Rite of Life

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Rite of Life
Era Arcanum Optimar
Location Oak of Ages Past - Everspring Swathe - Ghyran
Outcome Decisive Sylvaneth Victory
Combatants
{{{3}}} Sylvaneth
{{{3}}} Dreadwood Glade
{{{3}}} Butcher-Herd

{{{3}}} Daemons of Nurgle

Commanders
{{{3}}} Alarielle
{{{3}}} Drycha Hamadreth
{{{3}}} Ghorraghan Khai


The Rite of Life was a great ritual performed by Alarielle at the foot of the Oak of Ages Past that unleashed a torrent of Ghyranite energies upon the realms.[1]

Approaching the Oak of Ages Past

The Oak of Ages past during the Realmgate Wars, corrupted and tilted.

Following the defeat of Nagash by Teclis, the death magics of the Necroquake were largely dispersed and Alarielle was poised to capitalise on this with a grand resurgence of life. Singing her Spirit Song, Alarielle could feel the power of the Oak of Ages Past thrumming beneath her feat. The legendary tree laid half-submerged within dank quagmire of Rotwater Blight, and it would be through this muck that Alarielle would have to wade in order to initiate the ritual that would bring bear the midsummer height of her power, not only to make a statement but to turn the course of history.[1]

Attempting to impede Alarielle's progress are the Butcher-Herd Beasts of Chaos led by Ghorraghan Khai, the shaman of the herd. These beastmen carried with them the Dirgehorn, which was destroyed by the Hallowed Knights centuries ago, but then its fragments were meticulously collected and recombined with foul Nurglite blessings. Alarielle herself led a vast host composed of a ring of Treelords that formed a ring around her. In turn, these Treelords were surrounded by a ring of thousands of other Sylvaneth, which were sprouted in the span of a few short hours amidst the brackish water of the forest. Drycha Hamadreth was among them, alongside her fellows from the Dreadwood who were all surrounded by a cloud of angry spites buzzing and biting around them as they vented their rage at the bestial intruders. The Sylvaneth all fought hard through the night to reach the Oak, and many hundreds of forest spirits had fallen to giant slug-like daemons that belly-flopped from the muck to bar their path. However, by the break of dawn, the massed circles of Sylvaneth were complete, forming something akin to rings of a tree, with the genesis of them all - Alarielle - at their heart. Their success could not come at a minute too soon, for the edges of the Blight woods shivered with the power of the brutish beatmen forcing their way through them.[1]

Battle for the Oak of Ages Past

As the battle commenced, Alarielle spirit-song only grew louder with the screams of battle, which intertwined with the melody as Alarielle's contralto swooped and soared. The darting around her fingertips wove the thick forest around her into spears of hardwood that impaled the chests and throats of the approaching beastmen. The sap-like blood of the Sylvaneth mingled with the dark discolourations leaking from the beastmen served as nourishment for the Oak, which drunk the offering as if it were a thirsting man. Sensing the imminence of the ritual, the larger beastmen - wrestling with Treelords - redoubled their assault and smashed through the Sylvaneth defensive formations.[1]

Alarielle did not falter and her song rose higher and stronger. To Alarielle's profound relief, the Oak of Ages Past shivered and pulsed in time under her feet as its roots sought out fallen Sylvaneth to serve as nourishment, the Sylvaneth giving themselves willingly to the ancient wood. The beastmen, led by their shaman, stormed furiously towards Alarielle cuting down many Sylvaneth along the way, which Alarielle counted on happening. Though she would mourn all her slain Sylvaneth children, their sacrifices were needed for the ritual and to nourish the Oak. These Sylvaneth would not be recovered or replanted.[1]

Oak of Ages Past Renewed

Under her feet, the Oak began to move, nourished by the souls of the departed Sylvaneth. Allarielle climbed down to the lower roots and circled the Spear of Kurnoth into the water, and there the River Vitalis ran clear once more, swirling around and around to form a whirlpool of jade energies that banished the stain of Nurgle's corruption. The Oak's roots, each as thick as an elder tree, dived deep into the river bed and grew taut. Like limbs, the roots of the tree shivered and shuddered as the Oak slowly pulled itself upright. Even the ancient dead wood of the tree, petrified during the aetheric drift from the world of its birth to the realmsphere of Ghyran turned from black to brown, and in some places putting forth tiny buds of green.[1]

In the middle distance, Drycha and her fellow Dreadwood spirits were whipping, impaling, and crushing the life from the beastmen that escorted the Dirgehorn. What started off as a swift, well-coordinated strike from beneath the waters turned into a gruesome massacre. However, the beastmen would not yield in their assault and continued carrying the Dirgehorn onward. However, the two black-barked Treelords swept their colassal blades over the heads of the thick-pressed beastmen and into the limbs of the Ghorgons bearing the Dirgehorn. With two of its bearers fallen, the Dirgehorn toppled and fell into the blood-tinged mire, silencing its fell noise and leaving no competition for sound of the spirit-song.[1]

Above the scene, the Oak of Ages Past rose higher, haling itself upright to blossom wondrous, unstoppable life. Leaves sprouted by the thousands from fossilised driftwood, buds opened into white flowers haloed by pollen, and glowing acorns of gold swelled to fruition before falling to land in the clear waters of the whirlpool still rushing around the revenant tree's roots. Where the landed, a nest of tendrils and stalks grew with rushing, sudden speed as Alarielle poured her Ghyranite magic into the soil. Without the shadow Nagash's deathly curse upon the land, and the waning of Nurgle's curse, Alarielle's own power waxed strong. Under auspice, Ghyran remembered what it once was, and it grew mighty.[1]

The Warsong Revenants

Warsong Revenant impaling beastmen during battle.

