Archaon marched through the streets of the Griffin city, his sword blazing hungrily for more blood, the flames reflecting against the Everchosen’s black armor. The cries of pain and suffering echoed across the empty street, giving proof of his Legion’s activities as they found more victims. However, the Everchosen cared little about the spoils of his slaves. His blazing orange eyes were focused solely upon the palace, towering over the rest of the city. Arrows flew from it’s windows, striking down any of the horrific mutants that got too close to the palace walls, covered in the roots of a massive tree growing from the palace’s roof, slowly generating a wooden dome around the city.
“Master, the cowardly griffins have their palace well defended. How do you plan to conquer their last pathetic stronghold?” One of Archaon’s Chosen growled, the eight warriors marching behind their master, the mutations wreaked upon them having changed them from pathetic ponies into bipedal, humanoid monstrosities, several horns sprouting out of one of their heads, while another had massive, bat-like wings, spikes tearing out of his arms. Each of the Chosen carried a massive, two handed battle axe, it’s blade glowing orange from the daemonic powers filling each of the Great Weapons forged with Chaos Magic.
“One of their own has dared to challenge me to a duel! If he dares to bar those gates to me, then he is nothing more than a coward who’s bark is worse than his bite. You shall gather our Legion together, and while I fight the weakling who dares to challenge me, you will march our forces to the doors, and break them!” Archaon declared, raising his sword high.
“My lord, what if you fall to this challenger, or he is dishonorable and they instead all descend upon you?” The captain of the Chosen asked, only to find the Slayer of Kings at his throat.
Do you doubt the power of me, the Everchosen of Chaos?!” Archaon growled angrily, and the Captain staggered back from the force of his voice. “Such pathetic creatures as these Griffins could never defeat me! Now, gather our forces, as I have ordered, or you shall find your blood feeding the Slayer of Kings for your insolence!”
The Captain nodded quickly, and the Chosen dispersed to spread the word. Archaon snorted angrily, lowering his flaming blade and continuing his walk towards the palace.
The creature once known as Quick Slash growled impatiently, observing the paths leading to the palace like a hawk. The rest of the guards either manned their stations, shooting down any of Archaon’s forces that drew near, or knelt and prayed around Quick Slash, his holy gifts from their Protector seen as a symbol of hope. As they prayed, a griffin messenger flew up to Quick Slash, kneeling before him before he spoke.
“Champion of Her Holiness, the bastard son known as Archaon approaches the palace gates from the North. Shall our archers fell this abomination that has brought ruin to our proud people?” The messenger asked, and Quick Slash’s daemonic maw shifted into a grin.
“No, messenger. Tell them to open the gates, and to clear out the main courtyard. I shall personally slaughter Archaon, as a sign of my devotion to our Protector!” He declared, and the griffins around him cheered, their prayers soon continued.
“Very well, Champion, I shall go deliver your Holy Word.” The Messenger bowed again, before taking off, his wings carrying him away. Quick Slash left his post at the window, his grotesquely mutated legs cracking the ground beneath them as he walked towards the courtyard.
The Palace Gates
Archaon walked across the bridge to the palace, the grip on his sword tightening. He found the gates opening slowly before him, revealing the main courtyard beyond, and the monstrous mutant that awaited him.
“So, you are the pathetic worm that dares challenge me, the Everchosen of Chaos?” Archaon growled as he drew closer. “Suffice to say, I am not impressed.”
“How dare you speak in such a tone to the Champion?!” A griffin called down from above. “Blasphemer!”
The monster before Archaon let loose a wet growl. It took Archaon a moment to realize it was laughing. His eyes narrowed.
“It is obvious as to why you cannot recognize me, Archaon!” The monster laughed, it's claws clutching it’s sides. “I have ascended to become our Protector’s Champion! I am Quick Slash, the Griffin you fought on our beaches!”
“The only Griffin I remember fighting was Wingstrong, you pathetic worm. You are nothing to me, and soon shall be another meal for the Slayer of Kings!” Archaon replied, placing his shield in front of him. “If you wish to be a warrior I can remember, then prove yourself to me! I shall slaughter you regardless, but perhaps you may fight well enough!”
