Far out to sea, barely in view, lies a golden dome. As the view draws closer, the dome encases an entire island. Waves crash against sheer cliffs, sending salty spray everywhere. The view climbs the cliffs, showing a massive walled city build around a mountain with a flat top. Patrolling the walls are automatons with massive ballistae for arms.
The buildings are simple affairs, crafted of stone. Not much thought has been devoted to artwork, save for one large building with a statue of a draconic soldier holding his wife in a hug, spinning her around. The same type of creatures walk the streets, scales black but maintaining a shimmering golden flare when they move. The viewer flies along the avenue, people oblivious to its passage. Past shops and houses, through a gated checkpoint, and up a switchbacked staircase. At the top of the mountain, lies a grand palace. As the viewer moves through the front doors, everything goes dark. There is still the sensation of movement, but no details emerge until ornate double doors open at the approach.
The new room is a throne room, empty save the lone person sitting on the throne itself. Green tiles line the floor, with white columns at regular intervals. Oddly enough, the walls are entirely bare. As the view closes in on the occupant, he is turning a black crown around in his hands, staring at it. His leather armor is well worn, with scratches and scuffs from battles long past. Up close, his black scales have a golden border. He has no horns, though a small tendril of hair on his chin is braided into a three-inch-long rope. With a sigh, he looks straight into the viewer. Those with particularly keen eyesight might notice the smallest of shimmers to the side of the throne, but they would be very few indeed.
“Welcome, to the city formerly controlled by the drakelings. Forgive me, I was thinking of old friends. An innkeeper. She found joy in the smallest of things. A new recipe. A successful hunt. Children. Like many in this violent world, she left us too soon.”
“A mentor. A friend. He showed me the basics of this life, then watched as I lived it. He laid down his life for the mission. I hope he is happy, reunited with his wife. Some of you may wonder why I am telling you of this. Some will believe me, some won’t. I can only lay out their story with the proof of things that I know.”
Sitting up, the speaker takes a more lecturing tone. “There are gods in this world. Gods of Light, and Gods of Darkness. Constantly at war. This is the way of things. Light will always struggle against the dark, though neither will ever achieve a complete victory over the other. Their gains are always fleeting. Recently, a new race came to the world. The Shadow Drakelings. Many of the kings and rulers were uncertain, and sent out feelers. Would this new race be friendly? Or a foe? Sadly, everything was cut short before that question could be answered.”
Moving on to a more commanding tone, the speaker continued. “The God of light, Pelor, heard of this new race and that they had shadow in their name. In his folly, he came to the conclusion that they were a threat. So he declared war upon them. Not out loud, or with missives declaring his intent. Oh no. The god of light turned to his flock, and commanded them to enter a crusade against the drakelings. Compounding his folly, he simply gave this order. Slay them. No rules, no limits, no mercy. For zealots, this was perfect. Black and white. Us and them. They are monsters, undeserving of life. So, they hatched their plan. Disguised as guards for a poor dwarf, whose only sin was to want to help lay an ancestors bones to rest, they entered the city. And in the dark of the night, the set about their task.”
“Alnoss was her name. The first casualty of this war. I returned from a late night quest to find two of the guards holding her arms, while a third stabbed her in the back with his blades. Even as she was dying, I’ll never forget her words to me. Run. She wanted me to be safe. But I knew what she didn’t. That with people who would kill civilians in the night, there was no place to run to. No shelter sturdy enough. No sanctuary secluded enough. And I unleashed my rage, cutting down those cowards.”
“But.” He continued with a sigh. “What use is breaking a weapon when you do nothing to the wielder? He will only wait to find new weapons to unleash upon you. He has time, and patience. All that he needs is one moment of weakness. One second when your guard drops. And then BAM!” He clapped his hands to emphasize his point. “It’s all over.”
“So I gathered allies. Those who were overlooked. Those who society rejected. I put out a call, and the drow answered. Lolth was already battling Pelor. The enemy of her enemy? She welcomed us with open arms. Offered aid to help with our plans. And plan we did.”
