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A collaboration of artists set to the theme of the game of CHESS. Those involved in the project� All The Black army pieces : Simon Sherry The White army King & Pawn: Scott Robinson Queen & Pawn: thickbkackoutline King Bishop & Pawn: Quigonjim Queen Bishop & Pawn: RubyRed Design King Knight & Pawn: No Frills Art Queen Knight & Pawn: Jordan Clarke King Rook & Pawn: LilyM King Rook & Pawn: sjem Story and biographies: Danny Nolan

In a unIverse where the laws of evolutIon, majIk and scIence do not apply there are armIes whose need to prove themselves In battle transcends dImensIons. In thIs unIverse warrIor worlds can fIght IncredIble rIvals In fantastIc battles In locatIons that we can only perceIve to be real. unknown to all combatants Is the fact that theIr armIes are all equal In power and abIlIty. these battles are more than power and accrual of wealth, they are about strategy, bravery and assessment. the battle Is never over untIl the ultImate ruler of eIther sIde Is met and defeated. there Is no good or evIl there Is no rIght or wrong there Is no ultImate power of strength there Is only black and whIte and the wIll to wIn. but wIth thIs desIre for the ultImate prIze comes ultImate condItIons, hIdden In the contracts. the ultImate prIze Is to hold the fIeld untIl you lose. there can be no ultImate wInner. two ancIent army have been chosen to face each other on the celestIal battlefIeld. the longevIty of each race’s exIstence depends on the outcome. defeat means the extInctIon of the specIes. wInnIng means another suIcIdal run at glory. one, a kIngdom where lIes and deceptIon have been buIlt on top of each other for so long that the thought of loss Is becomIng equal to the glory of wInnIng. the other, a race lIvIng In a dystrophIc socIety where war Is the very essence of lIfe and survIval; where dedIcatIon to battle Is a way of lIfe. In the end It's one wIll agaInst another

A Game of Kings.

in the Beginning………. It was somewhere but nowhere, it was neither up, down, forwards nor back.

“I don’t know why you don’t use it as a foot rest. I use this scepter thingy as a walking stick when I go for walks in the hills”

It was there.

The place just existed.

“Ha, table, how many times do think I’ve debated about swapping this hour glass for a time piece like a new Rolex stop watch. It’s tradition. Live with it brother”

It was the Hollywood version of the after-life or maybe heaven in appearance. Everything was white and a swirling mist seemed to obscure anything within a three metre radius. Within this scene sat three ancients on identical thrones. They were dressed in white robes with flowing hair beard and moustaches that seemed all to morph into each other to become one shiny mane obscuring their faces.

“Tradition?, bah. I wonder what our younger is doing currently?” “Ha, table, how many times do think I’ve debated about swapping this hour glass for a time piece like a new Rolex stop watch. It’s tradition. Live with it brother” “Tradition?, bah. I wonder what our younger is doing currently?”

The ever-present mist obscured the ancients’ feet.

“He’s more than busy with his pet project. If that’s what he wants to do who are we to criticize. Building sustainable worlds, what a laugh. I heard he even had a son. Totally lost the plot in my opinion. Worlds are for our amusement and a means to an end, not for nurturing and growing like some domestic animal.”

As if to distinguish between them each held a different item in their hands.

The ancient seated in the centre held an over sized hourglass that had been exhausted, ready to be turned again. The ancient seated to his right carried a white book with black and white squares on the cover. The book looked old, its cover worn and its pages well thumbed.

“Hmmm. He just didn’t seem to enjoy the battles like we do”

The only striking physical feature was their diamond pink eyes. Their chairs were high backed , extending above their heads with wide armrests.

The ancient seated to the right of the centre held a short staff made of wood with a milky crystal atop of it held in place with a clasp made of skeletal fingers. All three ancients were in animated conversation with each other causing the surrounding mist to eddy all around them.   “This book gets heavier by the moment with the addition of names of contenders that want to participate, is there any chance we can speed up procedures brothers?”  “When has time ever been relevant to us brother? It only matters to those on the field.”  “Well, I suppose a table would come in handy then”

“Speaking of which, while I’ve got this book open I’ve the next two all sized up and measured ready to call”   “Good lets get the ball rolling, and seriously brother, try using it for a foot rest, if you won’t, give it over here” The ancients continued with their conversation and procedure meanwhile the mist at their feet cleared to reveal that they were sitting high above a landscape of checkered fields much like a country farm or the crazy way they do cricket ovals these days when they mow. The field itself was made up of eight equal square lots wide and deep, amassing sixty-four all told. The total distance in both directions would have to be close to fifteen to twenty kilometers at least. Either side of the fields was flanked by fast rising incredibly steep mountain ranges that soared above the field into the mist. Clearly visible, carved into the sides of the barren rock face were trails not dissimilar to the type left by sheep and cattle on country hillsides  

Though this imposing sidewall encased both sides of the playing field it cast no shadow at all, as there was no sun - the field was bathed in perpetual light supplied by the ancients. At what appeared to be the open ends of the field were a series of tents, marquees stables and pens of varying sizes. These resembled a small town but in reality were campaign sites for large armies complete with barracks and worship compounds. Behind these temporary camps, at a distance of about four hundred metres the mist began to close in creating a pale wall of nothing.

