Soulblight Gravelords: The Princess of Osphelia
Bound in Shyshian chains, the Lord-Veritant and his bleeding Gryph-Hound were dragged into the Princess’ Throne Room by a pair of her Nightmen. He’d been stripped of his helm and thrown to the trailing, bloody carpet before her with a grunt.
The Princess frowned and picked at a silvery ring on her ailing left hand. ‘Do you have anything to say, Lord-Veritant?’ she asked. ‘Before I dispose of you and your mutt?’
The Stormcast spat against the stone ground, a thousand skulls, both real and carved, staring back at him. ‘You call my loyal hound a mutt, but look upon yourself, vampire. By Sigmar, my return to Azyr will only summon a thousand more of my kind, and we shall raze this city below its catacombs.’
She swilled wine around her glass, picked at the brittle bones sewn into her chair and crept up the court to Sigmar’s son, her movements janky, staggered and unnatural after reclining for too long. ‘No—you have the audacity to call me mutt?’ She laughed quietly. ‘How many lives have you lived, Lord-Veritant? How many times have you visited your God-King’s Anvil? How many have you loved, lost—more importantly—how many of those lives can you even recall? They say Sigmar frets over your memory loss at reforging, your loss of self—but I think he relishes in it. The best soldiers are those who cannot feel.
‘I do not mean that as an insult, rather as an extension of my pity, my understanding. My father was no better than yours; he too hardened himself to win his wars in life and became but a shell. He won his campaigns, but he didn’t return home, not really. And I knew the same fate would await me if it weren’t for my blood kiss. For so many years, I longed to visit the crowded streets of your mighty Azyr, to be in the midst of the whirl and rush of humanity—to share its life, its change, its death, and all that made it what it was. But now I know better, that Azyr is full of fading souls, empty eyes. There may be a blight upon my soul, but I do have one. Call me mutt, Sigmar’s son, but at least I can feel.
‘In this city, there lies a mountain made of a thousand, thousand graves. As your God-King has sent his men to invade here across the millennia—the Enmity, the Candlemen, and now, the golden host—I have sat atop my throne and wept at your desecration of my city, my children. I have personally attended the burial of each warrior to fall at the hands of your God-King, and despite the years which have passed, I remember each of them, I feel each of them in the ground still, cold and rotten as insects worm in and out of their bones. I feel them, their fading wisps of soul-stuff coalesced into my rotting heart, the small interactions in the aether above made by their dying breaths. I remember all their names.
‘What do you feel, Son of Sigmar? What do you remember? Look upon my throne, my mountain of graves, and tell me whose stolen lifetimes have reduced them to a mutt.’ She paused. ‘When you return to Azyr this time, if you’re to remember but one thing from this particular life, I want you to remember who sent you.’