“We wouldn’t leave anything to chance. There would be no civilian deaths on our hands. We are monsters, not monstrous. We guard the darkness, fighting against both the hatred of the light, and that which must remain in darkness. We can handle a war on two fronts. We have no choice. But don’t pity us, my friend. For this has forged us stronger. We are tested in the fires of combat, and come out better.”
“And so, we come to the fateful night which you must have heard of recently. Darkest Deeds in the Darkest Night. Into Ascencion we snuck, past guards unaware of our intentions. Into the chapel of Pelor.” At this point, the speaker gave a manic grin. “The first casualty of our counterattack, was Pelor’s Pontiff. Aaron Lightbrand.” Pulling a dagger from his inventory, he held it up so the viewers could see the heart trapped within. “With this dagger, I sacrificed him to Lolth. Feel free to check with the church. Demand he show up in person. Watch them squirm.”
“But that wasn’t all. For you light siders may be content with an eye for an eye. I am not. We slew all the priests there. We sacrificed one upon his own altar to Lolth, then shattered the altar itself. Inside, I took the divine artifact that all main churches must have. And down, below the altar, we looted the vault of Pelor. Funny, the God of Light kept an incredible amount of wealth in the dark. Hypocrite.” He spat.
“And behind us, we left timed explosives. A half hour after our raid, the building was burning merrily from our presents. We were already on our way home. For when the monsters strike back, we only strike down those deserving of it.”
“In our retreat, the servants of Pelor found us. With faster mounts, it was only a matter of time before we were caught. With heroism only found in legend, Khaliss stood forward. He knew the only outcome would be his being reunited with his beloved Alnoss, but he vowed that we would succeed. And so it was, that a lone drakeling and a pet nightliger, held the pass against waves of adventurers. For five. For ten. For twenty minutes, they battled with a fury unmatched against hopeless odds. Their spirits never wavered.”
“But there is no happily ever after in this story. For in the end, the numbers will always win out. I’ll never know the number of light siders my mentor took to the grave with him, but I will always know that his sacrifice wasn’t in vain. For we were able to evolve using the divine artifact, and come to this island fortress. Here we will tell the tales of Khaliss’ Last Stand, and remember that one spear may turn the tide of any battle.”
“You are probably wondering who I am and why I am telling you this story. That’s easy enough to answer. I am an adventurer. Angus_MacG. I sent this world into a magical upheaval. I brought back an exiled race. And now, I stand before you, evolved. Once again I usher a new race into this world. You may whisper my title in fear, for I am the Progenitor Tyrant. Pelor started a shadow war with us. I will drag it into the light. Like the tyrants of old, I claim leadership in this time of war. Pelor thought to pluck us before we could take root. Pelor failed.”
Standing, he exuded an aura of confidence. “So I will now do what I must to protect my people. Not just the shadow drakelings, now the oblivion draconians. I extend my protection to all monsters of this world. Those who rule in the darkness, unite! Together, we shall tear down the order of this world and create our own! We are strong, we are unbeatable, WE ARE MONSTERS! We will not scurry about with our plans, for we don’t fear you lightsiders.”
“This dome that protects us, will expire in one month. That’s when our preparations will be complete. But our plan needs souls, and so we will take them from your best. The gods of this world have raised the limits of you pathetic light siders. So reach your new limits, and send against me your best! I will slay them all and use them to power my ritual. But be warned. Under no circumstances will you raise your hand against our civilians. For if you do, I will raze your cities for the souls I need. I will salt the earth with their tears, poison the wells with their discarded bodies. I will make your homes unlivable.”
“So it comes to this. The ultimate showdown. And a showdown, must have a proper location. So it is time to name this city. A city of monsters. A city that stands tall, and fights against the light. A. Nemesis. Remember adventurers. You have one month. Do not, disappoint me.”
Bio: I'm a chemist that gave writing a try, and loved the results. Everything is mostly for fun right now, though I might try and get some things published eventually. Certain traits of my daughter have made it into bits of my stories, and she sometimes keeps me company when we both have trouble sleeping.