Ulthuan

Ulthuan, Home of the Asur
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 10:36 am 
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Good evening cousins of Ulthuan. I am returning to the hobby after a space of some ten years and having sold off most of a 20,000 point Asur army. However I always kept up reading the books and fluff and just this month have begun a new collection.

It will be Wood Elves, well actually, it will just be elves in a way. I'm hoping that ninth edition allows for allies again, as my High Elves originally had Wood Elf allies. But, to the point, my ambition is to slowly create the kind of army I always envied, a complete package of paint, conversion and fluff. And whilst the models may have started with a box of Eternal Guard (with Shadow Warrior helms) and a box of Shadow Warriors, (with WWR hoods), I am much more excited to produce this, the introduction to my army.

I wanted to post this here because Ulthuan will play no small part in the beginnings of my army's story, but more so because of all the fluff I have read, Ulthuan's is by far the best, headshot, Malossar, jwg20 and Aicanor have given me as much enjoyment as Salvatore, Tolkien or Conn Iggulden, and I would like in some small way to repay that favour.

So here it is, the beginnings of my army, dedicated to Loec and the elven people, mercurial and sometimes mercenary in nature.
Please do enjoy!

Quote:
And all at once it happened. The Cataclysm of Caledor. Winds of Magic chained for millennia hurtled free of their moorings.
Madness. Ecstacy.
In Lustria, deep in their golden pyramids, Slann Lords wept and rejoiced, Skink Priests capered and rolled in religious fervour and from the throats of every reptilian denizen there emerged a single triumphant roar.
In Naggaroth, true born and bred druchii, sons and daughters of Anaerion wept blood and reached for weapon. their holy work to begin in earnest.
The Deep Halls of the dawi lords rang in metallic melody not yet witnessed in the recorded history of that proud race and from forge to forge a word was passed, building in vigour and pride to a mighty crescendo. A single thunderclap.

“Khazuk!”

The Lands of Men were illuminated in the glow of innumerable twin tailed comets, crashing to earth, bringing not destruction but halos of fey light. The largest of its kind came to rest in the city of Altdorf, crushing under its weight the Temple of Sigmar and revealing in its wake a tiny male child, hammer clutched to his body and the stars and firmament radiated in his eyes.
In Bretonnia, lakes boiled dry to the accompaniment of clashing sword upon shield. Knights, radiant in countenance, legion in number, rode forth. At their head, a maiden, bow in hand, song upon her lips.
Over the boughs of Athel Loren a horn clarioned but once before the enchanted forest winked out of existence. All beings, mortal and immortal alike, knew with certainty; the Hunt had begun.
The island nation of Ulthuan, the centre of the vortex, birthplace of creation, moaned and sang in equal measures. Phoenii were born en-masse in molten explosions, dragons awoke and poured pillars of flame into the sky, and from the Shrine of Asuryan a single whisper echoed;

“Asur.”

Before the rent Gate of Chaos, eye limned in tears born of a sorrow so deep it could not even be savoured, hand held as iron around it’s throat, grovelled N’Kari, first servant and slave of Slaanesh.
It wept because it knew.
It wept because it saw.
Orion, Kurnous reborn, his hunt spilling and spreading amongst the stars.
Ariel, Isha renewed, where she stood the ground consecrated and erupted with pure untainted joy.
Tyrion and Teclis, twin pillars of burning might, Asuryan and Hoeth returned to the mortal world.
Dread Malekith, one hand clutching The Doom, the other leaking crimson and a cruel crown of iron upon his brow.
N’Kari’s captor smiled and it was assailed with the distant presence of the Maiden Lilleath, the God-Emperor and the Great and Hallowed Ancestors; Grudge and Hearth and Home.
Sobbing now and shaking, the demon felt the compulsion to lift it’s gaze. To look into the pits of Void that served as this new God’s eyes. A withered Crone giggled incoherently behind him, pulling and inspecting strands of spider silk. Morathi had finally achieved her goal. She was a God, laid reverent before the greatest truths of fate and time and life and Death.

“Behold N’Kari, I have become Death, The Destroyer of Worlds.”

