Yo! It's been far, far too long since I posted anything. I blame it on work and the multitude of new ideas that have entered by mind. Regardless, I've decided to make this into a full story based off some of the response I've gotten. Now this won't be a fast updating story. As all of the chapters will be much, much longer than I normally write. So it will take longer to get things done.
I've actually got a number of Avatar/Warhammer Fantasy ideas besides this and I may do a bunch of them as oneshots. One that I will do is the polar opposite of this one, where Azula becomes a champion against Chaos, like Valten, the Chosen Champion of Sigmar and opposing warrior to the Everchosen of Chaos.
tormented123: Just so you know, you've disabled your private messaging feature. As long as it is, I won't be able to answer any questions you may have until I post a chapter.
Now that all of that is out of the way, on with the show.
Countless warriors from countless tribes, kingdoms, warbands and armies stood before the massive altar, waiting while their leaders were gathered around the shrine itself. Atop the altar stood alone figure, clad in dark armor and watching the skies. Dark, tremulous clouds filled the sky, arcs of lightning surging between them as roaring thunder filled the air.
Azula smirked, feeling the power and favor of the Gods following through her body. After over a year of brutal questing across the face the Western Lands and the Realm of Chaos itself, the day she had longed for had finally come. The day of her coronation. The day the world would tremble and quake at her name.
The day she was recognized by all as the Anointed, the Favored Child of Chaos, the Scourge of the World, the Herald of the Apocalypse, Chaos Incarnate, the Lord of the End Times.
The Everchosen of Chaos.
For a moment, Azula looked back into the past, back to the long road she had taken to this moment…
"I choose…all of you," Azula proclaimed.
The four Chaos-Blessed doppelgangers staggered back, surprised by her announcements. "What?" they said in unison.
"You heard me," Azula confidently replied. "All of you want the same thing, the fall of the weak Nations of the East. Why not stand as one until that glorious goal is accomplished?"
"You would seek the Path of the Everchosen?" they asked.
The former Princess nodded her head. "Yes. Make me your Everchosen and together we will usher in the End Times."
As one, the four images shook their heads. "No. If you truly wish to become our Everchosen then you must face more trials and collect the Six Treasures of Chaos to prove yourself."
"Then tell me where I may find them and I will become your Everchosen!" Azula demanded, clasping her fist.
"You have found the First Treasure already," the four answered. "Receive it now…the Mark of Chaos!"
Each of the four Azulas disappeared as the gates began to glow with crackling energy. Wild bolts of crimson, green, pink and blue surged out from each of the Gods' Gates, striking Azula as one. Immense raw power flowed into her body. Azula roared in both pain and triumph as the energy began to focus within her forehead. The skin on the center of her brow exploded.
And then as quickly as it began, the energy faded and Azula collapsed, panting for breath, blood dripping down her grinning face.
Morgar Felblade roared in rage and frustration as his sword sliced through the neck of one of her warriors. "Where is she? Where is the Eastling bitch?"
That's when he spotted him, the pathetic sorcerer of his hated enemy. The hunched over, wretch of a man was throwing crimson balls of fire at his men. With a roar, Morgar sprinted towards the spellcaster. But as he neared the man something happened...
The ground began to tremble, dark clouds filled the sky, blocking out the sky. All of the warriors stopped their fighting, looking for a sign as to what was happening.
"What is this?" Morgar demanded.
"She's made her choice…" Morax uttered, staring at the temple doors.
The giant Star of Chaos emblazoned on the door began to glow with a purple light. The sorcerer shook his head in disbelief. "It cannot be…"
By this time, every still living warrior present had stopped fighting, turning their attention to the massive doors. The ground trembled beneath their feet as the wind howled and wailed furiously. Slowly, the doors slid open, releasing a blinding purple light from within the temple. Those closest to the temple were forced to shield their eyes while those further away could only watch as a figure appeared within the light.
The figure marched forward, approaching the camp turned battlefield. Many of the warriors fell to their knees, prostrating themselves before the glorious individual, saying prayers to the Chaos Gods.
Even Morgar himself bowed, recognizing the figure as a divinely blessed being, Vulric and Morax kneeling alongside him.
Azula stopped, standing amid the dozens upon dozens of bowing warriors, a glowing purple eight-sided star carved into her brow.
The Mark of Chaos.
The Mark of the Everchosen of Chaos.
Azula stood at the bow of her ship, staring out at the approaching shoreline and the towering city-temple upon it; where the next Treasure of Chaos, the Armor of Morkar, the First Everchosen, lay.
It had been several weeks since Azula had received the blessing of all four Chaos Gods. Upon seeing the Mark, Morgar and his warband submitted to her, adding their strength to her own. After choosing two dozen of her warriors, she sent Vulric and Morgar out to spread the word that a new Everchosen had emerged while she took Morax and the warriors she had selected to the nearby coast, stealing a ship from the Slavers of Gharhar and taking it far north. Over the course of their journey, they came across other ships of seafaring warriors. Some willing joined them; others had to be convinced by sword.
Now they were finally reaching their goal, a forgotten island and its temple-city. The Gods had shown her this ancient place and how it was now home to a race of savage half-human beasts. But deep beneath the city, within its vast catacombs, was the resting place of Morkar the First Everchosen whom had been slain many millennia ago by the Avatar, along with his legendary armor.
