Far beyond the mighty Caputalis mountains, in the deep and dense jungle of Uligo, the Shrine of Umbra was animated by coats of many horses. Mares, foals and stallions, all stood around the Shrine, enjoying the few sun rays that escaped through the tree branches. Foals chased one another, mares groomed their coats or crafted delicious treats for their herd while stallions spared in tests of strength and patrolled.
The Abyssanctum herd was the permanent inhabitant herd of Uligo, always near the Shrine, guarding it and enjoying the energy it gave them. From time to time other herds came to the Shrine but rarely incidents happened, the herd known to be peaceful and open to other herds, Azazel known to help from time to time herds or horses in need. Over the course of years, several mares that were held hostage by their stallions asked Azazel for assistance, the black stallion immediately taking action and sending all herd to release the mare. However, once attacked, the stallions and diplomats fought back day and night to get back their mares and took other mares as revenge. As long as no horse threatened it, the herd remained calm and friendly.
The herd was formed by Umbra’s followers, practitioners or not, all were welcomed and respected under the leadership of Azazel and Occultess assisted by their best friends, Xibalba and Sephiroth. Years passed and the offsprings of Azazel slowly returned to their birth herd and acted as guardians, forming their own herd that contained mostly stallions.
Theldrassil, the first Demigod of Umbra had been born in the heart of the herd after his death, and joined the guardian herd continuing his eternal duty as a Guardian of the Mortal World. Ancient, the son of Theldrassil and Dawngazer, the well known Demigod pair returned too after spending years in bands of stallions, proving to be a very powerful and influential diplomat, returning home five mares that had been stolen from the Abyssanctum herd.
Umbra, the mortal Shadow of Umbra watched from the shadows the well being of the herd from distance, intervening only when needed. He was the most secretive member of the community, no horse ever seeing him in the presence of mares, yet foals from his blood joined the herd shortly after the wet seasons, his most powerful offspring, Abaddon, born from Nocturnal, the Dark Mare of the Woods, a mare that only the darkest of stallions could approach. Most of his offsprings left the herd soon after growing up, only Filios, the incarnation of the famous stallion of Reveri promising to remain longer with the herd.
Valkorion, the first arabian to be born on Vesanus joined the guardian herd acting as a scout and storyteller, many ancient lore stories revived once with the words he spoke. The mares loved him and as a result, many arabian offspring bloomed in the herd offering a wider diversity to the draft and warmblood dominated herd.
The most curious young foal was the one that called himself Lucifer ever since his birth. Azazel was aware that the foal’s mother was one of the last foals of Lucifer, the founder of the herd that worshiped Nox, but he could not tell if the foal was indeed its true reincarnation or not. The herd members celebrated Nox and honored her too, but the foal proved to be attached to Nox more than the other dark followers.
During a dark night with full moon a pure black arabian stallion introduced himself to the herd, the proud offspring of Tiamat, the Incarnated Chaos and Calamity Embers, the beautiful pale mare. The stallion proved to be a powerful stallion with a power similar with the one of Theldrassil. While Theldrassil had the power to blind and use Darkness against its opponents, able to ever hurt them physically with the power of the Shadows, Obliterum had the power to drive its opponents into insanity, tearing apart their minds and emerging them into despair. Obliterum had a sadistic satisfaction in having revenge against the herds that attacked Abyssanctum and once he sent a pack of jaguars to attack and tear apart the leader of a herd, killing him after countless hours. This made the Abyssanctum herd gain a darker reputation and herds begun to keep their distance from the herd, but this did not anger Azazel. Azazel knew that was the true nature of Obliterum and accepted it, allowing the stallion to follow its destiny and act upon its own desire.
At first it was thought that Obliterum was the most curious individual, but after turning three years old, one of the strongest offsprings of Azazel stood before the herd, all heads turned in his direction. The muscles tensed under his dark coat with each gracious step, arching his neck. His aura was strong, but his physical power was way more grater, being able to defeat multiple opponents at the same time.
