The Age of Black Woe: Parts IX and X

On the 11th of Daedalan 923 AF, the citizens of Mhaldor gathered within the Black Cathedral for a dark communion and an even darker purpose. Blood flowed in rivers from their freshly slit throats, soaking into a pentagram of their own make as they performed a profane ritual: the summoning of Lord Malortis, the Portal Master.

The scholars of Mhaldor understood well that this ancient daemon never acted without a price, for his loyalty was first and foremost to himself. A bargain had to be struck to secure his services, and what could tempt him more than a taste of Divinity? With a quake that rumbled Sapience, Cooper Ikari rose as an Avatar of Malevolence and offered his blood, heart, and body to the slavering Lord Malortis. Tooth sank into flesh as claw tore apart skin, and when the flurry of crimson abated, the Portal Master was satisfied.

The price was paid.

Ascending out of the Black Cathedral to the cursed city of Kasmarkin, the Daemon Lord fulfilled his end of the bargain. A portal to the Inferno was opened, and Mhaldor was allowed to strike at Pazuzu’s forces. Steel poised and magic crackling, the armies of the Baelgrim marched in, tearing apart the wasteland’s demons before charging at their newest foe: Spall, the Gnarled Hand.

Panicked and flighty, the greasy demon threw flame after burning flame at the encroaching army of Black Hand and Sartanic devout, melting the overly brave and foolish into puddles of bubbling pitch. But any effort was meaningless in the face of such an overwhelming force, and it was not long before the Avatar of Evil stood atop a foul, rotting corpse. It took only minutes before the effects of Spall’s demise were felt on the Prime Material Plane. Without the Gnarled Hand’s ritualism to sustain it, the rift above Kasmarkin wavered and collapsed inwards, freeing Sapience from the ceaseless onslaught of the Infernal Legion’s hordes.

With the violent closure of the Infernal portal came a promise sealed by Mhaldor. Born of Malortis’ daemonic hand, their own flame-wrought rift to the Inferno would remain intact and afire on the Prime, allowing them to return the Legion’s gift of endless slaughter to the demons waiting within.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Summary: Mhaldor performed a ritual to summon Lord Malortis, the Portal Master. In exchange for the blood of an Avatar, the Daemon Lord opened a rift to the Inferno, allowing the Baelgrim armies to slay the demon responsible for the Infernal Legion’s transportation to Sapience.

Deep within Memory, the Black Prince Pazuzu strode under the high places where his judges had once sentenced him with banishment to the Chaos Planes for the crime of rebellion. A gloating smile reigned over his cruel face as he pushed over the stone bench from which the Even-Handed Goddess had declared the verdict.

“You are gone, and I remain.”

The words rested heavy in the air. The certainty of inevitable triumph wreathed about the Inferno’s Lord like a cloak. That inevitability, however, would not go unchallenged.

The Crown Prince had numerous dangerous enemies, not least the Bloodsworn Gods. Aurora and Deucalion, joined by the Merchant Lord Prospero, materialised to cast him from his lofty place. Wielding Their implements of war, the Divinities against him closed in before he could make for more favourable ground, and Pazuzu was forced to stand and fight.

He was forced, perhaps, but he was no less eager to battle.

Even with such resplendence as the trio of Gods brought to bear, Pazuzu fended Them off with the savage might of fang and claw. Whenever Deucalion’s flame, Aurora’s ivory, or Prospero’s bronze struck the Demon Prince, he pressed on virtually unharmed. Ethereal sigils covered his body with every blow, and the bite of Their sacred armaments dissipated along his form.

The War Veil was proving a terrible tool in his hands. However, Aurora’s might would not be denied even by this defence; She had come so far and endured so much that mere artifice would not delay the justice She and Her Bloodsworn had set out to mete. With the pressure of Deucalion’s fires and Prospero’s harassment, the Lightbringer finally trapped the Crown Prince’s arm under Hers. The Scimitar of Dawn sheared across his mighty frame and left a minute nick in the War Veil’s fabric, which She seized upon.

Throwing aside his protection with a yank of Her hand, Pazuzu now found himself under genuine threat from the assault of the Gods. A furious exchange ensued in which he gave it his all to destroy Them before They could destroy him, but in the end, justice was something even that ancient rebel could not elude.

Aurora buried Her scimitars in his chest and ripped them apart, leaving the Demon Prince a ruined corpse on the blackened ground.

Yet the War Veil was not the only ancient magic the New God had kept with him for such an eventuality. The virid glow of Gaia’s ring bathed his ruined form, and he rose again, more terrible and dangerous than ever before. In his hand now gleamed the sword of Yen-Sorte, the Battlemaster, that fabled weapon known far and wide as the Rageblade.

Fueled by the ravaging harm inflicted upon him, the storied longsword proved too much even for the Lightbringer’s studied swordsmanship. Prospero was similarly beaten back, and the Righteous Fire’s flames went ignored in favour of retribution. Blow by blow, Aurora was put on the back foot and reduced to mere survival by the savagery of Pazuzu’s killing frenzy.

Pressed to Her limit, She drew upon Her Divine essence and brought forth the radiance of the Morning Star. The light turned the ground to bubbling tar, and the flames of a new sun infused the Scimitar of Righteousness. She brought it down upon the Crowned Prince with all the unstoppable might of a just sentence.

The Goddess was thrown back when it connected with the Paincatcher Pazuzu now held in his other hand. Her body was rent open, and Her blood streamed freely from the grievous wound in a nightmarish scene. Her Bloodsworn was marred by the magic of the Protean shield’s retribution, and She was now defenceless.

Pazuzu pinned Her arm to the ground with his foot and lifted the fell steel of the Rageblade high above Her, pointing its tip at Her still-beating heart.


Deucalion’s voice resonated across Memory as He cried Her name. His fire blazed and enveloped Her, protecting Her from Pazuzu’s assault for the split second it took the Merchant Lord to open a golden door for Them to flee through.

The New God Pazuzu relented and simply watched them leave, issuing his pronouncement in this fateful place as They withdrew from the battle.

“Enjoy what time is left to You before it runs out, for I will come for all of You.”

“Believe that.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Summary: Aurora, Deucalion, and Prospero found an opportunity to assault Pazuzu as he visited the memory of his sentencing after the War of Humanity. Wielding the power of the War Veil, Lifegiver, Paincatcher, and Rageblade, the Crowned Prince not only eluded Their justice but grievously wounded Aurora before the three Gods managed to withdraw to safety.