The ancient grunted as he bent down and collected his book and then with an exaggerated swipe of his hand opened the book on exactly the page he was looking for. Using his finger to scroll down he let out a faint whistle. “Oh this should be interesting brothers”   “Why say that brother?”

Taking in all of these boundaries the field was effectively inescapable and in essence was a big empty caged battlefield waiting for its combatants to arrive.

Although the field was clear of any disturbance or residue of fighting, it had been the stage of many a bloody conflict.

And would be the theatre for countless more.

All for the amusement and entertainment of the ancients sitting high above in the clouds.

“Yes brother”

Looking into those clouds from the field the robes of the ancients were visible, one moved and slid the book under his feet.   “Hey, the leathers quite nice on the toes”   “I told you but now you’ll have to pull it out again’

“Because some of the old servants are getting a run this time” “What? Expelled angels?”

“Hmmmf!. Obviously got bored with it down there. Who are they fighting again brother?”   “The nasty pieces of work from the darker dimensions who have been on the board for quite a while now”   “So?”  

“Oh, sorry. The armies of the White Wing challenges the armies of the Black Spear"


“Good, let’s get ready to rumble shall we brothers”

“Because you didn’t tell us who’s the next against the current champion brother”

“Oh yeah”

“I’ll send out the invitations”

The army of the White Wing

The King of the army of the White Wing.  The king had surrounded himself all his long life with men of power, spirituality and ambition building a Kingdom over the millennia to rival all those that surrounded his borders. With the help of a fallen Angel whom he had tricked into servitude he has built and commissioned the University of the Gear, to create new and wonderful machinery and search the murky waters of mysticism to create weapons and soldiers.   His beautiful and young wife picked for her ability to survive rather than love, had proved to be a winning hand and it was she who ran the royal house with an iron fist. With this choice, the King had opened up a Pandora’s box of intrigue and ambition that would play in the background without his knowledge. The King also knew his limitations, all his life he had built up this vast society that placed him at its apex, but in reality he was a hollow man with no real talent. He was not a great general; even a soldier and his faith, even in old age could be considered heretical. For the truth hid a different story. The King himself was a fallen Angel expelled from Heaven because of pride. The white king had never learnt his lesson and over thousands of years had hidden the truth of his origins and taken over the whole kingdom. But as the bitterness and years ate away at him his thoughts had moved onto more perverse spiritual matters. The King had been building up an unstoppable army for centuries and knew how to apply for challenging rights to the battlefield of the Ancients. By nominating for the Cosmic battlefield he could prove once and for all that his God had made a mistake and would welcome him back through the gates of Heaven. All he could do was watch and wait for the game to play out. That game was his life and that of all those he ruled.

King’s Pawn Barely human but loyal and savage The King prefers to have those under him effective but expendable. He has never let anyone grow close to him, even his Queen is a necessity of protocol. His Majesty had the University of the Gear create the King’s personal guard from his own genes because of the high loyalty and devotion to the King this factored into their being. Ironically though, they are not taken from the King but come from the Queen after it was discovered by the University that the King’s gene structure was abnormal and did not allow any cloning or modification in any shape or form. A secret the Queen and University hold close to their breasts. These fanatically loyal servants believe themselves to be children of the King and would lay down their lives with a mere whisper from the Him. Extremities such as wings stubs and sexual organs that grafted on by the University staff to both hide the fact they are born female and as homage to the winged coat arms that the King insists appears on everything he rules.

The White King’s story. The King made a beeline for his personal chambers; at least there he couldn’t be disturbed. Following in his wake were a dozen advisors, chefs, university representatives and embassy staff all battling each other for his attention, none game enough to actually touch him or stand before him. Behind them, scuttled an assortment of pale misshapen dwarfish creatures. They were the King’s personal guard. Each was similar to the next, with such a slight difference that took a bit of study to recognize. Though they all appeared hunchbacked it was more due to small knobs each had on its back, which looked more like large shoulder blades. The real reason they were hunched was due to the large implements they had attached below their wrists. Some had large maces, others what appeared to be boulders or even cannon balls. The guard scurried a short distance behind the advisors. One word from the King and the guard would annihilate the advisors without question. Actually with one word the guard would turn on itself if the King ordered it, so strong was their fierce loyalty to him. Both these thoughts were going through the King’s mind as he reached the door to his chambers. He turned to the throng trailing him who stopped immediately in their tracks, all questions ceased. “I am now going through this door to have some privacy and also to stop a Rex inspired genocide. So please go away and wait for me in a place that is at least one hundred metres from this door. I will call when I am ready”

“You go to sleep” the King said realizing threats against the guard were useless. The guard dropped where they were in a clattering pile. Unconscious. “Peace at last “ muttered the King and entered his chamber. The King placed his hand against the wall as soon as he entered the room and gave a sigh of relief. He started to remove the heavy regal garments that he always wore in public; even his wife had never seen him without them on. The chains and cloak were deceptive and were not as thick or heavy as they appeared. The garments were designed to deceive and deceive they did. As soon as they were removed the King stood in front of a full-length mirror soldier straight, revealing a much more wiry frame that the covered version implied As he stretched two white wings that seemed to grow and grow curled out from behind him filling the room both in height and width. Here stood the true ruler and leader of the army of the White Wing. An expelled angel who could no longer remember his name or his crime, his centuries of rule had wiped all memory of his past from the records and he only knew this secret. It was a burden that seemed to grow heavier with the years and he had taken steps to try and rectify this problem, if they only come to fruition, he thought. And with that a bright light grew from within the walls. The King immediately tucked back his wings then realized it was impossible even for his Bishops to penetrate the security of his chamber. He relaxed a little. Staring at the light he noticed it was moving across the wall and as it moved the area behind it dimmed and revealed thick letters in the language of his country.

