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The Last Act, The Epilogue to the Kinstrife. 
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Lord General Of Khaine
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Right, this is going to be the final Act of Khael Vraneth Lord-General of Khaine in naggaroth before his Exile sets in. i would like to Thank General Kala and Langmann for their help. and also a special thanks to Auric for helping me name it. but enough of my waffle.


Khael Stood there before a wall of ice, all around him torches of Gubraithian fire burned slowly, like they had done for millennia. An eerie light filled the chamber from these torches as he stood there waiting. All about him great iron doors sealed in the past, present and future. Here lay the Tombs of the Velari family. Deep inside him he felt anger and sadness. Sadness at his Failure, and Anger at his broken promise, at the start he had promised Kala to come south. And to fight alongside her, in her fight against the Asur. But Khaine had given him another path. He turned as he heard a low chanting coming down the stairs. Slowly he watched as the solemn procession come down the stairs. Amidst them, behind two great standards was a bier, upon it looking peaceful in full battle armour lay General Kala. The Leader of the procession stopped as Khael stepped out of the shadows.
The Leader put his hand upon the hilt of his sword as he inspected this odd looking new comer. A full head taller than any other present and he seemed stronger than most. An Aura of Power and respect emitted from him, his voice showed no hint of emotion as he spoke.
“Khael Vraneth, at your service” he bowed before continuing “I Wish to pay my last respects to General Kala. My Friend and ally”
The Leader eased off and returned the bow
“You are welcome Lord-General,” Deimozael said “Come Join us”
Khael Fell in step ahead of the bier, slowly following the chanting as the procession made its way along the chamber. Finally they came to an open tomb long prepared for Kala. Laying down the bier the members of Kala’s household began to pay their last respects to their lady. Eventually Khael himself stood before the bier. She looked so peaceful, so calm after the torment of war. Sighing he said quietly to Kala.
“So peaceful you look in Death, Kala. I am Sorry I never saw you in life. Long ago at the start of this war, I promised you my Draich and I, would come south to aid you in your battles against our foolish kin.”
He paused and ran a hand across the mark upon his left cheek, aware that everyone in the room was watching. Slowly his hand drew something out from a bag upon his belt.
“Here I lay a lotus pod, the symbol of your armies. Perhaps it will guide your soul home.” Khael finished as he rose up.
He watched Kala’s body for a moment as a slow breeze ruffled the general’s hair and the lotus pod so that it lay upon her Brest.
Turing Khael nodded to the leader of the funeral who nodded back as he raised his torch. The torch above Kala’s tomb burst into flame. Slowly her body was lowered into her final resting place.
“Farewell Kala” Sighed Khael as the doors closed for the final time.
A Few hours later after leading a toast for Kala, Khael sat once again upon his steed, around him some loyal dark riders that had escorted their lord north of his legions, beside him was the Seneschal of Velari keep. The dark riders whispered to each other as Khael addressed the Seneschal.
“Well I thank you for your hospitality. However I must leave, I am exiled.”
Khael’s hand went up to the mark upon his cheek as the Seneschal replied.
“You are welcomed my Lord, However why you are exiled I cannot guess”
“I am a zealot Deimozael“Snarled Khael
“Forgive me my lord. I did not mean to offend.” Said Deimozael with haste and after a pause added “Where will you go?”
“South, to Arnheim, Kala Shall be avenged!” Khael Bellowed and then turning back to Deimozael he added “Farewell”
Rising in his stirrups and gathering the reins he urged his steed forward. The steed neighed as it sprang into a gallop south, soon all the riders were up with their lord.
The Seneschal of Velari keep watched until they were well out of sight, only then did he mutter
“Farewell Vraneth”
Turing he strode back to Velari keep.
