The start of a legacy: The Cult of the Vile Rose (+UPDATE 1)
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Author:  Dangerous Beans [ Thu Mar 01, 2012 2:30 am ]
Post subject:  The start of a legacy: The Cult of the Vile Rose (+UPDATE 1)

So, I'm attempting to revamp and redo all of my druchii models and try to get them up to the standard I had always hoped for! However I also wish to really sketch out a background fluff with an initial army list in mind and then sculp/change it as the list progresses and likely my opinion of the background along with it until I am happy with a firm final result...

Fleshing out/basics:
- the cult began a nomadic and scouting war party clan of Hedron and Skaera Darkeyes: a prominent highborn and prophetess before the Sundering, that patrolled the Shadowlands for future daemonic or greenskinned incursions. Skaera sired a sons and 2 daughters with Hedron.
- quickly became intoxicated and obsessed over the cults of cythari and outwardly expressed these tendencies.
- Skaera supported lady morathi through predicting the future and teaching her the art of precognition. In return Skaera was rewarded with dark teachings of sorcery and the dark art.
- The sundering saw Skaera support Morathi and Hedron take the side of his king in the fight for their kingdom.
- However during the fighting, their son was slain by a caledorian dragon knight. Hedron and Skaera vowed to avenge their beloved prodigy.
- Following the sundering, the Darkeye clan seperated from the main druchii force and took to occupying and forcing a way of life in the blackspine mountains: Skaera breaking the will of many winged, baleeyed beasts to better protect and scout their territory against the other slowly establishing Shade colonies - notably that of House Maglen: the famed explored of the underworld sea.
- Indeed it was the Darkeyes that instigated the expulsion of Kaledor Maglen and his family from Clar Kharond and began a new, albeit brief stranglehold over the city that saw increased prosperity for the Darkeyes until control was wrested back, but not before one of the Maglen's black arks had seen all of its crew slain and the vessel stolen during a night of one horrific storm. Some of the few witnesses who were lucky enough to survived being outside during the red lightning storm whisper that the Ark had lifted up into the air as if the clouds themselves gave the lumps of black rock and turrents an eerie ability to hover and fly away.
- However prior to the Clar Kharond plot, the Darkeyes had never been a prosperous clan, until the discovery of an extraordinarily rare and precious commodity: the black needled rose. The petals being a two-toned mix of purple and blue in colour contrasted greatly with the strangely vibrant and lush green of the stem and leaves of the plant: colours that the Darkeye family went on to adopt as their own personal heraldry in years to come.
- The discovery of the plant was made by none other than Skaera and Hedron's 4th daugher (since arriving they had successfully had another 3 sons and 2 daughters) Viele 'the winter wolf', who had been deemed dead following a hunting expedition deep into the forested lakes west of Hag Graef. There, she and her small party came across the young manticore they had been pursuing as part of the rites of age to become an adult. They had tracked the beast along to a very dark and sizeable valley set high in the Iron Mountains and overlooking the larger glacial valley itself. Thick slate and granite rocks littered the valley with very occasional pockets of swamp and stagnant still water, fed by a mountain stream at the top of the valley. The monster did not appear to be alive and seemed to lay dead amongst a thicket of these wonderous flowers, blooming even in the heart of winter. Immediately two of her retinue stalked forward, urathiens ready to fire should the beast still be in its death throes, for steam rose from its body and it had clearly died only mere hours before Viele's arrival.
- As the two dark riders leant close to the kill, without warning one of the elves cried out in anguish as he had cut his trouser on the sharp thorns of the roses and within seconds had collapsed onto the flank of the manticore.
- Apparently the beast had not yet died, and roused by the contact of the first dark rider, it attempted to turn around on the other rider who fired several bolts into the beast's exposed belly even as its knife like claw took the elf through the chin and into his cranial cavity.
- Viele immediately realised the danger that the flowers posed, and though near death, the beast had not given up yet and staggered to its feet, the limp corpses of the now dead riders trampled under its muscled legs.
- The creature turned onto the next nearest rider and began a slow and limped but lolloping run, wings beating slowly to try and aid its charge. What then passed saw Viele slay the manticore by leaping atop its back whilst it attacked another rider. She plunged her khaine etched cermonial thumb claw into the monster's eye, puncturing the cerebelum and paralysing the creature; leaving its now still form to die a slow death having brutally savaged another two of her party members. Her lover, and former raven herald remained as the only other survivor.
- Viele then cut a very thick chunk of hair from the young manticore's mane and used the thick brissles to wrap around and pluck one of the plants from its resting place.
- The plant was explored and dissected obsessively by Viele upon her return to the clan's outpost, but eventually light of her finding was uncovered by her mother when the beasts head showed traces of an unknown poison: indeed Skaera's slave who picked up the head had dropped dead on the floor scant minutes afterwards. Viele was instructed to take Hedron, Skaera and her sisters - a sorcerous pair of twins to the site of her findings.
- The sight of such a verdant field of these beautiful but utterly deadly flowers immediately drew Skaera and Hedron to the same conclusion as their young daughter: these flower's could spell great power for themselves. The family's luck it seems was finally on the rise.
- The clan's outpost location was entirely uprooted and in small groups the clan's entire population migrated to the secret valley of the vile rose, many were blindfolded to maintain the secret of its location, and few were entrusted to learn of the value of their new found hope. The manticore
- Over time, this distrust of many of the lesser members of the Darkeye clan meant a new strict order and policed system began with fortifying the area as much to keep their people from escaping as it was for outsiders to enter into the valley, though the vast majority of the lesser members of the Darkeyes did not realise this and obeyed unquestionably.
- Cultivation of the plant began in earnest and Viele became the chief envoy for House Vile as they became known in the wider druchii society. It was Viele's role to source a consistent buyer and one who would pay greatly for this discovery. However Viele knew that this would not work in the longer term for her family: and that in fact her own aspirations would greatly serve those of her family and mean she finally had the freedom to escape that damned valley. Her plan required intiation into the cult of Khaine and to become a priestess of the god of murder, using the family's poison as a bargaining tool. She wrote a letter explaining this to her family and had her lover deliver it personally before was never heard from again for a decade.
- However Viele's poison had gained a great deal of interest from the Hag Queens who had quickly realised the scope of its use and had even assigned a small amount to one of the assassins on an important kill. They had been pleased with the results and named the potent liquid 'Manbane' after the gender of the first assassinated target to die of its effects.
- The Darkeyes began and established a long standing agreement with the cults of Khaine across the Naggarothi cities, and this became cemented when Viele was one day revealed to have excelled in the Temple and become a death hag herself, which meant the Darkeyes gained access to the use of assassins and even could call on Viele Manbane's (as she was now known) own brides of Khaine: the bloodsirens.

