Prelude of Blades

My favorite game on the NES is Ninja Gaiden. Even now, thirty years later, I remain captivated by its opening cinematic and its lasting story about rivalry and death.

For those of you who never had the pleasure, let me set the scene.

It starts in stillness with two rival ninjas facing off beneath a moon-filled sky. The tension builds, and when it can’t hold back the violence any longer, they charge, hurling themselves into the air with blades drawn. There’s a brief collision of metal on metal, and for a moment, everything goes white. Then it’s over. Life and death decided by a single, fatal blow.

And scene.

Great stuff. So much implied history conveyed in an instant.


When the Shadowborn came to Nine-Spires, they were nothing. We, the Houses Noble, took them in, cared for them, gave them a place to call home among the civilized, and what was our reward? Only Treachery. They took advantage of our goodwill, hijacking the network of influence we worked so hard to build.

Sure, as figureheads, many of us kept our positions of authority, but a gilded cage is still a cage.

“…but a gilded cage is still a cage.”

In secret, between Shadowfall’s easternmost border and the Tyrin Freehold, we searched for deliverance. Until one day, beneath mounds of soil and stone, we found a way to reclaim our birthright.

While our first attempts failed to yield positive results, we persevered. After decades of trial and error, we successfully hammered relic technology onto our bones, replacing every ounce of frailty in our flesh.

Reborn as the Wrought, we seized the initiative, taking back what the nine nameless clans had stolen from us. One on one, we remained outmatched, but in groups of two or more, we were a threat no Shadowborn could ignore. The driving pistons of our new limbs proving too much for all but the most veteran telekinetic.

Little by little, we took back what was ours.


What began as petty skirmishes against an unknown enemy along the eastern border quickly turned into all-out war, as the Wrought revealed themselves to their former servants in a coordinated strike.


Rebirth. Vengeance. Redemption.

Leave a Comment