***********************************************************************
Some two weeks later Khael sat looking upon the ruins of the 6th Gate. Smiling he realised that Kala had done her duty well. The gates were far to damaged to ever be completed now. And the Wrath gate was closed against them the Asur where trapped. Rising Khael strode through the camp ignoring the brides of Khaine who were now constantly making approaches to him. Smirking he watched as two Maibd fight one another after walking into each other. So concentrated they were upon him they paid no attention to their own safety, sighing Khael continued to walk through the camp. The Maibd were concentrating too much upon him. Not for their own pleasure but for their own gains. For he was the Lord-General of Khaine, although exiled this title had not been taken away from him. Much respect he had in all the dark cities, to be the mate and spouse of such a Druchii would be a great honour. Khael however showed no emotion, no Pride he had in pleasure. He lived solely for battle; he would take no mate no spouse, unless he found a kindred sprit.
Smiling he entered his tent. The two executioner guards came to attention. Nodding Khael entered the tent, the interior was bare, save for a bed, a chair and a desk with a few quills and parchments and a silver goblet, finally there was a trunk containing Khael’s few remaining belongings. He was not surprised to see one of the few sorceresses in the army sitting at the desk.
“Well Turel, What do you want?” Inquired Khael
Turel Redgore looked up, her eyes looking at Khael, shuddering as her second sight saw the red aura around him. Chosen of Khaine he was indeed.
“Nothing my lord” She replied “I merely wished to ask how you, how are you sleeping?”
“Yes Turel the nightmares have passed” Khael sighed as he sat upon the trunk; there was a pause before he continued “Any idea what caused them?”
“None my lord” Replied Turel and then with a thought added, “It was probably your enemies trying to lower your confidence.”
Khael nodded in agreement, it did make sense. There was a moments silence before Khael broke it.
“You are dismissed Turel”
Turel bowed low and left the tent. Khael was left in silence for some time, working over events in his mind. From the death of Lonicera to his own banishment, he ran his hand over the freshly formed scar upon his cheek and ran over the words of Shadowblade in his mind. He could still see the Assassin’s sneering face even now.
“Vraneth, you are a Zealot and are much to blame for this… mess”
Snarling Khael swept his hand across the table knocking the quills, parchment and the silver goblet of wine away onto the floor. He looked at his hand and formed it into a fist, bones cracking as he smashed it into the floor. In anger he sat down in his chair and fell silent.
Finally after what seemed an age the flap of the tent was thrust open and in walked a figure all clothed in black with two weapons at his side.
“Yes Delketh” inquired Khael “What have you found?”
“My lord” replied the figure “we have found our Kin some 20 leagues distant. They are camping on the fringes of the forest of Arnheim. Building siege weapons, I believe they are going to attempt to be-siege the city!”
“How many Delketh, and who leads them?” asked Khael with interest.
“My lord they are at least 16 legions strong, mainly normal Druchii, however some temple forces are present as well as several remaining cult armies.” Replied the figure he paused before adding “As for their leader I believe it is a dread lord.”
“Hmmm,” Khael mused to himself before addressing Delketh once more. “Send word for my captain’s we march for Arnheim.”
The figure bowed and left as Khael went to the trunk and got out a small amulet and placed it around his neck.
************************************************************
Dread Lord Thornblood sat upon his cold one, as he surveyed the large Druchii force. On either flank the remnants of the Cult were assembled looking highly nervous as they were outnumbered by some twenty to one by the forces of Khaine. His own forces held the centre. Siege towers were being assembled there. The Asur were hard pressed and even now falling back behind the high walls of Arnheim itself. Now was the time to drive the Asur from the lands of the Druchii for good.
Thornblood gazed carefully at Duke Tualarc’s dark riders galloping towards him. Thornblood found Tualarc impetuous, he was too close to Khaine and not close enough to his King, but he still had his uses.
“Duke Tualarc,” said Thornblood calmly at the somewhat restless Tualarc. “What is it now?”
Tualarc glared at the dread lord before replying, “I come with a report from the scouts”
“Very well” said Thornblood.
