Late in the month of Arios, 485 MA, Bamathis, the Warlord led His Argent Legion out from His Fortress beneath Yggdrasil, to the upper peaks of Skythrone. They marched as if for battle, well-armed and determined. Upon their arrival, they were met by a sect of Atav known as the Azure Guard, a well-known cult dedicated to the worship of Heva, the Speaker, an Albedi goddess. The Warlord posed a single ultimatum before them, giving them no opportunity nor room for negotiations; abandon the worship of Heva and disband the Azure Guard, or die.
The Revered Apiatcipango, a high-ranking spiritual leader among the Azure Guard, made his way out onto the plateau to meet the Warlord and His Legion. Without hesitation, Apiatcipango made it known that the Azure Guard would not give up their faith, and would resist Bamathis and His Legion without reservation. While not the response the Warlord desired, the withering smile He gave the Atav hinted that it was perhaps the one He expected. A bright bolt of silver, long and pointed into the image of a spear, screamed out of the heavens far above and slammed into Apiatcipango, piercing him through the shoulder and ruthlessly pinning him to the hard, rocky surface. The Warlord stepped forward then and gave out His ultimatum once more, but before He and the Legion would depart, He would first provide incentive to the Azure Guard. The Warlord ordered the Legion to advance, to defile their shrines and lay waste to the priesthood, to ensure His intentions were made clear.
The Argent Legion, led by Fezzix Sicarius, moved forward, trailed by two representatives of Duiran that had been invited to bear witness to the events of that day. They moved through the first two levels of the temple with a ruthless efficiency, leaving nothing alive. They returned to the plateau, silently returning to stand behind the Warlord in rank and file as Bamathis stepped up to the still-writhing Apiatcipango. One week, the Warlord boomed, one week to reject Heva, or find their temple and people razed and slaughtered. With a cold, impassionate command, He ordered His Afviti, Mjoll Vilandra-Seirath forward to finish off the spiritual leader. Without hesitation, the Commander of the Carnifex stepped forward and ended Apiatcipango's life with one mighty swing of her hammer.
Before departing, Bamathis made one final action. Hand extending out before Him, a flood of silver essence was released. It flooded the upper tiers of the temple and all that had perished at the hands of the Legion were brought back to life - confused, yet unharmed. The Legion departed, with the hot, fervent voice of the Warlord shouting out the ultimatum one last time for all to hear: one week. One week, and He would return.
News of this event spread like wildfire, as events of this nature tend to do. In a frenzy, followers of Ethne rallied around their Goddess, intent on saving and converting as many of the Atav as possible. Many individuals of both Enorian and Duiran flooded into the temple to Heva, all working tirelessly to bring those Atav that would be condemned to death towards the Pantheon of Varian, the Celestine. Led by Isia Adesso and Rasani Morrog, the work of those two cities carried on for the remainder of the week, until as promised, the Warlord returned.
Once more, Bamathis raised His voice for all of Sapience to hear, ordering the immediate dismantle of the Azure Guard, or else find themselves put to the sword. The cold, impassive gaze the Warlord wore left no doubts to the seriousness of His demands. The doors the temple creaked open then, and a large crowd of Atav - young and eldery alike - moved forward, bearing various signs of wounds and abuse. These, they claimed, were those that had come forth to renounce Heva, that had been swayed by the strong words of those that had so zealously fought to convert them over the past week. Bamathis bade them to go, to await Him at the base of the mountain in safety, before dismissing them entirely, His attention once more fixated upon the temple before Him and His gathering. And a gathering it was.
Every waking member of the Argent Legion, Bamathis' own fighting force, had fallen into line behind Him - headed once more by the Warlord's Ireti - Fezzix Sicarius. They found themselves not alone, however, as members of Bloodloch, Spinesreach, Duiran and Enorian all stood beside them, ready to take the fight into the temple, and do what needed to be done. Alongside the Ireti; Mjoll, Robyn, Validan, Kanivara, Skiva, Ehtias, Rasani, Iesid, Serrice, Karhast, Tina, Moxie, Tekias, Melantha, Aloli, Benedicto, Varona, Talonnb, Rhine, Church, Jhura, Czcibor, Qelres, Isia, Rak, Aeryx, Tirria, Phoenecia, Stine, Tenshyo, Xavin, Oonagh and Nerakh all stood.
The doors to the temple swung open heavily once more, and as the previous week, the Revered Apiatcipango strode forwards towards the assembled force, his features a grim, yet stubborn, mask. "We will not be shaken from our faith, Warlord!" He shouted for all of the assembly to hear. "We will resist You and your Legion, we will not be shaken!" With ice in His words, the Warlord replied simply: "So be it." An argent spear manifested inside the Warlord's tight grip then, and He moved forward without warning. The spear entered the belly of Apiatcipango, goring him messily, before the Warlord lifted the feathered man up into the air, still impaled upon the spear. With a savage slam downwards, the Warlord settled the spear so that it would remain perfectly upright - held by some unknown force - the screams of Apiatcipango shattering the eerie silence of Skythrone while he writhed, squirmed, and eventually, died.