The temple-city was a massive stone platform, upon which a large pyramid stood, surrounded by smaller stone structures. Once, this had been a vast metropolis from before the coming of the Chaos Gods. Since then it had been conquered and reconquered dozens of times over numerous warlords and their armies, corrupting and defiling the place with countless totems and icons as well as runes and sigils craved into the walls. There were even parts of the stonework that had been mutated by the power of Chaos, replacing stone with living flesh with vile things imprisoned within the flesh-stone, trying to grab anyone or anything nearby.
"Warriors of the Gods! To battle and glory!" she roared, thrusting her daemon weapon into the air.
The vessel slammed into the shore, beaching itself upon the dark sands along with the other vessels. Her warriors roared as they leapt from their ships, charging towards the temple-city and the hordes of savage man-beasts that were already rushing for the shore and the beached ships, both eager for battle and bloodshed.
At the front of the running warriors was Azula, Gorrumalxa raised above her head, letting out a fearsome roar of her own.
For six days and nights, Azula and her warriors battled the man-beasts. Despite being horribly outnumbered by the mutants, the warriors of Chaos had won, exterminating them all. Azula herself had slain the huge bull-headed leader of the city's inhabitants, slicing its head from its body; its skull now adorning her personal standard.
With the battle over, Azula wandered through the vast catacombs underneath the forgotten city as her warriors reveled in their victory and made offerings to the Gods. A grin spread across Azula's lips. The warriors that she had gathered to her side were strong. Sure, there had been those that had fallen against the man-beasts, but there were countless other eager warriors seeking to earn glory for themselves and the Gods out there.
One day, all of them would be following her banner into glorious battle against her most hated of enemies.
"We have found the tomb, my lord," Morax rasped, standing before a set of ancient stone doors.
Numerous runes and sigils were carved into the stone. They were unlike anything Azula had ever seen. Incredibly old, yet radiating tremendous power. And unlike the rest of the forgotten city, it hadn't been defiled in the slightest by those that had ruled the city over the countless millennia.
A great and terrible power was protecting it from all but the worthy.
"Can you open it?" Azula inquired as she studied the doors.
Morax placed a hand on the door, only to recoil and pull his hand back. The flesh of his palm had been burnt by the magics shielding the door. "No," he said, shaking his head. The sorcerer turned to her. "But I believe that you can, my lord."
Without saying a word, Azula slammed her right palm on the door. Dark purple energy surged from her hand, spreading across the door and lighting up the runes. Slowly the tomb doors slid open, revealing a dark chamber. As soon as Azula's foot touched the chamber floor, torches along the stone walls ignited. Before her stood a large altar, upon which laid a skeletal body clad in dark armor with a sword and shield lying on its breast. On the side of the altar was the Star of Chaos, surrounded by the four Icons of the Gods.
There could be no doubt about it. This was the tomb of Morkar.
Azula reached out the fallen Everchosen's remains. The armor was magnificent. Heavy obsidian plates trimmed with gold, inscribed with countless runes and sigils of Chaos and power. But this armor had been forged not by a mortal blacksmith with steel or iron; it had been forged within the foundries and forges of Zharr-Naggrund, by the hands of the greatest Master Daemonsmiths. The metal had been created from rare ores found only beneath the Mountains of Mourn, the blood from a Greater Daemon of each God, and the raw energies of Chaos made into solid matter. Once the metal had been created, countless ancient spells were cast to bless it and further strength it. This armor was as hard as diamond but as light as cloth.
The perfect armor for an Everchosen.
But as Azula's fingertips brushed against its plates, a spark of energy leapt into the armor. Morkar's jaw dropped, letting out a rasping groan. Slowly, the skull turned to her, the bones creaking loudly, its empty sockets staring at her.
Azula quickly stepped back as the armored skeleton continued to move. Its hands rose up, slow and jerky at first but quickly picking up speed as it reached for its shield and sword before starting to sit up.
"And here I thought this was going to be a simple task," Azula commented as the skeletal remains howled at her.
The fallen Everchosen lunged at her, swinging its sword at her. Azula blocked the blade with her own, sparks erupting from where they met. But Morkar didn't let up, swinging his formidable, Chaos-blessed weapon wildly and furiously. "Die wretched bitch!" Morkar screamed his voice filled with hatred.
It was all Azula could do to avoid and block his attacks. It was said that Morkar had been a fearsome warrior, capable of wiping out entire armies with just his sword and shield. And seemed even death had not diminished his formidable abilities.
But Azula had carefully studied the history of her predecessors. Morkar had been slain by Agni, the first Fire Lord and the first man to bend Fire to his will. She knew his weakness.
Reaching into a small bag on her belt, Azula pulled out her old hairpiece, the last memento of her former life. But it was also in the shape of the Fire Nation's symbol, of Agni's personal icon.
She held up the hairpiece, revealing it to Morkar. The dead champion froze; the glowing sockets that were his eyes utterly focused on it. "AGNI!" he roared the hatred and fury in his voice growing to new heights.
But it was already too late. Azula took the momentary pause to strike back, thrusting her sword into Morkar's mouth as he roared, the tip of Gorrumalxa erupting out of the back of his skull. The magic binding Morkar's soul to his remains died, its glowing sockets fading mere moments before its armored body collapsed on the ground.
Azula grinned in triumph. The famed Armor of Morkar was hers…
Within the ruined temple-city, the warriors of Chaos celebrated their victory, gathering around several campfires, drinking ale from their ships and eating the fresh meat they had acquired, all the while telling stories of past deeds. "I tore off the beast's horn and rammed it down its throat!" Alaric Shadowhammer proclaimed, slamming his fist into his palm for emphasis. "That was a truly glorious battle. Not like this little skirmish with those puny freaks."
