Cirosmar Narinhil stalked through the streets of Hag Graef. Ever since he had been enlisted into the Blood Avarice, his life had been getting steadily better. He had been forced to leave the Black Guard, but he had been free to do as he pleased and his power had risen significantly since that fated day almost one hundred and fifty years past. The Witch King does not tolerate deserters. Thus, the Blood Avarice had a Druchii, who looked remarkably like Cirosmar, killed and collected the reward, while keeping the real Cirosmar very much alive.
Cirosmar attempted to distract himself from the past by concentrating on his breath feathering into the chill air. He needed to focus on his current mission, find a member of the Unholy Legions of Anti-Sanctus Chaotica and get invited into its legions. He flexed his hands to keep the circulation going. Cold, dreary; it was an average day in the Land of Chill.
As the renegade Elf rounded a corner, he walked right into a High Borns retinue of bodyguards, his armor ringing as he knocked over one of the elves.
What is the meaning of this? the High Born hissed, Be more careful!
It would not do to call too much attention to himself, jeopardizing his mission would not be tolerated; so Cirosmar started to walk around the group, trying to keep his temper from getting the better of him, but the Druchii he had knocked over tripped him.
My lord said to be more careful, barked the retainer, sneering through a mouthful of missing teeth, as the former Black Guard got to his feet. Shall we teach him a lesson, my lord?
The High Born nodded approvingly, his lips curling into a malevolent grin.
Cirosmar gave into his anger and got into a fighting stance, Zemok be damned if he tried to punish Cirosmar for killing in the name of vengeance, "If you insist," he said, his handsome features twisting into a mask of hatred.
The first of the retainers charged him, closely followed by a second and then a third. Cirosmar sidestepped the first one and elbowed him in the back of the neck as he flew by. His hands closing on the cold metal of his twin swords, Cirosmar spun on his heel and drew his swords, slicing off the second Elfs hand just above the wrist. The former Black Guard blocked the third retainers cudgel and ran him through with his right-hand blade, spilling the elf's warm life fluid onto Cirosmar's hand. Before the Elf hit the ground, the rest of the High Borns bodyguard was upon him.
It was five against one. The old Druchii did not like those odds; even if they were poorly trained, he was going to have some trouble. The former Black Guard was used to open battle, not street brawls in cramped spaces.
Cirosmar was on the defensive and the retainers were slowly beating the old Elf back. Feeling his heel touch the body of one fallen retainers, His foot slipped on the spreading pool of blood and his defenses fell long enough for one of his swords to be knocked out of his hand. Cirosmar fought with renewed vigor. He quickly disarmed two of his foes, and stole the cudgel of another. He swung the cudgel at one of the disarmed elves and it connected with his skull with a sickening crack. He sliced through anothers jugular and gutted a third. With only two fighters left able to fight, the battle was looking more favorable for Cirosmar.
The smell of blood hung in the air as the two bodyguards eyed Cirosmar, looking for a weakness. A smile of contempt flashed across Cirosmars face, and the retainers' eyes flared in anger. The retainers charged the old elf.
The former Black Guard began his dance. He stabbed the retainer to his right 3 times before he could even bring his cudgel down on Cirosmar's head, while still parrying the swings and thrusts of the remaining retainer's dirk and cudgel with his own cudgel.
Then Cirosmar turned his full attention on the last bodyguard. Panic rushed across the lone retainer's features and Cirosmar laughed in contempt. Anger quickly replaced fear in the retainer's features, but before he could swing, the former Black Guard's sword was sticking out the back of his throat. The High Born's last bodyguard slid off Cirosmar's sword and fell in a heap on the cold stone of Hag Graef's streets.
Cirosmar glanced around at the carnage and bowed to the High Born in a mock tribute, Milord.
He laughed, retrieving his lost sword, and began to walk away, but a crossbow bolt striking the wall two inches in front of his face stopped him dead in his tracks. He turned, swords once again drawn, to see the High Born leveling his repeater crossbow at Cirosmar.
