Chapter 1 – An Army Gathers

The calls for war echoed round. The cruel, corrupt and caliginous were armed, dangerous and ready for their assault. For years they had formed a cult-like following, hanging on the every word of their leader. For years he had promised them untold riches, untold power over the land and most importantly...revenge. Revenge on the citizens of the land, who mocked this fringe element with their peacefulness and prosperity. For years he had promised and preached their siege, and now the time was nigh. Now their fervour had reached its boiling point.
The man they followed so loyally was among the most evil and malicious in the known world.
Khal’Dun was his name, one of the only known half Perkwun and half Ushas hybrids; he was treated like he belonged nowhere. Taunted by men for being a half cast of the other two races. The Ushas abandoned him for the Perkwun blood he had coursing through his dark, black veins. The Perkwun’s treated him with no fondness, for the pure blood of the Ushas also made up his lightly coloured body. His eyes, a dark shade of brown held a stern look of constant anger and hatred for most living things, with the exception of those that called him master. His hair was a very light shade of brown, it was matted and filthy. A strong sturdy jaw line made him even fiercer looking, supporting his maliciously content smile. His teeth were straight and white, but the smile blocked his forked tongue from view, a tongue which spat profanity and propaganda on a regular basis. A large build, he stood at least six feet and four inches tall, muscular and strong, a man to be reckoned with. He was an outcast, filled with a deep and burning anger for all the peaceful creatures in the world of Pax Erat. Over the past five years he had sequestered himself away from civilization. But he hadn’t been completely alone for long. Word spread and over time throngs made their pilgrimage. They look to him for acceptance and guidance, and for a chance to take back what was once theirs. They called themselves “The Alienated”. They were the outcasts and the criminals. Ferocious, vicious and bloodthirsty, arming themselves for battle, they prepared for a hostile takeover of the Ushas city of Dal’Nothir, a small yet pivotal city in the world. The Alienated lived in a small town, created by Khal’Dun himself, on the outskirts of the known world. It was built from shrapnel, and scavenged materials. It was desolate, and a blight on the world of Pax Erat. But here they lived. Here they plotted. Here they amassed; ready to destroy the growing peace between the three races, ready to spread darkness and war across the lands.

Khal’Dun stood waiting in the only reasonably created building in the small town, preparing himself for war. He looked at himself in a mirror of fractured glass. He growled, low and ominous at the creature he saw staring back at him. Smashing his fists on the fragile wooden bench beneath the mirror, he strutted out to the balcony, holding his helmet with one arm against his waist. His sword was sheathed, and hanging off his belt, a giant item, which fitted him nicely. Before he reached the balcony, a voice from behind called out to him.
“Sir. Are you ready for this? Is the army truly strong enough?” The voice asked.
“Draug, may I ask you a question?” Khal’Dun asked politely.
“Of course Sir.”
“Does it please you to question my judgement?”
“N-No Sir, I ju-”
“Do not interrupt me, worm.” Khal’Dun shouted.
Draug cowered, hand above his head, he quivered with fear. He was a small, thin, man. His pale skin was almost illuminating the currently dark room. His eyes were shifty, and beady, darting back and forth. His thin mouth covered his deceitful and lying tongue. “Now, as I was saying. Is it merely out of your own personal pleasure to question my ideas? Or is it just pure ignorance and stupidity which cloud the poisonous words you have been spitting in my direction of late.”
“I-uh. Of course not, I didn’t mean for any disrespect.” He stammered as he quivered in fear.
Khal’Dun walked over to him; Draug winced and tried to back away from the massive man.
“Why do you cower Draug?” Khal’Dun asked satirically. He leaned down, and gently patted the fearful man’s back. Draug whimpered softly. No words escaped his mouth. Khal’Dun’s face twisted and distorted with furious rage.
“You dare ignore me, you dog?” Khal’Dun shouted. “You will learn. Yes. You will learn to ignore your master.” He gripped the small mans shirt, carrying him with ease. Khal’Dun burst through the curtains and out to the balcony, where his army had amassed below. He raised his arms up, still holding Draug by the back of his shirt. The rumbling chants and shouts escalated into raucous cheers from the crowd. The stomps of thousands of feet, the blood curdling roar of the insanely fearless, and the chants of The Alienated erupted as soon as Khal’Dun came into view.
“My brothers...” He started. Silence quickly fell over the massive group of creatures. “Let me introduce to you, Draug. The first traitor to be silenced by The Alienated, and by Khal’Dun!” He shouted. The crowd cheered.
“Are you ready?” He called to the crowd. A collective roar enveloped the air. Khal’Dun drew back, ready to toss Draug off the edge.
“No, please don’t Sir. I am still loyal!” Draug cried.
Khal’Dun didn’t hesitate before he flung his weight forward, sending Draug flying through the air and into the bloodthirsty crowd. The loud thud of his body hitting the earth echoed around the now silent town centre.
“Let those who are loyal feast on the flesh of the traitor!” Khal’Dun shouted. A wicked smile spread across his face. He waited, ready to give the speech that would spark the forward movement of his army.
The sounds of ripping sinew and cracking bones soon vanished from the air, and silence once again came over the crowd, waiting for the words from their master. Khal’Dun looked down at the army at his command, and breathed in preparing to speak.

“Tonight we march. We march to fight. We march to vengeance. And we march to victory! My fellow outcasts and so-called criminals, my shunned brethren, we march to claim our own land, to destroy those who tried to do the same to us. We have congregated, and our combined hatred for the Men, the Perkwun and the Ushas will fuel our burning desire to see them wiped out to make way for what is to be our world. Fight my kin! We shall have victory; we shall feast on blood tonight! But first, we must march. March to the Ushas city of Dal’Nothir. After today, we will be feared. Men! We leave, make haste for battle!” As he finished, he raised his helmet to the crowd. The powerful gesture inspired the criminal scum that made up his army. A confident roar erupted from the crowd, and the sounds of marching feet were now echoing throughout the small town. A chant exploded from the army as it continued its trek to the city of Dal’Nothir.
“Darkness spreads across the land, as we come to claim what’s ours
Stray not from bed or home or place, it’s wise to stay and cower,
Nothing can stop, or even compare, to Khal’Dun’s armies power,
Natural growing’s of bush and flower will all but be devoured,
For darkness comes to take the land, late will be the hour,
Death will rain; destruction will follow, in a heavy caliginous shower,
We come we come, marching strong, from Khal’Dun’s dark and mighty tower.”

The thunderous boom of thousands of feet acted like a beat for their chant. The booming confidence of the collective crowd of criminals all but inspired fear. Dark clouds gathered above Dal’Nothir. War, chaos and death was upon the Ushas city. The Great War had now begun.