The bestial roars of fury from Eristrat shook the citadel as the Guardian swiftly ascended the stairs. The Godbeast’s mood had been growing particularly foul of late, though he supposed being chained beneath Carcerűn for ages untold could do that to you. Briefly the Guardian mused on how little he knew of the beast despite having been its companion and gaoler for as long as he could remember, which, by his reckoning, was a very long time indeed. He could not even remember his own name and now simply went by the Guardian, though no one had spoken that title to him since Sigmar’s pantheon themselves deemed Eristrat too great a risk in the wilds of the realms and locked him below this citadel, charging himself with the Godbeast’s protection. In fact, no one had spoken to him at all besides the spirited debates he held with his own reflection when the boredom grew too tedious.

The timeless custodian was shaken from his reverie when another great roar shook dust from the ceiling above, bringing him back to the present just in time to avoid walking face first into the locked door that led to the most vital chamber in all of Carcerűn. Behind the intricately decorated door which depicted the Godking wrestling the great beast into submission rested the Diaphanous Fastness, the key to Eristrat’s imprisonment. The last time he had been to check on the enchanted crystal that held the beast in check it had been shifting between many colors, from blue, to red, to green, to amethyst, and back again, violently changing hue at a moment’s notice, when normally it shone a clear and pure light. Sometimes it would maintain a single shade for several heartbeats, but always it would shift again. Now, from beneath the heavy door, a malignant and unhealthy red seeped in a steady glow.

“That can’t be good,” he muttered to himself as he fiddled with the ring of keys at his waist, searching for the correct one. As he opened the door he saw the massive crystal that was the Diaphanous Fastness suspended before him by currents of ancient magic, now bleeding an aura of malevolent red, while the crystal itself pulsed with a sickening unlight. From within the depths of the Fastness, hungry and predatory beings swam close to the surface, pressing up against the inside of the crystal. The Guardian stepped into the room in a hurry as the demonic visages eyed him with malintent.

“Definitely not good.”

“Not for you perhaps,” a sibilant voice whispered in his ear as a Warptongue blade slid across his throat from behind. The Guardian grasped at his neck helplessly as he collapsed to the floor with a wet gurgle. “But for me, it is quite…” the Gaunt Summoner paused as he delicately stepped over the convulsing body, “…expedient.” Staring into the Chaos haunted depths of the crystal with a look of adoration the sorcerer slowly caressed its edges, the demons within responding by following his touch. Turning from the Fastness the demonic servant bent down towards the rapidly expanding pool of blood seeping from the now motionless body of the impossibly ancient Guardian. Dipping one of his unnervingly long fingers into the red mess, the Gaunt Summoner quickly and precisely began to trace dark runes of an arcane nature onto the floor surrounding the floating crystal all while reciting a mantra in an ancient tongue not fit for mortal ears. Slowly but surely, minute cracks began to appear in the flawlessly cut gem, spreading ever outwards into an intricate spiderweb.

Deep below Eristrat stirred once more, sensing the loss of its keeper, the only presence it had known for millennia on end, and reveling in the promise the future held. The dark energies from above began to seep through the foundations of the fortress, coiling around the massive Godbeast, swaddling it in a web of fate that held only red ruin before it. As the fury and malice of the dark gods poured through its veins a honeyed voice whispered within its mind.

“Be free great Eristrat. My lord, my master, the great Archaon, demands it. Too long have you been shackled in this fortress caught between time. Too long have you been denied the power that is rightfully yours. Go forth and spread ruin to all those who oppose you, to all those who sought to deny you that which you are owed. Be free.” The whispers of entities even older than the Godbeast chattered through its thoughts, filling its mind with visions of towers toppled, of cities aflame, of its captors trampled beneath its might. Alarielle, Nagash, Tyrion, Grungni, Sigmar. They would all pay. “Be free,” the voice whispered again, “Be free. Be free. BE FREE!”

With a mighty roar Eristrat flexed its newly imbued power, waves of corruption and ruin radiating from its iron hard skin. Chains snapped, shackles split, stone crumbled, towers toppled, crystals shattered. Where before had been a titanic fortress larger than many a duardin’s mountain hold, now lay but a shattered and smoldering rubble heap spanning the horizon. From amongst the ruin the Godbeast arose, swathed in a dark radiance, an eight pointed star emblazoned upon its brow. Eristrat was free, and the realms would tremble.

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