Valcarnum: Drums of War
Brotherhood of the Bound
“Ves Immortalis naru icarnus; By choice or by force, eternity is waiting.” ~Brotherhood dictum, translated from ancient High speech.
The only record of the Brotherhood of the Bound is contained in the confessions of Alareyis Hawthorne. Hawthorne is the man responsible for assassinating Lord Northian Rast of Mavencrest, and three of his personal guard.
Hawthorne’s thoughts were clear and concise during the time of his confession and documented by Grey City scribes. However, the subject matter of his confession consists of such unbelievable events that most have dismissed them as the ravings of a mad man destined for the gallows. Those with a more thorough understanding of the events of the War of the Hand fear there may be some truth to his words and that his confession has momentous implications regarding the evil that lurks within Valcarnum.
Excerpt from the confession of Alareyis Hawthorne -
Even when I try my best it brings out my worst. I am not a hero, I am not a friend, I am the monster that men fear and pray does not exist. As my former master and damnable creator would say, I truly am the darkness before the dawn and the searing light that follows. As I write this I am mere hours away from an execution, it would seem that my many lifetimes of bad decisions and crimes against mortal society have finally caught up with me. Perhaps it is best that I chronicle the events leading up to my well deserved demise, and shed some light on the war that still rages silently behind the facade of peace and prosperity, deep within the shadows of the unimaginable and fantastic. Ours is a war of ideals, a battle for existence in a world that we do not belong.
What I write next is true on all accounts, I have no cause for deception, or embellishment. I sincerely hope that this writing will somehow bring an end to the last remnants of Krovax the Unliving and the War of the Hand.
My name is Alareryis Hawthorne, I was born in Vanaria just north of Grand Alarus during the second era, in the year 5348, and I am 191 years old. I come from a military family, loyal to the Prime conclave for many generations, so it came as no surprise that I enlisted in the Prime army at the age of 19. It was around this time that dissension arose within the conclave when 3rd Alarian Krovax Mazgoroth began his campaign of terror against the Craftborn. It is a little known fact that the Primeborn Conclave was in agreement with Krovax on most of his points and actually had began taking steps to segregate Craftborn based on breed. Mysteriously all records of such actions were lost, much in the same way that the Children of Never Dawn contracts disappeared or went missing. It wasn’t until Krovax tried to assume political control over the Primeborn and Grand Alarus that he was ousted and ultimately banished. He was charismatic leader and forthright in all that he said, we believed in him and his vision for Valcarnum. Like sheep we followed him into the frigid north, all the while believing we were apart of something much greater than ourselves.
After a few years our masters mask of sanity began to slip. Krovax organized teams of soldiers to scour the land for what he called the artifact of Valcarnum’s salvation. In the pictures we saw it just looked like a black hand with an extra finger. Upon finding the hand Krovax ordered one hundred soldiers to be brought to the spire for acknowledgement of their service to the cause. We waited with eager anticipation, all of us hoping to be honored by the master in front of tens of thousands of loyal followers. What we got was less than honorable and to be honest quite grotesque. The one hundred gathered in a large antechamber, and waited with baited breath. Stained glass windows gazed at us from high overhead conveying a feeling of warmth and acceptance to what could only be described as an ominous and dark ceremony. I can still remember the faces of every man there, they appear to me in my dreams like distant memories that are not my own. Krovax stood in the center of the room at a large altar, he gave a speech about destiny and leadership, something about having the world in the palm of his hand. Without so much as a flinch or a grimace I saw him pull out a long knife and cut his hand from his own arm. The six fingered abomination writhed as he held it to the bloody stump and seemed to move on its own to attach itself to him. He said the hand had granted him the power to bestow gifts upon us all and that he would make us the most powerful soldiers the world had ever seen.
The ritual itself was rather painless, Krovax touched our chest with the black hand and muttered some unintelligible words. He had us drink down a thick metallic tasting concoction and recite our credo “Only the dead may be unbound”. With that simple ceremony we became slaves to a mad man, immortal thralls to an immortal tyrant. The hollow guard had been formed and Gods help those who we set our sites upon.
At first the power within us was unnoticeable, revealing itself only during times of great stress or the heat of battle. Over time and with the constant, mandatory consumption of Krovax’s “special wine”, we began to exhibit permanent control of theses abilities, all with little head as to where they were coming from. As I speak of this power I once possessed, I find it amusing that I am confined to this cell of wood and steel. Knowing that 150 years ago I could have snapped these bars like twigs and walked out of here completely uncontested, but, alas, I digress
As Krovax continued his war on humanity a small group of us within the Hollow guard began to see what he and his “children” were doing to the world and its people. We realized that our cause was no longer righteous or just and that Krovax needed to be stopped. It was around this time that we discovered what was in the wine we were constantly made to consume, I never knew blood could taste so sweet, and yet still turn my stomach with every sip.
The sixteen of us vowed to end this madness and destroy all that Krovax had created. Our first goal was to stop drinking the blood, sounds easy enough but strangely our bodies were addicted to the vile substance and craved it even if we did not. With every skipped dosing we became weaker, while the rest of the eighty four grew in power, we would need to strike quickly if we were to succeed.
A month later the time was right for our exodus. The prime army had marched on bloodwrath spire to challenge Krovax on his on soil. Our small band, now calling ourselves the Brotherhood of the Bound, were able to keep the majority of the Hollow guard out of the fight, and ultimately kill many of them before they ever had a chance to enter the battle. The Prime Conclave, the soldiers, or the people of Valcarnum never having known that if it was not for the Brotherhood Krovax’s forces would have won the day.
We fled to the far reaches of the world after the spire fell, vowing to return to Ginisis every year on the first of Tersemoon. We created tenants that must be followed so that we might further separate ourselves from our monstrous lineage, the first I have already broken by transcribing this document. I will finish this confession by reciting the rest of our vows, I am sorry brothers, but the truth must be revealed…
- The brotherhood must be kept secret, mortal men must never know that we exsist.
- Evil must be hunted in all of its forms, and all hollow guard must be destroyed.
- Never harm a fellow brother, we are all we have.
- On the day of reckoning we all must die