The Darkeyes remain a fiercely resilient people, surviving in their own secret city, cultivating not only the land's greatest poison but also the increased revenue had meant new training initiatives: taming the horrific and terrifying beasts that plague the land around and upon occasion in the past attempted to assault the secret city, despite the powerful black etched runes of disguise and stealth that Skaera and the twins had carved around the fortress walls. A tunnel network had been established beneath the valley and allowed for a few exit or entrance points, including a discovery to the west of an entrance into the the underworld sea: a site where the Darkeye fleet is said to remain docked, though few have ever set eye on the cleverly hidden Shade Port.

Since their attempt on Clar Kharond, the Darkeyes have kept their cards close to their chest as they always do, however many hear whispers of aspiration to claim the ironfrost glacier and the altar of ultimate darkness itself: an objective that Morathi herself sought to understand and use in the brief rise of the pleasure cults before Malekith returned to the captial and quelled the uprising and near civil war between the Khainites and Slaanesh worshippers. But who knows of the aspirations of such a powerful and secretive family: a family that Malekith is said to use as his own secret police to keep the other noble families at bay from his throne...

Author:  Drainial [ Sun Mar 04, 2012 12:15 am ]
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I can tell you have put alot of thought into this. It is well presented, well thought out, not exessively overpowered, all you can ask from a background really.

Author:  Dangerous Beans [ Sun Mar 04, 2012 11:52 pm ]
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Thanks drainial, I will be filling out more as a timeline eventually and then hope to write individual stories and fluff based on it with more detail, perhaps even with maps eventually over the coming months. Its my inspiration to put my dark elf army together as a whole hobby piece, and includes the use of blue/purple rose on the bases and movement trays as well as manticore and rose insignia on banners etc.

