New Hero: Daraka, Loyal GuardianMay 19, 2020
After confronting the nightmare at the heart of the Eternal Throne, Vara finds herself in a twisted version of the Argenport; one built on her childhood fears and worries. As she flees pursuit she does not understand, and grapples with memories that are not her own, young Vara searches for safety, and for answers…
At the mouth of a dark alley, a sentry struggled to light his lantern. A storm was rolling in, and he wanted as much warmth as he could muster before the rain hit. As flint rasped against steel and the man cursed, a huge, scarred hand emerged from the shadows behind him and clamped over the his face. The sentry tried to open his mouth to shout, but his attacker’s grip was strong.
“Where is the girl?” a rough voice with a mountain accent asked. The watchman was overcome by the smell of sweat and steel as he stuttered out,
His attacker growled, and there was a muted crack as the watchman’s head bounced off the grimy brick wall. As he crumpled to the ground, the last thing the man saw was a pair of shaggy, fur-lined boots and the cape of Clan berserker stepping over him. The figure was enormous, his chest crisscrossed with pale scars, and a dark, iron greataxe gripped in one massive fist.
“Useless,” Daraka grunted, glancing up and down the street. He had made it out of the Spire before the alarm was raised, but had lost the girl in the chaos.
“Run, child! Daraka, go with her. Keep her safe.”
He could still hear his Queen's last command, ringing in his ears as Crownwatch hammers had broken through the door to her quarters. He had started to argue that no, his place was here, by her side. But Eilyn had overruled him,
“No time. The warning barely outran Caiphus’ return. You know what it means. You know what he will do next.”
Now Daraka ran, moving quickly despite his armor and bulk. Thunder rolled overhead, and lightning illuminated winged shapes in the heavy clouds that hung over the city. They’re out hunting, Daraka realized, rounding a corner at a full sprint. He passed a covered cart that half-blocked an intersection, bulling over the driver and spooking his horse without slowing down. The square beyond was filled with brightly colored tents—a bazar of some kind. The merchant’s calls blurred together as Daraka turned down a side street and came face-to-face with a Crownwatch soldier.
Startled, Daraka raised his axe, turning all his momentum into a single, scything strike. The soldier was quick, and narrowly avoided the deathblow. The axehead buried itself in the ground with crunch, and Daraka saw the soldier stumble backwards, reaching for a horn hung on his belt. Eyes wide, the soldier tried to bring up a long, metal staff with his other hand, but Daraka batted it aside as he took a step forward and laid the man out with a heavy punch. As the man fell, Daraka wrenched his axe free and looked up to see…
Vara, halfway up the block, crouched over the unconscious form of another soldier in Crownwatch green. Fierce pride surged through Daraka as he hurried towards her. The girl stood, still staring at the fallen man’s breastplate, one scraped and bloody hand held out in front of her.
“We must go,” the warrior said, shortly.
Vara flinched in surprise, and turned to face him. “D-Daraka?” she asked, shaking, “What’s happening? Where’s Mother?”
In shock, Daraka thought. Best get her moving. Out loud, he responded, his voice hard. “By now? In the cells beneath the Spire.”
Daraka reached out, and took Vara by the hand, pulling her along until she had to run to keep up. Somewhere far behind them, they heard a Crownwatch horn blare as thunder rolled again. Daraka couldn’t hide his fury as he said,
The warrior’s voice sank to a furious growl, his accent growing thicker as he added, “Tonight, the Clans have fallen.”
It was hours later, and the steady, grey rain was soaking into Daraka’s cape. Vara huddled beneath it, shivering, as the two crouched below the sagging roof of a saloon. The building itself was a little more than a burned out shell, but it provided some cover. They had made it to the outskirts of Argenport, to a rundown part of the city that backed into the great outer wall. But the Crownwatch patrols had grown more frequent, and Vara had spotted a valkyrie as it swept down from the storm clouds to bark orders at the guards. So they watched, and waited, Daraka holding his axe tight in one hand as he listened to Vara mutter to herself.
