Episode 9 Prologue: Secrets and Lies

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The sewers beneath Rocheste, before the death of Wenshardt[edit | edit source]

Two figures stood in a dank room under the streets of Rocheste. The larger wore an ill-fitting brown robe that looked as though it itched. The other was distinctly nonhuman. “Then we have an agreement,” it hissed. The scaly face under the white hood was impossible to read. The human in the brown robe looked uncomfortable in the lizardman’s presence.

“I don’t like this.” he said. “Won’t your fellow Fomors look on this a betrayal?”

“There are no ‘Fomors,’ warm-blood!” He said. “That is what you call any who are not like yourselves! My people have been the strength of our alliance, yet those thieving scum you call ’Fomors’ spit on us, laugh at us, use us like fodder. I say no more!” He looked around at the echoing sewers under Rocheste. “We help you, you help us. We get our new home and peace. As for humans, we do not care about you.”

The human nodded and turned to go. There were no handshakes and no goodbyes, the deal had been struck.

The chambers below Ainle, before the death of Wenshardt[edit | edit source]

The man clenched his fists as he remembered the meeting with the lizardman. The stupid beast had not even considered that there might be more than one plan in motion. The so-called “peace” faction of the Red Chieftain would soon be destroyed, either by mercenaries or by the other Fomors. There would be no danger from that quarter.

Then there had been the ambassador. His information on Fomor rituals had led to this. Thanks to the information torn from his bleeding body, he believed he understood what had gone wrong with the ritual twenty years ago. He wouldn’t make the same mistake – this time, it would work and they would have the power they needed to do what was right for the human race.

He watched the group of men standing in front of him, organized into a circle and chanting in the unfamiliar Fomor tongue. They wore black outfits and spaced evenly between them were torches whose flames burned blue and green and purple, emitting no smoke. Their light barely penetrated the gloom that surrounded them.

“This entire ritual makes me nervous, sir.” A young acolyte whispered. He tried to put on a gentle face for the apprentice.

“Comfort yourself, ” the man in the brown robe said, laying his hand on the younger one’s shoulder. “Have faith that what we do here is for the ultimate benefit of those who tend humanity.” If the acolyte noticed the strange way that he had phrased his benediction, he said nothing. Indeed, he seemed to only have eyes for the group in black intoning the strange, guttural words.

The man in the brown robe wasn’t particularly enjoying this. Betrayal, backstabbing, murder? This was not why he had dedicated his life to the cause. But his experience with humanity had shown him that they just weren’t worthy, and without guidance, they never would be. That’s why he had to do this. The time they all waited for would come of course -- in some distant future when they decided the people were ready.

The man in the brown robe smiled as the chanting grew louder and more frenzied. A dark pool had appeared in the circle formed by black-clad chanters and the torches. In just a few minutes, a new era would begin.

Something large was crawling out of the pool, its red skin pulled tight over a skull-like head, its overlarge mouth filled with too many teeth. The people standing in the circle turned and ran. One was too slow and was grasped by the creature. The man in the brown robe heard a crunching sound as gore flew everywhere.

By that time though, he was running through the catacombs as fast as his feet could carry him.

As he ran, he could hear the young acolyte’s panting behind him and farther back the sickening flap of misshapen feet hitting the stone floor. Without slowing down, he threw his arm back, striking the acolyte in the face. The younger man went down in a heap and there was a brief scream and wet, tearing sounds as he came to the ladder and began to climb up and out of the tunnels.

Getting out of Ainle was easy after that. The vampire things that had emerged from the portal weren’t interested in him specifically. Certainly not when there was so much easy meat within reach.

The hill outside of Colhen, after the death of Wenshardt[edit | edit source]

Smoke rose from the bell tower of Colhen. Under a pile of rubble, the guardian of the city lay silent and still and a young girl wept over her spider protector. The lizardman in the white hood held the small white stone in his hand and looked in satisfaction at the chaos in the town. It had worked better than he had planned. The stupid humans had not even considered that there might be more than one plan in motion.

He began walking down the hill, heading back toward the sewers of Rocheste. Behind him, he heard one his guards snickering at the destruction in the human village.

“You enjoyed the deaths of the warm-bloods, didn’t you?” His guard gave the reptilian equivalent of a nervous nod.

“You shouldn’t,” he said. “You should feel sorry for them. They don’t even know who their real enemy is.”