“Mom? There is someone in my class. He is a bully and always teases me. Yesterday, he even hit me! The teachers say that fighting is bad. What should I do?”
“Damn pacifists! The teachers are idiots. The next time you see the bully, strike first and strike hard. Hit him where it hurts, or use a chair as a club if he is stronger than you. Then, you keep hitting him until he doesn't get up. Don't worry if there is blood. It's actually very hard to beat someone to death. Then kick him some more for good measure and to make sure that he won't forget. I'll deal with the teachers afterwards.”
“Do you see that!? All these puny armies will soon be mine to control! And then, nothing can stop me!”, I laugh and spread my scarred hands, standing on the top of the pyramid, where my willing servants created a small platform.
The zombie next to me slobbers and moans, looking at me with the empty eyes of a doll. A long string of spittle leaks out of a hole in its lips and dangles from its chin. It understands direct commands, but it doesn't have the intellect to act of its own accord unless I allow it to follow its instincts.
Snarling, I stop posing. There is no point in putting up a show if there is nobody who can appreciate watching it. I sigh and rub my face, feeling just a little sorry for myself. Being a real necromancer is a lonely fate, but I have chosen my path. There is no turning back now.
After taking over the pyramid, my body underwent some drastic changes. My skin became paler and the power stone carved a complicated set of runes into my body, allowing me to channel its powers directly. Now I wield more power than any mage I know of. Maybe that woman with the flying island can challenge me, but I'll deal with her once I am done here.
There is so much I can do now. As a normal man, I would have never dreamt about wielding such power. It feels like the stone's energy is limitless.
“Release another one of the Necrophages!” I order, and watch as a group of zombies trundles over to a long, metallic pillar. Ten of my strongest zombies are needed to lift a single Necrophage, a weapon which I found in a secret room next to the tomb.
We have dozens of them, all neatly stacked on the platform. It was a nightmare to teach the zombies to bring them up here. They kept bumping into walls. Luckily, my skill at handling them got better with time.
The longer I stayed inside the ancient Necropolis, the more of its mysteries became clear to me. I began to understand its functions and suddenly knew how to read the runes on the walls. Whatever the power stone did to me, it also allowed me to understand my surroundings far better than any historian before me.
My followers reach the edge of the platform and drop the Necrophage. The huge piece of metal clinks when it impacts the pyramid's stone and a loud, metallic scrape accompanies it on its way down the pyramid's side. I wince, dreading the noise, but I also know that it makes no sense to lash out at the zombies. They don't know any better.
The Necrophage falls off the pyramid's side and disappears from my sight. I can imagine it well, tumbling through the air until it plants itself firmly in the ground below us with a 'thud'. Then it will start spreading its corrupting miasma, slowly cursing the area around it with necromantic spells. Soon afterwards, the magic will give rise to all sorts of undead creatures who follow my will.
I chose the Eternal Battlefield as the starting area for my campaign. The borderlands between the Empire and the Alliance were the playing field of countless battles over the centuries. The unique geographic circumstances always made this area into a choke point between large nations. Even before the Alliance and the Empire, battles were fought and countless lives were lost in this region.
As it goes in war, some of the dead were never retrieved.
The bones and corpses of countless warriors are hidden beneath these grounds, as well as the bodies of great beasts, which were used in war.
My mind tingles when I feel the Necrophage getting to work. Deep down in the earth, something old and powerful begins to stir. I grin, realizing that I made the right choice. “Drop more of the Necrophages, we need more.”
The zombies get to work, dropping more of the pillars from each side of the platform. This causes them to be spread out a little further. Being too close together would cause interferences.
Surveying the area, I snort when I realize that the Necropolis seems to be surrounded by the fleets and armies of various nations. I already know that a lot of different parties have their hands in this war, but I would never have imagined that they would try to gang up on me like that.
Then again, a huge pyramid with an army of undead in its wake surely draws attention. They must think of me as a big enough threat to warrant a temporary truce. I don't think that the Alliance and the Empire can be convinced to work together. Their ideologies are too different for that.
I curl down the corners of my lips. But they might stop their hostilities until I am dealt with.
It won't happen. This power is far beyond their worst nightmares.
My spine tingles as the ground beneath the hovering pyramid comes to life. It feels as if I am right among my subservient creatures. Wyrm, the flying cousins of dragons, dig themselves out of the earth. Within their hollow eye-sockets glows a green, deadly light. With them, their riders rise, warriors of a long forgotten nation.
I read about them in some historical texts but never believed that they were real. There must be hundreds of them.
Wyrm are by definition untameable. The ten to fifteen metres long creatures are reported to be hostile against even their own kind. By today's standards, taming one of them, let alone several, is impossible. Additionally, they are highly resistant to magic, so controlling them with a spell is also a dangerous venture.
So, it's only understandable that I was doubtful when I read about a nation which used large numbers of these creatures for aerial combat. It's an unthinkable feat, though, it surely didn't save them in the end. Their nation, like all the others, vanished long ago in the fog of time.
“Now, I finally have my aerial force.” I flex my hands in pleasure, anticipating the impending subjugation of the world.
I have to remember not to kill everyone this time. Having no one to talk to is annoying. That's why I took some prisoners in the last village. Sadly, I ended up killing all of them. They were mere peasants and weren't entertaining, so I ended up feeding them to my zombies or turning them. Their screams were more entertaining than their conversational skills.
All they did was pleading for their lives.
Maybe some of those soldiers have a little more spine in them?
I feel my dead, milky eyes roll upwards when another big catch enters my awareness. I have no clear picture of what it is, but it's huge. Maybe it's even one of the rumoured beasts which were unleashed against enemy nations as a means of last resort.
A little hill of dirt rises beneath my pyramid and a huge hand with four claws breaks through, exposing rotten flesh to the surface. The entire creature seems to be permeated with mana, oozing green sludge. The drain on my power stone is enormous, and for the first time, I have a presentiment of its limits.
I linked the Necrophages to the pyramid's power stone. They gain their energy through it, so the more they have to revive, the more resources it will take.
Reviving such a huge creature is close to my limits.
Finally, the chimera breaks the surface. It's only a husk of its former glory, but still formidable. The head looks like it belongs to a reptile, but there are also two straight horns, one of them broken in the middle. And half of its face is melted away. Whatever killed it, it was powerful. I think that my pyramid might be able to unleash a magical attack on such a scale.
The rest of the body rises from its grave, leaving a big chasm behind. The lower body seems to belong to some kind of four-legged creature. It's impossible to tell which one, as most of it is just bones, dried up flesh and skin. Dragging behind it is a long tail, also rotten beyond recognition.
Sadly, it doesn't seem to be capable of flight, but an idea strikes me. I concentrate, ordering the creature, and it obeys! The monster is at least a hundred metres in height, so it has to bend down to pick up one of the Necrophages... and swallow the artefact.
When it opens its mouth, a green mist of spores and miasma seeps out, poisoning its surroundings. Laughing merrily, I raise my hands in happiness. This strong creature will be a great addition to my army.
That's when the surrounding forces start moving, closing in. It seems like they have seen enough and won't permit me to play around any longer.