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The Temple of Dead Gods

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Slaanesh’s followers scour the realms for their lost god, delving deep into forbidden kingdoms and forgotten lands. In the broken Temple of Dead Gods their armies sought out the resting place of the Dracothic Prophet, whose restless soul was said to hold the secret of the Pleasure God’s prison.[1a]

History Edit

The great graven doors of the temple crashed open. Through clouds of dust the Herald of Slaanesh Clepsyrian rode her Seeker Chariot, a daemonichost upon her heels. The shadow-choked Temple of Dead Gods stretched out before the Slaaneshi daemons, a landscape of crumbling mosaics and dust-covered statues. Here, somewhere in the vast ruined interior of the temple, was hidden the husk of the Dracothic Prophet, and perhaps the secret to Slaanesh’s disappearance. As the Herald and her army moved among the fallen idols of forgotten gods, Clepsyrian could sense the spirits trapped within their stones writhing and rebelling at her presence. The daemon shivered with pleasure at the sensation.[1a]

At the centre of the ruined temple lay a wide pool. Rising from its centre was a Dragonfate Dais, upon which the prophet’s husk lay between glowering dragon statues. With a smile, Clepsyrian motioned lithe-limbed daemons forwards to claim her prize.[1a]

High overhead, through the shattered roof of the temple, a sliver of Azyr hung glittering in the sky. As the first daemons stepped into the pool, they looked down into the black waters at their feet to see the stars moving among the ripples.[1a]

In a flare of magical light the slann Kuoteq materialised upon the dais, his ancient gaze momentarily stopping the invaders in their tracks. Then, bursting from the water like monsters rising from the deep, scores of Saurus Knights, Terradons and Ripperdactyls swept into the temple. Daemonic screams answered the arrival of the seraphon as the once-serene pool was transformed into a scene of carnage.[1a]

Clepsyrian cursed the arrival of the seraphon as the bestial warriors smashed the Slaaneshi vanguard backfrom the pool, clawed feet driving the broken bodies of daemons into the ground. At the Herald’s cry, fresh hosts of Daemonettes poured forward, cavorting across the temple floor in a clash of pale flesh and lurid daemonic chitin. Again came the seraphon, the air filled with the sound of snapping leathery wings and the ground trembling before the cold ones’ charge.[1b]

In the centre of the advancing seraphon line, Scar-Veteran Quar-Toc rode the massive muscled form of his Carnosaur. Towering over the daemons, saurus and war-beast crashed into the Slaaneshi host, pungent ichor squelching between the Carnosaur’s claws as it crushed Daemonettes to pulp under its massive tread.[1b]

Lashing her chariot’s bizarre steeds into action, Clepsyrian joined battle.The Herald spat vindictive curses in the dark tongue, swearing that she would not be denied her prize. Now the greater bulk of her army came into play– Seeker cavalry and chariots followed their mistress’ charge as they swept out to surround the seraphon force that had driven deep into her army.[1b]

From the back of his Carnosaur, Quar-Toc watched the Herald charge, and the mounted Daemonettes race to outflank his warriors. Predatory instincts stirred within Quar-Toc’s mind and he yearned to turn his beast to face the Slaaneshi general. But such was not the plan –not what Kuoteq desired. So it was that Quar-Toc focussed his wrath upon the Daemonettes, turning his attention back to the grim task of tearing the Children of Chaos to pieces.[1b]

Racing through a vast chamber of tumbled walls and statues, Clepsyrian’s forces encircled Quar-Toc’s Saurus Knights, now embroiled among a sea of Daemonettes. Running her tongue over needle-like fangs until dark ichor dribbled down her chin, the Herald could taste sweet victory at hand.[1c]

From the shadows overhead, a flaming bolas suddenly flashed before Clepsyrian’s face, and another splattedon the side of her chariot in a burst offlame. At that same moment, half a dozen daemons crashed into the ground in a tangled mass before erupting into flames, riders and mounts ensnared by spinning sun-leech bolas. From the crumbling ceiling of the temple chamber winged shapes dived down from shadows. The nearest daemons spurred their mounts toward the Terradon Riders, but the seraphon deftly glided off into the ruins.Yet the ambush had been a distraction. Even as the Terradon Riders drew the daemons’ ire, Saurus Knights thundered out of the darkness to crash into Clepsyrian’s flanking force.[1c]

