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    [ALTARUS:]</i> You must learn to control your spirit-form, Xerxes... for by
    mastering the art of traversing the mists you may effortlessly travel to many
    places, and many times. Countless secrets will be unlocked for you, and great
    enlightenment shall be yours.

    [XERXES:]</i> Yes, master... and yet, there is one realm which intrigues me above
    all others, one era which occupies my thoughts unceasingly... What of the
    clash between the Royal Army of Hyperborea and the Wraiths of the Chaos-Liege?

    [ALTARUS:]</i> Ah, yes... command the mists, Xerxes... gaze into their limitless
    depths... compel them to show you that martial vista which you so fervently

    [XERXES:]</i> Yes... I see the massing forces, the battle is imminent! How splendid
    the Imperial Army looks as it fronts the foe... into the fray they ride!

    [Chapter 1: The Bloodying of the King]
    [(The Armies of the Hyperborean Empire steadfastly engage the Horde of Wraiths)]

    [THE KING:]
    Imperial Cavalry... advance! RIDE THEM DOWN!
    In to the fray! Demonstrate unforgettably the art of Hyperborean warcraft!
    Spearmen, form into Omega Phalanx.
    Archers, notch arrows, prepare to loose.
    Warriors, stand ready... Sound the clarion!

    Hearken, sons of the glorious Empire...
    Here we stand upon the Field of Blood...
    Though this day we may die,
    Our legend shall live forever.

    [ALTARUS:]</i> And the armies met upon the Field of Blood which stretched lifeless
    before the aeon-veiled citadel which men called the Shrine of A'zura-Kai, a
    mysterious and foreboding place steeped in ireful omens and legendary dread...
    Aye, the carnage of that first clash was phenomenal. The Hyperborean Cavalry
    tore gloriously into the foremost rank of the shadow-warriors, the enchantment
    of the Crystal of Mera rendering the squamous pseudo-flesh of the wraiths
    fully vulnerable to the steel of the royal legions. The king himself rode at
    the forefront of the onslaught, his ensorcelled ebon blade hewing ten to the
    left and cleaving ten to the right, his grim eyes gleaming beneath his
    shimmering horned and plumed helm. The momentum of that first charge threw the
    dark ones into shrieking disarray, and the vanguard of Chaos fell back before
    the thundering resolve of the Imperial attack. But the baleful, poisoned
    blades of the wraiths took their toll upon the Hyperborean horsemen. Raught by
    leprous swords and spears, men and mounts fell screaming to the dusty earth,
    where they were mercilessly rent and devoured by the slavering jaws of the
    Chaos-Liege's minions. Aye, glorious was the courage of the royal warriors,
    admirable was their mettle... for every Imperial Knight felled by the dark
    ones, five wraiths met their deaths beneath the slaughterfall of royal steel.
    And yet it was not enough. Like a slithering tide, the shadows engulfed the
    cavalry, and the bloodied king ordered the Hyperboreans to ride clear and
    regroup. Then, with volleys of shafts as their herald, and the Battle-Prayer
    of Hyperborea upon their lips, the Imperial Guard marched into the ravening
    embrace of the melee, and never in the grim and sanguineous history of battle
    was there a clash to rival the slaughterous magnitude of that awesome

    Minions of Chaos, rend their flesh, crush their bones, devour their souls!

    [Chapter 2: Havoc at the Shrine of A'zura-Kai]

    [THE KING:]
    Onwards with our spear-heads gleaming,
    Meet them with cold steel a'cleaving,
    Fall only when our hearts cease beating,
    Men of Hyperborea.

    [ALTARUS:]</i> At the King's command, the clarion was sounded to move the
    battle-hardened veterans of the Seventh Fen-lander Army into a flanking
    position to unite with the remnants of the Royal Cavalry. Like a purifying
    storm the allied Imperial forces clove into the wraiths to deal righteous
    pattern-welded death unto their nighted foe. But at that moment, black terror
    descended screaming from the twilight sky... howling swarms of winged fiends,
    hurled forth from the malignant bosom of Lord Angsaar, soared razor-taloned
    into the fray. Beseiged man-to-fiend upon the field, and harried from above by
    the shrieking horrors of the Chaos-Liege, the Hyperborean Army began to
    falter, and to fall. And lo, beholding the carnage, the King raised high in
    his left hand the ancient Crystal of Mera, and in his right gauntlet he
    brandished the Bane of Angsaar, the dread Shadow-Sword once wielded by the
    Chaos-Liege's immortal nemesis... and he spoke aloud the terror-fraught and
    aeon-swathed words of invocation which he alone had been audience to deep
    within the shadow-haunted Mountains of the Dead...

    [THE KING:]
    By the darkling powers of the Shadow-Sword, I call forth the fury of the storm
    to rend the massed legions of Chaos!

    [ALTARUS:]</i> And at the sound of his baleful Words of Power, the sky split wide in
    fury, and searing tendrils of ruinous lightning lanced inexorably forth from
    the heavens to rake and reave the massed hordes of Chaos...

    [XERXES:]</i> The fearful spells he had learned from the Mountain... did their
    casting win the battle for the King's legions?

    [ALTARUS:]</i> The fiends were dealt a staggering blow by the sorcerous
    incantations, the power of the spells inexplicably magnified by the
    enchantments of the Crystal. The Wraiths were routed soundly by the elder
    magics, fleeing the field howling their anathemas and maledictions against the
    King, and the winged horrors fell seared and burning from the enraged sky. But
    the twisted machinations of insidious Chaos had prepared for the King one
    final blow in this dread confrontation... aye, the Chaos-Liege had reserved
    his most heinous perpetration 'til the last...