When the light extinguished a message was neatly printed onto the stone wall and whatever picture or tapestry that adorned it.

“Yes your Majesty” said the advisors in unison and in one quick action turned and left.

The King had at last got one of his wishes.

The guard stood still staring at the King.

He started to read the message aloud: “You request has been accepted. Your Nation is cordially invited to appear before the ancients….” The King grew more excited with every word.

King’s Bishop Though it is rare for angels to be expelled from Heaven, when they do they are more often than not found in the employ of ambitious Kings and overlords. Extremely wise and powerful these fallen angels are also unpredictable. Ignorant royalty often think that they will do their bidding no matter how evil the deed, but an Angel is the model of God’s will and even though they have been expelled from heaven doesn’t mean it was evil traits that led to that expulsion. An Angel will never reveal its reason for expulsion and will often cling to a firm belief they will be forgiven and return some day to Heaven. This often means they take on higher stations of the church as a secondary role to their employment. Angels may have power, speed and knowledge but they are also mortal to a degree and carry great guilt. They will not pass over bodies in their path but are great commanders in battle. Angels will sacrifice themselves when needed and considering it to be for the greater good and ironically a way to return to heaven.   The King who was a higher order of Angel than the Bishop seized on the opportunity that expulsion presented and tricked the Angel into his service, knowing how to manipulate the powerful figure but never revealing his own true origins to it.

King Bishops pawn The Angel Bishop was always conflicted by the blasphemous works of the University and it’s loyalty to it’s King, It stemmed some of this anguish by creating its own religious order of devout, some say fanatical soldiers. Many feared the Bishop’s priests , something the King encouraged to keep other sections of his army in line.

The Angel Bishop’s story. The only person the White King had directly informed about the invitation to battle was the Bishop Angel. The Bishop Angel had been persuaded to come to the Kingdom many centuries ago by a King who offered enlightenment, freedom of prayer and a tolerant society. At first these enticements had been realized, but as the years progressed the scholars and engineers turned their attention away from architecture and domestic sciences to more medical experimentation and manufactories that built war machines. The University of the Gears no longer advanced healing, it raised the dead for information that could have been derived from books and giant monsters that should have remained extinct. Abominations to the Angel’s mind and senses but tolerable, because the true King and its Master had said so. The Bishop Angel dealt with these things it’s own way. By creating its own religious order of devout, some say fanatical soldiers. Together they prayed for the souls of their blasphemous colleagues and brothers in arms. The King had summoned the Bishop Angel and explained how the Celestial battlefield was before an audience of the Gods and that the battle was to be fought against an army of a Sulfur blooded, night dwelling demon race that was incarnated from the God’s earlier experiments with evil in men. The Bishop Angel reacted as the King had predicted, enraptured with the thoughts of impressing the Gods thus finding favour and being allowed back to heaven. The King smiled inwardly at this blatant display of envy fell short of telling the Bishop Angel the true rewards for the victors of the battlefield [

White Queen The Queen of the White army bred to inspire and lead in Battle. Incredibly powerful, she has the King’s ear on all matters and her scepter gives her limited control over the Angel as well as the University’s supernatural creatures. The Queen is in constant communication with the University due to the large role it plays with the army flank ultimately under her control and she is privy to much information. The least of which is her knowledge that the King spawn are actually creations from her own gene pool predominantly mutated and rejected versions that hold no resemblance to herself. In a Kingdom that means exactly that. A King – dom. A Queen is expendable no matter how skilled or loved. With this thought always plaguing her she is also wise to the fact that the King is in an almost self-destructive mode and offering up the kingdom to fight in the Galactic Battlefield an unhealthy state of affairs for their survival. Fighting for your borders is one thing, fighting for your world’s very existence another entirely.

Queen’s Pawn In past lives the Queen’s Pawn has always been the Queen’s Lady-In-Waiting. Though considerably less in power she tends to bear a remarkable likeness to Her Majesty. Whether this is intentional or not has never been made clear to the public. The secret lies in the breeding and cloning experiments conducted by the University of the Gears. The Queen’s pawns are one of the very few species that can interact with the King spawn due to the fact that they are secretly related due to the same program. Even though she remains the Queen’s favourite the Queen’s pawn has exactly the same chance as every other pawn to be promoted.   No favouritism is given on the field of battle.

