A New Order
by: Ken Williams
Mrdinar’s ship landed in Crazel when the sun reflected perfectly off the Eastern Spire of Ebon Atul. Only three ships made it to Ebon Atul: Mrdinar’s personal ship, a prison ship that supposedly had special prisoners, and one battleship. Those who did not make it to the ship were cut off by the Pyrosian forces. The Pyrosians then pushed in to Ebon Atul, burning all the towns in their path to the ground, leaving the land barren and lifeless. The flames were visible to the ships. All Mrdinar Glarigas cared about, though, was if the Hydrosians lost more men. If they did not retreat, such was a certainty, and Hydrops II would be among the dead, leaving Hydros in fear and chaos, easy pickings for the conquest of the Black Atular.
Mrdinar got off the ship and saw a creature step off the prison barge with the captain. Its head was female, but the body was male, and its skin was rotting off and clearly only held form in the first place because it was sewn together. Mrdinar recognized the facial features, even if distorted by abuse and decomposition. It was Baron Grannis’s sons and a granddaughter, all the heirs to Crimzen Atul. The creature that wore the skins was legend across Gelondar. His name was Admiral Guilon Tarkes. He gained notoriety by killing his superior, Admiral Mercin Stone, and using his ship to take a Red Atular base in the Burned Peninsula. He then slaughtered every man, woman, and child who lived on base and painted the base with their blood, except one man, who eluded him. Lord Glarigas went into the Eastern Spire and invited Admiral Guilon to discuss the future. Hydros and Crimzen Atular would both have large bounties on the now-exiled Admiral. Baron Grannis would pay anything for revenge on the man who destroyed his family line. The Baron was getting old now, and had lost most of his spawn. His daughter died in childbirth to a son who would not live to take his first steps. Merle, the eldest son, had other children, but they had left Crimzen Atul and likely would not return to take their rightful places.
After an hour, Admiral Guilon came to the meeting room. He was dressed in traditional Hydrosian armor. With him was a Red Atular in chains. He was a tall man with light skin, typical for his homeland. Lord Glarigas knew of him, and the many names he wore: Tinit Tinit, Kirn the Sadistic, Ommi, Lob, Ros Ressir. A smuggler. A Deserter. The man who escaped Admiral Guilon.
The Hydrosian spoke, “Lord Glarigas, it is a pleasure to finally meet you,” he held out his hand to shake.
Mrdinar held out his hand and shook Guilon’s halfheartedly, touching only the fingertips as if worried that palm contact would leave his hand covered in insects.
“The plan failed,” Lord Glarigas said bluntly.
Guilon nodded. “I figured as much would happen. You have numbers, but no skill. Your military hasn’t fought wars since the Old Days. Hydros seems to always be at war, and is led by, admittedly, the best High Landsponge we’ve had in thousands of years.
“You say, ‘we’. Have you not abandoned the Hydrosians?”
“I have abandoned the Nation of Hydros. I am loyal to King Hydrops Watr the First, and to the Tarkes Family. I know that my King is powerless, and he will join the dead soon. This boy High Landsponge who will become King will ruin Hydros.”
Lord Glarigas’ eyebrow rose at that. Hydrops II was the reason why Hydros hadn’t fallen to Pyros and the Purple Wave. That’s what the Admiral was afraid of, though. He knew that Hydrops had all the glory and would bring in a new era for Hydros, one that a man so brutal as Guilon had no place in.
“What do you want, Admiral?” Lord Glarigas asked curtly.
The monster could be used, but such a creature would be unpredictable, but if he didn’t demand too much, he could be a great asset. It, Guillon, stretched its arms before speaking.
“I want a keep, somewhere like the old place. I want a place where I can interrogate people properly. And a place to keep this little shit.”
The monster pointed at his prisoner. Mrdinar knew he was looking at a dead man. Guilon Tarkes never left a prisoner alive, but this one’s death would be the most painful. Who knows how many times he escaped the Admiral’s clutches? Mrdinar sighed.
“If you will help my people take back our slice of the Pyrosian Peninsula, you may have the keep you liberated from the Fire Coalition”, Mrdinar said in utmost distaste, then dismissed him.
Lord Glarigas met with the steward of the Spire later that day. He was pretty young, probably early twenties, bald Black Atular with a goatee, dressed in traditional Black Atular robes. He reached out his hand to shake, which Mrdinar took happily.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, my lord”, the bald man said enthusiastically, “my name is Grommal, but most call me Grom.”
Lord Glarigas smiled, liking the name.
“Are you noble?”, he asked.
“Yes, sir, second son of House Darstromath.”
Lord Glarigas let out a laugh, surprised. House Darstromath was a branch house descended from Lord Darstromath the Black, the first Lord of the Black Atular. Most people thought House Darstromath was extinct. Of course, because House Glarigas came into power through marrying Darstromath’s great-granddaughter, everyone thought they went extinct once for all.
“My lord,” Grom started, “if you wouldn’t mind, I’d like to come with you to the Ebon Citadel and help, I can’t inherit from my family, but I still want to make an impact for my people.”
Lord Glarigas chuckled.
“Yes, you may. My fiancée and I will be returning soon. She attempted to kill High Landsponge Watr. Now she’s sick. It’s something from that damn psychic. Fucking Hydrosians. They’re the worst.”
Lord Darstromath gave a smile that was creepy, but reminiscing.
“Hydrosians can be a pain, but there’s something about them… I respect ‘em. Hell, I could see being friends with them. Why not try to be friends?”
Lord Glarigas thought of Hydrops’s smug face and that blade of his at his throat. Mrdinar said one cold word and then left.