the rest of his people died in the ground below, the grass stained with their blood. Aldherin knew this would be the focal point of the conflict. This was where *he* would show.

Guttural snarling told the elf that he was not alone. Lips curled up in a slight smile as two orcs approached, clutching their vardatches tightly in their gnarled fists. Raising his arms to either side, Aldherin beckoned the orcs to approach. And approach they did, both of them springing into action, charging forwards as they attacked. But Aldherin was ready.

Spinning to one side, he dodged the first's clumsy attack as the second tried to close in from the other side. Swinging its vardatch, Aldherin brought his hand up, catching it on the wrist and keeping the deadly weapon from connecting with his neck. Balling his fist, he smashed it into the creature's throat, channeling the fire through his hands as he did so. The orc screamed, a sound that was cut off into a gurgle as the flames raced forth, immolating it and turning it into ash on the spot. Turning, he saw just in time as the first orc hurled a javelin at him. Waving his hand, a thin curtain of flame appeared, turning the javelin to ash as it pierced the flames, burning it before it even reached him.

Then, suddenly running forwards towards it, he spread his fingers. The orc, not prepared for the sudden ferocity of the onwards assault, did not react in time. Taken by surprise, it stood there as Aldherin dove forwards, driving his fingers through its eyes. Snarling, Aldherin summoned forth crackling electricity as he snarled, "Die, grak'lokk scum!" The electricity came through his fingers, channeling itself straight into the creature's gaping sockets. It screamed for all of a second before its head exploded in a shower of gore and brains.

Aldherin was alone, for a second, breathing heavily with the bodies of his slain opponents around him.

Then, the sound of clapping echoed throughout the clearing. Facing the sound, Aldherin looked to see a tall, imposing, hulking figure wearing armour made of the blackest ebony. The figure's head was obscured by a black helm with two slits for eyes.

"Jahzir."

Aldherin spat the word out. "What price did you pay, old friend? What price to betray everything you once held dear and turn your back on your own countrymen to make your lot with Izrador?"

Holding a large double-bladed sword on his hand, Jahzir pointed it at Aldherin as he responded. "For once, old friend, I wanted to be on the winning side. There is no sense in supporting a doomed cause, as you will soon find out."

Behind him, the gangly forms of more orcs appeared, flanking the Night King. Aldherin laughed grimly at the sight. This was not a fight he could win. Yet, it wasn't about winning. It was about buying Aradil enough time to complete her spell. And this....this, he could do.

Aldherin spat on the ground. "One more time then, friend. For old times sake."

With a scream, Aldherin charged in to engage his foe one last time, moving forwards to his own death.

***​

But I did not die that day. *He* made sure I did not die.

Aldherin closed the book with a sigh. Reminiscing about the past made little difference. What was done was done now, and in the centuries since his taking, Aldherin's name and legacy had been stained with countless dark deeds. Whereas once he was the saviour of his people, now he was the slayer. Elf, human, dwarf, gnome and halfling alike had fallen under the power of his arcane might. Power that none, not even Aradil herself, could stand against.

"Aradil." The sound was like the harsh scratching of metal claws digging into wood. "You loved me once, long, long ago, as I once did you."

With a wave of his hand, he banished the image, and Aradil faded into nothingness. "Time changes all things, does it not, my love." Laughing, Aldherin walked slowly to the window to look out into the frozen world beyond. "The next time we meet, love, one of us will die. And your power, great as it is, cannot match mine, fuelled as it is by my dark god."

Clenching his fist, Aldherin watched idly as it glimmered with a glowing, white light. A light that burned brightly for a few seconds before fading into nothingness. "It is sad that it has come to this, but there is no way back for either of us now. We can only watch powerless as the path that is laid before us, and the story plays out to its conclusion."

His dark eyes glittered as he stared at the night sky.

"There is so little you know, love. So little that you and my precious god realise. The knowledge that I possess will change the world forevermore."

His voice trailed off, echoing in the wind as he whispered. "I have learned how to pierce the Veil separating our world from the realms beyond. And I need one more thing, one thing only to complete the ritual."

Another image formed in front of his eyes. That of a small, brass cylinder. Aldherin reached towards it, but his hands passed through the ghostly illusion.

"So small, so insignificant looking, yet the power you possess will bring a god to its knees."

The image faded as Aldherin looked away. "Soon, soon I will possess the key, and all the world's mysteries will lay open at my feet."

Smiling, Aldherin walked away from the window to contemplate, not on what once was, but of what could have been.
 
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Magnar

King of the Underworld
In all honesty I've just got into a couple of other role plays so this might be stretching me a little more than I would be comfortable with....I think I'm going to put this on ice for now and revisit when I'm in a better place to pick it up rather than pushing myself too much.
 

darkborn

Member
Hmm... Interested. However, a question for a theme.

So, I'm interested in playing a Fetchling: Fetchling (17 RP) – d20PFSRD from Pathfinders.

You know, a human descended/born from the Plane of Shadow. (No, you don't know, which is why I'm explaining... :/)
It doesn't have to be like that exactly, but I'm hoping you get the concept I'm trying to get at.

What I want to explore is the facet of that if something born in darkness, can it resist that darkness, even while still plunged into it, and be redeemed?

Oh, and note: Just came up with this idea while listening to Architects Holy Hell. Dark theme fits nicely with this idea!

After note: Oh. Oops, saw that last post, but I skipped over it. My bad. Heh. Could you save me for the RP when you restart it?
 

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