Genesis of rebellion
Only seven were left. Driven from the field of battle by an inglorious defeat, they fled north, hoping against hope to survive long enough to find the Dreamweaver. They tore through the wrack and ruin produced by the Suthin Horde’s wanton destruction, the once proud cities of their people now devastated shells with the slaughtered inhabitants lying in the streets. The Bezkrae warriors of General Téramba were rarely more than half a day in their wake, laying waste to the landscape as they sought the seven fugitives.
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General Téramba lounged in the resplendent throne of the erstwhile High King. His Honor guard and secret warriors, the Sunt, waited upon him as the armies of the Suthin routed the last semblance of resistance out of his newly conquered lands. The general’s massive battle axe, carved with Sutan runes and scarred like its master from countless duels and battles, lay propped up against one side of the throne. On the other side of the throne, a titanic saber with a simple basket hilt and a notched blade leaned against the throne, looking slightly out of place among the noble and refined architecture in the palace.
The General himself was a giant of a man, easily eight feet tall, with closely cropped sand-colored hair. He wore a loose shirt of chain mail over a blood red tunic, with a kilt made from a lion’s pelt covered his legs. His eyes were devoid of any emotion, the black orbs seemingly dead. Those that knew him called him soulless, a warrior without a conscience or moral code. However, this was not entirely true. The General had a moral code, but it applied only to combat. He had sold his soul to gain his kingdom, and his conscience had died long ago.
He often thought of the beginning of it all, the horror and shadow that had brought him to this throne, the murderous rage that called itself Froldr the Destroyer. A rebel spirit that had been fighting Çaban ever since being thrown out of the
the demon had been setting his sights on a union with a man that would topple
the earth to its knees. He had found a
soul that would not object to the union in Téramba. kingdom of Light
Téramba had originally been a private in the army of Suthen with something to prove. Raiders from the Northlands had killed his parents and both of his siblings, leaving him for dead. The boy had fought his way into the army before dueling his way into the officer corps by killing several colonels and a captain in the army. The old general, an ancient warlord named Hundfrír Ironfist, had observed the young champion with trepidation as the young man rose through the ranks of the warhost. He said to his heart as he watched the young man, “I must have him killed, for in this man I see my downfall.” Hundfrír sent several of his champions to challenge Téramba, but each was systematically destroyed by the berserker. The young soldier eventually saw the futility of fighting the trained lapdogs of the elderly Wrake Thmord, or battle master of the Suthen clans, and believed that his path would be far simpler if he could simply rise to the top of the command staff by killing the battle master. In order to accomplish his scheme, however, he needed a power greater than his own. He could not defeat the most powerful man in Suthen without a warhost, and he did not have many friends in the army.
That had been when the spirit had come to him. At first arrayed as a man in a black cloak that carried a flaming sword called Vengeance, the shade had appeared in Téramba’s dreams and offered him power beyond all reckoning, an army that would subjugate the universe. The only price was to be control of the young chieftain’s soul. Desperate to see his time come, Téramba had accepted the offer.
The first dividends of partnership with Froldr had been a war leader named Trysdhin. A disgraced captain in the staff of the Wrake Thmord, he had also been visited by the treacherous spirit in his sleep and told to go to Téramba for a new leader. Together, the crafty duo had recruited from the best of the best in the Suthin army a corps of champion fighters. These were the first of the Bezkrae. With these warriors at his side, Téramba began to forge weapons for himself and his men, not piddling army issue swords or shields these: the blades forged before the battle were monstrous, made by forgotten arts taught to this chief by the Destroyer in order to make for himself a host worthy of legend. An axe that was twice the size of anything ever seen on the earth before was built for the chieftain, along with a saber that was so heavy that a regular man needed two hands just to lift it off the ground. With weapons like these he armed his men, first training them to be the strongest of the strong and the cruelest of the cruel. After he deemed himself ready, he threw off his disguised subservience and challenged Hundfrír to pitched battle on the plains of Gorodovw.
When the general received the summons to battle, his heart was heavy in his breast, for he knew that his doom would be on this field. Even so, he raised the standard of the Crimson Bear and rallied his forces at the city of
. He raised a force that numbered twoscore and
one thousands of foot soldiers and two thousands of cavalry before he left the
city. His army moved like a black carpet
over the land, crawling to the place of battle.
