The Hellbourne General uttered a curse.
There, sitting in his chambers, he plotted. Anguished cries could be heard from the heroes and soldiers who were being tortured and devoured by his minions. His nostrils were full of the sulfuric scent of the surrounding fire pits but he had not yet tasted the blood of his foes. The Legion cause still burned brightly.
Tormented by this, the General poured over ancient tomes in search of an answer. He searched for power- pure and simple. A new way to bring judgment and despair upon the world of men and beasts and finally bring his foes to their knees.
And then he found it.
A whisper on a page. Hardly a footnote.
A passing mention of an ancient ritual to return to the world the most vile and evil beings to ever grace it. The General laughed, licked his parched lips with glee and continued reading. Their defeat was near. He could almost taste it. But not yet. Preparations must be made.
First, he needed the blood of an innocent, an easy enough task. But thing got trickier. The ritual also demanded the horn of a corrupted unicorn, a thousand maggots from the corpse of a Landshark and the fiery breath of a stillborn dragon. Acquiring these were a challenge for the General but he accomplished the task and created the summoning circle needed to bring them back. To return to Newerth, the Lost Riders.
He finally began the incantation with four of his most trusted lieutenants serving as vessels for the oncoming evils. He could feel the Apocalypse nearing and knew that his dark desires were finally coming to fruition.
Soon, a dark void opened at the center of the circle and from the cold came the first rider. Sheathed in flames and wielding a mighty blade, he cut down the first soldier where he stood and bathed in his blood - War had arrived in Newerth.
Close behind was a second rider and as he came forth, the thousand maggots roared to life and consumed the second warrior, filling the hall with screams of agony. Pestilence remained where once the warrior stood.
The other lieutenants, realizing that they were actually the final sacrifices, tried to flee the gruesome scene. But the General would not allow it. He threw his cursed sword, which cut down his cowardly lieutenants. One turned in time to see the maw of Famine consume him, turning his once full frame into an emaciated husk in seconds.
The last soldier grunted defiantly as he sat himself up, bleeding profusely from where his strong legs once were. He never saw his killer. The creeping shadow of Death was swift and the Pale Rider suddenly stood over a lifeless corpse.
The Four Horsemen, together again at last, turned towards the mortal that had dared to summon them from their eternal duties. Their weapons at the ready, they approached the General but stopped when they saw what he held in his hand.
"The tear of a father without remorse," the General chuckled as he held the vial aloft and crushed it in his ironclad hand.
The tear fell to the ground and from the spot rose a great rider in white, bow in hand. Then, in a flash, the General swung his sword. Before the rider could act, the blade sliced cleanly through a gap in his armor. The great bow fell to his feet, split in half.
Immediately, there was burst of light as the power of the rider coursed through the blade of the General. The hall shook and the cursed riders watched as their former leader vanished. Newly empowered, the General took up the deceased Horseman's armor. He had just done the impossible. No mortal had ever harmed one of the great Harbingers of Destruction. As he placed the last of the rider's armor on himself, the General pulled himself atop the steed of the fallen Horseman.
"Horsemen! You will now all pay tribute to me as your new master," shouted the General.
His Hellforged blade glistened red with blood and the Riders bent their knees. Each offered a token of their loyalty to their new lord: a small seed of their power.
"Come now," said Conquest, "Let us bring judgment down upon our enemies. When we finish only the worthy will remain!"
And so the Horsemen rode into the night. Half a world away, the very roots of the World Tree creaked as the impeding Apocalypse approached. It would take great heroes to stop the utter annihilation of Newerth. A desperate call went out... will you answer?