He was the son of Theldrassil, sired during his first incarnation, the mother being Bellasona, daughter of Azazel and Occultess during their second life. This made Darkness a pureblood, born from both incarnations of Azazel and Occultess, making him to be more powerful than their normal offsprings. The charisma of Darkness made all the mares look upon him, his gaze intimidating the stallions and seducing the mares, his confidence increasing his charm. Even if Darkness had been born from a warmblood and a draft, the stallion was an arabian, gracious and slender.
At first glance he seemed calm and peaceful with no display of aggression. Knowing the immense physical power he possessed, Darkness dared to challenge Obliterum for the leadership of the guardian herd remaining calm while demanding his rightful position. Obliterum, angered by the challenge attempted to use all his will power upon Darkness, but the arabian stallion didn’t move a muscle, unaffected by Obliterum’s chaotic power and influence.
Azazel assisted at the scene and examined his pureblood offspring, curious to see his true power and determination. He knew the risks of a true battle between the two powerful behemoths, but after understanding that Darkness was immune to any influence, Azazel knew his offspring was no ordinary equine.
With a swift move, Darkness moved behind Obliterum surprising him with his speed and agility, the stallion arching his back during his trot, the flexibility of the bones greater than of the average horse. Changing his position with a fast jump, Darkness turned his back to his opponent and delivered a kick with a single hoof, making Obliterum to lose his balance and fall while all equines watched him. Before Obliterum could recover from the shock, Darkness turned and left the battle, heading towards the guardian herd and claiming his rightful position as leader. After claiming his position, Darkness gazed to Azazel and bowed his head, making him understand he was there to protect his herd, recognizing his superiority.
Time passed and more mares joined Abyssanctum, the guardian herd chased off entire rival herds and foals grew up into majestic stallions and mares, all following their natural course of life. Azazel continued to keep the herd together with an iron hoof, as always calm and meditative , most of the times communing with Umbra. But his time was near and he could feel it, his time running low.
During the course of three years, Azazel prepared one of his sons to follow his hoof prints and to lead the herd until his return. Occultum proved up for the challenge and listened to his father, learning every word he said about leadership. Once with the approaching time of claiming the herd, Occultum kept his distance from his father, standing far away, analyzing. Azazel thought it was sadness, but he was destined to reincarnate again, the second time, retuning to lead Abyssanctum.
Darkness however, did not believe this, feeling a hidden reason behind Occultum’s behavior. He kept his eyes on Occultum waiting to understand his intentions. The heir became more and more prideful, bragging to the herd mares about the great future of the herd. His pride and ego extended until he demanded all mares to grant him foals each season, no exceptions being accepted and he threatened all the stallions to not mate any mare as none had the right at offsprings.
Nox circled around Azazel for days, slowly preparing the old stallion for his departure to the Realm of the Gods until his reincarnation. One faithful night, Azazel and his mate, Occultess, disappeared, both claimed by Nox, making Occultum the new leader.
Occultum savored his title and his pride made the mares look confused at him, unimpressed. After the mare recovered from the loss of their old leader, Occultum begun to tell the mares the old ways of Azazel were wrong. He believed that all the dark followers were superior and that Abyssanctum should be feared, all herds and horses running away from its way. The dark followers were the pure in his vision, while the other followers or the non believer were the impure, and considered them a useless shadow cast upon the ground.
Seeing that no mare shared his visions, Occultum forced the herd to move, herd that was now under the command of Darkmantra, the daughter of Xibalba and Sephiroth. The herd slowly moved away a thundering sound echoing in Uligo as the horses trotted away. Darkness and the guardian herd followed Abyssanctum, Darkness already knowing what was about to happen. During the day, after reaching Aequor, Occultum begun his reign over the other herds, challenging weaker stallions and keeping mares captive while the diplomats went after trusting mares to steal them. A few herds attempted to retrieve their lost mares, but Darkness had a duty; protect the herd at all costs. After Darkness fought with the attackers, Occultum’s confidence grew stronger as he saw the herds leaving the zone as soon as possible.
