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  1. May I present to you an important piece of Nocturnian history! And it is not just for Guildies! I've taken extra care with this one, so that anyone should be able to jump in and get a taste of Historica's lore, without needing to rely upon extensive knowledge of the Guilds at all. If you're new here, welcome! Abyssian's DemiseA new dawn was on its way for Nocturnus, and it was about time. This dark province of Historica had seen ample bloodshed throughout most of its history, but the seemingly everlasting Nocturnus Civil War was beyond any comparison. The struggle for dominance over all of Nocturnus had pitted father against son; brother against brother, and had torn society (as far as that could be considered thing in this savage land) to shreds. One man - or rather, beast - was at the center of it all: Lord Raavage. Through his army of undead and powerful alliances, he had gained control of nearly all of Nocturnus. Only three major strongholds still stood up to his reign: Shadowmere (City of Vampires), The Reach (City of Goblins), and administrative Capital of Nocturnus: Abyssian Castle. Despite the enormous control he had, and though backed by his allies (the Zugal, Drow and Varlyrians), Lord Raavage had been unable to overpower the remaining resistance strongholds. He needed more force. Raavage knew of one thing in Nocturnus that could bring total domination: the Orion Sphere. This immensely powerful crystal artifact, held in Abyssian, was said to hold the power to raise an army of millions of undead! If it fell into his hands, the rest of Nocturnus would soon follow, but until then it would take at least one additional ally to breach Abyssian's defences. Even more so after the Drow and Varlyrians turned on him, and definitely more so after his subsequent (dubious) attempt at getting the Dragon Masters to his side not only failed, but backfired... However, though abandoned by his former allies and with the forces of resistance starting to unite, Lord Raavage was heading for victory. Against unfavourable odds, he had managed to establish an alliance with the Algus - an ancient, faraway race of icy warriors from the Frozen Beyond. Truth be told, having to rely on agreements made with nation half a continent away; with unproven strength; born from a minimum of correspondence, surely worked out better than it could have. In early summer, exactly as agreed upon, an elite division of the Algus landed on Nocty shores. A mere month later they stood in front of Abyssian, ready for their infiltration. The objective was straightforward: take control of the Orion Sphere and harness its power to fight the castle's defenders from within. Raavage was cautiously optimistic about the outcome of the operation. Unlike previous sieges and assaults on Abyssian, which much relied on strength in numbers, this operation was carried out by a powerful few. Moreover, the Algus had natural advantages over their enemy, too: as elementals, they carried the frost with them. Abyssian's population consisted mostly of reptilians, who have a high vulnerability to lower temperatures, and the high humidity of a swamp in summer meant that they were permanently surrounded by a thick mist; ideal for an unseen approach. There were still numerous challenges to overcome, but there was a chance... Of course, Raavage himself would not be participating in the operation, much too risky! Approach successful. Assault team - ready. Ascent team - ready! Decoys - ready. Commence infiltration. Expected losses in Assault team. Critical losses in Ascent team, backup! Touchdown at Orion Tower! Deploying arcane specialist. Commence system takeov-~~~----~----~----- And so the alliance between the Algus and Lord Raavage was terminated, although neither side knew that immediately. From one moment to the next, the swamps and forests around Abyssian, as far as the eye could reach, were frozen solid. In Shadowmere it started started snowing, in the summer... Raavage had somehow managed to evade the blast, and resilient as ever, later started his quest for the Necromancer Helm, which would ultimately become his demise. In the aftermath of what became known as The Orion Incident, several attempts were made to scout the now-defunct Capital; to recover the remains of late former leader Lord Ssilyrrlith, the Orion Sphere, and anything else valuable, but the cold remained too fierce. Abyssian, the mighty fortress at the heart of Nocturnus, was no more. --- Well, I had a blast! As you may tell, time nor effort were spared in the creation of this whole article. The two micro builds, one modeled after @I Scream Clone's original Abyssian Castle (still as awesome today as it was in 2012), the other a transformation of it, were a kind of a new experience to me, as was the stopmotion! I'm so excited to hear your thoughts on it; I think this is the first time anything GoH has been animated? I'd gladly be proven wrong though, haha! Cheers!