The White Queen and Her Bishop. The steps to leading up to the University doors were imposing, they’d even have an air of respect it weren’t for the dog turds everywhere. The Queen’s Bishop was witnessing first hand one of his greatest triumphs and failures in one hit. Having pioneered gene slicing and genetic engineering, as Dean of the University his most brilliant achievement had been to create his Lone Wolf battalion. A genetic combination of human and wolf, years of trials had created the most fierce and loyal fighters outside of the King’s own personal guard. The only problem was that no matter how he tried , even after giving the Werehounds the power of free will, speech, the ability to educate themselves and breed, the Bishop still couldn’t stop them from going to the toilet wherever it suited them. The Bishop who was the military chief of the Werehounds was also responsible for their mess and the King’s Bishop was always there to remind him of the consequences of playing with God’s tools. Angel’s were just so damn self-righteous.     The Queen’s Bishop never really trusted his companion Bishop but these things usually swung both ways. Having the Queen’s ear and control of the university gave the Bishop huge influence and . His work at the university had been responsible for the ultimate strengthening of the armed forces, something the King had prioritized many years ago. which had resulted in the Kingdom being the most powerful nation in the dimension. The Bishop, along with the University of the Gears staff had created marvels and oddities using science and ancient crafts and majik that had his peers could only dream of achieving in several lifetimes. But it was the re-animation of the past heroes and Generals that had been the turning point of his career. When the Bishop had rediscovered the secret of re-animation with the Necromancer tribes of the Western Plains, the King’s reaction had not been favourable. In fact it was so severe it had threatened the end of the university, especially after his companion Bishop decreed that laws of the known God had been broken and that abominations had been created. If it hadn’t been for his Queen’s intervention and her quick wits all would have been lost, and together they would never have found out the truth behind the King’s distress. With the Queen’s persuasion the King had let the living dead remain in the service of the army on several conditions. Firstly, that they remain under his flank, secondly that only their military memory be reanimated with their bones, and the final condition - that only those the King chose were to be raised from their tombs. The Queen’s argument was that these past warriors would be invaluable in combat. Their experience and knowledge would be unsurpassed, which they went on to prove time and again. The King’s concern was that such figures of history would reveal what had taken him centuries to hide. Of course, the ever insightful Queen with the help of her Bishop strayed beyond these commands and discovered from one of the ancient soldiers the truth of the King’s origins and filed it away for future use. The Queen and her Bishop’s ultimate aim: to find out why their King was so determined to built such a vast unbeatable army, when he had already conquered everything that was defeatable in and beyond his known realm.

Queen’s Bishop Having an equal who is a fallen Angel can be hard on the status and having the ability to prove it without question takes some doing. The Queen’s Bishop is an extraordinary man who has complete faith in his abilities, his king and those that he has in charge. Dean and Principal of the King’s University he has built a school of unsurpassed knowledge that has given creation to the great flank engines of battle. Though mortal he has commissioned professors to find elixirs of longevity and never travels anywhere without his protective werehounds.

The White Queen Bishop’s Pawns Because of his position, the Bishop is also expected to lead in any Military assault. He has therefore had the University gene splice his werehounds with prisoners and captives to produce his Battalion of Hounds. These soldiers are savage and are under exclusive command of the Bishop who has had a specific gene implanted to guarantee unswerving loyalty, similar to the King's personal guard.

King’s Knight Nothing matters more than experience in battle. This the White King knows only so well. Once again drawing heavily on the University’s archives and powers, fallen Generals are recalled over and over again to relive battles that they have been participants in. The White Army Generals have long fought or fought under past greats and every career soldier dreams of being immortalized forever- literally. Though the King’s knights are products of the Supernatural Wing of the University, the King likes to keep them close at hand . This belies his faith in the both Queen and the outcome of some of the experiments. It also gives him a way to keep his history masked by controlling any Generals who have been reanimated, and who may have loose tongues

The Kings Knight’s Pawn Like the Skeleton General these reanimated soldiers are the elite of times already passed. They are risen from the dead with no memory of their past lives other than their military glory. The survive only to follow orders.

The White King Knight’s story. The General Knight looked at his ribs again and flicked the third one down with his bony finger. It made a high “pingy” noise. “Oh how I wish I could tune these things, it could make a fine musical instrument”

He remembered the King all right, but he was different now. Though he looked the same age, he didn’t have his wings anymore – either that or he hid them pretty damn well.

he thought out loud to himself .

He wasn’t the old King he remembered. The King he had served under was a happy King and rid the land of Warlords and greedy landlords who took advantage of and neglected their charges.

“Oh, who am I kidding - I am so bored”

His King united his world.

The General Knight was sitting on his trusty steed Watebuscuit watching his charges practice their battle formations. Which they did each and everyday over and over and over again.

The King still had the whole place under his control but these days seemed obsessed with building. Armies

The Men under his command were just like him, a Risen Hero, an army of soldiers and leaders reanimated by the University of the Gears to help in the leadership of the King’s army. They were a very controversial bunch to start with and would have been sent back to the mausoleums and Necropolis that held them if it hadn’t been for the Queen and the King coming to an accord and making a strict set of protocols. No reanimated member of the Risen Army could have memories other than that of the battlefield. No personal recollections of their lives prior to military service, of loved ones or their histories, not even their own deaths. These skeletons with armour and fighting styles from several centuries only lived for battle, and that was all they did.