"But brother, we are fighting alongside the Everchosen," one of his fellow warriors argued. "The eyes of the Gods are upon her and upon we who fight with her."
Alaric shook his head. "Bah! So she says. Why would the Gods choose a feeble little girl from the East to be their Everchosen? They wouldn't! They would only choose the strong!"
"I would watch what you say, Alaric Shadowhammer," Morax commented as he approached the fire. "She is far, far stronger than she appears. While the people of the East are for the most part soft and weak, she was raised to be strong. From an early age she was instructed within the art of war, taught numerous strategies, and trained to be a warrior and leader. She is as close as one of them can get to being one of us."
Alaric scowled at him. "Not only that, she has been chosen by the Gods themselves. Disrespecting her is the same as disrespecting the Gods," the sorcerer continued. "If you are smart, you will show her the proper respect."
"No! She's nothing but an Eastling brat with a bit of power. Nothing more," the warrior shot back. "She deserves no respect."
"I'm sorry to hear that," a voice said as a heavy metal footstep landed behind the group.
Everyone turned to the voice. It was Azula, clad in formfitting obsidian armor. "You've found the Armor of Morkar," Morax said, not a trace of surprise in his voice.
"What? Impossible!" Alaric exclaimed. "Morkar was a giant of a man. It's impossible for his legendary armor to fit a tiny thing like you!"
Azula laughed at him, angering him further. "Such a small mind," she commented. "Did it not occur to you that the Master Daemonsmiths that forged this armor would have ensured that it would fit anyone who possessed it?"
The warrior snarled, rising to his feet as grabbed his warhammer. "Tell me girl, if I slay you, will the Gods make me the Everchosen?" he shouted before attacking her.
The head of his warhammer slammed into Azula's side, but something unexpected happened. The weapon's head shattered like a block of ice while the force of the weapon had no effect on her. Azula smirked a second before her armored fist slammed into Alaric's face, shattering his nose. The large warrior staggered back, a hand clutching his bloody nose. But Azula didn't stop there. She rammed her arm into the man's unarmored abdomen, tearing through organs before she reached her target, the man's spine. Alaric gurgled out blood as Azula's fingers wrapped around the bone. With a single strong pull, the former Princess tore out the man's spine through his abdomen. Alaric's torso collapsed in on itself as he fell to the group, already dead.
With a triumphant roar, Azula thrust the spine into the air. The other warriors quickly joined in. Any doubts, any dissention among Azula's warriors about her claim to the title of Everchosen now silenced.
Weeks had passed since that day. More battles and followers had come since then. New trophies adorned her personal standard and armor, standing alongside the skull of the man-beast leader and the belt she created from Alaric's spine.
Now they were traveling north and to the west along the coast, heading for the Cliff of Beasts. Through mediation and visions, the Gods had shown her the next treasure, the Eye of Sheerian, an ancient gem that was able to peer into the endless, wild currents of the future. It had once belonged to the third Everchosen, Asavar Kul, though he did not create it. The Eye had existed long before him. After Kul was slain nearly a thousand years ago, the Eye had passed onto champion after champion before falling into the talons of Flamefang, a mighty Chaos Dragon. The beast's lair was at the base of the vast cliff face. But not only that, it was the most vicious creature within the cliff, ensuring that the other monstrous predators living in the region would stay far from the cave.
At least for awhile anyway.
"There it is," Azula said as the blood coating Gorrumalxa was consumed by the daemon.
All around her, Azula's warriors finished off the last of the trolls. "Burn the bodies," she ordered, not wanting to take a chance with the accursed beasts and ability to come back from nearly anything. "I will enter the cave alone."
None of them questioned her orders as she marched into the cave, noxious, sulfurous fumes pouring out from it. The beast was in its lair. Of that, she had no doubt.
The Chaos Dragons were a twisted breed born from the now extinct Dragons. During the First War of Chaos, when the dragons had been plentiful, they were among the most dreaded of the mortal soldiers that fought against the Daemon Legions. However, in one battle, the greatest of their kind did battle with a powerful Lord of Change. The great dragon slew the daemon, reducing it to a cloud of ash. However, that was what the daemon wanted. It possessed the mighty beast corrupting it into a truly fitting creature of Chaos. After that, it forced itself on female dragons, giving rise to the race of Chaos Dragons.
The Chaos Dragons were wild, terrible monsters, attacking anything and anyone they came across. Though in times of great wars, Chaos Dragons would be drawn to the battles, reveling in the carnage and in rare cases, the mightiest of Champions would bend a beast to their will and use as a living engine of destruction.
Azula stopped, reaching the large chamber within the cave. Lying within the center of the cavern, atop a vast mound of treasures slept Flamefang. The dragon was a monstrous three headed behemoth. Its scales were a blood red and seemed to twitch and pulse like there were a thousand insects crawling just beneath them. There were far more horns and spikes emerging from its body than what its eastern cousins had.
"Wake up!" Azula shouted at it, swinging her blade down at its center head.
The daemonweapon sliced through the right side of the dragon's head, destroying its eye while leaving a shallow cut on its scales. Flamefang instantly woke up, roaring in pain and fury. But Azula did not press her attack. Instead, she just extended her arms out. "Come on!" she screamed at it. "Come on you ugly, overgrown lizard! Show me what you've got!"
The three maws of the dragon opened, spewing out noxious green flames that could burn and corrode at the same time. The fires engulfed Azula, scorching the ground she stood on. However, when fires died, Azula stood there completely unphased and unharmed. "I'm waiting!" she taunted.
