|Europe - A.D. 1300.
For centuries an impenetrable darkness has shrouded Europe, Arabia, and Asia, with countless victims succumbing to the ravenous hunger of unchecked pestilence and war. In Asia, Khan's ruthless Golden Horde wages a war of terror from the shores of Japan to Europe. In Arabia, the legendary Assassins' Guild asserts a bid for power, toppling sultans and kings. Europe, once a promising glimpse of humanity's potential, has become a well of despair under the despotic rule of a handful of feudal lords.
Many great kingdoms have been devastated, but a few have grown more powerful. These comprise the Covenant of Seven - lords who have allied with Asmodeus, a practitioner of the dark arts who wields the fabled Mace of Tanis.
The Mace is embued with necropotic energy, offering those who wield it a tantalizing promise of ever-lasting life and unbridled power.
With this power comes a terrible price: Asmodeus must feed off despair, disease, and poverty. In limited doses, Asmodeus grants the Seven the power they need and crave. In return, they expand their kingdoms with bloody battles and torment their peasants. But Europe can no longer sustain Asmodeus' ravenous appetite. He now reaches East into the Orient, to find new lords who yearn to sample the dark powers.
But there is rebellion. Each of the Seven, addicted to the corrupting power of the Mace, dispatch their best warriors to kill Asmodeus and steal his power. Leaders from the East sense Asmodeus' plottings and strive to destroy him before it's too late. Heirs to kingdoms long since vanquished seek revenge on Asmodeus and those who wield the dark energy.
They are the fiercest fighters on Earth, and they all have one thing in common. They each must possess the Mace.
|Feeling the power of the Mace course through his hands, Al'Rashid knows his destiny lies not just in becoming the best assassin in the lands, but in ruling his own kingdom. Al'Rashid turns on his father Khalid, murdering him coldly to claim the title King of Assassins. He then chooses to usurp the vast holdings of the Sultan of Shiraq, one of the Covenant of Seven whose kingdom had grown because of the pact with Asmodeus. Killing Shiraq, Al'Rashid becomes Sultan of a vast empire. A cruel and unjust ruler, he is hated by his people and he must resist constant attempts on his life. He also takes a delicious pleasure in Namira, the former harem girl who is the lost Princess of Tulwara, whose family was murdered by Khalid. Using the power of the Mace, Al'Rashid hypnotizes Namira and she becomes his concubine slave, living out her days dancing for him, humiliated by the perverted acts of shame she must perform for her cruel master.|
|Having lost his magical scimitars, and failing the sultan, Al'Rashid returns home to his father Khalid, king of the assassins. To add to his shame, Khalid insists that Al'Rashid regain the ancient scimitars before being accepted back into the fold, fearing another confrontation with Asmodeus more than his father, Al'Rashid turns on Khalid in hopes of taking the throne by force only to lose to a much more skilled and powerful adversary. Banished to the tallest tower of his father's fortress, Al'Rashid spends the rest of his days practicing his skulls, never to see daylight, or another soul, again.|
|Lord Deimos drinks the blood of the vanquished Asmodeus, as he lifts the Mace of Tanis. Now, with unbridled evil power coursing through his veins, Deimos can dominate the world. He goes on the vanquish the rest of the Covenant of Seven, destroying them one by one and enslaving their populaces. Under his hellish rule, Europe and Arabia are unified, but under a tortured, despotic rule. Seemingly immortal, Deimos rules for centuries. Europe never recovers from the Dark Ages that have withered its people and stunted its growth.|
|After his unsuccessful campaign to acquire the Mace of Tanis, Lord Deimos returns to his native Bavaria whereupon he finds his fortress in the hands of the peasants he once tortures for so many generations. Weakened from his battle to gain the mace, Lord Deimos fights viciously but is overwhelmed by the angry mob. Disgusted at the thought of dying at the hands of peasants, Lord Deimos becomes enraged and breaks free of their bonds. Seeing no possible path to victory, Lord Deimos, with sword in hand, leaps in the molten lava that surrounds his lair. When the flames settle, all that remains of the once might lord Deimos is an empty, smoldering suit of armor.|
