Prelude for Coalescence: Desolation of Eristrat
Lord-Castellant Serendis Stormeye coughed up another wad of dusty phlegm and congealed blood, struggling to move against the hundreds of pounds of stone that was pinning her limbs. Even the strength of a demigod seemed anemic when measured against the weight of the avalanche of debris that was once the port city of Veridian. As she struggled, she could feel the cold water of the river slowly creeping up her side, its life giving waters threatening to drown her if she couldn’t make good on her escape soon.
Yet even in this dire moment, her analytical mind worked to process the catastrophe. The city’s realmgate had detonated, the eldritch sorcery that bound its realmstone arches violently overwhelmed by the passage of something unbelievably huge. The debris from the blast had been flung about the city, shattering structures where they landed, including the one she was in at the time. From the gaps in her entombment she could see a few of the ash-black arch stones that had once been the pride of the city, still smoldering and arcing with sickly crimson magic. With a howl of exertion she pulled a gauntlet free, cold fury fueling her efforts.
What could possibly be so massive, so powerful so as to rend asunder a Realmgate? The question stuck in her mind as another primal scream of effort rewarded her with a tumbling of masonry, her armored body wrenching free of the rubble that was once the local garrison’s headquarters. Serendis briefly stooped down to pluck her battered golden helm from beneath a wooden beam at her feet before rising to her full height, hawk-eyed gaze surveying the ruins. As far as her eyes could see, the city was shattered, with only a small number of buildings left standing, and none she could see that seemed undamaged. The crackling sound of smoldering fire and the distant rumble of still collapsing buildings couldn’t drown out the wailing cries of Veridian’s people. It wounded her deeply to see this once burgeoning city in such ruin, and she could feel the seething hatred pounding in her immortal heart for whatever had done this.
“My Lord-Castellant!” The sonorous cry cut through the sounds of devastation as a Stormcast Prosecutor flew through the viscous haze of low-hanging smoke on wings of crackling lightning. He landed with a crash amidst the broken masonry in front of her, seemingly out of breath– a remarkable thing to witness from one of Sigmar’s azyr-forged immortals. “Castellant, we have been searching for you, and I feared the worst. That you are alive brings me a shred of hope.”
Serendis lay an armored gauntlet on her warrior’s heaving shoulders, her eyes imploring beneath the stern visage of her golden mask. “Speak, Baccus. What has brought this madness to Veridian? What is to be the focus of our rage? I must know!”
The prosecutor looked up, nodding as he finally caught his breath. “It would be easier to show you, Serendis.” With a clasp of golden gauntlets and a rush of ozone-scented air, the Prosecutor took to the skies, bearing them both aloft on pinions of forking lightning. Soaring above the smoke, her flying warrior pointed towards the south, and her gaze followed. Across the rolling forests and rivers below she saw the shadow of a massive pair of wings. It would’ve been so easy to mistake it for a massive bank of clouds, but the colossal silhouette left little question as to the nature of their cataclysm.
“Set me down, Baccus, for I have seen enough. We must set ourselves to work.” Obediently, the Persecutor returned her down to the soil below, releasing her hand as she began to stride towards the ruined realmgate, pausing only to retrieve her halberd and lantern from the choking dust scattered rubble as she walked. “Find Lord-Celestant Yurel and Lord-Ordinator Dryvus. Tell them to gather the survivors and begin fortifying the town for an attack. We have precious little time.”
“As you will it, Lord-Castellant.” As his wings crackled to life once more he called out after his leader, his voice uncertain and anxious. “Serendis… what was that thing?”
Serendis paused in her stride long enough to face him, her brilliant eyes glowering beneath her helm. He could hear a fire in her voice, her familiar steely tones returning as she focused on her new task. “The slaves of the Everchosen have broken another Godbeast’s shackles. Eristrat flies, and the Realmgates die with its passing. If we are to end this desolation, Prosecutor, we must act now.”
Inspired by the narrative developed by the Coalescence 2018 team, Jake Castro wrote this story as a prelude to our event. Thanks, Jake!