Dacian's Betrayal

Once Azguloth was successfully imprisoned beneath Ironheart, the Divine Couple made final preparations to ensure He would remain there for all time. They staffed the fortress with their strongest mortal supporters, for They believed this was a task for mortals. Miriam’s daughters, the angels, did not belong on the mortal plane any more than the fiends did – the mortal realm was for mortals alone.

That is not to say that the Divine Couple left the fortress’s garrison undermanned, however. Numerous dragons and the greatest of the human warriors remaining formed the Order of the New Dawn, a brotherhood committed to keeping the fortress both secret and safe. Their leaders were to be Elandra and Dacian, both avatars still quite strong even without the presence of the Divine Couple within them.

Confident that They left the fortress in good hands, the Divine Couple eventually departed Their avatars along with a majority of the angels. What remained of the divine army left to rebuild the world that had been devastated by the war, and usher in a peaceful golden age for Humanity. The fragments of Azguloth within each twin waited for a short time after the gods departure to ensure They would not return, and then acted. Although not strong enough to possess the avatars fully, the fragments nonetheless were more than enough to twist and corrupt.

Elandra had only suffered a moment’s exposure to Azguloth’s corruption before He was cast through the portal, while Dacian had been infected through his wounded arm throughout the entire struggle at the portal’s edge. As such, while Dacian was corrupted almost totally, Elandra was merely driven insane, tormented by horrifying visions of the dark god’s escape and what followed. Feigning concern for his sister, Dacian took command of the garrison, discretely corrupting those that could be turned and tightening his grip on the rest. As Elandra’s brother and second-in-command, the former avatar of Athelion was above suspicion. No one questioned his orders to imprison his mad sister in her own quarters for her own safety. No one questioned his long absences, disappearing down into the network of tunnels to stand over the Great Seal. And no one questioned when he took someone off for a private conversation, only for that person to return … changed.

Finally, Dacian had accomplished all he could with subtlety. One dark night, he completed his betrayal of the Order and everything else he once stood for. Gathering his followers, he poisoned the meals of the other members of the Order, and as the survivors started to realize they had been betrayed by the agonizing deaths of their fellows, Dacian struck. Leading the effort personally, Dacian went throughout the entire fortress, slaughtering his former brothers-in-arms without mercy.

There were no survivors, although a few managed to fight back, dying bravely. The few dragons that survived the initial assault were particularly troublesome, for their dragon breath proved exceptionally effective against Dacian’s corrupted followers. Upon seeing this, the corrupt avatar decided that the dragons were too dangerous a threat to his future plans, and would have to be utterly wiped out.

To ensure that no soul was able to escape the confines of the fortress to the afterlife, Dacian performed a dread ritual to imbue the walls of Ironheart with even more potent magic, trapping the souls of any who died within its walls inside the fortress forever. Those souls he could twist after their deaths he did, turning them into ghosts and zombies to haunt the lower reaches of the fortress. A few noble souls remained true to their purpose, but trapped within the fortress they were powerless to stop Dacian.

Dacian’s final act that night was to complete his treachery by visiting his sister’s bedroom. Having already foreseen what would happen in the nightmarish visions that plagued her, Elandra was not surprised. All the same, she died screaming as Dacian tore out her eyes and plunged her own sword through her chest.

Now in total control of the fortress, Dacian turned his attention fully upon the idea of freeing his new master. The only thing standing in his way was the Great Seal – a formidable barrier that not even he could simply open now that it had been locked. But Dacian’s new master had a plan, and He had filled Elandra’s visions with the necessary details. With Elandra’s eyes, Dacian was likewise able to see the visions, and discern their instructions. Six blood sacrifices would be necessary to open the Great Seal – blood from Elandra, Dacian, a powerful servant of Good, a powerful servant of Evil, an ancient being who had existed for millennia, and finally a newborn.
Renaming his followers to the Prophets of the New Age and placing himself as their Hierarch, Dacian began plotting on how to acquire these necessary sacrifices. He was determined not to fail, but knew that he would have to be very, very cautious in his efforts. If the work required centuries or even countless millennia, he was more than willing to pay that price.

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