|The Mace restores Dregan's body to that of the glowing, healthy knight that led the Crusades. Dregan learns that his soul resides in the great blade of The Executioner, and in a great battle that rages across the length and breadth of El Katraz, Dregan finally kills The Executioner and destroys the great blade. His soul freed, Dregan is whole once again. He realizes that he cannot get into heaven because of his crimes, and he must atone for his sins. Paying the penance for his centuries of malevolence, Dregan wanders the land crushing evil wherever it may arise.|
|Failing to destroy Asmodeus, Sir Dregan returns to his kingdom of the walking dead without his soul. Asmodeus, enraged by his sense of betrayal, removes Dregan from the Covenant of Seven and orders his allies to eliminate Dregan's kingdom and followers. Upon his capture, Dregan is brought before Asmodeus to pay for his insubordination. Asmodeus then forces not only Dregan's own soul in his body, but also that of all his victims. Dregan spends the rest of his days in a dungeon searching within for his former self.|
|It has been said that when The Executioner defeated Asmodeus, wails of misery could be heard across all the continents. For all living creatures knew that their way of life, as bad as it may have been, was about to get worse. In its place was a world brimming with misery and indescribable pain; a world where every man, woman, and child knew the sting of the barbed lash, the sharp report of joints snapping on the rack, and the horrible, shapeless pain of the iron maiden. The Executioner will rule for centuries in what will be known as "The Age of Torment." Welcome to the new hell.|
|Upon defeat, the executioner returns to his island of torture to take his aggression out on some undeserved souls. He returns only to find Asmodeus waiting for him in his dungeon, appreciating his work and the tools that he has mastered, The Dark One decides to spare the Executioner's life, but uses the power of the mace to conjure up a grand inquisitor from the crusades to show the amateur how it is really done. Thousands of screams have come through those dark walls, now, in a wicked twist of fate, only one can be heard.|
|The Hellknight is victorious, and returns the Mace back to its rightful owner in hell. Since the Hellknight cares little for the actions of humans, he leaves them alone to settle their petty bickering. But the hundreds of years that Asmodeus and the Mace have been on Earth have opened a chaotic vortex into the netherworlds of hell. What creatures and demons that may invade the Earth can only be imagined.|
|Failure to retrieve the Mace of Tanis was not an option given to the Hellknight by its rightful owner. Upon being pulled back into Hell, he is brought before the dark court to stand trial for his actions and is found guilty of failure. Following the ruling, he is demoted from demon-hood and stripped of his powerful armor. Sentenced to the great fire pits of Hell, his flesh slowly curls from his bones, feeding the small slug-like creatures inhabiting the floors of Hell for years to come.|
|By killing Asmodeus, Koyasha has shown that she is the most-skilled ninja who has ever lived. Now, by owning the Mace of Tanis, she can wield ultimate power. But Koyasha cares little about power. For her the Mace is merely a conquest, a trophy of her skills as a warrior. She believes that the destiny of humanity lies with the natural order - the ability of rulers to hold power on the own, not bolstered by unnatural energies. Her ultimate conquest behind her, Koyasha builds a monastery high in the Japanese mountains, seeking to attain spiritual perfection.|
|The unsuccessful ninja returns to her dojo and is harshly scolded by her sensei for her premature attempt to defeat the greatest force of evil the world has ever known. In preparation for the next encounter, the sensei reduces Koyasha to the lowest ranking member of the dojo. Only after years of doing laundry and sweeping the dojo's floor will the humbled Koyasha be allowed to make another attempt to battle for the mace. Koyasha ultimately proves to be the greatest ninja to have ever lived, but it is small consolation in a land blighted by Asmodeus' tyrannical Covenant of Seven.|