I'd be very keen to hear your opinion (and anyone elses too of course) as I progress this thread and start trying to really extend my army as a whole :)

Author:  Dangerous Beans [ Wed Apr 25, 2012 9:13 pm ]
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Vilebrier: the City of Thorns

- Visually disguised by the runic insignia carved into its walls and turrets by Skaera and the sorceress coven known as The Order Of Thorns. Though visually obscured, the gigantic monsters and beasts of the surrounding wilderness can detect the scent of the population of Vilebrier and attacks occur on a fairly regular basis. However the Darkeye House turn this to their advantage and capture the creatures using differing amounts of poisons to sedate or tranquillise them. The great beasts are then enslaved to the druchii's will only for them to be set forth as mounts or goaded in by Autarii trained in the arts of beast mastership or sorceresses of the Thorn Coven who study the dark arts of monster manipulation and shape changing metamorphoses.

- The Darkeyes were once reputed rulers of an Autarii (shade) clan, until their hunger for power caused them to take full advantage of the commodity that they happened to stumble upon: the Vile Rose. Immediately after this they gathered or enslaved all other shade clans in their near vicinity and made a mass migration across the Blackspine mountains to the swamp-glades of the Vile Rose.

- The city has strong ties to the Temple of Khaine and the Convent of Sorceresses but holds no real tie or strong obligation to either cause: even the wider, traditional Autarii society for which the Darkeyes are still held in high, if bitter, esteem. Indeed both the Convent and the Temple are indebted to the Darkeyes for differing reasons:
1. the Convent because it is Skaera Darkeyes and her coven of thorns who train numerous sorceresses in the arts of precognition and the ability to read the winds of magic or to transport themselves to the very realms of the chaos gods themselves to witness and read the tides of change. Indeed Malekith himself, who had been taught the secrets of these arts by Skaera, had to implement their use during the Battle of Finuvial Plain where upon he cast himself into the realm of chaos instead of being obliterated by a lightning bolt from Teclis.
2. the Temple of Khaine because of the production and creation of Manbane for their temples and adepts, a poison so strong that it is said to bring down even the largest of creatures: though its simple name would imply otherwise - a subtle fact that accurately reflects the ways that the Darkeye's Cult of the Vile Rose operate.

- However despite these ties and reputations, the location of Vilebrier is a fact shrouded in mystery. Indeed the society that is operated and held in check by the Darkeyes is one of near entire subservience and submission: for even the inhabitants are rarely permitted to leave the boundaries of the City of Thorns.

- The city is riven with a vast network of underground tunnels and caves beneath the ground which provides the predominant population of Vilebrier. It is within these caverns that the populations dwell or to travel to its hidden city gates, though only ever under the strictest of orders from those of the direct Darkeye bloodline. Work is conducted on mixing and distilling the components of Manbane: the poisonous commodity for which Vilebrier earns its wealth and reputation whilst other caverns host the bestiary of monsters and nightmarish creatures that the Darkeyes will unleash in times of war or festivals of sport or the meat beasts that are bred and provide sustenance for the underground druchii.

- Because of the lack of sunlight that the druchii of Vilebrier are exposed to (and their tendency to fight and operate at night), the Shade warriors of the
city have a very obviously porcelain white skin colour and eyes of pitch black with an iris of pure white: the inverse of most other elves or humanoid creatures. Occasionally, children are born with much deeper and darker skin than their fellow shades, but the Autarii of Vilebrier are an incredibly superstitious and prejudiced people who will very often kill these 'Drow' on sight, unless the parents themselves do so first - which is regularly the case. Although, a few of these 'Drow' have been known to survive long enough to fend for themselves: these highly practical and adept warrirors never seem to remain for long and vanish from society almost always at a very young age. Some say that it is the Temple of Khaine who snatch away these children, though for what purpose - few but the ruling Darkeyes know...