And thus, by the hand of Ynnead, did the creature N’Kari bear witness to the final omnipotent sensation of Obliteration.

“Sound your Horn Orion, Rhana Dandra begins.”


Somewhere, apart and yet connected, a seeming young elf, male, wrapped and wreathed in shadow placed the last piece down upon the board. The Pawn Promoted. Smiling, no, smirking, he bowed to the exquisite being his opposite. The Old Enemy, She Who Thirsts and in triumph gloated,

“Checkmate.”


Vali Eryr pushed himself to a seated position, head swimming, and stomach roiling. Another vision, another echo of madness and pain. Or was it glory and destruction? He stood slowly, moving to the ornate opening that served as a window in this tree tower. Staggering, he lent upon it, trying to settle, trying to gain equilibrium, stretching his muscles like a drunken hunting cat, and took in the outside world.

Fyr Darric was certainly beautiful, a balance of vibrant growth and falling blossoms. Eryr Allisar, with its close proximity to both the Witherwood and the Silvan Dale, in particular, Vali thought, was a standard of the lovely. Golden grasses carpeted vale, meadow and mountain and plump blood cherries lined hills, groves and streams. A stunning land, his land, it was guarded by able archers and the peerless blades of his kin-dancers, the resoluteness of his personal guard, by magic and mighty forest dragons. Here he had, for an age, danced and fought and loved and laughed deeply and passionately, even as such things were reckoned in Athel Loren.
And yet.
And yet now each night he saw it burn. In his dreams, in the reflection of his baths, in the visions induced by the Fruit of Loec. Where once had been peace, pleasure, and quite confidence, now there was left naught but raw itch. The call for action.
But where? How?
So many questions unanswered.

Ariel would be no help, which was her typical wont, of course.
Durthu hadn't been worth a conversation in many years.
The less said of Orion the better.
Daith may have been a friend and teacher but Vali needed answers not to be found in folded steel and singing spear.
Who? Who then?
Vali could call upon assistance from the far north but was not certain his needs justified the price his father would surely exact. Nor did he want him armed with the gain of these visions, at least, not yet.

He sighed and rubbed a knot of muscle in his shoulder loose. Crecerelle had been... vigorous.

Ulthuan. Only Ulthuan was left to him. Loremasters of the White Tower, perhaps the priests of Asuryan. They would offer something, for the right price, a way forward, a direction in which to act and that was what Vali desired most.

He was a Prince and Highdancer of a significant wardancer kinband and much like the elves he governed, Vali was a creature of action.
Ulthuan then, he thought with the beginnings of a smile, the old confidence kindling. Saphery and, if need be, Eataine.

“Valk!” the clear cry peeled through the copse-manse as Vali pulled on his drake skin leggings and boots.
Girt by great experience in being summoned unexpectedly, the seneschal, Valk entered his Prince’s chambers before Vali had even pulled on a tunic. His veteran eyes took in the disarray of the room, the empty wine jugs, the bowl of Loec’s Fruit scattered by the bed and, most of all, the outline of the naked Shadowdancer wreathed in blankets at the beds centre. In response he raised a single eyebrow his Prince’s way, who, to be fair, had the decency to blanch somewhat. His eyes may have even flickered to the mighty glaive slung casually over Valk’s back. But, then again, perhaps not.

“Seneschal, bring in Taka and Heja, call my kindancers to me. I intend to travel to Ulthuan within the week.”

The request was not completely unusual; Vali was extroverted by the measure of his people and enjoyed travel and interests abroad, sometimes unexpectedly, but the timeline...

“My Prince, Taka and Heja are roving the Wild Heath, maintaining contact with your interests in the immediate World Outside. It could be some time before a messenger would be able to reach them, even one of the carrier kestrels. There is also the matter of returning them to the copse-manse. A week is little time to find two bands of waywatchers.”

Vali grunted in annoyance, midway through a long draught of wildwine.

“A week, old man. Bring them back yourself if you must. The Equinox approaches and this season I have a mind to celebrate it in Saphery...”

“Chrace.” came the silken interruption.

