Chainmail- The Sundered Empire
Three hundred years ago . . . The Third Oligarch of the Empire of Ravilla contemplated his scrying pool. “The nomad appears to have won again.Our warriors think themselves above mere humans. ‘Horseeaters,’ they call them. But this Ahmut may yet reach the cities.”
“That cannot be allowed to occur,” said the Second Oligarch from her couch. “Should one city fall, the Gateways might open. The Abyss? Let us avoid that path.”
“Agreed,” said the Third Oligarch. “I think another bid at assassination is in order.”
“The last failed.Why should this be different?”
“This time I will send Prisca.”
“Oh,” said the Second Oligarch. She considered. “It will be painful, then.”
“She will make it permanent. And unpleasant.”
“Then I declare quorum. Make it so.”
The elven assassin succeeded. Ahmut fell, slain by a magic blade. No magic could recapture his spirit. Despairing of raising their commander, and not wishing to leave his body for the elven armies that closed in upon them, Ahmut’s remaining lieutenants buried him in an unmarked grave.
Now Ahmut learned what it meant to be an enemy of Ravilla. His spirit was trapped within his corpse in a fragment of the assassin’s blade, fully conscious but incapable of occupying his decaying flesh or of moving on to other planes. He was sane for the first twenty years.
Nearly three centuries later, Stratis’s spear plunged from the sky to pierce the earth and what was left of Ahmut’s ribcage. Three centuries of hate fueled the magic that brought Ahmut surging from the earth. In Ravilla half the children woke at that moment, screaming.
Through his unnatural condition and the power of the spear, Ahmut maintains extraordinary control of the undead. He has usurped command of the cult of Nerull known as the Red Scythes, demanding their worship as the Death God’s emissary.
Every battle increases the power of Ahmut’s undead legions. If their supreme commander paid his full attention to the Godwar, the rest of the Sundered Empire might fall within two years. But Ahmut’s concentration is not perfect. He is content to spend a day grafting new limbs to a prisoner’s body and then ordering those limbs to mutilate and kill their new owner. The priests and assassins of the Red Scythe are left to prosecute the Godwar to the best of their abilities, sometimes even daring to keep artifacts for themselves instead of turning them over to their dread lord.
In truth, Ahmut pursues this war out of a simple desire to slay every living soul that does not worship him. Unlike other Godwar combatants, he is not troubled by the thought that some rival might seize Stratis’s power first. Ahmut feels he already has enough power to slay the world. The longer the others fight among themselves, the closer his victory becomes. Life is short; death drags on and on.
HOMEBREW OPTIONS FOR CHAINMAIL: TEN YEARS INTO THE WAR
Despite his considerable power, Ahmut’s forces have neither gained nor lost ground over the years, his opponents having learned to cycle in divinely empowered units to face down the undead along with standard food soldiers. Annoyed, but not willing to be as overt as Yeenoghu, Nerull took steps to enhance his army. Speaking to some of his more devoted priests through dreams, he bade them to take a more active role in the war by turning willing veterans into powerful, free-willed undead. Soon, the rank and file skeletons and zombies were reinforced by vampires of all types, and more than one mercenary wizard that filled out the back lines of the Legion was seduced into lichdom. The most potent addition to the Legion has been an order of death knights that Ahmut uses as both heavy shock troops and a personal guard.