He even saw that the King with the help of the University, had recruited a Mountain Titan into the army. The General remembered losing a whole infantry of good men to rid these lands of that. Now it was a comrade. Go figure. The Queen and the Bishop tried to look like they weren’t surprised when he revealed what he knew about the King, but he could tell something was amiss. Probably the worst part was he and all his Risen Heroes weren’t allowed to mix with anyone and were kept separate from the other army members except for special exercises or when the King or Queen wanted strategy information.

Over and over again ad infinitum.

It was weird the Queen had sworn him on his professional oath not to reveal to his King that he had these memories and that he was privileged amongst all the Risen Heroes and then stick him under the King and his Bishop Angel’s noses on his flank.

The General wished he’d had that privilege.

Most times he just wished they had left him buried in the cold hard ground.

He was different, he remembered everything.

He remembered falling off his horse in the middle of a battle and before he could right himself, looking up at a massive barbarian holding a somewhat bigger axe, next thing he knew he was standing in front of the Queen and her Bishop in ceremonial armour and with see through hands.

All things considered though he was comfortable in his own skin- No wrong term – bones- these days, everyone he knew was either dead or talked about battle strategy, but he still knew how to have a bit of fun as long as no one was watching.

He was a skeleton.

He separated his skeleton army into equal teams and made them do berserker attack formations.

The Bishop did something that took away the shock and utter disbelief and briefed him on what his new role would be.

He nearly literally laughed his head off as the two sides smashed into each other and virtually exploded into a pile of bones and armour.

But then they started asking questions.

He loved watching them try and put themselves back together again.

“Did he remember the King and where he came from?”

He had to find fun where he could get it these days.

and stuff about his past.

Queen’s Knight Actual warrior soldiers from a different part of the kingdom and not products of the University, these Centaur type Knights are regarded highly by the King to protect his Queen and siege engines. Highly skilled in battle many have been resurrected and used as King’s Generals. Just as the King keeps the Ancient Knights under his flank the King also relies on the Centaurs to keep him informed of the Queen’s actions. The Centaurs are fiercely loyal to both King and Queen but know ultimately who is Ruler of the Kingdom

Queen’s Knight Pawn The Equilord and his race, though no match for the White King’s enhanced and magically assisted army were no slouches in battle intheir glory days before the rise of the Army of the White Wing and the Equilords amalgamation with it. History will all show the Equilord as a peaceful and enlightened race but not one to shirk away from a battle if needed to defend itself. The equine based lifeforms had also the knowledge and capacity to perform quite a few battle tricks of their own and it is these that the White King was so keen to have them as valued allies. One major battle tactic of the infantry was to create illusions bordering on hallucinogenic, these would include the army morphing into schools of Hippocampus (horse/fish) complete with massive waves forming before it. This of course was affective as any trebuchet or archery onslaught to the hapless foot soldiers usually facing the field opposite them and cause the opposition to scatter in wild flight.

The Equilord’s story. The Equilord were a proud race and were also very wise. They had aligned themselves with the White King many years prior knowing he would only grow stronger; and they knew that no matter how brave or skillful in battle they were, they would be no match for an enemy like him. It had proved to be a smart and strategic move over the years. Equilord’s country had prospered under the rule of the White King, although in actual fact he had little to do with the workings of the Knight Lords state and they ran their affairs as if they were still independent. But the Equilord General and supreme ruler knew better. If they had not aligned themselves with the White King they would be overrun and subjected to what could be best described as enforced servitude. To go against the King now would result in these actions still. Grazing with his family in the royal paddocks the general often pondered on his observations of the White King and his eclectic army which was made up of freaks, monsters and the dead. This made him thank his lucky stars he didn’t have to live in the palace. If not exclusively for the way the White King constantly commented on his glossy ceremonial wings and his insistence on stroking them, it really was strange behaviour that disturbed the General no end. The whole country reeked of high drama. He always got the impression that someone was ready to stab someone else in the back just so they could jump the line to stab someone else. The whole kingdom seemed to run on secrecy and deceit. The Equilord general trusted no one but his own race but he knew the King trusted the Equilord. This was the reason they fought on the Queen’s flank, it was a well known fact that the King wanted to keep an watchful eye on the University generated reanimated knights and their battalions of the dead. The Equilord General had seen them doing exercises and beating themselves to pieces just so their commanding officer could amuse himself. The King should be more concerned with them making it to the battlefield in one piece rather than being insubordinate. The General was sure the Queen held some kind of sway over the dead army and possibly the rock titan. They weren’t his problem though - they were under the King’s control - he had other concerns like not running over the Bishop’s stupid hounds, who snapped at his people’s fetlocks when they tried to do ceremonial charges. All of that paled into insignificance though when that huge mobile castle was moving about. He nearly lost some really good men when that thing started to run riot. The General could only pray to his forefathers that whoever they had to battle in this fight the King had picked, were primitive or unorganized. He did not have any confidence that this army would fight as one let alone watch each other’s backs.

White King’s Rooks The King’s Flank are guarded by a an ancient stone giant (Titan) that was summoned from sleep by the Scholars and practitioners of the University of the Gear, Over the years and with collaboration with the ancient rites, structures were able to be built upon the titan and secret instructions whispered through its thoughts to protect the King should the occasion arise.

