The Old Ones
THE RUSTED FLAGELLANTS
“They had paraded for countless miles, yet still their cracked voices rang out in worshipful song.”
Rusted Flagellants are the names given to those that have lost all hope for a dying world, and now wander the lands in marauding hordes, preaching the end is nigh and fighting the darkness with a fervor that borders unto insanity. The Empire is a dangerous and cruel place. Wars, plagues and the predation of terrible monsters can destroy whole towns and force their inhabitants to become beggars, vagabonds and brigands. All who endure such terrors are hardened by their losses, yet some are driven over the edge by their suffering. Many of these disheveled wretches see their plight as a morbid sign that the Empire is about to collapse, an irrefutable portent that these are the last, desperate days of a dying world. These men revel in their despair, yet they see that the only true way of salvation now, is to fight and die in the defence of Vorn.
Such unfortunates flock like moths to a flame, to hear the despairing speeches of lunatic doomsayers, and in their desperation, they join these penniless zealots in their rants about lost hope and the end of the world. Together, these deluded bands of Flagellants roam the Empire at will, spreading their gospel of desolation before them. It is a common sight to see groups of fanatical madmen whipping and beating themselves as they travel from village to village, begging for scraps of food as they preach their nightmarish vision of ruin.
When word reaches the Flagellants that a battle is brewing, they gather together in anticipation for the end, believing it to be the final hopeful battle between good and evil. Thus, as armies clash, the Flagellants throw themselves into the fray in desperate gesture of self sacrifice and repentance. Although they are mad, Flagellants are not cowards. They firmly believe that the end of the world is about to come, and their conviction gives them a courage that borders upon insanity. Indeed, for many are completely fearless; having long since confronted their own vision of the world’s ending, nothing holds terror for them any longer. Their madness gives them the ability to fight anything that stands before them.
It is not unheard of for men of all walks of life to atone for disgrace by taking the vow of the flagellant. While not officially part of any Imperial Legion, commanders have made use of them as cannon fodder and suicidal assaults on fortified positions, though they are oftentimes impossible to control in any real sense. Veteran warriors among the Flagellants consider it a mark of faith to put their lives in the hands of Vorn and wear ancient rusted armor full of rents and gashes, each one a testament to the final bravery of its previous bearer.