The most recent siege of Templehof was going better than expected given the Empire’s superior numbers as the Grand Marshal and the others continued to eliminate strategic targets personally and the Count and his other agents did the hard part of making their fighting retreat further and further into the city which was quickly being ruined. But as the zealots overextended further and further into the city their forces became ever more splintered. The Grand Theogonist, Volkmar the Grim, stood in pompous arrogance upon the ridiculously gaudy altar of his god. Bereft of his Sunmaker to clear the skies and his Luminark to destroy the Count’s monsters the haughty fool should have feared an attack by the unit which had ambushed his Magister of the White Order but instead he welcomed them and, as a clear symbol of the madness of his entire Crusade, he ordered his attendants to retreat as he would face the vampire lords alone.
Seconds later the old fool was groveling in the dirt, crawling about as the Viscount applied his fine boots to Volkmar’s ribs. The Grand Theogonist was entrapped in the Von Carstein’s glamour and acquiesced to his will crawling this way and that. It was pathetic.
Almost as pathetic as what happened next. After returning the unconscious windbag to join the Sunscryer and other hostages of note the Grand Marshal’s unit returned to the night skies to hunt for further prey. The Count had entirely abandoned the city gates at this point and was demolishing all invaders with powerful spells that decimated their numbers as well as the homes of the evacuated peasantry. Flying overhead the vampires spotted several members of Rollo’s former Chapter, the Order of the Blazing Sun. While the Warden recommended ambushing the knights from every direction the Grand Marshal wanted to test their mettle and see how far he himself had grown.
The entire gesture was a farce. While he challenged them and they swore to destroy him, not a one could muster the courage to charge the Blackguard. The Dread Master of Liches made them dance on puppet strings of their own blood separating horse from rider and turning brother on brother. The Grand Marshal ran the cowards down, one after the other after submitting the one who identified himself as their leader.
And the Baron-Regent of Fort Oberstyre summoned forth a sea serpent.
The twisted treant Blackroot made good on his word and came when summoned to aid the vampires but seemed largely irrelevant as the knights of the Order of the Blazing Sun were brilliant horseman and tremendously skilled with the blade but were cowardly, disorganized, and routed entirely. The Grand Marshal despised the battle brothers of his former order, the derision on his face as cold as his heart.
Curiously, the Warden detected a hint of resentment in the Viscount as he magically transported himself here and there and attacked with a savage ferocity the other noble regarded jealously. Somewhere in the back of Heinrich’s mind the mad whispers of the chained Firelord laughed, “OF COURSE HE ENVIES YOUR POWER. MY SEED IN YOU GROWS, SOON YOU SHALL APOTHEOSIZE AND ALL SHALL FEEL MY FLAME!” Heinrich gritted his teeth through the mad titan’s ranting, enduring it as a means to an end. The Count turned to the artifacts of Nagash, Isabella to Kyuss, the Dread Master to ancient tomes and scrolls, the Grand Marshal to Bane, everyone was someone’s tool or trying to make someone else’s there’s. What did the cost matter on the eve of the world’s destruction?