In time the boy became a man, and the Legion began once more to assert its greatness. Jeraziah was not the warrior his father had been, but had learned great wisdom in his youth and prized knowledge above all else. Under his watch, the sciences flourished, and new weapons gave Man a new edge over Beast.
Yet unbeknownst to the young King, the Beasts now had a Queen. Halfborn, gifted with Manís insight and the natural understand of the Beasts, Ophelia was hailed by her new people as the avatar of the Goddess Earth. She remembered little of her time among the humans, but she witnessed firsthand the brutal violence they brought against the Beasts. She watched the Legion burns forests and slaughter the young, saw their cruel new weapons melt the flesh from creaturesí bones and blast the sacred stones of their lairs to splinters.
Unlike her brother, Ophelia had inherited her fatherís gift for war. From the deep forests, she planned grand strategies, communing with the Beasts through the spiritual gifts given to her by her mother. Under her leadership, the Beasts struck at every weak point across the Legionís domain; daring raids brought the horrors of war into heartlands long untouched by violence.
The unwitting fratricides fought for a decade in ever-worsening strife. On each side of the shifting borders, the dead mounted. Great pyres burned, mass graves were dug, sad laments and bitter howls echoed. In the deep fever of war, King and Queen alike were visited in a dream by their father. Haggard and changed, half-forgotten by the children, still they knew him and his voice. He promised each victory over the other if only they would find him where he waited, in a glade lost in the wilderness. He beckoned.
Raising their armies, each marched toward the appointed place. The vanguard of each host saw the other; the leaders knew their foes sought the same treasure; and each spurred the other to hasten all the more. At dawn, the two forces found themselves arrayed across the open field. In its center, Grimm stood, emaciated, mad, laughing with daemonic glee.
The armies charged, almost unbidden by their masters. Sorceries and spells of all manner crackled in the air. The blast of Manís weapons, the howl of beast warriors, and the screams of the dying all filled the place with the symphony of a massacre. Ophelia and Jeraziah both watched in mounting horror as their people hurled their lives away on the field of battle.
At the climax of the butchery, a crack like thunder deafened the assembled armies. For a moment, all fell silent. The ground shook and rumbled and split open where Grimm had stood. Flames and ash and lava spewed forth. The stench of sulfur flooded the glade. At the pitís edge, a claw emerged. Then another. And more. Pulling themselves up from the inferno below came daemons by the hundred, returned once more to Newerth.
The Hellbourne had come again.