White King Rook’s Pawn Descendants of the original keepers of the Great rock Titan after it was tricked into the King’s service. They eventually over time became the Titan’s people as opposed to it being their prisoner and become it’s protective army.

The Titan’s story. The Titan was a solitary creature that was more than happy to stay put and watch time pass by. It was as old as the land that it was part of, and contrary to popular belief it was incredibly intelligent and wise with a huge capacity to take in and record all that happened around it. Many years earlier armies of men had woken the Titan and asked it to pledge an allegiance to the White King, who had taken control of the lands that the Titan was quite sure belonged to itself. After many discussions with the little man with the all the wolves and a couple of episodes of chasing sorcerers off its back, the Titan agreed to become part of the Kingdom. It was aware that the King knew it had a weakness and the Titan declared that in order to be a loyal and obedient ally it would need to be left to slumber and only be summoned in the case of battle. The King approved these set of conditions and in turn offered an alternative arrangement. The Titan would have a special guard of men who would live on, protect and groom the giant rock lord until such time that its assistance was required. Eventually the Titan discovered the King’s deceit when it’s so called protective army built large lodgings on his back and dug mines into its brain. The Titan had been made prisoner but had not actually been informed of it. Despite all this, the men who lived on it had aged and had families and built a home upon the Titan and in time the Titan saw them as its people, because they cared for it and kept it covered with forest, game and children. The children, they were the Titan’s revenge on those who tried to enslave it, as they grew and became part of the landscape, they developed the ability to turn themselves into mini tornados of swirling dirt, rock and debris. The King always ready to grasp an opportunity (some say because of abject paranoia) made it law that all people of the Titan were drafted into the army, and in order to keep tabs on them made sure they fought on his flank, just in case the Queen and the University had some dealings in this strange twist of events. The Titan refused to trust the King , his Queen or his University with its annoying band of men with their pointy hats and their dogs. The Titan often dwelled on the King and the first time he met him. It was sure this wasn’t the way Angels were supposed to behave?

White Queen’s Rook One of the White King’s great assets – even though he possesses a fallen Angel in his ranks was his belief that faith alone would not save his army and the art of both mechanoid and wizardry could always be relied upon to be great allies when administered carefully. Hence the reason the king kept Universities that studied the mechanical and more unorthodox majical arts. It was through these academies principled by the Queens Bishop that the flank engines were created. The Steam City The Left flank that provides the Queen’s armies protection is a massive structure made of slick marble and iron making the structure unscaleable except from within. The ability to create what can only be described as a turret on wheels also provides a means to carry the food , supplies and weapons that a large army needs to conduct a battle of mythical proportions.

White Queen Rooks pawn Due to the massive size of mechanoid monster that is the Steam City it is slow to prime and start and is restricted in it’s movements at first. To counter this a small army of Blasters were created. Incredibly fast initially on take off they eventually maintain a much slower speed up the battlefield. This sudden burst of speed can surprise the enemy and give the impression that the mother ship is capable of the same acceleration.

The White King’s announcement. The White King summoned all his bishops, generals and auxiliary staff to congress, there were things that needed to be explained. Not all things however. No matter how absolute and despotic his reign may be, certain things could still cause rebellion and mutinous behavior given the conditions they would be bound to under the laws of the celestial battlefield. Questions had been asked of course. “Where is this campaign?” “How shall we arm against this enemy, for we know nothing of them or their lands” “Ummm….who are we fighting again?” The White King had duped his subjects. His collective memory was greater than the Bishop Angel who had totally wiped all memories from its conscience regarding it’s crime and subsequent punishment. The Angel didn’t even have the ability to recognize the King as one of its own, something the King had been aware when he had found the fallen Angel all those centuries ago.   The King had watched the battles millennia before and knew that it had been the ruination of Kingdoms and worlds foolish enough to attempt it. He also knew it may be a way home.

The army of the Black Spear

Black King The culture of the Army of the Black Spear since time immemorial has been that of the warrior. Descendant of a hundred Kings, he holds the collective memory of all those that led before him. He knows the secrets of the Shaman and will settle for nothing less than total obedience from all that he controls. Ironically, though he is a warrior King he has never seen face to face battle with an enemy due to his abilities as extreme commander, and the fact that Tribal Army law forbids him from entering any fray that could endanger his rule or life no matter how small the odds.

King’s Pawn (spawn) Since all servants of the Black King train for war from the age of three, there is a massive pool to draw from as front line Infantry. The culture of the Army of the Black Spear deems that to die in battle is to die a glorious death but this doesn’t mean that soldiers should give their lives away easily.

The Black King’s story. The King of the Nation of the Black Spear was never alone, even when he was physically by himself, he still had the collective memory of countless generations of his peers in his head. Usually he called on them for advice or some long lost knowledge, otherwise they said nothing. Since the army of the Black Spear had held the celestial battlefield for decades now and had been victorious in three challenges the old men in his head wouldn’t shut up. Every one of them had a view or an opinion that had to be expressed, or worse a brag about who was responsible for the winning moves in any of the victories.