|Mordos has finally achieved his goal - destroying Asmodeus and the power structure that has ravaged the land for centuries. His parents were killed by Sir Dregan, one of the Covenant of Seven, when Kull was just a boy. He was taken in by a gypsy clan, who were then killed by Deimos' mercenaries. Hating the Seven and all they stood for, Kull realized the only way he could beat them was from the inside, gaining their trust as a mercenary until he could bring them down one by one. Kull will now wield the Mace with wisdom, to rebuild the land to its former glory, and cast down the Seven and their despotic rule. In the hands of this wise and virtuous king, the Mace will be a powerful tool for good. Heroes are indeed found in the most unlikely places.|
|Defeated at his chosen profession, Mordos Kull leaves the battlefield with his confidence badly shaken and his Morning Star destroyed. No longer dependable in battle, Mordos attempts to find another means of support by working as a farmhand back in the hills of Italy. He soon discovers that Asmodeus has fouled the soil so badly that the already poor farmers cannot give him food and shelter for the work he offers. Soon, the once great mercenary Mordos Kull is found staggering through the streets, begging for coins, a mere shell of his former self.|
|Namira is indeed the lost Princess Tulwara of Arabia. Her family was murdered by Khalid, King of Assassins, when she was only three. She escaped a foul death when she was smuggled out of the palace by one of her guards, who then sold her into slavery for a tidy profit. Khalid was hired by the Sultan of Shiraq, one of the Covenant of Seven, who was promised the Kingdom of Arabia in a pact with Asmodeus. Seeking vengeance, Namira hunts down and destroys the Sultan and the hired assassins. She takes special delight in finally killing the most vicious, Al'Rashid, the son of the man who slew her family. Wielding the power of the Mace of Tanis, she retakes her family palace and claims the throne. She becomes the first woman Sultan of Arabia, ruling with an iron fist. Seeking to create a society were women are not subservient to men, but rightfully rule over them, she decrees that men are not allowed to run businesses and will no longer be allowed to be seen in public without veils. These edicts have stood for centuries, and Arabia is known for its strong women business leaders and military leaders.|
|Failing to discover her true identity from the triumphant Asmodeus, Namira is sent as a gift to the sultan of Shiraq, one of the Covenant of Seven. The sultan, pleased by his gift, repays Asmodeus by assuring him that her treacherous acts will not unpunished. Forced back in to slavery, Namira undergoes immeasurable pain and torture as she serves the sultan and his henchman. Her mind and spirit broken, she spends her nights trying to convince the inhabitants of the sultan's dungeon that she is the one, true princess. For some reason, the rats never believe her.|
|By defeating Deimos and Asmodeus, Ragnar had thrown off the darkness which was destroying his people. Harnessing the power of the Mace, he rebuilds Torsgard into a glorious city. In tribute to his slain family, it is the most beautiful city in all of Europe - the shining star of the North. Ragnar would marry again, and father many children, but he would forever retain a vigilant eye to crush evil wherever it appeared.|
|Failing in his attempt to wreak revenge on Lord Deimos and Asmodeus, Ragnar returns to his home Torsgard, laying in ruin. Asmodeus, outraged by his insubordination, turns Ragnar into a ravenous wolf. Cursing him to hunt down and kill innocent villagers. Like his family before. Unable to stop the wild instincts of the wolf, Ragnar can only watch in horror. As he spends the rest of his days hunting down and murdering the people he loves.|
|Seeking to save Ichiro, his older brother, and his beloved Japan from the dark influences of Asmodeus, Takeshi has journeyed to the West to destroy the evil mage and his Mace of Power. Takeshi resists the evil corruption of the Mace and plunges it into the flaming lava of Deimos' hellworld. The Mace, bursting with the energy of millions of tortured souls, explodes in a blast so huge that Deimos' Mountain is blown apart from within. Pure of heart, Takeshi survives the explosion and is imbued with the godlike powers of strength and immortality. Ichiro, too corrupt to be redeemed, is vanquished in the purifying fire. Although he restores his family name and becomes a virtuous champion for good, fighting countless battles against the forces of evil, Takeshi will forever bear the shame of his failure to save Ichiro.|
