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Helion
11-24-2009, 04:03 AM
This is a story I had whipped up a few weeks ago for a thread in the old forums. I'm quite proud of it, and just wanted to make sure it was saved from oblivion. I've put thought towards updating it, and making a full fledged story out of it. Comments are appreciated. ;)

Ex-Lord Assassin Morghoul stumbled on through the wastes. Battered from combat, his blade still caked in the blood of his fellow Skorne, he sought only one thing. Survival. In the dead of night he came upon the crossing his rightful liege had wrought. One that would have all but guaranteed the prosperity of his people in another time. Now it was but another obstacle that he had to overcome. Coming upon the first set of venator sentries, he stopped. Knowing single mistake would cost him his life, he swiftly disabled each sentry one after another without so much as a sound. After stiking the final killing blow, he disappeared amongst the terrain of the place. His instincts were sharp, his eyes sharper. Utilizing every skill in the art of silence he had ever learnt, and powered by his sheer will to live, he made his way across the abyss. Even his hardened heart felt the throb of guilt at every sentry he slew, but he knew that to be caught would mean death.

It had been some weeks since the debacle at the Abyssal Fortress. Makeda and her lieutenants stormed the walls in perfect synchronization, yet the forces of the Great Deceiver, Vinter Raelthorn were just too much. In the midst of the battle, Morghoul had witnessed the dual which saw Vinter sever the very head of his liege from her shoulders. In a rage the likes of which few have ever beheld, Morghoul threw himself at his foe, knowing that to fail would doom his race to a fate worse than death. One of servitude. Yet the powerful warrior was too much. Effortlessly deflecting blow after blow from the Lord Assassin, Vinter saw his opening. With a speed no man should be capable of, Vinter drove a great blow with his gauntleted fist into Morghoul's diaphragm, stunning him just long enough for a final death blow. Knowing he had failed, Morghoul channeled all the power he could muster into a final wave of agony centered on Vinter. The ploy worked, Vinter lost momentum long enough for Morghoul to roll away from the blade. But Morghoul had only bought enough time for a frantic escape into the wastes of his homeland.

Weeks passed as he traveled. He did not know to what end of the earth he would have to go to have his revenge, but he knew that he would have it, no matter the cost. He cast aside his armor and donned a cloak purloined from a small village. With this disguise he was but another traveler on the roads of the iron kingdoms.

After wandering for what seemed an eternity, Morghoul found himself being waylaid by Knights in Silver armor, bearing a the banner of the Cygnus. The Knights demanded he remove his cowl and show his face. After refusing in their tongue, which the Lord Assassin had learned to better his trade, the first Knight drew his sword. Gripping his blade, Mercy tightly under the cloak with one hand and readying the Fan of Shadows with the other, Morghoul prepared to burst into the flurry of movement which would end this exchange. But moments before he sprang to action, he found himself being held tightly in place by an unseen force. Using what willpower he had, he attempted to break free of the spell. But despite his best effort, he could not concentrate any energy in his defense. It all seemed to leave him until he felt very empty. A young Cygnaran woman stepped into view wielding a spear which seemed to be the cause of Morghoul's situation. Addressing him, the woman introduced herself as Major Victoria Haley. In flawless Cygnaran, Morghoul identified himself as a pauper named Jekel. Seeing through his ruse, Haley ripped the robe from around Morghoul, exposing the Skorne for what he was. Without the protection of his armor, there was little chance Morghoul would escape.

Yet, even still, Morghoul refused to give in to fate. Using his anguish as a weapon, Morghoul ripped at the minds of the gathered Cygnarans with a wave of agony so intense, it blinded every man and woman present. After a few moments, Morghoul felt the grip on him loosen from Haley, and he was free. Calmly Morghoul walked to haley, pushing aside the few Knights who attempted to interpose themselves between him. Tearing the spear from her he calmly cut away one of the plates surrounding her right arm. She attempted to fight him off with her bare hands, but she was still reeling from the mental shock. Grabbing the now exposed pressure point, Morghoul forced Haley onto her knees. The Knights around them started to regain their sight, and fresh troops who heard the commotion came charging near the crowd, hoping to arrive in time to save their commander.

Before a shot was fired or blade raised in anger, Morghoul spoke one word in a booming voice which belied his frail body. "Parlay!"

End, Part 1.

Helion
11-24-2009, 04:04 AM
Morghoul awoke to find himself entering a great human settlement. Looking across the cabin, he stared into the eyes of Victoria Haley, clutching her loaded and primed hand cannon the same way she had for the last three days. The two Trencher Infantry sergeants on either side of her clasped their rifles in grim vigil, determined to protect their commander as they had failed to do so miserably. With a smirk which showed his fang like teeth, Morghoul spoke, "Good morning. Have we arrived all ready?"

"Yes," replied Haley. "Welcome to Caspia. I hope you enjoy your stay." She returned Morghoul's smirk with a smile full of malice as much as teeth.

"I intend to." replied Morghoul, who had gone about flexing and stretching his limbs. The first day of the journey both Haley and her bodyguards were astounded at how very flexible yet muscled the Lord Assassin was. One of the guards had nearly shot Morghoul, mistaking a stretch for an attempt at a strike.

Soon the carriage arrived at a large stone building bearing dual banners of the Cygnus. Morghoul eyed the place cooly. "This is not your royal palace..."

"Of course not. We'd be foolish to allow such a being as yourself within a mile of our king. You will have your audience with him, by other means." Haley said.

"Very well then. Shall we be off?" Morghoul asked.

The building was the Cygnaran Military Headquarters, Caspia, or the hub by which an military decision was routed to Cygnars armies abroad. Morghoul found himself brought before Warmaster Turpin of the Cygnaran military. It was there that he was finally removed of his weapons, much to his chagrin. Turpin sized up the Lord Assassin and finally asked him why he requested a parlay.

