Sunday, 2 December 2012

Backstory: Vampire Counts w/ Mortis Engine

Sylvania is a barren, wind swept, backwater province of the Empire. Felix Jaeger described it as a place full of dreariness and a particularly brutish breed of peasant. Great packs of wolves prowl is snow covered moors and ghouls loot its cemeteries for flesh. Indeed, it says something about the land that so many of the peasants have reverted to cannibalism during the winter months. But food is scarce in Sylvania, the land poisoned by warpstone. No where else in the Empire is the concentration of this evil substance greater and this has led to a twisting of the land itself. Ghostly figures often walk among the living, or undead which are much less then ghostly. The terrifying ghouls, lusting after human flesh or the skeletons of warriors long dead, pulling themselves from the earth to steal the life from the living.

It has never helped Sylvania that it is also the home of the vampire counts, the strange aristocracy of the night who once almost destroyed the Empire. The foul magics and sorceries the vampires enacted in there castles can not even be imagined by lesser mortals. And certainly these castles still stand, resiting siege weapons and spell craft alike, left abandoned and avoided by the peasants. Yet some nights, one can still see the strange glow of magic from these castles, as one of there inhabitants returns once again to the send terror out into the world of the living.

At the end of the war of the vampire counts, in which Manfred Von Carstein was defeated, the Empire gave over much of Sylvania to nobles from other lands. The hope was, with the vampire counts destroyed, human rulers could supplant them and drive out whatever demons infested that cursed land. And so a call was sent out across the Empire for nobles who wished to rule these lands. Few answered this call. Among them, however, was a particularly unique noble by the name of Heir Morliac.

Morliac was a student of engineering in Talabheim who had studied and built steam tanks. While Morliac was certainly a noble, no one new much about him besides this. Certainly he was wealthy, and owned a large manor, and had a great library and laboratory. Most assumed that he had come from a foreign land, perhaps an engineer from Brettonia escaping persecution or from Kislev, trying to escape that frozen land. What was well known was that he was an excellent engineer and many were sorry to see him leave. He was given the castle Eldenheim, but in reality it was the Necromanse, the Empire had changed the name in order to obscure the bloody history of the place.

What the empire did not realize was that Morliac was a member of the aristocracy of the night, a dread vampire. Having fought for Manfred, Morliac had been sent into the empire to sow discord in its school of engineering. However Manfred was defeated at Hel Fenn before Morliac could ever effect the gunnery school, and so he had simply continued working there as a student, unsure of what else to do. Years later, when the Empire practically invited him back to his old home, he gladly accepted, excited to return home and put his knowledge to more practical use.

Morliac moved into his new home and his servants cleaned the place of the old bones and rusting weapons of its predecessors. Morliac began to create a powerful artefact capable of sustaining an army of undead far longer then any mage could. With this weapon, Morliac hoped to overcome one of the greatest problems of leading an undead army, keeping it together. Keeping undead risen required a small amount of focus from a wizard and Morliac knew that this eventually led to the wizards downfall. Such divided attention would be the end of any vampire on the battlefield and Morliac, while a talented wizard, was no match for many with a sword. For many months Morliac worked, in the secrecy of the Necromanse, creating his powerful new weapon.

When at last it was completed, Morliac traveled into the worlds edge mountains, seeking the graveyards of the dragons. Whether through luck or skill Morliac found the remains of one of these ancient beasts and reanimated it, riding it back to his home. There Morliac mounted his great machine on the dragons back, a suitable protector for such a potent device. Morliac used his engineering knowledge to reinforce much of the dragons body with pistons and supports so that the creature would be capable of carrying the machine. At last, having created a weapon of magic and science the likes of which the world had never before scene, Morliac activated his device, calling to him all the dead of the worlds edge mountains. His army consisted largely of the peoples who had once inhabited the mountains, scores of great warriors of the mountain clans, reanimated to serve his army as wights. The wailing ghosts and the souls of the necromancers which dwelled in the Necromanse were called to the machine as well, creatures unassailable by mortal weapons.

Morliac knew, however, that such an army would not be enough. He was but one vampire, and had no way to find and unite his scattered bethren again. And while his army was mighty, and contained a weapon of great power, it would take much more then that to threaten the Empire. His army would have to be much greater then Manfred's ever was, and it was currently but a pitiful fraction of that mighty army. So Morliac left the Necromanse and headed into the Worlds Edge Mountains, seeking the lost barrows and battlefields of the men who had once roamed these lands. He would swell his army with there corpses, and the corpses of the orcs who still lived in the mountains. Morliac knew that, eventually, he would rally an army of undead which would rival the armies of Nagash, greatest of all of the necromancers. And with such an army he would destroy the Empire, and the aristocracy of the night would rule once again. It would take time, but, Morliac thought, he had lived for many centuries. What was a few more in order to rule the world?

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