The Worldeater Saga, Part XXXVI: A Red Day

On the dawn of the five-hundred-and-fifty-nineth day of the Creators’ Monomachy, the drums of war tore through the Clawhook’s canyons and cliffs. Sethra, Imperator of the Earth and loyal warrior of the Sanguine Fist, read aloud the second section of the vaunted Apocalyptia in an effort to bless the coming war effort with the solemn brutality of Azvosh itself. Joined by Earthcaller Khuzrol, Thronekeeper Cuyler, Reaper Innai and recruit Irra, the guildmaster of the Teradrim felt her voice thunder across the sands of the Red Quarter and the rugged mountains of the range at her back, until at last those final words passed her lips:

“May we never know peace.”

It was then that the din of tectonic activity intensified, its sound rippling across the Clawhook range in a bellicose song of war: a paean wrought by no man-forged instrument but instead the voices of the Earthen joined as one. *DOOM-DOOM* it thrummed amid crag and crevasse! *DOOM-DOOM* it hummed and sang, carrying through peak and trough and cavern!

And then, like the great legends of old, the earth awakened to sound the call of war.

Montane shoulders shrugged free shale and stone and sand and soil as the ranges awakened to attend to the deepest meaning writ upon their ancient core: that of battle, of carnage, of stoic soldiery and dominant havoc. Bound together for the inimical purpose of war, these dusty elements conspired into countless ranks facing out towards the north – towards the Red Quarter, its mysterious reaches yet still clutched within the fist of an enemy against which the earth sought to prove its might. Billowing dust clouds and tectonic rumbles aligned in a twofound confoundment of senses as the unseen hand of fanatical faith and otherworldly geomancy carved brutal infantry from rugged Albedi soil.

As the gritty cloud settled to christen these newly wrought warriors, a sonorous chant arose from the column. As one, they lifted their weapons – heavy, vicious spears akin to scepters of absolute authority – and bellowed a wordless challenge against the foe they were one and all destined to join battle with. The column of golems then settled into quiescence soon after, the glimmering ochre light within their eyesockets turned inexorably towards the north.

There they waited – for war, for the eternal harrowing promised by religious mandate.

Even as this miraculous mass of militant might assembled itself, Blademaster Tuiln met with the infamous Titan known as Kurak. Unbeknownst to many of Sapience’s adventurers, the once-murderer sought to make amends with the Free City after turning over a new, sun-dappled leaf in the name of the First Flame. Working tirelessly alongside the Hammer, the newly evangelised Akkari laid low countless officers and infantry alike, though this did little to change the minds of Delve’s ruling council. Instead, the Resistance offered a path to redemption: a noble sacrifice at the proper time. As Tuiln explained the details of their battle plan, he redirected the remaining ylem from the Resistance’s military camp into Kurak’s titanic ylemcore, priming the Arborean brute as an unstable explosive meant to ruin Polemarch Andalso’s technological advantage.

Then, as morning light trickled across the Red Quarter in a blaze of crimson yearning to compete with blood soon to spill, the Blademaster assembled the rest of Sapience’s soldiers at the center of downtrodden Cragfoot. Amidst the cacophony of Drakkenmont’s punitive approach, Tuiln explained to the gathered adventurers that they would proceed to a point within the Red Quarter to await the proper moment to ambush the approaching army and cut through them into Andalso’s backline – and then through to the Polemarch himself. The unlikely alliance of brave warriors, cunning assassins, embittered veterans, famous drunkards and motley rejects fell in behind the stoic Blademaster moments later, following him to the staging area for what would be one of the most intense battles upon Albedi soil in centuries.

As adventurers impatiently awaited their moment of glory, the mighty golems assembled at the edge of the Bonro Sands stirred into motion, their movements a unified display of combative purpose. One and all, they marched forward in lockstep, their heavy forms crunching across the sands as they charted an inexorable course to meet their promised foes. Though the golems did not speed up, Drakkenmont’s infantry raced to meet this mindless forward force, weapons held high. As implacable as the mountains they were shorn from, Earth’s fabricated soldiers set their spears to meet the charge, each stony tip gleaming with vicious potential. Screams of the dying mingled with the sonorous exultations of Azvosh as the two forces met in combat, christening the Red Quarter with blood and dust born of brutal warfare.

Then, Blademaster Tuiln sounded the call to charge.

Penned by my hand on Falsday, the 20th of Severin, in the year 513 MA.