  2. Rendezvous at Slime Bay - Enter the Algus![NCW] Ambush in the Rakath[NCW] Onwards, to the Moruth Highlands![NCW] Turmoil in Camp Carakath[NCW] Zotharians in the Underworld [NCW] Rockwail's Catacombs: Rise of the Undead [NCW] Feathers of Fate (Ssilyrrlith's Retreat)Dependable, trustworthy allies are hard to come by. And even when you think you have found them, they may still turn their back on you after a while, or gain an unfair advantage over you, which will inevitably lead to being bossed around further down the line. You never know who will betray you next, so it's important to keep looking for tomorrow's allies. Also, the war between the Black Spire and the Resistance was moving towards a stalemate, and as anyone knows stagnation means decline. Therefor, Raavage had been much determined to draw in external forces. At last, he learned about an ancient race from the North. Banished from Mitgardia by humans, forced to inhabit a forsaken frozen wasteland. Maybe there was some common ground in their agendas... Raavage sent a couple of messengers to the Great North. Few of them actually reached the Frozen Beyond, and the remainder froze to death. However, by sheer luck the last frozen messenger was discovered by a patrolling Algus squad, and the message he carried found its way to the halls of Algugoran. The Algus reciprocated with a messenger of their own, and so the foundation for a potential alliance was laid. Raavage, not intending to waste precious time on endless and risky messenger traffic to gauge interests, demanded a meeting with the highest notable figure straight away. Rendezvous point: Slime Bay, an inlet of the rocky northern shore of the Nocturnian peninsula, around the twentieth day of summer. A bold invitation for sure, disproportionately less favourable for the Algus, with their mostly neglected nautical force and lacking knowledge of the eastern seas. More than a few swears and curses must have been heard at Algugoran at the time. However that same year on the eve of the twenty-third day of summer, a single foreign ship, bruised and battered by the hellish journey it had endured, appeared at the bay. It was at that moment that Raavage knew: he had found a new dependable, trustworthy ally. Raavage's guts were right indeed. They got down to business, and their discussions ended as follows: Lord Raavage "We will meet again in this bay, exactly one year from now. Bring your best soldiers and mages. I will make sure nothing stands in our way towards Abyssian. Nocturnus will be mine, and I'll let you have Mitgardia." Algus commander "Very well. But what about the rest of Historica?" They both laughed boisterously... --- Thanks for reading! Pics of the full build: So there's another GoH creation done! It's a shame that I have no event to display yet, because I have a whole pile of them! So much that I'm actually starting to run low on grey bricks, tiles and plates, but hopefully that will not stop me from making the two more NCW builds that I have planned for this summer. Btw, following your tips on my last build I put a bit more effort in the editing of the main image, which didn't take too much extra time. I think it looks a lot cleaner. Any tips or tops on the writing particularly are appreciated, even nitpicks on word choice (I don't have the intuition of a native speaker)! Cheers!
