A frigid wind blows down from the north on Fireday. The streets along Veritas Plaza are hung with the flags of Cheliax, their red and black whipping in the wind. Despite the cold, many people have gathered to get a look at this visitor. At just past noon, a song can be heard upon the air. As it gets closer, all recognize the sounds of the official anthem of Thrune, The March of the Thrice-Damned House Triumphant. The Rust Gate winches up and the great doors are thrown open.
An honor guard of Thrune cavaliers ride at the forefront, bearing flags of Cheliax and House Thrune. Following the mounted warriors, the troubadours march along, playing their horns and drums. A column of Thrune household soldiers and sworn agents come next. Just barely perceptible over the din of the band, the tolling of the Hell’s Bells seems to join in as a cadre of Asmodean priests makes their way through the gate. Wearing their rich crimson and ebony vestments, they swing censures belching out black and red clouds of incense which smells of sandalwood and brimstone. The priests stop in their procession to offer a few lucky bystanders of the faith maledictions against their foes.
Next, a baroque monstrosity of a carriage comes into view. Nearly too wide for the street and pulled by a team of twenty horses, it’s a small wonder it fit through the Rust Gate at all. It is festooned in leering devil faces and cavorting gargoyles. In golden filigree on the side is emblazoned the sigil of House Thrune. Crimson velvet curtains are pulled aside and within you spy a man. As the crowd peers to see him, he seems to be surveying them as well. An imposing man, dressed in fine red, orange and black clothing, he is middle aged with short, dark hair. His eyes seem to take in much as he meets your gaze. You think he gives a wry, half grin and the slightest hint of a nod before drawing the curtain closed.
Finally come the Hellknights. At the head of the column rides a dark woman with a shaved head and hard black eyes. To either side of her ride knights bearing banners with a spiked wheel. There must be at least thirty of them, and they are followed by nearly twice as many armigers. These knights look different than the Order of the Torrent that you are accustomed to. While the Torrent wear royal blue cloaks and their armor has a majestic, almost fanciful sea creature motif, these knights are different. Their armor is clearly designed to sow fear, making them look like flayed men cast in iron. Their cloaks, if they can be called such, look tattered at first. Upon closer inspection however, the cloaks are intentionally cut to resemble long strips of flayed skin. Each warrior carries a long sword on one hip and a whip on the other. Following this intimidating column is a long procession of seemingly unaligned free riders and foot soldiers, who may even be sell-swords. The parade continues north towards the Castle District and the music fades until you’re left with only the song of the Hell’s Bells.