- Though a much smaller population than the other major cities of Naggaroth, every member of vilebrier's society are tied to Autarii or Shade clan heritage, and as such retain the innate sense of skill and deadly prowess. The practice of stealth, subterfuge and the art of silent death are methods that are adopted by every member. Above ground, a substantially large area is set aside as an arena for both the practising of riding skills and for the entertainment and sport of the populace: obstacles and traps are laid and changed even as the riders race around the courses. Creatures and enslaved enemy troops are pitted against the riders or even individual shades who wish to prove themselves in front of the crowds - winning great repute and respect in doing so. It is not unusual in these regards for a single shade to dispatch and destroy many times their number of trained and regimented soldiers that are captured: using repeater crossbows to fire trick shots through holes in walls or eviscerate foes with their twin serrated blades and even to decapitate enemies with the large two handed ceremonial glaives.

- There are four great festivals put on each year for the worship and glory of Khaine at the equinoxes between every season and last for 3 days. The day before, the day of and the day after the equinox symbolises Khaine in the past, the present and the future. These festivals are always hosted in The Arena and see the full strata of games and duels between druchii and other races of enslaved captives who are brought forth from their mines in the lowest levels of Vilebrier. The time of day of the festivals depends on the season that is about to be entered: Winter (Chilldepth in Autarii) is hosted only during the deepest depths of night, Summer (Lifebreed in Autarii) in the full daytime, Spring (The Awakening) from the early pre-dawn hours in the start of the morning and Autumn (The Red Death) in the hours leading to sundown and twilight evening and into the early night.

- The various tournament forms hosted (such as Nightriding, Deathsniping, and single combat) during these 3 days will see equinox winners in each of the seasons: Chilldepth, Lifebreed, The Awakening and The Red Death. During the end of the year (stated as being at the peak of Chilldepth) these equinox champions of differing formats fight to the death to determine who is the ultimate champion for each style. These champions will then be accepted in the Darkeye Cult of the Vile Rose, which will then determine the level of these champions loyalty to the Darkeyes and the ability to keep the secrecy of Vilebrier's location. Not all champions will pass these criteria and those that do not will be killed by the dark drow assassins as soon as this becomes apparent. Those that do not flinch in their loyalty and trustworthiness (or those traits in Autarii society akin to these) will then be trained to lead Dark Riders and so be initiated into the old ways of the Nagarythe Raven Heralds or to command the bands of skirmishing Shades in battle. Very occasionally, a select few will even be chosen to lead the life of the silent destroyer, performing impossible missions set by the ruling Darkeyes.

edit: spelling errors, sentence structure & imagery have been improved... (30/4/2012)

Author:  Norelle [ Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:26 pm ]
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Nice job!!!

Author:  Dangerous Beans [ Sun Apr 29, 2012 9:14 pm ]
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Cheers Norelle! What do ya make of the Vilebrier section?

Author:  Norelle [ Mon Apr 30, 2012 10:40 am ]
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I love all of it, how in depth you went with the lore and all the little details!!!

Author:  Red... [ Mon Apr 30, 2012 12:35 pm ]
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First rate stuff! The city is imaginative and compelling, presenting a city which is unique from other dark elf ones, but which nonetheless contains criteria that make it sit very well indeed with the general lore for our race (the twisted thorns I think makes for an excellent grotesque parody of our asrai kin in particular). Thorns are a great trait for Dark Elves generally I think - they embody the elements of life and beauty which are associated with all flowers, but possess cruel and barbed points, which give them a darker and more dangerous side. They are also one of the few plants to be able to survive in our cold, harsh climate.

My only critique would be...by posting it here you risk GW stealing it ;)

Author:  Dangerous Beans [ Mon Apr 30, 2012 6:32 pm ]
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Dear Red & Norelle - thank you for your thoughts and criticisms! I personally would be honoured if GW stole my idea :) I really wanted some way to relate the bestial and survivalist nature of certain druchii cultures and how they existed in the wild and untamed lands of naggaroth: the reputation and commanding the respect of a nation as being the hardiest and well trained marksmen and even swordsmen (able to use great weapons and dual hand weapons - I aliken them to Ninjas) in the druchii army. I drew some influence from descriptions of the ancient Hashishin temples in the mountains - hidden away from society in the nestled eyrie's of the worlds greatest peaks.

