Chapter Twenty-Six - The Queen and the Cardinal

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CHARNEL, GRAND CARDINAL OF THE MAGUS LORDS, stood on the vast sweeping terrace

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CHARNEL, GRAND CARDINAL OF THE MAGUS LORDS, stood on the vast sweeping terrace. Perched high on the side of a rocky edifice it overlooked the dark city far below. He leant on his staff of office and let his yellow eyes stray to the cities farthest reaches. He followed the curve of the great stone ramparts that stretched to completely encircle the city—this Crypt—and seal its occupants within. The walls glowed with a strange blue-green energy that pulsed and crackled, flowing like a river along their massive length.

Long ago the accursed Elves warded these barriers—remnants of the gigantic ship that once carried them to this world—with unbreakable chains of magic to prevent his race from ever again setting foot on the surface again.

Or so they believed.

Recently the barrier had weakened. He knew not how or why, but it had allowed them to send a warrior priest through one of the ancient portals that dotted the world above. His mission, to seek out a means of further negating the spell that imprisoned them.

Charnel was aware that the surface world had changed much since the time of their arrival. Races had come and gone. New ones arose to take their place. He and the other Magus Lords recently enlisted the help of one of this new race of beings. Like them, a creature of magic called Caranaxus. Instilling a false hope within the creature, they gifted it a powerful gemstone, and told that would help with its quest. And so it would; until such time that the Daemon sorcerers could use it to open a portal and allow them to break free of their prison. The plan failed; someone or something destroyed the stone and cut off their means of escape.

Charnel longed to fulfil his destiny and lead a crusade against the Elves and the other races that infested the mud ball above. This time there would be no mistake, they would eradicate any that stood against them and subjugate those that did not.

For too long now his race had suffered. Trapped within the confines of their city, they had learnt the error of their ways; using the time wisely to perfect their space-born magic and sciences and rebuild their army. All the while growing stronger, awaiting the day they knew would eventually arrive.

The Grand Cardinal used his position to study the ancient histories stored in the library of the Great Basilica.

How had this once great race fallen so far?

Long ago the Daemon armies conquered galaxies and held sway over countless planets and their billions of inhabitants. Now they were reduced to this; captives held prisoner beneath the crust of this forsaken world.

But soon, all that was to change.

He wondered if any more of the Daemon race still existed far out in the dark reaches of the universe. Did they continue to carve a path of destruction through the galaxies? Or were they the only ones to escape the ravages of the Dark Fall Crusades?

Charnel turned, and with a flourish of his crimson robes, strode back to the doorway behind him. Once inside he moved down the darkened corridors, the click of his claws and staff on the stone floor the only sound to disturb his thoughts.

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