What is this sudden scene before your eyes? A vision, a tale, an endless sleep?
What is this dream of sight and sound that brings angels down to ground to weep?
– The Book of The Arrani, passage 2:12
Existence in the Shadow Spire is an odd thing to view from the outside. The greatest of all Demon Lords of the Abyss inhabit its halls and engage in a slow and calculated game for supreme command, where each move can take seconds or centuries. In a place that breeds so much chaos, to those of insight, there can be found an awkward and twisted balance in this struggle. Those who are most powerful stand lone, while those who are slightly less align in pairs; while those who are weaker still align in groups. The result is a perpetual standoff and when one grows in strength, the alignments shift appropriately. It is the one element to the Shadow Spire that remains constant and balanced against all reason; everything else is pure chaos.
Unknown to most, one such pairing of Demon Lords have had quite the impact on the prime material plane over the last few millennia. If their recent plans go unchecked; if good mortals fail to stand tall on Arawyn and defy these demons from the depths of their souls, then that impact will swell in the coming years, pushing the world to the brink of no return. Already it seems as if it might be too late…
* * * * *
Xualla stood tall over the oddly shaped obsidian table. He runs his slender pale white hands through his blood red hair while studying the pieces upon it carved from decaying imp bones. The table itself is single large obsidian carving, shaped like a map of the prime material plane; the more roughly cut areas depicting the seas, and separating the continents from the oceans. The carved bones seem scattered as if haphazardly thrown upon it; but the demon lord knows better. Every carving has a purpose and every piece has been carefully laid into place. There are many pieces.
His thoughts are interrupted by heavy footfalls down the hall and then the sound of rusted armor grinding against itself. He looks up from the map and considers the noise; his partner in chaos approaches. Balfurous enters the room storming to the table, a lumbering hulk outfitted in a glorious suit of chaos plate mail, adorned with bones of all his most recent kills. The two have held a close alliance for over two thousand years. One compliments the others strengths perfectly, Xualla is a personal maelstrom of metaphysical chaos, and Balfurous a juggernaught of unstoppable force. Their alliance is how they have survived in the Shadow Spire for so long and it is how they will grow in power, enough to one day separate and stand on their own.
The map before them is reflective of their work on the prime material plane over countless centuries. They grow in power from the chaos they are responsible for creating. They have set the board meticulously, lining up the pieces perfectly and soon they will push one over; and like standing tablets they will all fall in sequence, spinning the world off course and surging them both a windfall of much earned power.
They speak in the guttural tones of the abyss, yet even still through some unexplainable means, their conversation is understood.
After pacing about uncomfortably, Balfurous strides away from the table and settles his massive frame into a large dark iron chair in some corner of the room. Xualla still stands staring at the map, stroking his blood red beard. Finally Balfurous leans forward and sais what is on both of their minds. “We have been down the road of disappointment before brother. The work was done and carefully laid out, and the power flowed in like a tease, but the final surge was cut short and centuries of work seemed wasted…”
“Ulerog” mumbled Xualla through his own hand.
“ULEROG!” repeated Balfurous in anger.
“Our greatest accomplishment”
“YOUR greatest failure!” Balfurous rose from his chair and grinded his gauntlet, loudly against the handle of his axe.
“OUR greatest!” Xualla turned an annoyed eye on his partner and surged his essence, flaring it, blinding the room with it as a reminder of his own great power. “We BOTH have that project to blame for our power now. We BOTH reaped the benefits of the results, and yes I too was disappointed by how it ended, but the scenario played a great purpose non-the less.”
Balfurous grunted something illegible under his breath and relaxed his pose, settling back down into his chair. He knows that Xualla is right despite the disappointment he has never been able to forget; it grinds on his nerves every day of his existence “Does it not bother you that even still we do not know what happened?”
Xualla pauses for a moment, contemplating the question, but ultimately shakes it off “It does not matter. We have moved on.” Glancing down at the table, he taps his finger on a piece sitting in a familiar area. “We neutralized Travance over a decade ago. He was the only major threat to our plan and he was the last of his kind on the prime material plane. Resistance will be minimal.”
“What of the Dragon?”
“It is only a manifestation of a long dead dra…”
“No. The other one.”
Xualla stopped for a moment to consider the one living dragon on the prime material plane. “It shouldn’t interfere, in fact it should only serve to help. If it does however become a problem, a solution is already in place.” Xualla outstretches his open palm and from a dark corner floats a long glimmering object. It travels to the Demon Lords hand as his grip tightens around it. It is a spear, ornate and surging with power, riddled with draconic carvings. “The spear has been reformed. If the dragon interferes we will put him back to sleep.“
“What of the trapped Fae?”
Xualla raised a brow. “You really are worried. It doesn’t become you. He does not care about the world anymore. Our distractions have worked, but the fleeting mind of mortals have worked far greater; the mortals have been too slow to deal with him. The threshold of time was crossed years ago, even if they could eventually make him care and restore him, it would take them far too long to do so. It is too late for that angle. The Dark Fae will play no part in this story; that much is certain.
“What of him? As long as we do not approach his precious tower, he will not bother with us.
“There are other forces to consider…”
“None of consequence. The pieces are all in place and we have waited long enough. It is time brother…” Xualla holds out his palm face down over the map, as one of the pieces floats gingerly up below it, hovering awkwardly in the air. It spins, it shakes, it pulses, it creaks; it bulges and finally it explodes, shattered fragments blowing to the four corners of the room, residual dust gently floating back down to cover the map. The table begins to shake violently…
* * * * *
A pulling is felt as if someone is urging you to go somewhere. The scene becomes blurred then black, and as unexpectedly as things started, it ends with the feeling of being cut free from some rope or binding and then a sudden falling as if being stirred awake too soon. Not however without some lingering thought that perhaps somehow and by something, you were noticed…
What happened? Was it a dream, or vision? A blessing bestowed by the forces of good; a premonition granted by a prophetic being; or a boisterous taunting from the very dark source itself?
What will you experience at the Dec 2012 Knight Realms Event? …