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Chapter 1 - Meet the Cast.
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Posted: Mon Jan 02, 2006 5:20 pm    Post subject: Chapter 1 - Meet the Cast.  

Chapter 1.

The Villain.

Phang sat on her dark throne and caressed the obsidian skull carving under her hand. She loved her throne, it had taken 101 innocent children, tortured non-stop for three days and nights and then sacrificed to the demons to get it, but it was worth every young scream. The throne was obsidian black, and carved with images of many different evils. The back towered high above her, topped off by the grinning face of a hideous devil. Grown men had been known to fall down and weep at the very sight of it; some had even lost their sanity, a reaction that pleased Phang mightily. She chuckled to herself at the very thought, her laughter echoing around the dark throne room, causing her loyal followers (every one had been broken to Phangs will, with methods too horrible to record here) to smile and nod happy drooling smiles, pleased that their mistress was happy.

For the less fortunate souls held in the hall (hung, strapped and nailed on and into a variety of interesting devices) the laughter sounded like pure evil, which it probably was.

At the sound of his mistresses chuckling, Muaddib came closer. Phang reached down and patted Muaddib’s head, stroking it in an absent-minded fashion.

Muaddib was another of her many triumphs. Some time ago, when her campaign of evil was still young, Muaddib had been a powerful king in the land of Drif. His land and armies had fought mightily against Phang’s dark forces, but had slowly been forced back and back.

Finally Muaddib came forth on the battlefield and offered his life if Phang would spare his kingdom. Phang had assured him that she would do so, and Muaddib had been taken into the Dark Lair. Of course, after that the Dark Ladies’ forces had taken great delight in razing every city in Drif to the ground, torturing, killing and enslaving the inhabitants.

When Phang had informed Muaddib of the fate of his kingdom, the ex-king had lost all will to live. Still, Phang was no mere villain. She was the Dark Lady, and letting Muaddib live would have been too easy. Instead, she had Muaddib’s limbs removed (slowly and painfully of course) and replaced them with small wheels powered by a perpetual motion engine. Now the mutilated thing could wheel himself around by a device controlled by the nodding of his head.

Phang had allowed Muaddib to keep his other organs, though she was beginning to think that he may have to have him neutered, as the limbless creature had been rather too frisky with her favorite hound lately. It was expecting another litter of pups, and the offspring of the previous litters had been rather strange, even by Phang’s standards.

She dismissed the thought for the moment, coming back to ponder more serious problems. The Last Kingdom was still resisting all efforts at domination. She frowned as she re-read the latest campaign reports from her generals. The combined forces of Elves, Gnomes and Humans at the Pass of Cra-yon were still secure behind the great fort there. The Elvish magicians were neutralizing her own mages, whilst human wizards used their magic to attack. The gnome’s cannons were also causing devastation amongst the ground troops, forcing the bulk of her army to retreat out of range. Now they were requesting her presence on the battlefield. Impertinence! Incompetence! Imbeciles! And any other negative words beginning with ‘I’. She kicked Muaddib across the room in a sudden temper causing him to land on his back and yelp in agony. One of his leg wheels flew off and rolled across the floor.

Phang was distracted by the sight of Muaddib trying to right himself, and the sight of the creature sadly wheeling along after his lost limb was enough to put a smile back on her face.

She stood up in a much more positive frame of mind. Perhaps she had been away from the battlefield too long. It was all well and good torturing innocents tucked away in the castle, but perhaps it was time to go and maim, kill and rampage in the open again. Remind the common masses why they lived in fear of her. Yes, that was it. A little fresh air and bloodletting would do everyone some good. Well, Phang anyway.

She strode forward, her black cloak billowing behind her, despite the lack of wind. She just had to see to the latest prisoner first. Phang strode regally to the holding cell, where the morning victim was chained up.

“You!” she commanded to the groveling wretch, a human male. Spots and scabs covered his face; obviously a childhood disease had left him horribly disfigured. “What is your name?”

Evil Homer strode forth into the courtyard. Exorcising the demons from the latest prisoners had taken longer than he had anticipated. So much evil to be cleansed in the world. He doubted he would even make a small impact in such a dark sea. ‘Still’ he said to himself. ‘To rest and do nothing would be a sin.’ Thus re-assured he headed towards the main hall.

