The Warrior is one of the four true gods (see also the Gods of Chaos). On the surface he appears to be the patron god of nobility, honor, and warfare; in reality, he is the god of blood, war, hatred and murder. True followers of the Warrior must prove their faith on the fields of battle; for battle is the holiest of temples for the Warrior, and bloodshed is the only prayer he knows. Every life taken in anger empowers him, and every act of violence and wrath feeds him.
The Warrior bestows mighty blessings upon his most worthy followers. Those mortals servants, who have proven their devotion to the Warrior, become his corrupted champions known as Blood Knights. These champions are blessed with prodigious levels of strength so that they might better serve their lord and master on the battlefield. The temple of the Warrior is known as the Brotherhood of Slaughter, or simply the Brotherhood and was founded by King Durin of Westmarch. King Durin’s eldest son, Kakia, was first warlord of the Brotherhood of Slaughter.
The Tale of Remus
Blood dripped down Remus’ cheek. The novitiate stood up again, now for the second time, in his exhaustive duel. Remus was bruised, bloodied, and tired – but filled with rage. Rage enough to will himself onwards, determined to win the duel no matter the cost. The youth wore a crimson woolen tabard, signifying his novitiate rank, over a padded tunic. Remus’s opponent had struck him down to the gravel floor of the arena twice now, but each time – when his opponent thought him defeated – Remus was able to rise from the floor again. The duel was not yet over while Remus remained standing. “Honour cometh through courage Remus. Courage to embrace death on the fields of battle.” Chided the ancient, who had been overseeing the duel. “Don’t fail the Warrior now. There is no place in the brotherhood for cowardice, no place for weakness”.
Remus had practiced his entire life training for this trial, this ultimate moment of determination for his future. The victor of the duel would ascend to the warrior-priestly ranks of the brotherhood, while the loser would forever be banished from the church – a fate little better than death.
Remus was a boy blessed with a life of toil and hardship. A blessing because a life of hardship is the anvil upon which greatness is forged. To be blessed with hardship is a sure sign that the Warrior god is smiling down upon you. Remus’ “blessed” life thus far was a bleak existence of training, sweat, and toil with little reprieve other than the allotted time for sleeping, meals, and prayer. In the between times of martial practice, chores, and recanting prayers from the Book of Blood, Remus’s mind was filled with fantastical stories of the Warrior’s chosen champions, his Blood Knights, who fought and killed in his name . The stories of these champions served as evidence of the many blessings and rewards that awaited his most worthy followers.
Courage, honor, and glory. Years of intense training were necessary to join the warrior-priest ranks of the brotherhood. These elite warriors, known as Blood Knights, made up the iron hammer of Westmarch. Blood Knights were heavily-armored mounted warriors who could smash even the strongest enemy shield-wall on the fields of battle. Joining the brotherhood, and becoming a Blood Knight himself, had been the guiding light of purpose in Remus’ life for as long as he could remember. While, by day, Remus daydreamed of becoming a Blood Knight, by night he dreamt only nightmares. He dreamt the same nightmare each night, yet no matter how many times he dreamt it he still did not understand what it meant: a dimly lit stone room, an eight-pointed red star, a swarm of watchful eyes. Every night he would wake upon his lumpy straw-mattress with a cold sweat on his brow from his night terrors. Yet each night he would need to find his courage again to sleep and face the demons within his own mind.
For the duel either Remus or his opponent would stand as victor to be inducted into the priestly ranks of the brotherhood, but not both – never both. There was no room for failure in the brotherhood, no room for weakness within their holy ranks. Remus would not fail now. He would win the duel, despite his own bloodied and wounded state, and so he charged at his opponent – bellowing furiously – while his blade slashed at his opponent’s stunned defense. His opponent slid backwards and gave ground under Remus’s unexpected and sudden onslaught. Fire fueled Remus’s veins as he battered at his opponent’ clumsy attempt at defense. Remus’ vision went red with rage and he slashed his blade into his opponent’s now undefended torso and cut deep into the flesh beneath . As quickly as the rage began, it passed and Remus found himself straddled over a mutilated corpse. Blood gushed from where his final blows had struck his opponent’s flesh. Remus faltered and looked down upon his own bloodied hands and realized, in abject horror, that he could not recall the last moments of the duel. He had given himself over entirely to the bestial rage boiling within his veins that he ceased to remember what had happened. Remus looked around at the Blood Knights in audience, hoping he wasn’t disqualified or banished for his dishonorable conduct; the duels were after-all not supposed to to be to the death. “Forgive me masters!” pleaded Remus. “I have shown no honor, I was wrong to spill my opponent’s lifeblood in our duel. I have failed myself and I have failed the Warrior!”.
The brotherhood members grinned including the ancient one. The old man had a hood covering most of his visage, and his grim smile made him look even more sinister. Something about the old man made Remus shiver. “You are ready novitiate.” greeted the ancient, as he walked down the stairs to the gravel of the sparring arena. “You will become one of the greatest champions of the brotherhood….in due time of course.”
“Thank you master!” said Remus, relieved that his actions did not disqualify him from induction into the brotherhood. “Courage, honor, and glory!” The brotherhood members chuckled menacingly amongst themselves as they led Remus down a dark, candlelit hallway to an entrance only the knights were allowed to enter. The cackles of the group resonated forcibly within the large hall, drowning out any other thoughts, or doubts, Remus might have had about what was happening around him. Two armored guards stood at the entrance to the chamber ahead. Both guards wielded spears and wore long cloak of crimson that covered most of their bulk. Dark plates of iron protected their chests and shoulders.
Remus walked past the doorway with the guards into the chamber ahead; his heart sank as he suddenly recognized the place. The place he saw only in his nightmares before. Red wax candles were the only light source in the dim room, and a dark red liquid flowed from the walls into the center of the room, where it pooled-up and formed a crude eight-pointed star from the grooves and lines carved into the stone floor. This wasn’t an induction to the brotherhood, Remus realized. This was his fate. These dreams were visions, visions of his destiny.
“We’ve been looking for a candidate of your…potential to join us for some time” said the ancient from behind him. “Someone of your talent is worthy of being bound to Ergathon, the high angel of our blesséd god.”
Remus tried to speak but, when he opened his mouth, only blood spewed forth. His tongue dropped out of his mouth onto the stone floor where it, horrifyingly, began to crawl like a writhing worm. He tried to speak, but could only manage a garble amidst the chaos. He felt no pain, but his heart beat faster-and-faster as he saw the blood knights walking towards him, their red eyes shone like coals out of the darkened sockets of their skulls.
What could Remus do? He always wanted to join the brotherhood…but not like this. He had one ray of hope which lifted him from utter despair. Maybe…this was what he was destined to do? Join with something far greater than he could possibly even imagine. He had no hope of escape now, this ceremony would happen with-or-without his willing self. Perhaps if he complied with the ceremony then the Warrior would smile down upon him and he would be rewarded for his devotion.
Remus spat blood from his mouth as he was forced by many hands down to the stone floor. He shivered while he was held down at the center of the red star. As he lay on the stone floor, the ancient walked over him to him wielding a ceremonial looking knife. The ancient’s eyes were bright red and his smile was cruel. Remus garbled his final words out. “Courage, honor, and glory!”
The ancient cackled one last time and looked down at the boy and proclaimed, “No, blood for the blood God!”. Thenhe stabbed the knife deep into Remus’s heart.