Friday, November 14

The Last Messenger

[Written on vellum and sealed in a metal scroll case, placed upon the steps of the Council Gathering Hall]

After the Iron Citadel was disintegrated by the the Bloodwing Comet, the warlords (who had been quislings to the Obsidian King until the roar of the comet drowned out their orders to sacrifice themselves) turned to thoughts of power and greed immediately after the shockwave dissipated.

Weapons were banned by Hades in the Imperial sector except by his personal guard. However, a secret of Ereb'ai architecture was revealed by the tortenic blast. In the Age of Myth, warriors propped their spears against each other and laid shields and animal skins over them for shelter. Beholden to that ancient tradition, whenever an Ereb'ai soldier retired to an existence of municipal servitude, his weapons and armor were interred in the walls of the structure to wish he was assigned.

The spikes and blades that bristled imposingly from modern bureaucratic towers were laid bare. After a few seconds of the ominous echoes of groaning metal, thousands of years of perfectly preserved weapons and armor rained down from a burning sky in a hail of steel from the crumbling towers. That sliver of the fast and strong who survived the collapse found the inventory for conquest in the mountains of rubble surrounding them!

Ministries of veterans cleared their throats to bellow forgotten battle-cries again as they returned to the path of War. After the obligatory in-fighting, new banners were raised. As soldiers from the defunct Ministry of Tributes slaughtered the remains of the Ministry of Servitude, the stealthy agents of the Imperial Messengers Guild wound their way through what landmarks remained of the capital to the edge of the crater.

With much trepidation they scoured the bowl of destruction in their search through howling gales of flame and soot, prodding unrecognizable twisted hulks for the remains of either the King or the mad Prince. To my knowledge, they found no trace of either.

In the midst of their exploration, they arrived at the edge of the turbulent lake of molten slag at the epicenter. As soon as the first shrieking head of the Hydra emerged from the glowing pool, it arched into the air as high as the rim of the crater on a neck of barbed scales. The girth of the beast's neck surpassed that of the towers in which the doomed explorers had so recently toiled. After the beast descended upon a platoon and swallowed them with a snap of its hissing jaws, three more heads rose from the lake and claimed all of them. Except myself.

I can only assume the Hydra was still weak from the impact and content with less than complete meal of a hastily gathered army. This former humble servant of the Imperial Messengers Guild by the auspices of Fate became the sole survivor of that Doomed Patrol. Having been elevated by default from Private to General, I made my first executive decision to Retreat. As the rest of the warlords' brigades stood dumbfounded at the crater's edge, I hoisted myself back up the ledge and suggested we set out rivalries aside until the issue of the Hydra was resolved. In the space of a few moments the pact was made.

I then proposed that outside agencies be called to assist. There is a saying in Erebus. If your first idea is brilliant, your second idea is your doom. I could have fought to become the new Obsidian King, but instead I am exiled. I was marched out of Erebus by spearpoint in humiliation to beg the aid of the Council. That I have done. Now I, Lado Nestyevet, sole survivor of the Imperial Messengers Guild of the Court of Erebus, do reclaim my Honor in the glory of completion of this, my final mission!

[An armored Ereb'ai soldier kneels by the scroll case. When touched, the armor collapses, revealing the ashes and bones of the deceased within.]

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