  3. Lord Raavage entered the castle like a tempest. He made his way to the command room, pushing his way through the Black Spire solidiers who rose to salute him. Throughout the halls could be heard the victory celebrations of drunken soldiers. Until yesterday the castle had belonged to the Nocturnian Resistance. Located near the Mitgardian border, Mortag Keep served as a convenient staging point for foreign troops assisting the resistance. It had long been a thorn in Raavage's side and he was glad to have it in his hands. Raavage listened in on a soldier who retold the story of Mortag Keep's capture to a group of reserve troops who had missed out. "So, we snuck up to the castle in the boats, all quiet like, while their soldiers were still sound asleep in their beds. They hadn't expected anyone coming from the swamp, the road was the only thing the sentries had their eyes on." The soldier took a long pull from his drink. "We gathered in the woods, wondering what to do next. Then up came one of Lord Raavage's wizards. He carried about some jar filled with black powder, placed it at the base of the wall, spoke a few words under his breath and told us to run." "Good thing we did, aye! Next thing we know the jar explodes and there's a hole in the wall. We rushed in and took the whole damn place before they knew what happened. When we found the commander he was still trying to put his trousers on! The rest of the survivors we rounded up and sent off to Lord Raavage's slave camps." It was a tactical victory, no doubt. Until word of Mortag Keep's fall spread, Raavage's forces could launch ambushes on any enemy troops who thought it was still in friendly hands. Foreign troops wishing to aid the resistance would have to enter Nocturnus along a more difficult route. Yet this victory was worth much more - more than anyone knew, save Lord Raavage himself. The inhabitants of Mortag Keep, a motley array of Resistance fighters, had discovered a map hidden in the nearby caves which led to something only a few knew existed - an ancient artifact so powerful that Raavage hungered for its possession. With such power, Raavage reminded himself, Nocturnus will fall into my hands, and then all of Historica." The thought of such power caused Raavage to salivate. He wanted the map in his hands, now. Raavage entered the room and interrupted the soldier's story. "To your feet! The Black Spire celebrates your victory here, but drunkenness and laziness on duty are punishable by death. You will return to your posts at once or else you will find yourselves hanging from the trees outside!" The soldiers rushed to their feet and hurried to their posts. Raavage stopped one of the troops. "Soldier, where is your commanding officer? I must speak to him immediately." The soldier stammered, obviously frightened by the Black Lord's presence. "Ssss…irrr…, he is upstairs, in the private quarters." Raavage turned and stormed towards the fort commander's room. Inside were several Black Spire officers, including General Azuk, who had commanded the force which captured Mortag Keep. A bandage on his right arm betrayed a grievous wound. "Azuk, congratulations, good work, well done and all that, but where is the map? I must have it now. I travelled a great distance to be here and I will not wait a moment longer." Several officers looked at each other with grave expressions, and then left the room. Only Azuk, Raavage and two of his Royal Guards remained. Azuk looked at his hand and then Raavage. "Lord Raavage, the map has been lost. A Resistance spy broke in last night and took the map, along with my hand. She was killed, but another agent was able to retrieve the map. We lost track of him in the swamps." A great fury took over Raavage, like a storm ready to destroy all in its way. He began to shake and froth at the mouth. "What to you mean, LOST THE MAP? To a Resistance SPY? You bumbling, incompetent, ungracious fool! You disgusting, treacherous lout! Anyone could have taken this lousy fort - I tasked you with recovering the map and this is the news you share?" Azuk backed up, cowering. "M'lord, there was nothing I could do! I will recover the map, please spare me! She took my hand, have I not suffered enough?" Raavage's lips twisted into a crooked smile. "You do not know the meaning of suffering, not yet. I should exterminate you where you stand, but that would be the easy way out." Raavage turned to his Royal Guard and gestured towards Azuk. "Take his other hand. Then his eyes and tongue. I want him kept alive. When you are done with him, throw him into the mine pits where he will repay his betrayal to our cause!" Azuk fell before Raavage to no avail. His pleas could be heard throughout the fort as the guards carried him away. Raavage smashed his fist on the commander's table. The crash echoed through the halls like an explosion. "Dammit! I am surrounded by fools and traitors! I will find this rebel spy and tear him to pieces. Then I will take back what is mine and then all of Nocturnus shall lay at my feet!" (And some pics of Mortag Keep. I tried incorporating more shots of the castle itself into the story, but after the forest collapsed several times, I was tired of messing with it!