“As you wish, Destroyer!” Quick Slash growled, leaping towards Archaon, his speed unusual for a creature of his mass. The Everchosen leapt to the side, bringing the Slayer of Kings forward in a sideways slash. The Daemon moved to the side in an attempt to dodge, but not far enough, as the tip of the flaming blade cut across his skin, drawing out his blackened blood as the daemonic flames scorched the skin around it, making Quick Slash howl in pain as he leapt back.
“The Slayer of Kings finds your blood distasteful, daemon.” Archaon growled, the black blood on his sword burning up in the flames that surrounded it. “This means you are not a true Daemon, nor a Daemon Prince...meaning you are nothing to me in the slightest.” He pointed the Slayer of Kings at Quick Slash. “Come, hurry up and face your end, so the Slayer of Kings does not have to taste your foul blood any further!”
Quick Slash roared angrily, the blade-wings on his back stretching out. He leapt up into the air, attempting to bring his mass down upon the Everchosen, his claws and blades ready to tear through Archaon’s armor to get at his flesh below.
The Everchosen spread out his arms, roaring out an ancient incantation. A moment later, a large ball of fire erupted between the two combatants, screaming as it flew towards Quick Slash. The Daemon, unable to stop his descent, took the ball head on, scorching his skin and burning patches of flesh away, revealing blackened wood in place of bones. Archaon leapt out of the way of the burning daemon’s fall, watching with satisfaction as the beast crashed to the ground, smoke curling off his blackened hide.
Before it could rise again, Archaon rushed forward, plunging his blade deep into Quick Slash’s side, the flames licking across the blade catching his wooden bones alight.
“You are pathetic and weak, barely worth my notice.” Archaon growled, pulling his sword out as he stepped towards the beast’s head. “And yet, you dared to challenge me? You are a toddler attempting to rise to adulthood, no matter how futile your mission is.” The creature roared, standing up and towering over the Everchosen, spraying him with it’s blood and saliva. “Now, die, and see how your Protector abandons you!” Archaon roared, his blade cutting clean through Quick Slash’s neck, the mutated griffin’s head falling to the floor, followed soon by the rest of his body.
The silence in the courtyard was absolute, as every griffin stared in horror at the corpse of their Champion. Soon, however, the silence was broken by the sound of hundreds of metal boots clanking across the bridge, signaling the approach of Archaon’s army.
“Children of the Griffish Isle, the enemy is at our door!” The voice of Mazarish slithered around the courtyard, reaching the ears of every griffin. “Stop them, before they can enter! I shall deal with the Destroyer myself!”
The guards seemed to snap into motion, rushing to the gates to attempt to fight off the approaching tide. Archaon stood in the center of the courtyard, his eyes catching sight of the Daemon that had tricked the griffins into serving her. She seemed to be taunting him, motioning for him to follow, before floating further into the palace.
Archaon growled with rage, smashing aside a griffin that had attempted to fly around him, breaking the guard’s bones as he fell to the floor, dead, his ribcage having pierced his heart.
“If you wish to die by my hand, vermin, then I shall send you back to your masters in pieces!” Archaon roared, chasing after Mazarish. He soon found himself in a large, cathedral-like chamber, overrun with large tree roots covering the walls and floor.
“I suppose I should thank you, Everchosen Archaon…” Mazarish’s voice purred, coming from all directions. “Were it not for your invasion, my arrival in this realm would not have occurred for another few centuries. You have aided my rise in this land, so I suppose you deserve a reward…” The figure of the Daemon appeared on the other side of the chamber, her hand extended towards the Everchosen. “Bow before me, and pledge your loyalty to me, and I shall grant you powers beyond that which you already possess…”
The Everchosen’s reply was a massive fireball, screaming towards Mazarish and burning away the roots it passed over. She vanished into the ground, letting the flames impact the wall behind her, before reforming where she had stood.