Standing easily, with the grace of the bird of prey that was her nakesake, bedding held tight around her, the only deference paid to the presence of the seneschal, her father, the Shadowdancer and seeress Crecerelle turned to face her Highdancer.

“Chrace, Vali Eryr, the answers you seek are not to be found in the pages of dusty books, but in the land of Chrace and the blood of the sons and daughters of the Lion.”

Mollified, the Highdancer looked at Crecerelle questioningly for a moment before shrugging and turning once more to Valk. All present knew, Crecerelle, with her gifts, was the only one Vali regularly allowed to countermand his authority.

“Chrace then. We will hunt and dance and tell our tales in the halls of the mighty Lion Brothers, and perhaps,” he added with a pointed look to his Shadowdancer, “we will find there something worth seeking.”


Soon after, details firm now, the seneschal bowed and excused himself with practised poise, though no small measure of grumbling could be heard receding down the winding staircase that led to Vali’s personal chambers. Alone, Vali and Crecerelle regarded each other for a long moment. Slowly Crecerelle closed the gap between them and laid a gentle palm upon the agitated Highdancer’s cheek. Vali could not help but notice the liquid play of the silk bedding as it pooled at her feet.

“Peace Loecson, peace and trust. Come to Chrace, Loec wills it.” She pressed a small rune stone into his palm before pirouetting to retrieve her gossamer robe. Vali turned the blessed moonstone over in his hands as she slipped into her clothing and padded silently out of the room, inspecting the marking and message in the dawn’s light.

Lioness.

A frustrated breath blew through his teeth as he settled once more by the window and the view to the lands below, emotions churning now to match his gut.
Very well then, he thought to himself, let us dance in Chrace.


So... any good?


Last edited by lost user 10 on Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Gift of Loec.
PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 9:34 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2013 1:14 am
Posts: 51
The scenes of the Elven pantheon being reborn from contemporary leaders of the three nations was GREAT!!!! I can't wait to hear more and really hope you keep posting.


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 Post subject: Re: The Gift of Loec.
PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 8:36 am 
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Awesome!
I really like how you set the stage for an epic outcome and introduced the main characters/humanized(elfanized?) them all together.
Nicely done. Looking forward to more.


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 Post subject: Re: The Gift of Loec.
PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 11:17 am 
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Quote:
The mountains split, the forests splintered to kindling and burned. The sea frothed sickly purple with the blood of a thousand thousand children of Ulthuan. Reaching across the leagues of distance a monstrous hand slammed down through the once fertile soil of Avelorn, dragging deep furrows through the earth and gathering handfuls of the children of Isha. Childlike titters peeled through the rent yellow sky and demonic talons picked through the platter, looking for choice morsels.

Burning with holy power a single elf, cloak of black feathers and fine crown designating him as the Phoenix King, came out of the mass pinched between colossal fingernails. Whether he met his end with sword raised, a hero of old, or wept and pled and soiled himself none could say. Without ceremony he was dropped into the great maw, last moments drowned out by the sound of crunching and lusty chewing.

Appetite enflamed, a whole hooked hand dove into the pile next. Skewered treats came out wailing; Tyrion, Teclis, Everqueen, Imrik, Anar, great names and heroes shovelled into an eager mouth. Shadow Princes, Great Lions, High Handmaidens, Caledorian Furies, Wardens and Lords all disappeared next.

Slowly, with great relish, all Ulthuan was picked bare, now just a barren vine bereft of grapes. Naggaroth would fall next or perhaps the savoury delights of Athel Loren, mayhap even the sand blown Spires of the colonies. So many meals to be had; a culinary doom to elvenkind.


Crecerelle took the winding stairs in twos and threes, rushing towards the sound of screaming and weeping. The visions had found Vali once again. He’d gone without sleep for two days since the decision to celebrate the Equinox in Chrace. Crecerelle had watched him chase away weariness with sparing bouts, frenzied planning and stimulant teas. From the setting to the rising of the sun he had been a hurricane of activity and spurned all pleas to rest as Eryr Allisar mostly slumbered around him.