The gold-tinged acorns that had fallen from the Oak of Ages Past into the swirling waters grew larger, before splitting to reveal foetal forms. Uncurling under Alarielle's triumphant gaze, they turned from green-limbed infants to slender youths, to tall, broad-shouldered revenants born from another time. These creatures were seeded from the World-that-Was and grown to maturity within minutes in the fecund bosom of Ghyran. These creatures opened their mouths, sticky with sap, and pulled their long splinters of oak from within their gullets and as one, they shaped and elongated their wooden spars into long flutes. Sharing a glance, these Warsong Revenants put their mouths to instrument and began to play. To Alarielle, their sound was like rich honey added to intoxicating mead, but to the beastmen it was a sonic assault of devastating potency. The beastmen began bleeding from their ears, and those close enough spasmed and shook as if in a terrible fever, before their eyebalss burst and their fat tongues lolled down to their chests as if they had been hanged.[1]

As the swirling melodies harmonised with the spirit-song the land itself came to life, new and vital foliage pushing through the swampy much to reach towards the skies. Fortified by the pipers' music, the forest of pale green tendrils wound like dancing serpents that lashed out at the beastmen still fighting the Sylvaneth battleline. Points of hardwood punched into bestial flesh, sprouting new shoots into the beins and arties of their victims until they were bursting with vegetative life. Curling vines wrapped around wattled throats, squeezing and choking the air out of the bulge-eyed beastmen.

The Tipping Point

No longer fighting entropy and death at the same time, the irresistible swell of nature was healing that which had long been accursed. The magic of the Oak of Ages Past added its aeons-old power to the swell of life, and to Alarielle's jubilation, the wetlands became a landscape of burgeoning seedlings, then a swath of saplings, then a young and vital woodland stretching far into the distance. The scent of it brought back a rush of memory and name sprung to the forefront of Alarielle's mind: Athel Loren.[1]

The spirit-song finally reaching a crescendo, the Oak rose to become fully vertical. Alarielle summons her Wardroth steed, which manifests from glowing motes akin to fireflies that coalesced together beneath her feet. With the beastmen closing in, Alarielle charges into the fray. Ghorraghan Khai, shaman of the herd, slays a young Treelord just before Alarielle entwines Ghorraghan in thorny vines which tear the shaman's flesh to ribbons. The shaman continued his attack, and Allarielle ordered her steed to charge and impale the shaman alongside the Ghorgons following him. The shaman continued his struggle and beat upon the carapace of the Wardroth before disappearing into the River Vitalis with a bleating scream.[1]

Climax

Alarielle conveyed to her newly born Warsong Revenants that they must carry her message outward to the other realms. New life, albeit neither peaceful nor beautiful, continued to grow swiftly around them. What had previously been swathes of wetlands now became a forest of living warriors, which tore the remaining beastmen asunder. The Dirgehorn was caught up, carried high on a nest of tendrils was once more split in twain. Meanwhile, Ghyranite magic went outwards in a bow wave as Alarielle's ritual reached its climax. Up she drifted, passing the boughes of the Oak of Ages Past and reached the dizzying heights of its new, flourishing canopy. The great spell of renewal would cascade across Ghyran and the melody of the Warsong Revenants would be carried into the other realms to galvanize the realms to fight back against the Dark Gods. It was a new beginning, with consequences that Alarielle could not truly fathom.[1]

After-Effects

To lesser creatures of the realms, the wave of Ghyranite energy acted as nourishment, healing both body and mind. To the creatures of Chaos, it was torment.[1] Meanwhile, the realm's themselves reacted violently to the the repeated waves of magic impacting them: first from the Necroquake and now the Rite of Life. To that effect, Incarnates began forming as a result of the vast amounts of magic flaring throughout the Mortal Realms.[3]

  • Ghyran: Where once the the realm was fair, the plants grew fierce and tore at the flesh of the unnatural and vile.[1]
  • Hysh: The light of Hysh took on solarite forms.[1]
  • Shyish: Despite its grave-cold nature, Shyish found the touch of life upon it.[1]
  • Aqshy: The realm saw a thousand fires walk the land.[1]
  • Chamon: Strange tides moulded silver and gold.[1]
  • Ulgu: Sinister and cruel eyes opened amidst Ulgu's mists.[1]
  • Azyr: Where lightning struck it did not fade.[1]
  • Ghur: The bestial landscapes, already close to sentience, spawned new and raging life.[1] Kragnos, a god of destruction, is accidently released from his prison when vitalised tree roots penetrate his mountainous prison.[2]

Sources