The King grabbed hold of the beast’s head with his two hands and rubbed its bristly-haired scalp. “Who’s a good boy hey?, Who’s a good boy Gha- Ri?”   The beast lifted its mighty head and grabbed the King around his waist with its massive hands and placed him on an ornate covered litter high on his neck between its large elephant ears.  

Respecting your Elders was one thing, but this was getting out of hand.

“Come on Gha- Ri let’s ride” The King cried and let out a few “Whoop whoop” type noises.

He often wondered if it would be any use sticking a dagger up his nose and doing some cranial clean out.

At least he knew of one way to get rid of them without taking one of the Shaman’s toxic smelling mind blockers. The King was heading towards a large heavily fortified gate cut into a huge rock face.

Gha- Ri the massive Mammoth started running around the pen scooping up a giant mallet as ran and used it smash boulders. “Hit that one Gha- Ri, yes, good boy” the King called out.

As he approached the gate slowly swung open and as if synchronized, was completely open by the time the King arrived as not to keep him waiting.

Inside the rock wall, which on entry revealed itself to be a large animal pen was a seat made of the same material as the wall. On this seat, in the centre of the enclosure sat a creature. . The creature was humanlike in body – though of giant proportions but on its shoulders was the head of a Mammoth.

Suddenly the King’s senses went into overdrive and he used his powerful arms to indicate to the Bullrock to stop.

A Bullrock

Words of flame appeared within the clouds and they were addressed to him.

“Oh no” The King started to hear protests building in his mind.

“That’s it for now my faithful beast, playtime is over. We have been summoned to the Great field of battle and our destiny”

“I’m gone, I can’t bear this”

The Bullrock with what could only be described reverent respect, removed his King from the litter and placed him on the ground.

“Sad, unnatural and pathetic” This chorus of insults faded rapidly the closer he got to the beast. The Beast rose up from its chair and bowed its head to the King.

Gha- Ri let off a trumpet noise of triumph and was obviously enjoying himself as much as the King.

Above, the clouds were moving far too quickly and became as black as death. The King’s heart soared, as he knew what was coming.

“To glorious battle” the King cried and almost immediately the voices in his head returned to offer advice.

Queen of the Army of the Black Spear. The Queen of the Army allpowerful and mother of the heir to the throne but ever expendable. The King may have many Queens in his lifetime, each drawn from a pool of Amazonia Knights. It is the highest honour any Queens Knight can aspire too but one’s ambition is never to be revealed whilst a Queen still reigns. The Shaman often mind probe to make sure mutinous thoughts are never realised. In a Warrior Tribe love is never an option,

The Queen’s Pawns These young girls do their early army service under the Queens tutorage and as the reach a certain age or in the some cases a certain blood lust they are transferred to the Amazonias

The Shaman King’s Bishop Descendants of an ancient race, the Shaman have links to the old ways, ways observed before man was the dominant species of the world. The shaman is spiritual overlord of the army and is answerable only to the king. Legend has it the ancestors of the king tricked the shaman – even then a dying breed- to serve him and in doing so bound their loyalty to all kings that followed for all time. Shaman have become an intricate link in the chain that have evolved into the Armies of the Black Spear and it’s development into the warrior nation it has now become.

The Shaman Queen’s Bishop The Shaman through majik and selective breeding have created the Black Knights, Monoliths, Basilisk and Pawn Spawn that take to the battlefield. The Shaman does not regret or harbor resentment for things past and is totally loyal to the king and the betterment of the Army of the Black Spear. The Shaman splits itself into two distinct personalities when it enters the battle controlling each body with either side of its brain. Left for Queen – Right for King with this ability he has rendered his pawn army in the same mould.

Understanding the Shaman. No one questioned the Shaman, even the King let it do what it wanted most times unchallenged. There was good reason for this, the Shaman was mad. Not angry mad but loopy, few sheep short in the paddock, stark raving type of mad. Having dual personalities didn’t help the situation, especially one being male the other female. It was always in conflict with itself and only ever felt right when it could split its personalities and fight for its master and mistress on the glorious battle field. But since there were usually decades between each challenge the Shaman continued to dual internally with itself to do what made it happy. Since both personalities of the Shaman hated each other with a passion this internal seething resentment and anger to either go out shopping with girls or play poker with the guys had driven the dark magician insane.

The Shaman floated around the study come laboratory, deep in conversation with itself. “I know black is great for evening wear but really, for everything? Even weddings?” “I don’t see the problem, last week you said it was great because it looked slimming” “You just like it because it makes you look mean and ruthless” “I am mean and ruthless, how do think we have held the field for so long?” “Don’t take all the credit and don’t let the King hear you say that either. These guys are born warriors. They have a 500 percent mental head start before the other army even know what they’ve gotten themselves into” “Yes , I must admit the competition to date hasn’t been that much of a challenge. We’ll have to see if this new challenger is up to the task I suppose” “Hmm, well I’m off to see the Amazonia, they’re having their physicals and I best be there for the mind scans to make sure everyone is in line with King’s rule” “Ummm, do you mind if I come and have a peek to make sure everything’s up to scratch?” “Pervert, I can’t wait until battle day when I can stop sharing this body with you” The third most powerful figure (some even whisper the most) left the room arguing with itself.