Her father had fretted of course, he was oath sworn to Vali’s protection and service by Ariel herself, but the Highdancer could not be dissuaded. Crecerelle had almost been forced to diffuse a physical altercation that very morning but fortunately the Seneschal was possessed of wisdom and patience enough for himself and his Prince at times.

The door to Vali’s chamber was ajar, Crecerelle shouldered it open without pause and found him thrashing, splayed upon the daybed beside his balcony. It was where he always collapsed after similar bouts, though the intensity of this particular vision was enough to make the young Shadowdancer take a step back in fright. He had worked at his closed eyes and throat, his chest and arms with desperate fingers. Deep scratches abounded and drying blood was caked all over, even as she watched, he worked his thumbs into his ears, vainly attempting to drown out a sound heard only by him.

Calling upon the power of her talismanic tattoos, Crecerelle felt a portion of Loec’s strength ripple through her fine frame. Speaking softly, lovingly, in the old tongue of Loec’s faithful, cooing into his ear, she straddled the larger male and pinned his wrists above his head. She held him there, softly beckoning him home, calling to him in the name of land and community and love.

“Please,” she begged, knowing that her increased strength would be fleeting. “Loec’s Mirth, please come back.”

Vali stilled almost immediately, a wave of relaxation passed over him and his eyes fluttered open. The pain and terror in them were palpable. Without words he buried his face in Crecerelle’s obsidian hair and wept silently. They would stay in this position until the new dawn.

“Marry me.”

They were the first words he had spoken to her and the impact of them surpassed a charging Rhinox.

“Please.”

The desperation, the broken heartedness of that one word almost tore Crecerelle’s hear asunder. Gone was the collected, comfortable, supremely capable elf she had shared much of her formative years with. Gone the flair, the reckless courage, the laughter and compassion and deep well of feeling. Gone into a deep pit of numbness.
Just gone.

“Marry me.”

What answer could she give to that? What could she possibly give to fill such a soul deep void?

“Marry me.”

Thinking quickly, keeping her silence, she gently pulled him to his feet and led him down to the adjoining earth worked chamber that held the hot spring which served Vali as a personal bath. A wonder of Asrai ingenuity and magic, fed by fissures from bellow and dripping root systems from above, always hot and soothing with earthborn minerals. Crecerelle didn’t pause at the lip of the indoor lagoon, rather she led him down and into the spring, stripping away his clothing and painstakingly washing away blood and sweat.

“Relle...” he took her face in his hands, using the pet name only he called her. She could see clearly the fear of rejection and indecisiveness in his eyes.

She smiled gently, lent in slowly to kiss him, hoping it would be enough. He asked her again as she shimmed out of her nightgown, again into her lips as she kissed him with more force, again as she slowly wrapped lithe limbs around his body. Throughout the whole experience he would never stop asking, until finally, with great skill and care, she coaxed him back to his bed and into a deep and restful sleep.

Crecerelle would spend the entire day beside him watching for dream terrors.
Though she knew they would never marry.

Vali would awake to the signal horn of returning waywatchers, though Crecerelle was not to be found. He would send a cup bearer to find her when he emerged to break his fast. He would send two of his personal eternal guard to her chambers when the cup bearer returned unsuccessful. They too would return alone, bearing only the message that the Shadowdancer was called to rites and would be indisposed until the kinband’s departure to Chrace two days hence.

Was she avoiding him? Had he insulted her in some way?

Though Vali knew Relle couldn’t have known it, she had saved him. Saved him from being devoured by the Great Enemy. And others, he had languished in countless hells for countless eons while his body had slept but a few moments. And she had saved him, saved him and given him peace.

What would he not do to repay such a gift?
What would he not offer?

The return of Taka and Heja brought with it a little distraction. Vali heard their reports on the goings on outside the boundaries about pricing and supply, things that didn’t necessarily warrant Vali’s attention but were a welcome outlet none the less. Bretonian baron’s were apt to complaint but the truth was the flow of Asrai wines and herbs into human hands was essentially monopolised by his agents and Vali could set prices on such luxuries at a whim. Perhaps it would serve as a reminder of that to cease trade for a season or two; expand other markets instead? There had been many requests, albeit subtle, as trade with Athel Loren otherwise was scarce and fraught with risks. But no, there were long term goals in Bretonnia that hinged upon building a rapport with the local nobility or if not that, at least an understanding. Such a slight could not be ignored altogether though.

