Deep within Rahipmezar, the priest’s tomb, at the height of the battle for Amasya…
Titania lay on the warm stone, aware but not fully awake. She sensed the presence of another near at hand, but could not yet see them. Strength began to return to her limbs, and she stood, resting a hand on her head. Her death mask lay at her feet, she realized, and her weapons too.
“It has been a lifetime, my dear Gwenthyltine,” a voice intoned, close yet far, in her mind and all around.
“I know not of whom you speak!” she reprimanded the darkness around her, recovering her mask and weapons. Her ears rung, the air in the chamber hot and oppressive. “I am Titania Thundersworn, Lord-Arcanum of the Knights of the Fulgurite Order!”
“Ah, it seems as though your false god has filled your mind with deceit. Allow me to illuminate.”
At that moment Titania felt a searing pain behind her eyes, like a fireplace poker had been pressed to her temple. Visions, or perhaps memories, overtook her once more. She saw herself as part of a council, in heated debate with a priest king. She saw herself alongside other generals as they fought the Chaos invasion, the sky burning above them. These memories and more flooded her mind, and she found herself on her knees, a scream in her ears which she realized was her own.
“You see, my dear,” the voice spoke again, “you’ve been brought home.”
Titania surged to her feet, mind reeling, head pounding, her stave and blade held en garde.”Who are you?!” she demanded, lightning sparking behind her eyes. “Reveal thyself!”
“My dear, I thought it would have been obvious by now.”
The Lord-Arcanum spun at the sound of footsteps, and by the light of her staff beheld a man dressed in a simple mortuary robe, yet standing before her healthy and hale. The memory of the priest king scorched her thoughts like hot Aqthracite, and Titania inhaled sharply. “Besh? Mithridates Besh?”
The man spread his arms, and gave a mocking bow. “So,” Titania spat, extending her sword arm toward him, “you truly did sell your soul to the Undying King.”
“Sold? No. Do I appear a simple gheist to you?” Titania’s armor was hot where it faced toward Besh, and she tasted metal. “Five centuries have I languished in this tomb, yet always I knew my son would return for me. Soon, he will break the seals which bind my body to this place, and that which I am become shall be unleashed upon the Realms once more.”
The Lord-Arcanum gritted her teeth and leveled her sword at Besh as a wave of nausea broke over her. “As one who defended this city with her life, I am more than ready to do so again.”
“Truly,” the ancient priest-king sighed, “for only an Amasyan born could have trespassed this deep within my sanctum.”
Titania struck out at Besh, who deftly dodged her blade. With a spell upon her lips and the storm atop her stave, Besh blocked the magical attack with crossed arms, Azyrite lightning burning away into nothing around him. Discarding the stave to grasp her warblade with both hands, she brought an overhead swing down on Besh, who caught her arms and turned aside the blow, redirecting the sword away and back into the Stormcast’s shoulder. Bringing his knee into her abdomen, Titania staggered backward. Her gauntlets felt searing hot where Besh had grabbed them, and the room swam in her vision.
Muttering a prayer to Sigmar under her breath, Titania regained her composure and feinted left. Besh took the bait, and swung a haymaker into the Lord-Arcanum’s side with enough force to buckle Sigmarite. Still, Titania’s momentum carried her inside the man’s guard, and she dealt Besh a devastating blow to his head with her warblade’s pommel.
The man fell hard upon the floor, something too dark and thick to be blood pouring from above his ear. In the same moment Titania was atop him, warblade poised downward, ready to plunge through his skull. “It’s sad, really,” Titania hissed, teeth still gritted, “you truly were a great leader and friend.” Strength fading, she made to kill the man she once named king- yet instead, found herself falling, her warblade tumbling from her grasp as she collapsed back upon the hot stone floor. Her gorge rose and she choked on bile, hands grasping at the broken armor where Besh had hit her.
“Fate shall see that we meet again, dear Gwenthyltine…” Besh chided, wiping the ichor from his brow as he made to stand. Titania’s vision swam and she lost consciousness once more, her lungs burning with the effort of each breath.
This story was guest written by Paul B.
Edited by Alex P.