Gorthokk the Shadow Orc has been named to the Mythic Legions: All Stars 6 wave, meaning that all four of the characters from the Legions of Dark who were part of The Covenant of Shadow wave have now been reissued as All Stars. In this “Lore of Mythoss” article, we will explore this gathering of the four evil factions of the Realm, and delve deeper into the Lore of Mythoss with an exclusive excerpt from the upcoming book, “The Rise of Dark Four, Volume 1.”
Mythic Legions 1.75
In the earliest days of Mythic Legions, waves did not have names, or storylines, like they do today. The inaugural Legions wave offered in our first Mythic Legions Kickstarter was simply referred to by fans as “Mythic Legions 1.0”. The small wave that followed was dubbed “Mythic Legions 1.5”, and when we were preparing to solicit a third wave, fans took to calling it “Mythic Legions 1.75.” When that wave was finally made available for preorder, it was revealed that the wave actually did include a name and a storyline – The Covenant of Shadow. The following text was presented as part of this wave:
"Long ago, when endless night finally surrendered to light of day, the followers of the ancient evils broke into four different factions, each dedicated to their master’s return. Gathering in the secret corners and forgotten fringes, these groups grew in size and silently summoned fervent multitudes to their disparate and isolated armies. Now that the armies have been amassed, they are fueled by their faith in their masters’ imminent arrival. In anticipation of that arrival, the faction leaders all sent their most trusted emissaries to a secret meeting where a horrible pact was born - The Covenant of Shadow."
This wave included 8 new characters – including 1 from each of the evil factions in the Legions of Dark.
Representing the Legion of Arethyr was the Shadow Orc known as Gorthokk. With his dark, mottled skin, he would be the first non-green orc made available in the line. As we have just mentioned, this character is being reissued in the Mythic Legions: All Stars 6 wave.
From Illythia’s Brood came the black armored Baron Volligar. The Realm’s first pure born vampire, this vampire lord was reissued as part of the All Stars 3 wave. This character also had a second, updated version released in the Mythic Legions: Illythia wave.
Joining Baron Volligar in the All Stars 3 wave was the representative from the Circle of Poxxus, the Shadow Minotaur named Torrion.
Finally, from the Congregation of Necronominus came the poison skeleton called Scaphoid. This cursed skeleton would also be rereleased in the All Stars 4 wave.
Joining these four characters in the Covenant of Shadow wave were three figures from the Legions of Light, as well as a character from one of the ‘splinter factions.’ These included two army builders from the Order of Eathyron (Templar Knight Legion Builder and the deluxe Knight Builder Set), one from Xylona’s Flock (Silverhorn Sentry), and a named character from the House of the Noble Bear (Cador). While these heroic characters helped add some variety to this early Mythic Legions wave, for the purposes of this article and the lore we will explore, our focus is really on the four representatives from the Legions of Dark and the secret gathering they attended that gave the wave its name.
Chapter 9: The Covenant of Shadow
Editor’s note: the following is a full chapter from the forthcoming “Mythic Legions: The Rise of the Dark Four, Volume 1” book. No release date has been set for this release, and the following text may experience small changes during the editing process. It is presented here as an early look at this work and the lore that it covers. We hope you enjoy and it leaves you wanting to read more!
Arethorn, the island of Isla Del Avar
A large iron door bars the entrance to a small base hidden deep in a shadow-filled valley on Isla Del Avar. Technically part of Arethorn, this chain of islands sits off the southern end of that fiery kingdom. While the waters of the surrounding seas prevent the same fires that burn on the main expanse of Arethorn from igniting here, the air is still thick with a heat that is oppressive and unrelenting.
This secret outpost on the largest of the islands of Isla Del Avar was constructed long ago. Built by members of the army who had once fought beside the dark god named Arethyr, this was where a small contingent of warriors who had survived the battle with the Great Beasts had retreated to upon the fall of their master. Far removed from the main landmass of Mythoss and the heroic armies who had taken up residence there, this remote location allowed these survivors to remain unnoticed by the victorious heroes. It was here that those loyal to Arethyr tended to their wounds and slowly began to rebuild their shattered forces.
The other evil armies of the Dark Four had all fled to similarly remote areas of Mythoss. The vampiric brood of Illythia had hidden themselves in the cold darkness of the White Spine, while the children of Necronominus were locked away in their temple in the Deadlands. No one knew what had become of the otherworldly horrors from beyond the Nethergate, for no one traveled to that chaotic corner of the Realm.
The Legion of Arethyr, once again led by the warmonger Gorgo Aetherblade, had abandoned the outpost on Isla Del Avar many years prior. Returning to the main expanse of Arethorn, they constructed the massive Aetherhold, almost taunting the Army of Leodysseus with their renewed boldness. The vigilance of the heroic armies had waned in the ages since the First Great War, allowing the evils of the Realm to slowly emerge from the shadows once again. Confident that those who had once opposed them had grown complacent and lazy, the Legions of Dark now began to exchange messages with each other, sending emissaries across Mythoss to carry these communications, or connecting via magical means across the great distance of the Realm. These communications were either unnoticed or ignored by the Legions of Light, and slowly the evils of Mythoss grew strong enough and confident enough to call for a meeting.