“Our Scouts report a force is approaching the ruins of the 6th gate…” Began Tualarc but he stopped and listened suddenly
Thornblood too could hear what the Duke heard. Warning horns!
“Dread Knight,” ordered Thornblood referring to one of his entourage, “See Who it is, if you please.”
"My Lord." interrupted Tualarc, "I shall investigate this myself."
Tipping his lance the Duke turned and his comrades followed him as he galloped down the hill, the ice blue pennants on their spears fluttering in the wind and then the great ice blue standard broke out with the signs of Tualarc’s house upon it, a dragon with twin sabres behind it.
Thornblood’s mind pondered. Who led the new comers? Were they Khainite or Slaaneshi? Was it a rival Dread Lord or a lesser general? Only time would tell as he watched Tualarc’s riders reach the tree line and stop, drawing their crossbows they waited.
He heard the Herald blow a horn cry as Tualarc hailed the troops in the trees.
For a few minutes there was silence then suddenly a single trumpet blast filled the air with its brazen sound. From the trees a single figure emerged. Tall and clad in fine armour his hair flowing in the wind. Much to Thornblood’s amazement Tualarc’s unit suddenly dipped their spears in respect the great standard too was dipped as the riders turned and rode back towards Thornblood and his knights, even as troops began to appear from the trees. Then the Khainites began to Chant, probably started by one of Tualarc’s riders, bitterness coursed through his veins and a tinge of sadness rarely felt since the Sundering of Naggarythe, as he heard what was chanted.
In one voice the army chanted it
“VRANETH…VRANETH…VRANETH”
So, thought Thornblood, Vraneth the Exiled had returned. Thornblood knew that Vraneth was proud, but why would he risk his life by remaining in Naggaroth? Had pride succumbed to foolishness? This war of Flesh and Blood would claim another young life.

As he watched the Khainites drew apart to allow their Lord-General through.
Dismounting from his cold one Thornblood addressed his aid with a cold tone in his voice.
“Have Vraneth Brought to my tent.”
The aid nodded and walked down the hill towards Vraneth who was being greeted with excitement among the Priestesses of Khaine. Thornblood turned from this site and walked the short distance to his tent. As he walked in the Slaves that lurked outside silently walked in and began to set up a table, two gold goblets were placed upon the table and taking a jug from a nearby slave Thornblood carefully poured out the contents into the goblets. Thornblood dismissed the slaves with a wave of his hand and waited for Vraneth to appear. Thornblood was old; his memory stretched back millennia as he tried to re-collect the first time he had met Khael all those years ago. His mind however was brought back to the present when Khael with no announcement, strode arrogantly into the tent. Thornblood rose and greeted the Lord-General with vigour
“Greetings Khael, It has been a long time.”
“Too Long Thornblood” Sighed Khael as he held out his hand.
Thornblood took the outstretched hand and shook it. After a few moments Khael sat down, and taking the goblet gulped down the wine in one go.
“Well Vraneth,” Began Thornblood but Khael interrupted him
“How goes the War Thornblood?”
“Many Asur die.” Replied Thornblood before continuing, “What brings you south Vraneth?”
“I come to Avenge Kala!” snarled Vraneth standing up and towering over Thornblood. The Dread Lord stared at Vraneth carefully, the young were so dangerous in their anger. With a slow shake of his head, long silver hairs caught the tinge of the cool torchlight shattering and reflecting it's light amongst the shadows within the tent. “The King demands of us all, even our lives. Kala was condemned, Vraneth, you know this too well.”
Khael glared at Thornblood for a moment who took in Khael Vraneth’s appearance. Gone was the tall helm and young mind, perhaps in its place some shrewd mind had replaced a bit of the youth's anger, and upon the face a fresh scar was born upon the left cheek.
“Sit down, please” Asked Thornblood in a quiet voice.
Khael looked at Thornblood for a moment before asking a question that caught the Dread Lord somewhat off guard.
“Why do you use the Cult?”
Thornblood countered quickly as his sharp mind grasped what Khael was up to.