King’s Shaman’s Pawn The right side of the Shaman’s brain, the masculine, is represented by things more natural and organic. In any effective army, the most efficient use of resources will always provide a distinct advantage. Knowing this, the King’s Shaman often recycles a variety of waste products including Bullrock droppings and the remains of the vanquished, and sends them back into the battlefield in a multitude of forms. While on the whole less effective on the battlefield due to their lumbering pace and ramshackle physiology, these muck golems serve a purpose both as expendable cannon fodder and biological weapon. More often than not, those who have met their end while fighting the Shaman’s footsoldiers are smothered and engulfed as opposed to being beaten in combat.

Queen’s Shaman Pawn The left side of the Shaman’s brain, the feminine, is represented by metal and machinery. Forged of metals, the origins of which have long been forgotten, and imbued with eldritch energies from within the Queen’s Shaman herself, these cold steel hulks are highly efficient in close-quarters combat. Initially capable of bursts of high speed, the Doomhammers wind down to a more sluggish pace, limited to striking at those foolish enough to get too close.

King’s Black Knight Excellence in military studies and on the battle field gives the ordinary soldier a chance to become a Knight for the King the Black Spear. Generations ago it was discovered “breeding and class” had no place in determining one’s fitness to lead on the battle field. Those chosen as the best are sent to be “improved” by the Shaman. These Centaur type warriors can leap over the dead and the fighting and have two hearts to steer their massive frames. Selection is considered a great honour and a privileged life greets those that achieve this lofty acclaim

King’s Knight’s Pawn Leapers or Spring Booted Knaves are notorious for their quick starts into battle. Like all pawns they are soon abandoned to look after themselves on the field of battle thus giving them firm grounding on the rules of battlefield survival and the road to being a General Knight.

Queen’s Knight The Amazonia Like the Black King’s Knights the Amazonia are equal in rank and strength. Their allegiance is to the queen and when not preparing for battle they are the Queen’s personal guard. Amazonia consider themselves better than the King’s Knights mainly on the premise that they can accompany their Queen in actual battle.

Queen’s Knight’s Pawn The Little Sisters, as they’re commonly known (there is no room for affection in the Army of the Black Spear) are much like their male counterparts and are more than capable to form their own ranks on the battlefield . They will usually fraternize with the King-Knight’s pawns, who are more often than not their husbands and neighbours. Though it is uncommon for these warrior women to aim their sites for promotion to the rank of Queen-Knight, it is not unusual for one to occasionally rise to the rank of Queen herself, such is the turn-over rate for the role of King's Consort.

Kings Rook The Bullrock Massive creatures created by the Shaman to carry supplies and extra weapons for the Army of the Black Spear. Strong but limited in movement due to their sheer size, they are the product of a long extinct race of Pachyderm that was gene spliced with the last single survivor of the Giant race in the Dark Cathedrals of the Shaman’s Apothecary. Extremely r only ever used for battle, they are treated with special care during times of non-war. (So peace isn’t an option here, right?) The King is often seen in their company feeding and grooming them exclusively.

Kings Rook Pawn You will find them stationed around the pens of the monolith and they are used to maintain the health and well being of the King’s favourite beast. Crab-like creatures, they are used during times of inactivity as cleaning device for the Monolith, keeping it free of fleas and other parasites. Initially able to launch a longer-range assault by hurling highly-volatile Monolith dung from their excretion glands, their effectiveness is soon reduced to that of foot soldiers and cannon fodder during battle.

Queens Rook The Basilisk Another giant mutant created by the Shaman to protect the Black Queen. Like the Monolith, the Basilisk was a product of gene splicing – in this instance dragon and giant. More intelligent than the Monolith and fiercely loyal to the Queen and the King equally, the Basilisk is allowed to wander free on its own estate and hunt , train and care for itself.

Rooks Pawn Due to enormous size of the Basilisk flank creatures, they are able to support parasitical minions that sweep before them in a wave not unlike locust on the wing. Combined they make a formidable force as they stream across the battlefield, but will often separate when the fight is underway. Due to their fast swarming movements they are often referred to as “The Stain�

The army of the Black Spear announcement.

When word had spread through the Nations of the Black Spear that they were to return to the celestial battlefield it was if Christmas, New Year and everybody’s birthdays had come at once. To the people of the Black Spear nothing could surpass the glory of battle except perhaps dying in it, but then being able to return again and again to see if you die the next time round came a pretty close second. Celebrations spread all over the land with many a thing being killed in sheer happiness, though not many citizens. That of course would mean you would miss out on the glory of the battle be it as victim or slayer. So it was mainly small squeaky animals and birds, the larger beasts saved for the feasts to come after the victorious return. It never occurred to the Black Spear nations that they could ever lose. It had been announced that all armies who face each other on the battlefield were equal but the Armies of the Black Spear with their Warrior culture and lifestyle seemed to adjust better than any of their opponents. It even seemed to quite a few that winning and celebrating and getting promoted was better than dying but they generally kept those thoughts to themselves.

The Setting of the Board  
The Setting of the Board  

The First part of the epic Game of Kings saga