“Do you really think I, Archaon, The Everchosen of Chaos, would ever serve a pathetic Daemon, sworn to no God of it’s own?!” Archaon roared, The Slayer of Kings blazing in tune with the Everchosen’s rage. “You are a fool to think as such! For your insolence, I shall tear you apart, presenting the pieces to whatever will be left of your followers before I use you as food for my warriors!”
“A shame, Archaon. You would have been better off serving me…” Mazarish sighed. “Of course, it's not like you are the true Archaon…”
The Everchosen roared with fury, charging forwards to make good on his words. Massive roots sprung from the floor to either impede or attack the armored Everchosen, but they were cut apart by The Slayer of Kings, and any roots that did reach Archaon merely pushed him back, finding no purchase in the Armor of Morkar. As he drew close, Mazarish suddenly let loose a surge of Chaos Magic, the power of the Realm of Chaos made manifest as black spikes made out of an unknown material shot towards Archaon, impaling the Everchosen’s arm as they stabbed into the less defended joints of the armor. Archaon roared in pain, the power concealed within the spikes blazing across his arm, filling him with agonizing pain. Mazarish chuckled maliciously, slamming a root across Archaon’s chest, throwing him back to the other side of the Cathedral.
Archaon soon stood back up, his arm hanging weakly at his side. Growling, he tossed away his shield, switching The Slayer of Kings to his other hand.
“Oh please, Archaon, you have no chance of defeating me.” Mazarish sighed, watching with pity as the Everchosen pulled out the spikes. “Every soul that dies on the Isle goes straight to me, filling me with more power. Your warriors have been giving me a fine feast.”
Archaon growled, his mind trying to find a way to defeat the Daemon. The Slayer of Kings roared in his hand, the Daemon U’zuhl’s rage flowing across Archaon. The Everchosen heard it’s whispers in his mind, offering its power to destroy Mazarish.
Archaon knew the risks of unleashing such a Daemon, but he weighed his options, and found he had no choice. As Mazarish had said, she was gaining more power the more soldiers died, and would soon be able to outmatch the Everchosen. She controlled the area, and Archaon wouldn't be able to win. Rising to his feet, the Everchosen accepted U’zhul’s offer. Rage and power flowed through his blackened veins, unnatural energies burning away all thoughts, except for slaughtering his foes.
Mazarish winced from the unleashed energies, moving back slightly as Archaon channeled the fury of U’zhul the Skulltaker, the greatest of Khorne’s chosen Bloodletters. His damaged arm rose, fully healed as Archaon returned the Slayer of Kings to it, his shield returning to his side. The fiery blade blazing hotter than the lava in the planet’s core. The flames spread across Archaon’s body, burning away the roots within five feet of the enraged Everchosen.
“Impossible…” Mazarish breathed, before Archaon rushed forward, destroying everything that rose between him and Mazarish. The Daemon summoned a sword, hoping to defend herself, but Archaon’s blade smashed it away, before plunging into her chest.
“Blood for the Blood God!” Archaon roared, his blade ripping its way up her chest, freeing itself after cutting through her head. Blackened blood burst from her head, oozing onto the ground. The Daemon reformed itself, roots extending from the two sides to pull them back together.
“I shall not be defeated by you!” She screeched, sending thousands of needles to break upon Archaon’s armor, or burned away by the flames covering the Everchosen. Those flames expanded, taking on the form of a Bloodthirster, though not as large. The flames on the Slayer of Kings expanded on the end, appearing more like that of an axe.
Archaon swung his sword again, the axe blade made of fire cutting away at her limbs, setting them on fire as it did, keeping her wounds from healing as he cut her to pieces.
“N...no….” Mazarish gargled, her throat filling with blood. The Slayer of Kings swung for a final time, separating her head from her neck. The remains of her body turned to dust, dispersing to the winds as Archaon’s flames receded, returning to the Slayer of Kings. Before Archaon could utter a word, he collapsed to the ground, every fiber of his being screaming in pain as the backlash of using the power of the Slayer of Kings ripped through his body. He felt as though flames continued to wrap around his body inside the Armor of Morkar, burning his skin and inflicting unending agony upon the Everchosen.