“I only use them because our King orders me to use all available Druchii to fight the heretical Asur.”
“I see” said Khael quietly as he sat down again.
“Yes” said Thornblood emotionlessly as he smiled thinly at Khael.
There was silence as Khael thought for a moment; Thornblood in the pause sipped his wine as he watched Khael get up and pace around the tent.
“Well Vraneth,” said Thornblood breaking the silence “I am in command here and my orders are clear, to Use all available forces to take the City of Arnheim, at any cost”
“Maybe” replied Khael as he walked towards the entrance of the tent. “But I don’t serve you!”
Thornblood rose up as Khael walked out of the tent; hurriedly he followed Vraneth and overtook him near the top of the Hill where he was talking to Tualarc. Still the troops chanted his name.
“Don’t you understand, Vraneth?” asked Thornblood emotionlessly. “Have you not learned from Kala or from that Lonicera at least? Disobedience to the Master means only death. Serve your punishment and win reward overseas and perhaps in time the King will see fit to allow your return. You can have no honor here, only a fool's reward.”
Vraneth suddenly stiffened as he rose up to his full height. Turning his eyes seemed to Spark as he snarled at the Dread lord
“Listen Thornblood, I Serve no lesser General Now! I only serve two Generals, and neither of them is here. No Let me be!”
Thornblood breathed deep as he fought to control a mixture of anger and sadness he had not felt for years. Regaining his composure he said emotionlessly
“Very well Khael. You have made your choice.”
Khael glared at Thornblood whom fell back slightly as Khael advanced. Snarling he grabbed Thornblood by the Scarf that was about his neck. Lifting him slightly so their faces were level he spat into his face.
“I don’t obey you!”
"Vraneth," gasped Thornblood. "Take care! You display your weaker emotions for all the lesser Druchii to witness."
Vraneth snarled and released Thornblood. "Take care yourself, Thornblood," he said. "When will your time come?" Haughtily the General strode away with his retinue.
Thornblood sighed as he looked at the retreating Lord-General, Quietly he said to himself.
“So be it”
There was a moment’s silence before he addressed the aid beside him.
“I shall return to my tent. Have the army await my return.”
“Yes my Lord” replied the aid with an eager glee in his eye as he watched Khael’s Forces march off.
Deep shadows squirmed within the depths of the tent. Thornblood, seated at the table, stared at a map as the voice from the shadows spoke softly.
"So, Thornblood, he has chosen his path."
"It shall be as the Master has decided."
"Indeed."
***************************************************************
The assassin padded silently through the long grass that surrounded Khael’s Camp. All around him the Maibd and the warriors under Khael’s command re-lived their glorious victory against the Cult. Silently he grabbed a nearby guard and slit his throat. Carefully he picked his way across the camp, hiding in shadows here, crawling behind barrels there. Finally he leapt upon a cart and surveyed the lay of the land quickly. He saw the great tent at the centre of the camp. Pausing he heard a noise. Coming out of a tent two Maibd appeared in front of him. Snarling he leapt from the cart. The Maibd didn’t even have time to react as the assassin’s daggers plunged into their throats.
Carefully he laid their bodies out of sight and took their daggers; slowly he coated them in black lotus poison. Smiling in triumph he ran the short distance to The Lord-General’s tent, darting in under the awning he rose up a dagger in both hands. He paused and surveyed the tent and in horror he looked around the empty tent. Khael was not there! The Assassin swung round as a figure clad in black appeared in the entrance in one hand a sword and in the other a Glaith. Snarling the figure lunged at him. The assassin had scares enough time to block the sword before the Glaith severed his spine, grimacing in pain the assassin fell to the ground and his fading eyes looked up as the black figure removed a shall from his face. A look of anger passed upon the face of the assassin as he said in his last breath.
“You!”
“Yes me!” replied the figure as he be-headed the assassin.
