Thursday, 3 November 2016

"Who is Black Annis?"

In the latest session recap, the party vanquished Black Annis. Here's her backstory:

The Tragedy of Black Annis

The Elves had come from across the sea. That was all anyone had known : an empire of splendour and magic across a thousand miles of salt and spray  - if you sailed to the very horizon before God’s baleful eye rose, they said, you’d see the Elven  homeland where people lived forever and every man ate his fill. Beasts could speak, and even paupers lived for a thousand years.

It was a second son who came to this island with glory in his heart and a sword in his hand – and they called this land Damesht  - High-Elven for ‘across the sea’. The Kingdoms of Man were small, and divided, and one-by-by the Elves conquered them with sorcerous might and utter ruthlessness. Their thunder-loud voices had sounded across the farmland, and announced that they were as gods, and we as ants, and that the men of what now was Damesht should be rapturous to lie at their feet rather than be exterminated.

But the Second Son and First King, who took the name Idrlyn, knew his numbers were few. As the North and West of Damesht were subjugated, he knew that every Elven life lost was like a hundred men, and that war was not the only way to bring the human ants to heel.

As he pursued his war against the Giant-Chiefs of Zunia, he offered his fourth daughter: gentle Annis, to the king of Loquista. Should he take the Swan-Emperor’s daughter to wife, he would accept vassalage and rule as a chosen king. His line would grow strong with Elven blood, and sorcery would run in the veins of his descendants until the end of time. King Bedergeid eagerly accepted, and the wedding was planned outside the city walls, in full view of a the marshalled might of Idrlyn and the assembled forces of Loquista – Bedergeid’s army preparing to join the Swan-Emperor’s crusade against the Ordning of the Giants – titan-worshippers and bringers of chaos – as soon as the marriage was consummated.

Bedergeid had made his agreement for his city and his line – but as he wandered the swamps the night before his weeding, he came across his betrothed. Whilst there were miles of fen and mire and covered in pavilions where the finest Elven wine and Loquistan rum could be drank, and raucous parties occurred – Annis had chosen to come here, a glade, and there tend to the wildlife. Even though she had a mastery of terrible magicks, she spent her sorcery on the wounds of sparrows, the distress of newts and the palsies of murk-fish.

Bedergeid fell in love then, and they lay together in the swamp, and Annis exhalted, for her husband was kind, and she was with child.

As they wandered to the pavilions, Bedergeid noted he a group of men silhouetted against the festivities. These were all warriors and knights of his army, standing still with dreadful purpose.

“Never shall Elf rule over man in Loquista. We will not bow to your foreign whore.”

Bedergeid realised too late that he faced true steel, and he was cut down before he could reach for his sword. Annis was thrown to the ground and beaten and raped, and left to the mercies of the swamp.

When morning rolled around, the Swan-Emperor awoke to a declaration of war from the Eternally Free City of Loquista. First, his army rampaged through wedding party, cutting down the flower of Loquistan nobility as they awoke from sleep. His army surged over the city, which now bristled with the traitor’s forces, and crushed Loquista. As he watched the city burn, and saw the inhabitants slaughtered in the street, he spoke a baleful curse on the city:

Let them know only tyranny. Let them always feel the agony of their children’s death. Let them fill the seas with their blood.

Deep in the mud, a distended eyeball floated on an oracular stalk – a satellite to a broken face. A quiver of consciousness, and a single thought:

“Yes, father.”

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