The Everchosen’s cry of pain cracked the ground and shattered the windows of the entire city, causing what was left of the Griffin populace drop to their hind legs, clutching their bleeding ears in pain, the noise shaking them to their very souls, and even destroying the weaker ones, causing the Griffins to drop to the ground, empty eyes staring endlessly into the distance. Archaon’s forces, the horribly mutated creatures, were merely staggered, their will power far stronger than that of the griffins.
Eventually, the roars of agony subsided from the Everchosen, the flames of his agony slowly fading away, back into the Slayer of Kings. Archaon stood, finding several of his Chosen surrounding him. Some of them wielded swords, their great weapons lost in the battle. The leader of them stepped forward, observing the scene before him.
“Everchosen…Archaon…” The Chosen growled, his helmet masking his features. “You vanquished the Daemon?”
“Did...you doubt...my prowess...worm?!” Archaon growled, staggering to his feet. His grip on the Slayer of Kings tightened when he noticed the other Chosen stepping closer.
“No, my lord.” The Chosen Leader spat, his own grip around his Great Axe strengthening. “It appears, however, that you are weak. I think it is time for a new Everchosen!” He charged forward, his great axe cutting through the air, racing towards Archaon’s head.
The Everchosen moved to the side, the axe blade scraping against his left shoulderpad, the Slayer of Kings finding it’s place through the Chosen’s chestplate. Archaon gave a shallow breath, glaring with exhausted rage at the Leader of the Chosen.
“You...dare...raise your blades against me?!” He growled, twisting the blade and ripping it out through his side, sending the dying warrior tumbling to the ground. The other Chosen rushed forward, weapons raised in unison to kill their former master. Archaon bashed his shield into one of them, sending him reeling as he narrowly ducked under a swipe from one of the Chosen’s greatswords, his blade rushing into that warrior’s pelvis, eliciting a cry of pain as the Everchosen twisted the blade, bringing it out through the Chosen’s head and brought the flaming blade behind him, blocking an attempted slash into his backside.
Archaon felt a burst of pain as one Chosen scored a lucky strike, their blade slicing through a weaker spot in his right leg armor. The Everchosen roared in pure rage as he shoved the Chosen behind him backwards with the Slayer of Kings, quickly turning around and, with a wide arc of his blade, cut through the Chosen’s neck, sending his head whistling into the air.
“I… am Everchosen!” Archaon gasped out, his blade cutting a Chosen’s Great Axe in two, using the bottom of his shield as a blunt weapon as it bashed against the Chosen’s helmet, leaving the warrior to fall to the floor, a large dent in his helmet giving proof to the fact that the blow had broken his skull and turned his brain into pulp.
The last of the Chosen backed up in fear as Archaon’s sword tore out of the backside of a warrior’s head, black blood splattering his armor as the Everchosen’s eyes fell upon his trembling form.
“Pl-please, Master Archaon!” The Chosen cried, falling to his knees as he feebly bowed before the Everchosen. “Th-the others threatened me with death unless I helped them betray you! I-I would never do so of my own free will! Forgive me!”
“How many others are part of this attempted coup?!” Archaon growled, kicking the Chosen in the gut.
“A-a cabal of your Sorcerers, m-my master! And several g-groups of your Chaos Warriors!” The Chosen replied, gasping as he clutched his gut.
“I see. You have given me what I require of you. You haven proven your true loyalty today.” Archaon replied, and the Chosen looked up at Archaon in awe.
“I-I have, master?” He asked, just before the Slayer of Kings stabbed through the top of his head, creating sparks as it dug into the stone floor beneath the now dead Chosen’s head.
“Yes, you worm. It is only to yourself.” Archaon growled, wiping the blood off of his helmet. “I detest a traitor, but I loathe a cowardly traitor who would abandon his fellows so easily!” The Everchosen clutched the shoulder that the first Chosen had hit, feeling that the brute force of the swing had managed to dislocate his shoulder.
“All who defy...the Everchosen...shall fall!” Archaon roared, stumbling towards the exit.