Beyond the Veil
The Ashen Covenant
Without exception, the demon princes of the Abyss are dedicated to Tharizdun and his goals. Although they may have squabbled in the past and even worked against each other to achieve their own objectives, they have become a terrible unified force as the Chained God has begun to stir, the links of his chains straining and even breaking, one by one. As might be expected, this has had a profound effect on the philosophies of the dozens of cults devoted to individual demon princes, and the Ashen Covenant, servants of Orcus, are a poignant example of that change.
Once, the Covenant was controlled by Elder Arantham, who believed Orcus could only usurp the Raven Queen if she herself were slain and resurrected as his undead servant. As such, the devotees of the cult were, more or less, fully dedicated to finding ways to kill a god. Now, however, they have joined in the cause to reduce all creation to its primordial state, from which a new world could be formed. In this new world, they believe Tharizdun would make Orcus the god of death, and Orcus himself would have the power to make undead resurrection a natural part of the cycle of life, thereby fulfilling the cult’s ultimate objective.
As the Abyssals become increasingly interested in direct tactics and less so with subterfuge and trickery, the Ashen Covenant needed a new leader in order to maintain a position of prominence among the followers of Orcus. As such, Mauglurien, the Black Dragon, now leads the Covenant, and the Ebon Riders have become the most powerful arm of the cult. Although they once disguised themselves as mere mercenaries, the Riders now bear the demon prince’s banner as they ride into battle, and they raid villages along the Dragonbone River seemingly at random. In fact, the Riders are most interested in stirring up enough death and destruction to further weaken the veil between the mortal world and the Abyss. Elder Arantham (still a prominent member of the cult) will lead groups of necromancers into these ruined villages, gather the dead, and begin the rites necessary to weaken the veil and open holes between the worlds. These strategies have helped the Covenant to remain in a position of great importance to the Abyssals.
(Adapted from Dragon #364)