  4. Back at Lagash Ur, a great change was now taking place. The old fortress' barracks and watch towers were filling with elite Hand troops, who interrogated Covenant army units for any signs of further betrayal. Several companies had vanished during the previous night's events, undoubtedly to join Anfauglir in the mountains. The Black Spire enforcers would ensure no one else dared to do the same. In the great halls of Lagash Ur, the few remaining red and gold Nocturnian banners - which proudly symbolized the strength and determination of Nocturnus' people - were being torn down and replaced with the black and white standard of the Spire. Throughout the fortress the recital of oaths could be heard, an allegiance not just to Senurhem but to a new name as well: Raavage. Try as he may, Raavage could not corrupt Senurhem, but he had broken the old necromancer's will. Senurhem had long ago turned his back on leading the Covenant, instead preferring to spend his days and nights locked deep inside Lagash Ur's catacombs. Here, it is rumored, he practiced his foul and twisted necromancy while governance of the fortress had been left to a group of Senurhem's inner circle - Anfauglir, who had perhaps served his lord longer than any other, had not been included. Long had the Covenant's commanders hungered for conquest, but they found Senurhem too preoccupied with his experiments. Some suggested Senurhem was losing his mind in Lagash Ur's secretive depths. But Raavage - deceitful and ruthless as ever - had promised to quench their bloodthirst and carry them to power as he said they deserved. In this way, Raavage was able to quietly wrest control of the Covenant army. Senurhem, himself blinded by the power Raavage had promised, especially in regards to his research, did not see these events overtake him. Though his presence would still invoke fear in those below him, all knew where the Covenant's allegiance now lay. And later, when Senurhem was to find out how irrelevant he had become among his own army, it would be far too late. For now, however, Raavage needed Senurhem. Raavage's allies had grown thin in recent days, though this concern he shared with no one, save Malicia. Count Basil had only been informed several nights before that he would be recalled to Varlyrio, undoubtedly to deal with the unrest plaguing its population. General Zurn, who knew Raavage had guessed his own deception, had fled during the battle in Lagash Ur's dining hall. In any case, the Drow could hardly be counted on because, as Raavage had recently learned, the bulk of the Drow army had secretly committed itself to conquering Avalonia. The Black Spire was weaker than it had ever been, and Raavage knew it. Senurhem, if anything, would help fill the resulting vacuum. Besides, it would do Raavage no good to get rid of the necromancer just yet. Only he knew how to unlock the evil power kept hidden in the bowels of Lagash Ur. Senurhem had shown Raavage ancient tomes which spoke of this power, a dark magic able to raise the dead. These books rumored of a device which could magnify this necromancy a hundredfold. Nothing within the books detailed what this catalyst would be, but, unlike Anfauglir and the other Nocturnians, Raavage knew where to look for it. Covenant and Hand scouts had already left the fortress in search of the fabled artifact. Raavage and Senurhem had stayed behind to discuss their next move after the previous night's escape. In Senurhem's private chambers, the two meet to finalize their plans before Raavage departs Lagash Ur and returns to his redoubt, the Obsidian Spike. Senurhem: The Zugal Brothers and the Dragon Master fought side-by-side to slip from our noose. Do you not think they will combine their forces against us? The question infuriates Raavage. Though he did not show it, Raavage had been forced to play his hand when he ambushed the delegation during the dinner. Instead of uniting the Zugal and Dragon Masters against Abyssian, his forces were now hunting their leaders throughout the surrounding mountains. Raavage: They will never unite! The Dragon Master is lost without his father's keep, and the Zugal are too proud to ever return it. Their war has only just begun, the Hand will make sure of that. What is left when the dust settles will hardly be a pebble in our way. Raavage would have liked to watch as the Zugal and Dragon Masters hurled themselves against Abyssian's defenses, but now he would see them destroy each other. Their escape the night before, though dramatic, would be inconsequential, thought Raavage. Senurhem: We must not forget that scum, Anfauglir. He has holed up in the mountains like a rat, but he will be a thorn in our side unless crushed. Anfauglir has already convinced several of my finest companies to join him in