The Core Nine
But darkness still clung to the lands, and within that darkness lurked a long-gestating evil. For centuries nightmarish horrors had ruled the lands, leaking out of ancient Fey Ways left open in the wake of the Dominion fall or Deep Gates that had no guardians to keep the creatures of the underworld at bay. In myth heroes battle the darkness with truth and light. But in history heroes fight a battle against the dark and lose the war of integrity. Night after night the inhabitants of the newly established Delerion listened to the screams echoing in the long nights and knew that soon that darkness would close like a black noose around all in the vulnerable city. Neither truth nor light vanquished these abominations.
So they embraced the dark.
The ruling houses of Delerion were formed by the First King and twenty-nine knights blessed by the gods. These noble houses built the cornerstones and foundations of Delerion, but their valor was not enough against what prowled the dark. Desperate to see their city prosper and their people safe, nine of the nobles descended into Delerion’s Core for a clandestine meeting with an immortal known as the Carrion King.
As a titan, the Carrion King was forever indebted to the goddess Lycentia who aided in the titans’ escape from the hands of the other gods. Delerion itself was built by the goddess, and by extension under the protection of all titans. The Carrion King, ruler of a fey realm called the Twilight Kingdom, possessed the original secret to the powers of undeath—something later stolen by the god Necris to be claimed as his own. Despite what evil the Carrion King wielded against the world at large, his powers in Delerion were subject to Lycentia.
Swearing an oath to two kings, the King of Delerion and the Carrion King himself, the nine nobles were gifted with the evernight breath and awoke as vampires with powers exceeding most others of their kind in the land. But nothing comes freely from the realm of Twilight, and the Carrion King preyed upon Lycentia’s innate need for balance. Though these nine lords would know abilities unlike any mortal, they would still suffer the nightly bloodlust of any vampire. So even while protecting the dear inhabitants of Delerion, they would be forced to feed on the same people they swore to save.
None learned their secret, and under cover of night the nine battled the encroaching evil until at last the terrifying howls were distant echoes only in a child’s dream.
Months turned to years, and years to centuries. The nine retreated from their family estates into the fading core of the city, creating minions of their own and forming a coven of specifically chosen minions. Known as the Core Nine, they have served Delerion for the better part of twelve hundred years. Their work remains in secret, bound to the shadowed reaches of the derelict and crumbling remains of the city’s ancient and innermost circle. As the founding lords of their family estates, they walk freely through their old halls, using powers of suggestion to sway the living nobles, and therefore controlling Delerion’s most powerful highborns.
These nine, Sendal, Tanteron, Kessel, Umbar, Renwar, Erron, Altair, Nuvane and Theed, watch each sunset knowing that the fading glory of the day was a gift granted to those living in the city. And from the Twilight Kingdom the Carrion King smiles, seeing how even the greatest city in the lands must bow in the shadow of death—a shadow cast by his throne of bones.
It is the Core Nine who rule the Golden City of Delerion, living beneath the ruin of the city’s heart which they helped establish so long ago. And although their hearts ceased to beat more than a thousand years ago, they have ensured that Delerion’s remains strong.