Author Topic: Grimoire of The Vaunted  (Read 256 times)


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Grimoire of The Vaunted
« on: February 19, 2023, 06:55:26 PM »
This antiquated grimoire is populated through the libraries of occultists, scoundrels and wielders of the darker arts.

To whom it may concern, accursed or otherwise, you have stumbled upon the works of I, Daidriann Valstahd. Captain of the Sons of Valstahd, formerly the Loyal Sons. The Vaunted.

In my excerpts I will uncover the grim and unfiltered truth of my immortality, my ascension, and the product of true power. A lust for knowledge and a keen moral duplicity will aid as you read further, for untold and insurmountable strength comes with its cost, yet things worth living (or unliving, in this case) for were never without risk - consider this before you puppet and parrot the concerns of sinful and immoral activity. The highest ambitions requires the greatest of sacrifices, the skittish need not eye a word more, the cowards that you are.


Before we begin upon the excitement, you must first understand the precedence. The context of what is an immortal soldier, a 'death knight' as they have become to be termed by lesser mortals. The origin of this occultist practice remains deeply veiled in the hollow that surrounds us, and even I in my newfound wisdom cannot exactly pinpoint where it is this ritual or means truly stem from. My first reading and encounter of this particular ritual came from demonic texts that roughly outlined and spun tales of it, but to no avail on how to accomplish such ends. It is my belief that this knowledge was inherited from some outsider world of existence, and then buried deep beneath by the powers that be.

For these reasons, you may understand why it is hard to contextualise what a death knight is and an example thereof. However, if the whispered riddles of Sithicus are to be believed, one such notable death knight of incredible notoriety would be Lord Soth himself - the "Black Rose". His tale has been twisted with time, but legend speaks of a grand betrayal of this he believed loyal to him, and his untimely destruction. The Land of Spectres, however, remains shrouded in secrets, and the true ambitions of the fierce lord remain a mystery. Surprisingly, Lord Soth has made infrequent visits outside of Sithicus, and even some in the backwater nation of Barovia, at least in the form of some of his fractured reflections. He is characterised by his blackened armour, his unceasing gaze aflame, and his tremendous swordsmanship - all to be expected from a man of his stead. A force that can make both the dead and living quake.

This is only one such tale, however the more you unearth the more you will see a rational pattern among the tales of death knights. They are born of tales of great betrayal, of glorious conquest, of unparalleled adversity. Some fools speak that perhaps they are simply cursed, and never wanted such a gift - only a coward would not accept his new knighthood. Regret is for the living, after all. I find nothing but spite for those deluded enough to seek some petty form of atonement. There is no redemption, this dark path is consciously followed, if you do not have the strength to grasp it, then simply wallow in the filth of the ignorant. This tangent aside, however, brings me unto my next point: one must have the 'ambition' before they begin the material practice of the ritual.


Paramount to all material components, all occultist or arcanist inclination, is The Ambition. The subject must absolutely possess the will to shed their mortality and become one with the grey. Whether they consider it a dark sin, parasitic and gnawing, or a hidden greater purpose realised, matters not. What truly matters is that either way, in that very moment, they accept their true nature and surrender themselves to strength absolute. Death knights are not born without purpose, all follow some idealistic dream of which they will come to embody.

For I, the matter was simple and decisive. For years of my mortal life, I dwelled upon a grudge and fostered hatred for Falkovnia and their people. The rodent loyalists that serve a tyrant king, pitiful upon his throne. Invasion after invasion, battle after battle, I have witnessed and clashed with them upon the field, and yet no matter how much there was to skirmish, it would bring me ultimately no closer to the revenge I sought. Thus, things had to change. I seek a war now, far greater than any conquest known in recent history - a total cleansing of Falkovnia, the snakes among it, and the gilded one that sits above them all. A war of unforeseeable scale and destruction, wiping their empire to dust and reclaiming it anew. This, dear reader, is the type of ambition a knight must hold. No futile, half-willed oaths. I speak of great revenge and savage conquest. You must embrace your nature to become what you desire, and those who do not embrace what they are will always bow to their superiors, weak and frail, driven only to decadence and sloth.

As you may have gathered, such promises are not made lightly, nor made upon a whim. Those who foster the courage and fortitude to become a death knight will not do it upon a chance decision, but rather to complete a life's work. Perhaps this grant you, dour mortal, the perspective to finally begin to see.