Flamefang's three head angrily roared at her for a moment before the center head lunged at her, swallowing Azula whole. In an instant, she was flipped head over heels and slid down its throat, into its stomach.
But Azula was no fool. Even with Gorrumalxa, dragon hides were notoriously strong and that wasn't including the fact that many of the Chaos Dragons were blessed with various mutations, making them even more dangerous. Few weapons could harm dragons, fewer could kill them.
That's why Azula needed to be clever. With the Armor of Morkar, she was safe from its fiery breath, teeth, claws and stomach acid. And ultimately providing her with the means to attack Flamefang's weakest spot; its insides.
No matter how strong the shell is, the insides are always the weakest. Ba Sing Se had taught her that well.
Letting out a warcry, she sliced through the wall of its stomach. Flamefang howled in agony, its body thrashing wildly. Azula continued to hack and slash, cutting through muscle and organs as she pulled herself through its body. She stabbed her sword through the throat of the middle head before twisting her weapon around, cutting through its neck. The head fell off the thrashing dragon, followed moments later by Azula herself. Flamefang's remaining head let out a pain-stricken wail before it collapsed in a heap.
Azula, covered entirely in gore, stood triumphant over the beast.
But she wasn't done yet. There was still the Eye she needed to collect.
Walking around the large beast's body, she reached its side. Azula grabbed Flamefang and with all of her Chaos-blessed strength, she slowly started to push the dragon onto its other side, revealing its belly and the horde of treasures underneath it.
There were countless treasures and relics lying beneath Flamefang's body, but they were of no interest to her. She'd let her warriors ransack the cave once she had the Eye.
And there, lying among a vast gathering of jewels and crystals embedded within its chest, was a fist-size golden perfect crystal orb; the Eye of Sheerian. Azula's fingers wrapped around it and with a tug, she tore it from the corpse.
The Eye was hers…
At that moment, she thrust Gorrumalxa and the Eye into the air, roaring in triumph.
"…I'll see you dead for this Azula! For my sister, my father and all the others that you've consumed for your monstrous Gods! I don't care whether it's with an army at my back or just by myself! I don't care if I have to fight a thousand battles to reach you! I WILL KILL YOU…"
"…But none are as terrible as the Everchosen of Chaos. The power of an Everchosen is as great as a fully realized Avatar. But their power is the antis of your power, the antis of the natural order of the world…"
"…I think I shall leave you here, among the ashes of everything you once held dear. I want you to live for all eternity, to see my rise to power and end of the world, and to always know that it was you above all the others that made into what I am…"
"…I am Vardek Crom, Herald to my master. Hear what I have to say! Tremble and despair Kings and Lords of the East, for doom has come to your lands…"
"…ha ha he heh… I understand now Aang. We've been fools Aang, all of us. Chaos is eternal, Chaos is life! We shouldn't fight against it. We must embrace it with open arms! You Aang… You could become even greater than her…"
"…BEAR WITNESS TO MY ASCENSION MORTALS…"
Azula dropped her arms, shaking her head, dispelling the fragmented visions of future the Eye was showing her. For now, she couldn't control prophetic powers of the stone. One day she would, but not now…
"Dorghar! You are mine!" Azula proclaimed, vaulting atop the daemonic steed.
The beast let out a furious, howling neigh as it started to buck. But the champion held onto it with all her might. Suddenly, its form changed, becoming pure fire in its former shape. Still Azula held on. "I have come too far to be bested by you!" she shouted.
While it was true for all of the tasks she had conquered, this one had been far tougher than those before it. Dorghar, the Steed of the Apocalypse had not been within the Lands of the Chaos Men but rather in the Realm of Chaos.
She had led her band of warriors to the ragged edge of where the worlds met. It was there that Azula had left them as she journeyed deeper into the twisting, impossible land. Days of marching turned into weeks, weeks turned into months and months turned into years.
But Azula did not fear nor age. For the laws that governed their world had no hold over the Realm of Chaos. One could spend an eternity within this world only to find that minutes had passed in the mortal world. Or one could even leave the Realm of Chaos years before they had even been born.
Such was the fickle nature of Chaos.
Of course, it wasn't just time that was meaningless here. Every other law of nature did not exist here either. In fact, the very nature of this world gave rise to impossible, perverted mockeries of her world. A vast stone fortress floated across the sky, trees made of living flesh and twitching tentacles, unending waterfalls of blood that flowed upwards, were just among a small handful of the insanities that Azula had witness in her travels. Lesser individuals would have snapped from such sights but not her, she was stronger than that.
Dorghar was currently the prized possession of a Daemon Lord, Agrammon. The mighty daemon was a slaver whom loved to twist and warp his captives into grotesque creatures within his vast fortress.
Agrammon's fortress within the Realm of Chaos was a mighty stronghold, made of black stone and mortar of blood. But this was not a simple stone castle. Upon the walls were great eyes, their blinking lids were the very walls themselves, always watching for anyone or anything that sought to attack his lair. Atop the ramparts of the fortress were Agrammon's daemons standing guard over their master's domain, ready and eager to descend on upon any attackers.
A frontal assault would be suicidal for all by the largest, mightiest of armies. And as strong as Azula's band of battle-hardened veterans were, they would be torn to pieces by the legions of daemons. Once again, she needed cunning to take what was rightfully hers.
It took her what could have been days, slowly creeping towards the fortress without being detected by the eyes or the daemons. Eventually, she snuck through the outer gate in one of the slave carts being brought to their new master. After that, she managed to get into Agrammon's stable by clinging onto the hairy underbelly of one of his grotesque beasts.