his treachery. Raavage studies the old necromancer's grimaced face; Senurhem is obviously worried about his traitorous commander. Anfauglir's betrayal had not been expected, and his next moves were unknown. Only guesses could be made at his intentions and whereabouts. Raavage: Anfauglir deludes himself if he hopes to stop the Black Spire. I will furnish you with a company of Hand troops; with these soldiers and your own you will find and destroy him! Senurhem: They are already assembled and only await my word, Raavage... m'lord. Raavage: Good. Send them to crush the rat in his hole. I must return soon to the Obsidian Spike. I have remained far too long in this damp dungeon you call a fortress and have other matters to deal with. We cannot allow the other Nocturnian scum to stand in our way! Senurhem leads Raavage to a balcony overlooking one of Lagash Ur's great halls. Arrayed below is an entire Covenant legion, supported by cruel-looking Hand warriors and a pair of mountain trolls gifted to Senurhem by the Black Spire. url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/94545380@N06/15024713659/] Senurhem moves forward to address the throng but Raavage is the first to speak. Raavage: Warriors of the Covenant, you have been betrayed by your supposed brothers! They have deserted you, and now they slink into the mountains like snakes! Out of fear they hide from your rightful supremacy, and out of jealousy they wish to take it from you. They have forsaken your lord, and it is your rightful duty to show them the error of their ways. The Black Spire knows this treachery must not go unpunished, and it will fight with you. Go forward and do not return until the traitors' heads sit on pikes outside your walls! The hall erupts in blood-curdling cheers as the fortress doors open, unleashing the vicious horde into the surrounding mountains. Long columns of Covenant troops, with the Hand enforcers shadowing closely behind, begin filtering throughout the barren terrain. The light from their torches is visible for many miles as the columns descend the mountains like a great fire-serpent. One who saw this dreadful spectacle erupting across the landscape was a Covenant cavalry commander named Sakarmand. An old friend and lieutenant of Anfauglir, Samarkand was one of the few military leaders who chose to join the insurgency. He and a small group of soldiers had positioned themselves near Lagash Ur to scout the Covenant's movements. His heart sank as the seemingly endless lines of heavily-armed troops filtered from the fortress. They would assuredly find Anfauglir's stronghold in the Panjshir. And, with such strength arrayed against them, they could not hope to holdout long. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Some extra pics, including a photo of this group of serious badasses! And a few shots of the MOCs, sans figs: ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- About this MOC: Greetings once again! Here is another installment in the ongoing Hand of Corruption story for Book II in Nocturnus! Before I say any more let me offer yet another round of apologies to you guys for the delay in this installment. Sorry if you guys got a little rusty on this story in the meantime! I must also apologize for the quality of some of these pics - only realized how difficult this would be to photograph after I built four walls and much of a ceiling. Kinda hard to get the camera in there to take some proper pics! I finally gave up on the photo of Senurhem and the glowing orb, and had to go with the one above. It was the best one I got but it still looks like his last known photo or something, like it should be on the back of a milk carton... Any advice you guys can share on taking photos of lighted MOCs would be appreciated. In any case, thanks for taking a peek and, as always, any criticisms or comments are welcome! Other installments of this story: The Hand Book II: Summit at Lagash Ur The Hand Book II: Summit at Lagash Ur Part II The Hand Book II: Escape from Lagash Ur The Hand Book II: Anfauglir's Camp For a refresher on the events leading up to these series of builds, please start here!
  5. ZCerberus

    Cave of Necromancy

    Obsessed with finding a way to raise an army of the dead, Lord Raavage sends Harnold the Deranged to the caves of Mitgardia to find the long lost Ring of Necromancy. Little did Raavage know the Ring is protected by an ancient order of druids sworn to prevent the living from raising the dead! The best part of this creation for me is that all the lighting in LEGO purist. You can see from the first photo as well as the video that the lava is being lit by light bricks turned on and off by a PF motor and LEGO shock absorbers/springs. The other lighting is done by LEGO PF LEDs and a red light brick.