Now, the practice. After revising various texts, ledgers and grimoires scoured from the far corners of the Core, there are many ways to achieve the process of deathless ascension. Some accounts tell of no ritual at all, and in fact simply the grace of a darker power can bestow the gift of eternal strength and nigh indestructibility. Some speak of containing the soul within a gem or stone, then forging a weapon out of said host. My anecdotal experience with this however, is minimal. I will prescribe the methods that I know myself are complete and true.

a. The Blade, the Beating Heart

First, we begin with the phylactery - the weapon. For all death knights, they must house their soul or its remnants within the confines of their most treasured blade. The more sentimental, the stronger the bond will be. As a master of the greataxe, this choice was incredibly straight-forward. I believe all armaments are plausible hosts for inhabitance and transposition, so long as it is wielded in the grasp of the subject before, during, and in the aftermath of the process.

b. The Carvings, the Focus

Next, we require the crucible for within the ritual will take place and thusly be amplified as a result. This makes the transference possible and prevents escape of the soul. It is both a prison and a gateway, simultaneously. For this purpose, I seized the apparatus and materials that once belonged to the Darkonian heretic Gnaeus - his operation specifically involved an iron maiden, runed in a foreign tongue. One I have never seen before, but Dove could decipher it. She was shortcoming and curt over the matter, but some further perspective has led me to believe it was scribed in an outlander dialect. Cryptic as it was, the syntax was not important, but rather the intent.

c. Death, the Beginning

To ascend, one must pledge everything. Their life, their worth, their legacy, will become materialised into the newfound host. All that once was, and would ever be, will be taken form and root within the blade of the death knight. It is now the complete embodiment of you, but more. Heightened, amplified, strengthened beyond all mortal belief. Power incomparable, overwhelming. To receive this gift, this power, you must give your mortal self unto the beyond. When you heart stops beating, your blood stops dripping, and voice stops screaming, it all becomes numb. In the throes of it all, you feel it again. Your heart beats again, but not in your body. It beats in your hands, your weapon, the very edge of the soul given form. One must first die, to live forever.

d. The Procession, Death Absolute

For the ceremony to hold, and imbue the soul before it is lost, the ritual commences. Once the subject is dead, confined within their temporary prison, the transposition is complete. Being the subject, of course, I have little recollection of the events in-between, only the beginning and the end. From my meagre understanding of dark magics, I surmise that it is both the crucible and the potency of the user's soul-force that determines the amplification and result of the experiment. As detailed before, death knights are typically veterans of war, soldiers or generals in a past life, and these bespoke methods are seemingly tailored to enhancing all aspects that one would need to become the ultimate commander.


Now, the height of your reward, the gift you so desperately seek. In my permanence, I have become wrath unceasing. I possess strength beyond strength, power and wrath beyond any mortal comparison, I am unfaltering and unending. I do not need to eat, I do not need to sleep, I do not yearn for any other mortal desires beyond quenching my vengeance. All my aspects, my purpose, are unfiltered and escalated to the highest intensity they could be.

My blade, Eclipsis Finalis, is the finest piece of malevolence this Core will ever see. The blade of blackened adamantine is devestating, it cuts through mortals like silk, and it yearns for every swing. Its sharpness never dulls, and I watch with utmost glee as it strikes through any manner of protection, physical or magical, with ease. You will never see a finer weapon in your life, mortal, than one composed of your very being. Eclipsis Finalis is not only myself, but Gnaeus, and all the souls I reap. Every day that passes only sees my strength grow stronger.

I command the armies and legions of the dead at will, like it was a trivial undertaking. Through my blade, I give them orders, see through their eyes, speak through their lips, and speak to their thoughts. Truly, the ranks of the unliving are far more disciplined and cohesive than any mortal army could remotely be. They do not question your orders, they simply act. Not only this, but with a mere thought, I can recruit all manner of insidious creatures to my will. All tremble before the death knight, and rightfully so. Disobedience grants you a coward's death, and worse. Similarly, in capturing Gnaeus' soul, I was able to assume full control of the Loyal Sons, and repurpose them as my own.

There is, however, a peculiar duality in assuming the heretic's soul. I seem to have gained his thoughts, and every whilst writing this now, they whisper at me like an incessant noise you cannot quite hear, almost inaudible. In absorbing and subjugating his being, his mannerisms and begin to slowly meld into mine. For instance, I could not speak the tongue of Darkon, before my takeover. I had no knowledge of the land, nor its culture or inhabitants until after I usurped him. All that remains is a morbid curiosity to know whether I will ever be able to dull out his words entirely, or whether he will simply become me. Yet, this is mere speculation - I always preside control over the mad heretic, and to assume he is little more a slave to a master is too kind.

In apotheosis, I have realised many new revelations in undeath. The nature of our fractured hollow we call home, of the veiled engimas that lie just beyond our vision. Certainly, you might think to condemn, shun and outright ignore these as the ramblings of the deranged, yet I assure you there is sense behind the integral chaos. Our very place, our very being, is one of chaos. It is not one to be understood, not followed, but defied. This is the one thing Dove was right about, in all her delusions: the intent is more critical than the action. The will and belief exceed any means of thought nor practice, and it is those with the highest ambitions that will grasp this world for their own, twist its cursed roots for their own purpose.

So I impart this gift unto you, reader of mine; know that death is absolution.