Chapter 49: The War for Herophet and the Rise of Zykerathox


The Age of Karnish had been great indeed and there had been much peace and prosperity and the nations and peoples of Arrasia flourished like never before and everything seemed good, for the evil had been banished and Amman were but a shadow of itself and that which belonged in the shadow stayed in the shadow and that which was good did conquer over that which were bad. Yet it was that even now the eyes from the shadow did look over the green fields of Arrasia and frown, for it were not to their liking, and thoughts turned to that which had no master and the Throne in Herophet were like a tinder that became a fire that became a roaring flame and some did covet the throne and desire to be master of it and as the peoples of Arrasia basked in the warm glow of good days, so the seeds of their demise were sewn in the chill of their shadow.

For the generations of many had Zykerathox been Steward of Herophet, entrusted to its keeping until a new master should take it, and long he stared at that empty seat and thought his shape would fit it well and why not he, rather than some other? So did he stare at that throne and with much intensity and hatched schemes and plots and sent out his spies and minions to sow the seeds of his ascent. So it was from whispers on the wind that it came to the ears of Tettungba that Gygafrak did once again muster his forces to attack Arrasia and then onto Herophet itself and Gygafrak did hear that Hith now moved for the throne, which he had no rights to, for his lineage were impure. And thus was it that Hith heard that Tettungba did desire the throne for herself and that her armies were preparing for war. And thus did the plots of Zykerathox whip up a storm in the hearts of those that did desire the Throne of Herophet and he sat back and laughed at them and watched his long hatched plans bear their fruit.

So it was that Gygafrak called upon his army of goblins from where they hid and raised an army that was strong. And with him were Babbarax, who thought she might yet gain the throne herself, should she use her wiles and betray him when he thought himself master. And her armies too were massed and came together and made war upon Karnish, who were yet the greatest nation on Arrasia and under the protection of Fandor. And as their armies marched, so Gygafrak and Babbarax made to Thoran, where Fandor was, and Gygafrak came as himself, but Babbarax was as of an old crone and of no consequence. There did Gygafrak call to Fandor, as his father, and seek entrance to Thoran and though Fandor did not trust him, he yet let him in, for the peace had been long and perhaps his heart was softened, and upon seeing him Babbarax did reveal herself and attacked Fandor, who was hard put against his foes.

Thus was the long peace shattered and war came to Damarkan and Arrasia and the evil that was cast aside rose up and consumed all that it touched with its bleakness. And Gygafrak and Babbarax set upon Fandor and there was a mighty struggle and the land did shake and the walls crack as they smote the other and rained down their blows. And many would have been lost to the frenzy of Gygafrak and Babbarax, but Fandor were mighty powerful and his blows rained down too and all of Damarkan shook and knew the peace of the world shattered.

Thus was it that Zykerathox called upon his servant, Justice, and he came disguised to Arrasia and came to the King of Karnish as an old wizard and declared himself a friend and told him of Gygafrak and his army and told them what they desired and even told them where to go and what to do. And though there was much distrust, to the King's ears had already come news of this war and the tens of thousands set against him and he knew what this old wizard said were true and believed that which he did not already know. So did he thank the old wizard and sent out his spies and everything that he was told was in truth. So a great army was raised, called from the reaches of their empire, for war were upon them and they would be hard pushed, and as they mustered so the army of Gygafrak and Babbarax did come at them and the lands of Karnish began to fall and in Thoran did Gygafrak and Babbarax and Fandor continue their struggle.

Zykerathox did laugh at his foes all snared in his trap and he sent forth Justice a second time, who came to Karnish and told them of Tettungba, who were hatching plans against them and in Murster had called a council of mighty powerful demons, for an alliance was to be formed and they too were to make war on Karnish and the King did believe this old man and he gathered to him a band of assassins and spies and sent them over journeys unknown to Murster, where they might put an end to Tettungba's business before it were too late. And this band were led by a dwarf of great renown, Keeley, and they went to Murster and found out that all the old man had said were true and Tettungba had called a council of evil so that they might destroy Karnish and Tettungba sit upon Throne of Herophet. But the work of Justice was not yet finished, and he came to Thoran as a great wyrm and there came before Gygafrak and Babbarax and Fandor, who were near exhausted from their struggles, and Fandor was nearly beaten and cast aside, for he were no match for the two of them. But as they fought, Justice came to Gygafrak in his guise and whispered in his ear of Tettungba and her secret council and her desires and told him she knew his plan and would make war on him after he had defeated Karnish, for then he would be at his weakest and easy prey for her.