Mares that had nothing to do with the Dark Gods were forced to live with the herd but Occultum did not accept them, treating them with hate and indifference calling them impure mares. After a mare got stolen, her foal galloped towards her just to be killed by Occultum. “I will not accept offsprings from other stallions than me. The present foals are an exception, but from this moment only my foals will stay around the herd.” The hopeless mares glanced at Darkness, the only stallion that could do something, hoping to see a change.
Theldrassil sick to see the legacy of Azazel destroyed called for Darkness, getting away from the herd to not be heard by Occultum.
“We can’t stay and watch. There are mares that have nothing to do with Umbra, innocent foals killed and a bad name for the herd. We must do something.”
“Azazel had already been reincarnated, Umbra told me his current location. Obliterum will send a pack of mountain lions after the herd, forcing the lead mare to move the herd into the desert. I will tell you the rest when the time will be right.”
The following days Obliterum manipulated the mountain lions, making Occultum to retreat into the desert, unable to fight the felines on his own. Darkness ignored his calls to protect the herd, only following the herd doing nothing. Umbra’s presence grew stronger and stronger as the herd approached the location where Azazel had been reborn the second time, being his 3rd life on Paradisus.
After reaching the herd, Occultum came muzzle to muzzle with his own father, Azazel, this time a black and intimidating warmblood stallion darker than ever. His body was muscular than the average warmblood, standing at an astonishing 18.00 height, the height the most powerful draft stallions reached. His coat was black with small white sparkles across his body, resembling the night sky. His feathering was wider and longer, starting from his knees, covering his black hooves. Black stripes marked his body , running wide over his back, torso and legs. The mane, a dark void that absorbed the light reflected it back making his mane a moving mist dancing once with the wind. The black stallion held his tail high, the dark and dense hair almost covering his legs and touching the warm sand.
“You dared to change the herd and make a bad name for it. Not to mention that you don’t share the same ideology as us. You are not worthy of this herd.” Azazel had a deeper and colder voice, his aura darker and more powerful, visibly different than his past two lives. Seeing that his father was more powerful only by looking at him, Occultum backed off attempting to escape the confrontation.
“Darkness, help me kill father and I will let you be the lead, I will be the second, just let’s bring his down together.” Darkness smiled sadistic, pleased to have Occultum cornered. Before he could run, Azazel kicked Occultum crushing his muzzle, blood racing down, painting the sand with the blood of his own upcoming death. Avoiding his father, the stallion managed to run away, only to have two predators after him chasing him, sent by Obliterum who watched in silence all the scene. The felines bit the stallions back legs, the stallion falling to the ground with his hooves bloody, breaking his bones.
Nox gently galloped across the skies, waiting to take Occultum’s soul to the Realm of the Gods, his end coming painfully slow. Azazel, disappointed and sorrowful to have his own son fall into the hooves of death approached the draft.
“I regret to see you like this, but I cannot accept that my own son planned my death. And I cannot accept all the pain the herd had to endure because of you. You are not worthy of my legacy.” Azazel’s words cut deep into Occultum’s flesh, knowing what his punishment was going to be. As the stallion gave his last breath under Nox’s eyes, Darkmantra galloped away disappearing into the distance leaving the herd, leaving behind a colt, the only offspring from the founders of Abyssanctum.
The colt that had no name had been neglected by its parents and he watched how his father died, feeling no remorse or regrets. Azazel glanced at the foal, happy to see a colt bearing his blood and the blood of his trusted friends, Xibalba and Sephiroth. However, he knew the foal was broken inside. Xibalba and Sephiroth did not reach the herd, their incarnations recently begun their journey towards the herd. Being only a few days old, Azazel become its father, taking him under his protective hooves.
As the herd recovered from its mounds, the night slowly begun to engulf the desert and Azazel released all the captive mares and claimed his rightful leadership position, continuing his legacy.