This entry contains the first part of “Springs of Blood”, a story that was in it
s beginning an entry to SC III. More will follow.<br><br><span style="font-size: 100%">[align=center]<strong>Springs of Blood</strong>[/align]</span><br><br>�?z�?�and the end of times will be heralded by war at the black sea, springs of blood in the dark land and the coming of the fifty shades of grey!�?� <br>From the Prophecies of Zarr Dareis, <br>Author unknown<br><br>Htharikk Blackheart shook his head wearily. <br><br>This part of the prophecy didnt make sense.
Given that it was one of the oldest documents in Zarr Dareis and that it was nearing illegibility the prophecies always were a lodestone to manoeuvre the fate of his fortress through difficult times.
What black sea did it mean?
The volcanic wastes of the dark land had its share of springs, but springs of blood?
And what monstrosities could be �?othe fifty Shades of Grey�?�?
Some times the old scrolls were rather straightforward, but especially when crucial times came the wordings became more and more obscure.
Htharrik had spent years of study to compare the wording of the scrolls with the events that happened in history.
Always he had found that the scrolls were exactly describing the events, but these were mingled with events he couldn�?Tt trace to any known realm.
One of the oldest times best documented in Zarr Dareis was the Rise of the Master of Madness and of the Renegades.
Sure, he came from the heights above the Black Land, but was he really the �?oHighlander�?� of the prophecy?
And what was the meaning of the cryptic words he or one of his companions seemed to have spoken:
�?oFrom the Dawn of Time we came, moving silently down through the centuries, living many secret lives, struggling to reach the Time of the Gathering, when the few who remain will battle to the last. No one has ever known we were among you, until now.�?�
Full of frustration he downed a chalice of blood red wine and sighed. There were always so many questions and answers were rare.
Since he couldn
t see a way to find the meaning of the �?ofifty Shades of Gray�?� and the �?oBlack Sea�?� wasnt a location found on any maps there were only the Springs of Blood worth of investigation.
He would bring up that matter on the next council-meeting and see what his underlings thought of it.
Perhaps he could rid himself of some sycophants by sending them on a search to the blasted plains for some obscure springs running with red water, blood or something explaining that passage of the prophecy.
* * *
�?oAnd the waters of the Spring of Blood will give you powers manifold�?��?�
From the Prophecies of Zarr Dareis
Urr-al-Hashut, 1st Dynasty
The Council Hall was awash with bickering and shouting which fell to an oppressing silence when the great iron gong proclaimed the entrance of the High Sorcerer-Prophet.
The Hobgoblins prostrated themselves on the raven black tiles of the floor while the Dawi-Zarr bowed with profound respect as Htharrik Blackheart took his place on the Iron Throne of Zarr-Dareis.
Tired but with barely concealed contempt he looked at the throng of sycophants, slaves and guards crowding the big hall until his gaze fell on his son, who gave him a nod and a military salute.
Then his voice grated through the silence and everyone present looked at him.
�?oHashut be with you, fellow Dawi-Zarr. I have consulted the Prophecies for three nights and a hundred slaves have been offered to our Master at each dawn of my vigil,�?� his voice dropped to a whisper as he continued, �?oand I have found no real answers. - The future is clouded as is the want of the prophecies in time of turmoil.�?�
�?oBut �?"�?o he boomed, �?oeven if the scrolls have not shown me a way they told me to look for certain signs and portents which will help us through this time of crisis.
Times of war are a risk but they always are a chance to multiply our might, too.
So fire up the furnaces, intensify the drill of our troops, double the offerings to Hashut and be ready for interesting times!�?�
The crowd began to cheer, chanting out �?oHashut�?� and �?oBlackheart�?�.
He raised his gauntleted hands and they fell silent again.
�?oI would speak with all the servants of Hashut next, so the rest of you be swift to bring the city to readiness, for glorious battle will be joined soon and I will bring swift justice to everyone I find lacking.�?�
The throng filed out through the massive bronze doors until the Sorcerer-Prophet was alone with his Pyrophants and Daemonsmiths.
�?oYou see,�?� he addressed them. �?oIt is easy to command the simple mass. But our task is much more complicated. There are few references in the scrolls which can be connected with this time and it will fall to you to investigate those leads I found.�?�
�?oMaster, you only have to command us!�?� they answered in unison.