Thursday, 21 July 2011

[To Coin a World] Orgosh Khal


Orgosh Khal

The very name strikes fear into the hearts of many a soldier or mercenary who has tried to scale its terrible walls. It strikes considerably less fear into the hearts of a considerably larger number of soldiers, who, having died trying to scale its walls, have considerably less to fear.

Great Orghosh Pass, in the Blackstone Mountains, is the only true gateway from the Worse Lands into Cisrhania and the wider Neuremanshreik. For centuries, it has been held shut against every army the Caesars of Waldorf have sent against it, guarded by the terrible black fortress of Orghosh Khal. It has ever been the weeping sore on the Imperium's fringe, leaking raiders, barbarians, and bandits into hubwards Cisrhania like pus.

The fortress itself is without equal in the near Spindlewick, with its black stone walls rising a hundred feet above the barren soil, guarded by spiked crenelations and a thousand murder holes. An immense wrought-iron gate holds the pass shut against men and beasts alike, only opening to disgorge horrors. From the outside, it betrays no weakness, no easy vulnerabilities. And yet it would have fallen a thousand times over were it not for the steeled might of its black-armored commander.

In the ancient Blackstone tongue, he called by the name Rekh Ardor Kin, the Man Without God. The men of the Empire know of him as the Antipaladin, he whom no god may touch. Beneath his gaze, no divine spark flutters; clerics call helplessly on their gods for aid as they are slaughtered by the dark armies at his command. Where some heinous villains are called soulless, the Antipaladin is something even worse. He transcends the demonic and the celestial; where the gods are the Alpha, he is the Omega.

It is not known from which dark void he sprang, or what terrible horrors lie in his past. All that is known is that a man clad in deep-black armour commands the gutterspawned legion of cursed mercenaries, black-hearted bandits, and manlike beasts that hold Orghosh Pass shut. For a century they have merely held open the pass at Orghosh Khal, allowing raiders and hordes from the Worse Lands to pour into civilized country while holding the pass tight against the Imperial Army when they seek retribution.

And yet now they are gathering strength for some unknown purpose. Beneath the steely gaze of the Antipaladin, a war-host is gathering on the Accursed Fields. From across the Worse Lands they come, gnolls and ogres and ratlings and rhinokin and a thousand other kinds of beast. The Imperial Reman League seems impossibly unprepared for an assault, as their princes and barons play at the game of crowns. If the Antipaladin's forces surge forth from Orgosh Path, all Spindlewick can hope for is a few brave heroes.

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