Stone Peak, Black Mountains, Battling Border
Radix returned to his caves triumphant. Roaring with victory. His Cimmerii screamed raucously, echoing his glee.
Radix paced the cavern, nearly skipping, waving his cape back from his feet.
“Okine!” He called.
The withered half-demon appeared before him with pointed ears, yellowed skin, and teeth as jagged as Radix’s own.
“Yes, yes, My Lord.” He croaked. Edging sideways toward the Demon King. Tossing him fearful looks.
“We won!” Radix rubbed his hands together greedily. Leaving a trail of ash as his worn cloak spun out around him, he turned again. “But there will be a cost.”
“Cost, My Lord?”
“When I use magic directly against them it opens doors.”
“Ah yes. Rules…” Okine blinked narrow black eyes.
“Yes, you fool!” He shook his head. “It means more will come through those doors.
“More from skies?”
“Of a sort.” Radix dismissed in annoyance. “One of the other legions will move forward to come against me. Direct victory always comes with a cost, you see.” Radix murmured.
“You wish me find more pawns? More souls against what come?”
“And what’s left of the damnable Forever Knights!” Radix spat another gleeful laugh. “What little is left. Today was a priceless win for me.”
“Go out, you have a mission. You will find where those, from the skies,” He added in a mocking tone. His disdain obvious. “Come through. Where they land. Follow the Knights. They’ll be drawn to the new souls, to protect them. If you wait, if you are patient…And if you trail them. One of them will lead you to the new generation.”
“Then we will see if you and your kind can convert them for me. I will need their help in the battle to come.”
“And if cannot?”
“Then, like the Fallen, they will die.” Radix looked a little worried at this.
“You usually happy in death of anything from sky.”
“But their deaths will not help me this time. Were you a smarter creature perhaps you could see this world as I do. See what really happens beyond the curtain of mortal eyes.”
“Will soon, My Lord?”
“Of course.” Radix let the lie slip from his tongue as easily as all his other promises. “Now find me the angels-the…children.”
“How I know?”
“To you they will seem bright. Covered in a white glow. It will chaff your senses, hurt your eyes, and sound like screaming in your ears.”
Okine’s pointed teeth grated together as his jaw worked nervously. “It-it not something I do. Perhaps a Noni?”
“No! I need you whispering in mortal ears! I need my armies replenished. I need warriors. I need new gifts. New skills to combat what they have.
“We do not yet know. So, we must prepare for anything. Mortals are like fine wine. The further they age into darkness the more abilities they may manifest. We want them aged!”
“Like wine…” Okine whispered. But his confusion was apparent.
“Just go!” Radix shook his head. Dismissing the huge lumbering man. He still carried the heavy hammer that’d once beat molten metal into form when he’d been a mere blacksmith.
Hungry with ambition. It’d been that ambition. That greed for power that Radix had used to turn the man into a demonling.
Okine was darkly obedient. Afraid of Radix but little else. A perfect tool to crush Radix’s enemies.
But I need something more. He didn’t need minions any longer. I need warriors.
And I need to know my enemy. He eyed the bleeding, still body in the corner of the cavern. The skin shredded. Dark blood pooling around him. Black hair, now matted in blood, hung from the tight leather thong. And the dual swords had long since been drug away.
I have time to learn. Radix’s yellow smile split his face.