Snarling reptilian mounts bore the saurus into battle, both riders and steeds ripping into the ranks of the daemons. Clepsyrian responded with dark laughter, her chariot surging forward to grind a half dozen seraphon under its threshing blades. Leaping and balancing upon the spars of her warmachine as it smashed through her foes, the Herald crippled her foes with lashes of her cruelly barbed whips, the saurus no match for her unholy agility. Scores of Seekers vanished under the snapping jaws and celestite weapons of the seraphon, but the Slaaneshi daemons were driven on by their desperate search for their god, and so hurled themselves into the fray.[1c]

Near the dais, Quar-Toc savaged another Daemonette as the creature tried to sink its claws into his hide. The dwindling ranks of the Saurus Knights were surrounded now with purple flames – the waters of the pool were all but gone and the stars in its surface were fading. Upon the dais, Kuoteq sat silent upon his palanquin, apparently unmoved by the carnage.[1c]

To make matters worse, the caged spirits of the temple were hammering at the stone walls of their prison – souls trapped within broken statues and shattered walls, howling to be freed as the battle raged around them. Their cacophony shook the ground and loosened what remained of the vast temple roof, causing chunks of masonry to crash down upon daemon and seraphon alike. Yet Quar-Toc held his ground, his faith in the slann absolute and his duty clear.[1c]

Clepsyrian was the first to break free of the Saurus Knights, her chariot thundering out of the melee.Wheeling the war machine around, the Herald charged towards Quar-Toc and his monstrous mount. Sections of the temple’s roof crashed down as Clepsyrian’s chariot wove a path towards the saurus general. Spirits freed by the temple’s death-throe slashed out at the Herald. So close now, Clepsyrian could feel tendrils of the prophet’s magic tugging at her form.[1d]

Faced with foes on two sides, the seraphon spread out around the dais, a thin line of warriors against a rising sea of daemon flesh. Quar-Toc at last rode out to meet the Slaaneshi Herald, his coldly glistening eyes locked firmly upon the Slaaneshi leader.[1d]

Chaos-forged steel collided with Azyrite scale in a mighty crash as Clepsyrian’s chariot ploughed into Quar-Toc’s Carnosaur. A lesser creature would have been pulverised by the impact, but the great beast merely swayed on its massive haunches before lunging forward with a deafening roar. Clepsyrian’s whips sought Quar-Toc’s throat, but the saurus caught themon his shield, a spray of azure sparks illuminating the saurus’ snarl.[1d]

Clepsyrian desperately evaded Quar-Toc’s blade and the cavernous maw of the Carnosaur time and again. However, the Slaaneshi leader could not stop her chariot and crew being messily torn apart. The loss of her war platform hardly concerned Clepsyrian. The seraphon stood between her and her prize, and nothing else mattered.[1e]

At Quar-Toc’s side a handful of Saurus Knights fought on, but the daemons had driven them back to the steps of the dais and the surrounding pool had all but disappeared in the rising flames. With a rumbling growl the Carnosaur bit out at Clepsyrian, but the Herald dodged its huge, dripping fangs before taking out the beast’s eye with a crack of her whip. However, with a speed that belied his massive size, Quar-Toc landed a punishing retaliatory blow upon Clepsyrian’s shoulder, driving the Herald of Slaanesh to her knees.[1e]

Until that moment Clepsyrian might still have claimed the prophet’s husk ,so tantalisingly close was she to the Dragonfate Dais. But even as the Herald struggled back to her feet, her black eyes promising murder, she saw stars falling like silver rain. Revealed by a great crack in the temple roof, the Realm of Azyr blazed bright in the infinite darkness of the night sky, shining above the combatants in all its celestial glory.[1e]

Like a nightmarish mirage taking shape from the starlight spearing down from the fractured ceiling, a hissing Troglodon materialised, followed seconds later by hundreds of towering saurian war-beasts. Quar-Toc’s Carnosaur added its own terrifying roar to that of its gathering kin, even as Kuoteq’s magic healed its wounds.Then, at a languid gesture from the slann, the monsters attacked.[1e]

The remaining daemons were mercilessly hacked down by fresh ranks of saurus. Nimble skinks, their numbers swollen by celestial sorcery, filled the temple chamber with clouds of blazing javelins. Now the daemons were surrounded. Everywhere, snapping jaws and crackling celestite weapons sent daemons screaming back to the Realm of Chaos.[1e]

Clepsyrian made no attempt to flee, revelling instead in the storm of emotions that heralded her imminent destruction with a sigh of pleasure. A dozen times Quar-Toc could have laid a killing blow upon the Herald, yet hedid not. Only when Kuoteq descended from the dais to face the defeated daemon did Clepsyrian realise another, far darker fate awaited her. The last sounds to echo across the Temple of Dead Gods were Clepsyrian’s hysterical screams of denial.[1e]

Source Edit

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