New Hero: Yushkov, the UsurperNovember 20, 2018
Yushkov strode through the halls of Korovyat, listening as the winter winds howled through shattered windows. The bodies of the dead and dying lay among the rubble, some crying out, others choking on smoke and their own blood. Yushkov ignored them all.
A single blow from his hammer splintered a set of ornate, gilded doors, and he entered the palace’s grand hall. One of the chandeliers had fallen during the coup, littering the ground with crystal that shone like fresh snow. He crushed the shards underfoot as he made his way through the unlit room.
I remember when I first saw such opulence, he thought. Such a waste.
There was a time, years ago, when the hall glittered with lights and laughter. The chandeliers hung overhead, suspended by golden cables. Huge ice sculptures towered over long tables, and hearty Kosul dishes like moose steak sat on silver platters next to wines from Argenport and spiced fruit from distant Ixtun. The Oren had opened Kosul’s borders to trade for the first time in decades, and the court was full of new fashions and foods.
Yushkov took it all in. His family governed a frozen barony far from the capital, and he had only ever heard stories of nights like this. The young princess Svetya was to be formally presented to the court, and her father, the Oren, was sparing no expense.
“You were right, father,” he said quietly, his hand on the shoulder of a thin-lipped man with silver hair and dark eyes.
Domnhall Kurtz sneered. “Nothing but filth and thieves. We are here only because we are required, Yushkov. Remember, we owe them nothing.” The older man scowled, “This should have been ours. The crown was stolen from our family years ago. It was all arranged. Your great-grandfather was to marry the Orene, until she fell for the son of the royal blacksmith.” Together Yushkov and his father walked down the grand staircase, passing members of the Bear Guard, their pointed helmets polished to a mirror sheen.
Yushkov frowned. He had heard this story a number of times, but seeing the banquet and riches on display made his family’s disgrace all the more painful.
“And when we levied an army to try and take what we deserved, what did the Orene do? She ‘honored’ my grandfather with a barony as far away from court as possible. We were exiled in our own country.
“Now the Oren is—” Yushkov began.
“Ingratiating his daughter with the court,” his father snapped. “It’s a show, nothing more. They sit in their palace, speaking with foreigners as our people weather long winters. They know nothing of life in Kosul. They are weak. They barely even hunt for themselves.
“Cowards,” Yushkov spat as they reached the floor. “The ceremony begins soon. Then we can be quit of this wretched place.”
Yushkov remembered the rest of that night well. Crowds of wealthy courtiers, all in clothes far finer than his own. Tables with enough food to feed an entire village for weeks. And beneath it all, the echo of his father’s voice: This should have been ours. The Kurtz line had always been noble, so what right to the crown did the Oren have if he was more interested in trade than in providing for his people? A man who does not hunt should not eat, Yushkov thought, anger flaring in his stomach. True strength was the ability to protect what was yours, and to take what you needed.
As the crowd gathered for the princess’ debut, Yushkov returned to his father’s side and hissed, “You’re right. We stand among vagabonds and weaklings.” His father bared his teeth in a grin as trumpets rang out, quieting the crowd.
The Oren, a tall man with broad shoulders and a beard flecked with grey, rose from a great seat at the end of the hall, a silver cup in his hand. In a deep voice filled with laughter, he announced,
“Friends, family, and honored guests. Welcome!” The crowd applauded, and the Oren raised his goblet, beaming. “I am not a man of speeches, so it is with great pride that I present to the assembled court: my daughter, and heir to the crown, Svetya Katarina Stormhalt-Kurtz!”
The doors to the hall swung open, and lantern light outlined a young girl in a glittering dress. Her hair was a bright gold, which was reflected in the diamonds around her neck and the gems on her fingers. Gasps rippled through the crowd.
“Disgusting,” Yushkov’s father said under his breath. “The stones and silk from that dress could raise moretroops to secure our borders, or feed our barony for a year.” Princess Svetya waved to the crowd, smiling warmly as she proceeded down the center aisle. Courtiers murmured and cooed as she passed. Sycophants, Yushkov seethed.
Finally, Svetya reached her father’s seat, where she bowed, slow and formal. Grinning with pride, her father extended a hand and pulled his daughter to her feet. At his side, General Vasilev, commander of the Bear Guard, cleared his throat and proclaimed:
“The court welcomes Princess Svetya. As is tradition, when the heir is presented to the court they are also presented with a companion. I gave your father Zhelan years ago, and I am honored to do the same for you.” Vasilev gestured past a glass case holding the ceremonial crown of Kosul to a side entrance, where two members of the Guard entered. The soldiers were wearing heavy gloves, and stood on either side of a small, white, bear cub that eyed the assembly with suspicion. The princess gasped as Vasilev added, “He is called Mokhnati. Treat him well, child.”
Grinning, Svetya turned back to face the crowd. Around Yushkov, people began to bow, dropping to one knee with the rustle of fabric.
“They wish us to bow? To her?” Yushkov hissed. He could see a vein standing out on his father’s pale forehead as the older man grimaced and nodded. “I won’t,” Yushkov said, staring heatedly at the Oren. Look at him. Why does he deserve to rule? That could be father. That could be me.
“Bow, boy,” his father hissed. “Before they see you.”
Yushkov looked over to his see his father sinking to one knee. All talk and no backbone, Yushkov thought, furious. “Very well,” he growled. “But I swear to you, I will never kneel again. Not to the Oren, and not to his daughter. You said it yourself, father, all this should be ours…”
Now all this is mine, Yushkov thought as he arrived at the far side of the cavernous room. It was destined, after all…
“I won’t let you have it!” Someone shouted. Yushkov squinted through the gloom. General Valisev was slumped against the base of a heavy glass display case. The door to the case was hanging open, blood smeared on its handle. In one hand, Vasilev cradled the jewel-studded crown of Kosul. In the other, he held out a heavy sabre. “Murderer!” The general cursed. His hand shook with the effort of holding the sword, but his voice was defiant. Beneath his thigh, a pool of blood was slowly growing.
True strength is taking what you need. Yushkov bared his teeth. “What makes you think you can stop me?”
“I—” Yushkov’s hammer ended Vasilev’s retort, and the crown slipped from the general’s twitching fingers. As Yushkov leaned down to pick it up, the bent figure of his advisor appeared at the far door.
“They have been found, Oren,” he said.
“Oh?” Yushkov grunted, shaking blood off the heavy crown.
In a single motion, Yushkov dropped the crown of Kosul to the floor and crushed it with a heavy boot. As he ground it into the marble floor with his heel, he looked up at his advisor and said,
“Tell them there will be no survivors.”
Yushkov, the Usurper Promo Quest
- The Yushkov, the Usurper promo quest begins today and will run until next Tuesday, November 27th.
- During the quest period, your first PvP win of the day will reward you with a copy of Yushkov.
- Once the promo period is over, you’ll be able to craft Yushkov using Shiftstone as normal.
- The Yushkov premium Avatar will be available in the store for 300 Gems for a limited time.
Yushkov changed the history of Kosul forever. What new power will you claim with the Usurper at your side?
We’ll see you in the game!
– The Dire Wolf Digital Team