Full names: unknown
Fragments of fears frantically bolted across the desolate Plain of Nightmares, splintered echoes of tormented dreams from worlds beyond the Necroplane.
As they cascaded across dank lands, those wretched imaginings were corralled by nightmare herders, their task to catch all the dark dreams that coalesced into the Necroplane from other worlds, and then to feed them to the armies of the dead. Principal among the herders was Night Fright, an agent of the Necroplane whose murky origins are lost to himself, like a dream forgotten.
The herders are not simple plains farmers of dark dreams; no, they are skilled gatherers of the dark stuff of souls. This soul fuel is used to empower the armies of the Necroplane. Hulking Soul Golems are fed dozens of those shadowy eidolons, their outer shell of necro-mechanical armor and their peculiar necro-dermis shackling the tormented shards of unwitting psyches. Necro G.I.’s armed with weapons powered by the dark dreams. And worst of all, the Supremes of the Necroplane drink in the misery and pain.
It is the task and twisted honor of the nightmare herders to gather fuel for the armies of the Necroplane, and foremost among them is Night Fright. It was he that had already drawn out more of the slivers of abject imagination than any other, and it was he that Dr. Tenebrous frequently dispatched to worlds targeted by the Necroplane to sow greater terror and thus feed their world ever more.
Interlude 1: A distant memory, like watching faded impressions of someone else’s life. Images come unbidden to Night Fright’s mind, of a world other than the Necroplane. Earth? War rages across a city; an invasion by the Scourge and the legions of the Necroplane? In the heat of battle he is in a grassy park full of stone and bronze memorials, and there he faces an oncoming tide of dead soldiers…
The herders of the Necroplane ride the wastes aboard brutal Nightmare Engines, crafted when dark dreams become so powerful that they lead to the death of their hosts. Called paradigm nightmares by the Necroplane, those dreams take distinct form in the Necroplane, and seek to re-enter other planes of reality, to afflict the tortured dreams of yet more hosts.
The most powerful paradigm nightmares are transformed into Nightmare Engines when they are shackled in carapaces manufactured by necro-scientists. Powerful jets are mounted to their bodies and nightmares their fuel. Although bound by death-force technologies, Nightmare Engines are unruly creatures, needing a strong master to break them and keep them under control, and Leech required the most cunning and determined of riders to be kept in check.
The dark rider known as Night Fright had seemingly managed to contain the untamable; Leech was the most aggressive of Nightmare Engines, and before being claimed by Night Fright he had disposed of at least half a dozen herders, and had consumed the lives of countless dream-hosts. When the duo met, they knew instinctively that together they could bring greater pain to every world that the Lords of the Necroplane turned their gaze towards. Where other Nightmare Engines were mastered, Leech was Night Fright’s equal. Together they formed a whole greater than their individual parts, and in this Dr. Tenebrous in particular was pleased.
Interlude 2: Betrayal. An ally, a trusted friend, has warned the invaders. Twisted machines fly forth from the advancing horde, maniacal, leering deathly riders precariously riding those contraptions like twisted demented surf-boards splitting the sky with lopping arcs. They fly towards him. His companions are terror-struck and transfixed. One of the flying metal machines strikes him with incredible force and then blackness follows…
In a vast citadel, the Scourge gathered. Mourn swooped above his team-mates, eager to sow screaming terror; a Soul Golem lumbered into position; Supreme Zed crashed heavily to ground. Portal devices were put into operation, and on the other side awaited Sanguine, the Necroplane’s Earth-spawned agent. Necro G.I.’s lurked in readiness, and canisters of zombie plague toxins were ready to convert some of the indigenous population into instant Necroplane agents of war.
Night Fright gently eased Leech into a turn towards the primary portal. They were both ready to feast on the horrors in the souls of any unfortunates whose paths crossed their own. Yet somewhere deep down, Night Fright could not escape the feeling he had experienced something very much like this once before.