Shackled: a Tale of High House Chains – Vol 1

The scions of Arkitaine can trace their lineage back through the years to the time of the courts of Nagarythe. Once powerful and respected amongst the Elder Families of Nagarythe, the line of Arkitaine now languishes in near obscurity, a pale crippled shadow of its former glory.

Following the death of the last Highborn Lord, Hansir Arktaine, at the hands of the very corsairs hired to crew his last raid, the pitiful remaining fortunes of the house fell to his three sons. The eldest, Lanys, seemed content to spend the twilight of his family’s line in the flesh-pits and murder-houses of Clar Karond, trading and gambling away the few relics and coin belonging to the house.

By comparison, the middle brother Hiroth applied his hatred and frustration to the arts of war, earning a reputation as a formidable warrior and leader of men. Hiroth spurned the advances and enticements of the Khainite temples, Witch Covens and other noble houses, preferring to lead his remaining spears from the front. Perhaps in some way Hiroth accepted the demise of his line and was simply content to spit his last hate filled breath into the face of his enemy when the end came.

As for the youngest of the sons, Velrys, he chose a very different path.

Railing against the slow ennui and dissolution of his line, as well as the self-indulgent indolence and studied indifference of his brothers, Velrys sought power wherever he could find it. Possessed of a quick eager mind and a capacity for intrigue and sadistic violence far outstripping that of his kin, Velrys vowed he would stop at nothing to restore the fortunes of his house and carve his lines name into the bloody heart of Naggaroth itself.

Velrys’ quest eventually led him to the ancient necropoli on the borders of Naggaroth, the very remains of the ancient courts of Nagarythe his forebears once walked amongst. What he sought to find amongst the cold marble and antediluvian remains of Druchii families is unclear. Maybe it was some relic of immense power, a weapon or trinket. Maybe it was merely inspiration Velrys sought amongst the bones of his ancestors. Whatever the reason for his arduous, dangerous journey, Velrys remained tightlipped, refusing to speak the details even to his Autarii guides.

None know exactly what Velrys found, long buried amongst the remains of that ancient extinct time – he returned to Naggaroth alone, his Autarii guides vanished, clad in bone-lacquered plate and wielding a blade of ancient design that rippled with midnight flames when unsheathed. Certainly some source of power, some puissance, had been claimed by Velrys – though the exact aspect of that power was a truth few would be prepared to countenance.

Three years to the day he left Clar Karond, Velrys returned to the decaying tower and grounds of the line of Arkitaine. His first act was to maim his elder brother Lanys and crucify him above the tower gates as a lesson to all who served his line – no more would weakness of spirit and indolence be tolerated. Taking the sigil ring of his father, Velrys declared that from this night forward, his hate and his life were pledged to the House Of Chains and the line of Arkitaine would follow or die.

At present, some unknown influence swirls around the line of Arkitaine, attracting other who hunger for power. Fell knights clad in bone-lacquered plate stand alongside Velrys and his cohorts of spears, led ably by Hiroth, have garnered a reputation for viciousness and prowess beyond their standing. The strength of the House Of Chains waxes strong and other fell powers are slowly beginning to notice…

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  • Christopher

    Love sneaking Malazan Book of the Fallen references into WFB!