|Defeated in battle, Takeshi returns to Japan with his brother Ichiro, now a dedicated servant of Asmodeus. In an attempt to prove his loyalty, Ichiro appoints Takeshi as the leader of his dark army, and assigns him the task of conquering China. Knowing the dishonor that he would bring to his name if he carried out his brother's evil deeds, Takeshi refuses the appointment and betrays the possessed Ichiro. Choosing death before dishonor, Takeshi commits Seppuku on the steps of Ichiro's mighty temple. Takeshi's name is remembered fondly and becomes a romantic and tragic figure in Japanese legends.|
|Beating Asmodeus, Taria now wield the most powerful magic on Earth: the Mace of Tanis, an artifact powered by the fires of hell. Instantly, screams of millions of tortured souls fills her ears. The horror of millions of innocent people, slaughtered in the cruel reign of the Covenant of Seven, fill her soul and drive her toward the edge of insanity. Screaming with torment, Taria absorbs the evil energy and bursts into a pillar of flame. Purified by the fires of hells, her human visage is burned away. Taria emerges a demon. Allowing her father to rule her Earthly kingdom, Taria travels the planes and dimensions of the netherworld, planning her assault that will eventually give her the power to unite all 99 levels of hell under her iron grip. Unable to kill her twin brother lest she lose the source of her power, Taria instead keeps him imprisoned as a Grendal, guarding the magical gateway to her nether realms.|
|Thought she could not defeat the others competing for the Mace of Tanis, Taria pleases Asmodeus. Although he makes her his dark mistress, placing her in a great position to work her evil, Taria is not satisfied with her subservience. Through the ages she continually tried to conjure up the right spell to wrest the mace from his grasp. In the end, Asmodeus grows tired of her crafty attempts and banishes her to a barren isle where her soul withers for lack of anything, kill or dominate.|
|Seeking to prevent the spread of evil to his native China, Xiao has traveled across the globe to confront the evil Asmodeus and the Mace of Tanis. Vanquishing his foe, Xiao now picks up the Mace. Seeking to destroy it, Xiao prepares a spell. The Mace calls to him, offering to restore Xiao's sight and promising him great power and wisdom. Xiao's sight was robbed of him by his father long ago - surely it would be worth it to see the world again. It is a promise the most men would surely accept - to be able to see beauty again, to have the wisdom of the ages, to be able to ponder the meaning of all things. But is it really a trap? But will the evil Mace instead corrupt Xiao, turning him into the despotic leader that he has fought so hard to destroy? Without hesitation, Xiao destroys the Mace. Without sight, he has learned to appreciate the world differently because of his other senses. And he already has great wisdom.|
|Xiao Long's spirit is not harmed by his inability to vanquish Asmodeus. He returns to the Shaolin monastery to meditate on his recent failure. Asmodeus, not content in letting Xiao's attacks go unpunished, informs Xiao Long's father, Khan, of his dead son's existence. Enraged, Khan assembles his great army and sets out to eradicate any evidence of Xiao Long's existence. Upon entering the mountain range that protects the great monastary, Khan's troops hear the deafening sounds of beating drums. Shortly after, the sounds of battle could be heard for miles surrounding the monastery. To this day, no one knows the outcome.|
|Upon defeating Asmodeus, Ichiro grips the dark Mace of power. Coursing through is veins is the demon-strength of hell, giving him the power to conquer a continent. Ichiro at once destroys his family and assumes the throne of Japan, eliminating the few feudal lords that remain. However, Ichiro is unable to find his brother Takeshi, who has taken to the mountains of Japans. Japan is split by war and poverty, throwing the island nation into chaos. Under Ichiro's iron grip, the great feudal cities fall into rubble as Ichiro has his army scour the countryside in vain searching for his brother. With a band of loyal samurai who will not concede Ichiro's rule, Takeshi wages guerrilla warfare on Ichiro's army in the hopes of erasing the shame that he his brother has brought on Japan. Ichiro grows progressively more insane knowing that Takeshi will one day strike him down, if he doesn't find him first. Not even the power of the Mace can cure Ichiro's insanity.|