You wont get away with thi-, the High Born screamed, his face contorting with a sudden rush of agony, and fell forward, a crossbow bolt jutting from his spine.
An Elf stepped out of the shadows holding a crossbow.
Youre welcome. The stranger said, speaking as one would speak to a slow child. You are lucky I intervened when I did, or you would be of no further use to my lords
What are you talking about? And what is your name? demanded Cirosmar, his orders were to pretend that he knew nothing.
My name is of little importance. Should you agree to follow me I will consider telling you my name. The stranger responded. I would like to take you to my lords. Did you not leave Malekiths army in search of power one hundred and thirty-four years ago? You have shown exemplary skill today and would be an asset to the legion.
How did you know that I ran away from the army, and what legion? asked the former Black Guard, feigning suspicion.
My lords see all and hear all; they can grant you power. What say you? said the strange Elf with an evil grin.
Power? Cirosmar replied, an evil glint in his eye. Yes, yes I believe I shall.
Good, I am Aly'dal Foy, the Druchii responded, and you are?
Cirosmar Narinhil rode triumphantly through the Black Forest on his stolen Cold One. He was riding quickly, but not recklessly. Like all Druchii, the former black guard was well aware of the Autarii tribes that dwelt in the Black Forest. Though large, the nauglir easily picked its way through the trees, loping along on the damp, leaf-covered ground.
Cirosmar was inwardly thanking Khaine for bringing him to the Legion. The Druchii had finally been given a chance to gain the power for which he had been searching.
The Elf stopped suddenly. What had that sound been? Was it an animal? Or, was it an Autarii? Cirosmar laughed to himself for being so foolish. An Autarii would not make a noise. He comforted himself with that fact until a thought hit him. He was right; one of the famed Shades would not make a noise. He glanced around, scouring the trees for any signs of an Autarii. The trees had not felt quite so suffocating a few moments ago.
"Damn it Narinhil, you're a trained warrior. Even if there are Shades shadowing you, you'll be able to fend them off at the very least." Cirosmar said, cursing his temporary cowardice.
Just as the last syllable left his lips, crossbow bolts began showering the Elf from every direction. Cirosmar reacted with the speed and precision of one who was a veteran of many battles. Being a Black Guard, one of Malekiths elite, came with more than just skill in battle. Fighting became a part of the warrior; his weapons becoming an extension of his will rather than a thing in his hand. Black Guards were the epitome of the warrior. He kicked the nauglir into a gallop instantly.
Go, beast of the depths! Cirosmar yelled, kicking his heels into the Cold Ones scaled flank.
The old Elf pulled out his repeater crossbow and shot two bolts in the direction of the Autarii. The former black guard was rewarded with a cry behind him and the sound of an Elf hitting the ground. He smiled to himself and turned back around. Cirosmar's cold one lurched suddenly. The Elf looked down and saw that there was a crossbow bolt jutting from both of its eyes, blood flowing freely from the wounds. He cursed and nimbly leaped from the saddle as his mount hit the ground.
Turning to see how much of a lead he had on the Shades, he came face to face with an Autarii, the Shade's warm breath fogging on the metal of his helmet. As Cirosmars hands touched the hilts of his twin swords, the Shade in front of him lunged. The former black guard dodged to the right, bringing his blades out of their sheaths, and disarming the Autarii with a flick of his wrist. In an instant, Cirosmar was weaving a web of metal around himself.
Both hands worked in perfect unison, never leaving an opening through which an enemys blade could slip. The Druchii was stationary, allowing his armor to hold back the crossbow bolts. He let the fluidity of his movements build up his momentum, as he let himself get into an easy rhythm of dodges, cuts and parries. Cirosmar had learned long ago to let his enemies tire themselves out, they would make a mistake and he would make sure they never did again.