The two forces met at the northern end of the plains. Téramba and his Bezkrae held the high ground on a bluff overlooking the rest of the field, and Hundfrír and his army were arrayed on the plains beneath. Téramba looked over the army that had come to fight him, and his heart swelled with pride. With a victory here, he would attain immortality, and if he was defeated, he would go to the halls of his fathers with a broken axe in one hand and a splintered sword in the other. He grabbed the standard of the Black Dragon from one of his warriors and planted it on the ridgeline, yelled out the war cry of his warband, and charged down the slope, followed by a screaming mass of his men. They plowed into the enemy line with alacrity, slicing and hacking at anything that tried to defend itself. Many a sword was riven and shield splintered on that day. The Bezkrae tide was unstoppable in its wild charge, going in and out of the enemy line with the speed of a whirlwind. The war leaders under the Wrake Thmord tried innumerable times to regroup their forces, but the rout was too complete to stem the tide. In the end, only the War leaders of his army remained defending the standard with their chief. However, they were slain one by one, until all save Hundfrír were slain. Then the forces of Téramba made a ring around the two chiefs in preparation for the ending of the conflict.
Hundfrír gazed at his conqueror with disgust. “Thou art indeed a fool if you think to best me.”
Téramba smiled icily, and there, in front of the assembly of the Bezkrae, he took at last the spirit to possess his mortal body. Instantly, he grew another two feet, towering over his opponent. “I never wanted to best you. I only will satisfy myself with total annihilation.” The ancient warlord had no chance.
After the victory at Gorodovw, Téramba and his army assimilated the broken host of the Crimson Bear and began to make war on the border outposts of Westhane and carving out larger bits of territory for his empire. Armies levied by the High King were threatened and ignored by this overwhelming force. There was little that the hapless Drymwender could do against Téramba, since over half of his army was already supplied by Suthen. The Bezkrae horde swept through Westhane like an evil wind, leaving the ailing king of the western kingdom without defense when Téramba crushed him and his army at Trunsvorn.
The next kingdom to fall had been the Nolténar. This kingdom made a stiffer resistance than the westerners, but the end result was the same. The king of the Nolte was slain in defense of his hall and the Suthin took lordship over yet another kingdom. However, the core of the Nolten army had escaped to a secret fortress somewhere in the barren
, from which they carried
on a fierce guerilla war with the occupying troops. Dark
Entáré was the last free nation in the land. Seeing the folly of attempting to defend either the wide border that they shared with both Westhane and Nolténar or the eastern capital of Krunçvrim, the warriors of King Rejnar Blackwind rallied with the army of the High King at the royal citadel, Valnoria. Many called that day the darkest in the history of the world. The forces of Téramba broke over and over upon the shield wall of the allied warriors, yet the general always rallied his troops and led another charge into the hedge of spears.
Many were the shields that were cleft in two by axe and sword upon that day. The courageous Honor Guard of the Drymwender charged over and over into the horde of Suthin warriors, always creating chaos and many casualties within the rebellious ranks. However, each time they made their sally out and then back into the citadel, fewer returned. The Drymwender, seeing that the end of his time as king had come, summoned his seven greatest warriors and sent them out through a postern gate to find the next High King. Their only clue as to where to look was “Go to the Mountains and enter the Gate. Once you arrive, you will find him quickly.”
On their way out of the city, the seven ran into a patrol of Suthin warriors. The Suthin were cut down quickly, but several escaped and reported the fugitives. Téramba sent a cohort of Bezkrae after the fleeing warriors and then returned to the main battle. Fourscore and seven thousands were slain in the battle, but the battle ended in victory for the warriors of Suthen. The Drymwender was slain, and Téramba set himself upon the throne of the Four Nations as king. He appointed his four chief lieutenants to the kingships of the four nations and focused his efforts on finding the Northern Rebels. As he extended his iron grip toward the north, Téramba missed his chance to capture the last of the king’s warriors. They disappeared like wraiths into the northern lands and strove to bring to fruition the Drymwender’s last command.