|Caught by Asmodeus after his defeat, Ichiro becomes the disfavored servant of the holder of the evil mace. Its dark power forces him into even greater acts of terror and war against his fellow man. Disgusted by Ichiro's tyrannical rule, and his ruthless acts against the innocent, his elite guard has him drawn and quartered in hope of vanquishing the evil within. With his appendages sent to the four corners of the world and his elite guard now in control, all that remains of the former tyrant are the dark and disturbing memories of his rule.|
|Gar gazes at the Mace of Tanis in amazement. It is perfection. The Mace speaks to him, and in his mind Gar sees a world where the dwarven race will not just live in freedom -- it will dominate the world above! Gar returns to the dark halls of the Dwarf Kingdom and displays the Mace to the many dwarfs gathered there. They too are seduced by the power of the Mace. Soon shouts of, "Revenge! Enslave the humans! Kill!!" echo through the caverns. In a frenzy of activity the dwarves construct hundreds of War Mechs and march out of the hidden halls to dominate the land above.|
|Crawling from the twisted wreckage of his War Mech, Gar nimbly escapes Asmodeus' claws. Muttering to himself, "Back to the old drawing board" he returns to his home beneath the mountain and immediately begins work on a new and more powerful mech. In the years that follow, numerous dwarves are killed in Gar's obsessive attempt to build his new weapon of destruction. Finally, Gar himself is involved in a massive steam explosion from which his body is never found. The dwarf kingdom abandons the mech program in light of the obvious dangers.|
|As he takes hold of the Mace of Tanis, the hardened shell of decades of evil melts from Grendal. His memory returns; Grendal is really Taurus de Castillo, twin brother of the Countess Taria and the rightful heir to the Iberian throne. He is the son of Malanoche de Castillo, one of the Covenant of Seven and despotic ruler of the Iberia. On the night of the birth of Taurus, a black shadow strangled the moon's light. Asmodeus' scrye had a prophecy of doom: the evil child born to Malanoche that night would prove to be Asmodeus' downfall. Asmodeus stormed into the birthing chamber and demanded that the child be handed over to his keeping, or else Malanoche would be stripped of his power. Taurus was born, and Asmodeus took him and stormed out of the chamber. However, unknown to Asmodeus, there was a twin yet to be born. Moments later, As Taria emerged, the lights in the chamber went black and lightning streaked the sky. Malanoche smiled; Asmodeus took the wrong twin. Here was the source of the omen. Taria was the evil one, and the one that would follow in her father's footsteps. Asmodeus turned Taurus into a grendal, a stone gargoyle who guards the entrance to the netherworld. For decades, Taurus was forced to do the bidding of his master, killing all those who would oppose Asmodeus. Now, the decades of evil have ended. Justly wielding the power of the Mace, Taurus destroys his father and seizes the throne himself, ruling justly. He uses the Mace to purge the rest of the Seven, chasing the darkness from the lands. Although he tries to cure Taria, her evil is too strong. Unwilling to kill his sister, he instead blinds her and cuts out her tongue. Unable to read spellbooks and recite chants, Taria is forever shut away from the dark realms she once traveled.|
|Beside himself with a sense of betrayal, Asmodeus wreaks terrible vengeance on his once great henchman. To demonstrate his immense displeasure, Grendal's boss transforms his twisted rock body into a foul smelling, dog-like gargoyle, for all to see. Chained to a post outside Asmodeus' lair, Grendal spends his remaining years howling at the shadows where he once prowled.|
|Pojo stands proudly atop the heap of opponents who have fallen to her mighty peck. If she looks sad, it's only because she can't wield the Mace of power, because she has no opposable thumbs or even arms that could life something as heavy as the Mace. Instead, Pojo miraculously defeats the legions of demons who stream forth from hell seeking the Mace. At the end of each day, Pojo heaves a heavy sigh from a job well done and lays a single egg, which breaks because the Mace is sharp.|
|Pojo is a wounded bird, lying with one eye skyward, pondering the fate that awaits her. Asmodeus, ever the opportunist, attempts to crush the skull of the once mighty bird with the mace. Underestimating the power and weight of the mace, he only succeeds in missing Pojo and knocking her free of her bindings. Pojo then flies to safety in one of the lands many farms. To this day, Asmodeus stares into the eyes of every chicken he eats hoping to see the once great Pojo.|