Paen was enjoying himself. The Mage-King didn’t put up as much of a fight as he’d expected. The dark lord noticed that he was easily the most powerful being on Olyndia. That was the case, until his peace was shattered.
“My lord! We’ve been attacked!” A knight, clad in jet black armor shouted. Paen looked at him with his soulless eyes.
“Attacked? Preposterous! There hasn’t been so much as a whimper since we’ve besieged this castle.” Paen replied. The knight didn’t falter.
“In the mountains. The troop you sent to the east has been decimated. There was but one survivor.” Paen clenched his jaw. With a deep breath, the dark lord boomed.
“Bring him to me! NOW!” The knight winced and quickly scurried out to bring the remaining soldier.
The survivor had no wounds of any kind on the surface, but his face reflected the horror he had witnessed. He was blank, emotionless. Paen quizzically looked at this man before him.
“Leave us. I must be alone with this man.” Paen said, dismissing his guards.
“Why do you stand before me?” Paen asked. Without a moment’s pause. The soldier answered. Not with his voice, but with another’s.
“To bring you a message, coward-king.” Paen raised an eyebrow. “To tell you, Paen, the Usurper, that your days are numbered.” The dark lord stepped forward.
“Who am I speaking with? How is it that you possess the will of my soldier?” Paen walked around the soldier before him. “Why do you presume to know me?”
The soldier’s blank face shifted. A slight smile crept across its face.
“And give away my secrets? No, suffice it to say, I am much like you, Paen.” The dark lord snorted.
“You will forgive me if I don’t believe you. I will ask again. Who are you?”
The puppet-knight shuddered. Its head turned to face Paen. The dark lord didn’t flinch.
“I will be your undoing. For now, however, think of me as a rival.” As soon as the soldier finished speaking, it leaped at the dark lord. Paen anticipated such a move and severed the head cleanly. He wiped the ichor from his blade.
“Undoing. Right,” Paen muttered. “Possession of corpses is simple magic at best. I will not fear some Necromancer.”
The severed head began to rise. It rose up to match the height of Paen.
“Necromancy is child’s play. You will not reign forever. I will be your undoing.” The floating head confidently volunteered.
Paen looked at the head for a moment and then enveloped the head in jet black flames. The head, engulfed in the shadowy inferno, began to laugh. A hysterical maddening laugh, echoed in the hall of the dark lord. When the flames disappeared, a skull was left behind.
“Paen, you will fall before us. I destroyed your troop moving east. I will bring about your demise. And I will not be doing so alone. You will learn to fear me. I promise.” The skull’s empty sockets became small violet flames. The fires seemed to fill the sockets completely.
“Like I said. I am much like you.” Paen recognized the eyes, rather, the power behind them.
“There’s no way. My council and I are the last of my kind. You… Are an impossibility!” Paen shouted.
“No, coward-king. I am as real as you. You and your council are not the last of us. Enjoy your reign. It shall soon end.” With those words, the skull clattered to the floor. The magic left.
Paen walked to his throne. His mind reeled. You and your council are not the last of us. Us? That isn’t possible! Paen thought to himself.
Meanwhile, hundreds of miles to the east, a man in shining armor sat in a chair, smiling. His eyes were closed, as he was relishing his small victory. He walked out to the cliff, his tent stood upon. He looked out to the west, his violet eyes gleaming.
“Yes, coward.” The man spoke to the winds. “I will be your undoing. I will just need some help.” With that, the man with the violet eyes turned to the south, and began his trek.