The power of the Halcyon Wells originates deep underground in the boiling dark Netherworld. What lives aboveground survives because Fortress guards the Nether Gate.
Past Fortress, none may go.
‘NETHERWORLD FORTRESS’ ART
Save up your ICE, Glory, Essence and cards! All three tiers of the Netherworld Fortress skin set will be available during Update 1.16.
NETHERWORLD FORTRESS LORE
“Explorer, he’s called,” grumbled one worker on the high scaffold, sweating down the M-shape of his balding forehead. He pointed his hand axe over his opposite shoulder. “All he’s done today is sit in the shade.”
“And pay,” said the other, dusting wood dust away from the split they’d created near the top of the tree, just above the symbols that had been carved into it since a time before memory.
“This tree is cursed,” said the first.
“Nonsense!” The Explorer emerged from the open tent and climbed the scaffold. His fingers traced the letters carved into the stone around the lock. “It is ever true: The life above and the death below are one, and made by the other.”
“Sounds like a curse to… ahh!” cried the first as his axe broke through to the hollow center of the tree. A thick breath of hot air escaped upward.
“It is the Nether Gate of legend!” cried the Explorer. In horror, the workers watched as he climbed inside the tree.
“Don’t go, sir!” wailed the second worker, wringing his hands. “What if there are monsters beneath?”
“There are no such things as monsters,” echoed the Explorer’s voice as he lowered himself into the tree. “Only beasts of the Netherworld!”
The Explorer lost his grip and fell, tumbling, for far longer than the tree was tall. In that void he could not tell down from up, nor whether he had landed. In the distance was a whisper of firelight that, rather than illuminating, made the darkness even more so. The darkness pressed into him; he tasted and breathed the darkness until he thought he would choke. A longing loneliness bade him cry for lover or mother.
The blazing light grew and morphed into the shape of a beast. At first, it was a mass of spitting and burning rage, incomprehensible, a terror that scorched the Explorer’s throat. As it drew close, it formed into an enormous, volcanic, burning dire wolf.
“Name yourself, trespasser,” said the wolf.
“I am Walker of the Cartographers. And you… you are Fortress, the Guardian of the Nether Well.”
“What you know, and what you think you know, are leagues apart.” The churning volcanic fire solidified into armor, and the beast growled.
“I have come to see the well,” said the Explorer, drawing up his confidence though his teeth chattered.
“As you wish,” said the wolf, and the blackness echoed with the sounds of howling. “Only those who defeat me may glimpse the Nether Well. Draw your weapons, Walker.” From the wolf’s shoulders, two more vicious heads sprouted into being, growling and snapping, and the rest of the ignited pack emerged from the darkness.
The Explorer turned and ran, ran in no direction, swallowed into the void, begging forgiveness with pathetic sobs. The wolf’s deep laughter echoed from all around him until he woke, gasping for breath, at the base of the sacred tree.
INTERVIEW WITH SUPER EVIL ARTIST NOXII
My first concept for Netherworld Fortress was a war dog. He’s a guardian of the underworld like Anubis, a protector of souls. He keeps people from getting in and out. He nurtures those souls so they can rest peacefully without being used for necromancy, or being sucked into an object for magicians. I like to think that he and Adagio are a part of the same world.
I concepted a black dog, but made of cracking lava. For tier two, I gave him an armored muzzle and silver gauntlets with a gemstone that I imagined was imbued with energy. For tier three, I gave him the silhouette of the fans on the sides of his head; this came from the idea of Anubis and Cerberus and Egyptian sculpture. I wanted him to have the pharaoh beard. The extra heads are very vicious Boston Terriers! It was hard to find vicious looking Boston Terrier reference material because they’re so darn cute!
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