The old elf noticed the Shades movements becoming more sluggish. He then put himself on the offensive. Cirosmar worked his enemy high with a series of cuts and lunges aimed at the head and shoulders, and then suddenly brought both of his weapons headed for the Autariis lower body. The Shade, having been tired out by Cirosmar, was unable to parry in time. The former black guard hamstrung his opponent and gutted him all in one fluid motion.
Cirosmar burst into motion, letting his warrior instincts guide him. He became a whirlwind of metal, slicing to his left and right, wounding or killing with every stroke of his blade. Then he came face to face with an Autarii who matched his skill and speed. They both got into an easy rhythm, neither showing any weakness. Then the Shade smiled at Cirosmar and lunged. Cirosmar, enraged that any creature would dare continue its pathetic existence while under attack by him, dodged to the side, beheaded his opponent, and was struck in the back of the neck by an unseen assailant.
When Cirosmar came to, he was being dragged between two Autarii. The former black guard inwardly cursed Khaine for bringing him to the Legion. The Elf looked up and saw the Shade ahead of him was carrying his equipment.
Where am I being taken, Shade? Cirosmar spat, receiving a slap across the face as a result.
You will speak when spoken to, city filth! the Autarii responded.
The group walked up to a large tent. A Shade flanked each side of the opening. The Autarii holding Cirosmars things walked up to one of the guards and whispered to him. The first Autarii nodded and entered the tent. After a few moments, the Shade reappeared.
The Urhan will see you. The Autarii said.
The Shades dragged Cirosmar into the tent. The inside was lavishly filled with hides and furs. In the center, before a roaring fire, lounged a tattooed, heavily furred Elf.
Why are you trespassing in our land? We have no desire for city filth such as you. The Autarii chieftain said.
I was on my way to meet with the Dark Lords of the Legions of Anti-Sanctus Chaotica. I have been asked to join their cause. Cirosmar responded, struggling to get free of the Shades holding him. He was rewarded with a look of pure terror on the old Shades face. Ah, you have heard of them, then?
You two! Take your hands off of our guest! The Urhan ordered the two Autarii struggling to restrain Cirosmar.
That is much better, said the former black guard. Now you will provide me with a guide to the edge of your forest or I will make sure that your people will suffer.
Cirosmar knew that he was taking a gamble when he began ordering the leader of these Shades around. This would either land him in the lair of the legion or into an early grave, not before he took a few with him of course.
V-ve-very w-well. You! the Urhan said to the Shade holding his things. You will return our guest's arms to him and then guide him to his destination. Now, be gone.
Cirosmar smiled to himself. Inwardly he thanked Khaine for bringing him to the Legion.
Cirosmar walked out of the Black Forest and into the light. The rays relieving a small amount of the chill that had settled in his bones. It was a glorious feeling, being out of that blasted wood. The warrior hated the claustrophobic feeling he got in forests. If it were up to him, he would always be under an open sky. Sadly, such wishes were not always practical.
Cirosmar's Shade guide, who was leading the way, and was keeping a cautious distance from the agitated Druchii. Cirosmar smiled to himself. He felt a measure of satisfaction at the fact that he instilled fear into such a formidable foe.
At least the old Elf knew that the Urhan of this Autariis tribe had been truly frightened by the Dark Lords of Anti-Sanctus Chaotica. The Shade Chief could have ordered Cirosmar dead at any number of occasions. If, for instance, the Shade that was his guide had been so ordered, the former black guard could have been killed at any time. If the Autarii suddenly disappeared into the woods, Cirosmar would have been helpless to do anything to halt his impending doom.
Luckily, it had not come to that and Cirosmar would finally be able to gain even more power.
We are here came the Shades voice, snapping Cirosmar back into the real world.
What are you talking about? The old Druchii demanded. This is nothing but the side of a mountain!
No, I swear, this is it! All one must do is speak the correct words and he shall gain entranc- But the Autarii never finished as Cirosmars cold blade slid into his rib cage, piercing his heart.
Ah, so I must speak the words required for entrance? Very well, then I shall wait until another comes along seeking entrance to the sanctum. And with that he plopped down on the ground and waited.