"Raze it," Bamathis commanded Fezzix Sicarius. And they did. Like a flood, the assemblage moved into the temple with a singular purpose; execution. With more of the Azure Guard assembled and awaiting them, the fighting proved hot and deadly, though the Legion, alongside those that had come to mete out the Warlord's justice, made an eventual, quick work of the resistance. With the aide of Bamathis, the previously closed off doors to the final two levels of temple were broken down, and soon those that had sealed themselves away also found their quick, brutal deaths.
The party finally reached the top levels, drawn by the muttered whispers of some unknown, archaic tongue upon the wind. When they entered, the group found a remainder of Atav huddled around an azure altar, deep in the throes of a ritual, their leader, Tengetengti, near death in the Warlord's grasp from a dagger plunged deep into his belly. Casually flicking the still-dying leader away to be finished off by the mortals, Bamathis settled His attention upon the remaining ritualists, when a sudden shift in the wind drew Him up short. As the quickening chants of the remaining Atav grew to a climactic close, the very wind seemed to coalesce at the apex of the altar, and a being stepped forward from within. The ritualists fell forward, dead, as Saas, Acolyte of the Wind, drew breath. Saas took in his surroundings with a slow, appraising gaze before settling that gaze upon Bamathis, the Warlord. Hearing the pleas of those he was pactbound to protect, he came to deliver justice onto the Godling and, by his own words, to make right what Bamathis and His following had ruthlessly destroyed. The Warlord responded in turn, informing this child of Heva that its creator had not sent it here to kill Bamathis - but to die.
Bamathis called out to His champion, Mjoll Vilandra-Seirath, and with zero hesitation, she hurled the hammer gripped tight in her hands towards the already moving Warlord. In turn, Saas drew forth a writhing, twisting blade, drawn forth from the very air around him. As the Warlord moved up to meet him, Saas moved downwards. Bamathis caught the thrown hammer mid stride before whirling sharply, using the momentum to carry His swing forward. It blasted through the hasty defense Saas had attempted, dispersing the ethereal blade, before smashing into the blue-tinged pottery that seemed to contain the whirling essence of Saas. That single blow, the hammer now ruined, sent Saas to ground at the Warlord's feet - a single blow, and he was defeated.
As Saas lay sprawled before Bamathis, life leaking from his shattered form, he made one final proclamation. "You fool. Kill me, but there are many more behind me that will see you dead, dog. I am but one of Her children, and we will not be denied." Wordlessly, the Warlord lifted the ruined, smoking hammer one final time above His head, and swung. As the hammer fell, time seemed to slow.
A bright, impossibly hot blaze of azure light shot down from the heavens above, a single, wrist-thick bar of the coruscating beam streaking down towards the top of Skythrone - towards Bamathis. "YOU SHALL NOT." The voice struck across the continent like a clap of thunder, pressing down upon all of existence. That thick bar of light struck Bamathis fully in the chest then, sending Him careening off the mountaintop, towards the far drop below. As Bamathis fell, Heva, the Speaker, descended.
Severn, the Manipulator was there suddenly, stepping forth from where Bamathis' own shadow had been casting its darkness - a seamless transition of one's shadow, into the Shadowed One. With a dire urgency, Severn ordered all of those present to avert their gazes, to not look upon her form. Many died, even given the warning provided, as Heva alighted upon the apex of Skythrone. With a careful tenderness, she reached down and gathered Saas into her arms. Casting one final gaze at those gathered, she began to ascend once more up that coruscating beam of light.
In a sudden bout of flame, Ethne burst forth then, Her armaments raised for battle - Bamathis, the Warlord, tight in Her grip. With an angry growl She berated Her younger Sibling - both at what knowledge He had held from Her, as well as allowing the Albedi to escape. Bamathis stepped away from Ethne, moving easily despite the perfect, circular burn set high upon His chest. "We accomplished what was desired this day, Sister, fret not."
Lifting His voice up to boom across all of Sapience, Bamathis cried out, "Take your ilk and run, Heva! Know that this is only the beginning. Whatever home you and your kin hope to find upon Sapience, I will be there to raze it. Whatever faith you engender, I will crush! YOU WILL NOT KNOW PEACE HERE."
The light across the horizon died away, and nothing more was heard of the Albedi goddess, as she disappeared into the heavens above.
Penned by my hand on Gosday, the 8th of Slyphian, in the year 485 MA.