Once inside, it wasn't hard to find Dorghar's private pen. And what a beauty it was. At first glance, Dorghar was a horse, one of the strange native beasts of the humans of the West had domesticated. But this was no mere horse. Where it came from, Azula could not say. It could have been descended from a breed of horses that had heavily exposed to the raw energies of Chaos and changed by it. Or perhaps like the Chaos Dragons, a might horse was possessed by a daemon and in turn bred with other horses, giving rise to daemonic breed of horses.
Its skin was midnight blue with grey spikes running down its legs. Dorghar's mane and tail were whitish-grey, standing out amid the dark flesh. The beast's eyes glowed red as it snorted out dark noxious smoke.
Now, all Azula had left was to break the daemonic steed to her will, to make it her mount.
The hardest of all her tasks in acquiring the Steed of the Apocalypse.
The fiery beast kicked and thrashed, trying to force her off. But Azula clung to Dorghar with everything she had, her armor protecting her from the worst of the fire and heat. Suddenly, its form changed again. Its skin became a thick shell with jagged spikes erupting out of it. As with the fire, her armor protected her from edges of the spikes. However, it wasn't impaling her that Dorghar wanted. The slowly erupting spikes were beginning to push her off.
Azula let out a defiant roar, overshadowing Dorghar's own, her arms and legs tightening around it. The pressure of the spikes against her armored body increased, but she refused to let go. It wasn't going to end until something snapped. In this case, it was the spikes. They cracked and splintered under the strain. The daemonic beast changed back into its normal form, picking up its speed. As her roar ended, she even bit down on the back of its neck, trying to hold on it as much as she could.
But Dorghar wasn't lagging either. It transformed again and again, trying to catch Azula off guard and throw her off. Both had wills of iron and neither would back down to the other.
Though in the end, one would break and one would stand victorious…
Kordel Shorgaar, Bearer of the Everchosen's Banner, stood silently on the edge of the camp. Only a few days had passed since the Blessed One had marched deeper into the Realm of the Gods. Yet to the young, devoted warrior, it was an eternity.
Months earlier, Kordel's tribe had been marauding across the lands of the Kurgan Tribes when they came face to face with Azula and mighty warriors. At the foot of Karak Dum, they clashed. While his tribe may have outnumbered her warband, their skill and might was too great for them to have stood a real chance.
The armored warriors slaughtered them all until only he was left. But even then he refused to submit to his fate, lashing out at the Everchosen herself. They battled for hours but as strong as he was, he was no match for the Everchosen. In the end, he was beaten, his body racked with wounds and his strength spent. But even then, he refused to accept his fate, defiantly glaring at her as he waited for the killing blow.
It did not come…
Azula had seen his formidable warrior spirit and favor of the Gods upon him. She spared Kordel, bringing him into her warband, into the glorious service of the Everchosen and the Gods. Ever since then he had fought at her side with unwavering devotion. After months, Azula had seen fit to make him the bearer of her personal standard after his predecessor had fallen in battle. Upon that day Kordel had vowed to her and the Gods that he would serve at her side until the End Times came and beyond, or until he fell in battle.
As he stood on his silent vigil, the camp behind him was abuzz with activity. A small dueling circle had formed within the camp, allowing some of the warriors to hone their skill while others placed wagers on them. Others sat at fire pits, drinking and telling stories. Save for Morax whom sat at a small fire at the center of the camp, deep in a trance. Undoubtedly, he was communing with the mighty beings of the Realm of Chaos.
Suddenly the sorcerer's head pulled back, letting out a loud gasping sound. Somehow, it drew everyone's attention. "She…returns…" he uttered dryly.
The faint sound of drums filled the air. But they quickly grew louder and louder, echoing through the valley they had set up their camp. Soon the thundering sound changed into something just as recognizable, the sound of hooves galloping on stone and rock.
A lone rider was approaching the camp.
Azula, their glorious leader raced into the heart of the camp, riding atop the Steed of the Apocalypse, Dorghar. She pulled her daemonweapon into the air, letting out a triumphant cheer that was quickly joined by every warrior in the camp.
"RAAAAAGH!" an armored warrior roared as his axe bit into the throat another warrior. The man gurgled as he collapsed on the ground. The warrior stepped over the body. "I am Vardek Crom! Chieftain of the Kul! None of you are a match for me!"
All around him, on the lower cliffs and ridges of the Chimera Plateau, numerous Chaos Champions dueling one another, seeking to further prove their worth to the Gods.
So far, none Crom's opponents had come close to defeating him. It was growing tiresome to the powerful champion. How could he prove his worth without opponents that could challenge him? How could he make such meager offerings to the Gods?
"Why don't you test yourself against me?" a female voice asked as a smaller hooded warrior approached.
"A woman?" Crom exclaimed. "Bah! Fine! Prepare to die!"
Sword and axe met daemonblade, creating a thundering boom. Within seconds the boom was followed by echoing clangs as their weapons clashed again and again. Yet, neither warrior was able to hit the other; something that only served to annoy the master warrior even further. Crom drove his knee into the armored chest of his opponent, driving her back. "Not bad," she commented. "For a novice."
The warrior let out a furious roar, raising his sword and axe as he lunged at her. But with unparalleled speed she sidestepped Crom, swinging her own sword at him. Crom barely managed to bring his own sword up, blocking the attack before using his superior strength to push the female back. As she staggered back, Crom's axe descended on her head. But once again she was too fast for him, pivoting on her foot to avoid the attack before slamming her shoulder into him with surprising force. To his shock, Crom was pushed back, his axe thrown from his hand.