“…visions of sand and darkness. Why do I know this? I haven’t left the Argenport…”
The girl had always been a little dark for Daraka’s liking, but she had grown up in a city that distrusted her and her mother. And now she’s lost even that… he thought.
There was a pensive pause, then Vara asked quietly, “So what happens next?”
“I get you out of here. Like Eilyn wanted.”
She shook her head, looking up at Daraka’s grim expression. “No, I mean for father.”
The huge bodyguard grunted. “Without the Clans to oppose him? Whatever he wants.”
“But why do this? Why now?”
Daraka sighed. “The Clans were a threat. Eilyn showed this when she nearly took the city. The marriage bought Caiphus time. And now Rolant and his tinkers have something that can oppose our skyriders”
“Valkyrie,” Vara said, the word turning to fog in the damp air. “But now it’s not just Mother and her queensguard in Argenport, it’s… me.”
“You are Caiphus’ heir,” Daraka agreed, shifting to pull the sodden cape tighter around them, “ahead of that bastard of his.”
“So why—” Vara began, but her question was drowned out by a sudden uproar.
“There they are! Over there!” a voice called out from a nearby tower. Around them, lights began to dot the night as the guards lit lanterns and torches.
Daraka was already moving, pulling Vara away as the first arrow cut through the night, striking the ground less than a foot from their hiding spot. Vara heard the thud of boots behind them as she found her feet and ran, sprinting alongside Daraka. They turned left, then right, weaving back into the small lanes and narrow passages that had helped them evade capture before. Twice, they thought they had lost their pursuers, only to hear another call and the sound of horns behind them again. As they ran, Vara thought she saw shapes overhead; sharp shadows cutting through the storm.
“What do we do? Where do we go?” Vara gasped. She had run and played through the halls and courtyards of the Spire when she was younger, but her lungs have never burned like this before.
“I told Eilyn we never should have come to this city,” Daraka muttered, breathing hard. “We are alone, far from home, and—”
“Down there!” Vara hissed, pointing to the trash-choked mouth of a backstreet, half hidden by the growing night. Daraka jerked his head in a nod and the pair turned, swinging around the corner and down the thin alley to find… Nothing. Just a grimy brick wall.
Vara heard the clatter of boots behind them. A dead end.
“A trap,” Daraka spat.
“Of course,” a voice behind them crowed. “The best way to dispose of vermin.” Vara blinked. The voice was harsh and commanding, cut through with the hungry malice of a carrion bird.
Vara and Daraka turned, the big bodyguard taking a half step forward to put himself between the girl and the squad of armored guards at the mouth of the alley. But in front of them, descending on large, leathery wings, was another figure. Her skin was grey, and her hair cut short and ragged. She held a heavy sabre in one hand, and Vara saw that her legs ended in long, scaly claws.
Icaria, First Reaper of the Silverblades, grinned, and her teeth were bloodstained and needle-sharp. “You’ve run long enough.”
“Icaria…” Vara breathed, head swimming. She had heard the name before, bandied about in dark whispers throughout the Spire. There were many rumors of Rolant’s bloody experiments. Icaria was the first valkyrie, and the deadliest; Rolant’s enforcer and bloody right hand. And she was here.
In front of her, Daraka nodded. “Who do you think led the attack?”
The nightmare in front of Vara turned to look at the warrior, her smile sharpening. “Your brothers begged for mercy as we cut them down.”
“Murderer!” Daraka thundered. Around him, the rain began to turn into sleet, then snow, as ice coated the blade of his axe. Icaria sneered, and the soldiers beneath her shifted uneasily. Vara took a step back, eyes darting around the alley. Nothing but wet brick and a rusting drainpipe. I’m light enough to climb, but Daraka…
She looked up, and caught his gaze. Daraka twitched his head at the pipe. Vara shook her head, mouthing the words, ‘Not without you.’
“Take him,” Icaria snapped. The soldiers stepped forward, raising their shields in a wall of steel. Daraka roared in wordless challenge, and slashed his frozen weapon across the ground in front of him. There was a piercing shriek as ice leapt across the pavement, jumping from puddle to puddle in a glittering wave that engulfed the advancing line.
