Pale moonlight filtered calmly through the stained glass windows of a once-great citadel, the murals once depicting heroes of justice and truth now twisted reminders of an age long gone. Blacker than the deepest shadows, with spires that crept up into the sky like overgrown ivy, the fortress stood strong amid the erratic wasteland around it, despite its constant state of erupting and quaking. It was a miracle a structure could remain so unchanged at the heart of the Chaos Wastes; or perhaps, it was a curse.

Atop the tallest tower, to which the only entrance was a single staircase, narrowly winding its way around the outside, was a chamber filled with ancient texts and runes of terrible power. At the center of the room, a shadowy figure peered over a pool of silvery liquid, swirling with dark and powerful energies as an image appeared upon it.

A prison of crystal surrounded the Flame Queen as a collection of spellcasters frantically worked to draw the corruption of negative energy out of her. One of the figures held a blackened witch’s heart high above him, focusing his might on containing it as Chaos poured from the faery into it. The crystal began to glow the red of dying embers as it shattered. With darkness gripping her no longer, the Flame Queen turned to address her saviors. Darkness fell over the vision as the observer willed it to change; if the faeries were no longer of use to him, he cared not for their fate.

Two Chimaera carried an orb of chaotic power through the gates of Vardemere, binding it with strands of white flame as it tried to latch on to anything it could reach. The beasts snarled at their charge, forcing it into obedience through power of will alone. The figure waved an ethereal hand over the surface of the pool, dismissing the image. He had no need to watch his tools be destroyed by Myrinod.

In an instant, the vision changed, revealing a small room empty save a table, a chair, and a broken shackle tethered to a ritual circle of blades. The figure moved to levitate over the pool and dissipated into it, appearing in the center of the circle shown by the scrying pool. He began to glide about the room, inspecting each detail and item out of place since his last visit, before snapping back to the circle. As quick as he appeared, time reversed around him, showing an illusion of what had transpired.

“This must be the ritual Necrophitus is using to siphon Chaos.” Upon hearing his name, the figure froze the illusion, taking great care to observe the face of the human sorcerer that spoke it. Necrophitus gazed over each intruder. He would remember these heroes, sure that they would remain a thorn in his side until he achieved his goals. With a flash, the scene was returned to the present, and the Eidolich returned to his tower. However, he would not remain there for long.

The structure of Necrophitus’s study began to shake, chaotic power swirling around him in his rage. Tomes fell off their shelves and landed on the floor with dull thuds as papers blew around the room, runes glowing and flashing upon them. A final image appeared upon the surface of the scrying pool, of a castle of obsidian in a land dark as the night.

“My prizes will be stolen from me no longer. This one will be even more powerful than the last.”

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