******************************************************************
Khael lay crouched amid some rocks before the gates of Arnheim; carefully he looked around as shades around him made soft bird noises to each other, the blood shade beside him nodded as Khael drew a dagger. Turel was cursing fate that had led her here but she was woken from her trance with a shake as Khael placed a hand on her shoulder. Turel nodded and began to chant. A low mist began to form about the gates and spread outward like a great empire as it covered all lands in its grasp. Soon most of the valley lay under this thick fog. Nodding Khael and Turel stood up and walked forward towards the great steel gates. Long ago they hard be made and for millennia they had protected Arnheim and now they still stood unmarked as smooth and pure as the day they were made, but not for long.
“Now Turel” muttered Khael to the sorceress.
Turel muttered a few words and an eerie silence fell over the gates.
Khael nodded and said to the gates.
“This is For Kala!”
Slowly Khael took the dagger and began to carve a series of runes upon the gate. Although the ancient gates had withstood the sands of time and the battering rams of enemies, they could not stand up to the dagger of Meteoric Iron in Khael’s hands. After what seemed an Age Khael finished, pausing he ran a hand across the scar upon his left cheek. Smirking he added the mark below what he had carved. He stood and viewed his work for a moment before returning to the rocks. The blood shade whistled and he, Turel and the shades fell back.
The Next morning however, as the Asur opened the gates to send out their scouts they were horrified to find the ancient gates defiled. Upon them in Druchii runes was carved.
“Kala Shall Be Avenged!”
Fear gripped the colony as word of the defilement spread but who carved them, they would never know.
*******************************************************************
Khael meanwhile had returned to his camp and was not surprised to find a dead assassin in his tent, smiling he ordered his dark riders to send the corpse to Thornblood and after a few hours sleep his forces continued their march south along the bleak coast. Finally about noon they arrived at a great headland and out in the bay a black ark lay. Upon the shore a single elf stood waiting, walking forward he greeted Khael
“Welcome my lord, to Desolation bay”
“Thank you, Khalek” replied Khael smiling at the captain of the black ark “Make sure everyone of my troops is brought aboard.”
“Yes my lord” said Khalek as he turned and signalled the ark.
For the next 6 hours transports ferried Khael’s troops to the ark finally Khael, himself left the shore and he watched the shore grow ever more distant finally they went out of sight completely as the transport entered the great cavern that was the Black Arks Dock. Stalactites and Stalagmites grew from the floor and the ceiling as the ship docked in a great stone berth. A slave appeared out of no where and showed Khael up a flight of steps and into the great courtyard that had once aeons ago been a fortress that had guarded the northern entrance of the Dragon pass. Up the tall tower they went and finally near the top the slave inserted a key and showed Khael His spacious quarters. His desk and chair were there along with his trunk. Smiling Khael took the key from the slave and then walked out and locked the iron door. Walking up a narrow flight of steps he arrived at the top of the tower, there the captain waited with several sorceresses. All of them bowed low as Khael appeared.
“Your orders my lord?” Inquired Khalek
“Go west” Replied Khael “To Far Cathay and Nippon.”
“Aye my lord” nodded the captain who then began ordering the sorceresses.
Khael meanwhile watched as Naggaroth, the sun setting behind the distant mountains. Sighing Khael wished he was home already.
“Farewell Naggaroth” Said Khael to himself “One day I shall return!”
Turning Khael left the tower and returned to his quarters. His Exile had now well and truly begun!

To Be Concluded….

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"For every victory there is a defeat, for every defeat there is a victory. My victory, my defeat are for all to see..."
Khael Vraneth, Lord-General of Khaine.


Last edited by Voodoomaster on Mon Feb 14, 2005 10:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Feb 14, 2005 10:23 pm
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Great writing, although your usual capitals Sometimes disrupt the story a Little ;)

Can't wait to read the end...


Mon Feb 14, 2005 10:42 pm
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quite a gd article, hope the end is as gd! well done, kurlan

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Thu Feb 17, 2005 5:13 pm
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