The Chronicles of War:
The vast armies of Mytos K'unn, marshalled by a sorceress of great power known as
Zyrashana the Witch-Queen, had been cutting a swath through the Eastern Kingdoms
since high summer the preceding year. Empowering her troops with great sorceries, she
had seen all opposition fall before the ravening swords of her forces since the first bloody
campaign; the invasion of the ancient and noble realm of Delania. The aftermath of the
final battle had seen the systematic slaughter of the Delanian royal family, and the torture
and execution of all those who had been loyal to their banner. During the ensuing months,
more kingdoms and satrapies toppled before the might of Zyrashana's legions,
commanded by the fearsome and unswervingly loyal battle-lord Talus Ebonfyre, a man of
sublime brutality whom many beleived to be possessed by a demon-spirit from the dark
realms. Emboldened by their victories and the expansion of their queen's dark dominion,
the hordes of Mytos K'unn began the incursion into the lands of the Northern Tribes,
beginning with the grim and brooding territories south of the Snow Kingdoms... the rugged
homelands of the warlike clans which had been recently united into a strong realm by the
powerful warrior-king Caylen-Tor, a man known to his allies and enemies alike as the Wolf
of the North. Thinking the barbaric tribesmen little threat, the Witch-Queen intends a
largely unopposed march throught their lands to strike at the wealthy and fertile realms
beyond the Mountain Kingdoms to the west... but Caylen-Tor has vowed that a searing
torrent of blood and steel shall meet all those who deign to enter unwelcome or drive their
standard unbidden into his land...
As grim winter slowly yields to spring, the armies of Mytos K'unn begin their march
northwards, and news of the advance of the Witch-Queen's forces into Blackhelm Vale,
the valley known for centuries as the Gate to the Northlands, soon reaches the highland
stronghold of Caylen-Tor. Grimly taking up his sword and spear and donning the woad of
war, he vows that Zyrashana shall pay in blood for every league she has dared venture in
his sacred lands. Scouts soon return with the information that the enemy is camped at the
base of the valley, preparing to march with th dawn. The court shamans forsee rivers of
blood and untold carnage, and great battlespells are woven as Caylen-Tor leads his vastly
outnumbered Northlander warriors to the misty, moon-swathed expanse that is Blackhelm
Vale. Legends say that the blood of many kings has been spilled on the dark earth of the
valley over the generations, and Caylen-Tor promises to his grim gods that the earth will
once again drink deep this night. With his army silent and brooding beneath the moon, he
knows that whatever the outcome, this night shall see a legend of war written in blood and
the deaths of men... a legend none shall soon forget...
The War Testament of Caylen-Tor (On the Night of the Bloodying of Swords):
O' grim gods of battle, empower us this night...
Anoint us with the crimson rain, feed our steel with slaughter...
Let every blow be a killing blow, grant us victory, or a warrior's death.
Come, moon-fogs, Descend to cloak our numbers, the heady scent of battle beckons,
My ash-hafted spear feels good in my hands, girt 'round with spells (our flesh gloriously)
Ravens awaiting slaughter soar high above, blood-worms bloat on red carnage,
I'll carve the moon-wheel in their flesh, as havoc churns the heather!
A swirling mantle of mist-magic swathes us, powerful spells woven by the fen-witches of
the great mere... Deep night and moon-mist shall be our allies as we surge into the fray!
At my bidding, the fog clears for a brief moment, and I gaze down upon the valley to
behold the army of the Witch-Queen... great tents arrayed upon the heather, powerful
steeds tethered, the light from countless burning brands illumining the night, many
warriors standing, weapons in hand... aye, all sword fodder.
Entwined in war-fogs...
Entwined by war-spells...
Blessed in blood as raven-saters, slake the thirst of steel burning bright,
Reap the harvest of spilled entrails, we'll return with many heads this night.
The death-ravening black fury fills me,
The spatter of hot blood seet on my lips,
This yard of steel sings a deadly song in my grasp!
Cleaving bodies left and right, a head falls with each swing of my blade,
A storm of shafts screaming form yew-bows, (through their armoured ranks we shall)
carve a path with steel, a blood-drenched swath!
And the thirst of the earth shall be slaked with blood at the fields of carnage...
A staggering sea of crimson, a towering mountain of ravaged flesh,
All enraptured by the searing kiss of steel,
All surfeit from supping deep of the grim chalice of battle...
Brooding gods of the north, display to these outlander thralls thine ire,
Envenom our blades with the death-kiss of a thousand serpents,
Unfetter the dread war-wolves within us,
That their claws may rend, and their jaws may be reddened.
The bloodying is at hand!
My spear hammers into the chest of a warrior, and bright blood erupts from his lips as he
falls to the heather. I turn aside a vicious swordthrust and my own blade snakes out to
cleave the neck of the attacker, shearing through his veins in a shower of dark red. An
enemy blade opens my shoulder to the bone, but I sweep my axe out in a deadly arc, its
iron head rending armour and biting deep into flesh. Talus Ebonfyre's abdomen yawns
open and he staggers back as his intestines spew forth in a pulsing mass. I sunder his
head with another blow as he falls and his skull yields to spill its steaming contents to the
earth. As I watch, a writhing, shadowy form rises from the smitten corpse of the Witch-
Queen's warlord and flees howling into the night... I vault to the saddle of a riderless black
war-horse and seize the banner of Mytos-K'unn... for every one of us that has fallen, we
have taken five of the enemy screaming with us... the battle is ours!
Bright moon, gleam o'er moor and heather, wood and vale, deep fen and lake,
Grim mountains crowned with snows, great rings of stones, black 'neath the stars,
The storms extol our ancient glory, great mounds feed us, power from the sacred earth.
With faith and steel we walk our shadowed paths, our blood runs as fire, swords blessed
Wolves of the north, raise thine steel to the skies, revel in the pride of your wounds,
Let our victory-song ride the winds of this blood-gorged eve,
For on this night of red swords we have wrought a legend,
Forged in the fires of our rage, and tempered with the spilled blood of the slain...
O' grim gods of battle, empower us this night and always,
Anoint us with the crimson rain, forever feed our steel with slaughter...
Let every blow be a killing blow, grant us eternal victory, 'til we die a warrior's death.
And so did Caylen-Tor turn the armies of Mytos K'unn back from the frontiers of his
northern kingdom. Those enemy soldiers who fled the field as the mist lifted and their
banner fell, are hunted down and brought to their knees before the king. Summoning a
surviving warrior Mytos K'unn, Caylen-Tor gives unto him two gifts with which to return to
his queen; one is the fallen, sundered banner of Mytos K'unn, the other is the cloven head
of Talus Ebonfyre. The king's words ring out over the blood-drenched moor: Take this
message back to your queen... if ever again she deigns to strike against my people, the
slaughter this night will seem as naught compared to the havoc I shall visit upon her then.
When news of the defeat and the fearsome message of Caylen-Tor reached Mytos K'unn,
Zyrashana's spells of regal dominance waned, and her many courtiers and councillors,
liberated from the imposition of subservience, plotted against their queen, 'til soon she
was driven from the great royal palace by her own elite guard, her throne seized by an
ambitious baron who had won the favour of the nobles and mages of the realm. Evading
inprisonment and surviving only by her mastery of spellcraft, Zyrashana fled to the
satrapies of the east, and nothing more was seen or heard of her for some considerable
Music: Jonny Maudling