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"Long ago, there were five Fallen Angels, banished from the Heavens and exiled from the Underworld, forced to walk in the mortal realm. They were as follows:

  • Stonefire, The Smoke King, lord of all rage, and leader of the Five Fallen;
  • Hades, the Death-Walker, a deliverer of lost souls, and Stonefire's second;
  • Abbadon, The Sinister, first scholar of magic, and haughtiest;
  • Artemis, The Moonchild, sister to the occultist Abbadon, and a friend to all animals, and;
  • Thaumiel, The All-Knowing, vision of the ever-changing glimpses of future laid out before all creation.

They wandered Mundi and Lucem, putting Fear into the hearts of early mortals, with methods best left to discretion."

"I'm sorry, what? Best left to discretion, what's that supposed to mean?"

"It means what it means, now please let me continue".

"Alright, sorry, carry on, I guess."

"They caught the attention of a powerful, godlike being, the Demiurge, the architect of creation, only to be cast into the void when his work was complete. He saw them, terrifying, violent... and pitiful. The Demiurge decided, for his own amusement, to twist their visages to unfathomable design. Stonefire became a being of pure smoke and fire contained in a cage of armour, Hades bore the face of a dessicated corpse, which he hid behind a mask, Abbadon became pale and featureless, as did his sister, and Thaumiel gained red hair, red wings and red claws."

"That's super fucked up, but also kind of awesome."

"The Fallen lamented their new forms (save of course for Thaumiel, who had greater horrors on her mind), but before they could curse their malefactor, the Demiuge said "I grant you these horrific new forms to match your horrific sense of amusement, but know this: despite your fearsome appearence, many will come to you for guidence and companionship, many much like your own selves; damned, downtrodden, and disheveled. Go to the city of the dead, and they will flock to you."

"Wow, these god-types sure are a cryptic bunch, huh?"

"True, true. Even the fallen ones did not understand his words, but they went anyway."

"Where, exactly? They weren't given any directions or nuthin'."

"Please, don't interupt. On the one-thousandth day of traveling, they met a serpent. The serpent was unhappy, for it was once a woman known as Lilith, but the Gods had cursed her with this pitiful, scaled form. In retaliation, she found the two most pure, pious of mankind, a man and a woman, and corrupted them, but it did not satisfy her; she longed to be human once again. Abbadon, a scholar of magic, attepted to make her human, but something went wrong, and she became something inbetween; not quite human, but not a serpent, either. Rather, she was snake and human all at once, and while she wasn't to keen of this form, she tolerated it more than being fully serpent. Having nowhere else to go, she travelled with the fallen ones.

"Oy vey, what is it with Gods and transforming people into animals and crap? If you're upset with someone, hit 'em, don't fuck up their shit by turning them into a fucking reptile!"

"Are you quite finished?"

"Yeah, I'm finished kvetching, carry on."

"Good, then I shall continue. A few hundred years later, they came across a frenchman plagued with sickness to the point of being lame and blind, but his body had refused to die."

"That had to suck."

"He was not terribly afraid of death, but he felt he was not ready for it either. He claimed to be a physician, working on a cure for the sickness plaguing his body, and was hoping these fellows could help him. Abbadon, who held respect for the fellow scholar, agreed to suppress his sickness on the condition that they shared research with one another. The frenchman agreed, and while he wasn't fully cured, he regained his sight and legs. Like Lilith, he traveled with the fallen to the City of the dead."

"Despite not knowing where the hell it was."

"Oh, shush. Days later, they found a group of Brenovians harrasing a child. Abbadon, in a fit of uncharacteristic rage, drove off the Brenovians, outright butchering the ones who didn't run fast enough. Abbadon comforted the child, a Glaistig orphan named Robyn Goodfellow, and took her in as her own child, teaching her to read and write."

"Aww, that's sweet. Also kinda wierd, given the context, but y'know."

"Quite. One night, they heard the sounds of vicious fighting, and upon investigation found a Frost Elf Sangeratu and a Plainsman Lycanthrope fighting one another. When-"

"Hold up. Plainsman?"

"Oh, that would be Homo Sapiens, like you or me."

"Right. Carry on."

"Thank you. When questioned about the nature of the battle, each made the claim that the other had captured their respective sister, but neither actually had the family of their combatant. Abbadon, wise as he was, suggested that Thaumiel peer at where they might be, but such glimpses were taxing, and all she could muster was something about a 'Necropolis'. With little else to go on, they decided to travel with the group, not telling them that they were powerful rulers of a country locked in civil war."

"Two questions; Which country and which war?"

"Uhm, Vvulfheim, and the 3rd Vvulfheimic Civil War."

"Holy shit, 3RD civil war?"

"North and South Vvulfheim used to really hate each other. Anyways, after 10 years, the reached the City of the Dead, and learned it's name was Necropolis. They also learned that it was teeming with undead, and that the few living were enslaved by 7 Lich-Kings, the vile rulers of Necropolis. While coming up with a plan to storm the city, they learned of a band of adventurers who were doing the very same, led by four plainsmen; A gentleman named Salvadore Darkest-"

"Hold up, that's your name!"

