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"We are not a church, we are not an army. We are alone - the Path we chose to walk is unique to each of us. We have abandoned hierarchy and blind obedience.We shun any limitation. We strive only for Ascension, to transcend the shackles of the mortal."

— from the Litany of the Exalted, originally the Diary of Duryodhana [1]

The Paths of Ascension are the life philosophies of the Warriors of the Dark Gods. They signify the path each individual walks in their dedication to the Dark Gods and to Father Chaos, and includes the promise and deliverance of rewards from these deities, as well as risks. Each path starts with a pact being made with one of the Dark Gods and ends with either death or the ultimate goal of immortality. [1] [2]

The Path of Ascension are depicted in a fresco kept in the Ur-Temple of Sugulag near Pavitrastha, Sagarika. [1]

While the majority of those who take the Paths are human, they are not the only species who can walk them. There exists records of beast-men, dwarves, orcs and even saurians [3] who have taken the Pact and walked the paths. [4] Presumably, members of any species can theoretically take the Pact, provide of course they are sentient enough to willingly do so.

The Pact Edit

While the path of each warrior is be unique [1], they all seems to start the same, with the pact. It is said that this pact that can only be made if the person is truly willing, and it seems to be made in the presence of a daemon [5]. By forming the pact, the person sells its soul to its chosen Dark God, and in return is given power [5], a long life and a chance at immortality [6]. [2]

The power given seems to come more or less instantly as the pact is made [5]. Soon after also increasing the size of the person [7] [5]. The power is said to dispel fatigue, illness, cramps and aches in the person who takes the pact [2].

However, the power does not come without a price. For a person that makes a pact, the soul is pledges to their patron Dark God. What this is said to mean is that when this person dies, they will know no afterlife (as is otherwise promised that the soul will pass through the Veil and come to rest forever with the person's own deity [8][9]). For them, there is only abyss. [5]

Path of the Favoured Edit

WDG Chosen Lord of Sloth

A Chosen Lord.

The Path of the Favoured starts with a pilgrimage. It has been described as the person who make the Pact will shortly feel a pull that will the person on a journey. A common goal for this journey is the Wasteland or the Shattered Sea. Though there are other places one might seek up, places where the power of the Dark Gods is not permanently present as the aforementioned. [2]

The purpose of the pilgrimage appears to be to acquire their Hell-Forged Armour. It is said that those who travel to the Wasteland bring steel to daemonic smith that forge their armour [10]. Other sources tell of an abandoned mine where a smith laboured to forge armours for the warriors who came there [10].

With their armour acquired, the person earns the rank of Warrior. These often from the core of Warriors of the Dark Gods armies. Though they are sworn to a Dark God [1], they often band together in mixed groups [11]. Sometimes groups dedicated to the same god might band together, lead by a Favoured Champion. Thereby gaining a stronger favour from their god.

As a Warrior advances on the Path of the Favoured, they may eventually reach the status of Chosen [1]. These gain the favour of their patron god, which gives them special powers depending on which god they serve. Chosen also use different mounts in battle, preferring the Karkadans over Black Steeds.

The last step of the Path of the Favoured is the status of Chosen Lord. These can face the final trial from which success means immortality in the shape of becoming an Exalted Herald [2], though failure means being cast down to become an irredeemable Forsaken One. [1]

Some sources claim that a person that walks the Path of the Favoured gains the benefit of living a long life. The journey from taking the pact to becoming a Chosen Lord being possible to stretch over at least a century. [2]

Path of the Exiled Edit

WDG Doomlord

A Doomlord.

