Monday, September 24, 2012

The King's Sword

Nothing living now dwelt in the once great stronghold of the ogres. Morbius had taken up residence in one of the high towers where he could work in relative peace, and was busy laying out maps and scrolls with the help of his scribe-wraiths. The ogres had certainly not built this place, it was too well constructed. It reeked more of dwarven origin. Morbius imagined if this were true, there was probably more of the castle below ground than above.

As he mused over the extent of his new lodgings he became aware of a presence moving up the tower. Ah, news from Altdorf, how splendid. The old liche took a seat near the window and waited for the messenger to arrive.

He did not have to wait long, as a cold wind blew several ragged strips of cloth into the room. These whirled together into the outline of a man, and as they settled into the shape of frayed robes a hand snaked out of a newly-formed sleeve to pull back a hood that just moments before had been empty cloth. Thomas Von Carstein gazed out at the liche, a humourless smile opening his gore-flecked lips to reveal red teeth. "A fine victory Morbius, my congratulations. No loss, this nest of ogres, their blood is as flavoursome as porridge." 

Thomas was in grand form, Morbius noted, which meant he has recently killed a great many people. "I take it your own undertaking went as well, Thomas? It must have, as you are here to deliver the news yourself."

"Tut now, old fellow. As if your little spies haven't told you all already. We destroyed them utterly, in their own house. I myself killed their leader with that fine weapon you were so good as to gift me. He stood alone before the gates as his men howled and screamed about him. We tore the life from them without ever landing a blow. How glorious to destroy the slaves of the Dark Gods without even giving them the dignity of a warrior's death!" Thomas could not help but laugh as uproariously as only a killer fresh from the slaughter can. His joy at the death he had inflicted was infectious, and even Morbius allowed himself a slight chuckle.

"It was not a total victory, for all that. He was not the one, was he?" Morbius stood and drifted over to a large oak table by the window, a map of the islands inscribed on a large scroll laid upon it.

Thomas sighed as he let the mirth pass. "No, he was mighty, but not their lord. I knew this once he turned to flee. Better he had stood his ground, at least his Gods would applaud that, if they truly care at all. He did, however, bear this." Thomas drew a cloth-wreathed weapon from his robes. He carefully laid it on the map and drew back the rags.

Morbius raised an eyebrow. "Ah, now that's a weapon fit for a king. Or fit to kill one. Well won Thomas, this must have left a mark or two eh? What of Pieter? Did he hold to the agreement?" 

Thomas smiled once more. "He did, though it was not to his taste. The Druchii now hold Altdorf. They were most pleased when our troops drew away once the battle was done and the spoils taken. Surprised perhaps, but pleased."

Morbius looked out from the tower at the activity below. Undead ogres lifted great beams into place as his scribes directed them. Hammers rose and fell with tireless regularity and the great engines took shape amidst the bustle far below. Not long now, Morbius considered. Not long at all.

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