I'm aware, but there was also a warrior name Edward Greymalkin, a scoundrel named Lorenzo Barba de Fuego, and a rogue named Ligeia Blackmane, the latter being the sister of the Lycanthrope. Initially, they did not get along, as the adventurers saw the Fears as mostrous abominations, and the Fears saw the adventurers as stupid and brutish, but necessity forced them to work together."

"So, what happened?"

"Well, what do you think? A big old war between the Living and the Undead, culminating in the Fears taking the city, the the dead on both sides put to rest, and the Lich Kings being put down and immured in a tomb in the ash wastes. After that, the Sangeratu's sister was freed from her enslavement, reunited with her sister, and married Stonefire, who became the new King of Necropolis, and eventually the whole continent."

"And what about the adventurer dudes?"

"Well, Greymalkin journeyed west and helped found the Kingdom of Lowedonny and became a prominent lord, Barba de Fuego, having a love for the freedom of the Sea, resorted to piracy, and the other two, Ligeia and Salvadore, actually got married, and stayed here, in Necropolis."

"Any questions?" Asked the Collector, finishing off his Chinese food. "Yeah, I got one." Vidalia asked "So, are you, like, Salvadore Darkest the Twenty-sixth or whatever?" The Collector responded "Something like that. Follow me." The Collector and Vidalia went over to the fireplace, where the Collector took the poker, and pushed in a brick in the back of the fireplace. Soon after, there was a mechanical clicking and other noises of machinery from below them, including what sounded like the roar of a great engine, and it culminated in the fireplace receding into the wall, and a stairwell opening up, leading into the darkness below.

"Ladies first!" The Collector said. Vidalia responded "Uh, no way, José. If anybody's going first, it's your ass." The Collector shrugged his shoulders, muttered "Suit yourself" and clicked his fingers, casting a small, hovering flame, and went first into the darkness. Vidalia followed after.

After a few hours of descending the stairwell, discussing trivial matters such as Vidalia's day release and the release of a new video game the Collector was intensely exited about, Vidalia noticed they had been descending for a long time, and had no idea if they were close to the bottom or not. "Yo, Mr C," she asked, "Where exactly are we going, except China... or whatever's on the other side of this world?" The Collector chuckled, and said "That would be avalon, and to answer your first query, you'll see." Vidalia, getting pretty fuckin' tired of the Collector's cryptic comments, rolled her eyes and said "Whatever, just install a damn elevator or something. I'm getting pretty tired."

After what felt like a million steps, they finally reached the bottom of the stairwell, wich lead to a metal door, nothing tremdously decorated, or gilded, or anything that particularly stood out, just a simple, nondescript door, made from what looked like cast iron. "This is it?!" Vidalia blurted out, as the Collector walked over to unlock it. "All those fuckin' steps, to what may as well be a broom closet?" The Collector shook his head, unlocked the door, and said "Not quite." The door swung open to a glass corridor suspended over a cavern. "A little more than a broom closet, eh, Vidalia?" The Collector quiped. "Come along!"

As Vidalia walked, she got an amazig view. The cavern had been converted into an underground lair of awesome design, home to warehouses, airship hangars, museums filled to the brim with curiosities; cages that hung down from the ceiling, a hanging menagerie of monstrosities; machines and engines of impressive size and even greater importance, boilers boiling, chains pulling, and cogs turing. And yet, despite this, there was a air of stillness about the place. The buildings were empty, the cages were self-sustaining, the machines maintained and repaired by other machines.

"What... is this place?" Vidalia asked, her voice filled with childlike wonder. The Collector responded, with great pride "This, my dear Vidalia, is why they call me 'The Collector'! Come along now!" They eventually reached a large ornate double door, made of Mournwealdian Blackwood, with silver-etched cast iron hinges. The Collector openned these door, and it lead to a small part of the Collector's collection. Vidalia witnessed priceless artefacts, curious relics and various preserved and taxidermied specimens that made her skin crawl.

As she was browsing, Vidalia noticed a door with a painting displayed on it. The painting was a portrait of a pale, raven-haired woman with dark eyes and carmine lips. Vidalia asked the Collector "Where's that door lead?" When the Collector looked around to see which door she meant, his smile became a little sadder. "That," He began with a sigh "is the tomb of my dearly departed wife, Ligeia." Vidalia felt awkward for accidentally bringing up what she felt was a delicate subject, but then remembered the story the Collector's story. "Wait... if she's... then that means..." The Collector nodded. "I'm Lord Salvadore Darkest, the First." The addition of 'Lord' only served to surprise Vidalia. "Wait, you're a lord as well?!" She asked with copius amounts of surprise. The Collector responded "A Baron, specifically, but I think you're getting worked up about the wrong thing." 

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