But as he stumbled, Crom's free hand reached out and grabbed the edge of his opponent's hood, tearing it off.
The armored champion froze as he beheld the face of champion he was dueling and the Mark upon her brow.
It was the glowing Mark of Chaos…
Immediately, Crom fell to his knees in prostration. The champion he had been fighting was the Everchosen, the greatest of all the mortal champions of the Gods.
However, Crom was not the only one. As they had battle, the other dueling champions had stopped, strangely compelled to watch their fight. And upon the revelation of the Everchosen, they all bowed as well.
"Blessed One, I apologize for my imprudence," Crom humbly said, unable to gaze upon her. "Had I known it was you, I never would have challenged to you."
"That would have defeated the purpose of our duel," Azula replied. "I have heard of you Vardek Crom. You who has conquered the mighty City of Karond Kar. You who fought in the Battle of 10,000 Blades. You who spent a year within the vast network of caverns below the World's Edge Mountains, battling against the unending hordes of the rat-men whom dwell there. You who have subjugated the Dolgans, the Tokmars, the Yusaks, the Kvelligs and dozens of other tribes. Yes… I have heard of you, Crom the Conqueror."
Crom felt insurmountable pride swell within his breast as the Great One listed off but a small fraction of the accomplishments he had achieved in his long lifetime. "My Lord, I offer you all that I have, my worldly possessions, my rank as Chieftain of the Kul, my people, just for the chance to fight by your side until the day I die."
For a moment, Azula started at him before responding. Taking her sword, she tapped Crom on right shoulder then his left. "Rise, Crom of the Kul," she said, pulling the weapon back. "Rise Vardek Crom, Herald of the Everchosen."
"My Lord, we're approaching the dens of the Chimeras," Crom said as they climbed further up the cliffs of the plateau.
"How many are there?" Azula asked as more of her warriors reached the snowy cliff they stood on.
"An army's worth," her Herald replied.
Azula snickered. "Then it's good that we have brought an army of our own," she said as below them hundreds upon hundreds of armored champions of Chaos were scaling up the cliff face.
All eager for battle in the name of the Gods and their Favored Champion.
Nor were they the only ones.
Approaching growls filled the air, signaling the arrival of the vicious beasts the plateau was named for. They were ugly creatures with bodies and heads like that of lion, but with bat-like wings on their backs and barbed scorpion tails.
And there were already dozens and dozens of the large beasts slowly moving towards them…
Azula drew Gorrumalxa while those warriors around her drew their weapons. "These beasts stand before me and the task the Gods have set for me!" she called out. "Slay them all in the name of the Gods!"
"For the Dark Gods!" her warriors yelled out, charging towards the chimera that roared back and began to sprint towards their prey as well.
Azula grinned as she pulled herself onto the very top of the plateau, where the Slayer of Kings was. Close behind her were three of her warriors, Crom, Kordel and Prince Ograx. The rest were further below, still battling the chimera.
Before them was a small mountain. It was odd as a plateau ends in a flat surface. There shouldn't be a mountain here, yet there was. It didn't make sense.
At that moment, as though to answer her question, the mountain shifted. This sent a tremor through the whole plateau while the stone and rock moved, changing shape into the outline of a sleeping figure.
Azula's eyes widened in shock as the realization of what this 'mountain' truly was entered her mind.
The figure before her was half buried in loose stone and rock, many of which were far, far larger than her. The upper half of it looked human for the most part. The torso of man with a pair matching arms covered a combination of skin and dark scales. Its head was that of a man but with unusually angular features, with its lower face almost forming into a snout. The dark hair on the head was long and scraggly, long horns erupting out from within it. Its long body was reptilian, with four long, clawed legs and a tail stretching out over a side of the plateau. But what truly caught Azula's eyes was the armor plate in the center of its chest. It bore black Star of Chaos that pulsed with an unnatural energy.
It was Krakanrok the Black, the father of the Dragon Ogre race! No mortal warrior, not even her, could face this monstrous creature and survive.
Fortunately, he was still slumbering. As long as they didn't wake him, they would be fine.
And that's when she saw it, the Slayer of Kings, lying half beneath one of its front legs. It was finally within her grasp. All that she had to do was remove from beneath the slumbering behemoth.
Azula turned towards her companions. "Ograx, lift that leg up," she ordered.
The giant of a man nodded before moving towards the limb. With a loud grunt, he heaved the scaled paw up, straining to keep it raised. Azula quickly picked up the sword, holding before her in awe.
The Slayer of Kings was ancient, legendary daemonweapon. The Everchosen, Vangel had trapped the Greater Daemon U'zuhl within the blade eons ago. It was the only daemonweapon to contain a greater daemon; all others had merely lesser daemons bound within their blades. For a mortal to have achieved such a feat spoke highly of the man and his abilities.
However, the countless years of imprisonment and lying unused, unable to slate its thirst for blood and battle and souls had left it insane.
At that instant, U'zuhl let out a loud piercing howl. The sleeping Krakanrok began to stir, sending tremors throughout the entire plateau. Slowly, the massive Dragon Ogre's eyes started to open.
Immediately, Azula rammed the Slayer into Ograx's chest. U'xuhl stopped screaming, lapping up the royal blood of the Hung Prince. As the howling ended, the half-awake Krakanrok drifted back to sleep.
"Glory…to the Everchosen…" Ograx uttered before he collapsed pinned under Krakanrok's paw.
Azula turned from the sleeping behemoth and the dead prince, holding the bloody Slayer of Kings.
Five Treasures of Chaos were in possession. Only one remained.