“Go!” Daraka shouted to Vara as he leapt forward. Before the soldiers could recover, he was among them. The heavy iron axe blurred, the butt of the staff catching a minotaur in the throat, as the gleaming head took a man’s arm off at the shoulder. Icaria snarled, wheeling to look at the girl, who stood, frozen. Mother is captured, father wants me dead, she thought, mind numb with panic. There’s no one else I can trust…
“Go!” Daraka repeated as a spear bit into his shoulder. Above him, Icaria surged towards Vara, her eyes shining. Daraka grabbed the spear with one hand, wrenching it from the soldier’s grasp as he tore it from the wound. With his other hand, he swung the axe, and ice crackled across Icaria’s clawed feet. She dropped, landing in an awkward crouch, and was forced to turn and face Daraka as he came at her, a weapon in either hand.
“Go!” He roared a third time as he swung at Icaria. Her sword flicked up in a parry, and sparks flew. “For the Clans!”
The battle cry galvanized Vara, who felt the rusted metal of the old pipe bite into her palms as she started climbing. Eyes stinging with rain and tears, she hauled herself towards the roof. In the rain and the thunder, she thought she heard laughter. Fear will haunt your every step! Had someone said that to her?
Suddenly, Vara was mad. Frustration and terror boiled into anger as she pulled herself onto the shingles. Mother stayed to face them alone, to give me time to escape.
She looked down, and—for a moment—Vara saw someone else standing before Daraka. Another woman, proud and defiant, with shining metal wings and a golden sword… Vara blinked, shaking her head, and it was Icaria again, eyes burning as she backhanded Daraka, her claws gouging bloody lines across his face. The warrior cursed, one hand flying to his eye reflexively. It was all the opening the valkyrie needed. Vara tried to call out, to warn him, but her words were lost in another peal of thunder as Icaria plunged her sword into Daraka’s stomach.
“No,” Vara breathed, feeling a cold wind blow around her. As she watched, Daraka reached out, wrapping his arms around Icaria’s monstrous form. The Clan berserker raised his head, and Vara understood the look in his remaining eye.
I have to survive. For Mother. For the Clans.
I have to survive.
Raising a fist, Vara called, “For the Clans!” and turned. Behind her, Icaria tried to give chase, but Daraka’s grip was too strong, his body too heavy. Vara ran, and the last thing the girl heard as she vanished into the muddy slums of Argenport alone was the valkyrie’s furious cry.
- The Daraka, Loyal Guardian promo quest begins today and will run until Monday, May 25.
- During the quest period, your first PvP win of the day will reward you with a copy of Daraka.
- Once the promo period is over, you’ll be able to craft Daraka using Shiftstone as normal.
- The Daraka, Loyal Guardian premium Avatar will be available in the store for 300 Gems for a limited time.
- A Daraka, Loyal Guardian theme deck will also be available in the Store for 500 Gems for a limited time, and includes the avatar and 4 premium copies of the new promo!
Read more Eternal lore here!
Daraka, Loyal Guardian
- 2 x Finest Hour
- 1 x Peacekeeper's Helm
- 3 x Permafrost
- 4 x Seek Power
- 2 x Snowstorm Druid
- 1 x Borderlands Waykeeper
- 1 x Eye of Winter
- 1 x Golem Press
- 2 x Minotaur Grunt
- 2 x Rebuke
- 2 x Siege Provisions
- 2 x Yeti Snowslinger
- 3 x Icebreaker
- 1 x Master's Blade
- 2 x Seasoned Drillmaster
- 2 x Tidecaller
- 1 x Vanquish
- 2 x Water Conjuring
- 2 x Wisdom of the Elders
- 3 x Jarrall's Frostkin
- 2 x Greenstretch Empath
- 2 x Longtail Cavalry
- 2 x Civic Peacekeeper
- 1 x Fourth-Tree Elder
- 4 x Daraka, Loyal Guardian
- 9 x Justice Sigil
- 12 x Primal Sigil
- 4 x Seat of Order
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