Pursing his lips Vali resolved to speak to Valk quickly before they left. Messages would have to be sent pleading shortages, his contacts would be suspicious naturally but suspicion alone would do little to halt trade. Increases to prices were only natural in such times of course and would offset reduced returns from the Bretonni. After a year or two supply could be increased again and in the meantime... well colonial Asur interests could be explored.

After discussing the matter with his seneschal, who disapproved of all trade to humans and happy to repay a perceived slight, Vali felt almost chipper. Any memory of the previous weeks visions he forced into the back of his mind and he wandered happily enough into the Vault of Songs, determined to find a princely gift or two for their Equinox hosts. Such things were not strictly necessary, it was well established convention that a wardancer band exchanged the hospitality of their hosts for the entertainment they provided. Amongst those outside of Athel Loren it was also considered something of a social coup to host exotic kinbands of Loec’s folk and the promoter of such an event could always expect their house to be talked about favourably for some time after. Still; Vali, though sworn to Loec, was also a close descendant of ancient royalty, one of the few outside of Ulthuan who could claim such a thing, and even if he used his ancestry mostly as a tool, for some reason, at this event, he wanted to be seen admirably. He perused gifts, tribute and treasure accumulated in his family’s name and pondered. A carved broach of moonstone, the partner of Valk’s mark of office was discarded as too great a security risk. A once magical harp would be considered too common he was sure; also if it was ever returned to potency it would be better had on hand. The jar of glowing sprites might amuse a lady or child; they had also become exceedingly rare. As Vali held little love for forest spirits and the current Great Season had seemingly waned their powers somewhat he plucked them from the shelf. Perhaps a good hunting bow next? The warriors of Chrace were among the few folk Asrai didn’t immediately scorn the forest craft of, well at least in open discourse, and Chracians were famed hunters among the Asur. A bow would be a fitting gift. Vali ferreted out a bow of golden and crimson ironbark made for his own hand. He scarcely used a bow, preferring the magical javelins forged for him by Daith, and as this bow was a gift of Orion himself, so much the better. Perhaps now would be a good time to rid himself of that banner his aunt had gifted him a century ago? Musing that over he passed by the Crown of Eryr Allisar and stilled. The crown was the symbol of authority for his land and his people, forged in ancient Nagarythe and worn by his mother. Vali tried hard to remember something of her; a word, a gesture, a caress.

Nothing.

But to Crecerelle nothing could more genuinely express the respect and gratitude he felt for her. The symbol of royalty, of his princess, his wife. Vali couldn’t remember how long he stood there examining the smooth planes and intricate workings of the tine circlet or when he had finally left the Vault or even the other trinkets he’d haphazardly pilfered as gifts. As Vali Eryr stood under the boughs of the guardian wood of Eryr Allisar with his kindancers and small contingent of waywatcher bodyguards, awaiting Valk to enact the enchantment that would facilitate their travel to Ulthuan, he remembered only that the Crown of Eryr Allisar was packed securely in his travel bag, sung against his back. He was certain to have need of it.


Well I hope people are enjoying this. I wrote this piece while I was deer hunting on my families property but apparently Hoeth was happier with me than Kurnous, I returned with a story but no venison.

I should probably stop making fun of Orion I suppose? Nah.

If anyone knows some lineage and background of Chracian princes and towns, I'd love to get some real detailed knowledge of my hosts and their land so I can do the celebration scene some justice, we come with bows and sprites!

Spent a bundle on new mini's today too, got the models now for maybe a third of my army, and some brilliant inspiration from the store army at Mt Gravatt. So excited to be back in the hobby at this point.

Well guys and gals, that's me for the night. Hope you enjoy this, my ego loves feedback and comments, but most of all have fun until next time.


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