    [Chapter 3: The Awakening of Chaos]

    Fly, my winged sentinel of the night,
    Deliver unto me the Ninth Crystal of Power,
    That I may at last be free once more...

    Come then, mortal! Test that cursed blade of black steel against me if you
    dare! O' great king, your pitiful army shall be swept away before my wrath!
    'Ere the dawn, ten thousand shall die!

    [THE KING:]
    For the eternal glory of Hyperborea!

    [ALTARUS:]</i> Striking from the swift darkening sky, Angsaar's Arch-Wraith, which
    had been watching the battle with gleaming inhuman eyes, leaped to the attack
    and smote the King, engulfing him in its ebon wings and driving its
    steel-rending talons into his golden armour. And yet it was not the life of
    the Royal Scion of Hyperborea which the fiend sought to take on that fateful
    eve, but rather that which the King held tight in his gauntleted fist... the
    Crystal of Mera. Wrenching the glimmering antediluvian jewel from its keeper,
    the Arch-Wraith unfurled its leathern wings and soared into the deepening
    gloom with a cacophonous cackle of victory, leaving the King to roar his ire
    after the fleeing wraith.

    [XERXES:]</i> But what did Angsaar want of the Crystal? I know he battled his
    immortal nemesis over possession of the mystic gems many aeons ago... but what
    use would just one of the jewels be to him?

    [ALTARUS:]</i> After rising from his Chamber of Slumber, the Chaos-Liege's power was
    direly depleted... and he was unable to venture beyond the obsidian walls of
    his Citadel of Shadows, being compelled to control his wraiths and fiends to
    undertake his diseased schemes on his behalf. When he ascertained that the
    wizards of the Royal Court of Hyperborea held in their possession the Ninth
    Jewel of the Galactic Confederation of Mera, the most powerful of all the
    crystalline keys to the Psionic Epsilon Matrix, he began to formulate an
    elaborate scheme which would gain him the gem and facilitate his liberation,
    sundering his fetters and allowing him free reign to spread his vile influence
    across the land once more. Utilizing to its fullest extent the dark art of
    sorcerous mind-control. Angsaar succeeded in placing spies and traitors within
    the King's Court, and thus set into motion a dark chain of events
    treacherously crafted to bring the Armies of Hyperborea to battle at one
    carefully predetermined place... the Shrine of A'zura-Kai... an ancient
    citadel built over the site where, many thousands of years ago, one of the
    Galactic Confederation's galaxy-spanning star-chariots was cast forcibly to
    earth by the tempestuous skies of a powerful cosmic witch-storm... a place
    where resultantly, the star-born energies of the Prime Crystal would be
    magnified tenfold, if wielded in unison with the correct arcane incantations
    which Angstaar alone knew...

    [XERXES:]</i> Then the battle, the defeat of the wraiths, all that had been merely a
    ruse... a scheme implemented by the Chaos-Liege merely to realize his ultimate
    ambition of the sundering of the mystic shackles?

    [ALTARUS:]</i> Aye... the Shrine would act as a portal, a gateway opened by the
    power of the Crystal, a yawning aperture in the dimensional barrier through
    which Angsaar could escape the incarceration of his Citadel at last. And as
    the Arch-Wraith soared the night-winds on its return journey to its malign
    master, the Prime Crystal clutched in its bloodied claws, the King knew as he
    watched the Shrine of A'zura-Kai begin to glow with a great and ominous
    sidereal luminescence, that he had on that battle-fraught eve defeated one
    dreadful menace on the Field of Blood only to unleash an infinitely more
    terrifying foe... But the Chaos-Liege had reckoned without the power of the
    one thing he feared the most... the one thing which had the merest glimmering
    hope of thwarting his dread scheme and restoring order to glorious

    [XERXES:]</i> Yes, the only chance... the last hope for victory...

    [ALTARUS:]</i> The Shadow-Sword. Evident once more was the fearsome
    extra-dimensional intelligence linking the sword and the gem, the same
    crystalline sentience which had guided the King to the mountainous resting
    place of the ebon blade, and had shielded the presence of the sorcerous
    immortal weapon from the dark one until it had been brought into play upon the
    field of battle, that magical link placed within the Ninth Gem by the Immortal
    if ever again the power of the Shadow-Sword should be needed to bring to bear
    against Chaos! And with the Arch-Wraith disappearing into the massing dark,
    that yard of fearsome black steel spoke once more to the King in the same long
    dead tongue it had burned upon his mind deep within the Mountains of the Dead,
    the essence of the Immortal mystically encased within the blade instructing
    the Scion of Hyperborea to commit himself to one final, cataclysmic deed... a
    deed which would end the aspirations of the Chaos-Liege forever, or plunge
    Hyperborea and the kingdoms of the world into an endless abyss of eternal
    suffering and a ravening maelstrom of limitless carnage and galactic terror...

    [XERXES:]</i> What was that deed? What could stop the Chaos-Liege? I must know the
    outcome of this confrontation!

    [ALTARUS:]</i> The vista begins to darken... the mists once again weave their spell
    to withold their timelost secrets. Practice your art, Xerxes... hone your
    skills, and the final outcome of this epic tale shall soon be made known to

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