Foot soldiers scurried out of his path, some bowing to the paladin. Golden shoulder length locks of hair topped a handsome face, rugged yet stern. The kindliness of the Good was upon it, yet the Justice of Righteousness was also plainly present. His white cloak flew behind him. His plate mail armor as always buffed to a mirror-like shine, (cleanliness is next to sinless-ness quoth the scriptures) reflected the sun, dazzling some watching him pass. Black knee length boots echoed off the cobblestones and his great-sword ‘Chainfire’ hung by his side. He cut an impressive figure indeed.

He climbed the steps to the grand entranceway. The guards bowed slightly as he passed through, and he saluted them in return, acknowledging their work, for wasn’t it written that the lowest was as deserving as the Greatest?

Evil Homer carried on down the main corridor and into the Meeting Hall. Most of the council was already there, standing around and talking in small groups. He wasn’t late then, that was good. He stood to one side. Experience had shown him that others were often not comfortable in his presence. Evil Homer had come to the conclusion that beings of lesser purity were over-awed by his perfection, and so chose to stand alone rather than undermine their confidence by creating a contrast between him and them.

Then he noticed a large man standing nearby. He hadn’t seen him before here, probably a servant of one of the lords. The man saw him at the same time and beamed the smile of an innocent child at him, his round face looked a little like the moon. He appraised the man again, for his huge size alone made him conspicuous. Evil Homer was tall and well muscled, but this man towered above him, and the rest of his body was built proportionately. Huge meaty fingers hung off hands the size of a child’s head. One of them was currently thrust up a nostril.

The man saw Homer looking and moved closer, leaning over he asked: “What we waiting for?”

“We are waiting for a Duke to come. He has pledged to join our cause and bring his forces to aid our fight against the great evil.”

“Oh.” The man seemed to think about this a little bit. Then he leaned over again and whispered “I am a Duke you know” and winked at him.

“Of course you are.” Humored Evil Homer. The man was obviously an oaf, under the guidance of someone in the council. He wondered if he should ask who was looking after him.

He glanced at the big man again, who was once again exploring his nostril. Yet… the mans’ clothes were cut of the finest cloth and was that…? Yes it was! On his little finger the man was sporting a golden ring of command. Then this simpleton really must be…

He was interrupted by a short bald man in gray robes who rushed over. “Duke Reginald! There you are! We have been looking all over for you!”

The Duke looked at the man. “Hello Dobs. What you doin’ here? We are waiting for a Duke!” He beamed excitedly.

Dobs sighed patiently. “Sir, they are waiting for you! Remember you said you would help fight the invading Army?”

The big Duke thought for a while. “Oh yes!”

Dobs turned around and announced, in a loud voice: “May I introduce his Excellency, Duke Reginald Percival Thunderking Harwobble the Fifth.”

There was a general smattering of applause from the assembled dignitaries, and a couple came up and introduced them-selves. Most moved off to attend to other tasks fairly quickly. The arrival of a new ally was important, but the Duke’s forces, reasonably numerous as they were, were not going to shift the balance of power in any great way.

Evil Homer observed the Duke and his helper.

The Duke approached him. I Duke Reg, who you?” he asked in the simple, direct fashion of an Oaf.

Evil Homer drew himself up. “My name, good Sir Duke, is Homer. Evil Homer. I am a Paladin of the Order of Fi. I command the army of Righteousness fighting the Dark Lord Phang in the name of the Good god.”

“Oh.” Said DukeReg again. “That’s nice. Where you get something eat here? I hungry.” He smiled a broad smile again.

Dobs approached Homer. “You must excuse my Lord Duke Sir Paladin. He has a… er, simple view of the world.”

“By no means is the good Duke interrupting me good sir” replied Homer. “Indeed, I find his demeanor refreshing, surround as I am by the politics of this alliance.” He turned to DukeReg, who was scratching his crotch. “Allow me to guide you to the feeding halls good Duke. I will also show you some strategic areas of the fort, for your future information.” He turned and started walking towards the exit.

“Strateejig?” Mumbled the Duke to himself, but followed the shiny Paladin out of the hall anyway. He was hungry, and that superseded any long words the nice shiny man said.

Dobs watched them go and sighed to himself. Something about the two together disturbed him…
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