The abandoned outpost on Isla Del Avar was chosen as the location for this clandestine gathering, and each of the four dark factions were instructed to send a single representative to speak for their forces. While the heroes had become careless during the years of peace in the Realm, moving large numbers of soldiers across the map of Mythoss would likely catch even their diverted attention, so strength in numbers was abandoned in favor of maintaining secrecy, at least until the Legions of Dark were prepared to fully show their renewed strength and reveal their plans.
The black armored rider approached the heavy door, dismounting from the dark steed he rides along the pathway leading to this abandoned keep. If the heat of the evening bothers the rider, he does not show it. A heavy black cloak hangs from his shoulders, the purple symbol of the vampiric goddess, Illythia, adorning the fine fabric and making the knight’s allegiance clear.
From beneath a dark helmet, the rider looks ahead. Raising an armored hand, he raps three times upon the door in front of him. The sound echoes in the early evening, thunderous and deep. Creatures who had hidden themselves in the rocks around the forgotten structure scurry from their hiding spots. The rider remains still. His gaze remains on the door before him and he grips the hilt of the long sword he wears at his waist.
Another boom echoes through the air as bolts are moved from behind the large door and it slowly begins to open. From within the darkness of the doorway a pair of yellow eyes gaze forward and a low, raspy voice remarks:
“What a surprise and an honor to be in the presence of royalty. We had expected Lucretia to send a trusted member of her court, but to call upon her own father to run this errand for her. Well, as I said, it really is an honor to welcome royalty to our table.”
The black armored knight loosens the grip on his sword and slowly removes his helmet. The stark white flesh of the vampire lord seems to glow amidst the darkness around him. A scar cuts across the otherwise smooth flesh of his face, a symbol of the battle he fought beside his dark goddess, and a constant reminder of his devotion to recalling her from where she has been banished.
“What is your name, shadow orc?” asks the vampire in a voice as emotionless and cold as it is commanding.
“Gorthokk,” the orc replies, now stepping into the light so his dark, mottled skin could more easily be seen. “And you need no introduction, Volligar - first of his kind and father of the leader of the vampire brood. Your reputation is well known.”
“Baron Volligar,” the vampire corrects before making his way into the open doors of the outpost. His movements are impossibly fast as he brushes past the shadow orc before he can react.
“I thought vampires needed to be invited in?” the orc questions through clenched teeth, the anger and annoyance obvious in the changed tone of his voice.
“A common misconception,” Baron Volligar responds as he turns, staring into the eyes of the orc. “But even if that were the case, the message we received from your master would be all the invitation I would’ve needed to cross your threshold.”
The vampire makes it a point to emphasize the word “master” in his reply, astutely pointing out that the shadow orc does the bidding of someone more powerful than he.
“The Baron is correct,” says a large minotaur who has emerged from the hallway beyond the keep’s entrance. “We are all here at the bidding of those we serve, and petty arguments will only keep all of us cowering in the shadows.”
“I live in the shadows!” the orc spits out. “But I cower to no one!”
The vampire turns towards the minotaur, noticing the large staff he holds before him. He is a mage of some kind, and his black fur reveals him to be a shadow minotaur, one of the rarest of the Cloven race.
“The representative from the Circle of Poxxus, I presume?”
“Torrion,” the mage introduces himself with a nod of his bovine head.
“That just leaves the one sent by the Children of Necronominus,” Baron Volligar says.
“He is already at the table,” Torionn replies, motioning down the hallway towards an open door. “It is just the four of us. Now that you are here, we can begin.”
Unclasping his cloak, the vampire follows the minotaur towards the waiting room while the shadow orc behind them closes the heavy door and secures the bolts. Security is important, even if they do not expect anyone to interrupt their meeting, for few within their factions' inner circles even know about this gathering of the Legions of Dark.
A large table, once used for war planning and strategy discussions, dominates the center of the room. The lone individual seated at the table is a green-boned skeleton whose head is hung low as if in prayer, or in preparation.
Three empty seats are positioned around the table, and the vampire, the minotaur, and the shadow orc each take one in turn as the skeleton raises his head and gazes upon his conspirators from eyeless sockets set into his poisonous green skull.
“We are here for one reason,” Gorthokk begins. As this keep was once populated by the Legion of Arethyr, the shadow orc is the closest thing that this gathering has to a host, and he uses this distinction to lead the conversation. “My master believes that the time is right for our forces to emerge once again and recall the Dark Four back to Mythoss.”
“Why now?” the skeleton asks, breaking his silence. “What has changed that we would be able to move against the Legions of Light after all this time?”
“I wonder the same as Scaphoid does,” interjects Torionn, nodding to the green-boned skeleton to his right. “We have heard that the forces of Arethyr continue to grow in secrecy, but have they grown so strong that you believe you can defeat the Legions of Light and the weapons they wield?”