When a person walking on the Path of the Favoured displeases their god, they might be abandoned [1]. Without this embrace of a Dark God, the power that they were given will warp and misshape them, forcing them to walk the Path of the Exiled under Father Chaos. [2] [3]

Depending on the statue a person held on the Path of the Favoured when being cast down, they earn different places on the Path of the Exiled. A Warriors that is abandoned by his god becomes a Fallen, a Chosen becomes a Forsworn and a Chosen Lord becomes a Doomlord. [1]

On the Path of the Exiled, the person no longer serves their previous Dark God, but instead serve Father Chaos directly [12] [13]. They may still advance on their path by pleasing him, though is is said to require immense strength of spirit. A Fallen can become a Forsworn who can become a Doom Lord. The Doom Lord also holds the chance of a trial to become an Exalted Herald, much like the Chosen Lord. [1]

Exalted Herald Edit

Main article: Exalted Herald

The goal of all those who walk the Paths of Ascension is to become an Exalted Herald. It is the chance to live forever as a supernal being. [1][2]

To become an Exalted Herald, the person must walk to the end of either the Path of the Favoured or the Path of the Exiled. As a Chosen Lord or a Doom Lord the person can come to face a last trial. A trail said to take place in the Immortal Realm [14]. If successful, the person will become an Exalted Herald at Father Chaos' side [2]. Failure means becoming an irredeemable beast known as a Forsaken One [14]. [1]

Irredeemable Edit

The irredeemable for the lowest echelons of the Paths of Ascension, technically even cast out from the path as they hold no hope of advancements. These are the Wretched Ones and the Forsaken Ones.

Wretched One Edit

Main article: Wretched One

Much as like a person walking the Path of the Favoured can be cast down by their Dark God and forced to walk the Path of the Exiled can a person on the Path of the Exiled loose the favour of Father Chaos and be cast down further. Such a person becomes a Wretched One. [2]

These are deformed creatures whose only purpose is to find find a way to earn death. They have been described as taking all manner of shapes and displaying little other than despair in their sometimes many eyes. [7]

Forsaken One Edit

Main article: Forsaken One

A person who fails the trial to become an Exalted Herald instead becomes a Forsaken One [1]. These are mindless beasts of colossal size and power. [15]

Sources Edit

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 Extract from the Litany of the Exalted (T9A:FB Warriors of the Dark Gods, v0204.2, p18)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 Parchment found clutched by a dead scribe in the ruins of the Abbey of Listowell (T9A:FB Warriors of the Dark Gods, v0204.2, p16-17)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Extract from an untitled tome, known to scholars as the Dark Chronicle of the West (T9A:FB Warriors of the Dark Gods, v0204.2, p28-31)
  4. Diary of Zuhra el-Habeeb (T9A:FB Warriors of the Dark Gods, v0204.2, p32)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Leonora Dimitriou (962 A.S.) Journal entry: Red Blossoms of Ithar (T9A:FB Warriors of the Dark Gods, v0204.2, p78-81)
  6. Ilarion Yanovich (942-962 A.S.) Letters to Archbishop Voytyek Bistricha, 6th letter (T9A:FB Warriors of the Dark Gods, v0204.2, p50-51)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Ilarion Yanovich (942-962 A.S.) Letters to Archbishop Voytyek Bistricha, 5th letter (T9A:FB Warriors of the Dark Gods, v0204.2, p46-47)
  8. The Timeless Titans; inscription found in one of the oldest temples of Avras (T9A:FB Warriors of the Dark Gods, v0204.2, p20-21)
  9. Verdorben Kantu (784 A.S.) Immortal Beings and Where to Find Them (T9A:FB Rulebook, v0204.2, p134)
  10. 10.0 10.1 Transcript of proceedings in the Court of Tsuandan, approximately 405 A.S. (T9A:FB Warriors of the Dark Gods, v0204.2, p22)
  11. Ilarion Yanovich (942-962 A.S.); Letters to Archbishop Voytyek Bistricha, 3rd letter (T9A:FB Warriors of the Dark Gods, v0204.2, p36-37)
  12. Series of letters found on a twisted creature after a battle against raiders near Ullsberg (T9A:FB Warriors of the Dark Gods, v0204.2, p44)
  13. Ilarion Yanovich (942-962 A.S.) Letters to Archbishop Voytyek Bistricha, 4th letter (T9A:FB Warriors of the Dark Gods, v0204.2, p42-43)
  14. 14.0 14.1 Atharsaga, part 1 (T9A:FB Warriors of the Dark Gods, v0204.2, p20-21)
  15. Atharsaga, part 39 (T9A:FB Warriors of the Dark Gods, v0204.2, p48-49)