Monday, April 23, 2012

The Ruin and Plight of Corpsewatch

Of the human city-states, none was created out of necessity more so than the City-State of Corpsewatch. Originally, Corpsewatch was nothing more than a monastery dedicated to the service of St. Donor the Hammer of The Church of Northwind. The actual village that sprang up around it was a Gnomish settlement consisting mostly of beekeepers, attracted by the vast openness of the pastoral plains. In no short order, the trade of mead making was taught to the monks of St. Donor and soon after that, taverns and inns sprang up selling the wares of the gnomes and the monks. The settlement became known as Donor's Rest and attracted a steady flow of commerce from the north.

The Sisterhood of the Black Rose, a coven of Dark Lady devotees, began practising upon the surrounding expansive prairie, where the unfettered moonslight cast twin shadows of hate when the moons were both high and full. When word of these abominable rites reached the monks of St. Donor, they petitioned the Mother Church in Northwind for knights and Inquisitors to abolish the evil ones. The initial expedition was a success, and the witches were routed into the southern wilderlands, but the church was not content with this victory. A garrison was built upon the site of the witches field to serve as a staging grounds for further campaigns against the dark ones.

The Sisterhood's reach, however, was long and expansive. They had allies in the Orcs, often acting as oracles and seers for their necromantic religion. It has been recovered by Church Templars from the bound works of covens vanquished that some sort of gathering took place among the ancient ruins of Jamoco. Warlocks and Witches, Death Priests and Necromancers gathered to conspire against The Church of Northwind. In this union, dark prayers and heinous catechisms were enacted as The Black Bitch-Queen and the Lord of the Dead coupled and allied. It was written that a great fire fell from the sky and from the smoking hole that remained, where Jamoco once slept in decline, now a whores-bed of evil festers in its stead which gives vile birth to stillborn children that walk.

The village of Donor's Rest had grown to surround the monastery of St. Donor, the Gnomish District and the Garrison of the Mother Church when the walking dead began to arrive. So many were their numbers, the garrison began inducting the city watch into the clergy to meet them with the power of faith on balanced footing. Soon, all city services were employed in the repelling of the dead horde that was upon them. Wave after unending wave of the dead battered the city walls, score after score of the crawling and climbing dead were burned and scoured from their battlements. The city became known in the north as Corpsewatch, and the Holy Crusaders who rode in to replenish the fallen there soon knew it by no other name.

The Orcs embraced the walking dead as a testimony to their unswerving faith in their horned death god, and a state of holy war erupted among the Orc nations of the south against the stalwart citizenry of Corpsewatch. The war waged across the plains and under them as well, for a vast series of underground tunnels were dug by both sides in attempts to outflank and surprise one another. These wars went on for decades; as the endless waves of walking dead had not once faltered or ceased, neither the resolve of the fighting men of Corpsewatch had ever faltered or ceased. Indeed, a continuing stalemate had been reached at considerable cost to the Church of Northwind in men, resources and gold.

This changed when another fire in the sky fell to earth, far in the north amid the Iron Hills. The Gnollish tribes in the south took this to be a sign from their Lost Pharaoh to aid the Orcs in their struggle against the Church. When the Gnoll packs set upon the weary defenders of Corpsewatch, they fell back. When the Witches called forth Dæmons from Hell, they fell back further. When the Necromancers called forth the fallen, the dead of both Men and Orcs from the fields of blood, they fell back once again -- until there was no where to fall back to. The Church had been routed from a position of strength, and despair fell across the land.

Now, little news comes from Corpsewatch itself, for it is overrun with dead things that walk and dæmons that should not be. Only the surrounding villages have heartbreaking tales of suffering and woe to tell. They tell of the spread of sickness and fear; of the march of dead feet northward. They tell of the victories of evil, the loss of hope and the need for brave men to stand against the dark.

They tell these tales as a warning to the proud men of Northwind, so they do not awake to find the news has arrived upon the fast travel of dead men's feet.

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