The imagery of the rose was initially inspired by nothing more than the colourscheme I wish to produce for my army: a darker evergreen colour, purple and blue. It then made me realise that an emblem which tied these all together and made sense in terms of druchii imagery - as you mention Red: the hardiness of the plant but its cruel beauty and of course the barbed thorns of the stem itself. I then took this symbol and dissected it down a little: the petals of 2 colours: blue and purple represent the two sides of the Darkeye family - male and female. The barbed stem represents the population and 'barbed' army itself that supports the family - though this particular interpretation is lost on the noble Darkeyes. However the real deadliness of the Vile Rose are the actual petals themselves with contain the majority of the poison that later becomes distilled and concocted into Manbane.

You also hit upon a vague idea which I had in the back of my head whilst writing up the Vilebrier section yesterday: the coincidental tying together of the 3 elven nations: the asur relate to both the asrai and the druchii, but there is in fact little to no mention of the druchii in relation to the asrai. I merely wanted to reflect some of the similarities with regards to manipulation and abuse of the environments around them and the innate ability that the elves appear to be blessed with of gaining a very indepth knowledge of their surrounding terrain and how it works. Of course, this can mean that abuse is also possible and it is this perversion of the forests and scarring of the rocky mountainside which I wished to pick and run with.

I'll be attempting to run through many of the major characters at some point too, with some detail about the political system that is upheld within the Vile Rose Cult society - how gods are worshipped and the differing pantheon of Cytharii are still upheld to a near equal extent as Khaine himself.

I'll also be looking into the guardians of the nearby underworld gateway that the Vile Rose Cult is responsible for and from which their only Black Ark is disguised and 'anchored' (or at least as far as flying black ark *can* be anchored).

Later on I'll attempt to run through the role and relationship of Skaera Darkeyes and Morathi - they both have many similarities. I can't decide whether I want them to be allies that respect one another but are equally wary... or simply all out rivals and near enemies of each other - though previously 'best friends' (or at least as close as druchii can be to this concept! ;))

I'd VERY greatly appreciate the thoughts of anyone and everyone: positive or negative - though I'll do my best to explain why I have written what I have... :D

Author:  Tyrannus deathbringer [ Mon Apr 30, 2012 7:28 pm ]
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I really like this :D

Your concept uses the existing GW fluff as a base, yet exists in the space outside the official boundaries...and in doing so it not only carves its own niche but reflects more depth into the existing gameworld!

An excellent creation, Dangerous Beans, and I look forward to seeing the results of your backstory represented in model form :D

Author:  Dangerous Beans [ Mon Apr 30, 2012 9:05 pm ]
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Thanks Tyrannus! Yeah I have a rather odd looking colour scheme and a fairly grand idea in my head of how I *want* my army to look when shown off and displayed at tournaments etc... Not only did I also from GWs material but I shamelessly stole the drow 'argument' from DnD as well and gave a loose explanation for this and their considered minority in society - the equivalent of albinos if you like...

What did you make of the dark eldar-crossed with wood elf arenas to keep the population preoccupied and focusing their frustration/tension at effectively being penned in by a dictatorship / tyrannical dynasty? I'd like to address the uses and variety of the arenas at some point, but at the same time I don't want them to become 'warhammer wood elves meets dark eldar' in their cliches, though I'm not sure how to do that yet...

edit: spelling errors, sentence structure and punctuation has been checked and proof read! Should flow a little better now! ;)

Author:  Tyrannus deathbringer [ Tue May 01, 2012 6:11 pm ]
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There are a number of elements of your backstory which bring to mind Dark Eldar. In itself that is no bad thing as Dark Eldar have a nice 'twisted-high race' theme. As long as you don't let Dark Eldar influences predominate its a nice bit of inspiration to draw from. I think you have set the scene in Naggaroth well enough as things stand.

The shade clans dont have much existing fluff aside from references to a Sparta like culture, so there is a lot of room to flesh out that side of the Druchii world, and its similarities/differences with Wood Elves. Exploring those areas, as you note yourself, offers a lot of opportunities...

I think you have a great basic template for your army modelling, your writing, batreps, etc. I think the story of the Cult will flow and grow from what you have so far naturally...

Looking forward to stories/models :D

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