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The Lord of the Depth


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The fragrance of incense wafted in stuffy air of thin tunnels and corridors. I wandered towards it fumbling walls of seemingly endless halls. The smell was fairly familiar, sweet and iron. It was the smell of my own blood after all. We prepare our incenses from flour made of dried blood. They help us to navigate in these complex tunnel systems. Everyone of us have our own unique incenses, all of them with an unique fragrance. The smell led me through winding pits and low rivers. Finally, my abortive eyes sensed a gleam of dim light. I entered my chamber full of the smell of incense. I handled rune stones hanging on a wall trying to find one specific...yes, here it is. It was the Depth Seal, a stone with a rune depicted on it, very delicately carved and full of magic power. It was the end result of years of experiments and tests. It was the most demanding works of mine and now it was finally completed. I informed about the success of my work to others of this vole colony. My plan must work, there's no other options. If we don't gain the trust of the termites with this, our colony won't last long. There are lesser of us every day. The cave worms we eat have become much rarer nowadays due to a lethal disease spreading in these tunnels. The disease affects our cubs as well. I, Chrotorr, the chief and shaman of this colony, will do everything to keep this settlement alive.

 

I traveled to the borders of the termite tribe. The termite guards stopped me and asked why I was there and what I wanted. I told them that I was supposed to meet the queen of the termites but this time I had something that she couldn't have even dreamed of. The guards guided me to her Majesty's chamber. I kneeled before the queen and said: "Your Majesty, my Queen, I know that the termite tribe isn't doing well just like my tribe. It's due to a disease caused by poisonous liquid dribbling from the catacombs of the dead elves. If we wish to survive, we have to rise to the surface, to the lands of the lizardmen. There we can build a mound as large as needed. Though, the lizardmen won't allow us to come to their lands so we have to take it from them by force." Since the queen started to look more interested, I continued: "I have created a powerful rune, the Depth Seal. It can be used to mine large networks of tunnels only in hours. With its help we can start our attack from any place we want. In return for my help I only demand your throne." The queen looked a bit surprised but still she let me continue: "As you can see, only I can control the rune, and to ensure our victory, I must control the army of the termites as well. This is the only way, both, my tribe and your tribe, can survive." After listening to my offering the queen considered and considered it until she finally replied: "So be it, chief Chrotorr, I will give you my throne if you promise to ensure my tribes survival. From now on, you are the Lord of Depth."

 

So, the first part of my plan was completed. Now I only had to figure out how can we conquer the lands of the lizardmen. I walked to my newly acquired throne. It was beautifully carved right on gray stone. Its armrests and back rest was illuminated by three blue fires and from behind the throne organlike pipes were rising towards the ceiling of the hall. I sat on it and pressed the Depth Seal on my chest. It felt as if the earth itself was subjugated on my will. Stones yielded me and bowed me and new tunnels started to appear one by one. Soon it started to look as if roots of a tree were growing upwards instead of downwards. This creation would become the new termitary. I sent a group of termite scouts to the borders of the capital of the lizardmen to find out what was their weak spot. Two days later one of the scouts came back to me and reported that they had spied Amok, the chief of the lizardmen, and found out about his endeavours of achieving immortality since he wanted to rule his empire for ever and not to give power to his only son whom he didn't love. These news evoked ardor in me. We could indeed give him some kind of immortality if he agreed to give his son to us. I instantly started preparing a spell which could be used to travel to other people's dreams. When the night came, I fell in a trance and walked to Amok in the dream world. He didn't notice me so I whispered: "The gods have heard your prayers. I, the Lord of the Depth, shall grant thee thine immortality which thou have dreamed of for so long. For the payment, I require only your firstborn. The earth will open before you when you wake up. Take your son with you and come to my kingdom. There we will perform a ritual and you will live as long as you wish." Even though the chief didn't notice me, he looked as if he had agreed.

 

The progression of my plan gave hope for the vole colony. How ironic, just when we were planning to conquer the lands of the lizardmen, their chief comes here and gives their lands for almost free. He clearly doesn't understand that by giving his only son, he gives us the rights to his empire. Basically, I will become the leader of everyone, the voles, the termites and the lizardmen. While the Pontifex of the termites was preparing the sacrificial ceremony for the firstborn of chief Amok, I was carving the vow stones. They will be used as signatures for our contract, they will be our legitimate justification for the land of the lizardmen. Chief Amok arrived to my domain. His son was taken away by the termite priests and moved to the ritual chamber. I took Amok's crown and carved magical runes on it giving him the promised immortality. "Both of us have now kept our vows", I said, and chief Amok nodded satisfiedly. But when he was leaving, I ordered the termite guards to capture him. Even though I hadn't broken my vow, I felt like a traitor. Nonetheless, I have to keep my promise to the queen and to my tribe or else I will be eaten alive and the vole colony will die. Now, we will just have to wait for the right moment to reclaim the surface land belonging to us and my tribe can finally start to revive.

 

 

 

Kuusipuu, EU-Emerald

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