And with these words Gygafrak roared and left Fandor on his knees and made for Murster and Tettungba and her secret council that was secret no more. And Babbarax followed, but already knew her path were not the one that Gygafrak would follow, for the plan were a bad one and she thought it time enough to leave Gygafrak to his own devices and thus was her part in this story over for she could see the folly of it.

Prepared for war, the army of Karnish marched against the goblins and met them in war and there did the two armies clash and though the Karns were no match in size, their strength and discipline held firm and they drove against the ranks of goblins, until the lines were breached and the goblins defeated. But it were not without price, for the army of men had suffered greatly and the whole of Karnish were greatly weakened, as Zykerathox had hoped, for he had indeed dealt a blow to two enemies with the casting of just one stone. And in Murster did Keeley and his band of assassins come unnoticed and discovered all that they had been told were true and after many adventures came to the council on the day of reckoning, when they were gathered to declare their loyalty, but instead found themselves infiltrated and set upon by assassins and there was much uproar and chaos and many fled, though many yet stood and fought. And so Tettungba was enraged and made for Keeley, but even then Gygafrak came into the chamber and unleashed his fury upon her and as they fought Keeley knew his job was done and there would be no alliance here and snuck away and returned to Arrasia and Karnish and in Murster did Gygafrak and Tettungba tear at each other and for both was their plotting over, for they were not to be the new masters of Herophet.

Thus did Justice come disguised to Karnish a third time and told them that Hith too would now make war on them and his forces did muster, but that Hith was not master of his own mind and it was to his servant, Wamranoch, that they should look to master. So was it that Keeley returned to Karnish and they rejoiced, for he were alive and Tettungba's council was no more, and to him they entrusted the journey to Hithanon and he came there with his band of assassins and came to a tower that the old man had told them of and they found a secret path that led them in, just as the old man had said it would, and after many fights they came to Wamranoch, who were a mighty wyrm that sat atop that tower and they fought him and killed him and thus was Hith's right hand silenced and his mind blackened and he had not the wits to make good use of his army, for his mind were not his own and he knew he would not be the master of Herophet.

And in Karnish there was much rejoicing, for though they were much weakened and many had perished, Karnish were still free and great and their enemies defeated and none were yet the master of Herophet. And so it was that the old man came to Karnish a fourth time and he did tell them how great indeed they were, for they had defeated all the foes of Zykerathox, and he revealed himself as Justice, and made to kill the King of Karnish, who now realized his folly, and it would have been done but for Keeley, who protected him from harm, though was himself killed by Justice, who then fled. And in Karnish did they now know the deception of Justice and their own foolishness, for they had weakened all the enemies of Zykerathox and were themselves exhausted and much lessened and they celebrated no more.

So it was that Justice came before Zykerathox and told him of all that had happened. That Gygafrak's army was no more and Tettungba's plans had come to nought and now they did fight in Murster with no thought for Herophet. And the guiding hand of Hith guided him no more, so he were but a fool who lead many, but commanded none and Karnish and Fandor were on their knees. And Zykerathox laughed and it was loud and full of his spite and he roused himself from his seat and stood tall and looked down on Justice and told him to take the seat he had vacated, for he needed it no longer, so Justice sat. Zykerathox now walked to the throne he had for so long gazed upon and sat down upon it and it felt good to sit there and he declared it his own and should there be any who not agree, that they should come and tell him so and make him leave it if they could. And thus was there a new Lord of Herophet and his name was Zykerathox and he felt the power of Gort and Hakkan pass in to him and the peace of the world were now ended.

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