"You know why I am here," Azula said to the shadowy shape before her.
For nearly five years, she had scoured the Lands of Chaos for the Final Treasure, the Crown of Domination. And for nearly five years, she had found no trace of it. There was only one being that could know where it was, but Azula had been loathed to approach him.
The figure made of shadows that stood before her snickered. "So the great Everchosen needs my help in completing her labors," it mocked. "Perhaps the Gods should have chosen someone more suitable than feeble, half-mad wretch from the East."
The being before her was Be'lakor, the first Daemon Prince. The first moral to have ever ascended beyond his mortal form into daemonhood. The first to receive the greatest of gifts from the Gods. However, long ago he had fallen out of favor with the Chaos Gods and been punished by them. Be'lakor was cursed to remain in his current powerless shadowy form until an Everchosen arose. Then his form would be restored, only to have to perform the Coronation of the Everchosen first.
He was a truly jealous and spiteful creature. One that Azula could only trust marginally at best.
"Oh? No comment? No cunning remark? No enraging insult? What does it matter anyway? You will fail in the end just as your three predecessors did and as the countless ones that wanted to be but couldn't, did before you. No mortal can bring about the End Times. You will just fail and die-RAAAAAAGH!"
The Daemon Prince howled as the Slayer of Kings slashed across its form. "Silence wretch. You had your chance and failed long ago. It is my destiny to bring about the End Times! To bring this world entirely into Chaos! And I will see it happen or burn this pathetic world to ashes!" Aulza proclaimed, her left hand clenched in a fist before her. "Do you know why I will be the one to do it?"
The Daemon Prince said nothing, glaring at her in anger.
"Because all I have left is hatred for this damned world," she continued. "As a child, my mother hated me. I was a monster in her eyes. So I gave all my devotion to my father who appreciated my abilities. But at our moment of triumph, he cast me aside like a tool that has lost its usefulness. I was nothing but a tool to him. And those that were the closest to me betrayed me for a traitor. The Crown that was rightfully given to me was stolen from me. I served my people faithfully and in the end, they had the gall to proclaim me a criminal. I have nothing else but my hate! It is that which has sustained these long years and it is that which I will use to bring about the Apocalypse!"
Azula pointed the tip of her weapon at the shadow's chest. "Either tell me where the Crown is or suffer my wrath!"
Azula grinned in satisfaction as she pushed open the final gate. Be'lakor had told her that the Crown had been hidden within the Temple of the First Altar, where the first mortal champion of Chaos bowed to the Gods for power. He also explained how the temple had been hidden by ancient magicks and how each God would give her one final test to prove her worth.
The Daemon Prince led her and her mighty army to the entrance of the temple, fighting their way through countless beasts and monsters. He showed her to a cliff where the temple doors were, concealed by spells. With a swing of her daemonswords, Azula shattered the doors and the spells.
True to his words, each of the Gods threw a challenging test before her. First, while battling the daemons of the Plague God, her body was wracked with a hundred of the most agonizing of diseases. But in the end, she overcame Nurgle's challenge by sheer force of will; ignoring the pain as she slew the daemons.
After that, she found herself at the mouth of a vast multi-dimensional labyrinth of crystal. A minuscule fraction of Tzeentch's twisting domain within the Realm of Chaos. All it would take is a single misstep and she would have been trapped her forever within the endless maze. She blindfolded herself and marched into the maze without hesitation, navigating it with instinct alone.
The third test was from the Dark Prince of Pleasure. Long corridors filled with possible temptation one could think of were placed in her path. Lesser men and women would have fallen to them, but not her. Azula didn't falter in the slightest, even after that was offered to her. She simply struck down the phantom without stopping as continued towards the Altar.
All she had left was the challenge of Khorne.
After stepping through the gate, Azula found herself standing before a long narrow causeway surrounded by roaring hellfire. She took a step onto the rock bridge and let out a low hiss. Her armor seemed to be unable to protect her from the fire. But it was of no consequence. She continued down the causeway, the fires burning at her body.
After a few steps, there was a loud roar followed by a massive Bloodthirster of Khorne. The Greater Daemon roared, swinging its axe down upon her. Azula pulled up U'zuhl and Gorrumalxa, shielding herself from the mighty blow. "Blood of the Blood God!" it yelled, swinging the weapon again.
This time Azula swung her swords, slicing through its axe shaft. The massive axe head fell off, crashing into the wall behind her. The daemon roared in anger, throwing the shaft at her. Azula leaped into the air, the spinning shaft flying below her. With surprising grace, she effortlessly landed her armored body on the narrow bridge.
The Bloodthirster slammed its fist in her chest. Azula was sent flying back into the closed gate, both of her swords falling from her grasp. As she climbed to her feet, the daemon cracked its barbed whip at her. She threw her arms, catching the end of it.
With another roar, the daemon pulled its whip back. But Azula held on, preventing it from coiling it up again. Suddenly, Azula flicked her left wrist and a knife flew out. It stabbed into the daemon's right eye. The Bloodthirster howled in pain, clutching its damaged eye, letting go of the whip in the process.
With the large whip in her hands, Azula sprinted towards the daemon. She jumped onto its body, climbing upwards as the daemon started to thrash. When she reached its shoulders, Azula quickly wrapped the barbed length of the whip around the daemon's neck, pulling it tight. Its razor sharp points dug into its neck, blood spilling out as she strangled it. The daemon fought and thrashed, letting out gurgling roars as it tried to throw her off.