“But that is the key!” the shadow orc smiles. “They do not all wield those weapons any longer.”
“Explain your words,” Baron Volligar commands as he leans back in his chair.
Gorthokk the shadow orc rises from his own seat and begins to walk around the table as he recites his carefully prepared story.
“Four weapons were left behind by the Great Beasts and given to the leaders of the Legions of Light. The threat of these weapons has kept our armies quiet for ages, but what if one of those instruments had gone missing?”
“Impossible!” the minotaur snorts. “Those weapons are relics. Who would be so foolish as to lose one?”
“My guess is that it is the pompous Lion King,” the vampire replies, never shifting his gaze from the shadow orc who still slowly walks around the table.
Gorthokk nods and flashes a jagged, tooth-filled smile.
“Yes! Few know of this truth, but the Army of Leodysseus has been without the golden hammer for years now! The weapon they wield in its place is a fake. The Lion King’s hammer is a replica of the Relic Weapon his family once held! It is symbol only, and possessing none of the power of the Great Beasts. While it is true that the loss of their relic has done little to diminish the might of that army, the Legions of Light are unaware that its loss has created an imbalance that we can exploit!”
The gathered warriors look at the shadow orc in silence, waiting for him to continue.
“You have all heard of the weapons once wielded by the Dark Four, yes?”
“The Aetherblade. The Soul Spiller. The Plaguesayer. The Godrazor.” Lord Volligar replies. As the oldest amongst the gathered four, he has actually seen these weapons in use. He has fought alongside the ancient evil beings who had first held them in battle, and he has seen those beings fall in defeat.
“The weapons of the Beasts not only keep our forces under control,” Gorthokk continues. “They also help ensure that the weapons of the Dark Four remain hidden from our grasp!”
“They remain here on Mythoss?” Torionn asks, his curiosity now piqued at the plan which was slowly coming into focus before him.
“Many believe that they do,” Gorthokk nods, looking to Baron Volligar. The orc steps aside, giving the vampire the floor to explain further.
“While the Dark Four were banished by the wizards of Bassylia, their weapons remained here on Mythoss,” Volligar began. “Many assumed the Beasts carried those weapons with them to wherever they disappeared to, but others have long argued that the weapons could not leave this Realm. I believe that it is the same reason why the heroic weapons were left behind. They are pieces of Mythoss, created by those who gave birth to this Realm. Something has tied those weapons to this place, which would mean the instruments of the Dark Four remain here waiting for us to find them once again.”
“That is all fine, but it does not explain how you know that the Hammer of Leodysseus is a fake,” Scaphoid remarks. “How did you come by this knowledge?”
“Because I have seen it with my own eyes,” Gorthokk smiles, returning to his seat. “It is hidden away in the Aetherhold, stolen from the family of the Lion by our own forces.”
“And when did this happen?” Torionn questions, his booming voice growing more excited by the moment.
“It has been in our care for some time,” the shadow orc replies smugly.
“This is valuable information. Why are you only revealing this situation now?” asks the vampire lord, his demeanor remaining cool as a stark contrast to that of the minotaur.
“Because we were not ready to move on that information!” Gorthokk snaps back as an answer. “Timing is everything. Strategy is key to us making use of this situation and turning it to our advantage.”
“Then again I ask - why now?” repeats Scaphoid.
Gorthokk leans forward, looking at the three who have assembled before him. He lowers his voice, even though there are none besides these gathered four close enough to hear his words.
“We have discovered the location of the Aetherblade,” he answers. “And we have a plan to reclaim that weapon and recall Arethyr from his prison.”
The gathered three stare intently at the orc, stunned by the revelation laid before them.
“Once the God of War is free, the protections that the wizards put in place will grow even weaker, and we will find the other weapons! We will use them to recall the others!”
“The Soul Spiller?” Baron Volligar asks, the hopefulness evident in his voice. "Have you discovered its location?'
“We have agents seeking its whereabout now,” Gorthokk answers. “During the First Great War, the Legions of Light only defeated our masters because they worked together as one. Their unity is what doomed our forces, but in the many years since that victory they have grown apart. They are more isolated and weaker than they have ever been. They’ve grown fat and lazy from lack of battle, and scandal has robbed some of them of their leaders and others of their purpose! To defeat them, we will do as they once did. We will work together, for this is why we are here today - to agree on a pact. We are here to establish a Covenant of Shadow!
With these words, the bargain was struck. The Legions of Dark put aside their differences and their own selfish pursuits, agreeing to work in tandem to recall the evil powers that had long been banished from Mythoss.
“And where then is the Aetherblade?” Torionn asks as the four gathered conspirators rise from the great table and prepare to return to their own armies with the exciting news of what has transpired this day.
"The Aetherblade is in the care of the Elves,” Gorthokk answers. “It is currently being kept in Castle Silverhorn, deep in the heart of Xylernia. That is where our forces will strike first! The Elves will fall, and the God of War shall return!”
Note: Below is an early sample page of how the start of this chapter may look in the final book. Thanks for reading...stay tuned for more details on this future release.
Published on 06.01.23