The Orese hellscape is primordial.
The perilous sky is as dark as a hellion’s heart. It grumbles and rumbles with thunder like the ravenous stomachs of the gods. The sky riles itself into battle with storms of black clouds colliding. It peels and roars with a burst of monstrous force, bellowing discordant clamours.
Suddenly crimson streaks illuminates the riotous sky. Lightning flares and morphs into forks of blood red. It screeches and scorches towards the darkened expanse, writhing in pain.
Vilnus overlooks the dark realm from the tower of his stronghold, the inky black structure shaped like a massive, sprawled claw; a splay of jagged limbs.
Vilnus’s adjutant approaches his rear, footsteps heavy. With his face fixed down, he sneaks a cautious look at him. Aware of his presence, Vilnus’s back remains turned to him, his intangible, floor-length cape billows behind him, streams of fanning black mist sieved with crackling sparks of fire.
With a shrilly ring, the adjutant slides out his sword from its scabbard and bends the knee. With his face to the earthen ground, he holds the sword the sword before him.
“Your Eminence,” he says with a boisterous voice. “I bear good news.”
Vilnus rotates his head a few stiff inches, barely looking at him from over his shoulder.
The adjutant risks a glimpse of him. “The Dophan has perished, and Urus has been forced to convene with the High Tribunal.”
Vilnus’s smile sharpens into a lethal leer. “They will initiate the King Trials.”
“Yes, Your Reverence,” he confirms with mutual anticipation.
“Have you contacted the Vulkra, are their troops in position?”
“Yes, Your Reverence, all is arranged,” he reassures with confidant certitude. “Our allies from the east have equipped the herds of barbarians with arms, they will wreak destruction upon Urium.”
A deep-throated growl rumbles from Vilnus. “The High King will be the cause of his own destruction that will tear his world asunder. And the lands will flood with the blood of his people.”
The adjutant raises head slowly. “There has been word, Your Eminence. Of the Blood Prince.”
Vilnus whips around and his eyes explode with palpable shock.
“My...my son,” he utters breathlessly.
The adjutant nods eagerly. “He lives. Our Blood Prince lives.”
Vilnus strikes like lightening and flashes before him as he seizes his top garment, yanking him to his feet, and heaving him to his face. Overawed by the putrid odour of Vilnus’s profuse exhales; breaths like the smell of rotting corpses. The adjutant’s grip on his sword tightens nervously.
“My son lives,” he seethes with clamped teeth and belligerently jostles the adjutant as if to shake the answer out of him. “How? I felt his aura perish.”
“Yes, yes, Your Eminence.” His quivering voice rattles his words. “His aura did perish, but it seems his might matches yours and his power manifested, regardless.”
Vilnus grips his chin; talons perfect for deep and brutal cutting, effortlessly pierces his skin. “Do you know what this means?”
He shoves him away, sending him staggering.
Vilnus inhales a sharp breath—invigorated by a sudden surge.
He spins around and strides to the edge as he curls his talons around the one bristle claw.
“I want him found,” he says with a malevolent gleam in his crimson eyes. “I want him at my side when we force Urium to its knees. Their own arrogance has spelt their annihilation, their primitive prejudices have divided them, and so how easy they will fall.”
His eyes set afire with blood. He surveys the darkened expanse that brims with Ulris forces. Battalions of black-armoured troops rowed in faultless precision, filling the spread below that lengthens as far as the eye can see, full of the Ulris armies.
“No, we will wait. Soon Urium will plunge itself into blood and terror, and the High King will be leading the charge. Let the new Ruler rise, so that all of Urium can fall.”