"I've been betrayed by my own people." Morghoul started. "No, worse. I've failed them. Rule of our lands has fallen to a foreigner of your race. His name is Vinter Raelthorn. It is on his orders that the armies of the Skorne empire besiege your lands." Morghoul fell silent as his words struck Turpin.

"What you say is impossible. Vinter Raelthorn is dead." Turpin said with coviction.

"You are a fool if you believe this. Vinter is very much alive. He came to us as a great storm and defeated our armies swiftly with little resource." Morghoul retorted. "Our leaders thought him an embodiment of the will of our ancestors, and rallied behind him at his tales of lush prosperous lands beyond what he called the Abyss."

"If what you say is true, why are you here now, telling us of this?" Turpin inquired.

"My lord now slain, Archdomina Makeda, saw through Vinters ruse after our armies were thrown against your walls at Vinters behest. She led her armies back to our homeland to reclaim the empire in the name of the Skorne. Yet Vinter retained the loyalty of many house lords, and he personaly slew the Archdomina. I attempted retribution, but was bested as well. I managed to escape, and now I stand before you with one request."

"And what is that?" asked Turpin with an eyebrow raised.

"I wish to ally with you on the condition that you help me depose Vinter Raelthorn and restore the Skorne empire to it's rightful state." Morghoul stated with not the slightest hint of emotion.

Lord Turpin was taken aback. Had he just heard correctly? An emissary of frightening power from an all but alien race was now asking for assistance in reclaiming an empire which had just previously attempted war on Cygnar.

After a while, Turpin spoke, "I must discuss this matter with my King. You will be housed here until such a time as I have an answer for you."

Morghoul bowed deeply from the waist, nearly touching his forehead to the floor. "I thank you on behalf of the Skorne empire."

End, Part 2.

Helion
11-24-2009, 04:05 AM
The living conditions afforded to Morghoul were more than he had expected, given his standing with his hosts. Where he had expected nothing more than a prison cell, he found himself placed in a suite adorned with all manner of odd amenities. There were no windows, yet light was constantly piping through blue-white orbs mounted on the walls in strategic areas, which could be turned on or off at the occupants whim via a lever. The room was large, with a bed large enough for several to sleep with ample room between them located centrally, and furniture who's use was beyond Morghoul's comprehension. Though the thought had crossed his mind, Morghoul refused the luxury of the bed and instead made due with a throw pillow and some bed sheeting placed near the door. The food provided seemed fit for no less than a King and was in abundant supply. This was much tougher for Morghoul to turn down, as he had starved for days on his trek, and he allowed himself to sample many delicacies that none other of his race had ever even dreamed of.

Two weeks had passed since Morghoul's fateful audience with Warmaster Turpin, and Morghoul started to grow impatiant. After several attempts at sword practice in his quarters, his retainers arranged for him to spar in non lethal combat, an unheard of practice to the Skorne's ears, with several of the soldiers stationed in the Castle. The first of such training sessions was disastrous, erupting into a brawl after the soldier's toughest and most skilled combatants were disabled by Morghoul in ways non of them had ever seen. It took fifteen minutes and the arrival of Warmaster Turpin himself as well as his personal guard to put down the riot. To his amazement, the men had not been fighting each other, but only Morghoul, who alone was left standing in the middle of the training courtyard wielding a now bloodied wooden training sword and his mysterious fan. Turpin and his men were further surprised to realize that Morghoul had not sustained even the smallest wound. Word spread around the regiments of the mysterious Skorne swordsman who could defeat hosts of warriors on his own with nothing more than a stick and a fan.

Finally after a full three and a half months of waiting, Morghoul was allowed an audience with King Leto Raelthorne and the Council which governed Cygnar. Morghoul appeared before them, dressed in clothes custom tailored to his specifications. He was dressed as a High Emissary of the Skorne empire. His outfit, complete with the scorpion esq symbol of his beloved empire, resonated with authority. Addressing the members of the court, as well as the King, Morghoul recounted the story of Vinter Raelthorne's ascension to power amongst the Skorne. He then described the way in which Vinter manipulated the tribes of the Skorne to further his own ambitions. Finally, Morghoul ended with the failed coup of Supreme Archdomina Makeda, and his frenzied escape from his home lands. After his story had ended, the Council called for deliberation time. Morghoul was led to his chambers to await the council's call.

Four hour's later, his escort arrived. A old man in the blue armor of a Warcaster greeted him from the hall and introduced himself as General Adept Sebastian Nemo. Making their way once again to the court, Nemo explained Morghoul's situation.

"The council has finished deliberating on the subject. I would not worry if I were you. They are out for blood as far as Vinter Raelthorne goes. The fact that Vinter is even still alive is a more than sobering thought, much less the fact that he has attained as much power as you say he has." Nemo confided in him.


Nemo and Morghou's arrival at the council halls drew the room into dead silence. After a few moments, King Leto Raelthorne stood and addressed all those who were present.

"On behalf of myself, with the blessing of all of Cygnar, I hereby accept your request for an alliance," At these words, Morghoul felt the burden on his heart lift. "I hereby grant you amnesty and the honorary rank of lieutenant in the Cygnaran Military Intelligence Corp. You will be a crucial part of the effort to depose my brother from your Empire's throne, and restore order on behalf of your people."

"Thank you my liege," said Morghoul as he bowed before the King. Returning to his quarters, now an honorary citizen of a foreign empire, the implications of what he had done dawned on Morghoul. Taking up his sword, Mercy, he looked at the blade. "How much Skorne blood did I just spill by words alone?"

End Part 3.