But in the end, it collapsed to its knees. Its neck was little more than a ragged mess of blood and torn flesh. With a final twist of the whip, the Bloodthirster's head flew off. As the head fell into the fires, they died out while her burns healed themselves, leaving no trace of them.
Moments later, her weapons reclaimed, set foot in chamber of the First Altar. The altar was a crudely cut block of jet black stone that shone like polished metal. Upon it were five symbols. The golden Star of Chaos sat at the center. On its left were the crimson rune of Khorne and the green symbol of Nurgle. On its right were the pink icon of Slaanesh and the blue emblem of Tzeentch.
And there, sitting on the altar was her prize; the Crown of Domination.
Azula began to laugh as she lifted the ancient battle-helm up. At long last, all Six Treasures of Chaos were hers. At long last, she was the Everchosen…
The smirk didn't leave Azula's face as stood atop the altar. The long road had finally come to its end. Upon her brow rested the Mark of Chaos. Her body was covered in the Armor of Morkar. Hanging from a chain around her neck was the Eye of Sheerian. At her side was her steed, Dorghar. Resting in sheaths on her waist were the Slayer of Kings and Gorrumalxa. And finally, she held the Crown of Domination in her hands.
At that moment, there was a loud booming crack of thunder silencing everything else. Azula looked upwards, quickly joined by all the others present. A portion of the dark clouds parted, revealing Be'lakor in all of his daemonic glory. The winged Scion of the Gods flew down to the altar. He stared at Azula with a look of utter hatred and contempt, which only caused her smirk to widen. She offered the Crown to him. Be'lakor bowed his immense frame, taking it before pulling the Eye of Sheerian from her neck, tearing it off the chain. In one hand, he held the Crown, the Eye in the other. The former mortal placed the Eye on the Crown's forehead and then with a pulse of eldritch energy, fused it in place.
Bowing even lower, Be'lakor lowered the now complete Crown of Domination onto Azula's head.
Dozens of bolts of lightning struck around her as a booming cheer went up. Horns were blown, drums were beat, boots were stomped on the ground, and fists stuck shields as thousands chanted her name.
For a brief while, Azula silently basked in the glory of the moment before she raised her arms, silencing the vast crowd. "Warriors of the Gods hear me!" she called out, flickering fires resting within the eye-holes of the Crown. "For countless centuries, we have battled and fought amongst ourselves, forgetting about our true enemy! The weak Nations of the East!"
Azula paused as cheers filled the air again.
"For too long we have been divided! Fighting against each other! No longer! Not as long as they live!" she continued. "That is why the Gods have chosen me to be their Everchosen! To be the one to unite all the true followers of the Gods and to lead you all into battle and glory!"
The warriors cheered even louder at her words. Azula thrust a hand upwards at the parting clouds. The full moon hung in the night air. "Behold! The sign of their favor!"
Everyone was deathly silent as something began to creep out from behind the silver orb...
Halfway around the world, the people of the Earth Kingdom, Water Tribe and Fire Nation woke from their slumber, horrifying dread creeping into their souls. They found themselves drawn up to the sky, to full moon hanging above them. All of them watched as something slowly crept out from behind it. Within minutes, a second full moon appeared alongside the first. But this one was not like the silver orb that they were use to. This one was baleful green that seemed to leer at them like a giant eye.
Aang could only stare at the new moon in the night sky, Katara, his wife clinging to his side. The nightmare he had moments before this happened was etched into his mind, filling him with a terrible feeling that he had felt only once before. Years ago, when he had a nightmare about a champion bowing before four terrible Gods.
This nightmare had same champion, though like before he could not see who, surrounded by thousands of savage, fearsome warriors in a dark parody of a royal coronation. But this champion was not crowned by a sage or high priest but by a horrible winged monster.
Nor were the warriors the only ones watching the coronation. The horrible Gods were watching as well, along with legions of living horrors and nightmares.
Somehow, deep down, Aang knew they were coming.
…And it truly and utterly terrified him.
"Even now those weaklings in the East can only stare and tremble as Morrslieb blesses the sky once more! But they have no idea of what is to come!" Azula announced. "For this is far more than the day that the Chaos Moon returns! This is the day that their every nightmare becomes real! This the day the End Times begin!"
"This is the day Chaos returns!" she shouted at the top of her lungs. "For the Chaos Gods!"
"FOR THE CHAOS GODS!" the thousands of warriors roared.
"For the End Times and the Age of Chaos!
"FOR THE END TIMES AND THE AGE OF CHAOS!"
Suddenly, Aang fell to his knees, his head spinning. In distance, he could hear Katara calling his name and their newborn son crying. But none of that matter compared to what he just witnessed and what he could feel was coming.
"Aang! Aang! What is it? What's happening?" a worried Katara asked, shaking him out of his trance.
"I could see it..." he uttered, unable to look her in the eye. "Spirits...it's terrible... It's coming... Worse than Ozai and the war. Worse than anything we've ever faced. And Spirits help me, I don't know if I can stop it..."
Katara was taken aback by his words and the hopeless, fearful tone of his voice. "What's coming?" she asked, terrified of what it could be.
Aang looked up at his wife, his face as white as fresh snow. "Terror, death, destruction, damnation... Hell itself opening up. And the end of...everything..."
Now Azula stands poised and ready to usher in the apocalypse, with all four Chaos Gods supporting her. Who will stand with Aang against her, who will die and who will fall to Chaos?
Yes, there will be other Avatar characters that will fall to Chaos. Four of whom will each fall to a single God and become the most terrible of Azula's warriors.
I leave that for you to ponder who.
And as always, hit that button and give me a review.