Another repeat from the old forums. The new stuff starts with chapter four. Once again, feel free to comment to your heart's content.


Fuming, Arkath Beltaine stormed down the corridors of his Black Ark. His twin brother had always been able to infuriate him better than anyone. It had always been so, ever since they were children. Back at their father's keep in Clar Karond, they would play as any other Druchii Nobles children would; throwing poisoned darts at the commoners from the ramparts, daring their younger brothers to commit near-suicidal acts, daring each other, always competing for their father's favor. Old Khorean Beltaine loved to watch their brutally competitive games. He encouraged such play, feeling it would condition the boys for an adulthood of warfare, both political and physical.

Arkhath and Acheron, the eldest sons, twins, were ever their father's favorite. Oh, their younger brothers weren't ignored. They just weren't as ruthless and promising as the twins. Khorean groomed them both to assume the leadership of their clan upon his death. He knew that they had no illusions of ruling together, one would have to rule with the other subordiate to their will. That was why they competed. To see who was better, stronger, more cunning and skilled. One forever trying to gain the upper hand over the other, never breaking the stalemate between them.

Arkhath finally won out over Acheron by murdering their father before his brother could.

That was how he had become the ruling head of their clan, by being a fraction of a step ahead of Acheron. Doing what had to be done before his twin could get to it. That was the upper hand he had been fighting for his whole life. And now it was in jeopardy.

By defeating the vampire Count Messier, Acheron had gained an upper hand over Arkhath. It was Malekith's command that Arkhath journey here, to the land the mon-kiegh knew as the Border Princes, in order to establish a Druchii presence in the Old World. All had gone smoothly until that accursed vampire arose to stand in his way. Time and time again, Arkhath led his forces against those of the vampire. And time and time again, the vampire remained triumphant. Arkhath simply could not defeat the countless hordes of shambling corpses that were risen to fight his corsairs. Victory had been within his grasp so many time, only to be snatched away by some trick or gambit that undead knight had hidden in his centuries-long repertoire. Only when Acheron joined him, fresh from the conflict on the Isle of Albion, was the blood-drinker defeated.

Acheron had taken several regiments of Arkhath's finest corsairs, packs of his swift riders, and several war machines taken from the Ark's own emplacements. A coven of Khaine's devotees even accompanied him to battle along with his bitch Seiza and Arkhath's chief sorceress, Zhakhara. A fine and mighty force left the Ark to destroy the minons of the vampire. Only Acheron and Seiza returned, dragging the shattered and near-lifeless body of Zhakhara.

The very thought brought Arkhath's blood to a boil once more. Sure, Acheron had driven the vampire back into the ground where it belonged, but it had taken an unacceptable amount of Druchii lives to do it. Acheron had carelessly sacrificed Arkhath's men to acheive a hollow victory. And the most galling part of it; worse than the loss of a large portion of his forces, even worse that the condition of his most powerful sorceress was that Acheron had done it first.

Arkhath needed to regain the upper hand... at any cost.